By Contributing Mama Karen Palmer Bland
If I could be any age, I think I’d choose 27. That seems like the perfect intersection of “I know what I’m doing, I’m almost 30,” and “No need to panic about getting married and having kids, I’m only in my 20s.” Of course hindsight is 20/20, and at that age, I’m quite sure that I felt old.
But now, as a mother of 3 kids under 5, spider veins and post-pregnancy tummy flab, I feel like an “old mom.” I just turned 40. My mother-in-law reminds me that when she was 40, she was planning her oldest child’s sweet 16 party. I just survived the planning of a Thomas the Train party for a two year old and that took weeks of recovery.
Can someone help me with the math here? How did this happen? I remember as a child thinking that I wanted to be a young mom. My sister and I would plan our lives…. “Now, when we are 22 we will get married and have kids at 24.” That would put us in grandma-land before we reached 50.
But the reality is, I’ll be planning a Bar Mitzvah at 50, for my OLDEST. (Sidenote – My husband thinks it would be sweet if I also got Bat Mitzvahed at the same time, since I never did at 13. But how does a 50 year old invite her friends to a rollerskating party?)
I go to these kid music classes with my 21-month old and look around at all the moms, assessing the ages. Luckily, there is typically at least one person older than me (which might be a nanny). But there is ALWAYS some mom in the class, freaking out about the Vegas trip being planned for her 30th birthday.
I want my kids to always think of me as young – hip and cool and with it. Am I allowed to keep my hair long for a few more decades? At what point, does someone say, “OK, it’s time for the short-mom-haircut, missy!”? And is it cool if I wear my sweats with “Juicy” on the rear to bridge lessons at 50? When is the cutoff for that?
I had a flower painted on my toenail this summer and the 6-year old nextdoor said, “That is cool – I have one, too.” I think that toe took a dozen years off my age, in the eyes of the cul-de-sac girls.
I try to keep up with pop culture, but it’s hard when you are suppose to bathe your kids and feed them on a regular basis. I’ve been so consumed with kid stuff the last four years that I skipped over that whole iPod thing. I figure, how long can that trend really be around?
I mean, when do I really have any personal listening time anyway? If I’m jogging, I have at least one kid in the stroller with me, so what is the point of downloading 10,000 songs into some device that probably won’t be around tomorrow? OK, maybe this iPod thing IS here to stay.
I think you can be whatever age you want to be with a simple formula. Start with your real age and then add or subtract based on things you do and don’t do. Juicy across the butt? That takes off 10 years. The toenail flower? Now I’m down to age 25. No iPod? I’m right back up to 40.
I’m on Facebook and I can text (OK, maybe only in desperate situations). And I know about that song “I kissed a girl” so I think that allows me to check off the 30 – 35 box next time I’m asked. So it’s not 27. But I feel a little better already.