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With my youngest now 10, it really does seem life is passing by so quickly.  Most annoyingly, can be the extra time now spent filling in online forms, not only is it a bore but it takes so much longer now as I have to scroll further and further down the list to find my year of birth!

Mentally, I still feel 18.   When I drop my eldest ones off at school, the same school I went to, I swear it feels like I only just left.

Boringly for the kids, I love telling them this time and time again, along with ‘do you know when I was here…blah blah blah….’ to which they mainly say nothing, because, they are ignoring me!

However, occasionally they do like to pass comment about how I don’t act my age.  For once, their negative feedback is greatly received.

Of course, there are physical signs my ‘age’ is starting to show.  Some mornings when I look in the mirror, always with a squint for some reason!  there always seems to be a stray eyelash on my face.  Alas, the reality is a stomach falling out of arse moment when it becomes clear, that’s no eyelash, it’s  a line and it isn’t going anywhere!

The arrival of these unwanted residents,  has resulted in a dedicated box for all my newly purchased wonder creams.  It boasts a plentiful supply of poly-fillers, up lifters, instant face lift, revive tired eyes & anti-wrinkle creams.

With their shiny, lure me in packaging, and huge price tag, I am hopeful they will work.  Can’t imagine why they wouldn’t after all they cost shit loads eh…..!!!

I prefer to go for the ones that are flying off the shelves, clearly that is validation it works? Although, my hubbie doesn’t share in my 40+ wisdom, he chips in with comments off media hype, blah blah, blah money, sense and women like me!

So, with shovel in hand, on it goes and I stand back to admire my instant glowing, youthful skin.  I find this look is best achieved with smokier, dustier mirrors, it works for me.

*Warning DON’T use these mirrors to apply your make up!  I wouldn’t want someone’s ‘over-caked- appearance on my conscience*

Creams aside, the truth is, good skin is all about the genes we inherit.  No amount of expensive or cheap creams will change that.  At 72 my mum has fantastic skin and I hope and pray the Gene-genie doesn’t pass me by on this one.

God knows I’ve inherited a load of unwanted ones so far, such as split nails, fine hair, gallstones, dry eyes to name but a few, so please Gene-genie don’t deny me!

Anyway, it got me thinking about how my life, or more so, my body has changed in the last 16 years since becoming ‘Muuuuummmmmmmmm’ to my four little darlings!

One significant sign of my 40ish years, is my back.  To be honest I thought back pain was something only my dad and husband moaned about, excessively.  Yet here I am suffering.  It only take a few hours digging my garden, which I loathe completely, for my back to be bloody killing me.

Even kneeling to weed is an ordeal.  Going down isn’t too bad it’s the getting back up again, that can only happen in stages, and I can’t seem to do any of this without letting out groans with every manoeuvre!

Nursing a achy back got me thinking to other signs that show I am now a forty something female, a few of them being:

  • I feel on trend when my daughter wears my top and update my FB status accordingly!
  • Feeling happy when my weather app tells me its sunny so I can get the bedding washed and dried outdoors on my washing line……ahh love the smell of fresh bedding.
  • Tena’s are a handbag necessity.
  • Feeling quite happy when plans are sometimes cancelled – pjs all the way!
  • Ignoring the update message on my I-Phone, I like it the way it is.
  • My weekly OK mag has long been ditched for Woman & Home, such a more interesting read!
  • The garden centre is no longer boring.
  • Chin hairs.
  • Remembering when I had a flat stomach and wondering why I ever complained about it!
  • I get excited about a new cleaning product, hunting it down in the supermarket!
  • Loving girl’s nights in, no preparation of ‘going out’ face required.
  • I only go to Topshop now to buy scraps of material for my daughter.
  • I love a discount voucher.
  • A good hoover is very important.
  • When I can’t help but comment on how young all the secondary school teachers are.
  • Wondering if my pension scheme is adequate.
  • Applying the filter to every selfie!
  • Making it a life goal to have an empty linen basket if only for an hour.
  • I sound just like my mum!
  • Having to just ‘sit down’ more often.

So yeah, these snippets make me think, I’m not actually that young any more. However, I’m not really complaining as it’s not such a bad thing, or so I keep telling myself.

