Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mid-Life Motherhood: Time Slip - Part 2

Elizabeth's comment on my previous post reminded me of something else I meant to add. For her the hardest thing about mid-life motherhood is that her youngest daughter will have 22 years less time with her than her eldest child. I'm not sure why, but this doesn't particularly bother me - maybe because Tevye's mother died when he was six, so I would be grateful just to make it long enough to see all three girls into adulthood.

What bugs me more is that generation crunch kicking in again with grandchildren. Just as I am old enough to be Cherub's grandmother, I will be old enough to be her children's great-grandmother. I have seen in my own mother the difference in being a grandmother at 70 and a grandmother at 80. At 70 she was still fit enough to be an active, hands-on grandma; at 80 she isn't. She can hold Cherub, but she can't carry her. She can't babysit because she is no longer able to cope with the more physically demanding aspects of caring for a young child. It frustrates her, and I know that if I reach that stage, it would frustrate me.

Reading my previous post Tevye felt I was being unusually negative. And yes, for me this is the aspect of older motherhood that has most downsides, and one that I find a bit unsettling. The time slippage became a reality for me when Tevye and I started talking seriously about retirement plans. When pension quotes from his old company started arriving, we realised retirement was no longer something way off on the horizon, but close enough to need real consideration. And we had a toddler. Did. Not. Compute. And even though I have thought it through since, I still find it strange and confusing.

Not to worry. I have one more post on mid-life motherhood to write. A much more positive one.


Elizabeth Foss said...

I think it's the grandparent aspect that bothers me the most, too, really. And you've explained it well. When my first child was a baby, I had cancer. Being around for my kids has never been a guarantee. But we could never have muddled through those early years so well if it hadn't been for our parents' help. Truth be told, my husband's parents were in their very late thirties and forties when he was born. His father was 41 and of all the grandparents, he has been the most involved. He's a good deal slower now, nearly 85, but he still brings wisdom and some practical help to our lives. I keep looking at that and it does bring me some peace.And truly, this generation crunch is the greatest motivator in the world for being very serious about taking care of myself!
I'm looking forward to your positive piece.

Jennifer in TX said...

Much food for thought, here, Kathryn.

Missus Wookie said...

I thought about and mentioned you (you were missed by several who remembered you from previous dos) to several people at the BBQ last night and the pro/cons of starting again were discussed at length.

One friend has just announced her first pregnancy, we're the same age but I'm finishing as she's starting.

Such a different set of circumstances.

Karen E. said...

Kathryn, I don't think you've been negative, just realistic about some of the pros and cons. But I think the enormous blessing is that by leaving our openness to life in God's hands, we haven't had to sift through those pros and cons alone, on our own strength. If we did, we might have said "no" to the blessings of our most recent arrivals. :) Thankfully, we didn't.