Tag Archives: 40

Why I Didn’t Blog

I’m sorry I’ve neglected youPoem

I didn’t plan it so

I’ve been so very busy

I haven’t had a mo

 

I keep having all these great ideas

Usually when I shower

But by the time I get downstairs

I’ve lost my blogging power

 

I tell myself I’ll remember it

and of course I never do

Even noting on my phone

it fails on its review

 

I am still getting ranty

As anyone would say

I just lose the ranty message

by the end of any day

 

So I’ve failed to log a blog post

I’ve failed to make you smile

I’ve failed to teach you something

It has been quite a while

 

So I promise I will do one

I’ll post something tonight

Oh look I’ve written something

I hope this is alright.

 

-the40yearold

I’m an Introvert

Believe it or not, I spent most of my life believing I was an extrovert.  Honestly.  I’m feel incredibly stupid for this, but I don’t know whether it has been the ageing process that has accentuated the traits and made it much more obvious or whether I’m just better educated now.  Maybe both.

The reason I thought I was an extrovert stems from my teens and 20’s.  I had relatively queit friends and I am very talkative. I am a chatterbox. I looooove to talk. My aunt rang my mum once to check up on my throat infection and asked if I had stopped talking. The answer was no.  As well as the talking a lot, filling the empty silences that people insist on putting there (why, why do they do that?) I quite like having the floor with friends.  I have very fond memories of having one too many drinks and practically doing a stand up routine or often a bit of improvised slapstick for the amusement of those around me.  It took me a while, but I started acting in my early 20’s, eventually coming to the UK in the 90’s to study drama, meet my husband and do a bit of professional acting before realising I wasn’t up for the struggle and quitting.

That sounds like an extrovert doesn’t it?  Attention seeker. Drama queen. Actress.

It always confused me when I did quizzes or a Myers Briggs personality test in early 2000 and I didn’t come out as an extrovert. Why do they keep getting it wrong?

So, it’s taken me a while, but in the last 5 years I think it has slowly trickled into my head.  Around the time I had children and found myself in situations where I was meeting new people for the first time at NCT antenatal classes or at children’s birthday parties.  It probably wasn’t until this year that I made the jump to actually realising I was an introvert. To go from being an extrovert, right the way down the scale to the Introvert was a bit of a shock to the system.  It has helped me though.

I’m no longer critical of my inability to make new friends.  I’ve stopped getting annoyed at my anxious disposition about a night out with people I don’t know very well.  Best of all, I’ve started to find like minded people on twitter and in real life who are just like me.  I’ve been able to give advice to my husband, advice that wasn’t obvious even to me (like this picture), to help him understand why I am the way I am.introvert

There are quite a few myths out there about introverts and on my googling, I found this really interesting blog post  by Carl King.  In it, he had the exact same realisation and found a book that helped him to understand it better.  Here are the myths he outlined. I shouted “yes” to everyone:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

These made perfect sense to me.  I often engage with people at my daughter’s school, because we have a common interest and our children are in the same class and I like to be inclusive.  Just because I do that, doesn’t mean I like to chat to strangers.  It depends on the circumstances and my mood.

What has been the biggest realisation this year, along with my understanding of my anxiety, is that not EVERYTHING I do is a result of my anxiety.  Quite a lot of it is just my personality, my introversion.  This blog post about my daughter, helped me realise that. I’ve always encouraged her to be social, so the fact she finds it hard sometimes is another example of our genetic makeup, hers and mine.

We can’t change it, nor should we want to.  I’m planning on using my new found knowledge to be kinder to myself and accept how introversion is part of who I am.

