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This one isn’t about complaining; it’s about perspective.

Ever since my OBGN’s office handed me a copy of Plum Magazine (http://www.plummagazine.com/), I’ve been rolling my eyes at the notion that we older moms are somehow more special than or significantly different from the younger ones.

I understand that it’s harder to get pregnant after 35 and that complications are more likely, but this seems the stuff of the doctor’s office more than a glossy magazine. Trust me, Plum and the like spend much more time trying to sell you Scandinavian high chairs and designer maternity clothes than they do advising about pregnancy complications; this is no public service announcement. More like, I think, making a fetish out of late child-bearing.

Specifically, it’s the tag line, “something especially prized” that annoyed me, relishing as it does in the self-absorbed notion that older moms somehow prize or love their children more than younger ones do. Or that their own geriatric status confers special status on their offspring. Honestly, the whole thing reeks of entitlement, the same sort of nasty entitlement that makes rich parents think their kids are more special than poor ones and that keeps the patronage system alive in business, politics, and school admissions.

Having said that, I have noticed a difference in tone among my older friends who are new moms compared to the younger ones I encounter. Part of this difference is informed by pure economics. Most of the older moms I know have more disposable income than the younger ones, so they are more likely to shop in the maternity boutiques and browse European baby goods. I’m guilty on this score myself.

Looking a bit deeper, though, more profound differences show up. I get the feeling we older moms are a bit more worried about our kids. And for me and at least a few of my friends, this additional concern has everything do with time.

You hear a lot about women who want to be pregnant being ticking clocks, but I think plenty of us have a clock as our soundtrack in the post-partum phase as well. Having had our first baby relatively late, we don’t have the luxury of dawdling over decisions about subsequent children. You either get going right away or you knowingly narrow your options. Having up to a decade less time to save for college, you have to worry and plan for that right away, too. There’s no waiting for the next year when the next year might set you back two semester’s worth of tuition. Knowing that your current go-around with firsts and other stages of infancy may be your last, you find them harder to let go. I once asked my six years younger cousin if she got misty when her daughter reached a certain milestone and she casually replied, “Oh no. I mean, I might, but I’m doing this again and maybe again again.” Ouch. I’ve barely got time for one again, much less two.

On a more positive and personal note, I see some considerable upsides to parenting at a more mature age. I’m a heck of a lot more patient now than I was at 25. I’m also slower to panic and a bit-ok, a lot-more open about acceptable life choices. I’m saving for college, but if Simon decides to pursue a traditional trade, I’ll be fine with that. I just want him to find something that makes him happy, puts a roof over his head, and doesn’t exploit others.

A few weeks ago, at my Uncle Sam’s house, Simon got very tired and threw a fit. I looked up at my uncle and said, “So, do you miss this?” in the universal tone of an exacerbated parent. “It’s bittersweet, to tell you the truth” he responded.

Of course it is. His grandkids live several hours away, his own kids are now middle-aged, and he’s a recent widower. Maybe the especially prized portion of geriatric motherhood is that, having had time to lose more relatives and get closer to middle age yourself, you are slightly more likely to live in the moment. No one likes it when their kid is throwing a fit or fighting a diaper change. No one. But every now and again, in the midst of something unpleasant and frustrating, I consider that crying and fussing as much as cooing and laughing bring life to a house. They are aural reminders of youth, potential, and regeneration.

Do younger moms feel the same way? I assume many are wise and do. But I’m guessing that more of us achieve such wisdom only with the passing of time.

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