Moms in the Middle – Parenting in Mid-Life

table-rock-943215_1920What do we call ourselves? We’re not “Midlife Mom’s” – those are women who are experiencing having their first children after the age of 35 (God bless you – I couldn’t do it).

We’re not “Over-the-Hill-Moms” – though a few of us we may be cresting the summit.

“Midlife-Crisis-Moms?” Definitely not! (Though there have been days…)

We’re a whole new category that, much like our own lives, we can’t quite put a finger on.

We’re in our 40s and early 50s, and most of us have children ranging from late elementary and tweens to college and beyond, depending on when we started this crazy rat race of family.

We don’t fit in with our younger counter-parts, and let’s face it, for good reason. We may have advice to give, we may be able to see what’s coming down the pike for them, we may want to hold their hand and tell them to relax – nobody really knows how to properly potty train a young tot no matter what the “experts” tell you  – they just do it when they’re ready. But did you want to hear that when you were running through the house frantically trying to reach the toilet before you had to clean up yet another spot on the carpet?

We can share in the memory of the misery that is colic, but, much like the pains of birth, you somehow will forget that too. I promise, this too shall pass.

We’re jealous of our younger counterpart’s play dates that provide you with a network of mommy friends. Our network consists of moms sitting beside the soccer field, scrolling through their phones, rarely interacting, while little Johnny or Mary practices. There are rare occasions where this isn’t true, but those mom’s have usually raised their kids together since birth and were in mommy groups since day one.

Half of us have gone back to work, the other half are still at home, but tote their kids from piano to baseball to cheerleading sometimes eating dinner in the car between practices only to get home and do homework, then to get up and start it all over again the next day.

Our diaper bags have turned into sports bags filled with cleats, gloves, bats, balls, goggles, rackets, dance shoes, and bottles of water. I actually know of a woman who even carries a cooler in the back of her SUV stocked with sandwiches in the off chance they don’t get home between activities so that her kids stay fed.

We lament the days of loads of tiny (albeit smelly) laundry that has now been replaced with larger, dirtier, smellier than I could ever have imagined, gym clothes that were left in the locker since September.

Three month old check-up co-pays are a thing of the past. Braces, college funds, sporting fees, astronomical grocery bills (especially if you have boys) are what keep us awake at night now (or sometimes it’s just the hot flashes).

Instead of security gates and toilet bowl guards it’s parental control apps and passwords that keep our children safe now. And just like that day when your tot learned to open the security gate, there will come a day when your teen will crack your 45-digit password that you swore they would never figure out.

We’re stuck in the Middle, with no proper label. Then again, maybe it’s better that way – not being pinned to a category. We’re reinventing ourselves on a daily basis, chipping away at stereotypes, fanning ourselves with whatever wind-making implement we can get our hands on.

Our nests are emptying, but we know they will always come back. And at some point they won’t be ashamed to be seen in public with us anymore. They may even pick up their phone when we call.

Truth is, it’s hard at any stage. Admitting that is a step in the right direction. Whether you’re just beginning, in the middle, or celebrating your empty nest, congratulations! You’ve earned your badge of motherhood.

And by the way, the same baking soda and vinegar you used to get the sour milk smell out of baby clothes gets the smell out of old gym clothes too. Some things will never change.

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