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  • The Mystique of Older Motherhood or What A Crock

    May 8, 2008

    I get an email every week or so from someone saying that because I’m an older mother, I’m probably a better mom (than those younger moms), that I am probably wiser (than those younger moms), that I probably appreciate my child more (than those younger moms), that I probably have more patience (than those younger moms).

     

    To that I say this: HA! 

     

    For emphasis, I shall say it again: HA! 

     

    Oh that it were so. Let me assure you, it is so not so.

     

    Sometimes y’all?  The word Mom is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.  It tickles my ears like no music ever has.  I remember how I longed and yearned to be called Mom for so long and it makes my heart melt like a popsicle on a summer day.

     

    But then other times, after a long day, Mom is the last word I want to hear.

     

    And I certainly don’t want to hear it 15 times in a row in various inflections.

     

    Mom? MOM! MAHaaaaam! Mommmmmm! Maaaaahummmm?  MOE-UMM!! Mommy! MoMMee?  Mom-ME!

     

    I just want it to stop. For. The. Love. Of. Pete. Give it a rest kid.  

     

    In spite of my age, I am often not patient, not wise and not all that appreciative.  I am however, almost always more tired (than those younger moms).

     

    Sorry to disappoint all you misguided emailers, but that’s the sorry truth about my geriatric mothering. 

     

    What? You have days like that too?  And you are not of advanced maternal age?

     

    The truth is that no matter your age, motherhood is often draining, exasperating, annoying, unsatisfying and almost always smelly.

     

    It is also true that there is nothing else you have ever done in your life that you would describe in those terms, yet quickly add, “But I love it! It is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me!”  

     

    And it’s true. You love it. It is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to you. And if you are like me, you’d like to do it all over again.

     

    My hat is off to all you younger moms. You inspire me.  Happy Mother’s Day.

    69 Comments »

    1. Tami says:

      I’m really really hoping the “smelly” part goes away! Even if it doesn’t, THANK YOU for the reminder that we’re all on equal ground. Ya, some ARE wiser than others, some had better examples, some struggle for money enough to make ends meet – but we are ALL women with strengths AND weaknesses . . . and when we’re honetly staring those weaknesses straight on, I pray that we ALL remember THE ONE who will prove strong through us! Joy to YOU!!

      May 9th, 2008 at 12:10 am

    2. Jenny says:

      AM–I have been reading your blog ever since I discovered your Inspired Spaces. Thank you so much for your honesty and love. I, too, love being a mom, but I am not the most patient and seem to be always tired. But, back to being a mom, I was blessed with two instant daughters when I married my husband. Even though being their stepmom is hard sometimes, I love them to death and I know they love me. Adding a son to our small family has brought us even closer. They always wanted a brother! 🙂 And I thank God everyday for my son.

      May 9th, 2008 at 12:31 am

    3. April says:

      I called a friend the other day and said I was changing my name! I am no longer Mommy!! Don’t call me Mommy anymore!!
      On that note, my mom actually did change her name. She got so tired of listening to us whine Mommy, that she made us call her “Mother.” She gave up after we perfected whining that! LOL

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    4. Elaine says:

      But, really, you ARE pretty wise. Exhibit A – see the post above. But, you would’ve been a wise 20 year old mommy, too.

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    5. Renna says:

      My youngest is 24 and yet I still catch myself turning in Wal-Mart when I hear some kid from across the store yell Mooooooommmmmmmy! For a fraction of a second, before my mind has time to think rationally, I turn and look for my kid. She’s never there, and oh, how I miss her; but at least I still hear her sweet voice on the phone often. She even calls me Mommy now and then.

      Happy Mother’s Day, Antique Mommy

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:29 am

    6. Chris says:

      oh, AM, I have got to tell you that the older they get, the more they want to talk. exhibit A — my 23-year-old. I’m an AM right there with you, in that i am 44 and the mom of a 9-year-old boy…and a mother of a 23-year-old…

      and the older one requires much more of my attention than the 9-year-old.

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:30 am

    7. Amanda - VintageDutchGirl says:

      Ah, right back atcha.

      Yep, we’ve been particularly smelly over here…

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:12 am

    8. Carolyn says:

      Why is it that “smelly” is the word that we’re all drawn to? I’m currently in the “learning to wipe myself” phase, and I tell you, I have a KEEN nose for poop. I smell it EVERYWHERE. I can’t handle his precious little hands cradling my face. I swear there is a particle of poop under those finger nails, and it CANNOT be threaded through my hair!! Gross! Can’t I handle the wiping until he’s 12 or so? No, that’s wrong too. Ick. May there always be disinfectant wipes…

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:46 am

    9. Jim says:

      “Happy Mother’s Day” AM.

