Moms share some universal experiences and feelings. But what about perspective? Do you think that older moms approach parenting in a different way? Melissa from Home On Deranged does – and she would know. She had first child at 40. Read on to hear how being an older mom has changed her perspective.
The day I found out I was going to be a first-time mom, I was already 40 years old. The day I found out I was going to have another, I was 41. Sure, my head was filled with all the bad possibilities that the doctors said were likely with my “old eggs.”
It wasn’t until after our daughters were born, each with all 10 toes and all 10 fingers, that I realized, this parenting business is nerve wracking, no matter what age you are. But the beauty of being an older first-time mom is perspective. It’s all about perspective.
1) Some of the moms I come in contact with are young enough to be my kids.
I’m now 44 years old. And considering the life I led in my 20s, this is something to be proud of. But I recognize that I could be mom to a 20-something. And it’s a very odd sensation. I remember my 20s. Well, most of it. I partied hard, drank too much, smoked too much, stayed out way too late, had questionable dating partners and exceedingly ridiculous job choices. Now, my fellow toddler moms, they seem so young to me, and as the older, “wiser” mom, I find myself saying, “It’s going to be okay. It always works out. Somehow.”
2) Secretly, I’m kind of glad that I was an older first-time mom.
Yeah, those crazy 20s. If I’d had a kid, heaven knows how that poor child would have turned out. I was too focused on a career, too focused on not getting married just yet, and too focused on having fun. With all of that out of my system, I don’t begrudge my children for my lack of bar hopping nights, never going to fancy restaurants, or getting to put money in my IRA. I’m glad to be past that. Although I do miss dancing. A lot.
3) The stylish moms will never invite me to their club.
I see plenty of younger moms in yoga pants or t-shirts, hair in a ponytail or under a hat, clearly just trying to run errands in peace. But then I see the ones with manicured nails, perfectly coiffed hair, the latest trends in tops, skirts and shoes, and I think, “Man, I don’t remember seeing that at JC Penney the other day.” I used to be the trendy girl. I wonder if I’ll ever be again.
4) The size 8 jeans have been donated.
Since I’ve never been a “small” girl (only short), gaining weight during pregnancy didn’t phase me too much. And I was one of the lucky ones who returned to pre-pregnancy weight quickly. But these 20-somethings in their skintight jeans, who don’t look like their skin ever stretched to carry a child, yeah, I’ll never be that mom. I’ll be the “pleasingly plump” mom at all the parties, the one who doesn’t show her belly, much less her belly button ring. In my 40s, I can lose weight and tone, but I will never wear a bikini again. And you can all thank me for that later.
5) The realities of life have already hit me. Hard.
I don’t have the same nonchalance I had in my 20s. I don’t think I’m invincible. I don’t think my parents will live forever. I think about health insurance, life insurance, private school tuition, college tuition, making sure that my husband is healthy in case something happens to me. I’m not surprised when finances fall, or big, bad, chronic illnesses take hold. It’s a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I wish I was still surprised or even shocked by the things that kids can do (hello, poop deposited in my hand). On the other, I don’t freak out when my kids eat dirt, and I’m the mom who picks up a dropped pacifier off the floor and licks it clean, to the horrified looks on younger mom faces.
Being older hasn’t made me the perfect mom. It has made me a slightly more laid-back mom, which has resulted in independent children who often wear clothes that may or may not have been washed since the last wearing. I’m old. I can’t always see the stains.
About the Author
After a career in journalism, Melissa Swedoski thought she was well informed on the chaos of everyday life. Then she married a man 13 years her junior and became a SAHM to two toddler girls. Now, she’s mumbling through the mayhem of marriage and motherhood, turning her investigative eye on the mishaps and misadventures of parenting and the marathon that is marriage. She is a contributor to Motherhood Later…Than Sooner, and her work appears in The Mother of All Meltdowns. Find her living her big little life at Home on Deranged.