Tag Archives: wellness

Middle-aged hair goes through a crisis too.

19 May

Not that I’m having a mid-life crisis or anything…

Jo Abi dark red hair

We spend our twenties experimenting with our hair. We try different colours, different styles and different cuts. Our hair is probably the craziest and most ‘done’ it will ever be. Then we enter our thirties and it becomes tamer. If we’ve gotten married and had kids we’ll normally cut it, or put it in a ponytail more often than we’d like.

Then, after thirty-five, if we aren’t struggling to hide greys, we’re struggling to hide thinning. Yep, it happens. It’s one of those middle-aged hair stages nobody tells us about.

So many of my friends and I are dealing with thinning hair. I didn’t notice that my hair was thinning until my brother pointed it out, in a really sensitive way.

“What’s that?!? You’re, like, bald there now.”

Thanks bro.

Thirty-seven minutes later and I’m still examining it in my bathroom mirror. He’s right. My hair has thinned around the temple on both sides.

I might have sworn a few times. What to do, what to do.

Hair clip-ins aren’t going to do much for the hair around my temples and when I speak to my friends about their middle-aged hair loss they are experiencing it and noticing it up top as well. Many have started dying it in different colours in an attempt to disguise it. My hairdresser says the best colours for making hair look fuller are highlights to contrast with your natural block colour. It’s not enough to hide the greys. She also says cutting a fringe and making the overall length shorter helps.

Fibrology ad

I’m more gentle with my hair as well. I don’t tease it as much and I don’t ever ever brush it when it is wet. In fact, I hardly ever brush it. Just a finger comb. I’ve also stocked up on L’Oreal Fibralogy shampoo, conditioner and serum and I’ve given some to my sister and my best friend, who are also suffering from minor yet noticeable-to-them hair loss. And I’m taking a hair, skin and nail vitamin, just in case. When it comes to my hair, I feel a multi-pronged attack is best.

I can pin point the times that I lost hair and they are after each pregnancy (three) and then after I turned 36. I’m 39 now so I am trying to keep the hair I have and make what’s left look as full as possible. It’s so great that there are so many tricks I can use to do this. That leaves me free to concentrate on the remainder of my early-onset midlife crisis.

I remember my mum at this age, and how she dreaded turning 40. I’d always planned to do it more happily, and I’m trying, I really am. I thought I would age gracefully and accept the corresponding changes to my appearance, but I’m finding that I’m not. I don’t want to look younger, it’s not about that. I want to look like the healthiest, best version of 40 as I can.

I’m not 40 yet, by the way. Another 256 days to go.

So I’ve reduced the amount of beautifying I do because it was expensive and time-consuming and mostly completely ineffective. Now I save my money for the services I know will work. I do less to my hair but what I do is more effective. I do a lot of grooming at home while watching Real Housewives (of whichever franchise is on at the time). I don’t wax anymore because life is too short for such incredible pain but I am considering having my underarms lasered. And maybe my eyebrows and upper lip. Although I love plucking my own eyebrows. I really enjoy it. Is that strange?

I exercise but not for as long as I used to and with more toning work and less cardio. I have to nurture my joints, after all.

Sleep is a priority for me now and if I don’t have anything on I’ll go to be just minutes after the kids do. I’ve just remembered another hair trick I use. I sleep with my hair in a high ponytail so when I take it out the next day it is nice and full.

I’m trying to age well and if I’m eighty per cent successful, with good hair, I’ll be really really happy.

How are you tweaking your beauty routines as you get older? Is there something you used to do when you were younger that you would never do now?

8 things I learned while under quarantine with my kids.

9 May

Whooping cough put my family and I under house arrest for five, incredible days.

Me and the kids

For the past five days my children and I have been under self-imposed quarantine at home, due to whooping cough. My eldest son Philip tested positive to the disease. He contracted it from a friend at school who probably contracted it from another friend, and they from someone else. The alarmingly low rate of vaccination in what is an affluent Sydney suburb means illnesses like whooping cough are more common than ever.

Our doctor assured us that we would be okay. We are fully vaccinated, it was a mild case, however because there had been “confirmed exposure” the proper course of action was for all of use to take antibiotic for five days and avoid mixing with others. I took the responsibility serious, and I’ve had the time of my life.

Here’s 18 things I loved about being under quarantine with my kids.

1. We were freed from the unforgiving school schedule.

Being a school parent is incredibly hard. Unlike the relative freedom of preschool, we have to arrive at a set time and it ends at a set time, making it incredibly hard for both parents to focus on their careers. Not to mention all the stuff that is involved. School uniforms, lunch boxes, drink bottles, sports shoes, homework, reading lists, stalls, open days which parents are expected to attend. It is relentless. I haven’t missed any of it.

