The Perspective Of Being An Older Mom

by Gigi Ross on April 2, 2014

older mom 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.

 

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Flora Ross April 2, 2014 at 7:46 am

I, too, had my first child at 40. And I can relate to all of this. There are downsides, but I think being more laid back and having life experience and perspective is a total advantage. At least I know it helps me in my parenting. Now please excuse me, I have to go rest so I have the energy to keep up w/my kid when she gets home from school! ;)

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 7:23 am

Lol. Oh, energy, my friend. I wish that we could share some space together now. But alas, surviving on 5-6 hours of sleep (with a nap in the afternoon, of course) means we can’t be friends for now. What happens when they want to go to Six Flags??? Ack!

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stefanie baxter April 2, 2014 at 7:46 am

I have 4 kids between the ages of 4 and 9. The oldest one was born when I was 35. There is such a difference between me and all the other young mothers. I look around my kids classes at school and see all the little girls with their perfectly matching hair bows and painted nails worth their healthy lunches of heart shaped sandwiches and pasta salad in little bento boxes, while my kids are lucky to have a shirt that almost matches their pants. I have too much important stuff to take care of to worry about how perfectly my child’s hair is curled for school. I understand how you feel.

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 7:26 am

Girl, you deserve some kind of medal for having that many kids in such a short span! And as for matching hair bows – my girls barely let me brush their hair; I definitely don’t have the energy to fight them to put bows or clips or even a ponytail holder in it most of the time!

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Jodi Flaherty April 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

Ahh girl I am with you! All trends have gone out the window! My friends kids are all heading off to college or at least starting to drive! No way, though would I have been a great mom in my 20′s I needed to settle down a little first!
Jodi Flaherty´s last blog post ..#AskAwayFriday week 34- Getting Real with Rabia from the Lieber Family!

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

Soooo hoping that all the dumb things I did will transfer into my super-mom ability to know what our girls are up to when they hit their teens! Although my husband did more crazy stuff than I did, so he’s definitely going to be forced to pitch in, lol.

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Gale April 2, 2014 at 10:42 am

Wow…just after typing the above I saw your post about your daughter. I didn’t know about your daughter when I posted that so I hope it didn’t come across as insensitive. People did used to think I was anorexic, but I wasn’t. I just had a very high metabolism so always looked very skinny. I’m glad God brought you through that very hard time and I hope you and your daughter never have to go through that again. (My mom, who passed away this August, had bipolar disorder, so while I don’t know what you went through exactly, I know how hard it is when someone you love is seeing the world through illness.)
Gale´s last blog post ..This is Wherever Wednesday

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julie gardner April 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

My parents were 39 when I graduated from high school (CRAZY, right?) so when I had my kids at 28 and 30, I didn’t think I was a young mom. But now, at 45, I look back at myself in my late twenties and know for sure that I was.

When I was turning 40, my husband and I talked about having another round of kids – two more, a decade after our first two. Since our kids were getting older, we suddenly felt like we were the downhill slide toward an empty nest. We weren’t ready to be “done” and we loved having young children. But they grow so quickly – no matter what your age, right?

So enjoy your babies while you can and also your perspective. That’s priceless. I’m glad you’re happy being on the “older” side of moms. Although 44 is still young, my friend.

I tell myself that every day!

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 7:30 am

You know what, 44 is young! :) My husband is 13 years younger than I am (did I forget to mention that?), so he helps keep me young. When you add in our very active little gals, I have no choice but to continue to feel like a 15 year old trapped in this body. Damn you, gravity!

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Lyn April 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I was 34 when my daughter was born and 40 when my son was born. I miscarried another child at 42. The only regret I have is that I didn’t meet my husband sooner and get married younger so we could have had more kids!

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

How many times have I said the same thing??? As crazy as life is, I think it would have been nice to have 4 kids. Although as I type this, I’m just laughing hysterically at myself.

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Leah Sannar April 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

This is awesome and so true. I didn’t have kids in my 40′s, but I adopted in my 30′s. For so long, I thought I wanted to be a “young mom.” My parents were young and I loved how physically active they were and how they played with us all the time. Turns out – you’re not old and decrepit at 30 like I thought. I love playing outside with my son and my patience level is heads and tails above where it would have been in my 20′s. Thanks for sharing! Great post!
Leah Sannar´s last blog post ..Have I Done Any Good In The World Today?

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 8:21 am

Isn’t it amazing how our perception of age changes as we get older? Go figure. :) And yes, I have a lot more patience now than I would have in my 20s. Although it still needs some work!

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Janine Huldie April 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Totally with you Melissa and thank god I was a mom in my 20s. I had the time to enjoy my youth (have fun) and also grow up a bit. Seriously, if I would have had kids back then, I truly wouldn’t have been able to be half the mom I believe I am today (not trying be conceited), but just know back then I was too self-centered to take care of a chia pet let alone a kid, lol! :)
Janine Huldie´s last blog post ..Just A Small Town Girl – An Afternoon to Remember

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 8:25 am

lmao. Yeah, I never kept plants, and the one time I got a dog after college, I wound up leaving her with my parents! Definitely would have made a mess of things with a baby. Although I may still be working on the growing up thing.

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Julie April 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I was one of those very young Moms. And I had twins (yikes!) Now I’m still the Mom in a t-shirt with her hair in a ponytail.
Julie´s last blog post ..Crochet Bunnies {Peeps}

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 8:26 am

And you are rocking that ponytail! Kudos to you for being such an excellent mom. You are the inspiration to me for how to raise my girls! :)

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Christy Garrett Parenting Tips April 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I ended up being a first time mom at the age of 19 and thank goodness that I wasn’t the partying type or didn’t care to give up all my freedom. I have always been a homebody and I loved having my older kids when I was younger. I was able to do fun things with them while I had the energy to do it. Then I had my youngest at the 34, and it was like starting over since my kids were over the age of 10. I was wiser this go around but I lack the energy that I had during my younger years (thanks to chronic pain).

