Muscle Relaxant Injections For Teeth Grinding Part 1

I grind my teeth and it has been really getting me down. I have noticed it more and more lately and it was particularly bad when I was poorly last week and couldn’t wear my guard – I kept coughing so it was not staying in! You see, when I don’t wear the guard, I wake up with a stiff jaw, sore neck, aching masseter muscles and generally I feel tense – which doesn’t help me one bit with my coaching work or radio job, or in anything for that matter.

Apparently the massester muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the body and by definition it is muscle that runs through the rear part of the cheek from the temporal bone to the lower jaw on each side and closes the jaw in chewing.

After writing about my bruxism a few weeks ago, I had messages from women saying that muscle relaxant injections worked for them, so it re-affirmed what I was already thinking – to try it out. My dentist had suggested it a year ago and so this did feel like a natural next step for me.

Dr Tania Robakowska, who has a clinic in Westgate-on-Sea Kent, messaged me saying she would love to show me the benefits of injections for bruxism and I have to say I jumped at the chance. I’d hit a point where I was fed up. I hate grinding my teeth, the faff of cleaning the guard and more importantly the pain it gives me.

10 days ago, Tania and I had a Zoom consultation and she explained that botulinum toxins are used for all types of muscles relaxing and not just for cosmetic procedures. She told me that the toxin is injected into the masseter muscle to help to relax it. My first thought was “will I still be able to talk” and my second one was “I want that!”. Tania reassured me that I will be able to talk – phew – and that the complex mouth and tongue muscles are the power behind this (yep I am not scientific) and the fact of the matter was that for me, my muscles and working over time, and are actually really big!

Lucy Baker standing with Dr Tania Robakowska at her clinic in Westgate on Sea Kent

Today I went to see Tania at her clinic in Westgate-on-Sea, which is actually a short walk from my office. She has a bright, immaculately clean large clinic space which is super welcoming. Tania took a number of photos of me doing the clench/relax/clench/relax thing and we had a good chat about the procedure before I signed her digital consent form.

Lucy Baker ready to have muscle relaxant injections with Dr Tania Robakowska getting the injections ready in clinic

Tania marked out the areas she wanted to inject (I did more clench/relax/clench/relax stuff) using a soft white pencil, designed for marking the skin. The drawings looked a bit like a triangle shape, which was pretty much the area of my masseter muscle.

lucy Baker with area marked out on masseter muscles ready for muscle relaxant injections to help bruxism

Then it was injection time! I am not nervous about injections at all thankfully, especially when they are being poked into your face! eek. I can’t remember how many needle pricks (sharp scratch) I felt on each side, but I know from talking it through with Tania that we went quite low for this first dose of botulinum toxin, in this case she used the brand Azzalure. After the injections were complete, I was asked to clench/relax/clench/relax a few times to get the toxins into the right places within my muscles.

The effects of the toxin can take up to two weeks, so less is always more, and I am back in the clinic in two weeks to review the results., where a top-up may or may not be needed.

The after care advice was to chew chewing gum for a short while afterwards, not lie down (no chance of that – straight back to work for me) and to wear my guard until we see each other again in a couple of weeks.

Thank you so much to Tania – her approach is caring, subtle and I know she isn’t keen on over-doing it! I know that many people fear muscle relaxant injections because they are scared of looking super-shiny and fake – I know that Tania isn’t about that – she works with people nd really understands the needs of her patients. My injections weren’t for wrinkle smoothing reasons, but for an over-worked jaw because I grind my teeth – which, I hope, will soon be a thing of the past.

I have to say I am adding back onto the mix; yoga and stretching just help my feel even more relaxed. Teeth grinding is linked to stress, so it is really time to up the calm in my life – with three kids I’ll give it my best shot!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in a week or so.

Lucy

Read my original post on my teeth-grinding (bruxism) here

Dr Tania Robakowska Address12 Cuthbert Rd, Westgate-on-Sea CT8 8NR            Phone: 07488 511050 Muscle relaxant injections for teeth grinding with Tania costs £300.

