An unapologetic open letter

My dearest friends and acquaintances who don’t have any children,

I feel I should write you this letter to explain a few things from my point of view, not because they necessarily need explaining or that I owe you an explanation of any sort, but because I feel like getting it out of my system.

You know how I keep saying “I’m sorry I can’t make it because (insert something related to having a child)? Well, I’m writing you this to tell you I’m not, I’m not sorry at all.

I should just stop saying it.

I’m not sorry my life has changed because I have a son, I’m not sorry I can’t party like I think I’m 25. I’m not sorry I’m busy between 4.30 and 7.30 every single day. I’m not sorry I have to consider nap times or the constant wants and needs of a little one.  I’m not sorry I can’t stay out all night. I’m not sorry I can’t do whatever I want when I want. I’m not sorry that my concerns these days revolve around having a stack of teeny tiny clean pyjamas, teaching my son the difference between seeing something and hearing something, or reading books about sheep. I’m not sorry I have to deal with temper tantrums or dirty nappies. I’m not even sorry I haven’t had a full nights sleep in… I don’t know how long.

I’m not sorry. 

I’ve never been happier.

Old me with two (still) very good friends

Old me with two (still) very good friends

While most of you have been wonderful and welcoming of this gorgeous new addition to our family, some of you, although very few, have perhaps had a more difficult time adjusting to the new me. Which is fair enough. I’m not writing this to say you have to love my son because I do or that you should in any way feel guilty. But if you think for a second that I am missing out on anything, or that my life, or that I personally somehow have less to offer now that I am a mother, you are sadly mistaken.

Sure, I don’t watch the news much anymore. I simply don’t have the time or energy for it, so I’ll fall off the wagon in any such conversation. I was never that into news and current affairs anyway, I’m more of the art and culture type. I don’t go out partying on weekends, hell, I don’t even make it down to the pub very often. And yes, I do spend a lot of time talking about my kid, or recent research into children’s sleep patterns or why I don’t let my son watch tv because these things are important to me. I understand that this may not always be of interest to you. And sometimes I complain that I’m tired  or that I haven’t had much sleep, or that I haven’t had any “me time” for ages. Saying things like “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen” really doesn’t help, and tells me not only do you not understand, but you just don’t care. I’d never say that to you when you complain about your life and your job, and let’s be fair, you do complain, we all do. But ask me if I’d change a thing and the answer would be no. Because I’m not sorry.

new me, never happier

new me, never happier

I know some people thought I was having a walk in the park when I was a full-time student being paid by the university to study, and some even continued to think so when I added full-time mother to that. “So what do you do all day?” Really? You have to ask? To the very few of you this applies I really have nothing but pity because you clearly don’t understand what either of those things entail. I’m always on call, I never clock off. When I’m not with my son I have to work on my degree. There is no such thing as a holiday or proper time off. (Actually, the last time I had a proper holiday was in 2009). But I’m not sorry about any of that either.

To those of you who have taken the time to come visit over the past 16 months despite me rarely if ever returning the favour, or just dropped an email to say hi, or accommodated the time and place of things so that we could come to whatever is happening, I love you even more for it. When you’ve gone with us to the zoo or offered to watch Anakin while I have a shower, when you’ve spent all night here alone on a Friday or Saturday so that we could go out and have dinner, it makes me want to squeeze you so tight and shout how much I love you. Because it’s people like you who are true friends. And let’s not forget when you gave me Dida-day. That still brings a tear to my eye and makes my heart burst in the very best way.

Right where I belong

Right where I belong

So when you ask me to come to something and I say no because my son still breastfeeds and needs to be put to bed at a certain time, or because I’m simply too tired and life after 9 doesn’t really exist anymore, it’s unfortunate but I don’t feel it needs an apology. I occasionally wish I could accommodate both of you at the same time and in some cases I feel bad that I can’t, but I’m never sorry for what I have to do instead. I am right where I need to be.  What I can say I’m sorry about is if I’ve made you feel like you don’t matter as much as you used to, or that I don’t have any time for you. Because you do matter and I do have time, just not when or as much as I used to.

