There’s a lot to be said about being an older mum. I know as I had Small Boy at the ripe old age of 41. But what? Well I’ve given this a lot of thought and here’s my starter for ten.
1. I’ve done all my partying
Okay, I’m not saying you’re going to be a hermit from here on in but I’ve had a good stint of boozing and raving through my twenties and thirties and was ready to retire from a hectic social scene anyway. Most of my friends are in a similar position, albeit with older kids so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
2. I’m in a good place with my career
I’ve had several significant career changes in my life but still in a good place. I feel like I’ve made some good choices, made some calculated risks, know my skills and established my reputation. This means that negotiating flexible working or taking time off at short notice if Small Boy is ill has been a breeze. It also means that making some career sacrifices now is much easier. I don’t feel like I’ve got to keep grinding out to make my mark.
3. I’m less influenced by others
I’m not sure whether it’s solely age or because I don’t have time to waste, but I’ve found that I’m less likely to tolerate any nonsense or unsolicited parenting advice than some. It’s difficult to patronise at forty something year old woman than it is younger. This is true for relatives, health visitors and just about anyone else who is going to take a peak at your vagina or tell you how to raise your child.
4. I’m financially secure
While I’m not rolling in money, I do have a good handle on my expenses and know how to budget it well. This comes from experience and living on my own for ten years, and being responsible for our household finances for another ten. Good money management comes from time and practice – and the occasional emergency (I’ve been made redundant twice and my husband has been once). I know how to save money which makes for a less stressed household and helps with the inevitable expense of having a child.
5. I’m okay looking a bit tired/ frumpy/dishevelled
Perhaps this isn’t an age thing but in my hay-day you only had to stick on a clean top to look presentable for a night out. Now it’s tan, nails, high heels. That all seems like a lot of work to me. I’m comfortable with a capsule wardrobe which consists of leggings, tunics and occasionally a pair of skinny jeans. In short, I’m happy to be dressed to go to soft play at any time and to crash on the floor and build with Duplo. I’m not sure I could hack the pressure of looking good all the time.
6. I’m self aware
I’ve been an adult for quarter of a century and have seen quite a lot of drama. I’ve also suffered from anxiety, stress and depression, and seen a counsellor. I’ve spent a lot of time understanding my moods and what makes me tick, so all things considered I’m reasonably well adjusted. I know my triggers and when I’m being irrational. I still get frustrated when Small Boy refuses to go to sleep after an hour of trying, but I know how to deal with that now. In the long run that should help towards a happier little boy and a less worn out Mummy.
7. People assume I’m younger
I have to admit it does feel good when someone assumes that you’re ten years younger than you are because you have a little boy. Perhaps I’ll feel differently in ten years when they think I’m his granny, but for now I’ll take the compliments.
8. Statistically, I’ll live longer
This shocked me but there’s been a few studies on this and women who are mums past 25 will live longer than those who have their first child under the age of 25. Women who have children over the age of 33 live even longer. I’m not sure why this is but maybe it’s because kids keep you young, or maybe it’s because you are less likely to have more children.
9. I have friends to help me
Because I’m older, so are my relatives so we have little support from them, but as I’m the last in my group to have a child, they really understand how tough it is. I’ve been able to get advice from them, hand me downs and also practical help when I’ve needed it. As their children are older, it’s easier for them to help out in an emergency. I don’t ask often but there was an occasion when hubs was overseas and I came down with gastroenteritis and one of my friends took Small Boy (then 5 months for the day for me).
10. I appreciate everything and take nothing for granted
The most significant disadvantage of having children older is that it’s more likely that they may be your only child, as fertility in women decreases with age. That said, you truly cherish every moment.
Many of these are not exclusive to older mums of course. There will be plenty of upsides to having children younger too. Are you an older mum? What do you think, have I missed anything out?