Women choosing motherhood over 40, 45 and 50 still remain in the minority, especially in certain geographic locations. Although becoming a first-time parent at a later age is becoming increasingly prevalent, women choosing motherhood at later (and later) ages are often the butt of jokes and the recipient of rude, politically incorrect and sometime insulting comments.
My primer below should make it easier for those who are inclined to comment on any aspect of parenting later in life. Consider the power of your words, even if well-intentioned.
1. "Are you the grandmother?"
Unless you need to ask this to determine whether an AARP card is applicable, or to somehow confirm lineage, don't even ask. Not only is this a painful question for any woman/mother over 40, but if applied incorrectly, it's an insult to the children who are usually listening. Think about the overall cost/benefit of asking this question, especially if little ones are in tow.
2. "How old were you when you had/adopted your child?"
Is this your business?
3. "Do you know how selfish you are?"
This references the fact that I may die long before I get to experience my children's milestones and leave my children motherless. However, people die at every age. Long life is not a sure bet for anyone.
4. "Why would you have/adopt a child at your age?"
5. "Wow... that's so... great!" or "Good for you!"
What's so great about it, and why is this good for me?
7. "Is this your first marriage?"
What does that matter?
8. "When do you plan to retire?"
The answer to this is a definitive "never."
9. "You have a WHAT?" (In answer to the question about the ages of your children).
How can I help you?
10. "It seems like a lot of people are doing it these days."
What are they doing? Deciding to be parents at any age they deem "right?" If that's what you mean, I guess so. Thanks for your interest!
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