BC (Before Catherine)

It wasn’t all that long ago Mr McC and I were the token childless couple. It is just a few weeks until Catherine fourth birthday and looking back I struggle to remember the BC (before Catherine) years. But there were 36 of them, so I really should have something to say about that large chunk of my life, when it’s less happy meals and ballet classes and more gourmet meals and spin classes.

Spin classes were the first thing to go! My goodness, there’s nothing like having a baby to put the brakes on your exercise routine! Prior to my (difficult) pregnancy I was a very regular gym goer and loved my spin classes. Suddenly, leaning over a spin bike gave me (even worse) nausea, so it was swapped for weekly sessions with my very patient PT, just to keep me going. It helped with the constant nausea and kept me focused. After all I was jumping straight back on that spin bike as soon as I gave birth! How wrong was I?

When I look back at my time BC I was so consumed with material goods, new clothes, designer bags, the latest makeup. I do still love all these things, I just have a lot less cause to use designer bags and the latest makeup! When I was pregnant with Catherine I saved up some money and bought myself a beautiful Mulberry Daria satchel. My thinking was that I wouldn’t be able to afford such frivolities once the baby came along. It didn’t even occur to me (why would it) that for the first two years of your child’s life you carry a huge, heavy changing bag and have no need for Mulberry. So my Daria satchel was swapped for a Baba Bing satchel. A much more practical purchase. How silly was I?

I had no clue how much my outlook would change after Catherine was born. She became everything! In ways that I never expected. I’m having a wee laugh to myself when I think of how naive I was to think that she would simply fit in with us! The reality was very different. As we adapted to our new life as a family of three, impromptu anythings were a thing of the past. We were slaves to the ‘routine’. We are pretty structured people anyway, but I do remember setting the alarm for 3.00am to feed our baby just in case she didn’t wake for her feed. I mean, really?? Enjoy your sleep woman, she’ll wake you when she needs fed! How naive was I?

I never realised that a walk to the shops could be full of intrigue and discovery. It may take a lot longer to get to where you’re going, but you see so much more. You chat to people you would normally not even notice. You smell flowers. You jump in puddles rather than avoiding them. You take it all in. Through Catherine I have met people that otherwise would still be strangers and discovered things and places that I had never thought to explore before. How blind was I?

With all of these things came a more contented me. A me who is happy to be myself and not hold back anymore. A me who wants to show my little girl that she can be whatever she wants to be. A me who doesn’t need brands and things to validate herself (still love them, still use them, but not defined by them anymore). A me who cares a lot less about what the outside world thinks and a lot more about what is going on around our dinner table every evening. A me who accepts that we may never be a family of four or more, but as three we are content. A me who knows what is important to me and to my little family.

So now, almost four years on, what have I learned?

1. Having babies plays havoc with your ability to sit on a spin bike, or commit to exercise in general.

2. Don’t buy expensive handbags until your kids are at least five! You’ll more than likely carry a changing bag or busy bag for several years. SAVE YOUR MONEY!

3. Your life will not go back to ‘pre-baby normal’ ever, but there will be a new normal, and it will be focused on the most wonderful thing you will ever create.

4. Your world may feel like it has become so small when you have a baby (mine did), but you will encounter so many new experiences through your child and it will open your eyes.

The side note to all of the above is that motherhood isn’t easy. It isn’t all play dates and picnics (they do feature of course). It isn’t what I expected. Not even close. It’s different, but so much better in so many ways than my life BC.

How happy am I?!

The Storybook Mummy xxx

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