There’s a positive side to having kids earlier in life, but there are also plenty of benefits in starting a family later on. Mighty Mommy shares six reasons parenting as an older mom can be just as rewarding and beneficial.
Women who give birth later in life (or adopt) are on the rise. and I know because I am one of them. After six years of infertility, at the age of 29, we were finally blessed with our first child through the amazing experience of adoption. One year later, I gave birth to our second child and then...I had six more babies! I joke about how I was pregnant for a decade and went from having no children in my twenties to having eight in my thirties, in fact, I delivered our youngest child when I had just turned 40. As a result, I know what it's like to have a kid when you're in your late 20s, or in your early 40s, and have weighed the differences between both; I've also been able to compare with and watch my friends who had kids in their early or mid-twenties instead.
There’s a flip side to having kids earlier in life, but there are also plenty of benefits in starting a family later in life too:
Reason #1: Going With The Flow
Because infertility played a large part in my delay in becoming a mom, I sat quietly on the sidelines and observed most of my best friends as they became parents for the first time. Though I ached to have a child of my own, I was still happy to be able to observe their lives as new parents and I won’t lie, jumped at the chance to be a part of Christenings, first birthday parties, and babysitting when they wanted a much-needed date night. Not only did this “warm me up” for when I finally became a mom, it also afforded me plenty of opportunities to observe real-life parenting in the now. I saw some of my best friends have mini nervous breakdowns over things like spilled milk, messy houses, and potty training that took more than a week. One thing that parenting as an “older mom” really afforded me was learning not to sweat the small stuff but instead, go with the flow. The art of relaxation is a gift that any age group can benefit from, but in my younger years, I know I wouldn’t have gleaned this quite as easily as I did a little later on in life.
Reason #2: Living in Gratitude
As an older mother, I find humor in things that would have probably made me cry in my twenty-something years—a kid who picked his nose and ate it, a little girl who wore her favorite pajamas to school rather than the totally coordinated ensemble purchased at Baby Gap, serving stale, dry cereal for dinner rather than a healthy 5-course meal. Because I had my kids a little later in life, I’m able to take time to appreciate just how rich my life really is. I am blessed with college grads, college freshman, high schoolers and, yes, an elementary aged-kid. If we run out of toilet paper then no worries, we have Kleenex. If my child isn’t the most popular or athletically inclined—hey, she’s got one best friend who always has her back and thank goodness she can play the trumpet, even if she can’t swing a tennis racket. The older I get, the more grateful I become, and when it comes to parenting that is definitely a benefit I won’t take for granted. See Also: 5 Benefits of Gratitude and 4 Tips to Cultivate It
Reason #3: Coping Better
When we adopted our first child at the age of 29, my husband and I knew absolutely nothing about the reality of being parents. Though I had witnessed my friends trying to console their screeching babies, until you’ve had to stay awake all night with one of your own, it’s truly hard to fathom the emotional and physical skill set you need to survive something like a month of sleepless nights. Because we really became entrenched in the life of 24/7 parenting during our 30’s, we had already experienced lots of life’s setbacks by way of career, financial, and even emotional growth challenges. These “real-life” experiences in our twenties and early thirties offered us the chance to cultivate our coping skills so that when a crisis did hit, we were better equipped to deal with it. This served us well when we finally did become parents later in life such as when our 4th son contracted whooping cough at 8 week’s old. We were told he might not survive because it had gone undiagnosed for too long. I’m almost certain had I not been a bit older of a mom, I may have gone to pieces under such pressure, but having already experienced a good handful of life’s ups and downs, I was able to rely on my faith and calmer instincts to keep myself and rest of my family in tact until he recovered. See Also: 9 Crucial Life Skills to Teach Your Child