It was never my intention to wait until I was forty to have my first child. That’s possibly the problem. I didn’t have any intentions and then suddenly I was in my late thirties and it all turned into a panic. I won’t go into it here but let’s just say that I’ve digested every book/website/piece of advice on the planet when it comes to conception. And this isn’t going to be one, long whinge (actually it is…sorry) but there are definitely a few things that are different about being a Mum and being forty…mumble mumble (let’s just say more than forty two right?)
So here goes:
1. You have a filthy temper
You know when you watch those programmes called –‘Grumpy Old Women’? Well it’s true…the older you get, the more uppity you become (unless you’re a Buddhist). I have a level of inflexibility (and I can’t touch my toes either but that’s another story) that is frightening. I lived for forty years on this planet doing exactly what I wanted most of the time. It has taken me three years to get used to waking up at the crack of dawn. Mess makes me despair. I really really want to wash my face in peace each day. I can’t help thinking that younger women would have sucked it up and moved on. Each day is a constant battle against the grumps.
2. The ‘having another child’ problem
All my friends have had two children (or are pregnant with their second) and I’m the only Mum in my circle who hasn’t. Would I like another one? Yes (despite the grumps). Will it happen? Well let’s just say that my eggs are like tiny, wrinkled, Sunmaid Raisins except there isn’t a nice, smiling, young girl on the pack. Instead there is an old haggard witch with a speech bubble saying – ‘You should have got with it SOONER girl! It’s GAME OVER!’ I may work out another route but for now it’s not looking good (I know Janet Jackson but I AM NOT JANET JACKSON okay?)
3. Constantly calculating how old you’ll be at milestone moments in the future
Will I have a Zimmer frame when my daughter gets married? Will I be wearing tan pop socks and carrying a giant handbag full of hankies, Murray mints and a copy of the Radio Times? What if my daughter settles down when she’s in her late thirties? What if I NEVER get the chance to become a Grandma? I also find myself meeting other Mums and trying to calculate whether I could be their Mum too. This isn’t healthy (though it may help keep my brain active and healthy as I’m continually doing Maths).
4. The surprised look when you tell other Mum’s your age
So okay I don’t look bad for my age but now and then when the conversation commences specifically around a) having a second child b) how grumpy I am c) future Granny status, I can clock the surprise as I do the BIG REVEAL. One Mum actually coughed up her tea. Hey I’m surprised too! I wake up in the middle of the night and my eyebrows shoot up and I think HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME? HOW CAN IT BE 2017 AND YESTERDAY IT WAS 1997?
5. Goodbye to my back
No amount of yoga, rolling around on the floor with one of those foam things or massages is going to change the fact that my back has died. Simply that.
So what are the rewards? What’s the good stuff? Well of course, there are plenty. Having a child is one of those things that reminds us how it feels to be alive (even if our backs have left us for good).
There’s the sweet sigh as she falls asleep and you bend down to kiss the top of her head. There’s the moment she looks at you and says – ‘You’re a good Mum.’ There is the boundless optimism of a child that doesn’t know about the bad stuff and you want to keep it that way.
There is love. And when you think that’s enough, there’s more.