 

The decision…..having a 3rd baby

I have wanted a 3rd baby since The Monster was born on Christmas Eve 2010.  He was afforded a much better treatment whilst in my belly and as a newborn than my little girl did.  Partly because I had struggled with infertility with my daughter and even whilst pregnant I wouldn’t let myself get too excited about being pregnant in case something went wrong. Partly because I’d never had my own baby before so my head hadn’t attached Pickle the person to pickle the unborn baby.  With the monster, I knew what kind of person he might be because his sister was right there, looking at me, chatting with me, making me laugh. Despite a few scares late on in the pregnancy (too much amniotic fluid, which can be an indicator of chromosomal problems) I felt more optimistic of my baby boy arriving.

photo courtesy of the Washington Post

photo courtesy of the Washington Post

My little girl had colic for 6 months of her life and screamed almost constantly.  I really didn’t enjoy her as a baby.  I was desperate for her to get to the next milestone, to talk, to walk, to be a person.  My little boy got no such cajoling.  I had Pickle to chat to and laugh with and The Monster was able to just be a baby and what a great baby he was.  He slept well, fed well, never had any medical issues (no conjunctivitis, eczema, raging temperatures) and I was very very happy to cuddle him and enjoy his babydom.

In a way this was my biggest reason for wanting to have a 3rd.  If another was like The Monster I would be very very happy, but of course, in life there are no guarantees.  Never the less, I pined, I coo’d and I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would be a mother of 3.  Who would get which bedroom, how I would juggle work, childcare, school.  I carefully tucked away a few key baby toys, every piece of clothing, with the thought that there was a good chance they might get used again.

I did have infertility.  I had IVF for Pickle.  I then had secondary infertility that was probably caused by my inflammatory condition and I got pregnant a month after going on medication.  For some reason in the last 2 years I have felt this is “my time” fertility wise.  I just feel it wouldn’t be that difficult to get pregnant and after all those years of difficulty, every month that passed that I wasn’t trying to have another felt like a waste of an opportunity.

So 5 months ago hubby and I started talking about it.  He was adamant.  No.  He was happy with two. He didn’t need anymore.  I kept talking about it. He kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t.  All the good reasons too.  Money, cost of childcare, needing a new car, cost of holidays.  I got the distinct impression this wasn’t going to happen.  I dropped the subject and started the thought process to try and reconcile the decision with my overwhelming broodiness.

Then about a month ago I was doing a sort through of the children’s toys and started bagging up babies toys to give to charity.  I said something like “It seems a shame to get rid of these, but I guess we’ll not need them” and he said something like “Well, I guess so. I suppose you never know”.  *sharp intake of breathe*  I then challenged him about it.  He admitted he hadn’t meant it like that, that he hadn’t been thinking when he spoke, but that the very fact I had pounced on the way he’d said it, suggests I hadn’t worked it out.  Communication about it was back on the agenda.  So we talked A LOT. I posted this.

You know what though, all the talking in the world doesn’t guarantee that the decision will go your way.

We have decided to not try for a 3rd baby.  Even typing this now is making me very very sad about it.  However, I think in my heart of hearts that this is the right decision for us.  There are financial worries to consider, the cost of a new car and the maternity leave and loss of earnings and then taking a few years to get back on track again with pensions, savings etc..  However there are also bigger issues that I just can’t ignore.

Firstly, my age.  It feels I’m pushing the limits for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  That’s not me suggesting that anyone else of the same age or older is wrong.  They have to do whatever is right for them and I do believe in a “fertility age” that isn’t reflective on your actual age.  I also think that if I was talking about a 2nd, the age thing would be less of an issue for me.  Having a 1st or 2nd now would be more important in the big scheme of things and I would worry about it, but just get on and deal with it.  If, heaven forbid, I was to have a baby with any difficulties this has a HUGE bearing on my other two children and we are a family now, I can’t just think about myself.  I am also not sure that my husband and I are cut out to deal with big challenges like that. I’m sure we would and hey, who knows, we may have surprised ourselves, but we struggle with the two perfectly healthy children we have, so I can’t think we would.  My condition matters as well.  I could have a massive flare up after delivery and my husband would need to sacrifice a lot to take on more of the work load, especially if I couldn’t walk or carry.  My condition is very unpredictable and whilst I am experiences a dormant phase of it, that can change in a heartbeat.