One thing about hitting my 40+ years is that I am much more confident and comfortable with my lot, albeit chin hairs, facial lines and aching bones, but hey you know what they say, life begins at 40!

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Once upon a time,  not so long ago(ish) when I was a teenager, I spent time rolling my eyes, a lot and responded to all parental requests with a grunt and howls of how unfair life was.  Why couldn’t my brother do something for a change!!!

Worse still, was the feeling of despair when I would leave a note asking for money to find it had either:

  1. been ignored.
  2. replaced with a written request of household chores to be completed.

The sight of (b) would results in shouts of “for fucks sake” and “talk about taking the piss” yet, I knew no amount of shouting to the walls and swearing would magic me any money or get me out of my chores.

I would not be going anywhere until I completed my chores or roped my friend into helping!  The wrath of my Irish parents was not something I willingly took on, unless I had company and was feeling somewhat stupidly brave!

And then – seemingly overnight – I became my a mother.  No chore lists,  just verbal requests and text message reminders.

Comparing the two eras, the single biggest difference is, I actually completed my chores and all before my parents got home.

Over in the Everyones Buck Stops Here house, my kids when asked, always promise to undertake any task given.  Usually responding with a resounding & convincing  ‘OK Mum’, ‘yeah will do’ and so on.

Yet none are more exasperated than me, when I get home, apparently early, to find NO tasks complete with unconvincing cries of ‘I was just about to do it’.

With plenty of unwritten rules that we abide by, there are seemingly a fair few that slip through the net along with certain house rules & just plain etiquette.

BLESS OUR HOUSE AND ALL WITHIN BUT PLEASE REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:

  • If it falls pick it up.
  • Rather than step over it, pick it up ie. Ironing on stairs.
  • Pick up all discarded wet towels.

Please note you will ONLY be excluded from the above if your hands are broken.

  • A bored person is a boring person.
  • No means NO, along with ‘I will think about it’, ‘maybe’, ‘could do’ asking Dad will not result in a Yes (he will have already been instructed).
  • No one has ever died from loading or unloading the dishwasher.  If you need guidance the very experienced housemaid will be only too happy to assist.
  • Leaving plates or cups in soak is NOT washing up.
  • Do NOT boil the kettle without first checking it actually has water in it.
  • Unless you have tasted it, you do NOT know what it tastes like.
  • NO arguing before Mum has had her coffee.
  • There is a reason why Chocolate is hiding in the cupboard – DO NOT touch.
  • This is not McDonalds no one is on duty 24/7 to suit your dietary requirements.
  • When you take the last biscuit out of the packet or the last drink out of the box please put empty wrapper/box in the bin.  Leaving empty packaging gives the wrong impression.  The sudden realisation it is empty upon such craving is soul destroying.
  • If you don’t eat that CRAP for dinner! That is your choice.  Don’t complain you are hungry.
  • Scrub all empty plates of leftover food and ketchup and bowls of all cereal before it sets rock hard thus adding to an already ‘at breaking point’ workload of mine.
  • Bins are provided in varying spaces in this house, please use them for all rubbish.  The surrounding floor space/chairs/tables are not the ‘Bin’.
  • If I take the time to iron please take the time to hang it up.  Throwing it back in the laundry basket to avoid such action will not be tolerated.
  • Telling me to check with ‘your friend’ for confirmation of facts is never going to be proof of validity.
  • Just because you have said you have done it, will not stop me from checking.
  • If you ask for my help and I start to give it, please give me the grace of listening for more than 10 seconds before declaring you know it all.
  • I don’t care you are ‘not the only one’ that does it, you are the only one I am speaking to.
  • If you can turn a light on you can turn it off.
  • If you open a door shut it.
  • If you borrow it PUT it back.
  • You are neither Hansel or Gretel, and I know when you are home.  I do not need a trail of discarded clothes to find you.  PICK THEM UP.
  • Explaining you didn’t know I had text you or was calling you is a lie –  ignorance will not be tolerated.  Remember who pays these bills!
  • I am your mum so yes, I will turn everything into a life lesson.
  • Do not question my sanity I have 4 kids I know where my sanity is, it left for another planet years ago.
  • Do not wait for me to sit down before you decide you are actually hungry.
  • In the car on the way to school is NOT the time to announce you have homework.
  • I don’t know where your charger/school bag/blazer/homework sheet is either – look for these things yourself for a change.
  • Bedtime is bedtime.  This is not a time to suddenly feel thirsty/hungry or in the mood to debate about the unfairness of it all.  My decision is final.
  • It’s not ‘what’ it’s ‘Pardon!’
  • Stop complaining  there is no food in the house whilst staring at a freezer/fridge/cupboard full of food.
  • Finally, stop assuming that as your mother I have an automatic kinship with:
  1. Mind Reading.
  2. Teenage Mumble and Abbreviated text speak.
  3. Maths Homework.
  4. The kitchen sink.
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School mornings are about waking up and swearing that tonight the kids really will go to bed before stupid o’clock and that you will not sit up watching Nashville and checking FB until 1.30am.

