At 39, I felt a stirring – something that made no sense to me. Each thought dripped onto my brain like a tiny droplet of water tumbling off a leaf after a spring shower. The droplets intruded, “baby…mother…baby…be a mom…you’ll regret not doing this.” I literally took a terrifying leap and said, “Ok, let’s do this. Now. It’s now or never.”
And while I understand how cavalier that sounds, for a same-sex couple, it’s anything but. We called a doctor, (turns out I went to high school with her sister) and was told we would get started on the first day of my next cycle. WAIT. WHAT???? I wouldn’t turn back now.
I literally had NO idea what I was getting into. My experience with babies was limited to holding one baby one time for five minutes. Spittle and mucus were involved. And unlike practicing law, I had NO idea whether I would be good at the “mom thing,” or whether I would even like it.
I could just as easily write about things that make parenting young children in my 40s harder. But it turns out, I love being a Midlife Mama and I can’t say I would have loved being a mama when I was younger. As a woman in my 40s, I felt much more confident about my ability to handle it.
I’m a better mom in my 40s — so are you, here’s why…
1.Women in Their 40s Won’t Be Judged
We just won’t. And if you do judge us, because we know you do, we don’t care. We have cultivated enough confidence to follow our own parenting path and to do what we believe is right for each of our children – despite what the latest parenting “advice” wants us to do. And despite your side eye…
2. Women In Their 40s Can Take In The Magic
When your babies are little, every stage is your favorite stage. But I remember watching my son, about eight months old, examining his blocks as he was creating a tower. He was making a choice among a group of blocks. Watching his mind work was pure magic. I watched and studied, and learned about my son’s way of thinking and some of his preferences. As they grow up, I witness that same magic when they see something for the first time, learn something new, or express their creativity. I see the magic and the impact of what I’ve taught them as they make a decision between right and wrong.
3. Patience Makes Women In Their 40s Audacious Moms
Patience. We can never have enough. But as women in our 40s there is less for us to be impatient about. Many of us had careers and then decided to stay at home with our children. Others of us spend decades building a career that we still devote ourselves to. But we aren’t waiting, impatiently, to “get there.” We are there.
We aren’t waiting impatiently to know ourselves. We’ve started learning. This allows us the patience to pay attention to who are children are becoming.
4. Women In Their 40s Can Hold Space For Their Children
As our children grow up, we learn to hold space for them.
When you hold space for someone, you bring your entire presence to them. You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you’re completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support. (cite)
Holding space for our children can be the most difficult thing we ever do. For we know that they will not always make the choices we would want them to make. We know they will journey to dangerous destinations. And we know that unwise choices and journeys may end in pain.
But we practice allowing them to walk their journey, empowering them to make their own choices, and we withhold our own judgment of them. Practice. Practice. We practice holding space and clinging to our hearts as they swell with both pride and pain.
5. We Are Audacious Because We Support Their Choices: Even the “Wrong” Ones
As our children mature, they encounter and take on more risk. As mothers, we gather all of our strength to step back and allow them to make their own choices, even as our hearts scream for us to rescue them and keep them safe. We call on our strength to support their choices, even as we disagree with them.
The overarching lesson has been that if we are open to the lessons, our children teach us more than we could ever teach them. Among other powerful insights, refusal to be judged, taking in the magic, patience, the ability to hold space, and pushing our egos to the side have taken me so far on the journey toward being the best mother I can be.
My ability to “handle it” probably remains open for debate. And humility certainly hit the moment we got that sweet baby home from the hospital.
As a woman in my 40’s, parenting two rambunctious and beautifully spirited boys is harder than anything I ever did while running my own law practice. But I made the decision, took the leap, and it was so much more than worth it.
The little voice that told me I would regret not becoming a mother was surely the divine asking me to follow a call I couldn’t understand. It’s always best to listen to that divine voice from within. And you can rock this – it’s not too late!