A new friend of my daughter came over, after school, the other day and promptly turned to her and exclaimed, “Your mother is not 35!”
With a quizzical look to my daughter, I proudly stated that I was indeed not 35 and, in fact, 52 years old. My daughter groans and rolls her eyes pulling her new friend into the bedroom where they stayed pretty much the entire time she was here.
After she left I casually asked my daughter what that comment was all about. Both she and her younger sister chimed in that they did not want their friends to know how old their mom is. My youngest also tells her friends that I am 35 years old. I am not sure why 35 is the magical number of a mother with an 11 and a 9 year old and I wonder if they came up with this number together - already learning that if we are going to lie let’s be consistent.
The problem with lying is that sooner or later someone is going to figure it out, like when they talk about their 22-year-old brother. Being in Grades 5 and 3, it won’t take long for their friends to calculate that I would have had to have had him at age 13!
I remember growing up and being terribly embarrassed by my own mother’s age. She had me when she was 37, so I can just imagine how my girls feel, since I had them at age 42 and 44. I always felt that I acted so much younger than my mother at this age. The reality still is that I am an older mom and my girls are just as embarrassed with my age as I was with my mother’s.
My hair is going grey and I wear reading glasses. I have clear signs of aging on my hands, face and body. I thought of the ways of making myself look younger, like coloring my hair and rethinking all of the plastic surgery options, fillers and injections I could get.
Read this next: Orphaned at 45
Should not embarrassing my daughters outweigh aging gracefully? I feel for them, but I also want my daughters to know that I am proud of my age. Proud of how active I am, how good I feel and how I look in my 50s. I want them to understand that they too should be proud that I still ski, skate, bike and do other activities with them - everything a younger mom could do. To me it is more about how I act rather than how I look that matters. That old adage, “You are only as old as you feel” has never been a truer statement and one that I plan to instill on my daughters.
I hope my girls will look back at me when they become my age and think, she was not so old after all!
Audrey van Petegem is an independent blogger that has been published on a variety of online magazine and blogs such as, Huffington Post, BlogHer, Elephant Journal and Midlife Boulevard. She describes herself as a book reviewer, midlifer and ponderer. As a baby boomer, she will be the first to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about this stage of life. Follow her on Twitter @Audreyvp.