Secondly, my children.  For all of the reasons mentioned above and the fact they enjoy each other’s company.  They each make the other one giggle A LOT.  They love each other and I’m not sure how a 3rd will change the dynamics of that relationship.  I’m not sure I am willing to risk it.  At any rate, I’ve asked Pickle (nearly 5) on more than one occasion if she’d like another brother and sister.  Most of the time she says “no”.  Sometimes she umms and ahhhs about it and asks if she can just have a sister.  It seems she’s not sure even if I could guarantee a sister. I know she’s only 5, but she is speaking from her gut and she’s knows what another sibling will do to her time with mummy and daddy. It’s all very valid.

Thirdly, our childcare arrangement.  My husband is a partime stay at home Dad.  He is perfectly happy with 2 children and therefore to push him until he agrees where he has the bulk of the childcare, just seems very unfair.  Had we been in the position for me to be a full time Stay at Home Mum, then I think my argument would have been stronger, but I’m not and I’m unlikely to ever be because any other financial permutations of our arrangement doesn’t work, other than the one we are in at the moment.  So unless he gets a permanent part in Eastenders or we win the lottery, his time with the number of children he can deal with, is a big reason.

Finally, our patience.  I am not an earth mother and my husband wouldn’t say child rearing was his calling in life.  We have got better patience and self control since having kids but we aren’t perfect and with a toddler who is now challenging  due to his own frustrations and an emotional 5 year old and with everything else that goes with running a household and sharing the chores, inevitably we argue alot, tensions run high and some days are just very very hard.  A third child will not make that easier and will probably add to it.

So there you have it.  Done and dusted. I’m a mother of 2.  It makes me very sad, but for all of the reasons above, I can’t truly be sure that having a third is the right thing for us to do.  I need to move on now.  Be happy, be grateful for my two really interesting, bright, healthy children and throw myself 100% into raising them to be amazing adults.

I have to move on.

The new me or another fashion disaster?

I like to think I am fashion conscious, however I don’t tend to spend a lot of money trying to follow trends.  I’ve always thought it was a little wasteful because as soon as the trend is over, you feel obliged to stick the item in the back of the wardrobe.

Inevitably, as well, I spend ages looking at the latest trend (ooooh leopard print shoes), deciding it was too seasonal and therefore wasteful, discover it’s still out there 2 years later and then finally buying it about 30 seconds before it becomes old hat.

Another favourite of mine is finding a new style, but disliking it.  Gradually being brainwashed over the course of the next year by seeing lots of people wearing it and thinking it actually looks quite good, not being able to find it and eventually buying it about 30 seconds before it becomes old hat.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that I am showing an interest in peplum.  I am resisting the urge to buy……….I think it’s on it’s way out. (you can see how this pattern emerges).

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a blog post by the delightful School Gate Style and she was at an event where she was trying on various outfits.  She is of a similar build to me (perhaps less bumpy and probably a size or 2 smaller) and I saw her try on some things from River Island.  I had an overwhelming urge to try them for myself, so at the next opportunity in my lunch break I headed off to do just that. I liked what I saw and bought it.

This is the whole outfit.

The top (which didn’t feature on Avril’s post) is a beige oversized gold stud top and is size 10.  The grey tweed biker jacket is actually a size 12  to allow it to be a bit more comfortable.  The trousers caused me a little bit of distress.  I am a size 10, but for some items of clothing such as skinny jeans, I do occasionally have trouble doing them up due to my mummy tummy.  This doesn’t happen in Next or some of the Debenhams brands, but I do occasionally have to go up a size if I don’t want to do myself an injury.  When I went to try these trousers on, they only had a size 14 so I thought I’d try anyway and get a feel for whether I liked them.  They fitted perfectly, but I ended up buying online and buying a size 12, which I felt was more acceptable.  Needless to say, I couldn’t do the buggers up, so took them back and bought the 14.  Some very kind people on twitter told me they have to do that occasionally and one lady cuts out her labels so she isn’t reminded.  I haven’t quite done that yet, but at least I will be able to breathe and eat in it!  I’ve worn the jacket so far, but intend to wear the whole ensemble to a 40th party in November that is at a bar/pub.

