I am me

I rubbed some stray mascara from under my eye the other day and was horrified to see the skin remain in a little peak.

I gave the peak a push, which just moved it along a few millimetres, so I had to gently pat it down flat.

As Fashion Critical would say …. Jesus in a flying saucer! Life had just erected a flashing neon sign saying “You’re getting old”.

I decided it was an excellent life lesson for the kids, so I went out and gave them a lecture about cherishing their collagen while it lasts.

I didn’t pay the slightest attention to anyone who told me to take care of my skin and appreciate my youth while I had it. So I’ve no idea why I expected my wisdom to be gratefully received.

The kids just rolled their eyes and went back to watching YouTube.

The next day, as I was driving the youngest to do some Christmas shopping, I heard on the radio that one person had died and 16 more were critically ill after taking drugs at a music festival.

I decided it was another excellent opportunity to share my wisdom about how dangerous it is to buy drugs at a music festival when you have no idea what they’ve been cut with.

That advice might also have been a waste of time, as I suspect the youngest will not be the drugs-at-a-music-festival type, given how narky she gets ever time I have the tiniest sip of alcohol.

I’m not entirely sure I’m a classically “good” parent – in actions or words – but I’m giving it my best shot.

I let my kids get away with blue murder on too many fronts, from not making them help around the house to completely failing at discipline, but I hope I’m nailing it in other important ways.

I was at the gym yesterday when Robbie Williams’ “I love my life” started playing. I’d never have picked Robbie Williams as a poster boy for profoundness, but I became quite misty eyed as he sang …

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

I heard the song for the first time earlier this year, when he performed it live in concert. He explained it was about his hopes for his kids’ sense of self worth.

I got misty eyed then too, because it sums up what parenting means to me … making sure my children believe they are all those things.

I don’t want them to have to wait until they are in their late 40s, like I did, to feel good about themselves.

I’m not sugar-coating it, I don’t always love my life, no one does.

But my marriage ending showed me I am powerful – I found amazing inner strength.

I might be showing my age, but I’m beautiful when I smile. We all are.

I am free. I am wonderful. I am magical. I am me.

And I love it.

Although … sometimes 12 year olds know exactly how to burst your balloon.

The eldest had friends over for a sleepover on Saturday night and they asked if I’d had a haircut.

I replied delightedly that I had, struck a pose, showed off my recent lash tint, then waved my newly painted toenails at them for good measure (I’d belatedly remembered I’d received a pedicure voucher for my 50th birthday – woot!).

The youngest and I were heading out for a mother-daughter dinner to escape the loud music and giggling. As I closed the front door, she admonished me for being “so embarrassing” and gave me a hard time about it for the next five minutes, telling me I’d behaved like a crazy woman in front of the eldest’s friends.

I may have shed a tiny, hurt tear under my sunglasses as we drove along.

Maybe I wasn’t wonderful and magical, maybe I was just an old fool?

I felt a bit wobbly for quite a while before deciding being me is more important than constraining myself to be someone who doesn’t embarrass an almost-teen.

I spent vast swathes of her childhood feeling like I was going through the motions of life rather than properly living it. Now I’m filled with genuine joy and bubbling excitement on a daily basis.

And I hope the youngest will look back and understand that it was a gift to have a mum who was a crazy woman … in a fun way …

Song of the day: Robbie Williams “I love my life”

9 thoughts on “I am me

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  1. If you aren’t embarrassing your kids you aren’t trying hard enough. You can tell your youngest that I will burst into song at the slightest trigger, anywhere. Give me a word and there’s a song for it. Embarrasses my two no end, but too bad. Sometimes one of them even joins in.

  2. Absolutely a gift to have a crazy woman for a mum. There is a book called the Myth of Motherhood and one of the chapters is titled, Children Need Interesting Mothers. That’s my mantra and go to for all kinds of situations!

  3. My son (nearly 11) gets embarrassed when I strike up conversations with retail staff. One day I’m sure the kids will look back and appreciate our colour and personality!

    1. A friend told me a shop assistant asked if she was from the country because city people usually don’t talk to staff, so maybe being a chatterbox is better.

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