Delusion is a wonderful thing.
In my head I am just out of university, a slip of a girl with the world at her feet.
So it comes as something of a shock to realise that somehow, when I wasn’t looking, my forties have managed to sneak up on me, bestowing upon me a couple of extra dress sizes that I really don’t remember ordering and enough grey hairs for my mother to suggest the immediate purchase of a job lot of Garnier Nutrisse.
Mid life is irrevocably upon me — but take away the baggy, saggy and creaky bits and is it really such an issue? Certainly when it comes to the basics in this game of motherhood, age is often immaterial and I pay it no more heed than to the cracked window pane in the porch, or the festering jar of pickle in the back of the fridge — it’s there, I know it’s there, it’s not something that fills me with unfettered joy, but generally I have more pressing things to consider, such as how to get tickets for Arsenal v Man United or did I remember to series link Peppa Pig?
And, after all, I still have my own hair, I still have my own teeth, hell I even know who’s number one in the hit parade. Surely all is not yet lost?
And yet and yet… I look at my younger counterparts and realise that a little sprucing up may be long overdue. And if I don’t want my daughter to endure endless playground taunts about how I’m old enough to be her granny, then I’d better start making that effort to become a yummy mummy.
There’s a lot to do: it’s going to be an uphill battle. After all, I do not have a four-wheel drive in which to negotiate the rough terrain of Brent Cross car park. Indeed, I hate shopping. And only one room of my home is painted beige.
And although I had always figured that I would be a hip, young, trendy mother, it appears that I have already turned into the person I swore I would never become. One who says “can you turn that down a bit” or “ooh, they don’t do proper tunes any more like they did in my day”. One who describes anything from Topshop as “with it”.
Years of tonsorial tussles with dryers, straighteners, crimpers (yes, yes, it was the 1980s) have proved that unless there is professional involvement, my hair never quite looks neat. And while many other mothers manage to make chain-store bargains look like haute couture, with me the opposite is true and even the smartest of designer outfits somehow falls slightly askew the moment I put it on.
It would no more occur to me to put on blusher of a morning than it would to fly to the moon. I have never been able to walk in high heels. Perhaps I am a hopeless case.
Worse still, I fear my dear child is truly her mother’s daughter. As a newborn, while all the other little girls cooed daintily in their immaculate outfits, mine was already laughing like Sid James and was always missing a sock.
Now, as her contemporaries dress up as fairies and trip delicately round the room, my girl charges at me like a bull in a china shop requesting yet another game of football.
Come to think of it, perhaps I should simply follow her lead, embrace the people that we are, not what we, or others, think we ought to be.
So bye bye notions of yummy mummy-hood. I bid you farewell as I head off for a good old kick around.
There will be no glitz, no glamour, no shopping for skinny jeans for me and my girl. Instead you’ll find us jumping in puddles, or making mud pies down the park with our mad hair blowing in the wind.
And that’s just the way we like it.