I turned forty less than three months after having my first and only child. My 20’s were spent partying and building a career. I married my husband at 30, a man with already two children. He had been honest about not wanting more. I also felt unworthy to be a mother for many years because of a choice I had made in the past, so I had convinced myself that I didn’t want my own kids. But I did. The desire grew to be so strong, that it was all I could think about. My instinct and desire to be a mother was fierce and certain. I had finally come to terms with it, gotten my husband on board, and it was go-time. Now, was I aware that my age would likely present a few challenges for me? Sure, but when you want that baby, nothing and I mean NOTHING will change your mind. So here’s a bit of a humorous rendition of what no one told me about the “older mom challenges” I would face.
Roller Coasters and Zip Lines
No one tells you that the physical and mental exhaustion from motherhood at 40 is more intense than it is at 25, or even 30. I don’t care how fit you are, how zen you are, or how determined you are. You will be more tired than younger moms. I have exercised five days a week since I was in high school, I eat and sleep well and I don’t have any chronic health issues. The sleep deprivation from my son’s first four years drained me to a place beyond fatigue I did not know existed. I’m still catching up on sleep, and he’s 12.
No one tells you that you will have to go sledding, and climb up steep hills again and again to teach your child how to enjoy the snow and the outdoors. This will be exhausting and may kill you. Your lungs will burn. No one tells you that you will also ride a very steep roller coaster, on which you will be very sick to your stomach, and your legs will turn to rubber as you climb out of the car. No one tells you that you will ride a zip line through a jungle, 1800 feet in the air. You will be crying real tears at the finish. For real.
No one tells you that your patience, reserve and ability to tolerate nonsense is empty at 40. So when your adorable 18-month-old is throwing things on the floor repetitively to get your attention, it will not be cute. Nor will you be able to hide your facial expressions. You will raise your voice when you don’t want to, and probably in front of people, who absolutely are judging you and your parenting.
No one tells you that you will be mistaken for your child’s grandparent on multiple occasions. I don’t care how young you look, this will happen. It’s not funny or fun. Buckle up buttercup. This one hurts.
No one tells you that at some point you will question whether your age is negatively affecting your child in some way. Do his friends know you’re older? Do they talk about it or make fun of him because of it? No one tells you that you will spend thousands of dollars trying to look younger so this doesn’t happen. Truth.
You will wonder what life will be like when he is 20 and you are 60, or 30 and 70, or 40 and 80.
No one tells you that you will wake up every morning ready to do it all over again. That when your little one comes down the stairs in the morning, with messy hair and puppy breath, you will feel like you did on Christmas morning as a child. You will feel more grateful and more fulfilled than you ever thought you could. You will get back on that roller coaster. You will climb that snow hill, and hell, you will probably do that zipline again. Because us older moms realize, maybe just a little more than other moms, how truly fast life goes and that having someone call you mom is worth all of it. Even the grandma comments. 😉