More than just a Mum?

In the rare quiet moments that I get, I am filled with a restlessness that I rarely let myself acknowledge. For years, I’ve done everything I can to avoid the quietness, to avoid being left alone with my thoughts, keeping busy to avoid admitting that there is this void I don’t know how to fill.

For almost sixteen years I have ‘just been a Mum’. It was a role I relished, a role I jumped into with both feet as finally, I had a place, a role, something that I could focus on. Before that, I was floundering. As a teen, I never felt like I fitted in, I never had a passion after I quit horse-riding when I was 11. I never knew what I wanted to do with this life of mine, I never had any apparent talent or special skills, there was nothing I was especially good at.

So for years and years, I threw myself into my role as a Mother. I let it define me, I let it consume me. In reality, there was little else to my life than being a Mum. I had a few friends, but not the kind of friends I’d go out and have fun with, who’d call me up and chat for hours, who’d want to do stuff with me. I was a stay-at-home Mum, and I could go whole weeks without seeing another adult other than my ex-husband.

I used my children as a shield.

They were my armor against the world, they were my barriers between having to put myself out there as ME. I could be their Mum and do Mum things, but in all those years I had no life outside of being that Mum. Polly basically didn’t exist.

Over the last five or six years, I’ve tried to step outside of being ‘just a Mum’. Tried to be me. Yet still, I’ve floundered along the way. I think a lot comes down to a total lack of self-belief. I have no confidence in anything I do outside of a Mum, no belief that I have anything else to offer.

Yet I am yearning for something more. Sixteen years of dedicating myself to raising a family. Now I find myself approaching forty and feeling…. Lost. Bewildered. Adrift at sea.

I can feel an urge to create a life that is just mine. A little space outside of being a Mum where I can fulfill ME.

I have no idea how or where or why or when… with a baby on the way, and no partner here to support me, I feel like I am trapped.

I have no clue what it is I want to do. And even if I did I have no time or space to pursue it. I feel like I’ve lost myself, not that I ever knew myself, in years of nappies and bedtime stories. I miss the days when I had time to create, even just for my own sake. To have time in the days to follow my heart and dreams.

The truth is it has been so long since I’ve allowed myself to listen to my heart that I have absolutely zero clues about what it is I am yearning for. How did I get to be halfway through my life and feel so lost?

I wouldn’t change a thing about the family I have, I am grateful I’ve been able to be home and raise my babies. I wouldn’t wish that away for a second. Yet… yet there is a part of me that needs to be POLLY. That needs to nurture my hopes and dreams. To build a life that doesn’t entirely revolve around being a Mum. For someday, these babies of mine will be all grown up, and they will fly the nest, and then what?

I used my children as an excuse to hide. To allow my fears and anxieties and depression to win and to keep a tight hold over me all of these years. I don’t know where I go from here, but I don’t want to spend another sixteen years hiding away at home. I am tired of saying NO to things I would love to do, tired of a quiet life, tired of not knowing who I am…

Yet I don’t know how to go about finding myself for the first time.

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