I was at a birthday party with Little Man for one of his little friends from preschool. The other moms were all there because you can’t just drop off 3 and 4 years olds and have a few hours to yourself like you can with an 8 or 11 year old! As I was driving there, I was secretly hoping I could just drop Little Man off (he was with his preschool teacher after all – it was her daughter’s birthday) and head to TJ Maxx for some retail therapy, but no such luck! Anyway, as we were sitting around chatting in between juice box spills, one mom asked me “don’t you have an older daughter?” When I said I have an 11 year old daughter and another daughter who is almost 8, several of the moms, not just the one that had asked, said “oh” and “wow.” I even heard an audible in take of breath from several of them.
Thinking back as a mom of just a toddler and maybe a newborn, when I saw those moms that had older kids, they seemed like members of another “club” that I could not belong to. I only knew about the cost per diaper, feeding schedules and when my child hit the milestones versus the “What to Expect” books. They knew something I did not. They had the wisdom of years of parenting that you do not know when your kids are young. I think the oldest child any of the moms at the party had was 4 years old.
I guess in other people’s view, I am part of the “club” of older-wiser parents… or maybe they are shocked by the age span of my kids… or maybe I am just old and they can’t fathom how someone my age can parent a preschooler all the way up to an almost middle school-er? LOL. Whatever it is, I definitely felt the eyes of the others moms. I have always been the older parent in my circle of friends. I was one of the oldest moms when Soccer Girls was in preschool. I am the oldest in my Girls Night Out group of friends. It makes sense, Chief and I did not get together until I was 28 years old; I was 32 when I had Soccer Girl. Heck a girl I went to high school with has a 22 year old son! So, I did get started late in comparison to many. But wait, I do not have teenagers yet so I can't be that wise. But I guess in the party setting this weekend, I was the wise old parent, at least from their perspectives.
I do not feel like the wise parent, per say. I feel a different type of parenting wisdom, one I could not imagine as a newer mom. It is wisdom from worry that we only have 7 more years with Soccer Girl at home. S-E-V-E-N. A lot of my friend’s kids are all under the age of about 7! It is a wisdom that comes from the discussions with our tween girl, who is wise beyond her years, which stop us in our tracks at times. It is wisdom from trying to help Lizard find her own way as she navigates behind her older sister who seems to have it all and her cute little brother. And it is wisdom from trying to help Little Man learn the basics of life and how to channel his energy in a positive way.
Those are all very different types of mothering; very different types of worry and very different types of mental exhaustion. And they are all going on at the same time. Maybe that is what people see. I still have a foot in the little kid world but with a foot planted firmly in the older kid world. Whatever it is, I think I am part of the “club” and I am honored to be here. Even if I am only really a junior member!