I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this term before: “a woman of a certain age.” You may have been hearing that you shouldn’t be doing something or wearing something. You know, “a woman of a certain age shouldn’t dress like that!” You may even have been the one saying it! I’m here to offer an entirely new spin on that phrase.
I was at the grocery store the other day, just pulling into a parking spot and trying to remember what I was there to purchase when I spotted “a woman of a certain age” get out of her vehicle and start making her way across the parking lot. She was about 3 steps away from her SUV when she stopped in the middle of the oncoming traffic lane and started back towards her spot. She stopped again; turned back towards the store, took a look back at the hatch of her truck, opened it, took out a shopping bag. She took one more step in the direction of the store, stopped, turned back, re-opened her hatch, put the bag back, closed the hatch and marched off to the entrance doors, giving her head a little shake as she went. I laughed. I’ve done the exact same thing many times. And let me tell you, once you’re inside the store it’s often worse.
I walk BoyGenius to school every morning, hustling him up off the couch, away from the laptop, into the bathroom to brush teeth and hair, towards the door to get shoes on, check the weather and argue about a jacket, snack, homework, backpack. Same thing every morning. I push him and struggle internally about whether I should put socks on or not, which jacket and which shoes I should don. We are in a rush. We are not in a rush. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Day after day. Guess how often we are at the foot of the driveway before I realize that neither one of us has his knapsack? I’d hazard 3 out of 5 days.
I drive around with library books or dvds in my car. They come with me wherever I go. They are in there for one reason, and one reason only: to be returned to the library. They get moved from the front seat to the back seat, wind up hidden for a couple of days under some fast-food napkins and two or three jackets, then get re-discovered and replaced in the front seat. I pass the library at least twice a week … and then I get home, remember I have them and hope that I can also remember to log in to the library’s system and renew my items before midnight of their due date.
I have, on occasion over the last 8 years, stepped out of the shower, having turned the water off and draped a towel over myself, only to realize that I still had shampoo or conditioner in my hair. Yes, that’s right. I have also, on occasion over the last 8 years, stepped out of the shower, draped a towel over myself, grabbed another one to dry my hair and realized that my hair was hardly even wet, since I didn’t remember to wash it. The winning move, I think, is that I have even, on occasion over the last 8 years, stepped out of the shower and begun to dry myself only to realize that my underarms were sticking together … uh huh. I didn’t rinse the soap off.
I’ve done it all. I have left the dishwasher door open all day effectively keeping the cat from her food bowl. I have left my heated seat pad plugged in all night so that my car has no battery power in the morning. I have gone to get that one last thing to throw into the washer … only to return four hours later to find that I never did come back so the washer lid has remained open for all that time and the water is cold and the laundry is just sitting there in a tub full of water. I have boiled eggs until they pop — did you know that eggs pop just like popcorn? It’s not a pretty sight … or smell.
In the midst of all of this chaos, I have had an epiphany: being “a woman of a certain age” has absolutely nothing to do with your chronological age. You may have 23 years behind you, you may have 43 years behind you. Nowadays, in my humble opinion, being “a woman of a certain age” puts you squarely in the centre of the age of motherhood. People often speak of “baby brain” and attribute many quirks and bouts of forgetfulness to just that. My son is 8 years old. He’s no baby. It’s not “baby brain.” I am simply, and proudly, “a woman of a certain age.”