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I'm having a moment

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 23 October 2014
Excuse me, I’m having a moment. A ‘where am I going? ‘what’s next?’  ‘how old is middle-age?’ type of moment.  Yesterday I blew out the candles, Lady Y’s perfectly chocolate birthday cake has already been polished off and I’m that inevitable year older (than 42).  So here I am left having some sort of moment.

On a morbid mission, I found myself turning to Google questioning: life expectancy for women in the UK and the search engine (which practically sang happy birthday to me yesterday…) today spat out some awful age younger than my very sprightly parents.  Wikipedia was no better, informing me that ‘middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age.’  Now, no one can honestly persuade me that I’m still in young adulthood.  Surely that time passes when your tiny toddlers don’t sleep and, to be honest, anyone who partied their way through ‘young adulthood’ will know that that morning after feeling signifies when this period of your life is well and truly over.

As I dug further, I found that various attempts had been made to define middle age for all those having a moment.  Is this because we are all desperate to fight its onslaught?  Or would all those 60 year olds KILL to be middle aged again?

One particular source advised that we should divide our predicted life span into thirds.  But I’m not sure that this is the answer.  From what I can remember, the first third was spent wanting to grow up.  The second I spent clearly oblivious that I had indeed grown up.  And the third… oh dear… is absolutely why I am now having this moment…


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 10 February 2014
If I had to create the quintessential nanny I’d want someone with a degree in child psychology and teaching, someone with the energy of a professional football player, someone who cooks like Jamie Oliver and sings like Julie Andrews, curious, happy, loving and all things Mary Poppins.

Hollywood characters and reality are at spectrums which do not exist. However, it does not mean that a professional child carer cannot be a little of everything and also everything your child needs.

Maturity and experience are the two key elements when the nanny you seek may not have a medical degree or an interest in rocket science. I have neither and yet I kept calm and collected when young Luke suffered a febrile convulsion (actually comforting his mum was almost more stressful). And I have no desire to fly to the stars but I do know how to stimulate a young mind and hope one day to shake the hand of an astronaut I once read “The Magic School Bus: Lost In The Solar System” every day for weeks and weeks.

I am in no way disregarding the efforts of an educated mind and the value of a degree and other credentials. It is a great starting point and also demonstrates a determined individual.

And yet, parents recognise the maturity of a nanny who has raised a family of their own and appreciate the value of wisdom. A Recruitment Consultant at The Lady Magazine, confirms that “qualifications are not as important to families as are life experience and an ideal fit of personalities and philosophies”.

“Examining family dynamics and logistics is part of my job when I help to find the right nanny, because a new family member has to be more than just an employee. Age is not really the issue”, she added.

So just like Alice from The Brady Bunch, Carol and Mike Brady valued her love and attention to their children. When mum and dad weren’t around or didn’t understand, Greg, Marsha, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy turned to Alice to talk to or help them with their problems. Like the time Alice helped Jan with being the middle sister just like her. She was also quite adept at backyard basketball games despite the confines of that blue uniform she wore.

Hmm, maybe Hollywood did get it right this time.

And just for the record, if there was a degree for Lego construction I could blitz it with my eyes closed.

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In which I contemplate age.

Posted by Tania Kindersley
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on Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Somewhere along the line, I lost a whole day. I spent all morning convinced it was Tuesday. Then, in a bizarre fast-forward, I thought for half an hour it was Thursday. Finally, I figured out what day of the week it was.

I cannot work out if this is age. Is it like the awful, clichéd middle-aged thing of having to squint and hold a newspaper at arm’s length in order to read the small print? Is the fact that I endlessly wander into rooms and then have to stand stock still, trying to remember what I went in there for, just something that happens as one motors towards fifity? Is my inability to recall which day I am on simply something I have to factor in, at this stage of life?


The curious thing is that in other ways, my brain works pretty well. I exercise it a lot, as one is instructed, not by doing crosswords or playing chess but by constantly filling it with new information. When I am working my horse, my concentration is intense. Riding is not just a physical activity, but a cerebral one too. One has to think of everything from technique to the psychology of a flight animal. Writing itself is a never-ending curve of learning. There is no golden moment where one may think: I’ve got it. The scales and arpeggios must be done every day, to keep the sentences flowing. It’s the kind of job that can never be taken for granted. Striving is locked in; the mountaintop will never quite be reached, but only glimpsed.

I don’t really mind age, although these idiot forgettings do make me think of it. I shall soon be forty-eight, which is not all that old. I tell myself endlessly that age, especially when it comes to females, is a human construct. Fifty is not some magic, past-it number. There is something comforting and galvanising about having built up a bank of life experience, on which one may draw. On the other hand, I do make that terrible oofing noise now when I get up from the sofa. There are mysterious twinges in the joints. But I do not feel as if I am approaching fifty, whatever that is supposed to mean.

There is a nasty school of thought which says that women become invisible when they hit a certain number. I have no experience of this, perhaps because I talk a lot, and quite loudly, when I get excited, and also have a habit of wearing eccentric hats, which means visibility is a given. At the Golden Globes recently, Emma Thompson made headlines by taking her shoes off on stage. She did not seem invisible to me, but very vivid and actual. She is a woman in her pomp. Today’s newspapers are screaming about the terrifying fact that Kate Moss is going to be forty. It’s all over for her, seems to be the burden of their song. Look, look, here is a picture of her looking her age. The doomy sounds of the end of the line may be heard, insinuating themselves through the unkind headlines. It is clearly nonsense. The grumpy part of me wonders whether this kind of thing is solely designed to make women frightened of the years, to throw their hands up and give in. They can quietly retreat into their rooms, and keep cats and collect old newspapers and not bother anyone.


I have a feeling that I cannot keep track of time not because I grow old, but because my brain is crammed with interesting things. I have two jobs, both of which fascinate me. I have the great good fortune to ride out most days through rolling hills on a glorious thoroughbred mare. Because of my work for HorseBack UK, the charity I help, I meet a parade of fascinating people who have seen the extremes of life. My geekish interest in politics constantly keeps my brain working. My absurd determination to get to the bottom of the human condition gives my frontal cortex a pretty good stretch, most days. Even my idiot desire to work out what is going to win the 3.30 at Huntingdon exercises a part of my mind.

I am not sure if one can write off age as just a number. I think it might be more than that. But I’m damn well not going to believe all the rumours about it, and discreetly fade into the background. It is a time not to give up, but to stand and be counted, even if I cannot remember what day of the week it is.

Getting up from the sofa

Posted by Slummy single mummy
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on Tuesday, 09 April 2013
I had a moment last night, getting up from the sofa, where I realised I am not 19 any more. I know, shocking right? Who’d have thought it? I have a daughter off to university in a few months and yet still I’m scared of using the telephone and feel like a bit of an imposter in a grown-up job.

Anyway, the sofa.*

I tried to get up and sort of fell backwards. I tried again, but couldn’t quite do it without levering myself with one hand. As I got up, one of my hips cracked, and I made this involuntary grunting noise. It was not attractive. Suddenly it was like I was floating above my own body, watching my mum getting up from the sofa.

I didn’t like it one bit.

More and more lately I’ve been having these flashes of age, especially when it comes to technology. I quite often find myself handing over the TV remote control to one of the children because the idea of having to find a programme through the on demand service feels too complicated for me to even start thinking about.

It is my birthday in a couple of weeks, but I am only going to be 35. What has become of me?

Perhaps I need a little sit down.

Just don’t ask me to get up again.

*Another one of those getting old things is that you get distracted, and…oooh! A shiny stone!

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