A Mom of A Certain Age
I am now a mom of a certain age.
This stage of life has its burdens to bear. I’m toting saddle bags and bags under my eyes, for instance. But it also is perk-y, as in “has lots of perks” — as opposed to perky, which no longer can be associated with me in any way unless you count when I’ve had one cup of coffee or one glass of wine too many.
Being a mom of a certain age means I am no longer convinced by every so-called parenting “expert” that I’m doing it all wrong and have doomed my child to an adulthood filled with booze and therapy. Heck, I’m an adult, and I like booze, and therapy, and I’m doing just fine thank you. And you know what else? I’m pretty sure my parents don’t feel a shred of guilt.
Being a mom of a certain age means I have learned it’s better to trust instincts over statistics. I have been in the journalism business long enough to know you can bend statistics to prove anything you want. I have been a mom long enough to accept I know my child better than anyone else does, even if she is now at an age when she revels in her attempts to prove me wrong. (Who am I kidding — she’s been enjoying that since the terrible 2s!)
In this stage of life, I no longer feel the pull to have another baby. But, I admit, a newborn’s head on my shoulder or a toddler balancing on my hip are like proverbial missing pieces locking into well-worn grooves in both my body and soul. I feel this blessing one Sunday a month when I volunteer in my church’s nursery. It’s enough.
Being a mom of a certain age also means I am almost free from worrying about potentially conceiving another child. I am baffled by celebrities in their 50s who are jumping on the late-mother bandwagon. The only kind of late mother I am going to be is late for lunch, late to church, late to think of the perfect comeback — you know, the kind I always have been.
Perhaps most comforting, being a mom of a certain age means I have done the heavy lifting required to build a solid foundation for my family. I have laid brick after brick. Some were painstakingly placed and others were done slapdash. They are not all the same size, shape or color. Each brick is a milestone reached, a hard-won lesson, a value instilled, an expectation set, a moment of grace. They are bound together by hugs and laughter, heartbreak and tears, tenderness and understanding.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I am no longer frantically mining the interwebs for explanations and diagnoses and cures for every real or imagined issue facing me or my child. I still believe, however, that “when you know better, you do better,” so I will always do my best for my little family. I’ll just do it more slowly and carefully. It’s how we moms of a certain age roll.
Betsy Bethel is the Life editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register and the editor of OV Parent magazine.