Earlier this week, as I went about my occasional day job, a member of the public asked me if I was an artist (hah!). 'No,' I replied, but then I couldn't for the life of me work out how to finish the sentence. Eventually I plumped for, 'I'm just a mother, really'. The lady looked me square in the eye and smiled, 'Don't you dare say "just"'.
And she's right, there's no shame in the fact that yes, when I'm not at my occasional job I am an almost stay-at-home mother (I loathe the phrase 'full-time mum', as if women who work stop being mothers the second they leave for work. We never see the implication of being a 'part-time' parent thrown at men, do we?). I am lucky that I get to spend a lot of time with my son and yet, hectic and more full on than my busiest of jobs as it is, I often find myself fretting that the world (the dreaded 'world) believes I spend my days doing absolutely nothing. I struggled with my sense of identity when I had a child and stepped off the career ladder, not realising the degree to which I defined myself by my job until I didn't have it anymore. How often do we begin conversations with strangers with the question, 'what is it you do?' (at a party recently a woman told me she began to ask, 'where are you from?', after she became a mother). Why is it I feel a sense of dread, and actively cringe, when I am asked the former? Why do I lead with my occasional job, rather than the fact I am a mother?
And yet... And yet, I am driven to ponder the person I am outside of motherhood. I yearn for time by myself, when I can just be me, perhaps so I can finally begin to decipher who exactly I actually am, and what it means to be me. And this in the week the Telegraph felt the need to celebrate Jessica Ennis-Hill's brilliant win with a hurrah for mothers everywhere - for Ennis-Hill has shown the world that mothers are people too! How depressing it is for us all that the world did not already know that. Women are people too: Breaking News.
I am not 'just' a mother, but that is a big part of who I am and that is not something I should apologise for - and I am the one who needs reminding of that fact. But as for the other parts of me, the parts that make the whole, I think I'm only just starting to work that out.
We plucked the first plums of the year from the bountiful trees in the garden this week. And finally the rain stopped and the sun shone down on our little veg patch. I like October when it happens in October, could it please stay out of August? (Bring back summer).
Plus, our first tomato! Not quite ripe but I couldn't wait. A week of first fruits.
The newest additions to the family are settling in just fine and ruling the roost as we thought they might. Its as if they were always here.
I've reached 200 followers over on Instagram, and I know that's a mere drop in the ocean to most of you, but it means a lot to me, so thank you!