So it’s Friday night. The husband has gone to the pub, and in true rock and roll fashion I’ve spent all day looking forward to cooking myself a tasty meal, clean pjs after my shower and an early night. I might read in bed, I might watch a bit of trashy TV, or I might flake. But whichever option I choose, it’ll be purely pleasing myself. What bliss.
Just as Husband leaves the house, the dog barks and wakes the baby. I crawl onto his bed next to him (a single was a great choice), place my hand on his back and watch him blink sleepily at me before snuggling his head back down into his Sleepyhead and drifting back off to sleep. I keep watching. His eyes are opening and closing, then fluttering, then rolling around lightly. His nose is scrunched up, his lips pouting. Big cheeks. Hair messy. And then I start to ponder.
The thought of sitting in bed, luxuriating in my freedom like the rose tinted view of my single girl life, suddenly seems lonely. We moved up to our new bedrooms eight nights ago. Until that night, my boy had spent ten months sleeping within touching distance. Snuggled in the crook of my arm, sleeping on my chest, snoring in my ear from his co-sleeper. Whichever way the night went, he was there. The expectation that I would find him moving to his own room difficult was outweighed by my longing for a decent nights sleep. Selfish mother, guilty as charged.
The first night was a bit too good to be true. Two six hour stints of sleep. The first six hours I cooked, cleaned, chatted, read. Then at midnight I fed him, and promptly fell asleep in bed next to him. We didn’t wake until 6.30 but he was sick as soon as he woke and the week went downhill since. Last Friday night saw us taking an early hours trip to the out of hours GP, where he was treated for a fever. Every night following has been spent with me laid in bed with him. Feeding, comforting, listening to make sure he hasn’t choked in his sleep. Heartbreaking, hard, sleepless.
So this Friday night comes around, my boy has spent the day smiling and is much more himself. My need to sleep, to relax, to have an hour or two to myself feels immense. Before he leaves the house, the husband tells me I look tired. Tells me to have an early night. But I’m watching this little face, wondering what he’s dreaming, hoping he’s happy, and suddenly I don’t want to be anywhere else. And this, I think, is what motherhood is. A constant conflict between who you used to be, who you are, and who you want to be. The odd moment of longing for life to go back to how it used to be, then the realisation that despite the frustrations and the tough days, you’re not that person anymore. Will you ever be? I guess time will tell, but right now? I’m not sure I’d want it any other way.