I dislike my mother!

It’s taboo to say out loud that you don’t like your mother, but sometimes, that’s just how it is…….

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One of the blessings of being of a certain age I find, is that I am more confident than ever, to call things out, say it as I see it and to be true to myself. Which is why I feel able to say openly that I do not like my mother. Presumably I love her, but I do not like her.

I am told that to fess up to this is taboo. Is it? I don’t see why it should be if it’s the truth. Children being estranged from their parents is more common than you may realise. Often the estrangement is the result of a parent being an alcoholic, or they may have mental health problems or may be abusive. All of these are perfectly understandable; you reach a point in life where you have to decide for the sake of your own sanity, to detach yourself from toxic parents, particularly if you have children of your own.

In my case things are a little different, my mother is not an alcoholic, she doesn’t have any mental health issues (at least none that have been diagnosed) and she is not, nor has ever been, abusive, in the true literal sense of the word. She is however toxic and unpleasant and I truly believe she doesn’t know it. The first impression upon meeting her, is that she is a pleasant lady. She truly is nice when she is being nice. However it is difficult not to question, how it is, that she is the mother or 4 children, yet has only bonded with one. I find these stats odd, yet I doubt she has ever questioned them. Her position is “ I don’t know what the problem is, I haven’t done anything”.

My fall out with my mother has been gradual, it started when I was in my teens when I could see that that she had a bitchy tendency; she liked to talk about people behind their backs, normally putting them down. She, a grown woman, was not unlike some of my teenage companions. She would act as though her comments were a joke, but I could see even then, that they came from jealously of other people and discontentment of her own life.

For example, I had a spendthrift aunt who often could not pay her bills, yet could find the money to have beautifully manicured nails and matching shoes and bags. How she spent her money, was no one’s business, but for some reason, this irritated my mother. Comparatively, my mother could have afforded manicures, and matching accessories, but her mind set has always been that to spend money on non essentials, was a waste. Though she could have these things but chose not to, it irritated her when others, particularly those close to her, spent money on themselves.

Because i would never laugh when she made these comments, or i would challenge her when she did, a sort of friction developed between us. Although she never said it to my face (but undoubtedly said so behind my back), she thought of me as a snob, she believed that i thought myself better than her. I went through my life not discussing my choices, successes and failure with her; there was no point, she didn’t get me and i was wasn’t bothered. She used to accuse me of being secretive but that wasn’t the case, i was just being private. Even though we weren’t close, she would discuss my sister’s private business with me, even though they were close (isn’t that fucked up?!)

This pattern of behaviour continued, even though both of my older brothers had decided, when they were barely out of their teens, that they would rather not spend a moment longer in her company, and they left home. She asked no questions as to why they did so- after all, it wasn’t her fault. As far as she was concerned, there were no lessons to be learnt to ensure that her relationship with her two remaining daughters, did not suffer a similar fate.

It so happened that even my sister fled when our mother became too tiresome, but she was soon to return when she realised that independence wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

It’s now been around 5 years, since shit hit the fan with my mother and I. Years before, she and my dad had moved to live abroad, and this made our relationship easier. I had gone over to visit her and had a really nice time. She was frustrated that i was still renting, and out of the blue offered to help me with a deposit. I was shocked, surprised and grateful for the offer, but i cautioned her that my sister would not take too kindly to this. My mum poo-pooed this “it’s my money, she can’t tell me what to do with it…..” was her general response.

When I returned home, I set about looking for a place, and found a great shared ownership property. With the money she had offered and what savings i had, this was easily affordable. I discussed this with her, asking her if she was sure, and she assured me that she was. I paid a non refundable holding fee for the property, got my mortgage agreed in principle, when my mother announced that she had spoken to my sister and had now changed her mind.

I decided then, that i would follow the path of my brothers and leave my mother (and sister) to her own devices. She had called me a few times and i didn’t take the call; i was still fuming and knew that if we spoke, my tone, manner and language would have been entirely disrespectful and i did not want to go there.

