Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Domestic Enemies of the Older Mom

Totally kidding. In real, life she's hawt.
This one is for all my Advanced Maternal Age homies... Meet Katy:

Katy is the 40-year old mom of a nearly-three year old. Between yelling at teenagers to get off her lawn and turning down that damn music on the radio, she works full-time and attempts to read grown-up books. Mostly, she cleans up old food on the floor and dresses up as Cinderella's godmother. Every once awhile, she thinks fondly of the sleep she got in her 20's, but not-so-secretly, she thinks she hit the parenting jackpot with a great kid.


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After years of infertility (and not getting married until age 31), I became a mom two years ago, when I was 38. In new-mom years, this is pushing it. I'd like to argue otherwise, but the whole "advanced maternal age" label landed on top of me and I'm too tired to push it off. Which brings us to enemy number one:

The Tired.

If you're reading this and you had a kid earlier in life, you might well be thinking, "man, am I glad I had my kids young, because keeping up with a toddler at age 40 sounds tiring." Let me tell you the truth: you are 200%, absofreakinglutely, right. Fortunately I no longer remember with any precision how much energy I had when I was 21, because that would undoubtedly be depressing, but I have to assume that the answer is somewhere in the vicinity of, "more than I have now." Add into this the fact that my husband is 50, and we are ready for bed the minute our child finally succumbs to sleep. Roughly 9:02pm. On the other hand, I've never heard any mom, of any age, say that having a child was energy-producing, so I'm not sure that my age is all that much of a disadvantage. Although the windy day I tried to chase down a pink balloon in a parking lot took it out of me for about a week.

The Oh Sh!t I'm Going To Die Before She Goes to Prom Freakout

During those five years of infertility, I did a lot of math. Most of it involved counting 9 months ahead, but occasionally I looked a bit further down the road. My Original Grand Plan for Life involved starting a family when I was 26, so I had to adjust a bit. By 6 years. Then 7. Then 8. Then 10. Then I started to worry about retirement crashing into college expenses. I had never really thought of us as 'older parents,' until the day when our financial advisor told us that we could save for college by using an IRA, because my husband would be over 65 WHEN MY KID WAS STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL. This caused a slight panic on my part. Yes, I worry about her, about us, about things that happen when you're in your 50's and 60's; and every once in awhile, late at night, I panic that she won't have parents at her wedding. But then again, I could have had her at 26 and been hit by a bus at 30. Life is risky. Parenting is perhaps the ultimate risk; the dare to put your heart into the world and know that, by all sense and reason, that child of your heart will outlive you. (Please God, may that be so.) And all we can do is hope and pray that we're around to share as much of this life with her as we can.

The "I'm So Glad I Had My Kids When I Was Young" Unsolicited Assvice

"So," said someone to me many moons ago, "don't you want to get married and have kids? Because, I mean, tick-tock, you know. You don't have forever." Naturally, I wish that conversation had ended with me punching said person in the face, but it seemed unwise (if satisfying) at the time. This kind of stuff has increased exponentially since our daughter was born, with a twist: now it comes from people looking at me (probably in the week before my hair gets colored) and saying something like, "parenting is really for the young, isn't it? I'm so glad I had my kids when I was in my 20's!" What does that mean, exactly? That I should have gotten my act together earlier? That I should have just married that horrible guy from college because I could have been pregnant before hitting 30? That I should have given up trying to have a child once I hit some magic "old lady" age? (What is that age, anyway?) Unsolicited Assvice is the Domestic Enemy of every mom, everywhere, of every age, and it nearly always involves a judgmental comment on something you have no control over whatsoever. 

The Generation Gap

A few months after my daughter was born, at the encouragement of many moms I knew, I tried going to that "Parent Support Group" at the local hospital. Not a great success. It's a wonderful program, for sure, but my particular group consisted entirely of moms in their early-to-mid 20's. When a discussion got underway one day about high school, and it became clear that I had graduated from high school about the time that most of them were entering kindergarten - well, yeah. That was a little painful for me. Yes, I worry sometimes about being the Old Mom at the PTA, or the field trip, or the piano recital. I will do my best to bedazzle my cane and walker before the senior prom, but it is true: I will be older than many of the parents of my daughter's friends. I can only hope that someone stops me before I go full-on Joan Collins at the 4th grade Parent-Teacher night.

The Assumptions

There's a lot out there about women 'waiting' to have kids until later in life. Presumably, this applies to women who want to work on education and career first, before kids. (We can all observe the relative silence on "men who put off parenthood to work on their careers" phenomenon, but that's a post for a later time.) I know there are women who do this, who intentionally choose to wait on parenthood and I say: kudos to you. Lean in, my friend. More power to you.

