As a mother of four and turning forty-two this year I was interested by an opportunity to read Tova Leigh’s F*cked at 40. The quote I was sent referred to being fed up of “just” being a mum is how I interpreted it and I could certainly relate to that.
Thoughts on Tova Leigh’s F*cked at 40
F*cked at 40 is a well written, funny and empowering book about Tova Leigh’s Mom Crisis at 42. Being an older mother when she had her first child, Tova had done a lot with her life pre children and missed it. She blames society for placing expectations on mothers and explains how she broke free of them. It is easy (and interesting) to read, I love how it is written with bite size chapters, broken down with stars in between and Instagram posts – as well as the honesty, humour and just how she draws me in to want to know more about her life and feelings.
However, thing is it turns out that Tova Leigh and I seem to have had very different lives which have possibly resulted in very different viewpoints for a lot of her book. All of her life feels like she was just so repressed, like none of it was for her up until the point where she had a breast cancer scare and just generally had enough. I guess reading it all just made me feel very grateful and lucky. That when I am feeling all frustrated with life that it really is more my hormones rather than being happy with what I have.
Letting go of the Idea of Doing Everything for your Kids and having No Life of your Own
The thing is for me I never had a life like Tova’s before children – I was just a child myself: I was pregnant with my first born at 17 and I was 18 when he was born. I hadn’t done stuff like travelled at lot before so I didn’t miss my “old” life. Tova talks of finally leaving her children to make time for herself. But I have always made time for me. Even when my oldest was young I was still going out to night clubs. Then I went on a girls’ hen weekend to Spain whilst still tandem feeding my youngest two! This progress to a week-long work trip to Corsica and a week in Spain with my best mate for our 40ths (joined by some others for a long weekend of that). Not forgetting a trip with just me and my son to Iceland for his 21st birthday.
I did find it interesting that she felt that she was always doing everything for her family and not herself, but yet proudly had a Nanny looking after her children too. I respected her choices and her raw honesty about it all – but it was just a far cry away from my experiences. I don’t feel I could have afforded help like that to start a career which is why I feel like I am “just a mother” wondering what happens next as my children start to depend on me less and less.
Sex and Marriage
As for the sex side of things I felt that we were brought up very differently there too. Let’s say my childhood isn’t the pleasantest in that respect and again I could just feel I was the total opposite to Tova. One of the areas Tova talks about is how 40 year old women and 20 year old men having similar sex drives but that when she was hit on by a 20 year old and she told him she was 42 he was shocked and said she was old enough to be his mother – that he clearly wasn’t interested. Again this is not my experience the twenty year olds I have encountered seem to think this is great, maybe that I have more expertise or something (but no I haven’t slept with one since I was in my twenties myself). I can’t relate to her wanting an open relationship with her husband because it isn’t what I am after. But I totally get that what a couple needs is total honesty, and an ability to talk to one another frankly.
Conclusions on Tova Leigh’s F*cked at 40
F*cked at 40 is definitely a book I would recommend to my friends with kids to read. Tova comes across as really likeable and it flows well (although there were some sections I got confused on her life order and who was who). I thought it was going to be a book about reaching the menopause but it wasn’t. But it is insightful and I am sure every woman could take something away from reading it – even if it is just to make sure that her cup is always full.
I was sent an uncorrected proof for purposes of review. All opinions are honest and my own.