By the time I turn forty I’ll have my look all figured out.

It’s what happens when a woman turns that age.

All of my mom’s friends had it figured out by forty. Turn forty and you’re a grown up at last with a real grown up look.

These were the thoughts of my twenty something self as I pondered my many incarnations.

The day before seventh grade I walked through school in a Flashdance one shouldered sweat shirt, leopard print zip jeans and flourescent pink jellies, while wearing fish bait earrings (rubbery, not real) dangling near my shoulders. I ran into a teacher who said, “Oh my, Miss Martha! Haven’t you changed this summer!” She was over forty-ish and her look hadn’t changed at all in those short sweet months.

In the tenth grade I went mod accessorizing my Catholic school uniform with illegally pointy toed black flats, black tights, and a black second-hand men’s cardigan. My hair was worn in a tight clean bob, my eye lids liquid painted, carefully winging upward. After school my mod boyfriend would pick me up on the back of his mod scooter and we’d make plans for Fishbone concerts that I would lie to my mother about to be able to go.

Early nineties? The beginning of grunge and I cut my hair Amber Valetta pixie short, just like hers on that one cover of Vogue. I did wear plaid, but styled myself more eclectic/fashion forward; a pea coat embroidered with flowers (early Free People I wish I’d kept), Minnie Mouse minnie skirts, big fat clogs, Big Star jeans and lots of Betsey Johnson.

I always took risks; tattooing my left middle finger because I thought it would be cute (early twenties), pierced my nose so there’d always be a bit of sparkle emanating from my face (mid twenties), and more than once changed my boring blonde locks to shades from platinum white to sleek dark brown (over and over again).

As I drove the kids to school on Tuesday I took a good look in the visor mirror. No makeup, except for the Mac Omega eyebrows that are brushed on daily. No colorful cheeks, no lined eyes, too grown out highlights, no sparkle whatsoever.

I looked down at my outfit; Be Present yoga pants (okay fine, they are the ones with the lotus on the back, but still) and a gray t-shirt. On my feet? Havainas. God forsaken Havainas; not even a decent pair of shoes.

While looking in that mirror I wondered. A pierced nose? Double pierced ears? Maybe committing to liquid liner? Maybe committing to a daily red lip.

I have an appointment to get my hair colored next week and I’m taking a break from boring buttered blonde. The upkeep on red might be too much. Too dark isn’t right for my complexion. Pink? Ombre? The hair world is my oyster.

Mom clothes? They are a job requirement, but I’m done buying yoga pants for a while. Instead, I am going to focus on shoes beginning with the Swedish Hasbeens that appeared on my doorstep just yesterday.

I was wrong in believing that by forty I’d have grown stylishly wise, settling on my appropriate grown up look. Its a new world these 2010’s, so maybe the old rules don’t apply.

Besides, I think it’s true what they say about forty being the new thirty.

If that’s the case, I have almost ten more years of creative expression before I turn fifty, a very grown up age. Let’s hope fifty will not be the new forty or I’ll be one very confused lady.

How about you? Are you happy with your look or do you mix it up? Do you agree that change is good or is consistency a better approach?

Original 1980’s Jellies. I had the pink and the clear.
Modern Mod. Richard Bush for i-d magazine September 2011.
Free People embroidered pea coat. Mine had the embroidery up and down the front along the buttons. Loved it madly.
Betsey Johnson Fillmore Street store was like a home away from home. I loved walking through those doors.
The libra symbol I had tattoed on my left middle finger. Didn’t take long to remove, only a few visits to the zapping machine. Didn’t think it was appropriate when I became a teacher. Too many questions.
Gold Havainas. I was so determined not to buy a pair (or two) this year and instead opted for Tkees and Ipanemas. My resolve failed when the Tkees got killed on the New York streets and I found this pair at Club Monaco on the Upper West side. Boring, right?
Be Present Agility pant with the pink lotus embroidered at center back. I do love these.
Lauren Conrad apparently got tired of her blonde, too.
Butterscotch reddish blonde for Fall. But is it different enough?
Swedish Hasbeens Classic Slip On Super High (Hello Kitty stickers not included). They’re super easy to walk in even my four year old can do it. Do yourself a favor, if you buy a pair online, and buy an entire size up. They rum really small! 


Mommy Has Tantrums Too

Tired girls throw tantrums. I threw one this morning.

As soon as Brian came downstairs I started the kvetch about my exhaustion. I ignored Grace’s crying for me to pour her milk and instead growled, “Have your father do it!”  I stomped upstairs, slammed my bedroom door, and threw the blanket right over my head. It was a little tantrum, but it worked. The kids left me alone and I slept from 8:15 to 9.

To all my lovely clickers who read this mornings post entitled Dear Santa, Please forgive me for my lack of good editing.  I usually hem and haw over hitting the publish button, but this morning I didn’t. I hate it when that happens.

To my husband, himself a part-time clicker (who may or may not not read this), thanks for doing daughter duty this morning and allowing me the (almost an) hour nap I sorely needed. Next time though, when I’m not around and the girls ask for that ziplock bag filled with colorful “candy balls” high in the pantry, don’t believe them when they say, “Mommy says we can have them.” Those balls were gum. When you weren’t looking,  Sophie hid the bag behind the sofa and spent the morning chewing and swallowing them.

To my kids, Moms get crabby too. Sorry if I was mean and snappy. When you asked me to go to the play room to attach the ladder to the doll house again, after I had already done it once, I was really frustrated. Sometimes I just wish you could do more things on your own and rely on me a little bit less. I know there will come a day when I’ll wish for you to need me for stuff, but this morning was not it. I know you know that I was tired and I love you even when you are bossy and won’t let me sleep. I don’t like it, but you I love!

After my rest I came down to check out the damage. Brian had fed the girls and the toy explosion that usually happens when I’m off duty was manageable. Brian left for work, the girls played, and I partook in a good dose of “healthy” Internet shopping (fill the bag and don’t hit purchase) until back upstairs we went. I started more laundry, cleaned off the bed that my mother-in-law will sleep in when she arrives tomorrow, and got into the shower.

Afterward, I gave my face a good cream dousing (Eucerin, if you are interested) and patted on some acid laced eye cream from Sephora.  I put on my cozy hooded thermal that my sister gave me on her first visit to Raleigh and my wide legged Lucy yoga pants. They have a fold over waistband that makes it look like a skirt is attached. Between the “skirt” and the wide legs, I looked thin enough to trick myself into believing that the chocolate chips and half bag of marshmallows I ate after breakfast didn’t happen.

Isn’t it funny how a little nap, some moisturization, and comfy yoga pants can turn a ho-hum day into an I’m-doing-the-best-that-I-can-and-it’s-all-okay kind of day? I’m feeling pretty good now.

Perspective is everything.