Old mum versus young mum

Is the ‘old mum’ versus ‘young mum’ divide a myth? Blogger and mum Maria from Feisty Tapas shares her experience of being an older mum and asks if the divide is something much more hands on.

When I first got pregnant I was very aware that I was going to qualify as an older mum, my midwife was quick to reassure me that nowadays 36 is not old anymore and that, in fact, mine wasn’t even automatically considered a high-risk pregnancy. At first I thought she was just trying to put my mind at rest but, as my pregnancy progressed, I realised that she wasn’t kidding: the extra years, wrinkles and grey hairs (oh, who am I kidding, they grow white) didn’t really matter.

Once my daughter had decided to put in appearance I started comparing myself and my exhaustion to that of younger mums, thinking back to tales of friends who had had kids both in their twenties and their thirties and who had found that bouncing back after labour was much harder in their thirties. Yes, younger mums seemed much more likely to get out and about and seemed to pull their non-grey hair out less.

The real divide between mothers

However, I quickly realised that the problem wasn’t as much the decade or more in age difference but the proximity to family and help in general. You see, we haven’t really had anyone to help with our daughter until we found our wonderful childminder only about three months ago and I could see a huge difference between those mums who had someone (be it family, friends or paid help) to take some load off them from day one and those of us who just didn’t.

Add to that work and the inability to book a doctor or dentist appointment unless my husband takes some time off or unless they can fit me on a Monday or a Friday when T is being looked after the childminder and… well, things slip. Not to talk about the state of my hair, my skin, my nails and, last but not least, my poor tired mind and the brain it’s lodged in.

I find it strangely reassuring when I find other mums in the same situation, there is one particular lovely mum who is in a similar situation and she is so understanding.

So narrow is the young vs. old mum divide that the mother I have found so far with a kid with the most similar personality to my affectionate little girl was a mum we met at a playground, she had hardly reached her twenties, dressed like a Spice Girl, with huge platforms and a whole lot of make-up as opposed to my flat shoes, comfy clothes and bare face; however, she seemed to be of my own outlook on motherhood. I found this a huge surprise.

That day at that playground the young vs. old difference disappeared and I was left with the “my mum lives round the corner and looks after the kids anytime” difference (as well as a kid a year older than mine, she also had a young baby).

Then there are the Facebook updates of friends regularly going out on movie nights or to concerts, regularly leaving the kids with the grandparents.

That, right there, is the biggest difference: the last time I remember going to the cinema was to watch Limitless when it hit a theatre near you. That was a while ago, wasn’t it?

What is your take on the old versus young mum divide?

Do you feel different to Mums of a different age from you?

Is the with help vs no help whatsoever a bigger divide than young vs old or is this just my own experience?

Photo: FaceMePLS @ Flickr

Comments for 'Old mum versus young mum'

4 Responses to Old mum versus young mum

  1. turkish-mum says:

    I believe that the older vs younger does make a difference slightly. I think younger mums have more energy surely, at least compared to me! :) Help, however makes the biggest difference in my opinion. If you are doing everything on your own and don’t have any family to turn to for support then young or old wouldn’t matter.

  2. Helen Lindop says:

    I also had children in my late thirties and I’ve found my kids have given me something in common with women 15 years younger than me that would not have been there otherwise. Yes, young mums make me feel old sometimes! But as Turkish Mum says, the other factors in your life are far more important than your age e.g. the support you have, whether you can afford childcare or not, whether you have a job/career that’s flexible enough to allow you to have a family life.

    I like the fact that I had my kids at a time when you can have your freedom either before your children arrive in your twenties or after they’ve left home in your forties and fifties. You can be a student at any age now and change careers several times during your working life. I don’t think age is much of an issue. The old mum/new mum divide is over-played by the media in a similar way to that old chestnut the ‘working mum vs stay at home mum’ debate.

  3. Yep, I get you. totally.
    We also lack the local network of family to help and
    when the boys were really young I used to pine for a
    couple of hours just to myself and sometimes just to lie down in front of the TV doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes I used to feel life was so unfair because I never had any break and if it wasn’t for my husband taking time off when I was really sick then we’d have been screwed.
    It changes massively when they start school. Maybe you still can’t go out at the drop of the hat but with organisation and a reliable babysitter everything can be arranged.
    I find that because you don’t spend so much on childcare any more you can afford more time out. And as they get older you can go to the hairdresser when they are at school :) It happens so quickly that now there are many moments I look back and think it was good too, when at times I was struggling to see how good it was…
    in terms of age difference I never noticed a very big difference although I sometimes envy their energy! ;)

  4. Most of my fellow mummy friends and mummy bloggers are older than me and I honestly don’t feel bothered by that. I’ve always been like that, as a child I would chat to the mums of my friends as they cook dinner quiet happily.

    However there is one this that has affected me age wise. My dad was a heavy smoker and in his late 70s and as a teen I feared I’d lose him when I was still very young. Now I fear my children will lose him and not remember him as they are so young :(

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