Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Nearly six years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, in her final column, she’s marvelling at the new normal her life has become.
There came a point about six weeks after my daughter was born when I realised that having a kid wasn’t a phase. This tiny thing who seemed to actively hate me would be the most consistent, needy, unrelenting force in my life.
I knew it would be, but it was still a moment of complete clarity that NOTHING WOULD EVER BE THE SAME AND THINGS WERE IRREVOCABLY DIFFERENT FROM LIFE AS I KNEW AND LOVED IT. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did. An atomic explosion of overwhelming difference.
There was never going to be a moment in my life in which she would not be involved in some way, even if that moment was brushing my hair (has she fallen off the bed while I’m looking in the mirror?); checking Twitter (my nipple has popped out of her mouth and I’m spraying milk onto the next table in this coffee shop, sorry about that); eating dinner (yes you can have some, yes I’ll put everything down and help you, yes mine is cold now); talking to my husband about bills (who has worked more, who counts looking after the child as work, who needed the super-fast broadband, who takes long showers alone, who shares bathwater with a peeing toddler). Every tiny little detail was different.
Cracking on for six years later and we are slightly more used to it. The differences have slowly become normality, and life before kids is a lovely memory which reminds and educates me and makes me super proud of the changes I see in myself.
“My heart is hers, always, but my body and mind have made a break for freedom and it feels like the ‘irrevocably different’ could well just be the ordinary every day.”
Our daughter has become part of our lives, an equal rather than an all-consuming demogorgon. We’re taking her with us by choice and not necessity these days.
Glastonbury this year will be a working family holiday: while I do shows she can play spot the K-hole rocker with her dad. (Family time should always be educational where possible.)
She helps me make the jewellery which I sell, instead of trying to glue-gun brooches to the cat. She influences instead of commands these days, and helps more than she hinders. She inspires me to make things better, to make choices which help others outside of our own tiny little bubble.
I have recovered a non-postnatally-depressed clarity which evaded me for nearly four years after she was born. I can hear her cry without feeling anger. I can come up with ways of making money when times are tough which are positive and fun and inclusive of our little lady.
The biggest change hasn’t been how much she’s grown, or how I’ve come to look 20 years older in the space of six years, but a silent and powerful realisation that I, a woman with a voice, can shout louder than the weight of the child on my lap. I’m more than a mum, I always was, but it’s taken a while to acknowledge.
I’m back in my head again; my first name gets called more than ‘Mum’ does. My identity isn’t entirely tied to her any more. My heart is hers, always, but my body and mind have made a break for freedom and it feels like the ‘irrevocably different’ could well just be the ordinary every day.
Having an extra person in the house and under my feet and in my cereal bowl stealing my chocolate hoops feels as normal now as not having her did before she was born. My brain and capacity for change have shifted over and allowed her a seat at the table, and it’s finally feeling like it all might work out fine in the end.
Standard Issue has been a huge factor in getting myself back on track. By giving me a voice to yell about how motherhood is actually really tough and messy and imperfect, they let me grow back into a person who happens to have a kid, not just a mum.
Sarah recognised there was something more to say, and gave me the freedom to say it. The editorial team always supported and believed, and didn’t judge.
The people I’ve become friends with on social media, the women who took time to write to me, my Twitter army of mums who just ‘get it’, you have been the best part of the last few years.
Thank you. And finally to Emily Robin, my beautiful daughter. I couldn’t have wished for a better muse. You inspire, frustrate and impress me every day, and I love you.
Read all of Daisy’s Motherhood columns here.4282 Views
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.