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They’re everywhere and I’m fed up with facing them.
They gossip languorously in the parking lots of private schools, saunter through the mall pushing strollers that look as though they’ve just had a full detail at the local car wash, or hang out in the park, crisply dressed in the latest casual wear from INC.
Not a patch of baby puke in sight.
You will also find them glibly pushing their shopping carts along the supermarket aisles, wearing tart smiles that say “Look at me! I’m Raphael’s vision of motherhood”.
Ironically, they seem almost blithely unaware of the babbling toddler threaded into the seat of their cart, sucking on the de rigueur organic gourmet animal cracker that has metamorphosed into congealed mush, gushing through her little fists.
It’s the tell-tale baby accessory, usually donned in a Gymboree sundress carefully “pouffed”, like the gown of a blushing bride who is about to walk down the aisle.
These are not the children of average moms. They are, in fact, the children of Stepford Moms Under Thirty-five. (Interesting acronym: SMUT).
However, when it comes to SMUT, let’s make one thing clear—immediately.
I respect their choices, along with the fortuitous star under which they were born, enabling them to have children while they were nice and young and to have found husbands, equally nice and young.
It’s a good thing; running gazelle-like after young children is preferred to huffing like a wounded rhino (a condition that develops with age).
In fact, I often envy their buttocks so daily-workout-at-the-gym polished and buffed that you can almost see your face in them as you would a shiny new hubcap.
Every now and then, I covet those beautifully salon-bronzed highlights they are laying out their husband’s hard-earned shekels for when I know, full well, that my miserable sojourn to the hairstylist is all about The Roots.
They still have white teeth too. And most of them are probably real. (Unlike their breasts, many of which I doubt would pass the squeeze test.)
Still, I don’t have that big a problem with “the fixtures” either.
I’m almost forty-nine. If I wanted to have my fair share of gravity-defying flotation devices that could only be harnessed by an under-wired bra, I could. Heck, I had a twenty-seven year old babysitter with breast implants—the whole question of whether it is nobler to augment or reduce is now passé in the world of cosmetic surgery.
My teeth were blindingly white. Once. But that was about three thousand cappuccinos ago. There was also a prehistoric era during which I could paint my jeans on too. It was during the ‘70s, although satin pants (not jeans) were the fashion du jour for a second skin.
When it comes to under thirty-five Steps, I don’t have issues with their youthful, maternal state of grace allowing them to envisage themselves (dewy-eyed and with golden locks unfurled) bathing their naked babes in a rustic fountain, while donned in Italian cheesecloth.
I had my spin at the wheel. No hard feelings.
What I do have issues with how they comport themselves and deign to be noticed by the rest of the world.
I do have issues with their air of entitlement and the practiced ease with which they judge the other members of the parental realm who are not carbon copies of them.
Ergo, I don’t have a problem with who they are; just with their attitude, sorely lacking in the spirit of “vive le difference”.
There is such a thing as unhealthy confidence—a blind assurance—synonymous with the folly of youth.
Like my mom always said: “Youth is wasted on the young.”
Yet, in the old days, the young respected their “elders”, especially grandparents (or anyone fifty or older), because it was tacitly understood that there was no substitute for experience.
Then things changed.
My now eighty-year-old father said that, when the 1980’s generation of teenagers came along, they were so flip, capricious and regularly disrespectful of older folk that he suffered from a knee-jerk impulse just to smack them every time he saw one—for future infractions.
He was raised in the Depression and went to a Catholic elementary school where nuns kept order with a yard stick. He was a little old fashioned. But I take his point.
Now I’m saying: “Hey, look Dad, they grew up and had kids of their own!”
And here they are, role-modeling self-righteous smugness for their blessed offspring. I see it in their eyes as if they were crying out loud: “Oh, look at the old lady with the kid. Did she get it ass-backwards, or what?”
Let’s face it—Steps are the self-appointed Golden Ones; they who should be first in line at Nob Hill, they who are entitled to a life-time membership to Spa Utopia, they-who-must-be-admired.
They who believe they will never get old.
But I take solace in the knowledge that, somewhere along the journey, they will (inevitably) find wisdom in humility. Just like we did.
And when I start to get lemon-lipped about it, I pull out my mantra-movie.
You know the one: Cathy Bates (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Kathy_Bates) in Fried Green Tomatoes (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B000EF5NAS?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000EF5NAS) when she (as Evelyn Couch) finally stands up for herself, pile-driving the car of the young, insensitive women who ripped off her parking spot (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=GZhmZxPWni0) and driving off with:
“Face it girls! I’m older and I have more insurance.”
Then I imagine our own movie: The Revenge of the Granny Moms. It’s when all of us—moms over forty around the world— rise up and say: “Face it girls! We’re older and we’ve got more experience—not to mention an extra wheelbarrow of common sense!”
But every little cloud has its silver lining. In this case, Stepford Moms Under Thirty-five are a constant reminder that compels me—to paraphrase of the 1970’s Crosby Stills & Nash song (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=p6pphVs8bF0)—to “teach my daughter well”.
To teacher her not be ageist, and yet to mine the gold of wisdom that can only be found in the “rock of age”, the gem that lies in every midlife mother’s heart.
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
Angel on CNN(http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)
CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
AARP's "Inside E-Sreet" on PBS TV (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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