Views from An “Older Mom”

Purposeful Parent Tip:  No matter what your age when you become a parent, there’s always wisdom to be shared.

There were many things I swore I’d never do when I was a young adult, but the one that sticks out the most is that I did not want to be an ‘older’ mom. My parents were in their forties (horror!) when they had me and then my younger sister and I remember being a little embarrassed that my parents were older than those of my friends.

My objection to my parents being older had nothing to do with their parenting style, but everything to do with vanity. I didn’t want to be the only kid in my class with “old parents.” Most of the kids my age had parents in their late twenties and early thirties. They were “hip” to use a term from that time and I found myself longing for a younger version of my own parents, probably like my older siblings had.

Fast forward several years later and guess what? Turns out, I’m the “old parent” in my children’s classroom. Hence my repeated admonition to people – “Never say never.”older mom and child

There are many benefits to being an older parent. Supposedly you have gotten all of the selfishness and self-centeredness out of your life and are ready to focus on the lives of your children. You also have the benefit of having had more experiences thereby making you wiser. And because you’ve “settled down”, there are no real feelings of loss of your youth.

I have the benefit (or shall I say the DNA from my mother) of not looking my age. So when my son tells his friends that I am in my thirties, they tend to believe him. Now, is he saying this because he really thinks I look 30-something? Or is he embarrassed because his friend’s parents actually ARE in their thirties and he doesn’t want to be “the kid with the old parent.” Hmmm – this sounds vaguely familiar.

Most, if not all, of my friends are “done” with parenting their children. Ok, you’re never really done but you know what I mean. They are finished with the daily responsibility of ensuring homework is done and chauffeuring kids from one activity to the next and hosting all-night sleepovers. They can see the next chapter of their life
beginning with travel, home downsizing, and well, freedom. And while there are certainly pangs of empty-nest syndrome, they are clearly enjoying this time.

I on the other hand am still checking school planners, assisting in science fair projects, and hauling kids all over town for practices and games. And I’ll be doing this for probably another 10 years. Wow.

I’m not sure my looks are going to keep up with me or my energy level for that matter, but I will say this. Being an “older parent” combined with being a divorced parent tests you in ways you never imagined. I wonder how my own mom felt. She was not a divorced parent but she was older.My father worked multiple jobs at times to support his family and I suspect she often felt like a single parent. Interestingly, she was the same age I am now raising the remaining two of her six children. I wonder if she ever felt
jealous of other moms who were “done” and could pursue their own interests, while she was still in the thick of it.

I’ll never know the answer to that question. Lately I am finding more and more parallels to my and my mother’s life – coincidentally or not. I’m going to guess that she may very well would’ve liked to have taken off her “mommy hat” many times while having to care for me and my younger sister in her later years.

This topic of being a later mom is sticking with me these days and this may not be the only post you see about the subject. I’d love to hear from you on how you feel about being an “older mom” and the challenges you face. We’re in this together!

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2023