Sure, we are labeled a "geriatric" throughout our pregnancies, but there are several perks to being a more mature mom.
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The Perks of Being a Senior Mom

Sure, we are labeled a "geriatric" throughout our pregnancies, but there are several perks to being a more mature mom.

By Andrea Rosas Howe of The Howe To Blog: Parenting Advice from the Unqualified

My phone chirped from the kitchen table, letting me know I had a text message. I wish it had a ringtone that said, “The text you’re about to read is going to destroy your spirit.”

It was my dad. “Today was my grandmother’s birthday,” he said. “And I just was thinking she was your age when I was born.”

“That’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to me. Are you saying I’m old enough to be a grandma?”


“I’m going to die now.”

While 35 and over moms definitely aren’t unusual anymore, we are still in the minority. And those from previous generations like to remind us of that and can often treat us as though we’re reproductive anomalies. Once, an older woman I was chatting with at my local bakery, learning of my age (41) and my daughter’s age (4), exclaimed in shock, “When I was your age all my children were in their 20s!”

I don’t feel particularly old or different than any other mom. It’s not like I stash arthritis medication and crossword puzzles in the diaper bag. Aside from perhaps having arguably less energy and more financial stability, we “senior” moms are just like our younger counterparts – we have the same worries, insecurities and hopes and concerns for our children. We just have to field insults from insensitive jerks every now and then. And actually, I’d say there are more advantages to being a mature mom than there are drawbacks.

Perspective. In my twenties and thirties I tended toward catastrophic thinking. Every perceived career failure or personal setback was the end of the world and left me anxious and doubting myself. I’m not going to say I’m completely cured of this, but my advanced age has quieted this tendency.

Now, I try to put things into perspective by asking myself if whatever is bothering me affects my health, happiness or family. Most of the time, the answer is, “No.” Perhaps the mommies in the mommy group are clique-ish buttholes, but does it impact the three most important areas of my life? No. So I let that shit go. On the other hand, when I had a job that was stressing me out to the point that I was doubled over with stomach aches every day, I realized it was time to make some changes for the sake of our family.

I’ve got this, people. I’ve got this. Like many women, I’m a people-pleaser. This didn’t serve me well as a single person in my twenties and thirties, but as a mom, people pleasing can lead you down a long and lonely road to bitterness. Fortunately for me, motherhood came a little later when my people pleasing had eased up.

I started getting unsolicited child-rearing advice as soon as I put on my first pair of unflattering maternity pants. When my daughter was about two months old, my dog sitter (dog sitter!) chastised me for not breast feeding. I have no doubt my younger self would have felt the need to explain that I had tried breast feeding and failed because it’s pretty hard to produce enough milk when you’re separated from your child who’s in the NICU. Never mind that it was none of her damn business and I barely knew her. But as an older mom I felt no compulsion to justify my parenting skills. So I met her gaze and said, “Thanks, but I’ve got this.”

Later, when people weighed in on where my daughter slept, her pacifier habit, her lack of footwear (the girl likes to be barefoot; big whoop!) or that she looked chilly even though it was 70 degrees and we live in LA, I would just shrug and say, “It’s under control, thanks.” I didn’t engage, didn’t try to please and explain, and the discussion ended and the busy-body moved on to annoy some other innocent parent (sorry about that).

You’re not the boss of me. I was raised to respect, without question, anyone with a badge or a couple of degrees and a white coat, and this stuck with me into adulthood. But by the time I was pregnant with my daughter at 36, I had a few ugly experiences with doctors behind me that made me realize that medical professionals and others in authority are fallible like the rest of us.

I had a troubled pregnancy – chronic dehydration and pre-term contractions at around the six-month mark, and I was a nervous wreck. By about the tenth visit to the ER, the hospital staff began to look at me as if to say, “You again?” A decade ago, those looks might have shamed me into second guessing my instincts about how I was feeling, but I trusted myself and knew I was the best judge of what was happening to my body. And when my daughter was born at 37 weeks and we had a disaster of an emergency c-section, my past experiences with doctors had given me the wisdom to advocate for myself and for my daughter with the knowledge that I alone had absolute authority over what happened to me.

Whether you’re a mom in your twenties, your thirties or your forties, you draw on your life experience each day to get you through those sleepless nights with your newborn, to get your picky toddler to eat or to deal with the “well-meaning” advice givers and critics. For me, though, I needed a little extra life experience behind me so that my daughter could have a more patient mom, a more confident mom and a mom who doesn’t give a shit about pleasing the whole world anymore. Yes, I’ve got a few more grey hairs now, I’m pretty sure my footwear is sadly unfashionable, and I’ll be dipping into my 401k when my child graduates from college.

But I also have one hell of an arsenal of life stories to draw from every time my daughter pleads for one more bedtime story.

This post was originally published on The Howe To Blog: Parenting Advice from the Unqualified.


About Andrea Howe

Andrea Rosas Howe is a mom, writer and editor. She writes The Howe To Blog: Parenting Advice from the Unqualified. She has a serious case of wanderlust and is a collector of books, anything with birds on it, and flip flops, which she unapologetically wears 10 months out of the year. She is happiest with her husband and daughter, in or near the water or among stacks of well worn books. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs and two fish in Los Angeles. Absolutely nothing qualifies her to dole out parenting advice aside from the fact that she is trying very hard at this parenting thing each and every day. And she does so with love and humor. Rarely with grace. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.