Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Mid-life Mum Crisis

"Life begins at 40", they said.  "Your forties will be fabulous".

I was optimistic at first.  After all, my children are not babies anymore, they are all in school.  It's time I did something new with my life.

But lately I feel as if I'm stuck swinging between 'old before my time' and 'mildly ridiculous for a woman of my age'.

I've come to a conclusion.  The people who tell you how great life is when you reach your fortieth birthday are liers and they probably don't have children.  Smug bastards.

I was really looking forward to my new fabulous life as well.

Instead I think I might be having a mid-life mum crisis of some sort.  I don't know, but these are my reasons...

1.  Earlier this year I took up running.  Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have never liked to exercise. But now I run, three times a week (dressed head to toe in black, like some sort of middle aged ninja).  I run because its good for you isn't it?  I run because I worry about getting older and fatter.  I run because everyone else my age is doing it and I run because I enjoy it, I think?

If I was still in my twenties I would have bought all the gear, run for about two weeks and then given it up as a bad idea.  In my thirties I would have just scoffed at the thought of even doing exercise - I didn't need to do that, I was invincible (plus who has the time when you have children?).  But now I must do it.  Because I have a family and I don't want to die early of being fat.  So sensible and yet so not me.

2.  When I run I listen to music.  I even mouth the lyrics and sometimes do jazz hands at passing motorists.  This is definitely not normal for any woman (let alone one in her forties).  One of the songs currently on my running playlist is Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.  (I'm so down with the kids.)  They sing:

Bang bang there goes your heart (I know ya want it)
Back, back seat of my car (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)

This is the back seat of my car:

The back seat of my car, which is nothing like Jessie J's.

The only things that anybody takes to the back seat of my car are tantrums.  Nothing else is happening there.  Nor is it ever likely to.  I am not in my twenties anymore FGS.  I have children now.  Why am I listening to this?  Ridiculous.

3.  I have recently given up gin and wine (and all booze, FML).  This may be a major revelation to some, especially as I have mentioned my love of gin hundreds of times on this blog since I started writing it.  Why have I done this?  I worry.  I worry about how much I drink and how it is affecting me.  I worry that if I drink, I won't be able to do things like walk in a straight line go running the next day.  Which I obviously enjoy... and I worry that if I can't run I'll get fatter.  If I get fatter what will my children think of me?  What sort of message does this give them?  Worry, worry, worry.  No gin for me.

4.  I get inordinately excitable about daytime TV.  Then I send tweets to that effect and sometimes I write blog posts too.  Just the other day I sent this tweet:

The Judge Rinder people favourited this.  I was so happy...


Why on earth am I so excited about this?

I'll tell you why.  15 years of children's television.  That's why.

Now I finally have the television to myself in the daytime I don't even know what to watch.  So I watch lighthearted programmes that make me laugh and fit in with the times of the school run.  I like it.  It's kind of like the grown up version of watching CBeebies.  Ultimately having children has ruined my ability to concentrate on anything more complex than daytime TV.

And I also like to wear slippers and use the ad breaks to make myself a nice cup of tea to drink while watching.  Like an old person.

5.  Conversely I have also become inexplicably drawn to watching 'Tattoo Fixers' on E4.  I am 41 years old and have never had or wanted to have a tattoo.  I don't even like the majority of the ones I see on other people all that much.  But?  I love this programme such a lot.  I love it because, well I'm not really sure why. There's just something about watching it that sets this middle aged mum's heart a flutter.  Maybe its the part of my own youth that I never had or possibly the pretty male tattooists (ahem)?  It just seems to suck me in every time it's on.  And, it's on after my bedtime.  See, I don't even know myself any more...

6.  I had what can only be described as a hot flush when One Direction were on TV the other night.  I said to my husband "Is it hot in here, or is it me?".  It was me.

7.  My wardrobe.  I have started shopping in White Stuff which I thought was a bit more edgy for the average mum than M&S.  This is not edgy.  It is old.  I know this because Mumsnet told me so.  And they know everything.

8.  I like looking at crafty things on Pinterest with a view to buying/attempting them myself.  This is lovely but I cannot do craft.  I also have children who still break things a lot.

9.  I still get misty eyed at the sight of a branch of Mothercare.  Even though I am done with babies.  But something always pulls me back, momentarily.  Like I suddenly think that it would be a really good idea to do it all over again.  As if I could.  In my forties.  Loon.

10.  I harbour a small fantasy of saving up for a soft top car one day, just to have "for fun".  Let's just be clear that whenever I drive anywhere there are usually at least three or four other people with me (also see the picture of the back seat above).  We never go anywhere that could be described as "fun".  This is unlikely to change until they all leave home.

Fabulous forties?  Or, just the realisation that the time warp of looking after small children that I've been in for the past 15 years has suddenly spat me out, feeling old before my time but still young at heart, with not a clue what is supposed to happen next?

The thing is I'm kind of enjoying it really.

Perhaps everyone who told me my forties would be great were right?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to go and tweet the Tattoo Fixers and tell them how much I love them...

I may have another hot flush too ;)

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