If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a midlife parent. This space is for those looking for and sharing advice, support, and information on surviving your midlife parenting crisis.
Wikipedia’s definition of a crisis is any event that leads to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. Crises are changes in security, economic, political, societal, or environmental affairs. More loosely, it is a term meaning “a testing time” or an “emergency event”. The alien invasion in War of the Worlds was a fictitious crisis. The “child invasion” of your household is a REAL crisis!
A 2018 report from the National Center for Health Statistics stated US birth rates declined in 2017 for nearly all age groups of women under 40. However, it rose for women in their early 40s. Today, nearly one in five births is now to women 35 or older. Whether it was completing an education, climbing career ladders, fertility challenges, crossing off buckets lists or waiting for Mr/Ms Right, the fact is we’re parents NOW. So, how do we embrace and survive it with grace and most of all…….our sanity? We start by Parenting Up!
Sure, we’re older than the average new parent, which means our unique struggles include:
- Our current demographic of friends are long past this stage and are out of touch with our present lifestyle/challenges
- Exhaustion like you’ve never known before (your newest nemsis)
- The font sizes on the children’s medicine bottles require magnifying glasses, especially at the most inconvenient times
- You were probably already set in your ways
- Being mistaken for your child’s grandparent
- Peri-menopause vs toddler
- We are now probably our parent’s caregivers as well as our children’s
The upside of midlife parenting is:
- 3+ decades of experience brings the wisdom/perspective to not sweat the small stuff, to appreciate the little things while parenting from a place of comfort and security rather than trying to keep up with the latest trend
- You’ve probably stabilized if not mastered the important pillars of life such as education, finances, career, marriage, relationships
- Many of your bucket list items are already crossed off
- Maturity lends a better arsenal of patience that allows you to be more present/engaged with a greater positive parenting attitude
- Knowing that time really does fly by, you appreciate the gift of being a parent and take fewer things for granted
- You’ll make new friends and expand your social group
- You will rediscover what makes life so wondrous and remember how to have fun by seeing life through a fresh lens.
- FYI, all of your old favorite cartoons and movies have regained popularity
- Watching your friends raise their kids, you have a good idea of the Do’s and definitely the Don’ts of parenting
For those that still like to hold a physical book, try reading Christi Taylor-Jones’ “Midlife Parenting”.
Another great read is Lois Nachamie’s “So Glad We Waited!
Today’s first-time parents come in a variety of forms and the road traveled to parenthood is not always easy. Like me, many have battled with health conditions (Multiple Sclerosis), fertility issues, the hurdles of adoption or just waiting to find their soul mate. And to add insult to injury ‘‘The US is uniquely hostile to the needs of working parents,’’ says Maxed Out author Katrina Alcorn. ‘‘Our government policies lag far behind those of most other developed nations (for example, we’re the only country in the developed world that lacks paid maternity leave and half of American workers lack paid sick days) and we also work longer hours and have less paid time off than people in other developed countries. This creates a perfect storm for working parents.”
Being a parent is messy, beautiful and exhausting but definitely rewarding (even if not immediately so). I feel extremely blessed to have our beautiful daughter, who is currently 5 going on 30. Friends, family, and co-workers of the same age completed this phase a decade or two ago. So, the absence of the natural parenting support network is sorely felt. And let’s be honest, the pregnancy and child rearing marketers are catering to a younger crowd.
However, with wisdom, a considerable amount of humor and connecting with a relatable parent group you can find the encouragement, advice, and support to be your best self and live your best life during this adventure. Let us celebrate parenthood no matter what part of your journey you stepped onto the path. Because let’s face it… The Struggle Is Real!