The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Mistaken Identity

The little boy with the big blue eyes cocked his head up at me and peered intently at my face. After studying it for a minute, he uttered the dreaded question.

“Are you a grandma?” he asked innocently.

I was picking up my daughter from a preschool outing at Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon. Apparently the bright mid-day summer sun that made the sapphire water of Richardson Bay shimmer so prettily was not as kind to my mature face.

“No, I’m Phoebe’s mommy,” I replied blushing.

Having given birth to my now five-year-old child a few months shy of my 43rd birthday, I knew such remarks were to be expected.

Still, it stung.

My husband, who is the same age as me, has been mistaken for our daughter’s grandpa since the day she was born. “Is she your first grandchild?” a nurse gushed at him as he cradled Phoebe in his arms in the NICU shortly after her birth.

Maybe because he’s a man and doesn’t have as much pressure from society to look youthful, he’s always taken these comments in stride. I, on the other hand, have always been secretly relieved that I’d escaped such a devastating blow to my vanity. I even deluded myself that, with the help of daily sunscreen, hair dye and attempting -- at least when I’m not clad in sweats or workout gear -- to follow the fashion rules of TV’s “What Not to Wear,” I didn’t look so different from some of the hip, young, thirty-something moms I knew.

My delusion was shattered by the uncensored honesty of that four-year-old boy. As I drove home from the pasture, his words continued to taunt me. I kept glancing up from the road to scrutinize my face in the rearview mirror. The more I looked, the more convinced I became that wrinkles and age spots that hadn’t been there yesterday had appeared overnight, catapulting me into full-blown crone hood.

More disturbing than the signs of age on my face was the recognition of an ugly truth about myself. Turns out I’m as guilty as friends and other women I’ve criticized for being overly concerned about aging.

Like them, I realized, I’ve bought into the message that, as women in our youth-obsessed society, looking older -- or just looking one’s age -- is not okay and makes us less worthy as human beings.

The fact is -- I am old enough to be a grandmother. What’s so awful about that?

By Dorothy O’Donnell


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As the 52 year old mom of a 10 year old, I have heard this also. Had not happened to me in a long time and then happened twice last week. Both times from adults - from adults I find it kinda clueless and tactless. From kids, just their usual honesty.

I'm just so glad to be a mom at all,

Marianne Lonsdale
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