My youngest is growing up. When he starts school in September, I’ll have more of an opportunity to concentrate on developing my business and my author career. Things have been easier for us as a family, especially in the last year or so. I’m enjoying being over the nappy changing and toilet training phases. I feel like I’m slowly ‘waking up’ more and more, with more time and more of a chance to focus on myself. Which is something I only now see that I have missed. Something that I didn’t feel I could do during the baby years.
And so I wondered. How do other mums feel? Do they feel that when their youngest is getting a little bit older they can focus on themselves a bit more? And what does that look like for them? Do they feel, as I do, like they’re finally waking up from a zombie-like state? Has it all been a bit of a blur? But while these may be phrases and words I use, how do other mums talk about this phase of their lives? What will they be doing, now their little ones are growing up a little?
“More me-time, which is so important for everyone.”
Jemma, from Mayflower Blogs says, “My youngest is 4, and my eldest is 8. We’re definitely complete as a family, even more so now that the children are older. Although I’m still in the nursery/school run routine every single day, I do have more time for myself. And I’ll have even more when my youngest attends full-time in September. More ‘me’ time, which is so important for everyone. And time to get the house straight without worrying about a pick up in the middle of the day.”
Ha! I can totally relate, as my youngest is also in nursery and starting school in September!
Jemma also says: “I genuinely do feel like a lot of the children’s early years were a blur for me – I watch videos and can’t remember recording them! For me, suffering with mental health issues was a major wake up call. Self-care is so important – so the time you get once your children grow to a stage where you have more of that precious time alone is even more important.”
“I’m finding out who I am now – it’s not who I was before.”
Gemma from Mummy’s Waisted says: “I have two children, aged 5.5 and nearly 3, and I’ve given up my 15-year career in accountancy and gone back to my first love of being a writer. I feel like I am finding out who I am now. It’s not who I was before, but a new version of me that includes being a mum AND all the things I love to do – reading a good book, going out to gigs and to the cinema. Plus I now have four tattoos!”
I LOVE this. And hello Gemma, from a fellow writer, reader and cinema-goer!
“I get to go to the gym or take a long bath.”
Donna from Bobsy’s Mum says: “Mine are 7 and 2, and we’re complete. I feel really sad at the idea of never being pregnant or having a baby again. But I really massively don’t want 3 children. The baby years the first time were very zombie-like. My husband is a chef, so for the first year, he was gone really long hours. The second time it was very different – much easier and more chilled out. Nothing but fond memories though! Now my children are a bit older I get to go to the gym or take a long bath, which is lovely! And even manage the odd night out! It’s amazing how much these little things matter now!”
Oh, I hear you, Donna!
“I started to invest in myself.”
Danielle from Tiny Tripping says: “My youngest is only 10 months, but I am done. And I’m certainly feeling more myself again. I’ve been dabbling in copywriting and blogging since my eldest was born, but in the last few weeks I’ve started really ramping back up to have the career of my dreams again as a journalist. I’ve also started to invest in myself and try to develop who I am as a person. When I had my eldest daughter I thought that it was all about them – my ‘life’ as an individual was over. But I’ve come to realise I’m (hopefully!) less than halfway through, and I really need to develop on who I am to be a good role model for my girls.”
I totally agree, Danielle!
“I’m SO READY to find ME again!”
Kate from Five Little Stars says: “My youngest is nearly 3, and life feels like it is on the brink of turning a corner. No nappies, I sold the pushchair, all those last remnants of the baby (and even toddler) stage are disappearing. As soon as my youngest starts full-time school in September (in 3 months time!!) I can really focus on my new business, exercising, and doing stuff just for me. I probably should feel sad about my baby growing up, but after the best part of 5 years as a stay-at-home mum, with 2 children aged 16 months apart, I’m SO READY to find ME again. Plus, I may even get a dog and take long walks in the countryside! The baby years required me to be selfless. And always putting everyone else’s needs before mine is draining. We are moving into a new house this summer. Change is afoot. I’m ready. My youngest is ready. We are all ready. I have high hopes that it’s going to be liberating!”
Kate, this is just so beautiful and honest. Yes! My youngest turns 4 in the summer and starts school in September, so I know how you feel!
“I’m drawn towards finding myself and helping others.”
Claire from This Mummy Rocks is a mum of 5 boys and says: “Our children are 3, 5, 7, 12, and 15. We have always said we would love one more. But now, with my youngest being 3, I personally don’t feel as tied down as I did. Family day trips are easier etc. We are all content and settled and have a good, balanced family life. I do struggle with the fact my children don’t need me as much as they did. I’ve been a mum since I was 18, so it’s all I’ve known. But I now think it’s time for me to start getting to know me and not ‘Mummy’ me. Right now, I am drawn towards finding myself and helping others. Blogging is my ‘just-for-me’ thing -no one else has any input. That’s my time. I like to keep my mind busy. As for helping others, we have our own childminding business, so we’ll focus on continuing doing that. We love giving kiddies stability while their parents go to work or further education. Our mindees are just like our own kiddies too.”
Five boys + the children you’re looking after – Claire you really do rock! Blogging (and generally writing) is also my go-to me-time activity!
“Time to be quiet and in my own head.”
Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum says: “My children are 4 and nearly 2. I was told I couldn’t have any more after my first, so the littlest was a miraculous surprise. That being said, I’m not really a baby person. I enjoy the kids so much more as they start to develop their little personalities, and I almost never feel broody when I see or hold other people’s babies! I’m absolutely done. I love the simple things like being able to leave the house without a giant hold-all in tow. It’s life-changing for me.
I have a very strong sense of who I am outside of being Mum, and I’m loving that I’m now able to start embracing that more. For example, I can read a book in the afternoon while the kids play (if I’m not working!), I can take my eldest to a coffee shop and she’ll have a babyccino, and we read the paper together. I can use a handbag again! I feel like I lost a little of myself for a while as I felt this pressure to ONLY be a Mum, and to be amazing at it. But I know who I am, and the things that I need to be the best version of myself.
For me, self-care really involves headspace, time to wander and explore old bookshops like I used to, time to be quiet and in my own head. Now that my two are a little older, I find that there are times in the day that we can all indulge in a little quiet time. Plus, they’re not so bothered if I take myself off for a day at the weekend while they stay at home with their dad. I enjoy being able to separate myself from the children for a while, without the guilt that they *need* me like they did as small babies.”
Oh yes to headspace, time to wander and explore bookshops (I should do that more!) and time to be quiet and my own head. I need that so much myself!
Speaking of bookshops, check out my own virtual bookshop!
“I was just in survival mode, and I’m sad about that bit.”
Kirsty from Navigating Baby says: “I have four under 7, but when the twins came along this was 4 under 4, and I knew I was done! I wouldn’t change it, but wow, years 1 and 2 were a real struggle. Now that the children are a little older, I’ve been able to write more, and I work out all the time, particularly running, which is the perfect time for me to think. It is still full on, as my youngest are twins, but it is getting easier. After I had the twins life was a blur. I was just in survival mode, and I am sad about that bit, as I feel like I can’t remember my younger son being three. I was just so tired!”
Well, I don’t have twins (or four children), but I know what it feels like to be in survival mode. I think we’ve all been there!
So how do YOU feel now that your youngest is growing up? What will YOU be doing with your time?