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The Hardest Part About Being an Older Mom

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I am a 46-year-old mom of an 8-year-old boy. My son has more energy than I've ever had since the day I was born, and I was a very active little girl. In fact, I was what was once called a tomboy. I rode dirt bikes, swam, climbed trees and camped with the boys. As a young adult, I ran long-distance and even completed several L.A. marathons. But none of my athleticism prepared me for what it takes to keep up with this child of mine.

Nowadays, delaying motherhood is common. Women have choices, and they're opting to complete their educations and pursue careers before becoming moms. This is all very good. However, when you, as I am, are in your mid-40s, parenting a little boy who rises with the sun and then literally runs for the entire day, there is not much energy for anything else.

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My brain is filled with thought of things I can do to keep him engaged. And my body is in constant motion, not just chasing soccer balls, but skateboarding and even surfing! This cannot be right.

I am both peri-menopausal and racing through the park with a soccer ball. It's so exhausting.

I was 35 the day I said "I do." (Of course that wasn't how I'd planned it when I was a little girl. I thought I'd be married for a decade by that age.) Unlike many women who have problems conceiving in their late 30s, I had none. But in early testing, it became apparent that my son had Down syndrome. Yes, that was scary. My son's condition, however, has proven to be an opportunity for our family to learn untraditional approaches to learning and living. I welcome these chances to stretch.

The biggest challenge, at least for me, is simply being an old and tired mother. You heard me. I don't have the energy to keep up with him, and I don't want to play ceaselessly the way the mom of an only child often must.

Most of my friends had children in their 20s and early 30s. I might be wrong, but it seems like they had more energy and ability to be present with their kids than I do. They're now in their 40s, and their teenagers aren't looking to them to play with them every waking moment. I, on the other hand, am both peri-menopausal and racing through the park with a soccer ball. It's so exhausting; the other day I screamed at my son for doing something I told him to do. He was almost as confused by it as I was.

Now when I meet women in their late 30s and early 40s talking about their desire to have children, I don't hide my disenchantment. I tell it like it is. "You don't know it now, because you're dreaming of rainbows and babies, but you're too old. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your body hasn't already made that clear, then someone needs to tell you."

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Have your babies young when you have energy to run behind them, to climb fences and jump out of trees without breaking an ankle—before you feel utterly foolish on a skateboard. My son has fun and doesn't care if I look absurd, but I know it's not right. Too bad I'm too old to have a sibling for him to play with, because that's the solution: another child.

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