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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.

7 Responses to oh to be 27…

  • ErinB says:

    my master plan was to graduate college, have an instant amazing career, marry at 23 and have kids by 25…who knew I wouldnt even meet THE ONE until 31 and my job at 23 is pretty far from what I do now! But I look back at the one I was with at 25 and thank god he is not my husband and you couldnt pay me enough to do that job now that I had then. I dont know how time is going by so fast- and saying that makes me sound like an old lady. I try to stay semi hip- I text, I facebook, I watch gossip girls. I am hanging onto my long hair and avoiding a mini van for as long as I can hold out. Time isnt going to reverse so its the least I can do :-}
    Oh and get an ipod! sooo worth it!!

  • Jordana says:

    Karen – I’m sensing a trend here with you and the numbers. You always get me adding in my head. After your last post I realized that I’m TWO decades older than my high school students (seniors no less!) and will be 48 at my oldest’s Bat Mitzvah. However, I never get down about aging. My life just keeps getter richer and fuller so I look forward to getting older! (plus, as my father always says, I keep getting better looking!)

  • Daphne says:

    My hair has been growing longer and longer since that day my mother-in-law mentioned that “soon I’d be too old for long hair.” I may never cut it again…
    Oh, and my 2cents: NO ONE is the right age to have the word Juicy on her butt!

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    When you stop worrying about how long you can keep ‘long hair’…you’ll start worrying about when to stop dying your gray hair and let it go GRAY. I’m hoping the beautician will say to me, ‘You’re too old to keep on dying your hair…let it go gray’…and then I’ll KNOW…

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