Nest full of fledgelingsNov 22, 2021
Today, my darlings, is a special day for me: It’s 18 years ago, on this 22nd of November, that I became a mum for the first time, coincidentally on the very same morning that Jonny Wilkinson scored the try and stuff that won the rugby world cup for England. After 18 hours of labour followed by an emergency caesarian, I didn’t care much about rugby, but the midwives and my husband sure thought it was a very auspicious day to be born.
Cue 18 years on, and it turns out that now I am the mum of an adult, an incredibly depressing thought. The individual days of motherhood were very long indeed, but overall, time flew by. I am glad that I prepared for this day (and that day very soon when she will fly the nest).
Obviously, I did not just prepare for today. In fact, I am woefully unprepared, wrapping presents after midnight and the wonky cake is Betty Crocker’s, now decorated by my younger teen because I ran out of time.
What I did prepare for, though, and have done for a while, is life after motherhood. Obviously, you’re always a mum, but one day they won’t need you anymore.
You can’t help but be defined by the whole process of being the most important person in someone’s life. One moment you were relevant and got invites to all the cool and secret rooftop parties, and next, you are wiping bottoms in the grimy church hall during the toddler meet-up. It continues from there, and I spare you the details, just saying that it was as mind-blowingly awesome as it was tedious at times.
Now, however, we are in the “let me suck your energy dry with my huge hormonal outbursts, but don’t you dare to give me advice of any kind, nutrition-rich food or, god forbid, help me with your crazy essential oils” stage.
Friday’s cozy film nights have been replaced by wondering where daughter number two is, and providing cash and lifts. As a divorced midlife woman, I suddenly realised that it had to change. This kind of existence made me feel nothing but over the hill, irrelevant and unwanted. I can’t make them small again. But I can wish them well and remember the rooftop parties.
I’m not so keen on Friday nights out generally, but I love Morning Gloryville’s sober early morning raves. I got myself a dog because one does need someone to listen when in rant mode, and he makes me go out into the park in all weather conditions.
Through the doge I met new people, and I now book evening yoga classes or go climbing without spending the afternoon pre-cooking dinner. Heck, I may even spontaneously call a friend and ask if they’d fancy a quick glass of wine at the Green Goddess, mid-week, quelle shocker!
“What will we eat?” Daughter #1 asked incredulously when this first happened. “I don’t know, darling, but the fridge is full of food.” I am sure she just had a couple of crackers, but I survived my twenties on nothing but yoghurt and canned tuna, so this is good preparation for university.
I sound flippant. And in reality, I am very much needed still. We, as a family, have gone through a period of intense trauma, and I am there for them to heal and often have to drop all at a moments notice. But, and this is important, my almost grown-up children need to see that I am my own person. I need to see that I am my own person. That I have friends and fun that doesn’t involve coming home half-cut and hungover for three days in a row. That trauma does not need to define us, but it is ok for it to be part of who we are and we can still have fun. And, they need to see that they can move on to university or whatever they'll chose without feeling guilty to leave me behind.
I want them to be the kind of young women that roll their eyes and complain to their friends. “I can’t ever get hold of mum; who knows in what country she even is right now. But she invited me for a weekend in Ibiza next month, can’t wait.”
I am not quite an empty-nester yet, but I am practicing to be one. And this too was something I learned through unapologetic self-care. It spills into every area of my life.
My lifestyle, health and contentment did not happen overnight. But, if you have read previous blogs, you know: I will not waver on my yoga practice, meditation, essential oils, and natural skincare. I use a range of premium supplements that I do not see as “pricey”, but as an investment into my health and energy. I attend lectures for fun and learn new skills, even if it is just at a basic level (I play the piano quite terribly since you ask).
I see every single one of you wise women as my expanders, teachers and sisters. I enjoy the company of men and women who are searching, and willing to grow instead of being stuck in this midlife hell we have been invited into by society.
So, yes, I now am a mum of an adult. And I am going to enjoy every moment of my newfound freedom.
If you are curious to learn about unapologetic self-care and how to swap low self-esteem with a joyous life of growth and curiosity, check out Radiant Life! I’d love to work with you, glorious being!