By Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe. Authors of Love for Grown-Ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying for Life When You Already Have a Life.
In our book Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying For Life When You've Already Got a Life, we interviewed countless women about many hot topics -- one of them being motherhood. When we got married, Ann became a stepmother, Tish became a stepmother and she and her husband had two children together and Pat became a stepmother and she and her husband had a child together. These were all very big decisions and being a MATURE MOM comes with its own set of, well, everything!
When in doubt, Pat thinks of it as a diet tool. She says "I live with the reality that I am anywhere from 10 to 20 years older than the parents of my daughter's friends. And so, the burning question: Do I want that ice cream, or do I want to look like Sophie's grandmother?"
Most days, it's not an issue. At any given moment, I either feel 25 or 90. There is no in-between. Bonnie Raitt put it correctly when she sang, "Those lines are pretty hard to take when they're staring back at you." Picking a face cream is akin to a political act.
Here's what I mean when I say "Older Mom":
Pat laughs when she says, "I became a first-time mom when I was 44. I tend to think of moms in their early 30s as "babies having babies." I'm also the daughter of a Mature Mom. My mother was in her late thirties when I was born. In the suburbs in the 1950s, that could have gone down in Ripley's Believe it or Not, but, it was dealt with in a very forthright, direct way -- she just lied about her age. Oh, and let's not forget the face cream.
Actually, I don't find my age to be of consequence in my relationship with my daughter -- it's only a challenge in my relationships with the different worlds that I straddle: Working Mom, Stay-at-Home Mom, Corporate Wife, Grown-up Person. My husband is older than I am and well-established in his career. He is not climbing the corporate ladder anymore -- he's hanging onto his rung.
There are many days where I go from a playdate to a business dinner where the guests are kvelling about their grandchildren's prowess at walking and talking, or the women are in the process of recreating themselves post-empty nest. I've learned it's not the place to have conversations about the complexities of picking a dancing school.
I wear a different hat. I wear my Grandma hat.
An interesting side effect of being a Mature Mom is that I became a grandmother before I became a mother. My stepdaughter has two sons and my stepson a daughter -- I think they all hung the moon.
These are all happy problems, but, nevertheless, territory that needs to be crossed with something that resembles finesse. I'm at the same point in my mommy-dom as the women with middle school children, but at a different point in my life. As The King said: It's a puzzlement.
Another upside to becoming a Mature Mom is that most of my life-long friends have older children. They have been through it all. I can just speed dial my friends in a panic and they calm me down: "Pat, this is just a blip on her radar screen -- not to worry." And sometimes, I can even stop! I also know there will be someone in my house who can thread needles for me when I can't find my reading glasses. Yes, they do "keep you young."
People accuse me of having more patience with my daughter than I would have if I were younger. I don't know. I've never been a patient person, and I don't anticipate becoming one. I've never been a younger mother. What I do know is that I have perseverance and perspective and that only comes with having history.
I take care of my health and make all my doctor appointments. I want to be there to participate in the ride that will be her life. I want to see the woman she will become. I desperately want to. People ask me and I ask myself, "Do you wish you had started younger, had more children?" I think they expect my answer to have a tinge of regret. There's none. If the path to becoming my daughter's mother had been different, she may not have been my daughter and I her mother. This is an intolerable thought. I wouldn't change a thing.
The other Garter Brides couldn't agree more.
What are your thoughts on being a Mature Mom?
Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Lampl and Tish Rabe are the authors of Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying for Life When You've Already Got a Life, a relationship guide for women over 35 on how to find Mr. Right, marry and find life-long happiness. The Garter Brides are a sisterhood of women who got married later in life and wore the same garter at their weddings! They offer tried and true advice on how to have the love and life you want.