I just turned 48 earlier this month and my sons are 3 and 5
years old. Whenever people hear this, I get the usual response: "You don't look
that old!" If that's true (and I'm not sure it is) it's because people
generally expect the mother of two preschoolers to be younger than me. But I am
48, even if I don't feel like it most of the time.
Chasing after two young kids in my 40s hasn't been much
harder than working 60-hour weeks in retail when I was in my 20s. And yet, our
youth-obsessed media and the rare portrayals of older moms in film and TV help perpetuate a number of ridiculous myths.
Myth 1: Older mothers don't have enough energy for their
Raising children is exhausting no matter what age you are.
Spend a couple of hours at the city park and you will hear
every parent—from the barely out of college types to the ones with grey
streaking their hair—complain about needing a nap. Sure, there is always that
one special snowflake who is energetic enough to take a spin class after a 12-hour day with little ones, but raising children is exhausting no matter
what age you are. And I know parents a decade younger than me who need an
afternoon nap after a morning at the park. I won't judge their naps if they
won't judge my grey hair.
Myth 2: Older mothers won't be around for their children as
long as younger mothers will
Look, there are no guarantees in life. We all hope to live
to be a ripe old age, but who knows what might happen? Life expectancies are
longer than they were when our parents had us and when their parents had them.
Plus, older parents are often more health conscious than their younger,
barely-out-of-the-club-scene counterparts. We are aware of our own mortality
and we do our best to make sure we'll be around for our families for as long as
Myth 3: Older mothers might not live to see their
Who knows if my kids will even want to have kids of their own?
My only response to this is: I didn't have children so I
could have grandchildren. Who knows if my kids will even want to have kids of
their own? Fewer women are having children these days. Also, many of the young
moms I knew in my 20s are now raising their grandchildren, which basically
means they're doing the same thing I'm doing at my age, except they're doing it
for the second time in their life.
Myth 4: Older mothers are helicopter parents
Here's the truth: There is no age limit to the helicopter
parent, the free-range parent or any other parenting style. But older mothers
have more life experience, have been around long enough to see trends come and
go and aren't necessarily interested in hovering over their children 24/7.
Myth 5: Children of older mothers will be embarrassed by
All children think their parents are "old."
Did your mother ever embarrass you? Mothers embarrass their
children for one reason or another. It's one of the perks of the job. And all
children think their parents are "old." It's just the way it is.
Myth 6: Older mothers aren't interested in friendships with
The thing about having children roughly the same age as
women who are sometimes close to half my age is that we already have something
in common. I care less about the chronological age of another mom than I do
about the important stuff: Does she have a good sense of humor? Is she easy
going and fun to be around? Will she watch my kids while I go get a pedicure?
It may not be enough to bond us for life, but having kids the same age is
enough to foster a friendship.