Is Parenthood Making You OLD?

by Sarah Cottrell
middle age mom
AleksandarNakic / iStock

In the immortal words of Will Smith, “Parents just don’t understand.” When an otherwise hip, young adult becomes a mom, the aging process can accelerate to warp speed, causing damage to the person’s cool factor at the cellular level. No amount of hair product, Anthropology shirts, or current music lyric quotes can stop the inevitable doom of middle age from happening. If this describes you, then you have what is known as OLD.

The first stages of OLD are a rough mix of shock and denial. Who wants to admit that middle age is creeping in?! But when you see silver hairs appearing on your head (or worse, on your carpet) in streaky masses instead of the anomalous single strand, then you know you’ve hit OLD.

But it doesn’t stop at grey hair because you have some of these fun signs to look forward to:

You developed a paunchy belly.

T-shirts and yoga pants are the modern tracksuit, and you wear them every day.

You eat dinner at 4:30 or 5 p.m. because you “have little kids.”

You get up before the sun rises.

Your back aches.

Your boobs are heading toward your belly button.

Your ears appear slightly larger and your gums begin to recede just enough for you to flippantly laugh at the term “long in the tooth.”

Dairy becomes your mortal enemy.

You’ve got “the elevens” those two annoying creases right between your eyebrows that give you a permanent resting bitch face.

One glass of wine and you’re falling asleep on the couch, at 8 p.m.

The second stage of OLD is when the dreaded disorder blooms in full, and your interior world goes haywire with overlapping existential crises. You wonder about profoundly complicated decisions like should you take up knitting or Zumba? At what point is it no longer cute that you pee a little every time you sneeze or laugh? Holy shit, you think, will I need Depends?!

But the concern doesn’t stop at occasional incontinence because you have some of these fun thoughts to look forward to:

You momentarily consider becoming a cougar.

When you realize that mostly middle-aged moms read—and loved—Fifty Shades of Grey you consider donating yours to get rid of the evidence.

You freak out when you realize that you’re in the Bermuda Triangle of lady plumbing issues when you wonder if you’re about to get your period, if you are experiencing premenopausal symptoms, or OMG, are you pregnant?!

You still think Johnny Depp is hot until you realize he is 1) not looking “distinguished” with age and 2) probably eligible to join AARP soon.

You reconsider becoming a cougar.

You notice that you are becoming uncomfortable with the amount skin these young musicians are showing in their viral videos. Wait…what?!

You suddenly realize that you have no idea what language these young people are speaking when they say weird shit like “fleek” and “bae.”

Naps sound way more exciting than they should.

You wonder if you should just say “fuck it” and embrace this midlife crisis stuff.

You decide to give up and take a French cooking class.

Wait. No. You change your mind. You’re going to be a badass and take up kickboxing.

You wonder if maybe sex is way better in middle age so you eye up your husband…who is now backing away slowly?

There is some preventive care that you can try to avoid these horrifying pitfalls. As long as you avoid the Classic Rock radio station that plays Nirvana and U2, and you avoid developing an unhealthy codependent relationship with Spanx, elastic waist pants, stretch “jeans,” and grannie panties, then you are probably going to be fine.

In the meantime, here, have a seat. Let me brush your hair while you cry into a bowl of Rocky road.