Growing up, I remember a song about older women being beautiful lovers. I hope the same applies to older women being beautiful mothers. I am 44 and have a nine year old and a five year old. Granted, recent news of a woman in India giving birth to twins in her 70s doesn’t exactly make me sound ancient, but I’m not the “typical” age of a woman with elementary school children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of a mom when her first child is born is 26.
For me, being an older mom has its benefits, especially when I think back to my 25-year-old self. I wasn’t ready and I needed that extra decade to grow. Plus, it simply took me a while to build the family that I have now. Our adoption processes each took about two and a half years from initial training to getting off the plane with our sons.
Once I was ready for this thing called motherhood, my mom advised me of how old I would be when the boys were 18. Ouch. For a person who’s never been concerned about age or aging, that was an awakening. When my boys started daycare, there were other awakenings. Like the first time another mom said “yes ma’am” to me at daycare. Wait–no! I’m just a mom like you! I’ve also been in the unfortunate situation of having an urgent care nurse ask me, “Are you the grandmother or the mom?”
I’m also finding that being a, let’s call it non-traditional aged mom, presents another challenge. Many of the family and friends we know have older children. Not only does this present a problem at gatherings when the boys have no one to play with, but it is also a challenge as far as unexpected energy and decibel levels. People with grown children aren’t exactly used to the energy and enthusiasm of a five-year-old boy.
However, the thing is, I really don’t feel “old,” “older” or even “non-traditional.” I would say I’m a young person at heart. Plus, having my kids around makes me feel younger and hipper than I probably should feel. I mean, I know the words to most Taylor Swift songs and a lot of Katy Perry. Does that count? I also enjoy introducing my boys to 80s and 90s music. You know, I don’t care who sang for Milli Vanilli–the beats are still great!
What is truly awesome is when I run into another mom in the same birthday candle range as me with her own crew of small children. We seem to have a kinship and we recognize each other. They understand the passion with which we love our babies and also the sting that accompanies being thought of as a grandma. There’s nothing wrong with being a grandma IF you are indeed a grandma. However, for us older moms, we may have waited for what felt like an eternity to hear the word “mom” in reference to us, and we want to feel like the world sees us as that.