When people see me with my children it sometimes leaves them puzzled due to the disparity in their ages. Having one adult child and then seeing age of the two others often ends up with that “hmmm” stares in directed at me. My oldest is the spitting image of me but people are never quite sure if he’s my brother or some other relative. He’s quite protective of his younger siblings and almost fatherly (I said almost) yet he has a very young face. I’m flattered when they realize what the real story is and they tell me I don’t look old enough to have a child that age but in reality I am.

Today as I picked up my younger children from their after-care program someone remarked about me being a young mom. I asked them what they meant because I was old enough to be their mother. They said they knew I was older but I dressed and looked younger so I was a young mom. I thought it was funny but it made me think about how today’s mothers look like vs. what we think they should look like.

Growing up in an era where television mothers included Florida Evans and Mrs. Brady, I certainly don’t fit into that category. The women of that time were in their 40’s as mothers but now as I look back at them, they looked much older. Was it the hair styles, the clothing or their mannerisms that made them look really old to the kids watching the show? In those times it certainly was standard for women to be more reserved in their attire unless they wanted to be categorized as being fast. Neither one of those television actresses wore much makeup and they certainly weren’t wearing clothing that for a lack of a better term was “in style."

Looking through pictures of people in my age group can leave even the smartest person confused. Some people look younger than today’s 16 year olds who in many cases are aging well beyond their years at an alarming rate. Then there’s the forty something crowd who make you wonder why they look 60. Is it good genes for the younger, trendier looking crowd or is it just the way they carry themselves? Are the more mature looking folks trying to look the way they think they should so it shows they’re experienced or full of wisdom for the sake of networking? Or have those same folks just become tired of making extra strides towards looking good and have a take me as I am attitude that leaves them looking less than their best?

If you take a look at current actors/actresses in movies as well as those in the music industry, today’s 40 is a far cry from yesterday’s 40. People like Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts and former 106 & Park Host Free fit into what I’ll call the sexy, sassy, classy group of 40+ people. These ladies epitomize what being a real woman is and they carry it well! On the male scene you have actors like Denzel Washington, Richard Gear, Johnny Depp and Taye Diggs strutting their manhood in only a way that they could. The very site of them leaves women feeling like a hot flash is coming on way before menopause rears its ugly head. Obviously some may think because they’re celebrities they can afford to change themselves into whatever they want. Even with the best plastic surgery, if you don’t have swagger you just don’t have it!! These people they have swagger on steroids because it’s just their style.

So what about the regular people we know who walk around in sweatpants, sweatshirts, no makeup and no frills sneakers? If they were always like that, you don’t question them as much now as you may have in earlier years because it’s perceived their lack of interest in appearance is made up with their interest in wealth planning and investments. It’s the people who were high school beauty queens and jocks that make you scratch your head when you see them and wonder what happened. Why do some of the over 40 crowd decide to be mature you have to dress like you don’t have a sense of style? Is that some sort of right of passage to the over 40 kingdom. Is the idea that you have to look aged to belong in that realm and if you’re not people don’t take you seriously? Everyone is entitled to present themselves however they want but why not put forth your personal best for your own sake?

I say to hell with what 40+ folks are supposed to look like. There’s not one thing wrong with selecting whatever color you want your hair to be, strutting in a pair of nice riding boots and blinging it out with some jewelry. These things can be done in such a way that it’s not over the top but you are still sexy, sassy and classy! You maturity will come through in your demeanor and stories about experiences as opposed to a dressed down, I don’t give a damn frumpy look. Psychologically how does that make people feel about themselves? It’s no secret that when we look better we feel better. I’m not talking about doing this to catch a mate; I’m saying to do this for you. You deserve it. You’ve made it to 40+ and you owe it to yourself!

Just because you’ve reached the 40 milestone is no reason to lie down and play dead. Rejuvenate that hair and makeup. If you don’t wear makeup, that’s not an issue but present yourself in a way that you look alive! As a male, go out and get that shirt with the white collar and cuffs and those cuff links to set it off while you strut in the best jeans and shoes you have. Take off those boring tennis shoes and save them for a later time when your feet can’t handle anything but them.

Live life and look like you’re enjoying it. Join the club. There is nothing wrong with being sexy, sassy, classy and over 40!

*Commentary is not meant to substitute for professional advice and is merely a matter of opinion. All articles are protected property. Any attempt to reprint, duplicate or use text used herein without expressed written permission is a violation of the law.

Author's Bio: 

Aleasa Word is the Managing Director of Allergy Words Consulting, LLC. She is the author of the daily blog The Wordallogic - a thought provoking blog aimed at showing the logic behind the words we use to empower or disempower ourselves. Visit www.allergwords.com