      May 9th, 2008 at 3:37 am

    10. Lisa says:

      Good Morning from the other side of the pond.Yesterday, my sweet, soft-spoken,angelic,good-listeners'(hahaheesnorthaaaa..ahem..)must have used the “M” word 75 times. I kid you not.You would not even beleive the running dialogue I was having in my head every time the word was”whispered” by one of the little darlings.It always seems to come out of them when I am all the way across the yard, or trying to talk to my friend after a week of no time for talk!!!And if you are geriatric, I must be dead. I am 47 and my oldest is 25 and my youngest is 18 months (with 5 more in between!).Happy Mother’s Day and May God Bless Us Everyone!!

      May 9th, 2008 at 3:54 am

    11. mamaspeak says:

      Happy Mother’s Day to you too AM! I do think being an older mom has it’s advantages; you’ve had enough life experience to know that regardless of what else is going on in your life when Sean says Mama you’re there; everything else can wait. Here’s to lots of sunggles on your special day.

      May 9th, 2008 at 4:19 am

    12. Brigitte says:

      Happy Mother’s Day to you and all your mom-ly readers!

      I find that being an older mom only gives me one “plus”. It’s a kind of tolerance for certain things or phases, for example toys all over the living room – the only open space in our small house – because I figure they’ll only be there 10 years or so. If I was in my early 20s, ten years would seem like FOREVER and the mess would make me more crazy, at my age ten years is NOTHING.

      May 9th, 2008 at 5:26 am

    13. Kim says:

      I was a younger mom (age 20). I am an old mom. (last birth age 40). Not necessarily better – but different. Priorities change. I’m not sure if I have more patience – or just that I can’t see without my glasses and possibly my hearing is going. It’s all good! LOL

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:10 am

    14. Fiddledeedee (It Coulda Been Worse) says:

      Yup. As an older mother of a toddler plus two more, I am well seasoned. To the point of being rancid, actually.

      Pass me the Geritol.

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:10 am

    15. Deanna says:

      I mistakenly thought I’d be a ‘better’ mom when my youngest was born 10 after my first. Boy was I wrong! lol Although, I am more patient but that’s most likely because I’m medicated.

      Happy Mother’s Day, Mooooooommmmmmmm!

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:21 am

    16. Cheryl says:

      Awwww, Happy Mother’s Day to you too, AM!!! I hope you have a wonderful day.

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    17. Teri says:

      Totally get the age thing. We started adopting when we were in our early twenties, adopted two boys ages 8 & are in the process of adopting a child who is 4. There is twenty-six years difference between our oldest & youngest. I thought I would drop keeping up with the first two, let me clue you in, the last two may kill me. Would I change things? Not in a New York minute.
      Happy Mother’s Day to you and a special mother’s day prayer to all those women who gave up their children so women like me, could hear the word “Mom” & know the blessing it brings.

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:02 am

    18. Marie says:

      So true, AM! I remember working with a woman years ago who proclaimed that she & her husband were more patient because they were older when they had their children. Now that I’m an older Mom, I say BAH! to that. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Antique Mommy!

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:11 am

    19. CircusKelli says:

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, as well. 😉

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:27 am

    20. Shalee says:

      Back at you, AM. You’re right. It’s tiring no matter when you have your kids in life. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s thankless. But it’s still the best job I’ve ever held.

      No matter your age, you’re young at heart and that’s what we love about you and your mad mothering skills. Well that and the way you write about them.

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    21. Amy says:

      I am a “younger” mother I guess you could say. I became a mother at the age of 24 and have been for 10 1/2 years now, and I sure do have days like this.

      I think some moms just make it look easier 😀 While under their breathe they are telling their kids to stop acting like a nutcase or the authorities surely will take them away. 😉

      I thought you would enjoy reading these~

      You know you’re really a mom when:

      1. You count the sprinkles on each kid’s cupcake to make sure they’re equal.

      2. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

      3. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

      4. You mastered the art of placing food on a plate without anything touching.

      5. Your child insists that you read “Once Upon a Potty” out loud in the lobby of the doctor’s office, and you do it.

      6. You hire a sitter because you haven’t been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night talking about and checking on the kids.

