Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Granny


It was only a matter of time.  I've been riding the wave of positive comments, compliments and encouragement for too long.  There had to be a flipside, and today I experienced it.

After dropping The Cheeky One off at school, I trundled round in the hail and rain to the local free government Children's Centre to take Captain Bibble (boy number 3) to the play group.  I was greeted by a friendly worker who asked if he had been before.  I told her he regularly comes to the centre with his childminder but she didn't know him.  The nice lady brought a clip board and registration form back and said, 'So he's here with Granny today then?'.

And there you have it.  Granny.  I mean WTF???!!!!!  I told her I was, in fact, his mum and I saw her quickly do a visual reassessment of my body, clothes, face finally looking, frowning in fact, at my hair.

'Um, it wasn't me that said that!'  She lied in a high pitched voice, 'it was one of them!'  Waving her arm behind her vaguely at the group of snaggle toothed chavs in similar red tabards hanging about by the office.

'Is it my grey hair?' I asked, remaining fairly calm, kind of enjoying the squirming embarrassment of the woman.
'Hahahaha,' she laughed, 'I just re-dyed mine this morning!  Hahaha,  it's meant to be blonde.  Hahahaha'
I walked away.

She then proceeded to follow me for an hour being VERY NICE and asking lots of questions about me and my family.  I didn't really talk back.  I took the time to look around the room.  There were two other silver haired women there, probably 20 years older than me, and half the women there were probably my age or 5 years younger.  The rest were all very young mums in their early 20s.  

It made me realise that my cohort of mums, my contemporaries have all had our children relatively late.  And for those of us who, shall we say, have a happy accident after we thought we were done, that last child does indeed make us an older mum.  But I'd got used to the other mums I met a the school gate being my age or just a little younger, especially those with several children.

Does having grey hair REALLY make that much difference to people's perception?  Well, yes, apparently it does.  Bar the sick pleasure I got from making this slightly blundering lady feel uncomfortable, I spent that hour feeling very uncomfortable myself.  What have I done?  I thought.  Why would anyone want to be instantly categorised as a 'granny' when they are only 42?  I'm still mulling it over now.  

But hang on a minute!  I could very well be a granny.  I could quite conceivably be a grandmother.  I could have a daughter or son of 22 who has a child of 2.  To be honest, there are some places round here where I could quite easily be a great-grandmother at 42 but that's another story...

I spent the rest of the time there talking with a fellow professional mum (not grey) about the usual work/life pressures which made me quite forget the incident until the end of the session.  The centre manager brought a 'quick questionnaire' over for us to fill out.

'It'll only take a minute - there's not too much personal information for you to fill out.'  She smiled.

The third question was 'how old are you?'.

My friend balked, 'Oh god!  Do we have to say?'
'Sorry', smiled the centre manager.
I smiled back. 'One of your staff referred to me as a 'granny' earlier.'
'Oh I'm so sorry!  I mean, well, you don't look like a granny!  And it wasn't me!'
I continued to smile.

As I left, she shimmied over.  'I'm sorry someone upset you.'
'I really don't care.  It's fine.'
'That's the spirit, rise above it!'  She said waving us off cheerily.



Yup, rising above it.

8 comments:

  1. You look great! I tried transitioning to grey about a year ago. Turns out it wasn't as grey as I had hoped it would be, just a mousey brown. I was actually dissappointed...

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  2. I work at a primary school and I've just turned 44. Since I went grey (over the last few months) some of the kids I work with have taken great pleasure in calling me granny... I rise above it, (I mean they're only children) I smile sweetly and get them to write all their spellings out an extra 3 times. :-) <---- sweet old lady smile

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  3. Ummm... you look NOTHING like a "granny!" Your hair is ravishing and you are very lovely. I'm glad you didn't let this "girl" ruin your day, or make you doubt yourself for too long. I adore your blog! I just turned 40 and swore off the bottle. I'm actually very excited to see what color my hair really is and plan on embracing every silver strand that peeks (or rampages) through my crown.

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    1. Would love to know if you are 'on the other side' now? Sorry I didn't reply earlier - literally left it 2 years before I wrote another post. Thanks for the message, and thanks for the kind words!

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    2. Would love to know if you are 'on the other side' now? Sorry I didn't reply earlier - literally left it 2 years before I wrote another post. Thanks for the message, and thanks for the kind words!

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  4. Okay - so I have been scouring the internet looking for transition to grey tips. I am a 45 (nearly 46) year old with a 4 year old son and a 12 year old with Aspergers. I just happened onto the grey Pinterest scene which led me here. I am really glad to have found you. YES! The transition does suck. I have long hair with the grey with silver streaks (it's pretty) grown just above my ears AND a family reunion this year. Can anyone say "Boatload of Pictures." The other Moms of 4 year olds that will be there are 10 years younger than me and from LA. The women my age dye. They say "Comparison is the thief of joy," and I would have to say that in this moment "they" are right. Not feeling the joy. Your blog is perking me up. Thank you.

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  5. Glad I perked you up! Did you survive? Of course you did. You know what, some of those mums might even have been slightly envious that you had the guts to ditch the dye. You may even have been an inspiration to them! Thanks for the compliments about the blog. It's a lot of fun to write. I'll be posting again soon. :)

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  6. Glad I perked you up! Did you survive? Of course you did. You know what, some of those mums might even have been slightly envious that you had the guts to ditch the dye. You may even have been an inspiration to them! Thanks for the compliments about the blog. It's a lot of fun to write. I'll be posting again soon. :)

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