Who Are You Calling Grandma?

I suppose this is a consequence of delayed motherhood and that it was bound to happen sooner or later, but boy, it was a real shock.

Mouse and I were in Gymboree class and Mouse had wandered off. The following ensued:

Do I LOOK like a grandmother? (the correct answer is no)

Teacher: “Mouse, come on over and sit with Grandma!”

Me: “I’m Mommy.”

Teacher: “Oh, sorry! I always thought you were Grandma.”


I’m only 37 years old. I’ll be 38 in June. And I was 35 when Mouse was born. I scoffed at all of the literature that labeled me “Advanced Maternal Age.” I turned down the offer of an amniocentesis to determine my risk level of Down Syndrome since I’d been bumped into a higher category. And I’ve always been told that I look young for my age.

Okay sure, I don’t get carded anymore and nobody really mistakes me for a college student, but really, mistaking me for someone who pulls in a social security check? REALLY?

And the funny thing is that there are two women there who go by “Grandma” (or at least haven’t corrected the teacher yet), and they both look like your typical image of a grandmother–gray hair, um, well okay, it’s hard to describe what makes someone looking like a grandma other than gray hair. But that’s an excellent place to start, since I actually only have a handful of gray hairs. Might that have been a tipoff?

Also, I wear my fun, hip glasses. Okay sure, I kind of dress a bit frumpy. I go for comfort rather than style and I can’t remember the last time I really bought clothes for myself that weren’t for a special occasion or travel. But shouldn’t my fun, hip glasses compensate for that?

Apparently not.

And the funny thing was, the teacher (whom I would estimate is probably 19 or 20) wasn’t even really embarrassed that she’d made this mistake. I mean, I was more shocked than offended, but she barely paused to reflect upon what she said. It was like “Oops! Sorry about the Grandma thing HEY! Who wants to play with bubbles?!”

But I believe in karma. Someday she will probably be walking around with her kid, and I’ll go out of my way to find her and say something like, “Oh, it’s so nice to see you out with your grandchild. Intergenerational relationships are really being lost in this day and age.”


3 Responses

  1. I wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about this. I’m thinking the teacher needs to get herself some glasses – or least some manners. Even if you did look old (which you don’t), don’t you think the teacher would err on the side of caution (i.e. call the grandmas “moms” until it was confirmed they weren’t). I’m almost 40, have a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old and I’m one of the “younger” moms from their school. I have a couple mom friends who are 5-8 years younger than me, but the majority are older than me, which means they became moms in their mid 30s (as opposed to their early 30s like me.)

    So I wouldn’t say you look like an older mom – or ARE an older mom. Gen Xers have their babies at age 16 or when they are over 30 🙂

  2. Well that just f-ing sucks! I’d be pissed! All I can think of for a comeback (especially since it sounds like she wasn’t very apologetic) is to put it back on her and say something like: “No I’m his mom. Why would you think I’m his grandma??”

  3. […] Where I am now known as “Grandma.” […]

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