Now before all of you young mammas out there get up in arms and think this is a contest in comparison of young parenting vs. old parenting, it is not. This is about my experience and what i know of myself now vs. when I was younger.
Recently I read an article shared by Scary Mommy about how there was this study from Denmark that showed having children later in life resulted in socially and emotionally better adjusted children. This article went on to say how older moms are better because they are more patient, there is less yelling, they are more established financially, and so for all these reasons, they found children of older moms were more stable.
The first thing that struck me about this article was the amount of nasty comments, mostly from younger moms. They kept reiterating things like “stop all this comparison, I’m not old and my kids are well behaved,” or “stop all the mommy shaming, enough with the sanctimommies.” Different variations of the same angry comments. All these women had totally missed the point of the article!
It was actually an article directed at the very people who would shame older moms for waiting to have kids later in life. They threw in a study about how kids from older moms are well behaved to support their statement that having kids later in life is not a bad thing. There was nothing in there saying “I’m a better mom than you because I’m older.”
The other thing that struck me about this article was the assumption that older moms are automatically more patient and less likely to yell because of their age. Huh yeah, no. I’m probably way older than the moms researched in the study, and I can tell you advanced age doesn’t necessarily mean you are more patient or have less tendencies to yell. Maybe I’m the exception to the rule, I don’t know. I did grow up in a house of loud people; okay, yellers. I like to say we are passionately loud. I was a yeller pre-kids, and I’m working on being less of a yeller now. I was definitely not the most patient person in the world before my twinkies, and I’m working on increasing my patience levels now. I’m getting there, but I can tell you, I still have days when I cringe at myself after having a mommy meltdown. And I’m 45.
The thing about having kids, twinkies to boot, is that it teaches you so much about yourself. It’s humbling to realize you may be a psycho, and you need to fix yourself before you ruin your kids. The first year was probably when I had the most mommy meltdowns. Now I know some will say “oh it’s normal, it’s the lack of sleep, it’s the sheer amount of work that goes into it when you have twins, it’s the breastfeeding.” Yes, all of these things are true, I’m sure they contributed to it. But, what I realized after a while, is that I would loose my patience and yell (at babies no less, I’m such an asshole) when I didn’t feel in control. I know, I know, parenting means lack of control, you can all stop laughing now.
You must be sitting there reading this and thinking ‘I thought this post was about being a better mom at 45?’
The thing is, motherhood isn’t perfection, whether you are old or young. Older doesn’t mean you always have your shit together, but can you be better than the day, the month or the year before? Yes, absolutely. Can you be better because you are a different version of your younger self? Definitely.
SO, HOW AM I A BETTER MOM AT 45?
For one, the struggle that I went through to have my twins really makes me view motherhood with a whole lot of gratitude. I tend to focus more on the positive, than the negative. When there are bad days, I don’t dwell on them, I don’t let them overshadow the good days, the good moments, the incredible love I feel for my sons. It also helps to have a nice stiff drink at night on those days. But really, the most I feel is overwhelmingly lucky, and I thank God everyday for them.
I’m also able to handle the challenges of raising twins with a practical mindset. I’m super organized, I don’t get easily scared. Shit after all I’ve been through, raising my twins is a piece of cake. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But really, I’m just able to take things as they come. I don’t get boggled down by the “OMG this moment sucks,” or “it’s so hard to breastfeed them at the same time (when that was the case),” or “I wish I could get more sleep.” I just go through the moments as they come and JUST DO IT. Yes those moments may suck, yes I may bitch and moan about it in the moment, but I don’t dwell on it. And as I mentioned earlier, a stiff drink at the end of the day always helps when the going gets tough. Although, I couldn’t do that when i was deep in the full-time breastfeeding stage.
Now I do have a confession to make. I did have an advantage unrelated to age that probably fed into my feelings of gratitude and taking things in stride. I was extremely lucky to have my parents by my side the first 7 months of our twinkles’ lives. I remember my mother once asking me, after they had left back to Portugal, “isn’t it hard doing it by yourself during the day? Are you having a hard time?” I think she thought I was going to be a mess once her and my dad left. Heck, I thought the same exact thing. And maybe this is an age factor, or maybe it’s just a ME factor. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. Granted the hardest had passed. The sleepless nights, getting the heck of breastfeeding, the colicky phase. Now they were sleeping through the nights, except when teething roared its ugly head. Even so, I expected to be a mess when they left. Instead, we fell into a rhythm, we established routines, we went through all the different phases really without too much of a struggle. Although I will say, the solid food stage really sucked. Really for me, the hardest was dealing with my own character flaws as I saw them.
Lastly, the one thing that definitely makes a difference with having kids later on, is the financial stability. I’m able to stay home with them and delay going back to work until I’m ready. Not having the constant worry of “how are we going to afford all these diapers, all these clothes, all this food” definitely helps. Yes it’s tight, but we’ve got savings, and my husband is well established in his career. It also helps that I’ve gotten all my party days out of my system. I had 2 decades to do that, so now I’m perfectly content staying home with my family. Heck, I prefer staying home with them.
More importantly, I know that I’m a much better mom at this age than I would have been in my 20s or even my 30s, knowing what I know of my younger self. If I didn’t have to struggle to become a mom, maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated my twins as much. If I had been younger, maybe I would have resented them because I would want to have free time and fun. I don’t think I would have felt the gratitude I do now. In my battle with infertility, I gained a profound appreciation for motherhood and having my sons. From the pregnancy stage until now, there isn’t a day that goes by, that I don’t thank God for my double blessings.
For all these reasons, I’m a better mom at 45.