Friday, May 07, 2021

7 reasons why I'm happy to be an old mom

I'm 44 and mommy to little boys. If I had gotten pregnant at 22, I'd have a kid in college now! Since more and more women are delaying marriage and motherhood, I'm in pretty good company. In Europe, the average age of first-time mothers is 29.9 years old (source). In Japan, it's 30.7, in South Korea, it's 31.4 (source). But the older generation, specifically my father, had insisted I should've had my kids early, like when I was 22. When I turned 27 and was still unmarried and child-free, my Papa told me to get pregnant already to force Vince to marry me. That was sad because I think he started telling me to guard my virginity since I was 7 (parents, please stop tying your daughter's value to her virginity!) and then 20 years later, that integrity was thrown out the window all because Filipinos believe only motherhood is the point of women's lives.

Considering that I absolutely love motherhood (most days haha), I ought to agree, right? Nope. I am oh so glad I delayed having babies for as long as I could. But to answer the question, well, if I had known it would be this ridiculously amazing, well... I still wouldn't have done it. I know who I am and the mid-20s Frances would never have appreciated motherhood the way mid-40s Frances is being blown away by it every day. 

(I'm also being battered by it. Maybe if I had been a young mom, I'd have had more energy?)

Here are my 7 reasons why I am so relieved and happy I'm an old mom:

1. I became a somebody before I became a wife and a mom.

I don't mean I became famous. I just mean I became my own person - not someone's daughter, not someone's wife, not someone's mother. I became me. I learned who I was and what I wanted in life and was able to achieve all that on my own and without the guilt of choosing between career and my family.

I'm a mommy now and you know what? I will always choose family over career. But sometimes I wonder if I have this conviction only because I had the privilege of having enjoyed a career without having to think of anyone else. I can say easily now that between an important meeting and picking up my kids from school I'd pick my kids. But that's because I've earned the position - I can dictate meetings now, say no, and my career will be fine. If you're 23 with a crying baby and a demanding boss... that sounds horrible. 

2. I'm wiser and vastly more patient.

Less selfish, too. Less drama. More love. More kindness. Not saying that women in their 20s can't be wise, patient, selfless, and kind. I'm talking about ME. The Frances in her 20s wasn't really a nice person. She was all about herself and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I was a kid, I had fun, I had a whole decade just catering to me, me, me. And that was glorious!

But those years also taught me a lot about the world, relationships, family, money, and the fleeting brevity of life. So I was able to make mistakes and learn from them and the only one who was affected was me. I became softer, more humble, kinder, more forgiving, more understanding, and compassionate. So when the babies finally came, they had a mommy whose heart had become tender from all the blows of life.  

3. I'm old enough to know that I'm not missing out.

I met Vince when I was 22 and he was 25 and we had a blast growing up together. We pursued our passions separately, and there were times we didn't see each other for days, even weeks, since we were so busy with our own lives and dreams and careers. And you know what? All that shit was fun but I don't miss any of it. So when I became a mom and was at home for days and days on end, the partying photos of other moms didn't make me feel bad. Been there, done that. 

4. I love my body now.

It's ironic that when my body looked its best (late 20s to early 30s), I didn't like it. I kept comparing it to other bodies. It was always sick. I was too busy to appreciate it. But aging and maturity made me appreciate how my body makes me do the most amazing things. I got pregnant, gave birth, recovered at lightning speed, breastfed three babies continuously, carried heavy babies for hours and hours, ran after little boys, and kept house and home for them all on an average of 4 hours of sleep a night for the last 11 years. How I'm still alive, I do not know! My body keeps going and going. It's my favorite miracle. 

5. I had so much sex!

The thing with having children - though we love them so very much and we will literally die for them if needed - is they're the result of lovemaking and now they prevent us from making love. Cue the sad violin music.

My husband and I miss those days and nights when just one look and we become undone. Now, we just look at each other longingly and nothing happens hahaha Thank goodness we had those pre-parent YEARS when we could make love all day long and all night long!

6. I actually like kids now.

Loyal Readers who have read this blog since 2016 know I never wanted to be a mother. I had many reasons, chief of which I don't really like kids. I don't hate them. I enjoyed my brief career as a preschool teacher, for example. But the best thing about being a teacher/babysitter/auntie is you can enjoy the cuties for a while then return them to their parents. But now, in my old age and because my kids made me fall in love with them and anything that vaguely resembles them in size and shape, I love kids!

7. I met new young friends.

I mentioned that in other countries, women are having kids at a later age. Here in the Philippines, it's still a young 22.8 (source) so many of my mommy friends are younger than me. And while I'm glad I'm an old mommy, I can see that motherhood isn't just for oldies like me. Young moms have so much energy and devotion and creativity! I don't know why! Youth??? 

Sure, being an old mom has its downsides. I don't have the energy I had in my 20s. I'll still be paying for college tuition in my 60s. But those I can brush off. What I'm sad and desperate about is I really really want my kids to marry young so I can dote on my grandkids!!! What the what! Yep. That's the only thing that bothers me about having kids late. If my boys take after us and also get married in their 30s, then I'd be in my 60s before I see my grandkids!

Now, am I saying women should have kids in their 30s? No. I think you should do whatever makes you happy and be a mommy whenever you're ready. That can be 22, that can be 33, that can be 45. In my case, I was 33. To be honest, I didn't think I was ready (is anyone ever ready hahahaha). But I guess I was because I had already lived my selfish, carefree life, have the requisite loving and committed relationship, have the home, and had the money in the bank. So what was I waiting for? Thank goodness I missed a few pills and got pregnant!

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