Super Secret Tips for Looking Younger

I took the kids to a small farmer’s market the other day and bought some totally unnecessary and decadent pastries. The woman selling them looked me up and down and took in the kids (three jumping around, practically drooling over the cinnamon rolls and turnovers, one in my arms) and said, incredulously, “Are they all yours?”

It’s not an uncommon question. I do realize it’s not the norm to have four kids these days, but it’s also not like I had octuplets or something. Anyway, the follow up comment from strangers when they find out that yes, indeed, all of the kids are mine is, “You don’t look old enough to have four kids.”

I try to take this as a compliment, though I imagine some people may be thinking I wasn’t done with high school when Miles was born.

I am not just saying I look young so I sound cool, either. Up until about the time Grant was born I was offended to learn people thought I was so young; now I want to hug the people who think I’m young.

I am routinely mistaken for a college student, and I haven’t been in college for over 10 years now.  When I was in college people thought I was in middle school or high school. The day I went to buy shoes for my wedding the sales guy asked me if they were for prom. When I went to Las Vegas with some girlfriends two years ago and was shopping, again, for shoes before the trip, the early-twenty-something girl helping me asked if I was going with my family and it took me a while to realize she meant with my parents. She was seriously shocked when I told her how old I was, she’d thought I was her age.

So, I have decided to spread my fountain of youth knowledge around by sharing some tips that will slow the advent of time, at least as far as your appearance is concerned. Pay close attention, these are very important factors that have led to people thinking I’m my kids’ nanny.

1. Live in a state with abysmal weather 6 months out of the year. Even if you were a child before sunscreen became uber-important, your skin will benefit from not seeing any damaging rays from here on out. Also, be unable to afford luxurious, tropical vacations. Stay away from the equator.

2. Be a shy, studious bookworm. Like #1, spending hours with your face in a book while your peers are running around the beach under the glaring sun will save you at least into the tens of dollars in skin care in the future. Do you need proof I was a bit of a nerd? I just used the word abysmal, that should work.

3. Don’t worry about your wardrobe. I buy most of my clothes at Target, and have a closet full of hoodies, basic t-shirts, and sneakers. Expensive clothes, accessories and nice, heeled shoes make you look pulled together instead of like a kid who rolled out of her dorm room loft to drag herself to class.

4. Color your hair. Yeah, I had my first gray hairs at age 22, but I’m still in denial about that and I plan to cover them up until I am at least 80 and people start looking at my dark locks with obvious suspicion. Part II of this tip is this: be just broke and busy enough, like me, that you cannot maintain your hair color properly, and you therefore need to wear it pulled back into a ponytail every single day in an attempt to hide your three-inch roots. Nothing screams youth like a haphazard, unkempt hair unstyle. I figure I have about five more years for this to work, before the gray hair overtakes the non-gray hair in my roots.

5. Don’t learn how to apply makeup. When I try to put on makeup, I look older. And not in a more mature, confident way. You know how makeup is supposed to even us out and make us look better? Well, when I put makeup on, I seem to succeed only in accentuating every line on my face. So I just go for that fresh-faced, um, glow.

6. Carry a few extra pounds. Nothing fills out your wrinkles better than excess weight. I am secretly afraid of losing all of my (ahem) baby weight just to learn I really look my age under all of it, after all.

7. My number one tip is a little extreme, and not for the faint of heart – get braces as an adult. A mouth full of metal is like magic, it miraculously shields people from seeing all the other obvious signs of age (crow’s feet, silver hairs sproinging out of the ponytail, the minivan…) and subtracts a good 5-10 years off your years instantly.

So there you have it. Follow these tips and you, too, can be asked if you’re the kids’ babysitter.



  1. Yep, I’ve got all of these down except for #4 (not necessary) and #7. Although once I started hauling my kids around with me I stopped getting the comments (must be the lack of braces). Being short would be on my list!

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