But I didn't really do that. It would make me sound far more intentional and high-powered than I am, so maybe I should go around claiming that I waited on parenthood until I was a huge, raging success (as a minister, by the way, which is a lot of wonderful things, although 'high-powered' is not exactly one of them). But I didn't. I just stumbled around in my life hoping to meet somebody along the way. I went to college. I went to graduate school. I got a job. I liked it. I dated. But I didn't meet my husband until I was 31. He was 42. Neither of us had been married, and there wasn't anything intentional about it - just the reality that it's hard to meet the person you want to wake up with every morning for the rest of your life.

And then we tried to get pregnant. For five years. About halfway through that, we discovered that I had really, big, ugly endometriosis. Two IUI's, one miscarriage, and two IVF's later, we clung to that crying, messy, bloody, squinty infant as if she was the only baby who had ever been born in the world. I was 38. He was 48. And so, we were older parents. 

Whoever it was that said, "be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle" - yes. And yesser. It's certainly true about parents, of any age. So many of our battles are invisible. So many of them seem almost impossible to carry until you look back and realize that you survived, somehow. Maybe you were younger than you imagined when you became a parent. Or older. Or your family came to you in a way you didn't plan on, originally. 

Yep, I'm an older mom. And it turns out that there's some really good stuff here. I'm calmer than I once was. I'm more patient. I'm more stable in lots of ways than I would have been if I had been a mom at, say, 21. I trust myself more than I did then. And yet, what I know for sure is this: it's not a contest. Younger mom, older mom, one kid, lots of kids, whatever your circumstances are: we're all just making it up as we go. We might as well be kind to each other while we're doing it.

And now it's 9:03pm. I gotta go to bed.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

54 comments:

  1. So true. I married at 37, had number 1 at 38 and celebrated my 40th birthday with a 5 month old. I will say though that now they are at school there are other mums just like us. "Older" and just as involved and active as the younger mums. It's great!

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  2. This is a great post! I have been with my hubs since high school and wasn't sure if I wanted kids for a few years (he did when we were in early/mid 20s and many friends were having them). I changed my mind (although we both solidly agreed to being 1-and-done) and thank God every day for my beautiful, smart and enery-sapping son who is now 4. I had him when I was 30 and hubs 32 - still a bit younger than you guys, but older than many of our friends). Although my hubs complains he doesn't have enough energy sometimes (give me a break!) I am so glad we waited. I worked. I did all my partying and socializing. I spent frivolous money on myself. And it was over...when we had L, we were settled in our home and jobs and ready to make him our focus. I am.calmer and a little more patient. I think we are better parents than the younger, more selfish versions would have been. And more prepared (i actually recall hubs saying when he was.pushing in our 20a that a kid would probably only cost $100/ month or so....snort. yeah he was THAT naive). Anyway, my point is I totally feel you and agree with you...you are rocking motherhood now, and probably a better mom for being a bit older. (And even though you only have one kiddo...those comments about not really being a mom if u have just one drive me.bat-shit crazy too LOL). Go mama!!!

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  3. This is awesome. First baby at 35, second one at 38. I, too, had planned to marry early--by 23--and be done having kids by 30. I didn't get married till I was 32, and my husband was a week shy of 41, so yep, I'm a late-bloomer too. And then I got hit with Lyme disease when the baby was less than a year old, so I'm in the "energy, what's that?" camp. And then when the oldest started kindergarten, I got some questions of whether I was the grandmother. Oh my, ouch! But you know what, I'm just as active, if not more so, in my kids' lives (and I'm sure someday they will hate that, lol). God had a reason for the delay, and I trust Him.

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  4. You have no idea how happy I was to read this. I could have written it! I got married at 35 and had my first (and only) at 38. I am now 43 with a kindergartener. I absolutely feel like the oldest parent there (even my husband is a year younger than me) but all that matters is that my son doesn't notice. He never makes me feel like I can't do something because I am ten years older than the other moms. He doesn't know that I love music from the 1980s because I listened to it when it was brand new and not just when it was on an "oldies" station. If I can keep up with him then I am happy. I just wish people would stop asking us when we are having number 2. We tried, it didn't work, we are moving on! Those are the people that I want to punch in the face!
    p.s. I recently met the mom of my son's classmate who looks like she could be closer to my age. I am excited to see her again this weekend at a birthday party because I want someone to commiserate with. It would be a bonus if our kids got along, too!

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    1. "He doesn't know that I love music from the 1980s because I listened to it when it was brand new and not just when it was on an "oldies" station."

