A Diary of Motherhood: Year One, Week Two

This Diary of Motherhood is a series of weekly letters to my first baby, my little son who I call Baby Bird. I know not everyone wants to read about the highs and lows of motherhood so you can read non-baby related posts about travelwritingfreelancing or Amsterdam instead. Alternatively read one of my short stories or check out some book reviews and recommendations.

Dear Baby Bird, 

I did worry, this week, if you would experience some sort of come down now that your party is over and all our friends and family have gone home. I have a long history of unnecessary suffering at the hand of anti-climaxes so as my offspring, I feared the worst for you. But you didn't miss a beat. 

The morning after your party you were eager to leave my arms and be put down on the floor of daycare, as if the last four days of constant cake, balloons and family had proven too much and you wanted nothing more than to be back in the same old routine. In some ways that's exactly what I wanted too. As much as I loved being with visiting family and friends, as a bit of an introvert, there's always a little relief at finally reclaiming some space and time for yourself. 

And this week couldn't have been more normal. You were in daycare three days a week. I had a little client work to finish but then spent the rest of the time working on getting the paperback version of one of my books ready. Your dad was busy with work, but our evenings were mostly all spent together. On Friday, a fellow blogger I went sailing in Croatia with was in town so we took her and her friend out for a boat ride and you behaved so well that all we heard was how cute and good you were. (I was almost as surprised as them... Maybe you really are getting used to being on the boat.)

This weekend was Gay Pride in Amsterdam, an event I have previously loved celebrating; spending the day sitting by the canals with a bottle of wine, getting a prime position for watching the brilliant canal parade go by. But this year, as much as I love Pride and as much as I wanted to show my support for it, I just couldn't face taking you down there with us. How would we transport you? Where would we change you? Would I have to hold you all day long? Would you hate the crowds? Would we even be able to see anything? 

I didn't have answers to these questions. Maybe it's the post-natal anxiety still having its wicked way with me, or maybe it's me just being unusually sensible, but we decided not to even try heading into town. Instead, we had lunch out at one of our favourite places, and as the three of us ate our sandwiches we watched people dressed up in all colours of the rainbow outside heading to Pride on their bikes, on foot and on the tram. Then, because the weather came good, we set up your paddling pool at home, which you completely ignored and instead you played in the very small and limited number of plant pots I have, the soil going everywhere. Later we met up with another family in the park where we joked about our new sensible selves now preferring a couple of glasses in the wine in the park over an all-night party. But it's no joke. That's exactly what I prefer. Of all the things I mourn the loss of thanks to motherhood, late night parties are not one of them.

Later that evening my friend sent me a photo of the parade after she had braved it briefly with her husband and ten-month-old daughter. Seeing it, I felt a pang of regret. Maybe we should have gone... I missed last year's because you'd just been born, but maybe it could have been manageable with you, and I have no doubt it would have been a lot of fun despite all the effort. But as I drifted off to sleep that night I didn't feel any regret choosing the easy option (staying at home) over the harder one (going to Pride). Sometimes that's the wisest thing you can do. And not just as a parent, but as a human being.

Remember that Baby Bird, life doesn't always have to be a test or a challenge or a big effort. It can just be a relaxed afternoon in the park with your friends, their baby, your baby and a couple of glasses of wine.

That doesn't mean I'm not considering taking you to Pride next year... You'll love it! 

Your planning-your-pink-outfit-already, always-supporting-Pride, full-of-pride-for you, crazy-in-love mother x

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before putting down some roots with her Australian partner and having a baby boy in July 2015. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her son around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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