* Author Topic: Parenting in late 40s/ 50s  (Read 2376 times)

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Offline Jeanette2

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Parenting in late 40s/ 50s
« on: 3/05/19, 18:12 »
Hi there, I'm a mum of two lovely children born by DE's, I was 44 when I had my son and 48 when my daughter was born.  I'll be turning 50 in a few months and am going through a bit of a wobbly period as I reach this big landmark Birthday. Recently I've been feeling a little isolated in the playgroups/ playgrounds especially where most of the mum's are so much younger than me and  think it's been compounded a little as my children don't resemble me due to their genetic make up being different from mine, slightly different colouring and build.  A few times, I've been asked if they're mine and it's made me quite self-conscious about going out and about. It's been harder since having my daughter, I guess being that much older now and maybe there's an assumption that there might be some family resemblance between mother and daughter. In an ideal world I would have started a family sooner but my father had Alzheimers in his late 60s and I put my life on hold to care for him a number of years which also delayed meeting my present partner. I've waited so long for a family and not a day goes by when don't think how lucky i am to have them but somehow can't help feeling as though my over-sensitivity with regards my age is spoiling my enjoyment of them to the full.  The few other over 40 mums i know seem to be under 45 and psychologically it feels quite different being in your late 40s with such young children than early 40s which is seen as more socially acceptable.  Would love to talk to other older mum's in a similar boat so I don't feel so alone.  Await to hear !

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    Offline jdm4tth3ws

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    « Reply #1 on: 4/05/19, 06:16 »
    Hi Jeanette2,

    I'm 46 yr 7 months (😂) nd my latest and last baby is 13 weeks old.

    Just wanted to say "Hang in there!" You doing fabulous!

    I have had the luxury of having babies in my 20's, in my 30's and thanks to medical science in my 40's. My eldest is 23, then it drops to 11 yrs and 8yrs and finally my little Biggles.

    Feeling isolated at playgroup/playground happens whatever your age. In my 20's, I was very socially awkward and prickly and spent most of my time reading books at mother and toddler groups as no-one would welcome me in and I wasn't socially adept enough to thrust myself on to them 

    In my 30's it was slightly better as I didn't care what people thought if me and just started randomly chatting to other women.

    Now on my 40's, I took Biggles to a mother nd toddler group on Wednesday. I will not be using that particular one again as they weren't welcoming at all and most people looked down their noses at me. Their loss!

    I have had the looks around town and even a woman in McDonald's looked visibly shocked when she asked "how old is your grand son? "And I replied "Son, darling, son!" But you know what, screw everyone 😂 they don't know your situation, they don't know mine and I couldn't care less. I have my home, my husband, my kids, my mum and that's all that matters to me. In the main, I'm happy. My kids are happy,  life is wonderful  so what I'm "older"! It just means I have more patience with a screaming in pain teething baby.
    The way I see it, we all make our roads to heaven or hell and it's nobody else's business but ours.

    Enjoy your kids, enjoy your life. You only get 1! Don't waste it on spending time worrying what others think about you. It seriously isn't worth it.

    You're having a wobble. Wobbles are fine, comes with the territory. Don't let the wobbles define you. Breathe, stay calm, relax and let it go as this feeling like everything else will pass.

    You're doing fine mama! 😘

    Offline Jeanette2

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    « Reply #2 on: 4/05/19, 13:41 »
    jdm4tth3ws - thank you so much for that positive, life affirming and supportive post - i really needed to hear that! You're absolutely right of course that how we live our lives and the choices we make are absolutely nobody's business and it's a shame that people often feel they need to voice their opinions or make assumptions especially where babies/ children are concerned. I've always had a slightly over sensitive personality and must develop a thicker skin as that's often been my downfall. Some of my sensitivity also stems from a worry that my children might be teased as they get older for having such an 'old' mum though guess children get picked on for many different reasons and my job is to give them the confidence to defend themselves should that happen. Interesting to read your experiences through three decades and to see how your 'take' has changed. One of the advantages of getting older I always thought is that you don't care so much about what others think though with me it seems to be the reverse at present!  Sorry you had a bad experience with a playgroup, it's hit and miss how friendly they are I find and sometimes round here the mum's can get into a bit of a clique. Yes, best thing is to vote with your feet and not return. Would gladly not go to one again but do feel it's good for my daughter to see others her age and explore different things plus not sure I could do parks and the high street everyday.  Thanks again for replying.