      LOL -- I have my kids totally addicted to 80s music. My 3-year-old can correctly identify (in 4 notes or less) The Police as the artist for just about any of their songs, and he routinely asks to listen to "Gorge" Michael. hahhahaa

      Full disclosure: My kids have me addicted to The Fresh Beat Band. Don't judge. :-P

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  5. Love this! I was 38 as well, and sometimes I can't believe the energy my younger Mom friends have...and then I remind myself that I am doing the best that I can :0)

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  6. Having our kids at 40 and 43 (for me) and 50 and 53 (for my Wonderful Husband) was the best thing ever for us. I was definitely a late bloomer, and am a better mom now than I would have been earlier. Yes, I have less energy, but I have more perspective. I am gentler with myself and with our kids.

    Our path is not for everyone, of course. Lots of people are wonderful young parents. But I would not have been, and our kids are lucky that they didn't have the less mature/stable me as a mother.

    It was sobering to realize that by the time our youngest is out of college, my husband will be 75 and I'll be 66. But.... we look at the bright side. We may get worn out when we take our kids somewhere like King's Dominion, but at least we'll never have to take our GRANDchildren!

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  7. Thanks for sharing Katy! I'm a 44yr old single mom with girls ages 5 & 6. I to did the fertility dance for 7 years. Then once we had the kids (without medical assistance, Thank you God!), hubby decided that this parenting thing wasn't exactly what he was expecting and moved out when they were 2 & 3. I feel every word you wrote. Loved the "be kind.." quote, so true :)

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  8. Yep. Had my first at 38 and my second at 40. I thought I wouldn't meet any "older" moms, but I did - a lot of them. Don't judge people. Simple rule to live by. You have no idea what their life has been. My kids are now 20 and 18, and they are amazing people that I am SO proud of. Why does it even matter WHEN you had your kids? Or even IF you had kids? (I have quite a few friends that didn't have kids, don't judge them either)

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  9. Yesser! I am 44 with a child who will turn 7 before the end of this month. Luckily, there is a girl in his class (this year and last - same child) whose parents are about the same age as I am. But it's odd to go to school events and realize that I AM old enough to be the mother of some of his classmates' parents.

    My story is a bit different. I was told at the ripe old age of 19 that I would NEVER successfully get pregnant and that if I DID somehow magically get pregnant that I would never be able to carry to term. So I got used to the idea that I just was not "meant" to have a baby. This was after TWO miscarriages, by the way, that seemed to prove the GYN's right. So looking for someone who wanted kids was actually something I didn't want to do because I didn't want to destroy someone else's dream. I was married twice - once to a man who didn't want kids and once to a man who already had 4 and didn't want any more. Neither marriage worked out. Then I married someone who said that while he would kinda like to have a child, it was not a high priority for him. I was pregnant the day we got married when I was 36 (a bit over a month before I turned 37) even though we didn't know it at the time. The result is our wonderful nearly 7-year old son who was born 5 months before I turned 38.

    Am I more patient now than I would have been in my 20's? Certainly. Am I more tired now than I was in my 20's? Absolutely. I will be 55 when my son graduates from High School. My husband is younger than I am (by almost 6 years) so he won't be an AARP member, yet. I am VERY aware of the fact that if my first miscarriage had not happened and that child had had a baby at a fairly young age (18 or 19) that I am old enough to be my son's Grandma. My 40 year old sister is a Grandma already ... so I am aware that I am a mother of advanced maternal age. I also entered menopause shortly after I had my son - whether naturally or caused by 2 years of Depo, I'm not sure. But the fact is that even if I wanted to get pregnant again I can't. I also have several chronic health conditions that prompted my husband to decide that HE didn't want to have another child which would put more stress on my health. So I am a mother of advanced maternal age AND a mother of an only child AND a mother with chronic health issues. My son in all likelihood is a true miracle - including the fact that while pregnant I had no complications at all, until the delivery when he was breach without anybody's knowledge and I almost died before they did an emergency c-section.

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  10. So, so true. Though you did leave out the part where everyone assumes you are the Grandmother, rather than the Mother of your child. I was 39 when I married my husband, had our first child at 42 and am now 50!!!! with a 7 y/o and a 4 y/o. I get mistaken for their Grandmother ALL.THE.TIME! It is frustrating but I can understant (especially close to my hair coloring appointment) why, but when people make assumptions.....you all know the rest. I have found that the PTA and my son's school has several other older Mom's but also that the younger ones are pretty understanding, and I must say, in awe of us older, more relaxed, more experienced Moms. Rock On Older Moms!

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  11. Lucky little girl to have such an awesome mom ;)! Great article.

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  12. Ah yes "Advanced Maternal Age". I LOATHE that term. I was 38 when I had my first - and 41 when I had my second and third. (Oh yes. Try "Domestic Enemies of the Advanced Maternal Age Mom of Twins". Such a joy getting hit with both "Better you than me!" and "Don't you wish you'd had them younger?" in the same conversation. I literally had to end one friendship because my "friend" insisted on pitying me - loudly and frequently - over both my age and the number of children I have. Idiot.)

