I’ve always been a bit of a wild child. Ever since I can remember I have been like the fish who swims upstream, the one who refuses to go with the natural flow and order of things. I just never wanted to do normal, at least not without testing the waters first, seeing what my options were.  I guess it’s fair to say I’ve always been a little anti – establishment. ( And I wonder where my kids get it from?)

I was the kid whose parents were called during Grade 5 because I had been caught trying to break into the school tuck shop. The kid who snuck into clubs and told my parents I was at the Spur. The kid who stole her parent’s car with friends to hit La med on Sunday afternoons. (And then crashed it and got caught!) The kid who was caught smoking behind the pottery class at Frank Joubert Art School every other week. The kid who bought bottles of tequila on a Friday and hid them in the dunes nearby only to fetch them when my parents had left for the weekend. I was the kid who put my parents through hell as I broke every curfew, admitted to experimenting with drugs and dated  guys who were way older than me. Guys who were rougher than my tequila hangovers.

Obviously I would always eventually come around but there were always seasons in my teenage years where I lost my way. Or found myself, which ever way you want to look at it. In my defence, it were these very experiences and lessons that really made me who I am today and brought me to this point. And most of the things I did, I don’t really regret. Besides some of my clothing choices at the time.

As much as all those experiences may have not been the best things for me, I said yes to them because I didn’t want to miss out. (FOMO is like such a real thing!) I never said yes to things because I was too scared  to say no.  If anything, my biggest downfall has been never wanting to say no to new experiences. Even if those experiences weren’t good for me. But there is a difference.

And then I became a mom and well, everything changed. I grew up. I learnt from my mistakes. I had a million realisations about life and the meaning of it . I became responsible for something greater than myself. I put someone else’s needs and desires before my own. I forgot what it was like to dance all night and run home in the rain, to stay up late with my girlfriends talking about the night’s events. I forgot what it was like to spend summers with my friends and never worry about more that what we planned that day – our biggest decision being what ciders we wanted for our braai.

Becoming a mom meant I  had to say no to things that would take me away from being the best mom I could be. I said no to the lifestyle I had previously embraced.  And I loved it. My children opened my eyes to a world of beauty that was so innocent and wholesome. The way only a child can, they pulled  me into their world of love, innocence, shared beds, co-dependency, neediness, routine, sleepless nights, early mornings, coffee addictions and all the magic that comes with raising kids.

Becoming a mom made me more secure that ever before, knowing that my job of raising little people was the most rewarding and satisfying experience I had ever been offered. More satisfying than any party, holiday or overseas trip. More satisfying than any drug or relationship.

But as my kids have grown up and and outgrown their reliance on  me and me alone, I sometimes sense that feeling returning. Like a bird who has been tamed for too long but who remembers the taste of freedom, of air under her wings. The feeling of no responsibility, where life was solely about me. When I look back and see all the distance between those days and the present, when I see how much of my life has changed, I can’t help but feel a longing for those days. In the midst of the chaos I find myself yearning for what once was….

When I catch myself shouting at my kids about the same thing for the hundredth time in 20 minutes or staring into the fridge wondering what the heck to make for dinner or hanging up the 3rd load of washing. Even more so when it feels like ground hog day and everything seems to happen on repeat – I wonder if another year has gone by and taken with it yet another part of the old me.

And then, I feel selfish and tell myself I’m wrong for ever thinking those thoughts, for wanting that freedom back. For making my children sound like a ball a chain. For ever thinking that way. For forgetting that I am a mom. A grown-up!

But why do we feel that everything about us has to change when we become mothers? Why do we feel that we have to die to our old selves and never experience another thrilling adventure ever again? Is it because we put to much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect example or is it because society has told us that moms need to act a certain way? Why do we feel we can’t wear crazy clothes or dye our hair or get too many tattoos? Why do we listen to the voices in our head telling us to lower our anchors and tame our wild young hearts?

Sure we have to grow up and be responsible when we become parents, but does that mean never going to another party or listening to certain music or doing the things we loved before our kids came along? Does having children mean we are cast aside as losers with no life?  OR is it because we are just too damn tired in the early years to do anything else but look after them?

My situation doest help, because well, I married a DJ who still thinks he’s 21. But I love it that in many ways, we have refused to conform to the normal. We are responsible, caring and sacrificial parents who refuse to be told by society that becoming parents means you can’t be cool parents. Parents who still enjoy life separately from their kids from time to time.  I may not go out nearly as much anymore or make it to every gig that he plays at because in all honesty I would much rather be with my kids. But when I feel the desire to go, I try to remind myself that it’s ok to have fun for a night. It’s ok to still want to experience moments of being young and wild and free. It’s still ok to go to outdoor festivals and maybe, just maybe,knowing my kids are in safe hands back home, ‘pretend’ I’m not a mom.  (Let’s be honest, I still whip out my phone to show random people pictures of my kids every opportunity I can get).

And that’s exactly what I plan to this weekend. I’m going to Earth Dance to let my hair down and find that girl I was before I became a mother. And I’m going to embrace her and enjoy her without feeling like I need to make excuses for her. Because although I am mom, I too am wife, friend, lover, dancer, music maker,  nature lover, explorer, and  festival adventurer. And I will not be tamed.

*disclamer : While it seems I have great courage and conviction here, there is a very big chance I will be asleep by 10 pm crying to go home to my kids come 6am. I will show random people pictures of my children and will without a doubt chew anybody’s ear off who will listen about how incredible my children are. My friends will regret inviting me and I will swear to never return to a festival until Noah is old enough to come with me. Yup that pretty much sums it up!

Happy FriYAY! xxx

 

Hi I’m Leigh! Did you enjoy reading this post? I really hope so and would love you to stick around a little longer! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles or to keep up with all the latest news and to be the first to hear about some great competitions, come and find me me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also email me directly at leeloobaggins@hotmail.com or simply subscribe below and never worry about missing out!
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