This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.
My husband and I spaced our children out. We knew that this would eventually make us “older parents” but we felt strongly about having several years between each child. We have found out the benefits and challenges of being older parents. It really isn't as bad as society makes it out to be!
The Benefits and Challenges of Being Older Parents
I remember a few of my friends having “older” parents when I was in school. There were times that kids would actually make fun of them or call their parents grandparents. It was hurtful to these children and very unfair. No one can change how old their parents are, right?
I am so glad that there is a movement to DISRUPT AGING and take the stigma away from being an older parent! Let's face it…aging rocks in many ways. Experience is so worthwhile and the knowledge we bring to the table is valuable to people younger than us.
We had our first child right off the bat and I will admit he wasn't planned. We were 23 years old and honestly…we didn't know much about being parents. Luckily we had both come from wonderful families and we had a lot of family support.
When our son was about 3 1/2 years old we had our first daughter. We were kind of in the groove now. Still young and in our twenties, but gaining some knowledge about how to take care of these kids.
We waiting 4 more years until we had our second daughter. I was just days away from turning 32 when she was born.
This is when things go a little awry. I liked having 3-4 years in between pregnancies. I could enjoy every bit of the infancy and toddler years before I was taking care of another baby. Only one child in diapers at a time was heavenly.
My youngest daughter was clingy. Like…really clingy. She was stuck to me like glue from day one. When the four-year mark hit I knew it was too soon to have another child, even though we wanted one more baby. I put it off until she was in Kindergarten and was more independent.
It took me longer to get pregnant then it had before. I was 36 years old by this point. The pregnancy test was finally positive and our whole family was thrilled. That excitement turned to sorrow when we miscarried the baby.
We decided to try again and had a successful pregnancy and our last daughter was born when I was 38 years old.
Is 38 Too Old To Have a Baby?
Thirty-eight really isn't too old to have a baby. I wasn't going to win any world records or make it on a magazine cover. The trend the past few decades seems to be having babies when you are older.
It is when you add 18 to 38 that things start to look a little different. We will be 56 when our youngest daughter graduates from high school. A lot of people in society think that is OLD.
I say that 56 will be perfect for our family.
With Age Comes Experience
Now that we have children from 20 down to 5, my husband and I have gained a LOT of experience as parents. We have dealt with some challenging problems parenting our older children.
We have learned from our mistakes and I think it has made us better parents. One of the biggest benefits to being an older parent is the experience you bring to the table.
With Age Comes Opportunity
My two older children are a little bit jealous of our youngest child because she will benefit a lot from our age. We are so much more financially settled now then we were when they were little and we were young.
My little one will probably get to do a lot of traveling as she grows up and I won't have to worry about how to buy her new school clothes because the budget is so tight.
Being an older parent also give us the opportunity to STAY YOUNG at heart! We have to keep up with her…and she is REALLY BUSY! There is no option to become “elderly”.
We have to learn about the latest technology so we know what she is using. We have the opportunity to be current with the latest trends and that is a positive thing!
With Age Comes Maturity
As parents my husband and I have chilled out so much from where we were at 20 years ago. When we first started our parenting journey we wanted to do everything by the book and be perfect. We quickly found out that wasn't possible, but we kept fighting to do it.
As the years have passed we have mellowed. A LOT. We have come to appreciate watching our kids grow up because now we know it happens too fast.
There is less over reacting to small issues than there used to be. I guess you could say we have matured as parents. It has taken us a long time to do it, but better late than never, right? 🙂
My husband and I have also grown to be better partners in parenting as we have aged and matured. We are like a well oiled machine now!
Challenges Do Exist
I would love to tell you that there are only benefits to being an older parent. Unfortunately, in life there are usually a few challenges with anything you do.
One challenge we have faced is that it has been harder to find other couples to connect with. The couple friends we had when our oldest two were young now are in the empty nest phase or almost in the empty nest phase. We still have a five-year old. It doesn't mesh as well as it used to.
Many of the parents of our five-year old's friends are in their twenties and it can be hard to connect with a twenty year age difference.
The other challenge we have faced is that things did start to change after we hit 40 years old. We both have some health issues we didn't have before. So far we haven't let these issues stop us from being active and being all in with our daughter. In fact, I think it encourages us to do all we can to stay in good health!
The last challenge I can see coming is that we will probably have grandchildren before our youngest one graduates high school. We may have to juggle our time a little more efficiently so that everyone gets the attention they need and want!
Are You an Older Parent?
We can't imagine life without all four of our kids. It is a pleasure getting to parent them at any age. I think being an older parent has more advantages then disadvantages and I wouldn't change it for the world. I want my children to see aging as a natural, beautiful thing that they will embrace.
If you are an older parent…don't be shy about it. Let's disrupt the old way of thinking and be proud of our age! Tell your story and share your valuable experience with everyone you can. Let's help end the assumptions people have about age and change the story! Together we can disrupt aging and strive to meet our goals no matter how old or young we are! To learn more about the #DisruptAging movement click HERE.