      7. You hope ketchup is a vegetable because it’s the only one your child eats.

      8. You find yourself cutting your husband’s sandwiches into unusual shapes.

      9. You hear your mother’s voice coming out of your mouth when you say,
      “Not in your good clothes.”

      10. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

      11. You read that the average five-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is “above average.”

      12. You say at least once a day, “I’m not cut out for this job,” but you know you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

      Have a great Mother’s Day!!!!
      ~Amy

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:51 am

    22. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

      Right there with you. Tired, but grateful. And expecting to be more of both in a few months. Happy Mothers Day to you, too.

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    23. Carrie says:

      What a sweet post! Sometimes I feel guilty because I waited for my son for a couple years, and now that he’s here, some days (especially now that he’s teething) I wish I could duct tape his pacifier in his mouth… just kidding, really… but it’s good to hear that other moms feel the same way at times. 🙂

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    24. Jill S. says:

      For my oldest daughter, I’m the young mom, but for my youngest daughter I’m one of the older moms . . . so I’m both! And plenty exhausted at all times, but there’s no other place I’d rather be.

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:31 am

    25. Fraulein says:

      I don’t think I could have said it better than you and everyone else here has. I was 35 when I had my Peanut, who is now 3 and a half. While I do get really frustrated sometimes (especially when she is on a whining spree!) I think that now, I’m capable of taking the long view of things. If I had had her at 25, I suspect I would have spent a lot more time panicking about little things going on at the moment. Now I can say to myself — at least sometimes — “This too shall pass.” Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    26. bringingupdaisy says:

      Amen! I would do it all over again. Happy Mothers Day!

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    27. Julie at Elisharose says:

      As an older mommy myself, I would say I am at a disadvantage to younger moms, not only in the energy level area, but also in the fact that I had a lot of time to decide just how I like things. Kids don’t always agree with what you have decided. In fact, I think it is their job to make you change your ways. I’m stubborn and I resist and there in lies the rub. And yes, I would do it all over again.

      Teri, I’m with you on the adoption thing. ust yesterday I posted about my baby turning 13 with thanks to the woman who gave him to me.

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:47 am

    28. Jeanne A says:

      Being an older mom myself, I say that it might seem like I have more patience because I don’t have the energy to pursue minor stuff!!!!!!! OR because my sight and hearing aren’t what they used to be so I don’t even know what’s going on!!!!!!! (Mostly joking here!)

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    29. Jenny says:

      Happy Mother’s Day, AM! I think you are a really awesome Mom. Being a mom has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in life. But, being a mom has also been the sweetest, most incredible thing too!

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:25 am

    30. Beverlydru says:

      The feelings you describe don’t change much with the age of the child, with the exception that teenage girls aren’t smelly! I find as my youngest is turning 18 this month, graduating from high school and preparing to fly from the nest, I still have days when I think my heart will be break with the sweetness of loving her. Then the next day, I count the days until the constant demands and vigilance stop. Happy Mother’s Day to you too. Ain’t life grand?!

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    31. Kathy says:

      As a 45 year old mommy to a rampaging 2 year old, I feel your pain. The boy wears me out! Its hard when you’ve had 40+ years of being yourself, doing what you want to do when you want to do it and how you want to do it, then along comes this miniature human who changes absolutely *everything*. I guess it just proves that old dogs can learn new tricks. They’re just get more tired by the tricks than the young dogs.

      I wouldn’t trade away the experience though. Having a beaming, sunshiny boy tear madly across a playground just to wrap his arms around me and say “Mommy! I wub you Mommy!” makes up for all the wear and tear and rearranging of life.

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:35 am

    32. Becca says:

      Mine’s 18 months old and I’m still not “Mom”. I told the husband that it’s because I don’t need to be called because I am ALWAYS THERE. Right after dinnertime Charlie starts asking for “Papa” until the moment he walks through the door but he can usually get my attention simply by screaming (or remaining quiet for too long). Why learn a new word when what you’ve got is working so well?

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    33. klutzymama says:

      And a Happy Mother’s Day to you too! That was beautifully written!

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:58 am

    34. Magi says:

      Amen!

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    35. Just D says:

      AM, I work with a lot of young/teen moms. Some of them are excellent, even the ones who come from horrid backgrounds. You are so right that it’s not about age, but that it’s about intention. You can be a crappy 42 yo mom to one, a crappy 28 yo mom to 3, or the best mom in the world at 16… yeah, physically it’s easier when you are under 30, thats for sure! But it starts with “what kind of mom do you want to be? and how do you want your kid to turn out?” It sounds like YOU are definitely a role model to anykind of mom!
      I love how much you love your boy… Happy Mothering to You, forever!

