A note to me, before you

To me, in my early twenties, baby free, not knowing what was round the corner.

Sleep. You enjoy a nightly average of 8 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less when you’ve been up late checking instagram, scrolling until the wee small hours and then have to get up earlyfor work. Because, you know, 8am is SO early.

Sleep in the future will be something you dream of, although you don’t really get a chance to dream about it because you’re not sleeping. When you do finally lie your exhausted head down on your heaven sent pillow you’ll hear that cry that you know all too well. The cry that says my gums are on fire and the world is ending, the cry that says I’m scared to be in this dark room on my own, the cry that says I just don’t really want to sleep tonight and so I’m not going to let you either, Cue a night of pure sleep related torture. The torture that let’s you drift off for 15 minutes before rudely awakening you again.

Me time: You love to read, getting through piles of page turners. You go to the theatre and cinema a lot, not having to give a second thought to bath time/bed time/babysitters. You enjoy a cheeky trip to get your highlights done: 3 hours of uninterrupted time with Cosmo and a cuppa. Sometimes, when you’re feeling particularly good you enjoy a quick morning work out before your day starts.

Me time in the future will be attempting to get your hair done whilst bouncing a baby on your lap, apologizing to the room when he decides half an hour in that he’s had enough, apologizing to the hairdresser each time he tries to grab her scissors, the hair dryer, anything in reach. Never before did you think you’d whip a boob out in the middle of a hair cut, but needs must.

Morning work outs will still take place but you won’t need your yoga mat. Just the stairs; you’ll do 20 repetitions as you run up and down to collect what you need, and then forget what you need and grab something else and then remember what you need when you get back downstairs.

The theatre or cinema seem like a waste of an evening seeing as inevitably you’ll just sleep through it all anyway. Occasionally you might attempt a day time baby showing of the latest Hollywood hit, but you’ll miss most of it changing nappies and trying to subtly wipe your child’s sick off the mum in the chair in front before she notices.

Nights out are simple: cocktails and friends and chats. Perfect.

Nights out in the future take a mountain of planning, they involve slightly fewer cocktails (at least while your feeding) and people will chat but you’ll struggle to keep up (behind your eyes you’re actually asleep) and then you’ll check your watch and realize you’ve got to sprint it back home because you forgot to pump and so like Cinderella and her pumpkin you’re about to get a very public reminder that you are overdue feeding time.

You find yourself judging mums that you see. Mums in shops running over your toes with their range rover style buggies (I’m looking at you Bugaboo Buffalo), mums ruining the zen in your ultra cool, quiet hipster café as you sip your chai latte. Mum’s using dummies to quiet their screaming toddler on the bus. Because you won’t ever need a device like that to calm your beautiful, hypothetical child.

In the future you will adore mums. You yourself will want to pop to the shops for an hour of sanity, hoping desperately that he stays asleep, embarrassed when you knock all the clothes off the rack because you ended up buying the widest and biggest of all buggies, oops. You will appreciate and adore dummies and will whisper your apologies to your stash of Mam lifesavers.

Love. You think you love people now, you think you appreciate the world now, you think you look forward to the future now.

In the future you will love until you feel your heart might actually burst right out of your chest and land in front of you. You’ll love so dearly you could cry, you’ll love so fiercely you could take on the world and you’ll love so loyally you would lay down your life.

You will have ambition like never before, ambition to achieve for yourself and for him, ambition to inspire him and ambition to shape him.

You will have compassion that hurts your soul. Compassion that keeps you up at night as you long for the world to be better, compassion that kicks you into action.

You will have a purpose greater than ever before, a purpose that shapes your life from the moment he arrives. A purpose to shape a future generation.

You will respect yourself. Finally. You won’t stand and judge yourself in the mirror. You won’t pick apart each small feature that you don’t like. You won’t worry what others think about your figure, face, abilities. You will love your body, you will be in awe of what your body is capable of and you won’t judge yourself on your appearance because you so desperately won’t want him to ever judge a single person based on their appearance.

So, to me then: enjoy your lie ins, enjoy your nights out, enjoy your girly chats, your long walks, your spontaneous holidays, enjoy your clean home, your endless clothes budget. Make the most of them, because something better, something greater, something life changing, life giving, life affirming is coming your way.

Motherhood. The best hood you’ll ever join.



Ruth Marsden