It’s about repeatedly shouting ‘get dressed’.  It’s about breaking up arguments over ‘who is sitting in the wrong chair’ but above all, school mornings are about the school run.  For the record: I am not a fan, in fact if someone come along and offered me the choice of either:

  1. the school run or
  2. swimming with sharks

My pen would be happily circling B.  My reason? Name me a shark whose bite is worse than that of a teenage kid who hates school!

When I plumped for taking my two teenagers over my two younger ones to school.  I was, in my mind, picking the easier option.  I figured not having to get out of the car, was a win win situation, enabling me to wear my fluffy PJ bottoms without justification, face free of make-up and hair scraped up any ‘ole way.   Plus:

  1. It doesn’t matter if it rains I don’t have to get out.
  2. I can avoid the boredom of Parental cliques & fair-weather mothers.
  3. I don’t have to drive around in circles, getting dizzy just to find a parking space not more than 5 feet from the school gates.

THE ACTUAL SCHOOL RUN

Since the beginning of time Ciara has always strived to be first, so it’s no surprise when it comes to first out gets the front seat she nails it every time.  It’s been going on so long , the others have just admitted defeat.  Besides if you look closely enough the seat bears the ingrained  outline of her arse cheeks.

With her usual entourage aka dad & siblings otherwise engaged, she comes out  into the fresh air juggling bag, phone and coffee.  Gliding over to the passenger side she begins nodding her head up & down towards the door handle, which, in layman terms, simply means – open the door and let me in.

Duly abiding, I lean across stretching my arm further then it’s really designed for, practically dislocating it in the process as I manage to fling it open  with the tips of my fingers.

Getting in, her eyes narrow looking at me ‘what the hell are you wearing?’ she asks handing me her coffee to hold ‘and what is going on with your hair?’.

Throwing her coffee at her – ok so I don’t – but believe me it crosses my mind.  ‘I ignore her asking ‘Where’s Keelan’? ‘where do you think!’  she answers tersely.

Instantly regretting asking, I jump out leaving the echoes of ‘how I could be parenting better’ behind as I go to hunt him down.

‘Will you hurry up’ – I yell as I open the door to see a lost soul in school uniform wandering around.

‘I can’t find my phone’ he says scratching his head looking no-where in particular.  It’s at this moment I know that:

  1. There will be no leaving until said phone is found
  2. I am now heading this search party
  3. It will be my fault if he can’t find it

‘Have you looked in your pockets?’ I ask ‘No, because I haven’t put it in there’ he says, throwing his eyes skyward.  ‘OK, but just check’ I suggest.

One minute later and panic over.  The finder of things was correct, it was in his blazer pocket.  Strange though, as he swears he doesn’t remember putting it there!  Oddly enough I believe him.

‘Right come on then, move them legs’.  Dragging his feet, he reluctantly follows.

“I hate school, why do we have to go?‘ he argues as he climbs in the car.  Conditioned to the back seat he shuts the door.  With repeated digs to my back and arse through the seat, he finally positions his clodhoppers and we can go.

And then it starts: “Have you SEEN the time, now we are late leaving because of you’ she barks, she can’t help herself, it’s as natural as breathing to her.

‘Mum, he hasn’t got his seatbelt on’-

‘Put it on’ I shout –

‘For god’s sake does she have to tell you everything?’