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:20 am

    36. RubiaLala says:

      You are right, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, it’s not easier or harder, it just is what it is.

      Right back at you – Happy Mother’s Day!

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:34 am

    37. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      Last year on Mother’s Day, one of my dear friends sent me a clip (I think it was from “The Family Guy”) where the little boy comes in and stands next to his mother, who is laying on her bed.

      He proceeds to say, “Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mommy….” for the next 30 seconds while she stares into space.

      Finally she turns to him and says, “WHAT?!?”

      He says, “Hi!” And then giggles and runs away.

      Happy Mother’s Day.

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    38. Jennifer says:

      “almost always smelly” So true. That goes right along with my post on the Whoopie Cushion currently providing loads of fun at our house. And just so you know the smelly part isn’t limited to little boys. There’s nothing quite like the smell of kids—boys OR girls—after playing outside. My friends likens it to wet puppies. Lovely.

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    39. trixiefan says:

      Oh, I know what you mean! After hearing mom, mom, mom all day, I say, let me introduce you to the man – dad, dad, dad!!

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    40. Heidi says:

      Happy Mother’s Day, AM. Sean does not know the difference between you and “younger moms” (which, as a first-timer at 27, I didn’t really consider myself). He is happy and blessed to have you as his mommy no matter what your energy/patience/wisdom level is. God saw fit to put you together. 🙂

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    41. Janis says:

      The young moms run circles around me. On the other hand, I think that I have more fun with my daughters. I think that they actually like to hang out with me! They call me Mother, though and it makes me feel so old. I think they do it on purpose, the little stinkers. They are always saying things like “look at this cool retro hippie shirt,isn’t that what you used to wear when you were our age?” My hope is that in the effort to keep up with them now, that I dont’t loose all my steam before they are finished with the teen years!

      May 9th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    42. Alison says:

      Wonderful post! Sometimes I think if I hear the word “Mom” one more time, I will scream.

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    43. Pam says:

      Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you have a great one! (And I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only tired one out there.) ; )

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    44. Karen (Simply A Musing Blog) says:

      I was just thinking about this very thing the other day. If anything, I am more impatient with my children as I age. I think that ANYONE who is a mom at times feels drained beyond belief and wants her calgon-take-me-away-time. But then there are those sweet and tender moments with my kids that melt my heart and leave it in a big old messy puddle in my shoes that make me truly realize the blessing this thing called “motherhood” is.

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    45. Angela says:

      I’m an inbetweenie- my first child was born when I was 30. We all have our days don’t we? ANd sometimes they come in weeks. Happy Mother’s Day to you too. This was a sweet post

      May 9th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    46. Kim Priestap says:

      I completely understand what you mean. I had my first child at 35 and my third at 40.

      May 9th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    47. bee says:

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

      May 9th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    48. Marian says:

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, too.

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    49. Swirl Girl says:

      There is a reason that God made peak childbearing years (in physical terms, of course) at around 22. 22 is easier on the body – and 22 is still too naive to know better!!

      I,too, am an older mom. For me the hardest part is that I am just physically not up to task most of the time. Some of my friends have kids graduating high school already – while I still have a preschooler.

      For my kids- my older and much more jaded sense of humor has rubbed off on them – for the better I say!

      I just hope they remember their younger years fondly – and that somehow I find the patience to remember to be kind, provide stability and love. And, to always help them make the right choices.

      Hell – they’ll be picking my nursing home facility before you know it! I better be good to them!

      http://www.swirlgirlspearls.blogspot.com

      May 9th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    50. Stephanie says:

      I’m also one of those “older moms”. And people tell me the same thing. I’m wiser, more patient..etc..etc. You are so right, it’s not so! I envy younger moms because they have more energy than I do. I’m with you all the way with this entry.:)
      Happy Mother’s Day to you!

      Steph

      May 9th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    51. Brighton says:

      I’ve been doing the parenting thing for sixteen years now (four kids total). I’m tired, in my bones tired- it never seems to stop. But I love it, total complete L O V E it. I can tell you do too : ) Happy Mother’s Day!

      May 9th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    52. Susan says:

      As I’ve mentioned, my mom was 45 (you can read about her on my blog!) when I was born.

      Although I thought she was an absolute SAINT, she told me she had a lot more energy and PATIENCE with the other kids (who were 20, 16 & 9.5 when I was born).

      I never noticed, but the older I get, the more I tend to believe that.

