I have a very good friend who has started a blog (http://slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com/) about the joys and otherwise of single parenthood. She may enjoy leading me astray in many ways but her determination to write and get herself noticed is inspiring. So, in the spirit of solidarity and in the sure and certain knowledge that very few people will actually take any notice of me (self-deprecation being one of my least interesting qualities) I have signed up to get scribbling, at least virtually.
Now I am not single, so my blog instantly becomes less interesting. However, when referred to by a somewhat mysoginistic work colleague as a woman ‘of a certain age’ I bristled in such an extreme fashion that sparks flew. I may be in my forties and past the first flush etc etc but that can’t be it already surely? My husband is still very keen to have sex with me, and if he wasn’t I would have to go and find it elsewhere. I even have ‘another man’, albeit a poet of 5ft 1 who has been dead for more than 180 years (my husband doesn’t feel terribly threatened). I enjoy a night out as much as a twenty-something, although once a fortnight now maybe rather than twice a week and when looking for that special outfit still manage to successfully avoid saying ‘I wonder if they have something like that in Bon Marche?’ So why do we insist on labelling women in such a way? I have been told that I am obsessed with my age, but everything is contriving to make me feel like it is only a matter of time before I suffer from a potentially embrassing bladder weakness , start forgetting where I am and fancy Alan Titchmarsh rather than the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs.
And what, in the main, has prompted this mid-life insecurity and lack of confidence? My kids. Those beautiful, bouncy, baby things that used to think I was the most important physical presence in their lives and who came to me for love and affection, warmth cuddles and comfort. Now all they come to me for is money, or a lift, or most irritating of all help with coursework (How about you do it yourself?). All the hugs and kisses are saved for friends (male and female) whom they just ‘love so much’.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love my son and daughter and am immensly proud of them both, but in a matter of months seemingly been consigned to the the parenting scrapheap. Older friends say ‘don’t worry, they will come back to you’, but in what hideous form I ask myself? My gorgeous gay son has indeed turned some corner and decided it is OK to give your mum a cuddle but he is still quick to suggest I am past my sell by date opinion-wise. My daughter – well don’t go there. I may just be a little envious (well OK I am very envious) but everything about her life suggests the best of mine is in the past. If I hear the words ‘we don’t do that these days, mum’ again I will implode, especially as walking round Top Shop and listening to her taste in music you would think you were back in 1986. She walks five metres behind me texting her mates, and when requested to do otherwise proceeds to walk five metres ahead instead. Whoever gave teens the confidence to think that it is OK to be hideous just because you are 15 should have better considered the possible consequences. I didn’t even realise I was difficult to live with at that age till my mum plucked up the courage to tell me as I hit adulthood. I resent the fact I was not allowed to take some sort of pride in it, as my kids have.
I promise anyone who has reached the end of this blog that this is the longest I shall write. I just got carried away. It was only a matter of time…