Today is an absolutely fucking fabulous day.
It started at 5am with the excellent howling noises of a baby awake two hours earlier than he should be.
One lost dummy, one boyfriend stumbling about in the dark like Grawp the Giant looking for a spare, one bottle of milk, one cat who would not stop taking up the whole bloody bed, three snotty noses and 60 minutes later and we were all back to sleep.
And then we snoozed the alarm.
And then we woke up late.
And then we screeched at each other whilst trying to pull on jumpers and brush teeth and wipe bums and then hello yes we are ready to leave the house at 7.45am and we are on time and then excellent job baby, now is the time to vomit down yourself.
But we made it.
We made it to our first day of nursery.
And just like that, my life has dramatically changed.
Every new(ish) mum talks about re-finding themselves after their baby is born. Some say it took a few months, others a few years, and others seem to realise their kids are teenagers and they have no fucking clue who they are.
But for me it hasn’t been like one day I was lost to the baby madness and the next I felt like Hannah Gale circa 2016 again. It’s been broken into chunks and every now and then I’ll suddenly realise I’ve leapt closer to my former identity and further from just being someone’s slave.
There was a leap at six weeks when post c-section I was suddenly able to drive again and I felt like my independence had come flooding back. Then at around twelve weeks when I moved over to formula and started working on Fridays and I felt like I had a bit of a break and some time to focus on anything, something that wasn’t the small little gurgling pink thing constantly attached to me. And then again at six months when Atti learned to sit up and it became easier to play together and eat together and go for coffee together and bond in a whole new way.
And now here we are at the nine-month mark, which feels like it’s been the most ground-breaking of all.
And not just because the lad is at nursery two mornings a week and I get a whole entire HALF DAY twice a week to just sit and type and reply to emails and eat and wee and scroll through Instagram stories like the most selfish worm in the whole entire universe.
But because it also worked out timing-wise as the same month we left Atti for the first time with someone else for a prolonged period and fucked off to New York.
And lemme tell you, it’s been a weird mix of emotions.
Mostly a sense of contentment at the fact that it feels like I might have worked out the balance that works out best for all of us, and that’s been incredibly liberating. You never know how you will feel about your work/baby balance until after you’ve had him or her and although I knew a lot of my self-worth was entwined through this blog and my inbox and Instagram, I had no idea quite how much.
There’s also been a lot of guilt.
Guilt for not wanting to spend every waking moment with my son and for wanting my own mental space too. Guilt for wanting to put him in nursery, rather than cherishing his every smile and cry and new moment. Guilt for leaving him and reveling in my time without him. Guilt when there is nothing – nothing – to feel guilty about.
There’s been tiredness too. Jet lag and teething are not a match made in heaven.
There’s been pure joy. Joy when he pulled himself up for the first time, or even when he smiled upon seeing his key person at nursery, assuring me that I wasn’t failing him.
There’s been confusion. Mostly when he didn’t like my homemade macaroni cheese. CHEESE and PASTA, what isn’t to love? Is he even mine?
And I guess a bit of sadness too. Sadness that we are leaving the teeny tiny baby days behind us and moving on.
But mostly, right now, on this sunny Autumnal morning, when I have a coffee in my hand and the stretch of an excellent week ahead of me, everything feels so right.
And I am grateful, yet again, to the universe for dealing me a better hand than I could have ever asked for.
I have everything and everyone I need right here.