No Country For Old Moms

When I was 13, my mom was old.  In fact, she was roughly the same age I am now, but to me, she was old.  She listened to none of the music I liked.  The only movies she liked were old movies, movies with people like John Wayne and Bette Davis.  She wore mom clothes — double-knit dresses during the week, housedresses on weekends — that were inherently unsexy.  When she dressed up, pressed her hair and put on makeup, she looked good, but old lady good. 

My mom didn’t read books very often, and certainly wasn’t interested in the romances or Harold Robbins’ novels I favored.  Her primary interests were cooking, sewing and gardening — old lady stuff.  And her ideas about sex (oral sex is gross) and romance (no such thing) struck me as positively ancient.  I felt like she would have put all of us girls in chastity belts until we were 30, if she could have found three of them.  I was convinced my mother couldn’t relate at all to anything I was going through when I was a teenager.  My friends all had old mothers, and we all felt the same way.

I am not like my mother.

My 13-year-old daughter and I not only listen to the same music, we have lively arguments about the merits, or lack thereof, of Nicki Minaj and Drake.  I don’t censor her music anymore, although I will comment on the most foul, misogynistic or just plain ridiculous lyrics. 

I read prolifically, and my bookshelves are fast becoming a library for her.  This year, she found three of the books on her required reading list on my bookshelves.  We get manicures, pedicures, and our eyebrows threaded together.  We did yoga classes together this summer.  If I didn’t think Child Protective Services would come take her away, I’d sign her up to take pole dancing classes with me.

I don’t enjoy cooking, and I don’t garden or sew.  My ex-husband fancies himself the chef (although he only does barbecue, collard greens and fried chicken), so she’ll have to learn that skill from him.  She doesn’t expect me to be a bread- and cookie-baking mom.  She seems to get more of a kick telling people the name of the cosmetics company I work for.

My mother had no clothes I would have wanted to be seen in.  My daughter stays in my closet, trying on my tops, shoes and boots.  She likes the fact that her mom wears, and looks good in, J Brand and 7 for All Mankind jeans. 

And she gets — or tries to — a bit too involved in the details of my post-divorce dating and sex life.

I’ve noticed the same thing with the moms of her friends.  They are women who work out and display still-tight figures in body-hugging tops and premium jeans, who color their hair, get their nails done and wear makeup.  It used to be, when I was a kid, that the working moms were the only moms who still seemed to care about their appearance.  Now, it’s the stay-at-home, bread- and cookie-baking moms who are all yoga-toned and super-fit, and the working moms struggle to stay on par with them. 

And our girls seem to revel in the youthfulness of their moms.  “My mom doesn’t look her age” is a bragging right.

I didn’t set out to be the young mom.  While I was going through my divorce, I most certainly wasn’t.  I was a mom stuck in cat hair-covered fleece.  But now, having found the freedom to be youthful and playful, I more readily display that side of myself.  And my daughter clearly enjoys relating to me as a woman and not just as her mom.

So it truly is no country for old moms.  At least not in New York City.

9 thoughts on “No Country For Old Moms

  1. My mother was 32 when i was 13, but my step-father was 52, so her 32 was even older.

    I look around at some of the 32 year old women that I know and its clear that 32 ain’t what it used to be.

    Then again, 13 ain’t what it used to be either.


  2. Wow,I hope your mom doesn’t read what you posted about her. She sounds like a very hard working dedicaded mother. Maybe that’s why her marriage lasted and your didn’t. Just saying, ya know.


    1. I wish my mom were here to read what I wrote about her. Sadly, she’s not. And you know nothing about her marriage or mine. But thanks for reading.


  3. I can so relate to this!! My daughter is now 24 and I am 49. While I have always been the Mother (nurturer, disciplinarian, etc), we have always been friends! It’s funny the stories she’d tell in her latter teenage years! TMI LOL. We listen to the same music (Mostly), enjoy the same movies, and she constantly attempts to dress me; preferring me to shop in the Junior Section. I’ve commented to you in the past on Twitter regarding the whole dating situation. WOW! Always in search of the “right one”; as if she’s a better judge than me. I think her eyes may be a little more wide open than mine, as I tend to walk through a day in tunnel vision. LOL Loved the article! Keep doing what you do! 😉


  4. As I was headed out the door this week for a walk with my daughter, I actually thought to myself “I look a mess, but the baby looks good, so its okay.” LOL. Motherhood can do that to you. Kudos on not letting motherhood do that to you.


  5. My mom was only 19 when she had me, my dad 20. So we always listened to the same music, dressed in the same type of clothes, watched the same shows. Even now, my mom’s only 48, and now that she works in an elementary/junior high school, she knows all the songs and dresses really fly. She’s never been an “old mom,” and also because she looks young, no one ever thinks she’s my mom.

    I endeavor to be a young mom. I also look young – no one thinks I’m almost thirty. I dress like I’m in my 20s – because I am! I didn’t buy some skinny jeans a few weeks back only because my husband didn’t like them – he thought they were too tight! I listen to the radio to keep up – and I like it 🙂 I never want to be an “old mom,” but I also want to age gracefully – nothing wrong with getting older.


  6. My mom had me at 23. I feel like it was a great age for her to keep up with what was hot in the streets but still be a mom. We shared music and eventually clothing. I was always raiding her closet. We hung out at concerts and loved the same movies. I think a lot of that had to do with my parents not being together and me being an only child. I was her sidekick.

    I went to high school with girls whose moms were 60. They treated them like they were 60 too. The moms were out of touch, the daughters buck wild crazy.

    I dont want to be an old mom. I love being youthful with my son and I plan to try and keep my youthfulness as long as I’m allowed to have it.


  7. I grew up in the West Indies, went to catholic schools, grew up in a family with rigid principles , certain topics were totally off limits and the dress code strict . One of the messages given by the nuns were that it was vain to look at ourselves in the mirror and such was discouraged as a sin.
    I did not get bold enough to discuss sex with my daughters but made sure that I gave them informations via books. when I wanted to be a bit more liberal, their father would not let me be and facing so many battles in my marriage, I gave up on that part.
    I can say today, I have bridged the gap. Because I see them as mature and responsible women rather than daughters, I can go anywhere with them and not feel uncomfortable. They as well, have no reservation with me.

    My daughters told me one day : ” it was nice that you gave us those books, but it would have been good to know what you personally thought “.

    Now , when I bring a hot issue , my first born would say: ” mom ” with a mixture of surprise and contentment . My youngest would pick up and engage as if she was conversing with one of her buddies. The 30 years difference is irrelevant , there are only women sharing about life and things that matters.


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