Just after I moved to Boise and attended a neighborhood party with my (then) 1 year old, another woman yelled at me across the room, “Yeah, another old mom!” Though I wasn’t thrilled to be called “old mom,” especially not loudly in front of a large crowd, I was happy to know that age 41, I wasn’t alone in fashionably late motherhood. It even seems surreal when my friends from high school and college have children heading to college, when mine is still in kindergarten.
I agree with Heather who writes at Theta Mom in that there is no ideal time to become a mom. We all march to the beat of a different drum, and that’s the way it should be. I lived life to the fullest in my twenties and thirties, and I don’t think I would have played, moved or changed jobs nearly as much if I’d had a child. But like Myg, who writes at Wisermom, I worry about dropping my child off for his first year of college with a cane in my hand. And I am a bit jealous when I see other younger parents who seem to have so much more energy than I do. (Just check out the #1 item on this late blooming mom’s list). There are always trade-offs to be made, whether we settle down sooner or later, and I truly believe it all works out for the best. There’s no need to rush or feel pressed to live by someone else’s rules.
Here are a few of the reasons I waited:
1. Late Bloomer Affliction – I was late to puberty, late to graduate school, and late to learning to dress properly for work. Maybe some of us are genetically pre-dispositioned to settle down late, too. Just a theory.
2.Wild Thing – Aside from a few of those beers my high school boyfriend taught me to chug (since I didn’t like the taste of it), I was a pretty un-wild teenager. Maybe being from a small, conservative town played into it, or maybe I just listened to what my mom told me. But either case, by the time I got out on my own, it was time to party, play and date a variety of men. Getting married and having babies wasn’t in the cards.
3. Fickle Me – I had my fair share of bad apples, bad choices and bad dumps. But I dated some nice guys, too, and simply wasn’t ready to settle down. Meeting new men was one big adventure, until I met the right man. And then the adventure ended. Or perhaps it only just began?
4. Bohemian Belle – I lived in the South until aged 30, and when I moved farther North and eventually West, my inner being soaked up new cultures like a sponge. The more I was exposed to different ways of living, eating and being, the more intrigued I became. The downside is that it’s hard to maintain serious relationships if you keep moving around the country. And I knew better than to have a child out of wedlock.
5. Insatiable appetite – Job hopping is commonplace and accepted among today’s Millenials. But twenty years ago, a person who changed employers frequently was deemed fickle, unreliable and unwanted. Despite the permeating attitude, I changed jobs every couple of years because each was a new and exciting opportunity to learn. But that continued lack of stability carried over to my family life (or lack thereof).
6. 9-5 – This was a hit movie in 1980, but it also reflected my view of the world – work hard, play hard and climb the corporate ladder. Those weren’t really my office hours, but working was my central focus in life. Until I got married and had a baby. Then it all changed.
Having a baby – any time – can turn life upside down. But having one late in life can be summarized in three words: frazzled, forgetful and forty.
Stay tuned Wednesday, April 28, to find out how waiting for baby can have decrease your chances of having one at all (or in my case, having two).