Confession: I Hide My Age, Professionally

One of the most popular posts here on Early Mama is from YEARS ago, when I wrote Confession: I Lie About My Age. But what about for professional reasons? Today's guest post is from a successful young mom who is afraid to let her clients know just how young she really is...

 

My name is Nina. I'm a party stylist, graphic designer, and as the owner of Enchanting Details Events & Design. I also share party ideas, recipes, and crafts on my blog. But first and foremost, I'm a mom to two little boys.

Logan is 4 years old — he's precocious, logical, and gives the best hugs ever. Cooper is 2 — he is mischief personified. He's tow-headed, rough and tumble, and gets into EVERYTHING — but one smile will make you forget you were ever mad. My husband is Mack. He's steady, loyal, reliable — and even though he might seem serious at times, he'll all of a sudden be playful, singing in the car and wrestling with the boys. We also have a sweet dog named Lucy, who stoically deals with being made into a pony and stepstool by the boys.

A few years ago, right after Cooper was born, I became stir crazy and laid the groundwork for what would become Enchanting Details Events and Design. After hosting birthday parties for my children and other family members, I found that I absolutely loved planning, crafting, and setting up events. Working from home, I opened a shop that sells printable party kits and custom dessert tables. My work has achieved modest acclaim — I've been featured in local magazines and a few well-known blogs.

Even though things aren't always sun and roses, I know I'm very lucky and fortunate to live the life that I do, and I've worked very hard to help make it happen.

However, I do have a secret.

It's something that I've been thinking about sharing with my blog and Facebook followers, but I just haven't been able to find the words. This blog, which is such a wonderful and open community about the subject, seems to be the perfect support forum. So here it is...

I'm 23 years old.

When I look at my life on paper — at my self-starting business, our beautiful home with high-ranking school system, our summer weekends spent at "the lake" in New Hampshire — it's hard to fathom. I can say, with all honesty, that 23 is just a number.

I certainly don't feel 23. I know people assume that I'm in my 20s, but they're always a little taken aback by how young I truly am — so I know I don't necessarily look my age. It's been a source of some discomfort and internal debate. There's a part of me that wants to say, "Look at me! I'm only 23!" and then there's a part that says, "I'm going to finally work up the courage to walk into this play group — and they're going to think I'm the babysitter." I am uncomfortable but proud of all that I've accomplished in such a short amount of time.

By sharing my age, I've worried that I'll lose my footing with potential customers. I've worried that they won't believe I'm responsible or reliable, and will view me as inexperienced and potentially immature. Even worse — I've worried that they will hold me to a different standard by excusing me. I've worried that they won't tell me if they're unsatisfied with something, not giving me an opportunity to correct it, because I'm young and they want to give me a break.

Yes, on paper I'm 23 years old, but life experience has matured me far beyond my age. I am equal in experience to the average stay-at-home mother. I have been in business the same number of years as the average party stylist in this young market. I'm good at what I do, both as a mother and a party stylist, and I am happy.

After a lot of thought, I've decided to stop leaving my age unmentioned. I am not looking for any sort of special treatment, but I do think it deserves to be recognized. I know that it makes me different, but it certainly doesn't make me less — and I'm finally proud of it.

(Also check out Nina's personal blog, Everyday Enchanting.)

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Have you ever hid your age, like Nina, for professional reasons? Share your story, below.