Can I just say how much that statement bugs me? As an older parent (I gave birth to our girls when I was 36, 38 and 40), I’ve been pigeon holed into this category. Not all of us were career hungry. It’s said negatively from most. With the suggestion that we couldn’t be bothered or didn’t want to sacrifice money or our materialistic happiness for screaming babies and poopy diapers.
We’re nothing of the sort.
Of those I’ve met, myself included, we just simply weren’t in the right situation (for us) to bring children into the world. We had an idea of what the “right” situation for us would be to have children and we hadn’t reached that magical place yet. I haven’t met a single “older” parent who said “I wanted to reach XYZ in my career before we had kids”. Maybe on some television shows, but not real people, or at least I haven’t met any yet. Just in my personal experience and by my own observations.
I remember someone once saying to me that they could totally see me “doing it on my own” when it came to children. I was in my early 30’s and still single. I was hurt by this statement. For me, my picture of my life with children had always included marriage, a home, a present husband and father. I realize that’s not the reality for many out there, but for me, that was what I wanted. I didn’t want to opt to be a single parent (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I grew up with a traditional family ideal and I wanted that for my children, if I had them.
So when my husband and I finally decided to tie the knot at 34/35, I was ecstatic. He and I had finally come to the same place in our lives at the same time (we met at 14/15). We knew what we wanted and it was with each other. So we started our family. The family that we wanted. The family that we waited for.
Sure, some would argue that our careers were further along than younger parents. Of course they were. We had more time on the line. It wasn’t by design. It was simply a result of the situation we were in.
So I’d like a new statement. “Older Parents _____________ ” How about “chose to wait”? Or “found family life later in life”? Or more appropriately “are parents. Period.”