I personally wouldn’t change anything and I love being a mom, it is hard work but so rewarding.
Christy Garrett Parenting Tips´s last blog post ..5 Shortcuts to Get the Chores Finished Quickly and Easily

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 9:18 am

Totally agree. I don’t your age matters to your children at all, and being a mom is all the reward you can hope for. But tip of the hat to you for being a young mom. Mine was 21 when I was born!

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Kristy Mauna April 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I wrote a post called ‘The Problems I Face Being a Young Mother’ and I really enjoyed reading this post based on older mothers. After I wrote my post I received a lot of comments and I soon realized that everyone has problems, no matter what age.. As parents we all face different problems. The most important thing I learned after writing my post was that as parents we have to stick together and be there for each other because parenting is hard. Great post! :)
Kristy Mauna´s last blog post ..A Better Me: Accepting The Person I Need To Be…

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

You nailed it! Parenting is one hard gig, no matter how old you are, where you live or what you look like. So, yes, keep doling out the advice, tips or insights, because believe me, I’m going to need them for a while!

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Jax April 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I wasn’t a first time mom in my 40. My first was at 23, my second at 33 and my little side kick yes, at 41. I would never ever change it…. if I could, I would have another at 44. I always said I would never have kids after 30 (my mom had me at 43 and I remember always thinking…. what if she dies before I can take care of myself). I am so glad to have been blessed with my children. I do wonder how I would have done it I had been blessed to carry to term all 8 pregnancies I had but I am sure I would have managed somehow.

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm

We actually pondered REALLY HARD whether to try for one more. We finally agreed that our family felt complete and the Hubs got snipped. As for not being around for our kids…yes, it’s on my mind. My mom died when I was 40, and my sister was 29. I know my sister misses her terribly, especially now that she’s looking at getting married.

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Holly April 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I had my first child at 29 and while still in my 20s, I’m so glad that I was almost 30 because I was able to get the wild and craziness out of the way. I know several women that were teen moms and I feel for them, I really do because they were forced to grow up way too quickly and lost out on their youth.
Holly´s last blog post ..My Weekend in Photos

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm

You know, my mom was 22 when I was born, and she told me many years later that she felt like we “grew up together.” As close as we were, I often wondered if she ever felt like she missed out on anything.

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Herchel S April 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I had my first at 30 and I also am thankful for that. I had no concept of what real parenthood entailed. I wouldn’t trade it in for the world though.
Herchel S´s last blog post ..Lego Ninjago Easter Eggs

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm

It’s funny, because I was 11 when my one and only sister was born. So I know I changed a diaper or gave her a bottle in there somewhere. But I didn’t really babysit either, so my “mom training” hours were limited. I had no idea what I was really in for! Still don’t!

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Elizabeth April 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I love it! You definitely find some perspective as you get older. I freak out FAR less now than I did 20 years ago. I just don’t have the energy to get that worked up over the small stuff any more!
Elizabeth´s last blog post ..Old Enough To Speak?

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

And you know, my husband (who is only 31) has really mellowed. I think in the 10 years we’ve been married, he’s learned not to get quite so upset over stuff. Now, he just waits for me to tell him when to get upset, lol.

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Sandy Ramsey April 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

My oldest child is 27 and my youngest is 10. I’m also raising an adopted child who is 6. I was very young with my first and obviously, much older with my second. The differences are many..some good, some not so much.
I love all of your points here….great read and all hail the “older mom”…LOL!
Sandy Ramsey´s last blog post ..Manage Stress and Become Zen Dad: Say What You Need To Say, Coach Daddy

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Melissa @ Home on Deranged April 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm

There is 11 years difference between my sister and I, and how many times have I been known to utter the words, “These are NOT the parents that I grew up with!!” What’s ridiculously funny in hindsight now is that my mom was 33 when my sister was born, and apparently in1981, that was OLD. I mean, strangers on the street commenting how old she was, old. :)

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Stephanie L. Robertson April 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

Yes, yes, and yes! Fortunately, there are a lot of “older moms” where I live–near Huntsville, Alabama. I wasn’t ready to marry until the end of my 20′s, either. Wow…that would have been a disaster! Having a baby during the angst of my 20′s?!
Stephanie L. Robertson´s last blog post ..Across the Pond

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Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life April 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I started having kids in my late twenties. By the time the third one was in preschool, I was the older mom. I definitely felt out of place with the moms with the cute outfits and the piercings, and the ones that wore low cut jeans with thongs…hello, who wants to look at that? Interestingly enough, while I have plenty of friends that I met through my two older children, I don’t have very many at all that I met through my youngest. It wasn’t such a huge gap in years, but it was like that group was a different generation. Does that make any sense? Awesome post Melissa!
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life´s last blog post ..How to use Facebook Interest Lists to Drive more Likes, Comments, and Shares

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Amy April 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Melissa..You.Kick.Ass. I have never been able to properly articulate exactly what you do here. Extremely well-written! Thank you! :)
Amy´s last blog post ..family favorites: amy’s amazing artichoke dip

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Laurie May 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I appreciate this post because 24 years ago I was an older first time mom at age 30, and even older having my third and last at age 36. Times have changed. I remember sitting in the OBGYN waiting room knowing I was old enough to be a mother to quite a few of the expectant moms sitting along side me. There are benefits for sure. The down side (I am finding) is now I’m an old grandma-in-waiting…as in no one is even close to giving me a grandbaby!
Laurie´s last blog post ..Cookie Jar – Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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