Sadly, my dad, who had been ill for some time, died on New Year’s day last year. It was my niece who told me the news, and regardless of my feelings, i felt it was the right thing to do, to call my mother. I was dreading it. The past was the past and i didn’t want to have a conversation about what went on, i had moved on from that. Anyway, she was a nice as pie, she behaved as though we were friends of old. Dad’s death, opened a tiny door for us to start talking again, but it was really only very tiny, as in the odd call her and there. She mentioned that she would be coming over for a visit around November time, and planned to stay for Christmas. Oh fuck! It seemed likely that i would have to extend an invitation to meet up. Mercifully, i always go away for Christmas so it was a blessing that at least i could enjoy a toxic free Christmas.

I wasn’t sure when she was due to go back home, but having just been told when she would be arriving, i couldn’t very well ask, when she would be leaving. ” I’m sure we’ll find some time to catch up” was the best i could offer.

She stayed with my sister and this in itself presented difficulties, as we weren’t talking and I refused to call at her home. This left it to my mother to communicate with me. The conversations were awkward, i was careful not to discuss my life, as she would inevitably share the details with my sister. Therefore the talk was small, mostly about my forthcoming holiday and how she was finding things without my dad. The elephant in the room, was that one of us was expected to say something about us meeting up.

As it got closer to my holiday, i suggested that when i got back, we could meet up and i would book a restaurant. She agreed and that was that. My heart wasn’t in it if i’m honest, but i hadn’t seen her in 5 years or so and there was no telling if or when i would see her again.

No sooner had the discussion taken place, she was on the phone to my niece, who had become the unwitting go between. Apparently she was incensed that i would suggest meeting at a restaurant and not my home.

I was gobsmacked! She gave no indication of being upset when we spoke. She is entirely unwelcomed into my personal space; a restaurant was neutral territory where if either of us said something we didn’t like, we would have to restrain ourselves. But that’s not the point; she had recently lost of her husband, was nearing 80 years of age and was only on good speaking terms with one of her children – surely she should have seen this as an opportunity just to say hello, face to face.

So now i’m done, i will have nothing more to do with her. I’m sure she will visit again, but only this time, i will not feel any guilt or pressure to see her.

Honour thy parents? Yes but not the toxic ones

Stay fabulous x

New Girl At The Office(what a f***king drag).

Changing jobs when you’re in your 40s, can be daunting, when virtually all of your colleagues are half your age…..

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So after 9 years at my last job, I am now the new girl at my new job and it is great and infuriating in equal measure.

I find myself having to smile all the damn time, whereas before, this was something of a treat for my colleagues.  It’s irritating (and fake), and at a time when I am trying to avoid wrinkles, this isn’t helping.

In addition, I’m having to be over polite.  I am of course a naturally polite person, but now I feel I am having to overkill.  All of my colleagues are younger than me, including my boss, and I feel I have to go out of my way to ensure that I am not perceived as chippy or a know it all.

And then the worst thing of all, is that on my very first day, my charming young colleague declared “ you’re gonna  love being in this team, we’re the most social, we’re always doing stuff”.  Naturally, I beamed, when in fact I was thinking how fucking depressing.

At my old place, it was a running joke that no one need ask me if  wanted to go to the pub etc ,and I think I made history by being the only member of staff who had never gone to a Christmas party throughout their career.  I don’t think i’m boring (a raised eyebrow emoticon would be good here) but during a working week, I really cannot be arsed to socialise and to be honest, I don’t want to; my working day is long, and at the end of it, I just want to go home.

Also, I have a thing about keeping a clear distinction between work and my private life- never the twain shall meet.  This is quite possibly an age thing, but my work colleagues will NEVER EVER be my friends, and ergo, I don’t want to spend my spare time with them (as lovely as they are).

So in keeping with my theme of being true to myself at this amazing stage of my life, in two short weeks, I have turned down every invitation for a social.  These happen almost daily, and sometimes at lunch time.  There is a risk, that I will be perceived as a on stick in the mud, but truly I don’t give even a gram of fuck.

Today I left the office on time, time enough to come home and write this blog.  My colleagues who all went out for yet another team lunch, had to stay behind to catch up.

I’m sure that when I was in my 20/30s I would have felt pressure to sign up to every event, but now it’s so great to have the confidence to say no (with that damn fake smile).

It is entirely possible that I won’t make it through my probation period on account of being a boring shit – but hey i’ll cross that bridge……

Stay fab!