If you want to join my group for older mums; click here > WE ARE GERIATRIC MUMS

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.

UK Return to school

As a mother of three, aged 10, 8 and 2, I am ecstatic that two of my kids are returning to full-time school on 8th March 2021. They head back to Y6 and Y3 and my god they need it. They need routine, peers and other adults way more than they need to be at home with my husband and I every minute of every day! Children learn best from other people – other adults and their friends – and I believe that limited interaction of this kind is highly detrimental to children’s development. Remember how our children used to go to other people’s houses for tea, a ‘play-date’, to stay the night or for a party? – this kind of stuff is really important because children need to see what other people’s lives look like, that’s how they form opinions and learn about life, if they don’t have any other ‘in real life’ experiences, how can they form their personality and personal perspective?

I feel fortunate that my son, 2, goes to nursery twice a week. He comes home grubby, tired and full of toddler-chat about his day. He interacts with adults and other snotty-nosed kids all day long, works things out with others, sits around a table and eats with his nursery buddies (unlike home where he chucks it all over the place) and he is continuing to learn. This, to me, is essential. Nursery comes at a cost though, and it hasn’t been possible for all. We started nursery because we are both working from home and trying to work with the house full of children saying “Muuuum” 400 times a day is 100% impossible.

In all seriousness, I can see my son developing all the time and it is utterly magical. I haven’t seen that same growth in my girls and I feel a bit sad about that.

Over the course of the next few months, my hope for the girls is that they feel like they are part of their school again, that they belong somewhere hopeful and inspiring. I want them to feel motivated, valued and that they have purpose. I have to say for the last few months, home learning has been a tremendous battle here at Baker HQ, despite the loan of two laptops from their school. With tech at their fingertips, it has been an almighty struggle, here’s why:

Tech issues – on a daily basis the work disappeared, the tickboxes didn’t tick, the videos wouldn’t play.

Motivation is low – without a figure of authority (a teacher!) talking and engaging with my children in the classroom, they haven’t felt motivated.

We are working parents – both my husband and I have dashing off to take a call or tapping away at our keyboards, and neither has been helpful to them or helpful to us.

It’s too easy to say “this is boring!” – and although I loath that sentence in ‘normal times’ they were just be right.

They want to have a laugh – they get silly, we get annoyed, which is highly unfair – but we were trying to work and parent at the same time!

We are all sick of the sight of each other – nuff said

The table they’ve been trying to work from is right near the kitchen – “nuff said

This is not a moan about their school or about the work set. The school have been supportive and the work is thorough, but it just hasn’t worked here. Knowing that it hasn’t worked has made me swing from from feeling crap to accepting we have tried our best, to feeling crap again.

I reached out to Sarah, a primary school teacher from London, here’s what said when I asked her how she feels as a teacher about the school return.

My name’s Sarah and I’m a teacher.  

That start makes me sound like I’m in therapy, doesn’t it? To be honest, after the past year, most teachers do need therapy (or a job as a children’s TV presenter after all the videos and live sessions we’ve done!). It has certainly been the toughest year of my 17 years in the profession. 

Whilst I could sit here and list all the reasons it’s been tough, I thought I would try and look for the positives…So many good things have come out of this experience. For one, teachers have finally been seen for the hardworking, dedicated people they are. The relationship between parents and teachers has strengthened no end and that well-known phrase of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ has never been so true. Teaching and learning don’t just happen in school hours and it’s certainly not all about the academic subjects. There is so much more to education than Maths and English and I have certainly learnt to teach more creatively and work to build on children’s self-esteem and emotional intelligence in this time of ‘home learning’. Not to mention my technology skills which have improved greatly! 

I cannot wait to see my class on Monday. It’s just a shame that they’ll not be able to see my reassuring smile when they line up first thing. But we won’t be wearing the masks forever and if the kids have taught me one thing this past year, it’s that they are a truly resilient bunch and nothing phases them. I am sure for every parent tentatively preparing to jump for joy when they drop their kid off at the school gates on Monday, there will be another parent who is incredibly anxious about letting their child out into the big, bad world. We know you are anxious, but we will take such good care of your children, so please don’t worry. 

