There may be many beautiful things that happen in a woman’s life but having kids transcends everything else.
Now a weird question. What is the age difference between you and your kids? Not a commonly asked question. Why this question?
My younger one is seven years old and I’m pushing 40.
Generally it is not an issue until you are tested against the energy of a toddler, when all you want is a five minute breather.
This subject is not meant to disrespect people who decide to have kids at a later age. It is a simple heart-to-heart about challenges faced as a middle-aged parent to young kids.
It is about those of us, who often wonder after a stormy tantrum session with their kid(s) “How am I going to handle this any further?”
EVERY COIN HAS TWO SIDES:
When I was in my mid-twenties and a few of my cousins had their first child right after marriage, I was so skeptical of their decision.
What about living your own life? Don’t you want to see the world and live with just each other for a while?
These were just some of the questions I had asked then. Now I kind of get the point.
At that age, they took parenting as another adventure. They answered their children’s unceasing questions with energy to spare. One they lived with their kids. Now they have kids who are ready to fly the coop, while the parents still have quite a few adventures left in them.
How freeing it is with kids who can be responsible for themselves to an extent. I imagine all the self harming activities my kids might indulge in while I’m not hovering over them.
I would not claim that lesser age gap means better understanding but much more compatible energy levels. Younger parents might have a better connection level. When you grow up while raising your kids communication lines are more open.
THE OTHER SIDE:
My kids are at an age where I mean the world to them. I want to bask in the glory of this till their focus shifts, which is inevitable and would happen in due time but till then I’m the sun of this solar system. A sun so bummed at times that wants to just switch off and take a break!
Being a nearly middle-aged parent, I might have life somewhat figured but a child’s curiosity still stops me in my tracks. I see many things in a new light while explaining to my kids.
After playing “war” a few times (too many) I have to sit and tell them how their and my energy levels work. How I prefer to pick my battles and don’t want to fight all “wars”.
Despite these little issues, at this point in life parents are better prepared financially and get to spend more time with their kids.
I wouldn’t have had the luxury of this choice a few years back.
Middle-aged parents have a better understanding of things that can go wrong and how to find solutions. Not every teenage mistake would seem like a disaster. We now know that life goes on. On the flip side, we parent from a more confident place which might be a hindrance at times. We might be more rigid in putting our points across as it is not easy watching the kids repeat our mistakes.
Being so much more aware of things that can go wrong makes us apprehensive parents.
“I know much better, I have been there” can be one of the worst parenting approaches at any age.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME:
Better than anything what works is being in the moment and having loads of patience. I might not like a messy situation but with some restraint I have learned to deal with these.
There may be different activities that the kids and we enjoy but as a family we find some middle ground. Some weekends we watch “Frozen” or “Avengers” with them, another weekend the kids agree to a quite stay at home.
Although I’m involved in all the aspects of my kids life, I still make it a point to have my own me time . It helps me get my equilibrium back after those tumultuous days. Also, it is important that kids learn to be independent. They should be taught to do the work that they can manage at their respective ages.
Don’t feel guilty for making your child help you with the housework or picking up after themselves. There may be times when we want to be left alone, yet keep conversation with your kids going. No matter what the issue, never stop communicating with them.
Parenting at any age can be stressful because we don’t want to slip up. We hope to make zero mistakes and expect to stay on top of the game.
I suggest, stop over-analyzing yourself.
We are all that our kids would ever need and love. So we must stop comparing with others’ parenting styles. Do let us know what works for you and what would you suggest towards being a better middle-aged parent.