 

 

 

Goodbye Heels (and good riddance)

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As I have said before, being in your 40s is fabulous for so many reasons, not least of which is that it is ok to admit that comfort trumps fashion.

The fabulous monstrosity pictured above, is actually a pair of my shoes which I bought when I was in my late 30s/early 40s.  Even then I wondered how I would walk in them and how my fives toes, plus bunion could possibly fit.  But who cared? As long as I looked good, which I did!

Almost 7 or so years later, they are immaculate because I hardly wore them, I could not walk in the buggers even then, and now I have decided that it is time to get rid.

Every year or so when I have a clear out, I kid myself that I will wear them again some day, but finally, I am ready to admit, that will never happen.

I am relieved not to be part of the Instagram generation where how you look is everything, where you get likes for contorting your feet into shoes which were plainly designed by a man, for braving the elements in a dress made with barely enough material to cover your behind, in winter, without a coat (I remember it well).

Middle age has its advantages and finally being able to say, “fuck it, I’m wearing my flats and my coat”, is one of them.  So it is then, that I have hired a  stall on a well known London street, to sell all bar 2 of my heels, to make way for more practical foot wear.  I feel certain that the 2 I have retained, will never be worn (not by me at any rate), but you never know,  with my fumbling state of mind, anything is possible.

Embrace your pumps. Stay fab and 40s

 

Cheap & uncheerful- because you’re worth it!

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So Valentine’s day will soon be upon us.  The ridiculous shiny red tat adorns the shelves of all supermarkets and now Poundland, the business which prides itself on being cheap, has decided to give Tiffany’s a run for their money by selling engagement rings.

How they must have laughed during the marketing meeting when the idea was pitched; never in their wildest dreams did they image that they would sell 20,000 with still a few more days to go .  At most they would have hoped that the publicity  would bring the curious into the store.

I hope the A&E departments are ready to accommodate the 20,000 injured souls, who have been kicked and battered shitless,  having offended their intended betrothed.

For me, there is no grey area here, if you are going to propose to someone, it is more than a little insulting to present a cheap arse £1 ring which will no doubt turn green on making contact with the skin.

The concept of a ring is in this day and age is becoming a little outmoded (I still like the idea especially if it comes from said Tiffany),  but isn’t it more genuine and more romantic, if you really cannot afford a decent ring, to simply not give a ring at all and  say to your partner something along the lines : I really want to marry you someday, I can’t afford to buy the ring you deserve right now but i’m working on it.  Ok so I did feel a little vomit in the back of my throat, but you get my drift.

It isn’t about price, or at least it shouldn’t be (WARNING: HYPROCRISY ALERT –  To my shame, not that long ago, a man who I hadn’t been dating for very long, offered me a ring which he had bought for his mother before she died.  I thought that was weird in itself, (not him buying his mother a ring, but offering it me when he had only known me a matter of weeks- Red, Red flag) but when he presented it to me, my first thought was how cheap and tacky it looked.  That was wrong, but part of it had to do with they guy himself ( I mentioned him in a previous blog re the good, the bad and the weird of online dating)  Self help books- a help or hindrance? How it got me dating online.

It shouldn’t be about price, a £50 ring can have the same sentimental value as one which costs £500 if that’s what you can afford, and if it is offered with sincerity, but there is no sincerity in my view, buying your intended a ring from Poundland, it says this is cheap and convenient and so are you.

This issue is not black and white as I thought, the opinions are polarised on social media, with many cheapskates, mainly men saying what a great idea it is to purchase a “holding” ring until they can afford to buy a proper one (perhaps in 5 years time or never as they may meet someone else in the meantime)

Perhaps i’m being old and cynical, but I bet i’m right!!!!

Be blessed and fabulous x

 

Are you leaving yet?- Adult children living at home (forever :0)

I have one child, an amazing son of 21, who naturally I love more than life itself.  However at least once a week (sometimes more often) I ask myself, when is he leaving?

Granted, this is usually after an episode of a discarded plate in the sink just moments after I’ve washed up, hairs in sink/shower (stubble or worst  still, pubes) or his general phobia to handling  the hoover.  The terrifying fact is that he will probably remain living with me possibly for the next 10 years, if research is to be believed. 