And no, I haven’t had the vaccine yet…like most teachers, I’m still waiting patiently. 

Sarah Tebbs (Teacher and fellow geriatric mum) 

Sarah talking about resilience makes me think how resilient she’s been too. In fact all teachers and caregivers have been, and dare I say it, us parents, too!

Monday 8th March is just 2 days away. I’ve dragged the uniform out from its dark hiding place, dusted off the school shoes which sadly don’t fit and bought some new ones, ordered more name labels and plastic water bottles than we will ever need and I think we are nearly ready. Oh but wait. Practically, we might be ready, but what about mentally?

As a parent, I am fine about them going back. I am not worried about Covid-19 and I know the school have put decent measures in place to do the best they can. What I am worried about is one of my daughters who refuses to even talk about the return to school with 2 days to go. Every day, I been gently reminding her that school is on Monday and that we are getting ready for the return blah blah blah, but she just screams and runs off. She does not want to go! She’s a home-bird, a happy child pottering about and finding things to do, she is independent and she is stubborn. It makes me wonder how many other children feel like this? As her mother, I know going back to school is just what she needs, but try telling her that. She is popular and does well in the classroom but if I am completely honest, I think she’s forgotten so much about what school is like and has chosen to remove herself from the fact it is a thing. And why wouldn’t you do that given the choice? She is only 8.

My other daughter is in Y6, she is gregarious and she loves people. I know she is going to be fine and actually she is really happy about going back, apart from saying all along she has got to wear the “horrible school uniform”. For her, lockdown has been hard – she has ADHD and kids with ADHD do not do well in confinement. Her natural need to be busy and stimulated was taken away from her overnight and whilst we’ve been trying to occupy her time at home, it is just not the same. It is not the same as leaving the house on your own, calling for your friend, giggling and being silly on your way up to school, feeling independent, taking your phone with you in your school bag, being with 30 other people every school day, having the routine of break and lunchtime, running around the field in P.E, having your familiar packed lunch at the same time every day. It is not the same as leaving school, going to the park with your mates after school and coming home starving hungry. It is not the same.

As I finish writing this on a chilly Saturday 6th March in Kent, my eldest just came to me and said. “Mum, can I try my school uniform on?”. She came back in to me and proudly paraded around the room in her neat trousers and buttoned up cardigan. She was smiling. I was smiling too. I could feel that resilience that Sarah spoke of oozing out of her and my heart flooded with pride. Now I just need to get my other daughter to feel the same way.

Good Luck everyone. Here’s to the resilient kids of today. They rock!

How are you / your kids feeling about the return to school?

Lucy Baker is founder of geriatricmum.co.uk and the Facebook group We are Geriatric Mums. Lucy is a mother of 3 and had her last baby at 43.

The age of motherhood

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released new figures on the average age of mothers at time they gave birth in 2019, and it has increased to 30.7 years, and the average age for a father is 33.6 years.

This shows, that women having babies is at the highest age ever, and women have consistently been getting older over the years.

I was 34 years old when I had my first baby, 37 years old when I had baby number two, and I gave birth at 43-years-old with my last baby. I now have a 10-year old, an 8 year old and a nearly 2-year old, and I am 44-year old. I was way above the national average when I gave birth to Rocky in 2019, in fact 13-years above, and interestingly at 34-years old (my first baby) I was 4 years over the national average.

I do feel that the age that a woman has a baby now, is so varied, and that is so wonderful, because actually, what is age is right, what age is wrong? What age is too young, what age is too old? Everyone has a story as to why they had a baby at a certain age, and that is what fascinates me. I don’t judge others for when they have a baby, and it isn’t helpful when people do.

Today I was featured on the Daily Mail online talking about my experiences of being an older mum and I also talk about my group on Facebook, We are Geriatric Mums which now has nearly 2000 members – women 35+ who are pregnant or have had a baby.

See the Daily Mail feature here; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8953557/Mothers-England-Wales-older-EVER.html (scroll down the article for my 3-minute video).