      Happy Mother’s Day. I’m guessing your sweet little boy views you as a saint, as well.

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    53. Kaci S. says:

      Hats off to you – I have often marveled at how my grandmother and MIL handled being older moms.

      And thanks for not being afraid to speak the truth we mothers know deep in our hearts. If only we would all be honest with ourselves and each other.

      May 9th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    54. rondell konat says:

      I had my first when I was 18 (I have four) my last when I was 29. With the last one it seemed I appreciated him more, I don’t know why, I love each of them to pieces!!

      May 9th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    55. Peggy says:

      We waited 14 years for our little miracle [who is now 30]. I know my husband and I enjoyed her more than we would have 14 years earlier. We had worked out our own differences by then and were devoted to her.

      May 10th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    56. Another mom says:

      Unfotunately, as an older mom you tend to smother your child more though and that is not always a good thing. You have to remind yourself to give them their space. Happy Mother’s Day, young and old!

      May 10th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    57. Kelly says:

      Great post. My favorite line…geriatric mothering! Hilarious!

      May 10th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    58. Antique Mommy says:

      Another Mom, I don’t think you can generalize about mothers and motherhood without getting into trouble. One of my good friends is a young mom in her early 30s and she smothers her kids something awful, that’s just her mothering-style. I’m not much of a smother-er, probably because I don’t like it myself. One of my daily goals is to teach Sean to be self-sufficient and independent so that he might do well in the world long after I’m gone.

      May 10th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    59. jean says:

      Young or old, motherhood is not a job for the weak. My mother said that being a Grandmother is the best job. I hope to live that long!

      May 10th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    60. imagine community says:

      We waited ten years for our little guy to come along… and when he did, what a surprise! I hope I’m a little wiser than I was a decade ago; I’m probably more patient and I really do believe I appreciate him more than I would have without the wait. Juggling a demanding job, long commute, working from home, and significant amounts of child care: more tired? H— yeah. Better mom? Probably not, but certainly different.

      Happy Mother’s Day, y’all.

      May 10th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    61. Joan Gambill says:

      My baby showed up when I was 40, had teenagers, 13,15,17 and was ready to play!! Well, God decided I needed a baby. So, my first three were raised with boiling everything that touched them, cleaning the rug and floor till they could crawl and their clothes stayed clean, and worrying. My “baby” was raised very differently, she got a bottle when she wanted it, if she wanted to taste real dirt, she did, and when she wanted me to tell her how to do a neighborhood newspaper, I said just to figure it out for yourself. And she did. And she is very capable. Not that the older ones aren’t capable, as they are. I just obsessed over them and didn’t over the baby.

      May 10th, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    62. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Ooo, AM, I think you just hit on something that older mommies do have over young mommies. We have a grip on our own mortality. I was fortunate to have a mom who was only 21 years older than I am. On the other hand, I am 38 years older than my daughter. I often find myself wanting to make sure she is able to get along on her own because I may not get to be there for every moment of her life. Maybe we at least try to make our kids more independent than our younger counterparts? Just a though.

      May 10th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    63. Damselfly says:

      I enjoy being an older mom (well, I’m still under 40…), but my mother said she knew that younger women were meant to have children because at a certain age that WHINING and SHRIEKING, you just can’t take anymore. 🙂

      May 11th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    64. Damselfly says:

      Happy Mother’s Day!

      May 11th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    65. Betty G. says:

      HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to you! Enjoy every minute!

      Betty in Oklahoma

      May 11th, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    66. Susan J. says:

      On a flight from San Antonio to Dallas yesterday, I was sitting behind a young mother with two young kids. She was obviously able to tune them out, but I could not. They said “mommy” approximately 542 times on that short flight. Patience is not my strong suit either, I guess.

      May 12th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    67. Nikolaj says:

      But probably more humor (then those younger moms), no?

      May 13th, 2008 at 6:50 am

    68. Spotlight on Antique Mommy says:

      […] old friends, discussing life lessons she wants to teach her son, sharing funny kid stories, or musing about the “mystique of older motherhood,” Antique Mommy’s sometimes sweet, […]

      July 16th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    69. Alyson says:

      I look forward to being called Mommy for the first time! I have been “stepping” for 22 years and now our first child together is waiting for us (in China). I will probably be taking as many naps as our new daughter… At least at this age, my DH is will soon be the SAHD. Enjoyed reading your articles (we are both over “50”).
      Thanks!

      Alyson LID 01/27/06

      July 17th, 2008 at 4:46 am

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