    Offline jdm4tth3ws

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    « Reply #3 on: 5/05/19, 04:13 »
    Hi Jeanette2,

    You're very welcome  😊.

    I think things started to change for me personally when after a difficult year at school for my 11 yr old (at the time 6) resulting in him threatening and meaning to kill himself, I made the ultimate decision to remove him from school. That was when, for me, the pivotal change about caring what others thought came for me. By removing him from school, I was bucking the system and no longer perceived to be "normal". Normal, for a lot of people is raise your kids till 4 or 5 yrs old and then let the state take over ie the state takes responsibility for educating your children, even though in the UK, the responsibility for educating children is by default, first and foremost the parents responsibility. Hence the need for Ofsted. The majority of school mum's turned their backs on us. There is one that I still have regular contact with. All the others though we were too weird as a family and wouldn't allow their kids to carry on friendships with our kids. To be fair though, I didn't work too hard at maintaining those "friendships".

    In these 5 years of home educating 11 and 8 yr old, I have also found myself, found my voice and found my confidence. I have come to realise that it doesn't matter what others think of you, your family set up, your values. It's what you think about yourself, your family and your values that counts.

    I have been married 17 yrs and out goal was to go on a family cruise for our 20th anniversary. Obviously, opting to go for another baby this late in the day has meant that a cruise is no longer a possibility. But we have something far more precious than a weeks holiday on a boat 😂.

    Going on your worries of your children not resembling you - my mum and dad got divorced when I was 11 months old. My dad went on to remarry and they had kids. My brother and sister on my dad's side look nothing like me. My brother looks like my dad but blonder and my sister looks like her mum. Absolutely no familial connection to me, I'm very much a mixed parentage (look a bit like my mum and a bit like my dad -especially when angry 😂) So I don't look like my siblings at all. It doesn't change what we are to each other.

    My 23 yr old is the spitting image of his biological father, my 11 yr old is a mixed baby. Looks like me with his glasses on, and his dad without. My 8 yr old is the spitting image of me and my Double Donor baby has amazing features of my family but has big ears like his dad. How does that even work???  We all come in different shapes and sizes, and i dont think resemblance is too much of an important factor.

    I think it does come down to developing a thicker skin. With the home educating, I have had to develop a thicker skin. In the beginning, if the kids were in town with me on a school day and strangers said the usual "Oh, no school today?!" I would feel the need to justify it. "Oh my son was bullied in school and so we are home educating him" and try to extol what a good job we were doing and how much my son had improved etc. These days random people will say "Oh no school today?!"and I will say "yep, no school" if they then say "are they pulling a sickie, they don't look ill " I say "No, no day is a school day, they are home educated!" Leave it at that and walk away. Again, nobody's business but mine and my family. I have come to the realisation  that j really don't care what other people think. It's our lives, we all only get one, and they don't know our backgrounds, our stories, so therefore, it's no-ones right to judge us as they haven't walked in our shoes. Likewise, I can't judge others for their choices, lifestyles as I've not walked in their shoes.

    I do worry about he future to a degree. I expect I will encounter more stuck up people who think I shouldn't have had a baby in my late 40's and that's okay. But that's their problem not mine. I'm just glad that for me personally, I won't be stood at the school gates watching the younger generation stare at me down their noses because I'm old and got a young child in tow. Biggles will never have the pleasure <ahem, cough> of school. He is going to be home educated from the start. Learning what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, if he wants. No stigma attached and not ever experiencing daily bullying as I, my husband and 2 of my children did. I hope he will be the most confident of all of us, simply because he's had the chance to grow and develop at his own pace. His education defined by him and not dictated to by the state. I know by not following the norm, my kids have gone from quite cowed to such confident kids, confident in their own skins. My 11 yr old still has some issues and occasionally has flashbacks but in the main, he is a far happier, more confident kid than he was. My 8 yr old has oodles of confidence (too much sometimes 😉) and I don't see him allowing anyone to bring him down as he gets older.

    Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox 😂😂😂

    Just don't let anyone make you feel small, unworthy, or knock your confidence. You are a great mum, you have the advantage over the younger generation. You have age and experience, you have oodles more patience than them and you will have matured enough to be able to express empathy when needed with your kids. When I was in my 20's and raising my son, I wasn't patient with him. I had a very short temper. Lots of verbal fights between us, lots of angst. We're closer now that he has left home but at times when he was home, I would have quite happily ripped my hair out as he frustrated me so much and I him.

    Parenting in my 30's, i gained slightly more patience than I had had previously. My kids have benefited from that.

    Starting again in my 40's means I am coping really well with he sleepless nights (I have a thyroid issue, on meds, so I don't sleep well anyway 😂) the beauty of teething, the you of him crying and crying, trying my best to console him, when I don't know what the hell is wrong with him  😂. In my 20's, I would have put him in a safe space and let him get on with it. You know the feeling. Gone through the checklist.

    Is he hungry?
    Does he have wind?
    Is his bum dirty?
    Has he got a tempreture?
    Does he want attention?
    Is he tired?
    Over tired?

    What the flip does he want?😂😂😂 and I simply rock him, swaddle him and gently talk to him. Couldn't have done that calmly in my 20's.

    So we bith have the "advantage"over the bright young things. 😂😂😂

    I don't resent not going out clubbing now that I'm older. Who'd want to?  Sweaty, loud places. Men hitting on you cos you have a pulse and they have beer goggles 😂 in my 20's, yes, I resented having responsibilities to a certain extent and not being able to go out clubbing. Now I prefer soft play centres, swimming,  parks, nights playing board games, being able to have a drink (if I want) at home.

    We no longer need others approval to feel validated.  I know who I am, and more importantly I like who I am and no-one gets to put me down anymore. This is what I want for my kids. A feeling of self validation. And that starts with nor worrying what Joe Blogs and the general public think of me

    You have been blessed with 2 beautiful kids at an amazing stage in your life. Embrace it. Those bright, young things haven't got a patch on you. They can't offer the rich experience of life in general to their kids, they're still learning virtues like patience themselves. A lot of them will knot have had to experience IVF, and all the fun that brings. They won't have experienced ivf drugs, self administering injections and above all, that overwhelming desire that will make you do anything to have children. They haven't had time to develop strength to go after their goals, no matter what and faced the hardships we have. Which of course, makes us appreciate what we have got so much more. Because we've worked so hard to get our kids. We are warriors! Wobble a little, we all do, but look at your achievements and take strength from them. Then go out and live your life exactly how you want with no regrets. 🙂😘

    Offline Jeanette2

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    « Reply #4 on: 6/05/19, 13:53 »

    Thank you again for your response and taking the time to write so much, really interesting to read. Sorry i can't match for volume, i always have to find snatched moments for posting/ emails amongst the 101 domestics i need to attend to!   
    In an ideal world would also love to home educate as I think there are so many children that don't fit into 'the system' and am sure you've made the right decision for your family, it sounds like drastic measures were called for given the circumstance. To be honest I think I'd have been much happier especially during my secondary school years to have been home educated as was pretty miserable for a lot of them and also bullied; at that age it can really scar you for life.  I came away with no friends from that school and to be honest my happiest day was the last day there at 16 when I left for a 6th form college that was a much better experience.  Unfortunately I have a disabled mum who i look after every afternoon meaning school is necessary at present and to be honest am not sure I'm brainy enough to see my children through to GCSE level as have heard they're v tough these days and I'm not particularly academic. Also we're not a massively extrovert/ sociable family and don't have extended family networks so would worry a little that my children could get isolated although having said that there are plenty of clubs and groups they could join to make up for it. 
    You're absolutely right about having more patience in your 40s, hand on heart I've never once raised my voice to my son (now nearly 5) and am sure will be the same towards my daughter. Think it's partly because i longed for them for such a long time and never stop being grateful that they are in my life so any irritation is far outweighed by love. It's just a difficult juggling act at present as am well and truly in the sandwich generation of having dependents at either end of the age spectrum. You're absolutely right that life is too short to waste it worrying about what people think and in some ways by withdrawing a bit from the system perhaps you might find some shelter from others' views and raise your children without interference and all the pressures that school entails.  Good for you and appreciate all your words of wisdom.

