I'm a mum and I'm not quite ready to grow up

Now 17 weeks into motherhood, the lovely Kirsty Curran finds herself swinging between her new mum identity and the free spirit she was before. Another wonderful post for our series on motherhood and identity.

In the last 17 weeks, my life as I knew it has been turned upside down. I’m a first time mum, and have been getting to grips with all that motherhood entails. Suddenly, I have this whole new identity as a mum and it’s very new and shiny and I’m really not quite used to it yet.

not ready to grow up yetI'm finding motherhood so far to be...interesting. I adore The Kraken (as we’ve affectionately nicknamed my son) and he makes me so happy. He was a very much longed for baby, and after a bit of heartache and uncertainty, we both feel very blessed to have him.

We've got our little routine worked out, things are settling down after the first few crazy weeks and I'm slowly adjusting to motherhood. It's so strange but nice to think of myself as a plural, rather than in the singular.

I think the most surprising aspect of it is that mostly, I’ve not changed at all. Being ‘Mum’ is such a life changing and huge event, yet in many ways, I’m taken aback that I’m still pretty much the same person. I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen, maybe that someone would flick a switch in my back and put me into ‘mum mode’ when we were discharged from hospital?

It sounds very naive to say it, as I know that there is no stereotypical ‘mum’ and that the role of mum, whilst the most important one in my life, isn’t my entire identity. However, I just don’t feel very ‘mum-like’.

Don't get me wrong. I love being a mum, and have all of the appropriate maternal instincts towards my son. The Kraken is quite clearly the best little boy ever to grace the planet, and is obviously going to be a handsome genius when he's older. I just can't seem to accept the fact that I'm someone's MUM. I am a mum.

I am apparently old enough, and responsible enough to be raising a child. I keep thinking they'll find me out. I’m not sure who ‘they’ are, but I live in fear of having my winging-it approach to child rearing exposed by them. Despite having a very responsible job as a teacher, and managing to run a household for the last few years, I don’t feel as mature and sensible as I think a mum should be. Becoming a mum is the most adult step that I’ve ever taken, and the sudden, overwhelming responsibility hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

A part of me wants to ‘fake it till I make it’ as a mum, and thinks that if I dress and behave a certain way, then I’ll fool everyone into thinking I’ve got it all sussed and sorted.

However, what is actually happening is the complete opposite. I’ve dyed my hair turquoise, and am wearing clothes and listening to tunes that haven’t seen the light of day since my goth/mosher era.

          rock chick

I am that desperate not to let go of who I was in the past, that I’m actively pursuing aspects of the old me. It's as if the arrival of SCARY REAL GROWN UP LIFE has sent me running mentally back to my happy place, at music festivals, moshing with jeans wide enough to camp in and a quart of badly applied black eyeliner, clutching a pint of Red Witch and snogging some lad who 'plays guitar in a band'.

In real life, I'm dancing to the Baby Jake song, in jeans with a wide enough waist to fit a baby bump in (still not relinquished my maternity jeans), clutching a breast pump. The eyeliner is still there, however I now embrace the 'less is more' maxim, and the boy who plays guitar is there - not so much snogging now though (New baby, innit?).

It's hard to reconcile the 'me' of the past with this new 'me', hence my longing for all the things that represent my young, carefree self. I’ve not quite worked out how to fit the jigsaw that is the conflicting pieces of my identity together.

I like the fact that I’m the same person I was at 21, just a bit older and wiser and I enjoy being young at heart. I know that as The Kraken grows up, the disparate parts of my life will gel and I’ll find a happy medium between the two extremes. Until then, I am officially in the grip of a 'Mum-life Crisis'.

Send help, more eyeliner and a copy of a Lost Prophets album. \m/ 

Check out Kirsten's blog: Ramblings of a Madcap Shamble-Mum

This month we’re sharing self-portraits that complete the sentence “I’m a Mum and a…” What’s the first word that comes into your head? Write it on a piece of paper and take a photo of you holding it up. You can see what other mums have told us about their identities and share your photo here

For more posts on motherhood and identity, try

On a Quest for Balance Pippa Best

My Mum-Hat is stuck on my head! - Ericka Waller

My Fragile Identity - TJ

I'm a Mum and a... Confident Woman - Cintia Listenbee

I'm a Mum and an... Artist - Sara Davies

I'm a Mum and a... Feminist - Lyndsay Kirkham

I'm a Mum and a... Book Birther Teika Bellamy 

I'm a Mum and a... Mess - Kat Pearce 

I'm a Mum and a... Woman who Adapts - Anna Edmondson

And you can read other mums' thoughts on motherhood and identity at our recent Mums' Make Date: Who are YOU now you're a Mum?