Geriatric Parenthood Has Its Privileges

My husband and I came to parenthood late – we’d been married for nearly seventeen years when I gave birth for the first time.

That’s a lot of years, in case you’re wondering.

I could write a very long post about the disadvantages of having kids late in life – but that would just be too easy. The disadvantages are legion. So, so legion.

Instead, I thought I’d look on the bright side of things, and share with you some distinct advantages to starting your family when you are nearing your AARP years. Should you be foolish enough to choose that route.

You have a perfect, built-in excuse for your ever-more-frequent senior citizen moments. Just blame everything on the baby.

Say you’re driving along (and this is totally hypothetical – this has certainly NOT happened to me on several separate occasions) and you come to a four-way stop, and then you sit there for a minute or two, waiting for the light to change. When this happens, you can wave your hand in the air and chortle, “Oh, I just can’t think clearly…I was up with the baby half the night.”

Okay, I’m not being entirely honest. You will not chortle, because chortling requires energy, which you don’t have even a shred of, because people who are nearing their fifth decade of life have no business nursing a baby. Replace the word “chortle” with “make a weird, weak noise that indicates humor. Or, possibly, strangulation.”

People won’t believe how old you really are – you will repeatedly hear, “My goodness, you can’t be almost forty – I thought you were about twenty-eight!”

This one’s a bit of a cheat; the secret is: no one is actually looking at you. They are looking at your cute baby. If they really were looking at you, with your scraggly ponytail and your fatigue-smudged eyes and not a stitch of make-up on, they would see that not only do you look every bit your age, you in fact look a decade older.

The other part of the secret is, people will be naturally assuming that no one who’s the age you’re claiming to be would be able to give birth to a baby – not outside of a science fiction movie, anyway.

And I say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. (Especially since the horse, like you, may not have gotten around to brushing his teeth yet today.)

You got all your partying out of your system years ago.

Getting dressed up every Saturday and going concert-hopping? You’ve been there. Closing down Six Flags and then making a run to the 24-hour buffet at Shoney’s? You’ve done that. You had years and years to go to the movies or out to eat or dancing at clubs, and now, you feel not a shred of resentment when the baby forces you to stay home, to turn down all invitations that come your way.

To be honest? You would actually present the baby with a diamond Rolex, if you could. He has given you a respectable, permanent excuse to beg out of strenuous and/or late-night activities without feeling like a fuddy-duddy.

You don’t care nearly as much about your material possessions.

When you were in your twenties, if someone set a wet glass directly on your wooden side table, you were apoplectic. Now, when the little dudes spill root beer all over your velvet Pottery Barn couch, or leave weird pen marks scribbled across it, you shrug your shoulders and dab it up as best you can; you’ve got bigger fish to fry. (Such as trying to figure out how many milligrams of Vitamin D and Calcium and Omega-3 you’re supposed to be taking now, since you forgot to write it all down at the doctor’s office.)

At this point, you can’t even remember how much that velvet Pottery Barn couch cost. That information has gone the way of every other scrap of not-critical-to-keep-anyone-alive information that used to reside in your brain. And trust me, my dear, that’s a good thing.

‘Cause that couch was expensive.

You are far too old mature to care about appearing cool to your kids. Or to want them to be your “friend.”

There is a disconcerting trend lately, of parents desperately wanting their children to be their buddies. So they buy them gadgets and toys that are well beyond their budgets. Some parents eventually even start dressing like their teenage children, which just gets all kinds of embarrassing.

Look, I’m forty years old – I’m kind of good in the friend department. Also, I have reached a point in life where not only do I happily accept that I am NOT cool – I recognize that I have never been within 1000 miles of the “cool” category.

And I SO don’t care. Caring would require energy, and, well – see my first point.

When my boys (occasionally) holler at me, “I don’t like you,” it doesn’t sting me on even some tiny secret level. I just look at them with an Oh-honey-I-crap-bigger-than-you bemusement, and say, “That’s okay, sweetie. I still like you. Now help Mommy find her shoes.”

Lord knows, I’m not gonna find those puppies on my own.


So there you have it. A few things to look forward to, should you decide to delay having your family for a few decades.

Sadly, I’m not even joking about any of this.

However – see these two little guys? They were worth getting by any means necessary. And that’s the truth, too.


36 thoughts on “Geriatric Parenthood Has Its Privileges

  1. I’m laughing out of agreement and respect. My wife turned one of those numbers you speak of this past year…I’m younger but not by much… my daughter will be 5 in September.

    Now I know why my parents just wanted to sit around on vacations instead of going and doing “fun” stuff.

  2. Well, I started having babies when I was 28 and stopped when I was 35 and three quarters :). I don’t think you’re geriatric by a long stretch, (which I really have to say since you are a few months younger than me). I do remember feeling old though, waiting in the hallway, for the pre-school teacher to open the door when a mom started talking about having her 5th high school reunion when I had been out a good fifteen. Anyway, my husband was 43 when we got married, he already had a 17 and 9 year old when we got married. So he started over then and he had his first with me at 44 and his last at 51- so maybe we really could call him geriatric. He says he’s much calmer with his second bunch, (maybe because it’s hard for him to stay awake? 🙂 No, not really. I think it is easier for men. Especially when you’re nursing, so there’s really little point of him getting up in the night when you’re going to have to anyway. I think you should have Dan write a blog to let us know if that’s true of not.

