‘I had one night away from my child and it was marvellous’
My baby turns one today. How on earth did that happen? It's been the fastest, and yet the longest year of my life, of everyone's life.
We've ticked off a lot of firsts in 2020; first smile, first tooth, first word, first roll, first solids, first global pandemic. In many ways it was the perfect time to have a baby.
Without an excuse to self-isolate, I suspect my maternity leave would have been rushed and over-committed. Instead, we whittled our social circle down to just close friends and focused on our little family: Mum, Dad and Molly.
So what have I learnt in the past 365 days? How has this little human changed us? The answer is irrevocably.
I have more wrinkles now but I am somehow less worried. All the small, silly stuff I used to spend hours sweating over no longer seems to matter. What a waste of energy that was. I feel more confident, not always physically but certainly mentally.
I have managed to nurture a little life for 12 months and she is completely wonderful.
I still have more questions than answers. Why did the little piggy eat roast beef, for example? And where is that bloody green sheep? Thankfully, my daughter has no idea I'm so clueless, she doesn't know how many parenting books I've half-read or what I'm doing right or wrong. As far as she is concerned, I'm the best mum she has and that is extremely reassuring.
It hasn't all been unbridled joy. Being a parent can be suffocating sometimes, no time to yourself and the door to the loo always open. I have found myself at times wanting to escape, read a book, relax without thinking about what I can puree for dinner. I've had one night away from her this year and I'm not ashamed to say it was marvellous. I went out for dinner, had a few wines but then found myself scrolling through photos and watching videos of her little life moments before bed. It's a bit tragic but I suspect I'm not the only parent guilty of that.
Molly, thank you for being the best Christmas present we could have ever wished for. I have so loved being your Mum, being perpetually covered in pumpkin and even being so bone-tired at times I felt completely bonkers. Still am and still do.
It's a year we will never forget, a year when the world changed, a year when our world changed. It wasn't exactly what we had planned but then parenthood never is. Happy First Birthday, my Little Pal. Love, Mum.
Originally published as 'I had one night away from my child and it was marvellous'