    Great post! I agree that there are definite advantages to having (unintentionally) waited. Patience being the biggie. :) Congrats on your daughter, and rock on Momma!!

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  13. Dead on. My daughter was born the day after I turned 40. I will be 42 this year and my honey is 45.

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  14. I am on both ends of the spectrum. I had my first daughter just before I turned 21. I had secondary infertility (also endometriosis) and went years and years before I got pregnant with #2 (even had a divorce, remarriage, and several years of trying with both). I had her just before I turned 38 (I'm now 41). I also didn't feel like I was an "older mom", but yeah, I'm tired...oh so tired...

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  15. Jenn An Older Mom of 2October 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Love this post! I was married a 31, a first time mom at 35 and had my second child at 38. We we had a pregnancy loss when was 33, which took it's toll emotionally. So it wasn't for lack of trying to start a family sooner vs later. Looking back, yes, I'm certainly tired and had no idea I could exist on a mere 4-5 hours of sleep and still perform my job with accuracy. Sometimes I'm frightened by how much I can multi-task in one full day juggling a husband, two kids, a dog and working full-time. I spend all of my free time with my kids - weekends are reserved for them along with nearly all of my vacation (and certainly all of my sick time). I look back at my friends who started their families in their 20s. Most, not all, married the wrong guy, had a few kids with said loser and got divorced. Most everyone of them in that situation hasn't been happy and most (not all) have indicated they wished they had waited for the right guy and started their families in their 30s. I am not sorry I didn't have kids when I was in my 20s - those years were selfish years full of exploring who I was as a person, completing college, and starting a career. Had a child come along during those years, I would've been okay with it but it wasn't part of my plan. I waited for the right guy. Oh and my friends who had kids young? Yea, they all want the 20's lifestyle back and spend most weekends partying while their kids are with a sitter, while I sit at home happily cuddling and enjoying time with my kids and husband in my "advanced material age".

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    1. Amen, amen, and amen! Our stories are nearly identical. I absolutely can't imagine going out and about as much as my younger friends do, but part of that is also personality differences (rather than age).

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  16. I had my daughter at age 21. I had my son at age 41 after a 20 year breeding hiatus. You are exactly right about the whole tiredness and energy level. At 21, I could lose a night's sleep and it wasn't a big deal. At 41, it was a BIG deal. But you are also right about the whole patience thing. If my son wants me to read the same book to him 20 times in one night, that's what we do. I'm also having a lot more fun with my son. I'm just more relaxed.
    But if the same greeter at Walmart says one more time as we walk in "Oh, I see you have your grandson today" I'm going to scream. I tell my 47 year old husband it's his fault for having gray hair. I still look like I'm in my 30s even though I'm 43 now. At least on the days when I've gotten some sleep the night before. :)

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  17. Great post! I too am an "older" mom. I didn't meet my husband until I was 28, and got married just before I turned 30. Then, we did wait a few years before trying for kids (honestly, we were scared lol). Then it took me a year and a half to conceive my daughter (there was a miscarriage in there too). I had her at 36, and just had my son a month before I turned 39! I have to say that I do know a lot of moms with young kids who are my age though. I think a lot depends on where you live and the crowd you hang with. I'm an engineer and most of my friends are professionals as well, and a lot of them did wait on having kids until they were more "settled" - i.e. their 30's. I agree with you that we older moms are probably more patient, and better moms than we would have been when we were younger. The one thing that weighs on me now is that my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 5 years ago at only age 62. She has progressed quickly and doesn't recognize me anymore, and if I am being honest she probably doesn't have more than 5 years left. It breaks my heart that she will never know her grandkids. And it makes me nervous that I, too, will develop the disease at a young age. My mom had me when she was 27, so I still got over 30 years of knowing her. If I were to develop it at the age she did, my kids would only be in their early 20's. By waiting so long, I may have shortened the time I have to spend with my kids. I probably wouldn't have waited this long had I known then what I know now. But as you said, any of us could get hit by a bus at any moment, and we need to try and enjoy whatever time we do have.

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  18. I think I just died laughing at the Joan Collins line! What a great post. People can be very callous can't they--I used to wear my nursing scrubs to take my daughter to preschool and someone asked me if I was dressed up for Halloween. It was September. You sound like a terrific mom hands down. Good luck with everything. I must say, I would be very proud to arrive at any PTA meeting a la Joan.

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  19. My husband and I had tried for almost 10 years to have a baby - 2 miscarriages in 7 years and infertility in between it all really made the comments from other moms very irritating.

