In the 1970’s, the model of the good life came from shows like Happy Days and The Brady Bunch. But the former was straight-up nostalgia, and one could only take so much of the Brady-schmaltz before tuning out with Pink Floyd and a joint.
In the 1980’s, Thirty-Something made us long for minivans driven by sensitive husbands. But in a pre-AIDS world, men were enjoying the Sexual Revolution. It was a Catch 22. Men didn’t want marriage while women shouldered an unspoken curse: If you haven’t married by thirty, you will be an old maid. Then, as Metal Hair Bands gave way to Grunge, I left behind my shoulder-pads and big hair and got married.
The 1990’s brought two sons and the show Friends into our home. While balancing motherhood with a soul-sucking job and life in the ‘burbs, it was an escape to dream about being a beautiful career girl with solid friends and a dream apartment in the city. Then HBO’s groundbreaking Sex and the City premiered, my husband was working ungodly hours, and I looked at my tired-ass self and wondered, “Is this all there is?”
New Millennium madness and 2000 became time for new birth. Literally. I was forty, foxy and fertile, or more aptly, peri-menopausal, pooped, and pregnant. And so, a third son became my surprise fortieth birthday gift, boding a future of more bottles and butt wiping.
Four years later, Desperate Housewives premiered, and with it, an epiphany: Forty is finally hot. And since that was the year I had a hysterectomy, it really was–Hot Flash Suzi was born. And with her, a new attitude.
We may be older but we aren’t old. The oven may have left the kitchen, but we are still cooking. We can redefine age and what it means to be stuck in the middle. We are free now to speak our minds and embrace our bodies in all their imperfect perfection.
It’s time for us to own it. We are hot mamas in more ways than one.