Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Then and Now

Today I read an article about becoming a parent at the ripe old age of 50. It made me smile. In fact, it made me smile so much that I just had to write a follow-up. Here is that author's perspective of becoming a parent at 50 coupled with my take on what it's like 10+ years later.

10 Worst Things About Being An Old Mom
1. Other people. You will get eyeballs on you. When others ask, “Aw, are you her Grandma?” just smile and sweetly say, ‘No, I’m just her really old mom.”
At 60+... Nobody asks anymore, they just assume. 
2. Font sizes. Your kid’s sick, you’re tired, stressed and can’t find your cheaters to read the dosing directions on baby medication bottles. The font size on most bottles is only legible to toddlers, who cannot read yet. 
At 60+... Bifocals have taken care of this issue. They are a gift for the aging. Thank you, Ben Franklin.
3. When your kid’s in their twenties, you’ll be officially old, which is the best incentive to take exemplary care of oneself starting right now. Red wine and pomegranate gummy bears are superfoods, right?
At 60+... Wine has fiber, right?
4. Menopause and mothering. If you think that sounds hard, just remember how hard it (and you) will be on your husband. 
At 60+... During this uncomfortable time in my life, I had a two-year-old non-sleeping toddler and three rebellious teenage boys. Fortunately, my husband survived.
5. Your parents will be older too. They might not babysit as actively or host sleepovers for your kid. But my grandparents seemed ancient when I was little, and they were in their forties... so it’s pretty much a toss up.
At 60+... My children have grieved the deaths of three of their grandparents alongside my husband and me. We have all had the privilege of being caretakers to my father during his last few years. At their young ages, this has been an education in love, patience, and sacrifice. Now that's  a gift.
6. Curiosity. Again with the eyes of other people. Especially if your child is a different race. While educating folks about adoption is awesome, we’d rather not be asked “Why didn’t her real mother want her?” in front of our child. 
At 60+... People expect me to be a little heard of hearing, so I have an excuse to ignore insensitive, ignorant comments.
7. You will be old enough to parent many of the other parents you will meet and befriend. But they are all great people because they were raised in the 1980s and 1990s.
At 60+... I love my young mom friends. They help me manage Facebook. Are you aware that it's possible to unfollow "friends" and they never know?
8. People will tell you, “When I’m your age, I hope I’m just like you.” Which is a compliment, but it’s also karmic payback for all the times you said that to older, wiser people when you were a young, snot-nosed dope.
At 60+... I just smile and think, "If they only knew all the xxx I went through to get here."
9. It will be sad to explain to your child why you won’t be able to produce a sibling for them. Unless you are that unbelievably fierce, professional Old Mom who will just go ahead and do it.
At 60+... They have (and always will have) each other and three older siblings. After birthing four children, my husband and I realized our responsibility to stop adding to the world's population and start caring for it. So we followed the tug that lead us China.
10. Getting old is hard. Even if you firmly believe age is just a number, consider your fifties to be the ‘Warning Years’. Two glasses of wine take a hell of a lot more recovery time than it did when you were 30.
At 60+... I've learned that two glasses of wine is pretty much perfection.
10 Awesomest Things About Being An Old Mom
1. You’ve done all your clubbing/partying/road-tripping. You’re thrilled for a great reason to stay home.
At 60+... I have to force myself not to don my pjs until after dinner.

2. You’re more patient, experienced and empathetic. You already know how to handle crazy bosses, neighbors, and insane and/or drunk family members, so children are relatively easy to deal with.
At 60+... I know that some things can't be rushed and that most people are just doing the best they can. I've also learned the hard way that the saying "there but for the grace of God goes I" is all too true.
3. If you were raised in the 1960s and the 1970s, remember this ― as long as you don’t do what your parents did, you’re doing an incredible job.

At 60+... I realize what a difficult job parenting is and that my parents were awesome. Back in the good old days, parents were adults and they let kids be kids. They let us struggle and there's something to be said for that. This parenting technique seems to have gone out of fashion.
4. Since you survived being parented before parenting became a verb, as well as survived your twenties, thirties, forties and childbirth or adoption, you know how not to sweat the small stuff. Watching your kid freak out over truly small stuff won’t freak you out.

At 60+... I'm a believer that, as they say, these things too shall pass. And you know what — they really do!
5. You probably have older nieces and nephews, so you’ve already done tons of pinch-hit parenting. And your nieces and nephews will love hanging with your kid.

At 60+... Not only do our girls have awesome adult cousins who love them to pieces, they have adult brothers with wives and girlfriends who adore them. They even have a niece and nephew of their own.
6. Hand-me-downs from everyone on Earth who became parents before us. We have clothes lined up until she is nineteen.

At 60+... I think that I now dress many little girls in our town with our hand-me-downs.
7. When you do get to sleep, it will be well-earned, deep and profoundly deserved.

At 60+... A little afternoon nap is nirvana.
8. You will feel younger chasing your kid around. All their physical energy will rub off on you. Until it doesn’t.

At 60+... Sit back and watch; preferably with a glass of Chardonnay.
9. Showing your child and a lot of much younger parents the wildly violent, racist and sexist (as compared to today’s PC standards) Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse cartoons of your childhood.

At 60+... We got our girls hooked on Leave it to Beaver reruns. Now they are able to spot a real Eddie Haskell when they see one.😍
10. Children organize your lives. What’s truly important becomes infinitely clear. To get to love and be loved by someone who not only needs you but requires you is a privilege that you have earned with all the life you’ve already lived. Extra added bonus? You got lots to teach.

At 60+... I actually believe that I have some gems to pass along. I care so much more about our world and the people that inhabit it with me than I did when I was younger. I can't seem to get enough of new ideas and old teachings. Life really does begin at 60.

You can read the original article here.