2. Our mornings are like a dream sequence.

Most mornings I wake up to a series of alarms designed to get me out of bed at 6am at the latest so we make it to school in time or to our Saturday morning soccer games. The kids wake up to my calls to “get up or we’ll be late”. Not having to do that has been bliss. I’ve learned that my natural wake up time is between 8 and 8.30. The kids naturally wake up around an hour earlier. We’ve been getting up, eating a leisurely breakfast in our pyjamas and eventually getting dressed. It’s been heaven.

3. No guilt.

Normally when I don’t leave the house for a day or two I feel incredibly guilty. I should be doing things, helping others, offering to baby sit nieces, nephews and friends. I should be doing more, doing better. However being under quarantine means the onus isn’t on me. It’s not my laziness or desire for a simpler life that is to blame for our staying at home. It’s because of whooping cough. Guilt-free relaxation. I’ve loved every second of it.

4. Career sacrifices.

I love my work as much as the next person but I’m always astounded by how conflicted I feel when torn between work and my children. There’s always a sacrifice and I always feel really hard done by. Where is the choice? If we choose to work in a traditional job, great. If we don’t want to work long hours, why can’t we not? I think it’s a combination of financial stress, obligation and also our own ambition. I have what many feel is an ideal working arrangement as I am able to work mostly from home. I miss the office though. See? Torn. But not this week. This week I haven’t had a choice between work and uni and my children. They are sick. They win.

Dressups

5. Time with my children.

Having three school-aged children is intense. They are always talking at the same time, needing things at the same time. In the morning time is limited so we all try and talk and cuddle and bond in a mad rush before school drop off. After school we are eager to catch up, all at once. It doesn’t work. There are hurt feeling from them and feelings of inadequacy from me. For the past five days my children and I have talked and talked and talked. We’ve snuggled and watched TV. We’ve wandered around our backyard. We’ve pondered life’s bigger questions. We’ve discussed life and love and food preferences. I’ve learned more about them over the past five days than I have in the past year.

6. Everything is set up for mums to fail.

Society is set up in a way that makes it extremely difficult for mums to have the lives they want. We are constantly having to choose between work and kids and relaxing and housework. And it’s 2015 for crying out loud. I work full time hours due to my work and uni, however the responsibility of the laundry and the housework still falls on me. It’s not my husband’s fault. Yes he could help more, but he works incredibly long hours driving a petrol tanker. He alternates between day and night shift. It is incredibly unforgiving. He’d love to be home more to help me. He just doesn’t have anything left over for us. So I’m left to deal with it. I do the juggle. I get through it, but there is a cost. Always a cost.

7. I am a homebody.

More than ever I realise I am a homebody and I hope my children enjoy our relaxing time together at home. When I was little we were always home and hardly went out. I didn’t always enjoy it because our childhood was a little fraught, so I am taking the parts of my childhood I enjoyed and improving on the rest. We have plenty to keep us happy here. We haven’t touched the kid’s homework or sight words or trombone. We have done whatever we’ve wanted.

8. I want things to change.

Our five days are almost up and I’m frantically trying to figure out my new-found knowledge into our real lives. Is it possible to be this happy and relaxed and rested and still live the lives were were living before whooping cough struck? Can I reorganise our days so we can have this time together, free from stress, and still do the things we enjoy? I’m not so sure, but I won’t stop trying.

Do you sometimes wish your life and you children’s lives were different?

I’m too tired for Christmas.

28 Nov

Christmas

I haven’t been writing here much lately because I am physically and emotionally depleted. The stress of work, life, family illness and my little boy starting school has left me feeling incredibly drained. Instead of fighting against it and trying to be bloody perky all the time, I’ve gifted myself time to lie on the lounge and binge watch Nurse Jackie, Party Tricks and Entourage.

So far my energy hasn’t returned but I know it will. Maybe sometime after Christmas.

I’m too tired for Christmas this year. It’s almost December and I’m yet to place my Christmas tree order or even start sorting through the Christmas decorations. My children are asking. It’s really surprised them that I haven’t begun fevered preparations yet because I just love this time of the year. But I just can’t seem to get myself moving.

It’s all become a bit too hard.

I know I’ll rally. I’ll do it for my children and I’ll do it for myself because I know that it will make me feel better and I know just how healing this time of the year can be, despite the stress of the school holidays and the financial drain. Because it’s Christmas!!! And family, food and fun is what it’s ALL about.

And Jesus. It’s also about Jesus…or so my children keep solemnly reminding me. They do attend a Catholic school after all. That’s money well spent.

So I plan to go through our boxes of Christmas decorations this weekend and I may even order a Christmas present or two. I may even buy some candy canes and eat them because sugar can only help.

I might line up to see Santa. Caterina has already visited him but the boys haven’t. Giovanni wants to ask for a iPod. Philip just wants a photo sitting on Santa’s lap for a laugh.

“I know you’re Santa Mum,” he reminds me.

So instead of Christmas draining me this year, I’m look for it to restore me into my usual happy self.

So bring on the festivities.

What is your favourite part of the whole Christmas shindig?

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