And, much to my delight, I was featured on Sky News and interviewed LIVE by Jayne Secker about the same figures released by the ONS. We talked about opinions around older mums, why we think women have having babies later in life and what it is like being an older mum at school and at playgroups.

Lucy Baker (confidence coach and geriatric mum) on Sky News

I had a bit of a negative start to my pregnancy mainly because of how people reacted. I wrote about how I felt here; 42 and pregnant but once I settled into the fact that some people can’t help but say negative things, and I glossed over the many negative ‘risk’ articles I read online, I felt good. I had a lovely pregnancy and I enjoyed being pregnant at 42. I felt calm, connected and fearless about what was ahead and my husband was a brilliant support. I realised (at 5-months pregnant) that I wanted to help other women who might be feeling scared about the risks they read online or annoyed and hurt by comments from others and so I started this blog and the Facebook group (We are Geriatric Mums) to connect others, and to create a supportive community. And boy, it is thriving.

It turns out that the best support you can get as an older mum, is from other older mums!

What a day it’s been for the ‘mums who happen to be older’ community – online and on the live news – I am so pleased that I was able to share what it is really like to be an older mum and speak for the 1000s of older mums in my community. Magic.

This is for all MUMS WHO HAPPEN TO BE OLDER!

Lucy x

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and geriatric mum.

Contact Lucy for confidence; www.shecoachesconfidence.com

How to fix the hard skin on your feet

Not a glamorous thing to admit, but I have always struggled with hard skin on my feet and it looks and feels horrid – think crusty heels and socks that crackle and catch as they go on and you have got the idea. I am told it is from being a flip flop lover, which I quite understand, the flipping of the sole has a hardening effect on the skin.

Flip flops aside, until recently I had tried everything under the sun to combat my unsightly heels, including:

Exfoliating Foot Socks – wow! These things are, at first glance amazing, but actually quite brutal. The first time I used this type of bootie after 8 days the skin on my feet shed like an old snake and I felt like this was a total blessing, but I do now feel they add to the problem of hard skin, because for me, it came back twice as badly. Helen, my Reflexologist (I say that like I use her a lot, she’s actually only done my feet once and it was wonderful) told me that we do need a layer of hard skin on our feet for protection and for balance.

Pumice Stone – there was always a pumice stone in the bathroom when I was a kid and I actually never liked the look of them – I always thought they looked grey and somehow a bit unhygienic. I bought one a few months ago and I tired it on damp feet whilst standing in the bath. I kept dropping it and it felt way to small, and actually a bit crumbly, and it didn’t really seems to smooth my feet very much. It is now in the bin.

Supermarket plastic foot file – I bought a plastic-handled foot file that was about £3 from a supermarket. Back in the summer, I was happily filing my feet in the garden (dust flying everywhere) whilst watching my son play, and the bloody thing snapped. I might’ve been a bit gung-ho with my filing technique or it was a cheap n nasty bit of kit. “Buy cheap buy twice” my husband always says, and in this instance he was right.

Foot file that looks like a cheese grater – In the foot care aisle of a big pharmacy store, I saw a handled foot file that looked like a mini cheese grater and for some reason I bought it! I got to work on my hard heels with it and actually it made them sore! So that too, went in the bin.

Helen, who I mentioned earlier, is a Reflexologist and Foot Health Practitioner, she says;

Developing hard skin (callus) on the soles and sides of our feet is a natural response to friction, pressure and drying out. It mainly occurs around the heel, big toe, little toe, and ball of the foot as these are the areas that take the most weight and / or, are most often subject to the results of poor fitting shoes. 

Callus is protective: Our skin is a vital organ for protecting our delicate insides from the outside world, and it literally holds us together. When it is subject to continuous rubbing, trauma or loss of moisture, the deeper layers of skin get busy producing extra skin cells to push up to the surface as a barrier to whatever is going on. This is why many people with hard skin find it gets worse during summer – flip flops offer no support; they continually bounce on and off the heel while the foot loses all its moisture which usually helps maintain its elasticity. Poor feet!  Because hard skin forms as protection, an important tip when filing down hard skin is to do it gently and in smooth long strokes in one direction, do not take it all off in one go, and moisturise well afterwards. I know this might sound counter-intuitive, however, if you go at it with a sawing motion or with the force of a cheese grater, the skin knows that it is under attack, and then it will try to protect itself.

