Age matters, but not your age – just your kids’ age. It’s something I’ve only recently realized, and my children are age 8 and 5.

Sitting at a kids’ birthday party a couple weeks back, all the moms suddenly began to share how old they were. No surprise – I was the oldest. Older than some by more than a decade. Ouch.

I started to check out of the conversation, thinking that I wouldn’t have that much in common with these young moms.

I was wrong.

If life is nothing but a series of stages and phases, then guess what: The 21-year-old and the 31-year-old who each just had a baby have just been thrown into the exact same stage.

That 21-year-old is going to have a hard time relating to her single best friend partying down in Cabo. And that 31-year-old is going to have a hard time relating to her best friend running three different sports carpools.

I’m not saying these two fictitious women can’t keep their existing friendships. I’m saying the 21-year-old and 31-year-old NEED each other in their tribe.

So why even talk about our age anymore?

I swear the next time I’m at a party and the table starts talking about ages, I’m going to chime in that I’m “8 and 5.” That tells the table a whole lot more about my life than answering that I’m 38.

It tells them:

  • I still regularly wipe someone’s bum.
  • Going to the pediatrician is a constant, as is the anxiety about whether or not they really NEED to go to the pediatrician and risk catching something there (WHY do they put the books and toys on the sick-kid side of the room?!?).
  • I make at least two dinners every night, sometimes more.
  • Going to the grocery store by myself is on par with a night out on the town.
  • My highlighted hair’s seriously outgrown roots exist only because I’m still waiting for an opportunity to go to the salon vs. that I haven’t noticed.

If a mom at that table had told me she’s “5, 3 and 6 months, still nursing” I would have instantly known:

  • She only has as much time at the party as her boobs will allow (about 2-4 hours, depending).
  • Her life revolves around going potty – wiping the 5-year-old bum, potty training the 3-year-old bum and changing diapers for the 6-month-old bum. If she’s lucky enough to find her way to the bathroom by herself, she must lock the door in order to go potty in private.
  • Getting to shower before the party was a major accomplishment and more than a little glorious. She likely was not able to take the 10-minute shower without being interrupted at least three times, maybe more, and probably endured a consistent “MOM!” being yelled from another room.
  • She has long hair in a messy bun because that’s all she has time for.
  • She’s just starting this whole kid party thing, and is likely totally overwhelmed by kindergarten and having to organize three kids that early in the morning.

Of course, there’s all sorts of other factors that make you relatable – but as a mom, I’m not sure any is as powerful as the age of our children. It’s what dictates how we spend our evenings and weekends and if we shower daily.

Pssst…moms of children under 2, you are not supposed to shower daily. If you are, kudos to you, but if you find you’re a-okay with dried spit-up in your hair on day 2 – let me tell you…totally normal.

So cut yourself some slack if you’re 35 with a toddler and don’t feel as put-together as your friend who’s 35 and has kids in elementary school. You’re NOT the same age.

I’m 8- and 5-years-old. How old are you?

Much Love, H

(originally published on 3/5/17)