    We had our first (and only) son when my husband and I were 32 years old, which I don't think that is THAT old. Comments like, "Wow. You finally figured it out.", "It's about time." and on and on and on. I'm sure you've heard them too. And here you are thinking "If they only knew how much it took to get our baby boy here on this earth!" all while biting your tongue from the tongue lashing you want to give them to make them feel bad. LOL.

    We will probably try to have another. God forbid I'll be 35 or 36! Then the comments will really fly!
    God gives us our babies when we get them. And I think they're a whole lot more precious because of how much it took to get them here! And I'm ok with that. Older mommas unite!

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  20. I love this. Had my first (and so far, only) at 37. Advanced maternal age, yep. The worst though, I was in line at the grocery store, sleeping 5 month old in her carrier, and a lovely older woman commented on the baby's cuteness. I was happy, until she said "is she your first?" to which I replied "yes,she is". She then said "aww, first grandchildren are always so special". Ouch. :( When I informed nice older lady that she was, in fact, my child, not grandchild, she looked embarrassed and sad for me, said "oh, well she's adorable, good luck" and walked off. Yikes.

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  21. Great post! I'm 45 with a 9 year old daughter. She's wonderful and I'm glad we waited to have her. We're much more patient and far enough away from our younger selves to really see what's important in our lives and appreciate life more. While some days are harder than others, kids keep you young in spirit! Keeping up is half the fun. Hats off to you, mom!

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  22. "we're all just making it up as we go. We might as well be kind to each other while we're doing it."

    Damn straight! Great article (from a mom who had twins at 21 and her 6th and last baby at 36...yes, that's still considered "advanced maternal age") BTW, I had more energy back then, but I am much more mellow now. I think my youngest child may pay fewer therapy bills.

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  23. Yep. I have four kids - started at 35, had the youngest at 44. I wouldn't call my decision a deliberate life/career choice, it just worked out that way. My mom had me at 16, so I can see both sides of this debate. Short answer - have your kid-free fun when you can, whether it's in your twenties or forties, and let other people have their fun too. Thanks for the post!

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  24. As a cervical cancer survivor at 26, I was told I probably would never have a child. At 31, I became pregnant and was told I would not carry to term. HA! I showed them!! Being 5 to 10 years older than the other mothers at school took a bit of getting used to, but I managed. He is now a senior in college and a wonderful young man.
    But wait........there's more! Fast forward 10 years. Ovaries screwed up due to poly-something-or-other, 40 years old and 2 years into menopause at a check up and--Surprise! You're 3 months pregnant! (?!?!?!) How did that happen? (Yes, I do know how it happened-lol) Send the old lady off to the high-risk doctors, which turned out to be a blessing, as the additional tests and monitoring turned up a severe heart defect at 5 months. Despite being repeatedly told that it had nothing to do with my age or anything I had done before learning of the pregnancy, there is still that nudge of guilt that I had caused it somehow--but I live with that and accept it.
    So I was now menopausal AND pregnant--stop and just ponder that a moment--fun times, fun times. There were a couple times I was told I had flames shooting out of my eyes, but I managed to make it through without committing murder when the enemies demanded to know what I was thinking having a child at my age.
    12 years later we've made it through 5 major heart surgeries and a myriad of procedures, and the death of her father when she was just 10 months old (heart attack--there's that age thing again). At school most of the other mothers are young enough to be my daughters, so there's not much in common there (what the heck does "DTF mean, anyway?) The health of my daughter takes precedence over all the irritating enemy comments, although I will add one major enemy to the list:
    The Generationally Confused Enemy. I can't count the number of times I've been asked "Oh, is that your grandbaby?" To be fair, I do live in an area of the country where a 34-year-old grandmother is fairly common. For a long time I just answered "No, she's my daughter" and secretly laughed at their efforts to apologize. Now I just say "No, I was an old broad that had a baby" and laugh out loud and go on. Good times, good times.......

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  25. 37 with a newborn here. I got married later and had infertility problems as well. My husband is 42 and his whining bugs me more than anything. I know how freaking old he is and being over 40 with a newborn does not qualify for the Guinness Book of Records. Plus, he sleeps all night and I'd kill for that! And tired yes. I'm envious of my sister in her '20's all the time!

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  26. I think it depends a lot on where you've settled down with your new family. Where I am now, having babies at age 40 and 42 has made me something of a circus sideshow. Yes, my hospital chart referred to me as "advanced maternal age" in some places, but I couldn't help but be a little miffed that it also referred to me as "elderly" in others. I'm living a more rural area than I have in the past. In "the big city" it's FAR more common for women to be first time moms at 38. Not typical, maybe, but not gasp-worthy. The "older" moms at my children's school are in their late 20s. School drop-off sometimes feels like a game of "one of these things is not like the others..." Thankfully I have the internet and can hang out virtually with other "elderly" moms that aren't shocked and appalled by my age. <3 Mommyland!

