Giving Myself a Mummy Makeover

It’s Mother’s Day!  Yay!  The one day of the year when we are allowed to lie in bed all day being fanned with giant feathery fans by our children, while they behave perfectly, bring us an endless selection of dainty morsels on silver trays and present us with giant homemade cards Pinterest would be jealous of.

Or something like that, anyway.

One thing I keep reading about is the oft-quoted idea that mummy martyrdom has gone out of style.  Nowadays we are supposed to put ourselves first.

“Happy mother, happy baby!” they cry, whilst reminding guilt-ridden new mums that twenty years down the line, no one is going to walk into their child’s graduation ceremony yelling “I KNEW that one was formula fed!  They only got a 2:2!  Begone, to the scrapheap of life O one who was failed in infancy!”

So it was with this in mind that I decided today that I was going to start putting myself first.

Not in the sense of being a selfish and unfeeling harpy who thinks only of their own happiness.  Oh no, that would not go down well on Mother’s Day.  Putting yourself first is all well and good, but woe betide the mother who says it out loud.  There will be no giant feathery fan for you young lady, and you can forget about those cheery daffodils or being offered a free Prosecco in Pizza Express.

I mean, put myself first in the sense of FINALLY WEAR SOME DECENT CLOTHES AND PUT SOME MAKE UP ON.

For my Mother’s Day did not consist of being fanned by a grateful Piglet, eternally beholden to his wondrous mother for giving birth to him, meaning that never again would she enjoy the joy of a flat stomach without working at it (something that she cannot presently be bothered to do), but enjoying a perfectly pleasant lunch at home with the family, and a trip to church (I am a committed agnostic, but I have to say I was almost converted after they brought out free toast, and I’m pretty sure Piglet has already pledged his soul to Jesus).

“Nice to see you’ve made an effort today, for Mother’s Day,” my brother quipped sarcastically, while I schlepped round the kitchen, cooking my Mother’s Day lunch (Piglet’s job, obvs, but I let him off due to not being tall enough to reach the stove).  This was shortly after said brother had very nearly ruined my entire Mother’s Day experience by saying that he was obliged to be nice to me as I was “technically” a Mother, almost causing me to yell “IVF MOTHERS ARE PEOPLE TOO, YOU RATBAG!” before he quantified it by explaining that all he meant by that was that I am not his mother, and therefore he is under no actual obligation to be nice to me just because it’s Mother’s Day.

He was right.  I had made zero effort.  My sole piece of effort that morning had consisted in finding a jumper big enough to cover my leggings-clad posterior.  Obviously I blame the Church of England for this.  If they didn’t have their services so early (10.30am!  On a Sunday!) then I would have had more time to make myself look presentable.  However, it is an inescapable fact that since becoming a mother my standards of physical presentation have not so much declined as disappeared completely.

I used to think about what I wore.  I thought about it a lot.  I used to be stylish.  This photo was on a Polish street style website, goddamit.  A photo of MEEEEE!

street style
Let’s just say this was a long time ago.

And this was a casual shopping outfit.  Not only have I worn those heels (all £450 worth of them) a grand total of once since Piglet was born (I took along a plastic bag with a spare pair of flats in.  Motherhood has made me prepared.  And turned me into a bag lady carting plastic bags about on nights out) but for the first five months of Piglet’s life I didn’t even brush my hair.  The hairdresser nearly had a heart attack when I finally got round to rocking up at the salon, hair shredded from my frantic oh-no-someone-is-going-to-look-at-it emergency brushing attempt.

I had one of those brushing attempts again today, having neglected my hair (again) for several weeks.

That is it.  I am getting it cut, and sorting it out.  No more greasy ponytail, no more unkempt eyebrows and no more having to hide my Mum Parka at work events because I can’t find my smart work-appropriate coat from Reiss.  I am having a Mummy Makeover.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Five Reasons Why I Am Living My Teenage Years All Over Again

This weekend I was a bit depressed.  Piglet was ill, we couldn’t go swimming, and although I was briefly delighted about this as it meant I wouldn’t have to get up at 7am and sit on some godforsaken bus for half an hour, my dreams of a cosy lie-in remained just that, as Piglet was up and pointing at the bedroom door by 7am.  Our only venture into the outside world ended in a bout of diarrhoea that was only discovered upon removal of his snowsuit, which fortunately had remained on whilst we were out, and I started feeling morose.  I had cabin fever.  I was a 35 year old woman living at home with my mother, and my mother was bossing me around.

Now there are some things about being twenty years younger that I would not say no to, like having perfect skin (I’ve conveniently forgotten about the spots, and am choosing to remember only the lack of wrinkles), being able to go to school every day and learn stuff and, better still, hang out with all your friends all day, every day, and being able to rock a crop top without sucking in your mum tum and wondering whether the phrase mutton dressed as lamb is going through the heads of all who wander past.  However, the following are not among them.

1.) Being constantly reminded to do your homework.  Yes, you do read correctly.  Only these days, homework is a pile of books to be marked, or some lesson planning you made the mistake of admitting you needed to do this weekend, only to be constantly reminded of it every five minutes. I’m an adult.  I’m not trying to get out of it by lying on the sofa with my head buried in Twitter, yelling “I’LL DO IT IN A MINUTE.”  No, not at all.

2.) Having no social life.  Now I’m sure that if I had my time again I would be the most popular girl in school.  Isn’t everyone now, in these days of social media?  People just never stop talking, socialising and taking duckface selfies so that some acquaintance will drop a passing “gorgeous, hun” on their profile.  However in 1996, my social life mainly consisted of waiting until Christmas, when someone’s parents would be going to some kind of function with a buffet and a “disco,” and would allow some of their daughter’s friends to come along to make it a bit less boring, and sometimes there would be boys there.  Or at least vaguely in the area, on the street outside.  Now, alas, I have no friends within a hundred mile radius, and the only boy I see is my own son.

3.) Being told what to do.  Once upon a time, I was an adult, I had autonomy.  I lived in a flat on my own with Piglet, and if I wanted to allow him to throw his dinner around-or at least ignore the fact that he was doing it-I could, without anyone telling me I was being “too soft,” “making a rod for my own back,” or “you never did that.”

4.) Living in the house where I grew up.  Well, it could be worse.  I could be still in my old bedroom, but apparently having a child does confer certain privileges, and I am now in my brother’s old room, which is at least not the size of a small cupboard.  The main drawback of this is not the house itself-at least it’s got double glazing these days, and they’ve even opened a cafe up the road. Modernity is catching up-but the constant fear that you will bump into someone you know from primary school, and they will THINK YOU NEVER LEFT.

5.) Realising that your son might be having the exact same childhood that you did, not that there is anything wrong with that, except that you went to university, you built a career, you bought a flat, and you had your own baby, for you to bring up.  Now it feels as though he isn’t even your son, but your brother in all but name, as he is effectively being brought up single-handedly by your mother whilst you are at work, in the same house where you grew up, and that, like a salmon, you have returned home to breed, and life has come full circle.

teenage
This isn’t me. I would never be seen drinking ropey 90s alcopop Hooch, not even 20 years ago.

One day, I used to promise myself as I leaned out of my bedroom window twenty years ago, one day I will leave this place and find my own life.  So I did.  And then I came back.  And now I can’t even get into that bedroom as my brother is in it, having also come back.  Thank goodness we have an understanding mother.

Cuddle Fairy

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