19 Jan 10 Realities of Being a Mid-life Mom
I had my daughter at the ripe old age of 39. When I told my girlfriend I was pregnant she said, “Boy you’re getting in right under the wire”. As a first time mom at almost 40, it was…well it IS a real roller coaster. And like many roller coasters, the ride is not for everyone. Below are 10 things mid-life moms know for sure.
- You think about your health all the time– At 44 I’m constantly thinking about my health. I may not be doing anything about it, but I’m definitely thinking about it. Mainly, I think about the fact that I will be almost 60 when my daughter graduates from high school. I certainly don’t plan on rolling up in a wheelchair or GOD forbid not at all. At this age my health is no longer, I want to fit in those cute pair of jeans, it’s more, I want to live longer and not have my knees hurt.
- Your partying days are past you- For most of my twenties and some of my thirties I spent partying. Making plans at the spur of the moment, going on road trips, dating and having loads of unplanned fun. Parenting is a new kind of fun (sometimes) and while some of it I’d like to experience in much smaller doses, partying is not one of them. My clubbing days are long behind me, and I am more than OK with that. Plus let’s face it, if I went to a club now I would be saying things like “why is it so dark and why is the music so loud?”
- You may feel guilty about not giving your child a sibling-Having a child at an older age means you don’t have the luxury of waiting to see if you want to have another one. You either have to plan immediately or it may never happen. And for many, it still may not be an option. Your child may not have a built in playmate. You may worry about your child being selfish and navigating the world alone after your gone. But really, there is no guarantee that siblings will be close as adults. Their friends may become their family by choice.
- Your parents may be too old to watch your child-Chances are if you’re over 40 your parents will be 60+ or like my mom, 72. The reality is that running after and fully watching a child at this age is not an option for her. Our parents are more than likely retired and have neither the stamina nor the patience to babysit for prolonged periods of time. So that trip you want to take, or your date nights? You’d better get real comfortable with care.com, because it may not happen otherwise.
- You will be going through menopause while raising your children– All I can say is my poor husband! This is just the reality of a mid-life mom. Menopause is yet another thing you will be juggling while parenting. Some of us will be going through menopause while are children are young, some of us a little older. Let just pray it doesn’t happen while your child is going through puberty. Again, my poor husband!
- You are tired almost all the time-Tired because you’re a mom and tired because, let’s face it you’re older. Things creak and need to be stretched out before they work. The other day I saw a young, 20 something year old woman slip on the ice while running her little one to the bus. She immediately popped back up within seconds. If that were me, I’d still be rolling over on my stomach. What was a 2 second recovery for her, would have taken me…let’s just say a LOT longer.
- You may be the oldest mom in your group. See point 6. So yes, most toddlers and young children have younger moms. People may think you’re the grandmother. Connecting with younger moms with the same age children may be challenging. You may even end up parenting the moms, as they may look to you for advice, because you’re older. It can be uncomfortable, but it can also be fun. It’s like being the oracle in The Matrix. You won’t have all the answers, but it nice when people think you do.
- You are financially secure-Having a child is expensive. The first 3 years are probably the most expensive, with diapers, formula and all the accouterments that come with having a baby. Being stable and having more money means that your life is that much easier. You can pay for music lessons, dance classes and everything in between. That’s one less thing to stress about.
- You are more flexible about the rules– On rules of discipline and structure, having more life experience means that you can be easier about the “rules” of parenting. I mean let’s face it, you’ve already broken a big one by choosing to parent late in life. I understand that if my daughter is not in the bed right on time, the world won’t fall apart. Or if I give her an extra piece of candy her teeth won’t fall out. Co-sleeping? Breastfeed until their 4? Not potty-trained at 3? – OK. You realize, there isn’t just one way to parent, and you’re comfortable doing it your own way.
- You don’t need to take your kids everywhere– I know some moms take their children with them everywhere because they have no one to leave them with. But some moms take their kids everywhere because they believe their kid BELONGS everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. Listen, I love my daughter, but sometimes I need time for me and her presence is not always appropriate. Mid-life moms understand this, because it wasn’t too long ago that we were rolling our eyes at that wine and cheese event little Becky came to and knocked down all the glasses.
There are some real pros and cons to choosing motherhood over 40. And just to be clear, I am very happy with my choice. I love being a part of the mommy club, especially the exclusive 40+ mommy club. Watching my daughter grow from this perspective, is the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. There are some challenges…but honestly I wouldn’t change a thing.
Written by Alyssa Harmon