Such wise words Helen, thank you.

So what does work?

For me, the only things that have made my feet baby-soft are a stainless steel handled foot file and Flexitol Hard Skin & Callus Balm (see photo below)

Be gone hard skin with these bad boys!

The foot file is bloody ace! It has a rough side and a fine side (much like its supermarket friends) to help remove stubborn dead skin and then smooth it, but the big difference is that it comes with new ‘grits’, 5 of each. When the old one is a bit worn out, it can be taken off and replaced – hurrah. Also, unlike the cheaper versions, it is sturdy and can withstand even the most vigorous of filing sessions – great for when I first got it, because my feet were pretty awful.

After filing my trotters, I apply a small amount of the Flexitol Balm to the heel area only, and massage it in well. The website says that the product is designed to remove hard skin without the filing, but I ignored that and went for both, and will continue to do so.

I can honestly say that after years of hating my hard heels and actually sometimes picking the hard skin off , and making the area bleed (I know! I know!) I have finally found what works ; two things used three times a week to give me feet that I am proud of. Having nice feet makes me feel good, even if winter is in the way. Smooth heels stops crackly socks and that alone is worth the £12.50 I spent to get them.

Hope that was helpful. Let know if you try it.

Lucy

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Find Helen (Foot Expert) on Facebook here; HappyFeetByHelen

Lucy Baker is a mother of 3 and she had her last child at 43-years-old. She hosts an online support community for ‘mums who happen to be older’ on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums which is currently at 1.9K members. Lucy is a confidence coach and her website is www.shecoachesconfidence.com

This feature is not sponsored. Flexitol has been recommended because it is good.

The obstacle course with no finish line

Today I’ve been singing the line “I just don’t know what to do with myself…” from the song by The White Stripes – it has been going round and round in my head, I love the song and the words feel right today.

It is a normal Monday in July, actually, start again – it is normal Monday in July, yet instead of embracing the first week of the summer holidays with a sense of freedom and relief that the school run is done, everyone in the house is fed up with each other, even the cat is feeling fed up. It isn’t a ratty, over-tired sort of fed up that we all go through in life, it is more I’m sick of the sight of you fed up – and it feels like it is at the highest level today. As I write this, I am imagining that strongman game at the arcades, and the bell ringing out as the puck hits the top during one of our family ding-dongs, to indicate that we are at top level fed up.

The kids keep arguing, they always have a bit, but right now it is off.the.scale, Rox is being a typical 18-month old, you know, chucking food, putting fingers in sockets, jumping off sofas and hitting us with everything – in fact, he hit me with a toy dustpan today and I burst into tears. it hurt, and as I said, I’m feeling a bit White Stripes lyrics today and a bit fragile. But back to Rocky, he is just being a fab funny little boy, but because none of us have had a proper break, there is always a kid around, if not three, it makes the food throwing and dustpan hitting feel way more annoying than it should. My husband and I swing from kissing in the kitchen in front of the kids to totally ignoring each other and handing over the toddler to make a work call without making any eye contact. Honestly, one minute we are dancing around and flirting and the next we can’t bear the sight of each other and are literally tearing our hair out. Even the cat runs a mile as soon as Rocky Bamm-Bamm walks up to her – her routine is out and she is fed up too. If I think about it too much, I find it all quite sad, but we are okay, and he said to me today when we broke away from a grump to talk about sweetcorn – “Lu, 5 months everyday together is pretty tough – I love you”.

So on this Monday, despite life opening up a bit more, none of it is normal really is it, how can it be?

