5 things I never thought I’d say
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As I catapult my way from week to month to year, railing against my empty fridge, rampaging children and the general unfairness of not meeting an Italian Count on my gap year (because I was *so* meant to be living in a Venetian palace by now), I occasionally stop still long enough to see glimpses of the old me and new me – a kind of nutty Home Counties Black Swan.
In my lithesome, self-indulgent, pre-Pampers years there are certain things that I promised I’d never say or do. Because those things were sad. For losers. For people with nothing better to do. Only 20 years later, glancing at my broken reflection in my bathroom mirror, have I realised that I’ve, in fact, totally lost the plot and turned into my mother. Noooooooooo! *morph* *melt*. I mean, why else would these words be coming out of my mouth…
‘What did your last slave die of?’
- ‘You’ll do what I say while you’re under my roof young man/lady’,
- ‘We didn’t have computers in my day – we used our imagination’ (yes I really said this!)
- and the pièce de résistance, ‘Be my guest, call bloody Childline!’ along with the modern extension to this sentence, ‘Where’s the number for Parentline??!’
‘I just steam-cleaned my oven, have you tried it?’
Guilty as charged. Tried it, enjoyed it, said it. I’ve always loathed anything domestic – cleaning, cooking, ironing – and in fact the first joint purchase Mr Muddy and I made after only two weeks of living together in our twenties (when money could have been spent on other frivolities) was a weekly cleaner. But you must know, steam cleaning does kill up to 99.9% of bacteria without chemicals and scrubbing, and you can use it on furniture, carpets, ovens. Just saying!
‘I used to be super sporty’
The mantra of the middle-aged lard-arse. I am the woman who can’t breathe after playing hockey for 30 seconds with her son, who has a posh, woefully underused gym membership, who really likes buying fitness gear but frankly is just too busy watching Holby City to work out in it. Tis true, I was super sporty in my teens and twenties (and even for a couple of triathlon-ish years in my thirties), but saying it makes me feel that I’ll never find that girl again, so I’m banning that sentence from now on!
‘I’m old enough to be his mother’
Urggggggh. I remember my mum laughingly say this when I demanded to know why she didn’t find Simon Le Bon the most ravishing man on the planet. Now I’m here myself, looking at One Direction with motherly indulgence and wishing Louis would wash his hair a bit more regularly. At what point did I cross the rubicon from cuddly kitten to ageing cougar? When did doctors/dentists/teachers start looking 15? And workmen suddenly refrain from wolf-whistling? When did seduction options (theoretically of course, if you’re reading this Mr Muddy) stop including anyone under 25 for fear of being pervy? I even feel bad fancying Jamie Dorman (just about in the allowable fancy-frame), because he’s got a lovely wife and a little baby. So now I’m moral as well as old. What a bummer.
‘No, never, and don’t you do it either’
Amazing but, um, ‘true’: I didn’t had sex before marriage. Have never been so drunk I can’t remember the night before. Have never known anyone who has even had a spliff (I’ll put my hands up I’ve been in close proximity to ibuprofen). I’ve never had a detention at school (that one’s true, what can I say, I’m a swot). I am pure as a nun. Only by cloaking myself in this celestial light can I really enjoy some energetic parental finger-wagging at my children and sip the sweet hypocrisy of, ‘No, never, and don’t you do it either’. Oh come on, when you get to this age, you take your pleasures where you find them.