I grind my teeth!

For years and years I had neck pain and just could not understand why, all I knew was that it was worse in the mornings. I used to do neck stretches, take pain killers, lie down and stretch when I could, but nothing quite solved it – so I just lived with it.

At a routine dentist appointment 6-years ago, my dentist looked at me through his splatter-proof googles and said “you know you grind your teeth, don’t you?” and as he uttered that one sentence, everything clicked into place. “So that’s why I have such awful neck pain!” I responded. Suddenly, the dull neck pain that I had been living with every day made sense. I am a teeth grinder. I am a bruxer. I grind my teeth.

Bruxism: involuntary habitual grinding of the teeth, typically during sleep.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/teeth-grinding/

My dentist offered me a solution – to have a tooth guard made. He quoted £100 and I went ahead. After taking a mold of my teeth using a cold putty, he sent it to the “lab” and I collected it a week later. I was advised to buy a box of cleansing tablets to keep it bacteria free which I did.

I had no problems with my guard, I didn’t spit it out like some people do and I me and my guard were best buddies until about 4-months later when I noticed that I HAD GROUND THROUGH IT! Two holes appeared at the back where I had been scrunching down on it so hard it was no longer in one piece! Gawd. I called the dentist and I got a replacement, that cost a further £100.

A few months later I thought it would be a good idea to do what I used to do to sterlise my child’s baby bottles, and I plonked my mouth guard into a jug of freshly boiled water. The bloody thing shrank before my eyes and ended up half the size. Needless to say I swore whilst I witnessed this happening. I was so mad at myself – see ya later £100 and hello neck pain!

After a few attempts at buying some online bite guards and moulding them myself, which is a stupid idea because they just don’t work, I booked into a new dentist and she made me a thicker guard that cost around £150 and I still use it to this day. I clean it every day with a toothbrush and I use a retainer (or steradent) tablet in water to get it bacteria free and fresh.

But I don’t like using it. It is annoying. I forget where I put it sometimes, it has gone a yellowy colour, it can go a bit smelly (TMI but it is true), I forgot to wear it if I am tiddly, it is a bit embarrassing and I don’t like taking it away with me when I stay with friends. I just don’t like it.

Over the years, I have tried to ditch the guard in favour of face yoga, face massage, masseter muscle massage etc, but nothing quite works. Nothing stops me bruxing.

I now notice that I am clenching my jaw when I drive, so bruxing is part of my muscular make up now I think, but I wish it wasn’t. People who grind or clench their teeth have a larger masseter muscle and sometimes it is visible, especially on men. You must’ve seen a guy who has a moving jaw/cheek bit, well that’s it! the muscle itself is a useful muscle (they all are I guess) because it helps chewing, it also helps clenching too, which isn’t quite so useful.

I’ve heard that botox can help bruxism, and meditation can too. Since teeth-grinding is very much linked to stress, I can see why the meditation and relaxation can help, but how would freezing the muscle using botox be of use? Anyone?

I don’t feel stressed if I am totally honest, but maybe I am. Three kids, running a home and a business that I am picking back up after a rough lockdown all do add to stress, but I wouldn’t say that I am a stressed person. Blood pressure normal blah blah blah.

So what is the solution? I don’t want to wear the guard every day until I die because it is unslightly and a pain in the bum, I either have all my teeth taken out (no thanks!) or it is masseter muscle botox, is that the next step?

Are you a bruxer? Let me know what you have tried…

Lucy

BRUXER, Confidence Coach, Make-up Artist and geriatric mum!

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and founder of this blog and the fab facebook group We are Geriatric Mums which currently has 2400 members!

Instagram @geriatric_mum @she_coaches_confidence

The importance of friends

Over the last year the lack of proper connection with friends has been tough. I think some of us have forgotten the importance of friends. Zoom quizzes are one thing, but real life connection is quite another.

For me, I struggled during the pandemic for some reasons (kids, work, boredom, homeschooling) and in other ways I was feeling pretty good (time to focus, feeling more relaxed, time for my children) but I did have a feeling of underlying flatness and yet it was something I couldn’t put my finger on.

