Confessions of an older mother

Do twenty-somethings spend a lot of time pondering what life will look like at forty-something?

I remember my twenties.  Sort of.  I don’t remember spending a ton of time thinking about what I’d be doing at forty-something. Why? Because forty-something was far, far in the future. And because forty-something was…well, old.

I’m pretty sure twenty-something me would not have expected to be parenting toddlers, not that twenty-something me thought that far in to the future.

So now I am one of those “older moms”. I am the oldest mom on the playground. I am the oldest mom at daycare. At the pediatrician, the grocery store, and anywhere else mommies and kiddos hang out. I am the oldest one with the youngest kid. Always.

It doesn’t matter that I might be able to run circles around some of these young mommies – or at the very least keep up with them. It doesn’t matter that my clothes are (relatively) hip and that I don’t have a visible gray hair. I am the oldest, and I’m past the age where being the oldest is cool. Way past.

“I want to be a young mom so my kids and I can grow up together”.

“I want my kids to be young when I’m young.”

Most of us have heard these before. Usually said by young moms.

“I want to have little kids when I’m in the throes of menopause so they can interrupt the sleep I desperately need at my age to keep me from looking like a complete and total hag in the morning.”

Said by no one ever. At least I don’t think so.

I’m not complaining. We didn’t have kids later in life on a whim or as an afterthought. There are advantages to being older parents.  While we are far from rolling in money, we are financially sound.  The extreme penny pinching, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and living paycheck to paycheck are in the past. But man, am I ever tired.

More life experience and broadened world view may lead to more relaxed parenting. Less stressing over “am I doing this right” and more patience that sometimes comes with age and experience. I want to emphasize the sometimes part.

I don’t flip out if my kids eat dirt or pee in the tub. I don’t encourage these things but I don’t stress over it. Not potty trained by age 2? Don’t know all of their colors (to include being able to tell the difference between mauve and plum) by age 4? Well, I can probably still sleep at night. Mostly because I pass out from sheer exhaustion, let’s be real.

I have more confidence in my forties than I did in my twenties and thirties, which comes from maturity and life experience. And when I say mature, I’ll share that I still have my immature moments.  Like last week when Hubs and I were at an antiques auction and the auctioneer dude kept talking about “an assortment of big jugs”. I could not stop laughing, although maybe that was delirium brought about by lack of sleep.

In my forties, I find I just don’t give a rat’s ass what people think. I’m more outspoken. I ask for what I want or what I think my child needs when dealing with insurance, doctors, and educators. I don’t accept the canned “this is the way things are” line. I’ll push and question on my child’s behalf if I need to. Yes, I’m that mom. I couldn’t have done that in my twenties. I know there are lots of bold, younger mommies out there, but I wasn’t one of them.

As an older mother, I find myself taking the time to find humor in things that would have (and did) stress me out and annoy me when I was in my twenties (messy rooms, dirty faces, underpants on backwards, underpants on the door knob, leaving the house not dressed like an ad for Gap).

Our adoptions were so deliberate. Our process was long and the wait was painful. But now, I stop and take time to appreciate just how rich my life really is. I know it sounds silly to have these “gee Wally, things are swell” moments when I’m cleaning up so much pee I’m considering adding it as a skill on my resume. And yeah, I don’t expect you twenty-something mommies to even get the Beaver Cleaver reference.  If you do, you’re super cool and you get bonus points.

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