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  27. Okay I am 39 and don't know what DTF means either :)

    Once again I am thankful for this series and the constructive comments because they show the diversity in parenthood and families. I appreciate reading about what other people experience and how I can minimize the damage I do while trying to make conversation (I keep explaining to my husband I need nice shoes because my feet end up in my mouth so often ;)). We ended up having our twins right before I turned 31 and when he was 45 so we both age groups in our marriage - YES, no one gives him a hard time about being older or "waiting"! And in our group of friends the parents range in age from my age to my mom's age. What I have learned from them, as I continuity to learn from this community, is we are all doing our best. Kindness and acceptance is the gift we owe each other and ourselves.

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  28. I have no children, so I can't comment as an older parent. But, I am the second child of parents that were in their very late '30s when my brother was born and my mother was almost 40 my father was 40 when I was born.

    If I'm any example, it didn't make much of a difference at all, especially when I was young. Yes, my parents would say, "Calm down, take it easy, I'm too tired" some times, but ALL of my friend's parents, even some that were teenagers when their kids were born, did the same. Children are tiring. Children are energy vampires, they suck it from everything in the room. When I was a teenager and babysitting, toddlers could tire me then, so I don't think younger=more energy.

    If I did notice anything as a child, it was that my parents had more patience than other parents. Not for rudeness, as some of my friend's parents were more tolerant of (I remember one of my friend's brother making horrible fart noises in church and his parents finding it amusing. My parents would have been furious) but for other things. While other friends had parents that wanted to go out on Fridays and Saturdays, my parents were much more content to stay in and help me with that school project. They were more likely to entertain IN the house, hosting bible studies, in which other children came over.

    I personally think it's a tremendous boon for a child to be raised by people who are over the, "We're young and it's time to have FUN!" stage. My folks WANTED to be parents in the deepest sense of the word. No selfish, "My genes are so awesome that the world will be a cold place without them," no pleasing parents, no desire to make a vastly improved version of themselves. They actually wanted all the things that go with parenting. They WANTED to spend hours reading the same child's book over and over again. They wanted to spend hours discussing the color of a passing car with me, because I was fixated on it. They didn't mind all the boring, repetitive things of childhood, because they were at the point where it was good to slow down and indulge in simple things.

    I can't judge for everyone, of course, but I think having older parents can be a tremendous advantage. I think older parents might not have the energy, but they have the patience and I think the patience to carefully listen and explain things, and to not get bored with a child who wants to have "Horton Hears a Who" read to them, "One more time, Daddy, please?" is far more important that a parent that can keep up with them at the playground. They'll have friends who can keep up with them.

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    1. Thanks for this insightful reply. I posted above that I had my daughter the day after my 40th birthday and have also contemplated how our age gap will effect her. Refreshing to hear that it could potentially be more beneficial.

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  29. I married a man younger than I, and by the time he was ready for kids, I was 40. Three years of trying everything finally worked and I had my only child at 44. I'm 50 now, and I'm ready for bed at 5pm!

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  30. As long as you older moms are not the ones who poked fun at the youngers moms when you were young saying that you dont know how to live/enjoy your life or you dont or will not have a career and so on then its all fine. Just remember every dog has its day and we had to take so much assvice from others because we went for kids early.

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  31. Amen! I am 48 with a 3 1/2 year old. I didn't plan on being an older mom, in fact, for most of my 20's and 30's I pretty much figured I wouldn't be a mom at all. But, life happens. I met, fell in love, you know, that story, and here we are. And I wouldn't change a thing. To be fair, most people are surprised to know my age. My husband (who is 13 years younger) tells me I look 38 at the most (see...he's smart!!). I would have been a lousy mom when I was younger, so your last point? Even yesser. All of that and more. Things happen the way they are supposed to. It helped me to change my life and be the healthiest Mom I can be as long as I can. (I lost 100 pounds after our son was born). I sometimes wish I had someone in my same situation to compare notes with....so....yeah. Thank you. More than I can say.

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  32. Ha, reading this, I was thinking that we need a Facebook page. So I searched and found 'Older Moms' - not very active, but I Liked anyway. LOVE this. Met my awesome chef hubby at the age of 34, had our first boy at 35 and second at 38. I'm generally 10-15 years older than all the other moms and never quite feel like I fit in with the other parents.

    My boys are 10 and 12 now and are awesome! We lost my husband 4 years ago of a sudden heart attack, but we're doing great. I am SO much more patient and relaxed than I would have been had I started earlier.

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  33. Same here. Married at 30 and thought I had all the time in the world to have kids. Had one at 34 and one at 40. Been called the grandmother. You have company and you should surround yourself with said company.