It wasn’t the endless cooking, cleaning and only seeing people who I had either married or given birth to (and the cat!) that was grinding me down a bit, instead it was the lack of laughter and being with friends that know me well. I had missed the small-talk, the inspiration that friends unknowingly waft over to me, the idle chit-chat, the talking about where we grew up and being with people that I really really like.

Myself and two secondary school friends (one of which I hadn’t seen for 30-years!) booked a hotel stay in Cambridge as soon as we knew the lockdown restrictions were lifting and we got together at the weekend in the full glory of the british wet weather.

Actually, the weather was irrelevant. The meeting place was irrelevant. It was all about the people and our connection. I cannot explain how good it was to see people that I had grown up with. We were only at school together for 3 years, after which I moved school and mainly only kept in touch with one of them, but those years were probably the happiest of my life. I’d met people who were on my wavelength. We were giggly, silly, naughty, daring and we laughed all the time, and even after 30-years that hadn’t changed one bit. Within 10-minutes of seeing each other, I thought I was going to combust whilst we were reminiscing about some of the people at our school.

We laughed all day long.

My school friends and I, drunk and happy.

I came away from the weekend feeling like me again. I hadn’t really realised that some little parts of me had faded over the years, but good friends can change this. Friends really do make things better.

Dictionary meaning: Friend; a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

Seeing friends after all this time was a sensory delight and I believe that is what so many of us have missed; the 5 senses – Sight, Sounds, Smell, Taste, Touch. Our senses need to be used in order for us to understand the world around us. I believe that during lockdown our senses were only being used on a base level, at least mine were. Not many of us were doing anything new, and even if we were, the likelihood was that we had a mask wrapped around our face which obstructed one obvious sense; the sense of smell. There was also the social distancing and no touch thing, which for a lot of people is almost unbearable. Seeing my friends this weekend made me recognise that as humans we need to do new things, we need to use our senses, we need to be stimulated in order to feel good, we need to explore and have experiences – we need to see, hear, smell, taste and touch (that’s if we are lucky enough to have all of them working).

My weekend of laughing, walking in the rain, eating garlicky italian foods, drinking prosecco and limoncello, grabbing my friends arm, eating a slightly stale hotel breakfast in bed, sleeping in clean hotel sheets, reading through a menu, drinking tea with rubbish milk, borrowing my friends toothpaste, smelling perfume on my friends and sitting in a fusty taxi totally cemented that – and I feel better because of it. For the first time in ages I properly used my senses.

So if you are feeling a bit flat as lockdown lifts here in the UK, book something with friends that truly make you feel good, something perhaps that ignites your senses. It doesn’t have to be a boozy hotel stay like mine was, but a day out with good friends (without kids if you are a parent) to kick-start your sensory system will really really help your mood and your general wellbeing.

Lucy – Geriatric Mum

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and founder of this blog and the fab facebook group We Are Geriatric Mums which currently has 2300 Mums who happen to be older in it.

Instagram @geriatric_mum and she_coaches_confidence

I’ve had my COVID-19 vaccination

At the age of 45, I have just had my first COVID-19 vaccination. I arrived at the centre with a feeling of trepidation but didn’t have much time to dwell on that because once in the building I was ushered through to a seating area and within 5-minutes I WAS DONE!

As I was being checked in, a lady in a high-vis jacket said to me “Are you under 40?” and of course I said “don’t be silly, I’m 45!” and skipped off and let the compliment sink in. Under 40 – yes!

The vaccination space (dull eh)

I was taken to a huge room with rows and rows of spaced out seats, shown where to sit and seconds later a young guy came over wearing a mask, a plastic apron, blue surgical loves and he was holding a tablet device thingy. He asked me a few basic questions regarding allergies and medication, tapped my answers into his device with his plastic-y fingers, and off he went. Whilst sitting on my designated chair, I was thinking that I recognised one of the nurses who was jabbing another patient – or is it the vaccinee?! Anyway, as soon as she’d finished she came over to me, and it clicked! She was my cervical screening nurse from a while back. I said to her “do you work at the _____ surgery?” she replied “yes” and I went on to say “You did my last smear test” and we both burst out laughing. Gawd. The reason I remember her is because she was lovely at my last appointment and we had a good old natter whilst she was doing the scrape – oooooo THAT WORD! Can you believe it is referred to as a cervical scrape? – makes me shiver.