I’ve listened to the argument that this relatively new trend, is because young people can’t get the jobs to pay the extortionate rents being demanded.  I’m sure this is a factor, but I wonder sometimes, whether we, the parents, particularly mothers, as so many of us are raising our children alone, are to blame, for making their lives way too comfortable.

I like many others sucker mothers, do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, ironing etc and charge way, way, way below market rent for housekeeping.  What’s not to love about that?  Embarrassingly, I still pay for his mobile, a hangover from when he was a teen because I can’t be arsed to do anything about it. 

If i’m honest, my mother did the same for me, but her incessant moaning was enough to make me flee when I was in my early 20s.  I myself am a world class moaner, but so comfortable is my son’s life, he’s prepared to ignore me and ride it out.

As tough as it is out there, and I recognise that it is, if some of these young people were motivated to leave home or hungry for independence, they would and could do something about it for example, group together with friends and rent somewhere. I have suggested this to my own ‘manchild’ and his response is ” yeah, that’s an idea”, but alas, he’s still here with no sign of moving.

At this time, i’m not too fussed, as 21 is still very young, but I see the early signs of how easy 21 can become 25 and then 30 and God forbid, older.  Those of you of a certain vintage, may recall the sitcom, Sorry, about a man, in his 50s or thereabouts, still living at home with his mum.  That comedy now seems to have become a documentary for life as it is now.

So what do we do about it?  I honestly don’t think there is much we can do, without putting in jeopardy our relationship with our children.  If you have horrible ,unruly, ungrateful man/womanchildren, you can, I suppose just kick them out, change the locks when they go out.  However if you have a good relationship, the last thing you want to do is to put them under pressure to leave or to make them feel unwanted/uncomfortable at home (we need them around when we get old so it would be reckless on our part to be too harsh).  

Living with adult children can be a problem as we unwittingly allow them, to affect our own lives and lifestyle, when this should absolutely not happen.   I am guilty of including my manchild in my future plans.  I am looking at moving and even though single, I would not think about moving to a one bed property, there would need to be at least 2 bedrooms.  However, I would like the spare room to be….spare.  Realistically, if I move, manchild, will have to follow.

Even dating becomes a problem, as it’s one thing to invite a date back to yours (after a reasonable period, and being entirely sure he/she is not a psycho – see previous blog re online dating https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/fortyfabulousandfumbling.com/137)but an overnight stay is often out of the question unless the layout of property allows privacy.  Mine does not. My bedroom is right next to son’s, and the sound proofing isn’t great.  I remember the trauma of hearing my mum and dad at it, and refuse to put my son through that…. although, it may be enough to make him pack his bags and leave.

It’s difficult, we as parents have to take some responsibility for creating an inert generation, barely able to boil an egg, because they don’t have to.

So later today, right after I have finished his laundry and cooked his dinner, I will ask my son again  if he will leave home before he’s 40.

Have a great day being fortyandfabulous x  

    

Self help books- a help or hindrance? How it got me dating online.

In a few days, when Christmas has passed, advertisers will move away from ads enticing you to eat as much as you can, to ads encouraging you to lose weight because now you are of course, way too fat.  So we will be treated to a feast of dietary food plans and exercise DVDs from Z list celebrities and if you don’t subscribe, you will be both fat and manless on Valentine’s Day, and thus not able to enjoy the next round of advertisements for overpriced flowers, and romantic meals for two. 

I read somewhere, that memberships to dating websites, peak at the beginning of the year, in the same way as gym memberships, so clearly a trim waistline and a new man, features high on the list of goals for the New Year.

For the past couple of years, getting back into the dating scene has been on my New Year’s to do list, but come February 14th, I am relieved that I don’t have to buy anyone a gift and by the end of February, I really can’t be arsed to trawl through a catalogue of mostly undesirable men. However, one of my goals was to read more, and although it took me until April to get cracking, I got there and one of the books I bought was You are bad ass . Yes I am!  This book was clearly written just for me.  As I started reading the blurb, I discovered quickly it was not for me at all, as it was one of those horrid self help/manifestation books, you know, the ones where if you focus long and hard enough on a picture of your dream house, it will be yours.  Nonsense!  But having walked away from the “self awareness” section, (i didn’t realise that’s where i was), I was feeling drawn to it. 

