I became a first-time mom at the age of thirty-five. While many of my friends were having children in their twenties, I was a late bloomer when it came to the parent club. Now that my son is almost four, those same friends have children who are graduating from high school! So, how is parenting different at an older age? What are some of the challenges older parents face, and what are some of the advantages of having more life experiences when it comes to parenthood? Let’s check out some of the ups and downs I’ve experienced over the years!
The Ups & Downs of Being an Older Parent
Your energy reserves aren’t as bountiful as they used to be!
When it comes to the amount of energy required to raise a child, you can’t possibly understand it until you’re in it. There’s no trial run for parenthood! Needless to say, when my son was born, I was more fatigued than I could have ever imagined. For the first time in my adult life, I was able to fall asleep anywhere instantly. But from chatting with other moms, I realized this is the case for all new parents, no matter what your age.
Now that my son is almost four years old, unfortunately my energy stores are still pretty much as low as they were in the newborn stage! And I know that my thirty-year-old mommy friends do not feel that way! I literally crave sleep constantly. As far as I’m concerned, one of the most difficult parts of being an older parent is learning how to function when I don’t feel rested in the least. This is where my copious coffee consumption come into play! At the end of the day once my son is in bed, there is nothing left in the tank for me – let alone my husband. Definitely the most challenging aspect of older parenthood, for me personally.
The transition is a bit rockier at times
Adjusting to parenthood is extremely hard, but I do wonder if it’s harder for the older parent. I still find myself almost automatically being drawn towards things I used to do before becoming a mom, almost instinctively. I can’t help but think that simply because I lived my life a certain way for many, many years, the transition to parenthood was more difficult for me. In talking to a good friend of mine who is in her forties with a three-year-old, I know that both she and her husband feel exactly the same way.
You have far more patience than you might think!
One of the things that did surprise me about being an older parent is how much my life experiences have shaped me as a mother. I have had many different jobs over the years, and have had to be flexible and accommodating with clients and bosses alike. Because of this, I have so much more patience with my son now than what I would have if I had become a mother in my twenties. To say that I have a temper would be putting it mildly (I blame my red hair!), but I don’t fly off the handle like I used to now that I’m nearing my fortieth birthday. I’m no expert on parenting, but I do know that being a mom with a short fuse is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen!
My many life experiences have made me what I am today and have shaped me into the mom that I am. As challenging as it is to be an older parent, with age comes both security and stability that in the end can only make me a better mother.