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So I turned 34 on Tuesday. I was not at all bothered about turning 30, and never thought my age would upset me, but for some reason I went to bed on Tuesday night in my new flannelette pyjamas and researched tummy tucks before finally falling asleep with a right sulk on.

Maybe it was the hideously bright lighting in the TK MAXX changing room, where I’d taken myself birthday shopping. The running leggings I was trying on got stuck halfway up my thighs. I started sweating under the overly bright spotlights that focused on areas that never see any sunlight.

I was getting myself into all sorts of unflattering poses wrestling the luminescent lycra back down over my knees. My panic had made me clumsy and I fell against the door, sobbing in desperation to get away from the mirror of truth. But it was too late. I could not unsee it.

My body is beginning to age. My bum is significantly lower without the support of (no nonsense) pants holding it in place. My tummy looks like a bowl of lumpy porridge. My hips are streaked with stretch-marks and puckered skin. My breasts dangle like two sad little windsocks in the breeze. Long black hairs have started appearing in places where no long black hairs should be.

My youth was wasted on me when I was young.Don’t get me wrong. I am not sad to be ageing, it’s a privilege. I am sad that I never saw my beauty before these atrocities happened. 

I can try and chase it with snail moisturisers, bee venom therapy and botox. I can dye my grey hairs, wear Spanx and start layering on my make-up, but it would be pointless and will only make the naked truth worse.

I had hoped the loss of supple skin would be replaced with wisdom and serenity but this does not seem to be the case. If only my body was as immature as my mind. I’d be laughing.It’s time to accept it, I am on the downwards slope.

Instead I shall marvel at my daughters’ flawless skin, inhale it like Mother Gothel from ‘Rapunzel’ in the vain hope that being around youth will keep me young.

 

So Thing-one started Juniors this week. Last term her and her mates were the top dogs in the playground, now they are the youngest again.

As the eldest class in the infants, she was an ‘influence’ on the others. The younger kids looked up to her. If they were impressed by her and wanted to copy, they would do nothing more daring than skip about with a bit of tin-foil from their sandwich trying to find the perfect place to make a fairy-pond.

So I was on the phone to the police to report my phone as stolen. I was already feeling a bit upset, and that was before she asked me, “What is your occupation?”.

Am I the only person who hates this question?
'Full-time mum' is a burn against all my working sisters (because you cannot work and still be a mum obviously).
'Stay-at-home mum' suggests I am agoraphobic and don’t do anything, and what am I when I go out, an ‘out-and-about mum’?
'I don’t work/have a job'are words that are never going to pass this Trojan’s lips. 
'Unemployed' makes me feel like a failure, and being a mum of three children who find my scary voice funny already makes me feel failure enough.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Great Aunt. She lived just along the road, never married, and had no children of her own. She spoiled me rotten. At home, my brothers would have eaten all the Penguin biscuits before I’d gotten to the kitchen, but at Aunt’s house, there was always special chocolate, just for me.

So, as a treat to the girls for doing so well in their first week at school, I decided to time a visit from my parents with a trip to Brighton Pier. “Oh smashing” said dad, “I can have some jellied eels.” “And we can have candyfloss and go on the horsey ride” squealed Thing-One in glee. “And I can stay home and do some gardening!” said mum, looking at the Telegraph crossword.