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    Replies
    1. I remember as a kid in the 1970's looking at the Guinness Book of World Records. They had the oldest woman to give birth to a child (before IVF). I used to stare at this ooollld lady in the picture that had a kid at 52. She had completely white hair and cat glasses and a frumpy floral dress. I always secretly prayed I wouldn't be that woman.

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  34. Love this post, as I am a mom to a 2 year old and I just turned 50! My husband is a couple of years younger than me, and we met later in life, tried the whole IVF thing and were blessed with our daughter through domestic adoption 2 years ago. I share the same worries and woes, but am so grateful every day and wouldn't change a thing. I do wish I had more energy, as she is FAST! But I am working on that, as well. I am also having a hard time finding older moms to befriend, but am hoping that changes when she starts preschool.

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  35. Thank you great post! I think this was something I could have shared about myself with tweeking the story a bit, married at 36 (almost 37) struggled in family building with fertility till 40s, switched to adoption for family building, first time mom with an infant through domestic open adoption at 42 and second time mom at 44. Here I am turning 50 this year with a 7 and 5 year old ... I am so blessed and have come to realize my age is not stopping me so so be it if I'm an older mom compared to many!

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  36. I can so relate to this! Our daughter was born through adoption when I was 39 and my husband was 43, after 8 years of infertility. We have a good relationship with her birthmom, who was 22 when she was born. We were in the delivery room when our precious daughter entered the world--truly a gift!

    Two things I will never forget: the nurse in the delivery room asking if we were the grandparents. AND birthmom asking us to make sure our daughter grows up listing to "the oldies." When I asked for clarification, she said 80's music. Oh sweet baby Jesus, are you kidding me???

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  37. I always thought that I would instantly get pregnant when I was ready, and guess what? It didn't work like that. I had an old bat of a customer at my previous job ask me this question:
    "You've been married a while, haven't you?"
    "Yes, ma'am, we've been married over 3 years."
    "Don't you want kids?"
    "Yes, ma'am we do."
    "Don't you think you had better get going? You're not getting any younger. It took my daughter 10 years and I had to pay for her IVF. $10,000."
    "Well, ma'am God will give us kids when he's ready." (Oh, and we've been trying for over 6 months, Nosy Noodle. Go F yourself!)
    "That's no excuse, you need to help him along." (!!!!!)
    I said "Excuse me" ran into the office and cried my eyes out. She came back when I was 4 months pregnant asking me again if I wasn't going to have kids. I looked at her all funny and pointed to my belly. Stupid people.

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  38. I LOVE THIS POST. had my first at 35, next at 36, next at 37 and last one (phew) at 41. yeesh. I can say a loud, "yesser" to the tired. but, of course, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love our life. and it's gotten just a tad crazier as the years go by. my oldest, 11, now goes to school with kids whose parents could be my children. it's just insane. I got mistaken for the grandma a few times at middle school orientation. *sigh.* and just a little *eww.* but, life goes on. everyone is different and what works for some might not for others. anyway. thanks for this great post!

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  39. Yesser. Met my husband when I was 38, married him at 39. Had to deal with my OB/GYN asking why I didn't start trying to get pregnant before the wedding because "you don't have much time." -- Like I really wanted to be 6-8 mo pregnant at my wedding. Yesser. And then the first miscarriage (and same ob/gyn told me it was because my eggs were old. Without working up the miscarriage). Fired her ass. Then the 2nd & 3rd miscarriages. But, at nearly 43, delivered a healthy daughter who is now 7. And I'm about to turn 50. Husband turned 50 earlier in the year.
    Another challenge of the older mom -- no, I can't just leave my kid with her grandparents at the drop of a hat. One grandparent is dead. Another is 89 years old. The two "young" grandparents are 79 this year, but they live out of state, because by the time you are an adult when you get married, you have set up your own life in a city of your own.
    On the other hand, both my husband & I are in the prime of our careers. Hard to juggle with school systems & extra curriculars that think we have nothing better to do but drive her around at 2:45 pm. On the plus side, it's a good time to put $ away for college & retirement simultaneously. Oy.

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  40. Assvice is so perfect and I had twins when I was 34 so I hear you!!! I also had the "high risk" label on my pregnancy because of my age and because of the twin thing. Stupid!

