I remember for my 21st birthday I bought a black skin tight jumpsuit to wear to the casino. When I modeled it for my mom she gushed about how beautiful I looked and told me the story of the jumpsuit she wore to the small family reception after she married my ex-stepfather (extra emphasis on the EX because he’s a douche). They literally just got married and after all the guests had left the party he went up to my mom and told her that it would be the last time that she was ever going to wear a jumpsuit again. My mom was around 40 years old when she married him, and still a hottie; but for the 13 or so years they were married, she never dared to wear a jumpsuit again. From what I remember she dressed fairly modestly when they were married, and didn’t really have much of a life of her own. Looking back at it now as an almost 40 year old woman myself, I could never dream of anyone telling me how to dress or suddenly having to change into some old fashion standard of what a wife and mother are “supposed to be”.
Before Covid (is this going to be a new time marker?!) during dinner with my best friend Paula, we talked about how much older our moms (may they rest in peace) seemed to us when they were our age. We joked about their outfits and hair, and how they just acted “old”. To us, two fashionable, independent Hispanic women with careers and hobbies, who after a couple drinks will proudly rap every line to Biggie’s “Juicy” on the dance floor; our mothers seemed so different from who we are at their age.
Growing up my ex-stepfather “wore the pants” so to speak and my mom wasn’t allowed to dress too sexy, never really wore makeup, and made sure she served him his dinner every night without fail. All she did was work, cook, clean and take care of us. At the time I was young so it wasn’t a “thing” to me; thinking about it now though kinda makes me sad and a little sick to my stomach. I’m not sure if that’s just how it was at the time, or if it had to do more with the Hispanic culture; but as I got older I knew that’s not how I wanted my life to be. It seems most women a generation ago resigned their sexy goddess within as soon as they were married and had children and replaced her with “Frumpy Franny”.
I’m very fortunate to be a woman in this day and age, and it’s not so much because I don’t want to be “subservient” and “frumpy”, but more so that I have choices of the kind of woman I want to be, and those choices are not narrowly confined. Just because I will be 40 in 5 months doesn’t mean I have pull my elastic waist mom jeans up to my nipples, be the head of the PTA and knit socks for my cat while watching Golden Girls on a Friday night. Actually that last part isn’t too far fetched during a pandemic! My point is, I can be the woman I want; the woman I AM, and I don’t have to care what anyone thinks about it.
In the era of Kim Kardashian and JLo, it is more evident than ever that middle aged women of today are masters of their own destiny. She can be a successful wife and mother, and still be sexy. She can dye her hair blue, start a Zumba YouTube channel and wait until she’s 40 to have her first child. She can have 3 kids and be the CEO of her own company making more than her husband, or have no kids and travel the world making a living posting pics for Instagram with her domestic partner. She can shave her head, wear 5 inch heels to the grocery store, or dress in men’s clothes; SHE CAN DO WHATEVER TF SHE WANTS! It’s actually quite an amazing time to be a woman if you think about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, have a clean house, be a nurturing mother to my daughters, and the best wife I can possibly be to my husband, Eric. Another reason why life for many middle aged women has become so limitless is because there are more men who embrace independent women, it is more accepted by society to be in a same sex relationship, and we aren’t forced into marriage out of necessity; but can choose a partner who views us as an equal with common goals and values. I love that I can ask Eric for his opinion on my outfits, which photos I should post on social media, and he’s even taken some of my best shots for the ‘Gram. He supports what I do because no matter what sexy outfit I have on, or how many comments I get, he knows that I would never disrespect him or our marriage and even though we have our own hobbies, our lives are dedicated to our family. (Plus he thinks I’m hot.)
I will continue to teach my 15 year old (and will teach my 3 year old) to be strong, go after her dreams, and to be her own person no matter what. I hope one day she finds someone (if she chooses to) who adds to her life and the person she is, as Eric adds to mine; and if anyone ever tells her she can’t wear a jumpsuit, she will know to go running for the hills! Those days are long gone; we are no longer defined by our age, our marital status or our children. We women define ourselves and have officially changed the game.