    Offline StrawberrySundae

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    « Reply #5 on: 6/05/19, 14:03 »
    Hi I just wanted to say itís really nice reading this encouraging thread.

    I had the same experience at secondary school Jeanette, it was so lovely to leave! You sound a great mum. Iíll be 45 when my baby is due too. No idea what it will be like, hopefully other mums wonít think Iím that different.

    Jade youíre doing a great job by the sounds of things, your kids are lucky to have your determined attitude too! 👍🏽

    Offline Jeanette2

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    « Reply #6 on: 6/05/19, 18:28 »
    Hi Strawberry Sundae

    Very best of luck becoming a mum soon, am sure it'll all fall into place when you see your baby. It's like love at first sight!  To be honest I didn't feel as age conscious at 44 when I had my son so hopefully the same for you too.   :)

    Take care

    Offline StrawberrySundae

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    « Reply #7 on: 6/05/19, 19:44 »
    Thanks  :)

    Offline deblovescats

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    « Reply #8 on: 7/05/19, 00:00 »
    Jeanette. Just wanted to chip in and say your experiences totally resonated with me! I too was bullied badly at school, as was my sister, though I did have a few friends. I think personally that bullies are jealous of us. It took me years to get through this and I think that's why I'm so self conscious of what other people think, though I shouldn't be!
    I was 47 when I had my gorgeous boy, who is nearly 5 as well, and 49 when my beautiful daughter was born, she's 2 1/2. I have worried excessively what people might think, and I have had the odd comment from people who don't know me, about being the grandma. It did upset me, but thankfully, none of my friends, work colleagues and family have said anything about age, they are just truly happy for me. I am also doing this as a solo mum, as I have not been lucky enough to meet a special man to have a family with, and time was fast passing me by! So it's not easy, being both an older mum and a solo mum! I wouldn't truly swap it, as I love my children totally and cherish every moment with them. I go to toddler groups and stick to the same ones, as I have made friends, and the women there know my circumstances and I don't have to go through that stage of them mistaking me for gran. I cannot believe how rude some people can be, especially women, or why they even want to know! If they think we are the grandmothers, why be so nosy as to ask. I don't go round asking women out with prams, who they are. I was once in a fish restaurant with my mother, sister and baby daughter, having our lunch and the manageress who has a reputation for being rude anyway, came over and said who did she belong to! Incredible. I can't wait for the time, when people are accepting of older mums, in the way that society has changed towards others, but can't see it happening soon. I think once you are past the stage of babies, it is maybe easier. I did worry about mums at the school gate, but my son started school in September, and so far, I have had no questions about whether I'm his mum or not. I have actually found some of the younger mums not to be as judgemental as older women, so hopefully this will continue. I have also found at groups, and also at school, there are some older mums too, who although younger than me, are definitely in their 40s. The mum of one of James's school friends, has just had a new baby, and she told me she was over 40, I think she was worried about this, so of course, I could put her at ease.
    I agree with jdm, that as an older mum, we are more patient, have more life experience and cherish it particularly as we've gone down a tough road to get to our goal. I genuinely try to be patient and loving all the time with my two, and even cope with serious sleep deprivation.
    I struggle with being the sandwich generation though. My mum is 90 and in poor health, with heart failure, so there's no knowing when we'll lose her. At the moment, we are living with her as she was very ill last year and nearly died, and my sister who doesn't have a family, works away some of the time. I feel trapped and resentful that my enjoyment of my children, is impinged on by my mum, although I know she can't help it. I just want it to be me and my family, though obviously I would help mum out.

    Offline jdm4tth3ws

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    « Reply #9 on: 7/05/19, 04:13 »
    My mum lives with us as well. She is 78, has COPD, a range of other issues and has a congenital skeletal defects, same as me. It is difficult at times to be the filling in the sandwich so to speak. But, she is also my best friend and I seriously wouodnt be without her. Even though sometimes I could theoretically wring her neck 😉😂.

