I keep joking that I am having a mid-life crisis. I have to admit, it's part joke and part truth.
This year I really feel like something has switched in my head and I want to experience more, I want to have plans, I want to mix with other people and be more social. I've never really had a social life so this is quite a big thing for me really and the fact that I keep having these plans such as coffee dates and cinema dates with friends is a little...strange. Nice, but strange. And I do find it a tiny bit overwhelming because of it being so new. I get a little worked up and anxious but then I have the most wonderful time and wonder what the fuss was all about.
With Charles turning 6 in June, and Harry turning 4 in July, I've recently realised that since 2009 my life has been mostly about those boys. And that is not a problem, as a mother I think that is the way that my life should be. However, I have this need to be me again.
In school I was known more as 'Dale's Sister' than Lauren and with the boys going to school I am now mostly known as 'Charles' mum' or 'Harry's mum' and although that's fine as that is what I am, it's not ALL I am and I keep forgetting to be myself.
And because I forgot to be myself I am at that stage where I don't know who I am. I don't know how to act, I don't know what I enjoy anymore. I feel like I am, as cheesy as it sounds, on a "rediscovery journey" and that mentally I am changing.
I think that losing almost 4 stone was such a big moment for me last year and it has definitely affected my mental state too in some ways.
I look in the mirror sometimes and I don't recognise myself. It takes a lot to get used to a smaller body, although I am still big I am certainly not as big as I used to be, and also to get used to how different a smaller body looks after having two children. My shape has changed and things are generally different. And I am ok with that, it takes some getting used to. Looking at a completely new body and not realising it is your own. Having to get to know it again, learning where the curves are, and where the curves are not (hello waist!) what are my best features and what are not.
Mentally this does affect a person. You have to learn to be you again, and also learn to build confidence again and to say "hey! this is the new me". But you need to learn the confidence to accept that new you too, and to have the confidence in yourself and to be comfortable with that.
And I think that's part of my "journey" (oh I do cringe at that saying. So X Factor contestant-esque). To be this new me I need to learn about myself and get to know myself and that means putting myself first more often and thinking about what is best for me.
It's not about disconnecting from my family, or forgetting my role as a wife and a mother, but more about connecting with myself and realising that I can be me as well as a wife, a mother, and all of the other roles I am expected to be.