The Highs and Lows of Being an Older Mum

MOTHER OF ALL LISTS

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.39.50I had Bertie at 30, which I think is pretty average. But I often wonder how things might have been different if Ben and I had started earlier or significantly later.  There are pluses and minus’ to every age and how that shapes your experience of Motherhood.

Here Anniki Editor of Selfish Mother and Co-founder of Hot Bed Collective, tells all about being an older Mother:


I was 40 when I had my daughter after struggling to conceive for two years. I think older Mums have a different experience than younger women. So, here’s a few of the positives and negatives (worth saying that I didn’t CHOOSE to be an older Mum- it just happened that way and I feel thankful that it happened at all).

  • Some people say that you get more rigid as you grow older, and that was certainly the case for me – I felt like the first year of parenting was a crash course where my personality was broken down to the point where I started to hallucinate about Oprah Winfrey being my Fairy Godmother (and visualising her face was the only thing that gave me comfort on those long, sleepless nights).

  • I was like a wild horse getting broken in. By the end of it I was ready for the glue factory.  Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.40.17

  • The fact I was rigid meant that I lost my temper a lot.

  • I know this is universal for parents everywhere, but when I say lose my temper I MEAN smashing stuff, throwing stuff out of windows, breaking plates…I’d never done any of these things before and I wonder whether being older made my anger worse? Our house was like an episode of ‘Eastenders’ for a while, and I think my partner often feared for his life.

  • You have less physical resource. You are frazzled and wonder if you can go on.

  • Also, your knees make funny noises when you walk because your ageing body hasn’t been designed to carry a nine pound, six-ounce baby. When you walk downstairs, your daughter mimics the sound of these knees and says – ‘It sounds like slime Mummy.’

  • Each time you meet another Mum, children’s entertainer, friend of a friend- anyone…you try and find out their age.

  • Once you find out their age, you then calculate how much older you are than them, and whether you could be their Mum.

  • You can’t read any instructions on packaging, and it’s a struggle to read the writing on story books at bedtime (especially if the font is dark on a dark background- can someone do something about this please and take into account that many of us are geriatric parents?)

  • You feel sad that a second baby is unlikely. This isn’t an issue to start with (because you’re too busy throwing plates out the window, and hallucinating about Oprah) but when all your friends start dropping number two, it makes you depressed (though you know you’re lucky to have one child- yeah you know that because everyone reminds you ALL THE TIME).

  • You calculate how old you’ll be when your child leaves primary school/secondary school/university/gets married/starts their first job/has a child and then tell yourself it’s stupid as there’s nothing you can do about ageing, and you’re just going to have to roll with it.

  • Besides what about all those old fashionistas on Instagram? Age is irrelevant now right?

  • On the positive side, you can’t be arsed with getting involved with petty feuds; you know yourself well, and don’t waste time maintaining friendships which aren’t working out.

  • This is a major benefit of having spent more time on the planet and being able to spot wankers a mile off.Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.39.17

  • Also, you don’t feel like you’re missing out on ‘having it large’ or big nights out because you’ve got all that shizzle out of your system.

  • YOU WERE ONCE A SINGER IN A DANCE BAND AND HAD A TOP 20 HIT IN EUROPE. YOU DANCED ON STAGE WITH UNDERWORLD. SUCK THAT YOUNG PEOPLE!

  • Though you do feel sad when nobody knows anything about your pop culture references and you worry that you need to do a crash course on millennial culture so you can keep up with your daughter.

  • But you do give really good advice because again you’ve had more experience.

  • So, overall being an older Mum is up and down. You roll with the punches. Okay your hair is going grey, you’re angry, and you may be approaching the menopause but it happens to us all. We all age and it’s a choice how you do it.

  • And age is just a number these days, right? (no, it’s not but let’s pretend it is and move on).Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.39.33

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7 Comments

  • Reply Kate February 5, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Now we are struggling to conceive number 2, I wonder if we left it too late. I’m 34 so I know this isn’t true yet but I think we live in a society where it’s normal to leave it a bit later and it’s not until you get there that you realise there are consequences you hadn’t planned on. Really enjoyed reading your perspectives especially the positives that you have discovered

  • Reply Sarah February 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Very happy to hear I’m not the only angry one of there & constantly calculating everyone else’s age. First at 37, second at 40. God am I tired.

  • Reply Maj February 6, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    So interesting to hear the perspective of the “other side”so to speak. I became a mum at 22 and had so many of the same thoughts. Especially the one about being desperate to find out people’s ages as I was so self conscious of mine. Luckily I have found my mum group now and we are all a range of ages but we still have a good time. In motherhood age is nothing but a number! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Annie February 8, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Love reading this, I’m currently wrestling with a ten month old and turn 40 in May. We tried for 13 years before trying IVF which miraculously worked first time. Knackered by happy covers it!

  • Reply Abigail February 11, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Firstly I always ask people their age & say constantly I could be your/their mum. Thought it was just my weird quirk. Secondly hello what dance band?? I have actually seen Underworld a few times.
    Spot on 👵🏼👌🏽

  • Reply Donna February 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I had my first at 23, second at 35 and my third at 41. I am 47 now and can hand on heart say that I wouldnt change it for the world. I may be the oldest mum in my daughters class when lots of my friends are becoming grandparents! But I know most definitely that this little blessing keeps me young in mind and body. How can I say no when she wants to dance around to Adam and the Ants on a Sunday morning ( one of the gifts I have been able to share with her).
    Yes I do sometimes think that there will be things in her life that I will miss out on but choose not to dwell too much on these and instead just enjoy the fact at the age of 47 Iv’e never felt younger!

  • Reply Sarah Stringer February 11, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Had my first 2 months before my 40th and my second 1 month before my 42nd and everything you say rings true. In particular the working out everyone’s age. My opening gambit is frequently “I’m an older mum, left it late….” the fact is I didn’t meet my husband till I was 35 so we’ve packed a lot in ten years. There are definitely mums at the school gate who could also be my daughters if I’d started particularly early.
    Cultural references are lost on a lot of my “mum friends”. They have never seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Young Guns; The Outsiders or The Breakfast Club. One mum didn’t actually know about Radio 4, (“what, there’s actually a station where they don’t play music?!?!)
    And the anger. I thought it was just me. Sometimes the rage builds up in me and it’s something I have never felt before in such magnitude…… and that’s what it is: my rigidity. I’ve had it my own way for too long. My daughters show me that I can’t control everything and most certainly not them!
    But I like having more experience and the fact that I have been there, done it and partied the life out of it……
    thank you for a reassuring and entertaining list!

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