Too Old To Be A Mom?

Dear Mamas,

I am a new mother of a nine-month-old baby boy who I adore! But the thing is I am not exactly 21 and feel like a grandmother compared to some of the moms I’ve met. I’m feeling a little panicky…like I won’t ever fit in and I wish there were more moms my age (almost 40) around. Any suggestions???


Hey liz,

Congratulations on your new baby and welcome to the wild ride called motherhood. I’m sure it’s a happy time for you but I also hear your concerns and sympathize. Being a first time mom is tough enough but when you feel like you don’t have anyone “like you” to commiserate/celebrate/freak out with, it feels even harder.

The first year of parenthood is overwhelming and confusing for every new mother, regardless of the circumstances. You are overtired, you’ve given up your old life to embrace one that you really can’t prepare for or understand in advance and you often are going it alone for a while, even if you have a wonderful spouse. The mommy peer group usually develops over the course of months to years. It really does take time to find your sea legs and gain confidence in your new role.

Eventually though, you will find your tribe. You will meet many more moms of varying ages once your little guy starts pre-school. Some of his classmates will be the babies of their families and have siblings who are several years older. As a result, their moms will be older, too. My oldest and youngest kids are seven years apart so over the years I ended up with friends whose ages varied widely and I loved that!

Sometimes I get to be the wise mom with life experience and a bigger box of parenting tools. Other times, I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of that calmer, more balanced perspective from moms who have years on me. Some of the younger mothers I got to be friends with have helped me to stay fresh and current with new ideas and attitudes and some of the older ones have been role models for the future. Each one has offered something unique and special. I treasure them all.

It will all come in time, believe me. The main thing to remember right now though is that it will get better. You just have to hang in and try not to over focus on it. Being almost 40 is not that unique these days. The truth is, there are zillions of mothers out there like you. You will find each other. But at the end of the day, you may also find that the ones most “like you” have come in a variety of different ages, which is very wonderful indeed.

Congratulations again and keep in touch…

P.S. Hey other “not-exactly-21” moms – any other suggestions for Liz??

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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2 responses to “Too Old To Be A Mom?”

  1. Nancy

    I had my son at age 42. I was lucky enough to spot a post on a yahoo bulletin board one day, by a woman looking to start a mommy-and-me group in my area. My son was 4 months old at the time and I was craving a little adult company, so I went. Although I’m older than most of the others in the group by 10-15 years, it really doesn’t matter. They quickly became lifelong friends. Our friendship found its base in the shared experience of mothering infants and toddlers, and only grew as we got to know each other as individuals. Liz, look for a group of moms with kids the same age as yours.

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