The girls haven’t stepped foot in their school for four and a half months, The Bakers have spent nearly every hour with each other since 20th March 2020, and it is starting to feel like we are in some pantomime. Ok, that is a bit OTT (Oh no it isn’t!), but it just doesn’t balanced and regular. I used to hate regular, but perhaps part of me actually needs that. I know we can see friends, go for dinner if we want and shop, but it is the no school and the boredom that the children have experienced that concerns me. I am a confidence coach and in normal life, I know exactly how to keep myself feeling good, but the last few months have been a test like no other – much like trying to complete an osbstacle course with no finish line… and now we are all running out of fuel.

The kids are playing up at meal times, we are fighting with them daily over screens (with no clear idea what it actually best), we are experiencing a level of mum and dad guilt like never before and the older kids are developing a bit of an attitude that goes against everything we want for our kids. But it is not a normal time. One of my girls has ADHD, so life has been doubly tough in many ways, and yet so many don’t understand what we go through as a family, and what we have been through to date – but that is another blog post entirely, and I will write about it. All I want to say right now, is those who have supported us through her diagnosis and more, have a place in my heart forever.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times where we’ve done what we would’ve done during a tough race – pick the other person up and climb the hill together. That said, there have also been times where we’ve all needed space to go alone – but haven’t had the chance to, in other words there has been nowhere to escape to. I can’t just up and leave in the middle of the day, each outing needs to be finely tuned and planned. Just today, we needed to buy a cat flap for little Gracie, so I had Rox and Dan took the two girls to the hardware store – another lap of the obstacle course complete. Go Dan!

I think that the main issue hasn’t been covid-19 or us spending time together, we actually all like each other a lot, it has been the fact that we both have to work with three kids in the house. I mean, if that isn’t crazy, what is? The more I think about this fact, the more cross I get. I run my own business, which luckily I can do from home. My husband works for a company in London, and luckily he can do his job from home, too. I say luckily because we are both working and we can share the kid-load and that makes things a bit better… or does it?

I don’t know if it does or it doesn’t, I flip between that all day long. In some ways it is better, but the intensity of five people in the house (three children under ten) and two parents with a shit load of work on, doesn’t make it better.

What I do know is that both of us don’t have any downtime. I am often up early to do bits of work and I then hit the laptop again at around 9pm – that can’t be good for mental health, can it? But what other option do we have? You know, I look back longingly and reminisce about those dreamy morning school runs, with just one child in a pram and the chance for me to have a natter in the street or to grab a coffee and a pastry on the way back to the house. Ok, they weren’t dreamy at the time, but they feel it now. My husband keeps dreaming about his deathly silent train journeys where the aircon was a touch too cold and the passenger next to him was eating something stinky, but he didn’t care, of course he didn’t, he was freeeee and on his own! (read that as freeeee with no kids!) Oh my days, what bliss.

Pregnant The Screwed have just published a survey of 20,000 working mothers and it is a fascinating read. It perfectly hits on some of the frustrations that I have and am feeling around childcare at the moment. Our toddler is just about to start nursery and we are doing it for two reasons – so he can have interaction with people other than his parents, and so that we can work. Oh by the way, the cost of 2 days a week is just over £400 a month, so I feel we have to spend money so that we can work. This isn’t about shoving him out to nursery, it is about having time to work.

So anyway, back to the point of me writing this. I am writing this today because I have felt all over the place and I know that feeling comes from me trying to work, the fact that no-one feels excited about summer, and the sadness I feel from us bickering and annoying each other. For us, this family of five, this isn’t how we are.

I am not a blamey person (it is a waste of energy in my book), but if I were to blame how I am feeling on anything or anyone, I actually don’t think I could. It is what it is, as they say, but I do wish it was different.

My only advice, and I don’t have much as a parent, is to talk and share, oh… and never judge.

Lucy x

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79 days as a lockdown mum

It has been 79 days since school closed. I don’t need to tell you that that is a long time to have three children under the age of ten at home 24/7, without any break from them, or them from us. No friends here for tea after school, no trip to the local park to let the kids play on the climbing frame, no pretty instagram picture trips to the zoo, no trips to see cousins and family – no let up. But hey, it is what it is. As lockdown eases a touch in the UK, we are getting a little taste of real life – I don’t know about you, but I almost feel in my groove as a lockdown mum, almost-ish.