Much love and no apologies, Dida

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12 responses

  1. I can totally get, relate and understand every single word you’ve said here.
    A child should never be an apology to those who don’t understand. Be proud!
    For those who are true friends will shine through.

    April 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    • So true, the good ones stay by you no matter what and your bond just grows stronger.

      April 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

  2. lifeincolors

    I absolutely love this, and I can also relate. Things do change, and I honestly feel that when you have a child you really find out who are truly there for you in the long run.

    April 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    • Thank you! I love that things change and people grow. I am a far better and happier person now than I was before I had a child. Caring for him has grounded me and put things in perspective. And it has definitely made me grow closer to those who have been there.

      April 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

  3. Great post Dida! Such a lovely description of how it feels to be a mum and a friend at the same time. Did you read my post on “why people with kids don’t have time for anything?” Same theme, sort of.
    Anyway, I just loved every bit of this post. Thank you for sharing!

    April 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    • Takk, fine! I hadn’t read that yet, but I just did. Love it! So true. I can only imagine how much less time you’d have with three kids especially so close together in age. But they’re worth every bit of it. And the really good friends, they stick around no matter what.

      ps. I love love love your blog!

      April 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

  4. i think that your having anakin has ended up bringing us closer together, even though i am still very much single, and, what feels like, miles away from my own children. this closeness i am grateful for.
    it’s lovely to watch you revel in motherhood. there is not much better than being satisfied with our life choices.
    (i wrote this when you first posted it, and just realised that it’s been sitting unsent in my open browser ever since).

    April 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    • I have been very fortunate in having people like yourself around and I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing better than being satisfied with where we find ourselves and the life we make. I have never felt more comfortable than i do as a mother. While we were friends before Anakin, I have come to love you in a whole other way since he was born. This has everything to do with your amazing way of spreading joy and your true nature, miss Julia! I may have lost a few connections on the way, partly from my own self indulgence, but I have also gained some, like yourself.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

  5. Oh I can mightily relate to all you’ve said and agree wholeheartedly!

    I’ve lost a friend, who in hindsight must not have been a good one. But the true friends have shone through and I’ve made some new ones (not all fellow mummies).

    Bravo for putting it so well.

    Cheers, Ruth aka @Kanga_Rue

    May 6, 2013 at 11:14 am

    • Thanks, Ruth! It’s sad that it’s such a common thing. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I am bigger and better for having my son and the friends that have stayed around have become closer. The ones I’ve lost to a bigger and lesser degree, well, like you said, they probably weren’t that great to begin with.

      May 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

  6. So well said Dida! This is exactly how I feel too. I have to constantly stop myself from saying sorry unnecessarily.

    Especially relate to the parts about breastfeeding, which are sadly now over that my daughter is 2.5, but I’ve got another one on the way to enjoy it with!

    Fools are those people without children who ‘pity’ parents for their supposed lack of time and ‘life’. We have plenty and time and life, just with some amazing little people we have created, maybe just not with you. Not right now. If they are smart enough to hang around they’ll get their turn eventually 🙂

    Great blog, I’ll be back.

    May 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

    • Thank you, Christie! Isn’t it weird how we say sorry? It’s such a misuse of the whole concept of being sorry.

      I often find myself thinking about what some of the differences are between the old me and the new me to my friends. Except not being part of the party crowd anymore (not that I very often was anyway) I can honestly say I have only become a better person. With a bit less time for things, sure, but I am so much better in every way because of that amazing little person.

      I feel sorry for the people who see parenting as the end of everything that is fun and free. Parenting is not the end, it’s a brand new beginning to another journey. And what a journey!

      All the best with your daughter and your bub on the way!
      And please stop by again!

      xx

      May 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

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