Around that time, I had spoken to two women on separate occasions, who swore by this self fulfilment/manifestation way of life.  They both had mantras which they would say to themselves everyday, about how wonderful they are etc, and both claimed that their lives had been improved.  Both women appeared to be sane (ok one was a little strange, a life coach, but she wasn’t entirely barmy). 

I talk to myself a lot, but chanting mantras is not me. However being in my forties and fabulous, I am open minded and open to trying new things and the book being on special offer helped (a lot), so I  bought it.  Surprisingly, it was not a bad read.  With many of these books, you should not read them with the expectation that everything will resonate with you. You take on board the bits that make sense and reject the rest. The single most important thing I got from the book, is that if you want something (that thing being something reasonable and attainable with effort), then go for it.

This is common sense, we all know this, we don’t need a book to tell us, but the difference it made to me, was that it gave me the kick up the bum to do those things on my wish list instead of just hoping for things to happen.  So I set about looking for a new job.  This is harder than it sounds.  You gain several privileges when you have worked for a company for several years, e.g. the official start time may be 9.00am but I happily flounce in around 10.00  with a look daring  anyone to comment, and if I feel like I’ve  had a taxing day, i’ll leave early without so much as a by your leave.

However the book was a wake up call about how much I was worth and I set about approaching leading firms in my field, and what do you know?  Job done, I start my new job in the new year. Tick.

I’ve always wanted to write, and here I am blogging.  Tick.

Now for the failures.  I know I should save more money- big fat fail.  I am a live for the moment woman and I want what I want now. Better luck this year.

My other failure is my attempt at online dating.  Massive flop.  I enjoy my life as a singleton and because of that,  I genuinely don’t want a full on relationship, although I am open to friendship/companionship.  What’s the difference?  Essentially, with the former, you have to do things like compromise, with the later you can tell your companion to get lost at any time and certainly at the end of a pleasant evening, he can piss off back to his house or I to mine. Puuuurfect!

Many years ago when I was far too young to be set in my ways, I was listening to an interview with a committed couple who had been together for years as LATs, that is “Living Apart Together”.  They had set relationship boundaries, they were monogamous, they lived apart but were very much together.  It sounded perfect to me then, and sounds perfect to me now.

Now imbued with the confidence of being bad ass, off I went to find my LAT partner.  I chose match.com (first mistake).  I mentioned the experience in a previous blog, ( https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/fortyfabulousandfumbling.com/71)

Briefly the first guy seemed to have forgotten to take his meds, and the second, was a needy ridiculous man, who two months after dumping him, I can’t get shot of the bugger.  He is blocked on my phone and WhatsApp, and I have  had to turn my landline to silent.  The last i heard from him was around 2 weeks ago.  There I was, watching Outnumbered for the 100th time, feeling chilled, when the landline screamed into action.  It so rarely rings, that when it does, it makes me jump.  Instinctively, I knew it was him, so I picked up the phone but said nothing.  Then he said quite cheerfully,     ” are you there?”.  His voice alone was a windup, which set me off. “What the fuck do you want, have you no shame, you fucking lunatic” and so it went on and on and on.

I asked him on numerous occasions what the fuck he wanted, but did not give him the chance to respond.  I hurled every bit of abuse I could muster, except for one, which I am saving should he dare to call again.  In the short time we knew each other, he told me that he did not have a lot of confidence around women, because on 2 occasions, women had laughed out loud, when he had dropped his pants to reveal what he explained was his tiny willy.  Why he told me that, at this early stage of knowing him, is unclear, possibly to test my reaction.  I resolved never to see his tiny appendage , but was nevertheless sympathetic and nice about it.  However should he call me again, I won’t be.  Unpleasant, I know, but the man needs to go.

I’m sure not all men online are weird, I did meet a nice guy once and although it didn’t work out, we remain good friends. But for the time being, I am putting online dating on the back burner for now.  Should I meet my LAT conventionally without effort on my part, then so be it, but I will certainly not go looking for it.