Don’t get me wrong, I crave seeing friends in the pub, going on the train, even soft play!, seeing the school mums on the walk into school for an idle, unforced, un-Zoomed chat. I like those chats best of all. The organic natter, which for me, makes life feel real, and okay. The pre-arranged video chats and quizzes always switch my mind into work mode – because I have been Zooming for years at work.

Zoom aside, I also miss everything impromptu. To some degree, as a family, we are organised – ok I’m fibbing a bit here, I’d say a BIT organised. We are way more impromptu than organised. Wanna meet us at the beach in an hour? Yes! The Bakers are there. I think for us as a family, that has been hard. But we are kinda used to it now, although I am not sure I want us to be used to it.

The big thing for me is that I don’t feel used to the sedentary side of life. In normal times, I loathe it, it doesn’t suit me, or the kids. But, we have had to try and get used to it, or at least I have – just like everyone else has. You see, I find it hard because it goes against everything I believe in as a parent. Sure, there is garden time (mainly the one year old) and jaunts out to the local gap – we live right by the sea – but the girls (7 and 10) have become much much slower, and more argumentative – Oh my, the arguments!

I think every parent in the land (world!) has had to re-adjust. We started off with great intentions to home-school (I’m sorry but that term HAS to go), but then we soon realised that the kids eating their lunch without having a major meltdown, was a good day. Eating lunch without a mega strop is still a good day here – I think that’s our marker. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we have had about 3 good days in the 79, I kid you not. One of us has lost our shit every other day, and often it is multiple children and adults, losing it together. It has been, and will continue to be, hard.

Our children are 10, 7 and 1 and trying to balance and manage their needs 24/7 (and ours needs as parents) is impossible. It is absolutely impossible and no-one wants it to be like this. I don’t know about you, but I switch from yep this is OHHHHKAY to WTF IS GOING ON, around twenty times a day. Again, I think we all do. But, like all parents, we get on with it – because we have to.

I have been named, by a few friends, the 70’s mum. My dream is for the kids to play outside ALL day, exploring and getting messy, whilst I cook a delicious pie. Lie! – whilst I work. My dream is far from reality. The girls are obsessed with Adopt Me (Roblox) and although it is a cute game and time on a screen is handy for two working parents – it drives me mad. Seriously. We all know that computer games are like a drug, you start, and it is likely you will get hooked. It is true. Flyable rideable unicorns are not what they seem! I have to admit, screens have been useful during lockdown, but have you ever tried to get a kid off a screen when it is dinner time, despite 84 warnings? It is hell on earth. But, it is life, as we know it. I don’t like it, but it is life.

We are safe, we are healthy, we are all quite bored and we are on day 79 of lockdown life. And I am a lockdown mum. We have moments that I will cherish forever, but we have had hormonal rages (not just me!), boredom rages (all of us), frustration rages (all of us), toddler tantrums (you can guess that one), I hate school and never want to go back rages (both girls), I miss my friends (both girls and me!) and many more rages. I guess these rages are raw and real, and I do like seeing people for who they are, I always have – the real deal, no airs or graces. Lockdown life is raw and real.

It is day eighty tomorrow. With no change here – ding ding. Life continues with three children wanting food, piles of washing mounting up, not quite managing the tidy home that everyone else seems to have, no school runs, no looking forward to Friday night out in a pub with friends, no school work being achieved, no playgroups for my little man, – BUT we are spending time in our lovely garden, eating nice tasty meals together (most of the time), we are all going through this lockdown craziness as a little family – together, I somehow have time to work on my business, the house is messy and chaotic house and I am a lockdown mum – trying to keep things ticking over, trying to keep people happy, trying to look after everyone and me whilst staying positive and casting my mind ahead to things we all can do, when ‘this’ is over. It is surreal, intense, boring, beautiful, a nuisance, sad, too much, too little, magical and horrible. It is is far from ideal, but we are making it work – just!

Lucy (Geriatric Mum)

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