I had a bit of a ‘moment’ on Friday morning, as I was driving Matty to the station. I’d woken up feeling irritated, sort of grumpy, a bit dissatisfied like when you’re really, really hungry and the only thing that will suffice is a burger and chips, so you go to a restaurant, and when your order comes, it turns out it’s nouvelle cuisine and your burger is  ‘deconstructed’: a few crumbs of dehydrated bread, a sliver of wagyu, a microscopic cube of pickle, and a light sprinkle of microherbs atop an artful smudge of sauce.

“I feel like I haven’t achieved anything,” I said to Matty.

Matty reminded me that indeed I had achieved things – not least in the last seven months: birthed a baby and written and edited not one but two magazines.

I wrote and edited this. The Edition, issue 1.

But that wasn’t quite what I meant. I’m not discounting the fact that I’ve managed to create a gorgeous, flame-haired, mini-human whom I love ferociously, or, that frequently, after putting mini-human to bed at 7pm I work happily on aforementioned magazine until midnight or 1am.

I gave birth to this. Marnie.

It’s more a feeling that I don’t have enough space, at the moment. Space to do the things I’d do if I had more time for myself: regularly updating my blog, for example, or painting again once in a while, or practising the piano so I don’t lose my very limited repertoire completely. I have so many ideas for the children’s books I want to write and illustrate and the jewellery I want to make and the sculptures I want to create – but there’s just no space. Not an inch.

I drew this. ‘Horse on Motorbike’, charcoal on paper

I feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to do: I have so many phone calls to make, to friends I’ve neglected as weeks have turned into months; there are a million clothes to fold and put away, but no matter how much I do, the mountain of mess gets bigger, not smaller. I’m feeling deafened by so much social media screaming for attention: the Instagram narcissists vying for likes, the Facebook braggers and the oh-my-god-you-have-to-click-on-this-or-life-won’t-be-worth-living clickbaits. (I try not to click! But I do, and then I fall headfirst into a meaningless internet vortex).

I painted this. ‘Tutti after chemo’, acrylic on canvas.

I’m exhausted. So exhausted. The baby never sleeps, and when she does, it’s in fits and starts. An hour here. Forty minutes there. She wants to be attached to me all the time. I’ve become a half-adult half-baby hybrid. Exhausted. Exhausted.

Even so, a very wise and dear friend recently reminded me that although life with a small baby can be tough, these are the years I’ll look back on as some of the most beautiful of my life. Just like the pain of childbirth, I’ll forget the crosseyed-with-tiredness delirium and the feeling of being suffocated by unfulfilled ambition.

Instead, I’ll remember how precious it was to have a baby yet unable to speak but so hilariously expressive. Who squeals with arm-flapping excitement when I walk into the room. Who has the juiciest, most kissable cheeks and hands you can’t help but squeeze; so small and pudgy, with dimples where her knuckles should be. I’ll wish I could hold her – as I do now – as her eyes flutter shut and she nuzzles into me like the sweetest, warmest, milk-drunk koala. Even for a moment. You see, the thing about moments is that they’re fleeting. They slip from our grasp and tick-tock away no matter how hard we try to hold onto them. So I know what I have to do. I have to lower my expectations of myself. I have to put down my mobile phone.  I have to be in the moment with my sweet little baby and remember that one day I’ll look back and wish I could be exactly where I am now. Right here.


10 thoughts on “Moments

  1. I so enjoyed reading this – I can’t imagine how exhausting it is to raise a child and hold down a job (or even raise a child with no other job). I find myself feeling some of the same feelings you express in this post and I don’t have a baby that keeps me from sleeping. I think it’s a wise move to cut yourself some slack right now and try and enjoy the moments as they happen – the next thing you know she’ll be a hormone-crazed teenager and you’ll pine for these days where she’s thrilled to see you!

    • Thanks for your lovely comments Shelley and for taking the time to read me! I know – time whizzes by so quickly – I bet my parents have to pinch themselves to think their little baby is now 34 (and married, with a baby of my own!) πŸ™‚

  2. Connie says:

    Ohhhhh, Cecilyanna, I so remember those feelings. I particularly remember one Christmas (with my two babies 13 months apart) looking at a Southern Living magazine and crying because my home and meals could not look like that. Just remember how amazing you are. You. are. amazing. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ’‹

    • Thanks Connie! I wish my home looked like a glossy magazine. Instead, it looks like a cyclone went through my room. Clothes everywhere. Can’t quite seem to get the mountain under control!

  3. Susie Thomas Junankar says:

    I love reading your blog Cecily. So lovely to follow your adult adventures having known you as a child! X

    • Thanks Susie. So lovely to hear from you after all this time. I still remember sleepovers at your place in Wollstonecraft and having crepes for breakfast. Thanks for reading xx

  4. Mary James says:

    You are brilliant, you are funny, you are talented. Pat yourself on the back for all that you do do, and when things get overwhelming – take a step away from the hub bub for a few minutes – and take a breath. It will all right itself, for your life is filled with such joy, and sometimes exhaustion of doing too much for too many with not enough hours can be frustrating. So take a breath….JUST TAKE A BREATH…it always, ALWAYS works out…..You are a gift….

  5. I just discovered your blog through a friend on FB. I LOVE IT. I so relate to so much of it. Because I’m sitting here at midnight writing copy for a massive credit card company and freaking out because it’s due in 2 days and my baby keeps screaming for his dummy and all I want to do is go in there and nuzzle up to him and pat his soft baby hair and fat dimpled hands and smell his lovely milky breath. I have so many things to do and think I should do them all, when all I actually want to do is hang out with him, if I’m honest.
    Thanks again for a lovely post. XO

    • Thank you SO much for your beautiful comments. I know exactly what you’re going through! Incidentally, I LOVE your blog too – I think you’re a brilliant writer (I even read Up The Duff when I was pregnant myself! I think our bubs are one or two months apart.) Also, I think we were once introduced very briefly in the PacMags reception (I think…) It’s a small world, and publishing is even smaller eh? (Rachel’s List is awesome, btw) Thanks again for making contact. You really made my day. xx

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