I was however heartened to see in the news last week, an acknowledgment that mature people still date, with an ad for a new dating site for the over 50s, but disheartened to read that it had been banned, as the 58 year old male depicted, was too hot to handle.  Apparently the offence was that he was being objectified. I wonder if the same would have happened if it was a female? Bizarre.  https://twitter.com/standardnews/status/1076883241397874690  I do hope that when i’m 58, I will be objectified by someone- anyone.

Anyway, I have just ordered a book,  My Favourite Half Night Stand,  a comical look at online dating, I will let you know if this has put me off even more.

Happy New Year to you when it comes.  May 2019 see you fabulous as ever.

Silly Season (Merry Christmas)

I am fortunate enough to be writing this blog from Cape Verde, whilst sitting/semi-lying on a sun lounger, from a terrace almost spitting distance from Praia da Cruz aka the glorious sea.

I still find it slightly undignified to drink before noon, so although there is no sangria or merlot at hand at this moment (11.45), before the end of this blog, there certainly will be. 

For the past 3 years, I have chosen to spend my Christmases abroad.  Christmas is a time when families get together, but in my case, it is time when I put as much distance between us as my budget permits. 

It’s not just the monotony of over eating, the ridiculousness of eating things which few of us enjoy, ie dry turkey and brussels,  rubbish TV (it’s incredible that they are still showing Morecombe & Wise) but I am sick to death of the commercialism that is now part and parcel of Christmas. No sooner have the supermarkets cleared its shelves of unsold Halloween pumpkins, way is made for Christmas things.  This is not so that you can spread the cost of Christmas, but its so that by the time Christmas arrives, you will have already eaten your way through  10 packets of mince pies.  The sell by date will have expired well before Christmas.

We are bombarded with adverts to buy this and that, but in these lean times of austerity, what about the many families who can barely afford to buy food?  It’s not enough that people will feel the pressure of having to buy essentials, but they must also withstand the constant reminders that they are poor.

Even though Christmas comes around the same time every year, we (well, not me), still allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by the same old tricks, I talk of black Friday , cyber Tuesday and the like, where supposedly prices are slashed and if you don’t buy now, the world will end.

Even as I type, I am receiving notifications from various entities alerting me to 50% off, just 3 days before Christmas, when they know that by now, presents have already been bought.  So why the huge discount at this stage?  It’s because they know that folk are stupid enough, or lack the discipline, not to over stretch themselves.  Even though bargains are available, all the time, all year round.  The 50% off , by the way, is the old tat, that they weren’t able to sell last year or the year before.

So I am having none of it.  I don’t feel under pressure to buy presents for anyone; if i’m not in the country at Christmas, no one has any business expecting a gift from me.  Equally, I expect nothing.  I try to be generous throughout the year so I will give a random gift on 26th July if I feel like it, rather than the spurious giving on 25th December.

Being here in gorgeous Cape Verde, has confirmed to me that my decision to distance myself from Christmas, is absolutely the right thing.  The people here, in the main, have very little, and the focus for them, is the togetherness that the season brings and I have no doubt that waste and gluttony, will be non existent.  With so little, they make the most of everything around them.  Have a look at the Christmas tree made out of water bottles above. They can teach us a thing or too about recycling.

Anyway, it is now past noon and a refreshing G&T beckons.  There’s not a great deal to do  Half the services which I was promised when I booked this apartment, have turned out to be….well a bare faced lie.  I can’t hire a bike on site, nor can snorkelling be arranged and I had to walk a mile into town to arrange my own tour of the island (stunning by the way).  The lovely smiley lady who checked me in, told me that the TV does not work (no problem, i’m not on this sun drenched island to watch TV), then with the same smile, she told me there was no internet in the apartment.

I wondered for a nano second, what the criminal penalty would be if I were to bitch slap this lady.  I know nothing of the Cape Verdean criminal justice system, but doubted that their prison would provide me with the comforts I would be afforded in Holloway.

“That will not do” I said to her.  It’s one thing to deny me a TV, but quite another in the 21st Century, to deny me access to the internet.

So it came to pass, that for the cost of 20 euros I have a less than perfect router, which allows me stay in touch with the very friends and family who I went out of my way to escape.

Have a great Christmas.  Eat, drink (in moderation) and be merry & fabulous.