This year I’m starting to feel older. There are signs. Plastic surgeons are now following me on Instagram, looking for business. One day I went to work wearing no make up and three people asked me if I was unwell. My youngest child has also been helpful while looking at family photo albums.
“Look at that photo mummy, you have no crinkles.” Thanks for the reminder about my ageing face honey, I think you caused some of those crinkles.
One night a few months ago she was ill, and I held her over the bath to catch her vomit. When she stopped I swung around to wipe her feverish head and a strange woman stared at me from the mirror; a grumpy, frowning, middle-aged harridan holding a sickly-looking kid. Oh God, it was me. I’m sure I’m still 15 years old checking for pimples, how did the old bag take over my body? Do I exorcise her with Botox and skin peels? Some days I long to be young and dumb and pretty.
My lack of fashion sense doesn’t help. Mostly I am a slovenly mother, which is unfashionable in the current air brushed social media perfection climate. My winter look has been Patty and Selma flannelette pyjamas, stained t-shirts and no bra. I should make more effort with my appearance, my look is either dragged through a bush backwards hair or trying to put on as much make up as a drag queen. But I don’t want to be 49 years old and still dressing to impress a male, which is strange for a woman whose shelves are filled with feminist literature.
I do hope I’ll grow wisdom by the time I’m 50, because I am at an age where it is easy not to give a rats any more. My skin is dry and my arse is sliding down the back of my thighs. I wish I had the energy to care. I may be stating the obvious for those of you in your 50s and 60s but losing our youthful shimmer is challenging.
Some mornings my youngest stares at me then looks in the mirror.
“I want hair like mummy monster,” she says. I look at her, at my mangy head in the mirror, then at her again. Is she taking the piss? Having children is exhausting but my kids have also made me a better person. Youngest has improved my wardrobe. We went into a op shop last week and she said, “This is a nice cougar dress for you mummy.”
As someone who tries to spread happiness and joy to people in distress, I’ve been invited to hear a few modern gurus speak at conferences. They are usually happy high achievers with eager followers and best-selling self-help books. They often make me feel inadequate. I read their books and end up feeling like I have to add another set of chores to my already chock full to do list. This week I’d like to pay my bills and have a holiday, so please come over and take my kids to school while I loll about in a spa. Cook my dinner, help with homework and soothe my neurotic insomniac brain but spare me the details of your journey of discovery. I’m sure it’s been incredibly peaceful spending the last two years meditating in a cave in the Himalayas but I don’t want to know. If you’ve done nothing but sit in silence for hours, I’m jealous. Write a book. I might fall asleep reading it.
My current single mother desperado ‘he will sweep me away and pay for my children to have a good life’ crush is the French newsreader Laurent Delahousse. Laurent has a Harry Handsome tan and the same hair my big brother had in 1977, the flicky, fluffy male equivalent of Farrah Fawcett’s big do in the original Charlie’s Angels. I watch him on SBS in the mornings. My schoolgirl French is way too slow to understand every word he is saying but he is so good looking (in a Zoolander way) that I can’t help it. I love him and I want him bad. Who said French men were well dressed but not so hot? Laurent’s hair is magnificent, it looks like a wig. J’aime Laurent, vous êtes très joli.