The idea of having children while you’re very young is romanticized. They say you have more energy and all these other great things. But there seems to be plenty of benefits to having “older” parents.
**This is not meant to offend anyone, I believe there is no ‘perfect’ age to raise children. But speaking from my own experience, I am focusing on “older” parents and the good stuff that comes with it.**
So once I was born, my mom was 37, and my dad 40. For a woman, pregnancy past age 35 is considered old in doctor terms. Let me say that those ages really aren’t even that old.
Many women can still get pregnant in their 40s, men are typically fertile for life. Although it may be harder to conceive, it’s still possible, or you also have the option of adoption, which is just as wonderful. Age really shouldn’t limit us as much as we let it.
They are more confident, less worried about the little things. They have faith in their parenting skills and they trust that everything will be okay.
My parents were far more relaxed with me than they were with my older siblings. They knew what they were doing. My childhood friend was an only child with a young mom, who always called up my mom worrying about so many unimportant things, and my mom would help her calm down.
When your parents have more confidence, it gets passed down to their kids. When your parents aren’t constantly worried about you, you learn how to trust yourself the same way that they do.
Exhaustion isn’t such a big deal
I’m not so sure about getting more tired with age. My parents said they were very tired, but at the same time I felt like they had established a rhythymn many years ago that their bodies had adjusted to. So when you’ve been doing the same thing over and over, it’s less exhausting, because you’re used to it.
Most people by their 40s and 50s are set in their career path, so they’re not wasting energy on climbing up the latter or trying to figure it all out. They are also practiced in all that adult stuff like paying taxes, doctor appointments, etc. And they know how to prioritize their energy better. I’ve seen parents in their mid twenties far more exhausted from parenting because it’s a total lifestyle change, or they’re still trying to keep up with their childless friends.
Looking back, I feel like the older they got, the more energy they gained. Especially as I learned to take care of myself, my parents felt the need to keep themselves busy. Family vacations were still very go-go-go. So I think the “exhaustion” part isn’t so much of a big deal. And it works in your favor when you say “mom, let’s go get some donuts and just watch TV all day” … “Yeah, that sounds nice!“
My mom seemed to have a rigid idea about parenting when she first started. She had a lot of rules and a lot of expectations of how it’s “supposed to” look. When I came around, I was able to convince her to change her mind about many things.
For example, after my dad’s first cat had passed, she was adamant about “no pets.” Although my older siblings did have some reptiles and rodents, I ended up convincing her to have two cats and five chickens! I really think it came down to the fact that she was ready to try new things.
As you get older and become sick of routine, you’re more willing to try things you said you never would. You also have more confidence to do things differently. So older parents can be much more fun that way. They realized how uptight they were in the past decade and now they just want to let go and relax.
It’s easier to let go
Some argue that they want to be around for their grandkids… but how about all those years in between? When your children reach adulthood and move out, it’s a horribly lonely feeling. People underestimate how painful this feeling is. Many parents fall into a depression and don’t know what to do with themselves. They become very lonely as their grown up kids are out partying or starting their own families, never taking their calls or visiting. It’s very sad.
So why rush it? Do you really want to be in your 30s as your last child leaves home? Restless, anxious about your kids being safe, nagging them to answer your texts? Or would you rather be in your 60s, maybe even 70s, feeling accomplished? At that point, you’ll be too tired to worry about if they’re getting into trouble or not, you’ll have the confidence to believe in their choices.
When I went off to college, of course my mom would call often and hope I was doing well. But my college friends with young mothers — it was like every minute they would text them with “what are you doing?” Meanwhile my mom was more like “I don’t wanna know what you’re doing, just be smart and touch base so I know you’re still alive.” I’m not bashing on younger mother’s who constantly check in, I think it’s perfectly natural that they have more anxiety. But that can be extra stressful for both parent and child.
Kids are pushed to grow up
Younger parents can prevent their kids from growing up by over-parenting them — by cleaning their rooms, doing all their chores for them, picking up their mess, constantly monitoring them, and so on. With older parents, they are sick of all that, so they’re going to make more of an effort to push their kids to learn how to take care of themselves.
I know they say that the youngest child is “babied” the most because their parents don’t want their last kid to grow up, but I think this is only true for younger parents, who wish they could’ve had more (or aren’t ready to grow up themselves.) My mom was very hesitant to have another baby after my sister who is four years older, but she would go on to me about how thankful she was that she kept going.
Many situations, my parents would tell me, “you can do it yourself, you’re grown-up enough,” instead of doing everything for me — ordering my food, asking for directions, setting my appointments, etc. This really helped me transition into adulthood.
Time is valued
As my mom got older, she made more of an effort to spend time together because she realized how fast it flies by, so in my teen years we would go to the mall once a week and get a snack.
When you’re younger, you really take time for granted. You are constantly busy and you struggle with drawing boundaries and saying “no” to people who want to take up all your time. You believe most of your time should be spent working on your career, or meeting new people, or keeping up with friends and having a large social circle.
As you get older you understand how fast the years fly, so you truly value your family time. You make more of an effort to be with those you love instead of taking that time for granted.
I am not saying that “older” parents are better or worse than “younger.” They both have their pros and cons. Really, there is no perfect age to have a baby or raise kids. Each age comes with its own unique challenges and benefits.