I arrived back in the UK a fortnight ago and headed back upstairs to my childhood bedroom to unpack. As I started to hang my dresses, skirts and tops on the rail, I struggled to find space amongst the clothes I had hung here years ago in the hope that I would a) move back to cooler climes at some point and b) be able to fit them again as my body returned to its pre-children size.
Here were expensive balloon hem dresses, that I used to wear with 4-inch boots and tights as I strutted around London for press breakfasts and fashion previews. Here were sequined skirts that I wore at Christmas with cashmere jumpers, along with sparkly jewellery and silver heels. Here were short boxy leather jackets that I used in spring to ward off the chill when the weather didn’t know what it was going to do with itself. Memories came flooding back as I flicked through the clothes on the rail.
This was my work wardrobe. This was my pre-children wardrobe. This was my size 8-10 wardrobe that I probably wouldn’t even fit one limb in currently, let alone two. This is the wardrobe that didn’t have to deal with peanut butter hugs at 7am. This is the wardrobe that didn’t have to be suitable for soft play areas, trips to petting zoos, and visits to gelato parlours where most of it ended up on my lap.
I stood there and looked at those clothes for a minute.
All those memories.
And then I made a decision.
I started pulling things off hangers and throwing them into a pile on the floor. Slowly at first, looking at each item carefully before I made a decision. But then quicker, recklessly. If I hadn’t worn it since I became a Mummy, it didn’t make the cut.
A few minutes of clothes slinging later, I stood back and looked at the pile on the floor. I felt a pang as a sequin sparkled from underneath a thick winter coat. But looking back at the rail and seeing my new life hanging in all its glory, it felt good. These were the clothes I wear day in day out – the clothes that (I hope) are still stylish, but that match my new role as a Mummy. The practical clothes. The easy-to-launder clothes that could withstand sticky cuddles and mishaps in gelato parlours. The dresses I could wear out in the evening without making me look 35 weeks pregnant or feeling I had squeezed myself into something my children could probably fit.
It felt cathartic slinging those clothes – and having the space to hang what I was unpacking from the suitcase was a relief. But it meant more than that. It meant that there was no going back. Because even though my mind knew I was never going to be that twenty-something running around London, squeezing into size 8 dresses, and drinking cocktails until the small hours several times a week, I haven’t really wanted to accept that until now.
I don’t doubt that I will get to do all those things again as the boys grow older. One day I will be able to get back in skinny jeans. One day we will move back to the UK and Ill be running through London for work meetings. One day, maybe, I will feel I have the freedom to drink cocktails until the small hours several times a week. Maybe one day, I’ll even regret getting slinging that sequin skirt.
But not now – because now is about my boys and my husband. It’s about embracing my new role as a Dubai expat, a Mummy, and a wife.
I am still ‘me’. But I am a new ‘me’.
No going back.
And even though I made a last minute decision to save that sequin skirt and folded it carefully into a drawer for a day in the future, I genuinely couldn’t be happier about that.