My husband and I came to parenthood late – we’d been married for nearly seventeen years when I gave birth for the first time.
That’s a lot of years, in case you’re wondering.
I could write a very long post about the disadvantages of having kids late in life – but that would just be too easy. The disadvantages are legion. So, so legion.
Instead, I thought I’d look on the bright side of things, and share with you some distinct advantages to starting your family when you are nearing your AARP years. Should you be foolish enough to choose that route.
You have a perfect, built-in excuse for your ever-more-frequent senior citizen moments. Just blame everything on the baby.
Say you’re driving along (and this is totally hypothetical – this has certainly NOT happened to me on several separate occasions) and you come to a four-way stop, and then you sit there for a minute or two, waiting for the light to change. When this happens, you can wave your hand in the air and chortle, “Oh, I just can’t think clearly…I was up with the baby half the night.”
Okay, I’m not being entirely honest. You will not chortle, because chortling requires energy, which you don’t have even a shred of, because people who are nearing their fifth decade of life have no business nursing a baby. Replace the word “chortle” with “make a weird, weak noise that indicates humor. Or, possibly, strangulation.”
People won’t believe how old you really are – you will repeatedly hear, “My goodness, you can’t be almost forty – I thought you were about twenty-eight!”
This one’s a bit of a cheat; the secret is: no one is actually looking at you. They are looking at your cute baby. If they really were looking at you, with your scraggly ponytail and your fatigue-smudged eyes and not a stitch of make-up on, they would see that not only do you look every bit your age, you in fact look a decade older.
The other part of the secret is, people will be naturally assuming that no one who’s the age you’re claiming to be would be able to give birth to a baby – not outside of a science fiction movie, anyway.
And I say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. (Especially since the horse, like you, may not have gotten around to brushing his teeth yet today.)
You got all your partying out of your system years ago.
Getting dressed up every Saturday and going concert-hopping? You’ve been there. Closing down Six Flags and then making a run to the 24-hour buffet at Shoney’s? You’ve done that. You had years and years to go to the movies or out to eat or dancing at clubs, and now, you feel not a shred of resentment when the baby forces you to stay home, to turn down all invitations that come your way.
To be honest? You would actually present the baby with a diamond Rolex, if you could. He has given you a respectable, permanent excuse to beg out of strenuous and/or late-night activities without feeling like a fuddy-duddy.
You don’t care nearly as much about your material possessions.
When you were in your twenties, if someone set a wet glass directly on your wooden side table, you were apoplectic. Now, when the little dudes spill root beer all over your velvet Pottery Barn couch, or leave weird pen marks scribbled across it, you shrug your shoulders and dab it up as best you can; you’ve got bigger fish to fry. (Such as trying to figure out how many milligrams of Vitamin D and Calcium and Omega-3 you’re supposed to be taking now, since you forgot to write it all down at the doctor’s office.)
At this point, you can’t even remember how much that velvet Pottery Barn couch cost. That information has gone the way of every other scrap of not-critical-to-keep-anyone-alive information that used to reside in your brain. And trust me, my dear, that’s a good thing.
‘Cause that couch was expensive.
You are far too
old mature to care about appearing cool to your kids. Or to want them to be your “friend.”
There is a disconcerting trend lately, of parents desperately wanting their children to be their buddies. So they buy them gadgets and toys that are well beyond their budgets. Some parents eventually even start dressing like their teenage children, which just gets all kinds of embarrassing.
Look, I’m forty years old – I’m kind of good in the friend department. Also, I have reached a point in life where not only do I happily accept that I am NOT cool – I recognize that I have never been within 1000 miles of the “cool” category.
And I SO don’t care. Caring would require energy, and, well – see my first point.
When my boys (occasionally) holler at me, “I don’t like you,” it doesn’t sting me on even some tiny secret level. I just look at them with an Oh-honey-I-crap-bigger-than-you bemusement, and say, “That’s okay, sweetie. I still like you. Now help Mommy find her shoes.”
Lord knows, I’m not gonna find those puppies on my own.
So there you have it. A few things to look forward to, should you decide to delay having your family for a few decades.
Sadly, I’m not even joking about any of this.
However – see these two little guys? They were worth getting by any means necessary. And that’s the truth, too.