    Today was one of those days!

    8 yr old flies up the stairs angry and upset because of how my husband has handled a situation (badly clearly)
    I then let my husband know in no uncertain terms where he just went wrong in handling that situation and an arguemenr between us breaks out.
    At the same time I can hear my 8 yr old now stamping his feet on my bedroom floor, which of course is directly above my mum's room.
    So I leave the living room, get up 3 steps of the stairs to sort it out, when mum comes out of her room and screams up the stairs in such a manner "DO YOU MIND!!!!"  8 yr old rhen collapses on the bed in a pool of tears. I turn around, look at her coldly and say "I was about to deal with it!" And carry on up the stairs. She then returns with "Not quick enough!"and seriously for 2 pins I could have ...... 😵🤪😡 lost my poop with her

    Some days I absolutely rock the changing of hats in as many minutes, wife, mum, mother, driver, referee, personal shopper, etc.  Other days I fail abysmally. Yesterday was one of those days. But for all that, I wouldn't be without her or ever consider my house without her in it. Although I am looking forward to her and DH going to Bulgaria without me and the kids to finalise everything legally concerning my late brothers estate. I've done all the legwork legally up until this point and he gets to go abroad for the final bit. Feel slightly cheated, but, can't wait for the time on my own with the kids. I need that space at the minute. 12 days of pleasing myself and the kids with no interference. Absolute Bliss!

    I always wanted a daughter and I was blessed to get 5 son's (1 cot death, so 4 living sons). I never realised my mum would become (in a way) my substitute daughter. I don't wipe bums though (🤮) but I do everything else and sometimes feel our roles have reversed. I make all the important decisions, and look after her the way she used to look after me. And that's how it should be, in my mind.

    Can I just say regarding home education and socialization. In my area there is a thriving HE community and all our kids ages range feom 3 months (mine) to 15 yrs old. All of the kids get together and mess about and learn how to socialise with the different age ranges. The 15 yr old will spend time with all the varying ages anf not feel put upon. Likewise the younger ones spend yime eith all the varying age ranges and have confidence that they won't belittled by the older kids. On school, you stick with a particular year range. The older kids bully he younger kids and the youngersdon't get to mix with different age ranges at all. They get to socialise with their own year only for 20 mins at break and maybe the same time at lunch. So an hour a day all told. 5 days a week.

    For our area within the H.E community, there is always something going on. For us, there is climbing and  dance Monday's, gymnastics Wednesday, karate Thursday, trampolining Friday and swimming Saturday. That are other clubs ran on a Tuesday but we don't tend to go to those as our weeks are pretty full on. There are also soft play meet ups once a fortnight, although they will die out and instead a meet up will be set up in a local forestry centre during the summer months. There are home education camps, 1 if which were going to in June. We will pitch our tent and spend a week in the company of other home educators and rhere will be workshops that the kids can and join in on. Anything ranging from campfire cooking to mechanics, origami, etc etc.  Then there are the friends the kids have made on the local parks (schoolies) we have the kids from over the road (dance club friends and neoghbours) in on a Sunday for board games and trampolining at home and whatever other games they get up to.

    Sometimes I think we get too much socialising 😂😂 and I'm glad when half term for schoolies comes around as we get to hibernate for that week as HE clubs shut down at half term as well. Thankfully. Our reasons are though, we can't get into museums and national trust places as easily in half term when we're mixed in with school kids. Term time we get these museums and national trust places all to ourselves. So the kids find it quite stressful when we have to queue for things that we normally sail through. I do sometimes find it difficult to.manage all the group's we attend and run a household, look after my mam, be a wife but I wouldn't change it for the world. I dread the day when my mam passes away and I no longer have my best friend in the world. Hopefully, its not for a long time.

    In essence, we are all doing a fantastic job at being mothers and daughters and we should not let anyone's prejudices or ignorance bring us down. We have do much to offer our children and the outside world, if only the outside world would take their blinkers off and actually listen to what we have to say without judgement, and who knows maybe learn something from us in the process 😉😎.

    Right, Biggles is fed and asleep now so I'm going to hit the sack for another 4 hours. Good night all. X