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  41. I'm in this club, too. Married at 35, kids at 36, nearly 38, and 40. We spaced them close together because we didn't have time to have many years between each. I'm pretty young looking so I usually am seen as the mom, even though I'm in my mid 40s now with lots of gray I haven't covered. I did get a comment recently, though, that was my first indication that I look old to be my kids' mom. I told someone how old my kids are (they weren't with me) and she looked surprised and said, "Oh! They're young!" It made me a bit growly inside.
    Usually the young moms I've met have been really nice, but there is definitely a life experience gap. I'm not sure how I feel about it. While it would have been nice to have started earlier, I can't say my single life was wasted. I had a career, traveled, had good friends. Many of the things I had I kind of feel like some of the younger moms are missing out on, but then you can't really miss what you don't know. For the most part, they seem to be great moms, and I can't claim more patience when reading books over and over than they. I about go nuts after the second time through. The one young mom issue I've had is that when you start having kids after your metabolism has started slowing on its own, you find it much harder to take the weight off. I was talking to a couple of my young mom friends (aged 23? 24?) and they were saying how much weight they've lost since the baby. One was 10 lbs below her starting weight (pre pregnancy) and the other was 20 below. They just didn't know what to do about getting so skinny. I wanted to bite something, hard. I've always been naturally thin, but middle age does catch up to us. I still look okay, but I'm definitely not back to my pre pregnancy weight and expect I never will be. I wanted to say to them, well enjoy it now, because this whole youth thing ends. But, they'd never believe it, so I didn't.

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  42. I am 38 and I have a 15 month old boy. I have to say, I never thought of myself as an older mom. Both my SILs had their first baby at 38. My MIL was 37 when she had my husband. I'm not old! I'm normal. :)

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  43. Great post. You know what's interesting? I had kid #2 at age 35 in one country and got the "advanced maternal age" label, with accompanying increased ultrasounds, non-stress tests, etc. Then I had kid #3 in another country at age 37... no label except "low risk," no extra ultrasounds and no non-stress tests. LOL But, seriously, can we get the medical community to drop the "advanced maternal age" label?!?

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  44. I had our first baby at age 30, but we were in a part of the country where that was kind of young... or maybe, it was just that we were the first of our friends to have a baby. Then we moved when baby #1 was about a 1.5 years old, and I got pregnant with our second baby. In the new location, I was EASILY grandmother age. I'd go to the park, and at age 34/35, I was twice the age of the mothers of the kids there. Do the math. Talk about culture shock. I got so depressed because I felt like I had aged 20 years in one year. My sister went out and bought me some roll-on glitter and temporary tattoos so I'd feel more like I fit in at the playground. Now, my kids are 9 and 12, and I'm in yet another location, but there's a much wider range of ages here, so it feels normal. And I also don't care anymore.
    --kate in MI

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  45. I am the child of an older mom (she turned 40 a few months after I was born) and you know what? She ROCKED. Yes, there are things about having an older mom that were hard (I worry that my children won't have the opportunity to get to know her, like I didn't have much of an opportunity to know any of my grandparents before they passed away) but she was the best mom I could have hoped for if I'd been able to pick her out myself! She caught a lot of flak from family and friends ("But your other kids are finally at an age where you can leave them and go do fun things again without them") and her doctors ("At your age, your child is likely to have some type of birth defect"). Luckily, she didn't care what they thought and was just thrilled to be bringing a child into the world. Older moms are awesome. As a side note, I married at 18 (yes, I know, I was still a child myself!) and thought I'd have at least one child by 21 but wasn't able to conceive. Our first child was born when I was almost 25, and although that might not fall into the "advanced maternal age" category, I am so thankful that I didn't have a child before then. I personally was not as ready as I thought to handle this spirited little gift God gave to me.

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  46. Great post. I will be 38 when #4 arrives next spring. I was 32 when my oldest was born--so I will have 4 kids 5 and under. The first time my Dr. put "advanced maternal age" on my chart, I almost slapped her :)

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  47. I was 24 when my munchkin was born and by the way the other moms around my Chicago suburb often treat me I might as well have been 16 to their respectable 30. It's very frustrating to be looked down on as the younger mom when in other neighborhoods and other places (like, the respectable suburb of KC I grew up in) I'm totally normal. Sorry you put off or had trouble having children, please don't take it out on me!

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  48. I'm a young mom. I was 19 when my son was born. The judgement goes both ways and I don't know why it has to be either way. If you aren't within the ages of like 23 to 33 you apparently shouldn't reproduce...

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  49. My first and only was born just after I turned 40. But I often tell people, "you're only the age you tell people you are". In some circumstances I joke about being the "older parent", but since I'm the one in jeans, flannel, and a geeky t-shirt at daycare pickups, I actually LOOK younger than most of the parents that are in their late 20s/early30s. Since few people realize (unless I proudly tell them my age) that I am an "older parent", I haven't experienced much of the negativity associated with being one. My child was an unexpected but joyfully welcomed surprise, and while I also occasionally fear the implications of being almost 60 when she graduates from high school, I also know that as an "older parent", I bring to her life a wealth of experiences that make me a better parent now than I would have been even 10 years earlier. I also don't lament the "loss of my youth" to the grind of child-rearing. I love being an "older parent", but most importantly I love my daughter and she loves me regardless of my age or the perceptions of others.

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