This week’s post is all about the excitement of going out out and then actually wanting to be in! Please like and share if you enjoy. Big love to all you beautiful Mums!

We had been out drinking til 1am spending £25 in a bouncer-protected McDonalds right before bed. I had been harping on about not having had one for 15 months because they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near pregnant or breast feeding mothers – drivel the child-free youth of East London really don’t care about. I woke up a few hours later at 6.45am and managed to keep quiet for a whole 15 minutes before snuggling into Husband. “You’re going to make me get up and go home, aren’t you?” he asked in a resigned, hoarse voice barely lifting his head off the pillow. He turned over and I gave him my best I-know-you-love-me smile, telling him he could stay in bed for another 15 minutes while I had a shower and made him a coffee. After our second McDonalds in 12 hours, we were home in time for Girly no2’s second feed of the day, relieving my aching, throbbing, and now pornstar-like boobs. My fuzzy (hungover) head all but disappeared as I inhaled her lovely little coconut head. 

I do this every time we stay away for the night. That day, I’m desperate to get out. Crazy excited to have some time away from the repetition and predictability of my days. Some time away from swearing at trodden-on Peppa Pig figurines; from saying “share nicely or Jack/Millie/Harper/Noah (delete as appropriate) will have to go home”; from cooking spaghetti and slicing up cheese and cucumber; from shivering in the park asking the 34th Mum that week how old her snot-clad fine-haired fairy is while we push two smiley toddlers back and forth. In the nights leading up to said outing I dream about jaegerbombs and dancing to 80’s power ballads in Be@1 til 3 in the morning. I picture an attractive glossy haired fun-loving blonde in leather clad trousers laughing and dancing (not a random – me circa 2012). The reality is pretty far removed. The stress of leaving the house is never the best start. Scribbling down routines, demonstrating to grandparents the exact position to hold Girly no2 in order to get her to sleep and what to say to get no1 to brush her teeth; which buttons to press to make the Gro-clock work; where the wellies are in case no1 refuses to leave the house without them; the dosage of Nurofen versus Calpol and in which instances to use each one and which teething ring to put the Bonjela on (this Matchstick Monkey is amazing by the way, only one worth using). Dodging the sick after the final feed, I always leave the house feeling fraught, frumpy and un-cool, welling up at the sad face on Girly no1 as I hug her goodbye. I convince myself it will be fine once we relax and have a few drinks. What actually happens is that I get all self-conscious when I arrive in the environment I used to inhabit so easily, and I end up drinking too much too quickly then panic that I’ll make myself sick. I worry about the quality of the next days’ breast milk. I sober up just as everyone else gets smashed and then I just want to eat and go to bed. Before I’ve even left whatever cool pop-up establishment we’ve been in, I wish I was at home in our bed ready for snuggles with my babies in the morning. It’s not exactly how I saw the night going and always leaves me feeling hungover, guilty and deflated. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I was like it with Girly no1, in such a rush to remember and relive life before pregnancy and baby, but when given the opportunity I realised I didn’t quite fit-in the same anymore. It made me desperate to get back to my baby. It’s the same this time around. I know it won’t last forever, it’s just a phase after they’re born, but getting back to feeling myself is so much more of a challenge than I ever though it would be. 

I did it again this week. I had a meeting with work in London so I took the opportunity to have a day to myself, meeting Sister Auntie for lunch and doing some shopping. After some prosecco at lunch, I walked miles along Oxford Street buying a few rubbish things like some new pants (a must after childbirth) and some dry shampoo. Clothes for the babies too obviously – at least they are guaranteed to fit! I went to Selfridges, John Lewis, Reiss and a few of the big shops in pursuit of a wedding outfit. I tried a few on, already in a hot sweaty fluster as I entered the changing rooms. I’ve never found them to be the most confidence-boosting of places. I must pause here to ask the question, who the hell chooses the lighting in shop fitting rooms? I’ve wondered this since I was 15, skinny as a string bean, but thinking I looked disgusting in everything River Island had to offer. It’s this lighting that is responsible for my somewhat expensive habit of buying things to try on at home and return next week if they don’t fit (pah! As if I’m going back next week!). Cue a lifetime of free clothes to Sister Auntie. This week was no different – lighting has not moved with us into 2017, it’s still 1997 in a fitting room. I had a few dresses I knew wouldn’t fit because they didn’t stretch and some tops that might go with a pencil skirt I’d seen earlier. I hadn’t bought it because the only one that fit was two sizes bigger than I normally wear and it made me too sad. The first top made me look like a Russian prostitute. Turns out I had it on back to front. As I was changing the top round and I wondered when fitting rooms had become like airport security, I noticed the scenic pictures on the walls of the rippling sand dunes….oh, no, that was just my thighs and belly. Lovely. The next top lasted about three seconds before I threw it all to the ground in a strop. Then, being the good girl I am, I guiltily picked it all up and put it back on the hangers perfectly. I walked towards the smiling assistant at the end of the one-way system prepared to throw it all at her when she asked: “any good?”. Instead, she held her hands out and carried on talking to the girl around the corner telling some (not very) hilarious story about getting her hair caught in a door handle or something equally as annoying. I stormed out of the changing rooms and headed to the toilet, my heart aching as I saw the baby change signs and all the shopping mums and daughters heading that way. Instinctively, I leant forward over an imaginary pram to check my not-there baby’s nappy. At that moment, I decided to go home. If I got a move on then I would make it back for bed time. 

I didn’t think I would suffer with all this awkwardness and anxiety the second time around, but I definitely have. I know that it’s just at the beginning when everything is so new and life is so different but I think it’s almost worse this time around because I am now so far removed from my old life. I suspect some of these feelings are down to my Mum Tum and unwanted Kim K butt. Flooded with hormones and being very babyfied turns me into a person I didn’t think I would ever be, but one that I am strangely proud of. It does pass as my babies get older. When my body, well a body, comes back and I’m no longer breast feeding, I start to feel more like me again. As time goes on I will force some time in to study Grazia, I will shop online to avoid the hideousness of the changing room lights, I will get a new haircut and emerge perhaps not as the old me, but as a new me. Some blend of the vaguely stylish piss head I used to be with the mumsy frump I am for the first year after having a baby. Until then I think I’ll stick to the local curry house with Husband!

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Sweating in the fitting rooms