How do we find the time?
To do what? You may ask. To do anything at all! It's been 6 months since I wrote a blog post. In that time by life has been turned upside down by the arrival of my beautiful boy. My life has become a list of the following: birthing, breastfeeding, baby poo, baby sick, sleeplessness, breastfeeding cafes, baby groups, baby check ups, baby vaccinations. I've felt like I am incapable of holding an interesting adult conversation. Words escape me, my vocabulary has shrunk in half, and I cry at anything to do with children, babies, people being kind, people suffering, people in pain, people in love. Despite these obvious cognitive limitations the seclusion of baby land didn't last quite as long as I thought it was going to. I feel like i have been half-existing in the real world, and half in baby world, feeling slightly lost if not scattered between the two. I have weekly thought about wanted to blog something, but it seemed so far beyond my capabilities. What would I say? Even if I could think of something to say, how would I find the time? A mum-friend I have made through my daughter's school put it very well when she described the feeling as being underwater. This same friend remembered that when her daughters were aged two and newborn, getting to the end of the day with everyone alive was an achievement.
This brings me on to not knowing quite where to start. When did the blur of newborn nocturnal sleeping patterns and dairy farm factory-style milk production give way to days separated from nights, washing my hair, putting on clean clothes and makeup again? Some how in the last two months, by some miracle (and some amazing dedicated friends and family members) I have returned to teaching. I felt a massive sense of achievement when I returned to Gymbox on Wednesday 24th February to deliver class training for Ballet Barre. In fact, that is a good place to start:
On Tuesday 23rd February I ventured to Covent Garden, Ministry of Waxing in preparation for my first day back to teaching. It was 3 months to the day that baby Drake was due to be born. It sounds trivial but there is something quite ceremonial about hair removal. Girls and boys would you agree? Its a rite of passage that many of us go through as teenagers. I think I waxed my legs for the first time aged 12, and quickly became the family beautician, waxing my mum's legs, my sister's legs. Waxing isn't the most obvious use of spare time, but to me a wax appointment now represents my ability (or lack of) to fulfil a basic self-care need. If 3 months go by between wax appointments, that is evidence I have begun to neglect my self-care essentials!! Before I had Drake I managed to fit in a wax every 5-6 weeks right up to my due date. In the year that I was a full time Group Studio Manager I didn't manage to make time for a single wax appointment. I hope I'm beginning to paint a picture here, and explain why I felt that my wax appointment marked my re-integration into society. I had left my baby bubble, and for the first time I was being separated from my baby (for a full 45 minutes!) This was a momentous event and marked the beginning of a momentous week.
On Wednesday 24th February Ballet Barre training at Gymbox Covent Garden was an absolute joy. I was reminded of the audition I attended at the Royal Opera House in 2010, just 6 weeks after giving birth to my first child Wren. I was so grateful to be dancing that day. I believe my love for dance and utter gratitude to be moving shone through on that day, and that is the reason why I was successful in getting the contract to dance in La Traviata. Six years later, after an emergency cesarean with Drake, I felt very nervous about dancing again. I was utterly grateful that Gymbox asked me to deliver the Ballet Barre training, a class that I had taught passionately for 2 years at Bank, Holborn and Stratford and had missed thoroughly. Putting on a leotard again, over my c-section scar, was a bit like putting on a costume/armour and suddenly I felt protected, supported, and ready to go out there and dance. I was blessed to have a wonderful group of people to teach, new faces and old friends mingled together. Some congratulated me on the new baby, others were unaware I had been off for the best part of 10 months (since the threatened miscarriage in May 2015). I was wracked with nerves about teaching with this new curvy body of mine, with new boobs, substantial hips, bottom & thighs!!
It was a humbling experience to be warmly welcomed back by my peers, to feel appreciated and valued as something other than a lactating mum with a newborn!!
I rushed home after the two hour class training, dashing into Rymans, hoping to find essential stationary for a teacher training course I was also prepping for, and made it home to Deptford to find a frazzled hubby and half dressed baby. Drake had refused the expressed milk, of course! He had been whinging, crying, hungry, unsettled, and he was thrust back into my arms where he belonged!
I returned to teaching at that time because of necessity rather than choice. I still have melt downs and a mini crisis most weeks. I have guilt about leaving Drake, even if it is for an hour. I feel it is a massive accomplishment to have the kids fed, bathed, and in bed wearing clean pyjamas.
It's now mid-April and I haven't managed to get back to Ministry of Waxing yet, but I am instead seeing my osteopath tomorrow. Big tick for the self care column of my mental checklist (gave up writing lists a couple of years ago, they just get me down!) Hopefully I'll find time for the next wax appointment soon. A wax once every 3 months is quite simply ridiculous if you are a hairy Mary like me :-)
I haven't figured out how to find time to keep on top of everything yet, but instead I've realised that there is the important stuff, like giving food and cuddles to my kids, and the less important stuff, like have a wax!!