My second purchase this month (I rarely buy clothes, but I’m on a bit of a mission) was from TK Maxx last Friday.  It was an “accidental” purchase as I wasn’t looking for something.  As usual I have come late to the party with coloured skinny jeans and whilst the brighter colours make me look a little too “try hard” I thought the navy here was quite nice.  These were a 12, but are a little loose on the tummy (they didn’t have any 10’s) and I solve that by using a skinny belt to keep it tighter.

So what do you think?  Have I now become a yummy mummy?  Is there hope for me yet or am I too old to try the latest trends?
Disclaimer 1: Trying to photograph yourself anonymously, on your own with a timer was rather tricky.  I also had 2 hours to write this post, work out the timer functionality on my camera, find something to put it on and change. I apologise for the state of the pictures and the state of me.

Disclaimer 2: For those of you that were so kind about my hair on this post.  This is day 7……”dragged through a hedge backwards” springs to mind and I brushed it!

Looking Your Age – Long Hair

A couple of months before I turned 40 (in February of this year) I posed a question on my Facebook page about whether I should cut my hair.  The reason I asked is because of that age old question of whether to keep long hair as you get older and at what point you start to look like you’re trying to be young, when you very clearly aren’t.  The general consensus was that I shouldn’t.  I’m not so sure.

I have really enjoyed having long hair.  It helps me to feel womanly (when the rest of me didn’t) and I have to admit, it has helped me to feel younger than I look.  I’m not entirely sure the dilemma is about being older with long hair anymore. I think I’m just fed up with having long hair and feel like I need to make the change.  I probably also feel that as my face starts to look less “fresh” then a haircut and proper style is the way to lift it up and help me to hang on to my youthfulness.

This is me now.

It looks ok today, but that’s because today is hair washing day.  Yep, I have a special day just to wash it.  The issue isn’t actually the washing, the issue is the drying and styling and straightening of it.  It has to last a whole week really because I just don’t have a spare hour at any other point in the week to do it.  Somewhere around Thursday I do have to employ some dry shampoo and stick it back in a low pony tail.

I would be happy to wash it more than once a week if it was shorter.  I would also be prepared to use an extra 5-10 min to whip a straightener through it if I had to, but at the length it is currently, it would take me a lot longer to do and quite frankly I can’t be arsed.

I had a chat with our hairdresser a week ago.  She’s about to go on maternity leave and should be back around Christmas time, so we talked through some options.  She completely agreed with some of the styles I had in mind.  Bobish, layered, longer at the front, versatile.  I’m actually getting a little bit excited about it.

Here are some of my ideas.

I’m going to keep it just above the shoulder at the front and not too short at the back.  If I like it and I get some confidence about it then I might look to shorten it further.

The advantage, I think, of this style is that it will take me less time to dry.  It will be easier for me to manage although I think I will be spending more time styling it, but the upshot is that it will look nicer for longer in the week.

I’m planning to straighten it into a tidy bob most days, but if I do go out (ha ha ha ha….*hysterically laughs*) then I can curl it or make some bits stick out in a messy way and it will look different.

If it all goes horribly wrong and I hate it with a passion, then at least I’ll have tried it and can grow it out a bit and still have longish hair.  Anything has to be better than the awful thick and messy hair I now see reflected back at me on most days of the week (except for today, today it looks nice).

So what do you think?  Am I taking the idea of being 40 a bit too far?  Am I right to want to cut off my hair or should I hang onto the length for as long as possible?  Really interested to hear what others think.

PS: Whilst wrangling with the new photo gallery option on wordpress for this post I got so annoyed with everything I ended up tying up that lovely long hair.  Unfortunately something I do so very often because it’s actually a hindrance. One day it’s going to get caught in something and I’m going to be dragged into some sort of industrial mechanism to my death.  On that happy thought…………..look forward to reading some comments.  :)