Being an Older Mom

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What’s the difference between older moms and younger moms? What’s worse than being an older mom? You’ll laugh as you read the humorous answers to these questions and more!

Just when I thought I’ve heard every insult known to man or beast (you should hear what my cat calls me!), I’ve been hit with another, this one more cruel, more cutting, more … well, accurate … than any I’ve heard before. 

I am an “old mom.”

I must admit that I am solely responsible for this condition. (Well, OK, maybe not solely, but the brunt of the blame is mine to bear; that’s how childbirth works, right?) I mean, all along I knew I’d be an old mom. In fact, that’s what I planned for and counted on. “I’m not having any children until after I’m thirty,” I would tell my college roommates and, later, first-job friends. They’d look at me in disbelief and comment, “But, Mary, how will you keep up with them? By that time you’ll be so, well, old!”

“I have too much to do before I’m ready for kids,” I’d reply as they turned back to their “101 names for our future children” lists. “If I wait until after thirty, I’ll be ready.” It was as much prayer as promise.

But you know how it goes when it comes to kids. You can plan all you want, but they come when they’re supposed to, and what can you do? When Courtney arrived, I was in my mid-twenties, not at all a “young mom,” but still feeling a bit skeptical about the change of plans and priorities. I had to drain the measly savings I had accumulated (I was saving for a trip to London) because, after all, babies needed stuff … and they needed it NOW. The trip to Beatles country can wait, but just try telling your infant daughter that she doesn’t need a stroller, bassinette, Playtex nursers, and a year’s supply of onesies right away.

But the bigger surprise came years later, at the birth of my youngest son, Max. This time, I was over thirty. In fact, I was so over thirty that my pregnancy was automatically classified as “high risk” due to “advanced maternal age”. (That’s a nice way of saying “what in the world were you thinking?”) I was 35, an “old pro” at pregnancy, and a mom with (at that point) over 10 years experience under my ever-expanding belt (spandex of course … I had given up belt with buckles and holes a couple of kids back).

But, despite my mothering resume and advancing age, I really wasn’t much more prepared for Max than I was for Courtney.

It’s easy to tell the difference between the young moms (those that are often mistaken for their child’s big sister) and we of the slightly older persuasion. If you’re not quite sure, check out these tell-tale signs:

  • A young mom chooses her baby’s name sentimentally, poring over name books, discussing selections with family and friends, and learning the meaning of every one of her choices before settling on one that fits her family, style, and last name. (Think Alexandria)
  • An old mom chooses her child name practically, by length; the shorter the name, the easier it will be to teach the child to print it. (Think Al)
  • A young mom demonstrates herkie jumps at the Pee Wee football league cheerleading tryouts without breaking a sweat.
  • An old mom sits in the sweaty storage room and counts pom poms … and still has to have her feet rubbed afterwards.
  • A young mom arrives to pick up her son at preschool sporting the latest Jennifer Aniston hairdo and wearing a color-coordinated capris-and-crop top outfit.
  • An old mom picks up her son at preschool wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, navy sweatpants, and Keds without socks. Her hair has no style, but there is some toothpaste right in front near the gray.
  • A young mom hides in the bathroom to be alone.
  • An old mom knows that’s the first place they look, and they won’t hesitate to walk in.
  • A young mom knows all the words to the latest Creed song.
  • An old mom knows all the words to the Apostles’ Creed.
  • A young mom drives an SUV during the school week and her hubby’s convertible on weekends.
  • An old mom drives a rusting station wagon that bears a bumper sticker reading, “I brake for unicorns.”
  • A young mom leaves her kids at the sitter so she can have a dinner-and-dancing date with her spouse.
  • An old mom leaves her kids at the sitter so she can take a nap.
  • An old mom had her first child in the ’80s.
  • A young mom was born in the ’80s.
  • A young mom volunteers to help out at her daughter’s science fair, then does so between shopping at the mall with some friends and creating a spreadsheet for her employer.
  • An old mom volunteers to help out at her daughter’s science fair and schedules the entire day off, knowing she’ll need to conserve her energy beforehand and to put her feet up afterwards.
  • A young mom still cooks gourmet dinners.
  • An old mom has mastered the art of putting hot dogs, French fries, and apple sauce on one plate with none of the foods touching.
  • A young mom jumps up and down, cheering on her little leaguer as he runs from base to base.
  • An old mom is trying to keep the score book for one kid’s game while running from field to field to check in on the other kids.
  • A young mom’s idea of a fun afternoon is taking the kids for multiple rides on the SuperDooperLooper at the nearest theme park.
  • An old mom’s idea of a fun afternoon is finding a fast food place with an indoor play area, where she can read the paper and relax while the kids roll around in a roomful of plastic balls.

Of course, there are benefits to being an older mom. We may not have the energy to run the kids from place to place, but sometimes slowing down to blow pufferballs or read Green Eggs and Ham for the 57th times does bring its own special joy. (And we older moms are the very best for reading to our little ones. Our laps are bigger and more worn-in!)

And, after all, there is a fate worse than being an old mom. I was reminded of this when I tried talking to a “like soul” at my son’s roller skating party. She looked to be about my age; her hair was a bit grayer and her mannerisms more relaxed. As a pair of new moms rollerbladed by, I whispered to her, “Oh, well, I guess us old moms just can’t keep up.”

“You think you got it bad?” my co-conspirator replied. “I have it worse.” 

“What could be worse than being an old mom?” I asked. 

She smiled. “I’m a young grandmom.”

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