• 1marthasmith

Cliché


Oh God, it has happened; I have become a walking cliché. I am having a full on, 100%, no holds barred mid-life crisis.


I have never been that fussed about my age, probably because I don't really feel any different to the way I did in my twenties. The years have passed, my waist measurement has doubled, my wit become more acerbic and my temper shorter but all in all I don't think I have changed that much as a person. But the madness of the last few months has reminded me that I stand on shifting sands and I have, yet again, turned in on myself.


I think it started when I took advantage of Lockdown to discover once and for all how grey my hair has become; grasping the nettle and all that. Over the three months of seclusion the full horror unfolded. I am not one of the lucky few who can gently slide from blonde into an elegant soft grey. My hair, of course, having once been dark, shucks off it's shop-bought home-dye within a couple of weeks and leaves me with a barnet not unlike that of an ancient sea hag. This, I fear, will have to be addressed. Drastically. Pintrest has furnished me with aspirational photographs. I am frightened by all of them.


There have been other issues since but the absolute clincher was my son's fourteenth birthday. Fourteen years is exactly the same amount of time that it took me to create a family with two children in it. Fourteen years of effort, intervention, pain and, eventually, over-whelming relief. Looking at him on his happy day with all his grown-up-ness and brilliance, it brought home to me exactly how long fourteen years is. I started to wonder what life would have been like if I had been one of those lucky people who could chose when they had their children. Who could make a decision, crack on, make their family and return to work. I was 28 when I started trying to create a family and 42 when I completed it. Fourteen years is a bloody long time.


So I am currently overwhelmed with What Ifs. What would I have been if I could have channeled my energies differently. If I could have put all of that effort into a career, or something creative, or, the holiest of all grails, a combination of the two. I have sunk into the gloom of looking at my life as a series of failures. Thinking this way is a ridiculous waste of time. I am where I am and that is it. I achieved my goal, which was to become the mother of two children and I genuinely rejoice daily (in between breaking up pitched battles). But change is in the air again and I am slowly sending out my tendrils to see if there is opportunity out there for me. Time is in short supply and I have yet to see an advertisement in the job centre for an able person who needs 3 afternoons off every week, both weekend days and all holidays and half terms. Plus evenings. Perhaps I am not looking closely enough...


This time I want to get it right. I want to do something useful that will give me an income and I am going to have to make a concerted effort and find the head space to find or create something that will work for me. I am tired of being tired, tired of living almost entirely for other people and tired of being frightened about my lack of opportunity and income. There are times when the future looks so bleak that I cannot bear to think about it.


So, the feelers are out. Opportunity often arises when things are impossible, so now is as good a time as any to see what could be possible. And if it doesn't work I suppose I can always start saving for a motorbike...

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MS Parent Advocate is a supportive blog focusing on the challenges and wins of parenting children with additional needs. Based in Hampshire Martha runs workshops for schools and other education providers in Surrey, London & Hampshire on how to improve empathy between teachers and parents.

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