Can I have my Cake and Eat it?
If you have read my last few blog posts you will now know three things about me – 1) I didn’t plan my pregnancy, 2) I am a single Mama and 3) I freakin’ love my kid!! With these three things in mind, I started thinking about the idea of whether or not a Mama can have it all. Can a Mama manage having a baby as well as leading the life of a young, single woman in her 20s? I often get asked how I manage to be a great Mom and ‘have a life’ at the same time; is it even possible to do both?! People seem blown away that not only is it possible, but it is my way of living.
The first time I went out by myself after having Bella was a little weird. It was a mixture of crazy excitement and severe homesickness and guilt. My bestie had come up to visit from Durban for a few days to meet my little girl, and what followed was a Friday afternoon catch-up over glasses of Champagne, and then an excited call to my Mom asking her to baby-sit my 8 week old baby so that the girls and I could have one amazing Girls’ Night (the kind where stories of every detail of the night get repeated over and over again just because it was that much fun)! To say that I was excited was an understatement!
I had been a serious social butterfly before Bella, and after 9 months of pregnancy and 8 weeks with a newborn and dealing with depression, I had missed being able to let my hair down and just have some time to myself. We did the girly thing of getting ready, asking each other what we should wear and giggling over it all. I said goodnight to my daughter, put my dancing shoes on and yes, it was fabulous! But then I remember a moment when I was about to order a round of cocktails for the girls and I looked down at my phone. Staring back at me was a screensaver of my baby girl and suddenly this overwhelming feeling of guilt washed over me. How could I be out having fun when I had a baby? How could I have left her? How could I be anything but a ‘Mama’ now? In that moment, I missed her more than I have ever missed anything or anyone in my entire life.
It’s been 2 years and I can honestly say that this feeling still happens to me. When I’m at work, when I’m having lunch with the girls, when I’m getting my nails done or when I’m out painting the town red. The guilt you feel about leaving your baby is all-consuming and it used to really worry me. After that girls’ night, I often chose to rather stay home and just be a Mama. And then one day, amidst emails to an old friend, she said something that changed my way of thinking: “a happy Mom who lives to her potential and enjoys her life to the full is the BEST mom. We demonstrate to our daughters how to live their lives by the way we live our own. They won’t follow what we say but how we behave and how we conduct our relationships. So we have to ask ourselves constantly am I loving and nurturing myself in the way I’d want Bella to love herself? Am I enjoying myself? And if the answer is no, or if the sad times are more than the joy, we have to make a change. We deserve the best! Buy yourself some sexy lingerie and remind yourself that you are young and gorgeous and life is for the living. There’s no point in having cake and not eating it”.
Best. Advice. Ever.
I have subsequently learned that a happy Mama is the best Mama. A Mama who sees herself as a woman capable of doing it all, a woman who surrounds herself with amazing and supportive people, a woman who knows how to have fun, a woman who can be responsible but can also be spontaneous and silly, a woman who expects the best from others, a woman who demands the best of herself, a woman who is strong but who also acknowledges that this is damn hard and is willing to ask for help, a woman who may miss her baby girl but knows that a little bit of me-time does the world of good, a woman who can say “Yes I am a Mama, but I am a woman too’. Sometimes it is okay to put yourself first, to be a little bit selfish, to show your daughter how to have fun, so that one day she will grow into a strong, independent, feisty young woman herself.
So yes, in my opinion a Mama can have it all. A Mama can have her cake and eat it too!