This post isn’t referring to the fact I didn’t write a post last week. That was because I was poorly ill and couldn’t bring myself to lift one finger after another to write anything, or more to the point, I didn’t trust that anything I wrote would actually make sense. I’m still not completely sure this will make sense but here goes anyway.
The “I’m back” refers to me feeling like me. I have commented on this feeling before on my blog. I’ve said it in relation to the fact that after I had my little boy I didn’t really feel like me. I’ve said that exercising is part of me and when I restarted that again properly after becoming a mum, I started to feel more like me again. Another trademark me thing, that has been the case since I was at school, are my nails. Since I was probably about 14 they would always be done. By this I mean nicely shaped, whether long or short, tidy cuticles and painted. The painting would range from a simple neutral shade to 10 hand painted union jack flags adorning the end of my fingers. I would like to say now, that when my nails were like this it was for a big sporting event or a fancy dress party and I was a lot younger. That really wouldn’t be a good look for me now!
Towards the end of my pregnancy I stopped painting my nails because I was worried that I’d go into labour, need to have a caesarean and they’d have to waste time taking off the varnish. Even though they weren’t painted they were still nice and tidy. Once my little one was born my nail care routine went straight out of the window. I think there were a number of reasons for this, firstly when would I do it? If I had tried, I knew that as soon as the nail varnish brush touched my nail, the little one would start screaming. Secondly, there didn’t seem much point in doing them as they’d be ruined in no time with the amount of washing up, hand washing etc that my hands were put through in those early days and thirdly, I really couldn’t be bothered. If I had a spare minute I didn’t want to focus on doing something, I just wanted to veg out.
I went and met up with a friend and his fiancee for lunch one day when the little one was probably about 5 months old and they were expecting their first child. He commented on the fact that my nails weren’t done and I laughed it off, saying to his fiancee (whose nails looked immaculate) “this is what happens once you’re not in charge of your life anymore, but it’s worth it”. That cliche that a lot of people seem to feel they have to put on the end of a sentence when they have complained about their life with a child. The cliche that at the time of saying it, if I’m honest with myself, I may not have completely believed, but that in time I realised actually was true, it just took longer than I could ever have imagined to realise it. My friend then continued to tell his fiancee how it really was rare for my nails not to be done, always painted in bright colours, blaa, blaa, blaa. At this point I was wondering if he was trying to talk her out of having a child because it was probably a bit late for that or he needed to tell her he wanted a change of career to nail technician!
Anyway, during this time I would occasionally apply a shakey, rushed layer of varnish to try and make an effort if we had something special to go to, but on the whole, for the first year of my child’s life, my nails were very natural looking. I’d file them if the edges got very jaggedy so that I didn’t cause anyone any harm, but that was about it until my little boy’s first birthday. One of my best friends took me to get my nails done the day before his party, she said it was to celebrate not having to sterilise bottles anymore. My nails looked beautiful by the end of it, although the beautician did comment on the condition of some of them. It was after having them done that I said to my husband “I really should do my nails more” and so it began. It wasn’t very regularly at first but now I try to do them once a week and with practice comes good results. The time I had taken off painting my nails meant I had got very rusty. My recent nail painting exploits have been well documented on Twitter starting with me exclaiming that it looked like I had let my son paint the nails on my right hand (it really was a bad attempt!) to the other nights joy that I had managed to paint all 10 nails perfectly. Which leads to the “I’m back” statement.
So what about the “or am I?”. Despite exercising regularly, painting my nails again and doing all those other little things that are important to me, I still don’t feel like me.
I bumped into a friend in a cafe a couple of days ago, who I used to work with and hadn’t seen for years. It was lovely to see her, she was as bubbly as ever but I didn’t feel like the person she knew. It was a really weird wake up moment. I’m not that person. I have had a child and I have to accept that it makes me different. It’s still the biggest challenge I have ever faced on a daily basis. I still don’t have the confidence I had before I was a Mum because it is such a big challenge. I have now got to work on realising that it’s ok and that actually would I be happy if I was still the same person I was in my teens or early 20s? The answer, no, because then I would feel like I hadn’t done anything with my life. So despite not always feeling happy, I actually am OK with who I am now. And yes, I really did get to this point starting at nail varnish.