The school run arguments are off to a flying start and I’m only in 2nd gear!

Changing the radio station temporarily diffuses the situation, ‘what the hell is that?  the chorus of protests ring out.  Hurriedly flicking through the channels and back again Ciara finds a suitable station to listen to, one that I always find unsuitable.

Not feeling it, my first instinct is to turn it over, but knowing that this it’s not worth the bother I merely enquire as to “What sort of bloody song is that, and the lyrics…wtf?’

‘Mum, we know you don’t like this song you tell us everyday! but we like this music’ she says sharply.

“fair point, but I beg to differ on your use of the word music, I believe what we are listening to is talk-your-way-through-a-song-with-shit-rhyming-lyrics – ‘how much do they get for this shite?’ I wonder out loud.

‘You’re always moaning,’ she complains before busying herself again with hair flicking and selfies.

‘How many streaks you got now Ciara?’ a mumble from the back sounds out.

‘More than you have I would think’ she says cutting any hope of conversation stone dead.

‘God what’s with you, must be your period? He replies, laughing.

Shaking my head typical bloody male, I want to shout always thinking it must be period time.  I keep quiet not wanting to make an already bad situation worse.

Unbelievably, she ignores him turning to me instead ‘Why don’t you go in that lane, its quicker’ she says, ‘I’m fine in this lane thank you’, I reply as I wonder why I am actually in the lane of slow moving traffic.  Not one to admit defeat I simply remind her I can make my own decisions.   She is having none of it.  According to her, my 5 most common driving habits are:

a) I randomly grip the steering wheel for no apparent reason.

b) I hit kerbs, a lot so would be better suited to a bumper car.

c) I like to pull out in front of other moving vehicles.

d) I spend a lot of time in the wrong lane.

e) I complain about a lot of other drivers with occasional hand gestures.

Reminding her she doesn’t actually drive yet usually puts paid to any further discussions.

Without warning, a shout from the back sounds out  “Crap, I think I have PE today? breaks this morning’s driving lesson.  Craning my neck upwards, I send him the dagger stare via the rear-view mirror whilst shouting:

‘For f@’ks sakes, clearly that means you DO have PE today!’.

‘Can you bring it in for me?  he asks ‘Nope I can’t’ I say firmly, my lips tightly pursed.

‘Great thanks a lot mum, now I will get into trouble and it’s all your fault!’  he yells.

‘Of course, it’s my fault,  I will make sure to have my psychic powers back up and running for tomorrow’ I screech.

‘Mum, please’ he shouts ‘you have to, otherwise I will be forced to wear someone else’s skanky, dirty kit, from lost property!’ –

‘I wouldn’t worry too much son, you might be lucky and find one of your 3 kits that went AWOL in there! –

“Fine, I’ll text Dad then” he says defiantly.

Soaking up the sudden onset of silence, I hit a lane of slow moving traffic.  Cursing, I inch forward maintaining bumper to bumper position with the car in front, there is no way anyone is getting in front of me.

Crawling up the road it becomes obvious that half term is over as the ‘Men at work’ signs are up.  Inching closer there are no visible signs of any workmen working, but they are definitely there, I can see them all standing on the side-lines in their ‘cooey we are here’ jackets, looking happy enough chatting and drinking tea.

If that isn’t bad enough I can see in the distance someone approaching the pedestrian crossing ‘god no’ I plead, don’t press the button. Fighting back the urge to shout out the window, I just sit and snarl at the sheer gall of them pressing the button.

Gripping the wheel (she’s right!) like I’m at the start of Mario Kart Races. I bring my eyes back from boring into that person’s head to the lights.  Shouting at the lights to hurry up and turn green, I wait.

Finally it twinkles green and with pedal to the metal we manage to get through before anyone else decides they want to cross the road!

Bringing the car to a stop in the drop off zone, its goodbyes and see ya’laters as Starsky and Hutch jump out into a fog of teenage kids.

With a few hours off from parental dictating, I drive off, Chris Country playing, vocal chords dancing, home to, in the words of my kids, sit on my arse and do nothing all day while an unseen entity cleans up, washes, irons, shops, and preps dinner.

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