I don’t recommend waiting until you are in your dotage to have children. But life is complicated and sometimes you don’t get a choice. Those of us who had children at 39+ (I gave birth to my daughter at 39 years and 10 months of age) encounter obvious difficulties. But we also can offer great things to our kids that would be impossible for many of us earlier in life. Here are some that I discovered but feel free to share yours:
1. At my age, the source of judgment about my worth has moved from the outside to the inside. I see so many articles and posts by younger mommies who feel the need to defend their parenting decisions to the world. It’s such a relief simply to not care whether anybody thinks I’m a bad mother for not making a greater effort to breastfeed, for buying my kid her favorite tulip cookie at Panera, for not denying her the pacifier, for taking her to preschool in summer when I don’t teach or “do anything”, etc. I can’t be bothered to explain my choices because I’m way too old for that.
2. I don’t mind looking silly or ugly. I’m the most fun parent on the playground because I run, climb, sing in a really ridiculous pitch, lie on the ground and make funny sounds, etc because at my age nothing embarrasses me any longer.
3. My life is pretty much all figured out. My personal and professional lives are as stable as it gets.
3. I’ve had time to visit all bars, parties, adult restaurants, child-free resorts, theater performances, and movies that a person can possibly need. So I don’t feel deprived because I can’t do any of it any longer.
4. I’m financially comfortable enough so that I can, for instance, take my kid to Florida for 3 weeks and not notice the cost.
5. I’m very emotionally stable. I’ve been knocked about by life enough not to worry or stress out over anything that isn’t life-threatening.
6. I’ve had enough time to learn to be very organized. When I’m with my kid, I don’t need to do anything else because it’s all done. So I don’t feel rushed or stressed out.
But hey, if you are a younger mommy and don’t have any of these things, it doesn’t mean you are not a great mommy. You probably can give your kid a bunch of siblings and I can’t, and that’s a lot more important than trips to the beach or the knowledge of how to treat childhood ailments with natural remedies.
As psychoanalysts of childhood say, all you need to be a good mommy is to be. Not to be any special way, but just be there.