I found the entire experience friendly, quick and I have the card that everyone is waving around on social media to prove it – me included. I thought I’d feel emotional, but I didn’t really, I just kept thinking what an enormous thing we’ve all been through and how lucky I am to have the choice regarding the vaccination.

My vaccine card

I’ll report back in a few days and let you know how I am feeling. I think the initial trepidation I felt was linked to the vaccination side-effects, which are yet unknown for me – it’s only been 4-hours. This weekend, I am meeting two school friends from when I was 11-years old, and there is SO much to talk about and lots of cocktails to consume – I better not feel ill – we’ve waited years and years for this to happen.

If you are an older mum; join my group on Facebook ‘We are Geriatric Mums’

Lucy Baker is founder of this blog, the facebook group and is on facebook and instagram as Geriatric Mum; Instagram / Facebook

She is also a confidence coach and can be found right here > LUCY BAKER WEBSITE

Finding balance with work and parenting

Work / parent balance – is it possible? So many parents try to find the balance between work and parenting and it can be an almightly juggle. I can almost see you nodding to that. Let’s think about it from the female perspective for a minute. Working mothers have a juggle at hand and anyone who tells you it isn’t a juggle is quite frankly super-human in my eyes. Kids make work – that is not paid for! That work looks like washing, cooking, cleaning, sorting, tidying, homeworking, bedtimes, clubs, parties, school-runs, and that’s only about half of it. It a work that just has to be done – no matter what.

Add to that a job. I’m self-employed and have been for 17-years and I chose to be self-employed because I wanted to fit round my children. AND THEN LOCKDOWN HAPPENED. Working at home, from my bedroom, with 3 kids around my ankles and a cat on my laptop most days was a situation I never want to be in – ever again. God it was horrible. I started to work late, early and then bark at my kids. I was burying myself deeper and deeper into my phone and even “tweeting” when they were in the bath. That was always a big fat no in my rule book, but there I was doing it.

As lockdown eased in April 2021 here in the UK, my mind clicked into gear and I pursued an office space that I had wanted to take a year ago, but didn’t for obvious reasons. I got an email back from the office manager saying that she had one available. An office. All for me. I set to thinking about it. 5-seconds later I replied and let her know I would have it. I wanted it to be mine, all mine! (insert cackle laughter).

I joke, but I knew it was right. For me to develop my coaching business, have space to think and do and to get all my crap out of our family home (full professional make-up kit, paperwork, books and all the other office bits one seems to need) I had to make this move. My new studio/office space is dellightful. It’s got high ceilings, lots of light and no paw patrol figures, fidget toys, broken pens, scraps of paper and a half eaten apple. I honestly would go so far as to say it is life-changing.

My youngest child is 2, and goes to nursery 2 days a week. I come to the office for full days whilst he is in nursery and do a few hours on the other days. This gives me 20-hours of undisturbed time to coach, connect, email, film helpful videos and pay more attention to my thriving facebook group for older mums; We are Geriatric Mums. My work time is mine again.

What this also means is that I go home, in the car, and step into my house and am Mum again. I’m not glancing at my phone and trying to send emails whilst cooking. I’m fully present and already I feel nicer towards my children. I have been on the trampoline with my eldest, I have been reading properly with my middle child and playing “golfs” with my little boy. It works. The separation work. No more blurred lines.

So the only way I found the balance, is to move out! (into an office).

What is your working situation? Did you have a terrible lockdown, too?

Lucy Baker on the BBC website very happy in the new office space

I was featured on the BBC yesterday talking about my new office; see it HERE

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and geriatric mum.