    • Ha! You know, my OB chart actually said “geriatric pregnancy.” Not exactly subtle. I think it says that if you’re over 35.

      Dan was pretty good about helping, even though I was nursing…especially with the 2nd one! He would get up and change the diaper, and then I’d do the nursing.

      It was all-around hellish on our bodies, though. 🙂

  3. I love the word “apoplectic” but no matter how hard I try I cannot pronounce it in a sentence, does that make me “geriatric”? As one who is just a little more advanced on the timeline than you but whose last child will be in college in 2012 I can honestly say that children cause four-way stop sign events regardless of one’s chronological experience. Be of good cheer!

    • Aha! Good to know…I think…but I bet you’re glad you’re not potty-training right now, Yes?

      I’ve never used apoplectic in conversation…and unless it’s pronounced how it’s spelled, I have no idea how to say it! Of course, there are a lot of words like that, for me (as for any voracious reader.) (But I do know how to pronounce “voracious.” Or at least, no one has ever corrected me.)

      • I can definitely see how having older kids would cause you to lose sleep as well. But lets not tell Cathy…

  4. Okay, yes this is my kind of post, as you know! And it made me laugh out loud since I am 43 and have a 9 year old. I just left a field trip with Jordan’s class where all the other mothers were about 32. I was thinking – okay, they had their child when they were 23 years old. While I think that is so amazing for them, I know that I was NO WHERE REMOTELY CLOSE to being mature enough to know what to do with a child when I was that age. Call me a late maturer. Not a word, but I refuse to say late bloomer. So, even though sometimes it plagues me when I think about being 52 when Jordan graduates from high school, there is another part of me that loves that (as you said) I’ve “been there, done that”. I don’t have to make any excuses…I have two – I’m old and I have a 9 year old. I’m doing good to play kickball out in the yard with her. So dress in your skinny jeans and share her t-shirts. I’m just gonna sit over in my lawn chair with my bottled water and applaud every single cartwheel she turns!

    Good story, friend!!! Love you!

    • Yes, I know this is your kind of story! You know I don’t like the “me” posts, but this one was kinda fun to write.

      If we lived near each other, we would be hoisting our bottled water together…from the sidelines…

      Love you too!

  5. Hilarious! 🙂 I can relate to every single thing! The crazy thing is that while I’m nearing 40, I don’t think I’m done having babies, either. (Am believing in the promise of a husband maybe sooner than later!) I do think perhaps I’ve teetered on over to crazy…but it does keep life an adventure. 🙂

    • Hmmm…better you than me, darlin’!

      I can see how if one A. started in their twenties, B. had a lot of stamina, C. had lots of family help, and D. had easy pregnancies…then I could see how someone would want more than 2.

      But 2 is so definitely my limit! So no more for me. 🙂

  6. so many people are waiting until the later twenties or early thirties or even forties to even start having children–very well written–a lot of meaning!!

  7. Geriatric? My arthritis-ridden foot! Alas, those stop sign moments, losing shoes, and field trips with much younger moms have become part and parcel for being the more mature parent (at the right age, despite the pain) of our kids.
    I think you’re beautiful and waaaayyy cool!
    Thanks for pointing out the advantages. I needed that!

    And Perry? Glad you’re taking your Metamucil! You’re a regular funny guy! (ha ha, couldn’t resist.)

  8. Loved this Cathy. I had both my children before I was 21, I have no idea how they turned out so well with such a young and stupid Mom. I made lots of mistakes, but we survived it, and I am proud of them both.

  9. You are hilarious. And this isn’t just for geriatric parents. I laughed out loud (with, not just at you), and I had my third and final baby at 27.

    Hope you found your shoes.

    xo, J.

  10. What a wonderful way to start my morning….it made me think back to our early years with K & C and how you were my sanity check. I am so exhausted just wrangling one some days….I so feel your pain with two. Your humor and wit to tackle this is fantastic. So sad that my brain has yet to recover. Love ya!

  11. Too funny! I can definitely relate to some of this. The thing that I have found to be true even more than before is that old saying…”There’s no place like home.” When I’ve been out and about with Maximus and then come home, it’s like a big sigh of relief…and I can totally let my hair down. 🙂

  12. I actually had someone ask me this week if my 5 year old granddaughter was my daughter? Now that would be geriatric!!! I think she was just being polite, you know like when you don’t ask someone if she’s pregnant because you really can’t tell if she is or is just fat. (I stopped getting asked that long ago. Now it’s obvious which it is!!!) Anyway, love on your precious boys and lead them to love God as much as you do and all will be well. love ya

    • Aha! I was going to say this was really funny…and then I thought, Wait…that would sound rude!

      And, oh, I don’t ask women if they’re pregnant unless they’re super tiny otherwise, and are about 9 months along! Don’t want to get into trouble…

      Thanks for reading and commenting, dear Beth. And yay…I remembered to take all my vitamins today! So it was a good day… 🙂

  13. Love your writing! Love to learn about the insides of someone when you’ve only barely met the outsides. And I am feeling older everyday……thankful that there are many more “seasoned” moms in my community. We all sit on the sidelines together!

  14. LOL! I’m 36, husband is 40. We don’t have kids but we’re already exhausted and forgetting things, etc. Now I wish I had a baby to blame! Instead I just come out as a sad, tired 36-year-old. Just kidding!

    Great post!

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