10 Things “Old” Moms Should Know

Are you at least 34 years old, and pregnant with your first child? Are you over 40 with some assortment of infant/toddler/school-aged children? If so, congratulations! You’re officially an “old” mom. So am I. Staring down the barrel of my 42nd birthday with a 4 and a 6 year old, I have accumulated absolutely zero wisdom on child-rearing (disappointing, I know) but I have, these last 7+ years, made some observations around how my experiences during pregnancy and as a mom have differed slightly from those of my younger friends. Here’s what I’ve found.

One. First, if you’re going to be 35 or older when you deliver your baby, you’re going to get slapped with the super-flattering and only mildly terrifying label of…

“Advanced Maternal Age.”

If you’re really lucky, you might even get a pamphlet! Any pamphlet or web search on advanced maternal age is going to turn up such nuggets as increased risk of gestational diabetes, miscarriage, multiple pregnancy, low birth weight, and chromosomal abnormalities. See? Only mildly terrifying. And if you’re like me, you may have naively thought that 35 or 36 is too young to be labeled advanced in age – surprise! The truth is that your physician has to provide you with this information – and it’s almost never a bad thing to be armed with information – but just because some of these complications are marginally more common as you age, doesn’t mean all – or any – of them are going to happen to you.

Two. If you happen to be at least 35 when you start having kids (as I was), it’s possible and even likely that each subsequent pregnancy is going to get harder. That’s true even for mothers starting in their 20’s, so it’s more brutally true for those of us a little longer in the tooth. I was very fortunate to have two pretty easy, uncomplicated pregnancies, but I’m not gonna lie, the second time around everything just creaked and ached a bit more.

Three. You probably aren’t going to need new “mom friends.” Because you already have friends, at least a few of whom are likely also mothers. I think this is a tough one for the young moms who are the first in their peer groups to have children. They might be in dire need of new friends who understand the tremendous ways in which parenthood shifts your priorities and leisure time since so many of the friends they’ve had are still nursing hangovers or taking long ski weekends at the drop of a hat. My solid, hilarious group of four girlfriends mostly entered motherhood around the same time, or even a little before I did. So my “mom friends” are just . . . my old friends.

Four. But you might want new mom friends anyway. And that’s OK, too. Because, why not?

Five. If you have a daughter, it’s possible that you’ll have gone through menopause (or be deep in its clutches) by the time she starts having her periods. Yeah. Let that marinate for a minute. And then take a walk down memory lane in the feminine hygiene aisle.

Six. You’re going to be even less “cool” than the moms of your kids’ friends. Fortunately, you probably won’t care. You may not be familiar with Iggy Azalea or Ariana Grande. Maybe that’s just as well (Iggy Azalea has no flow; she could take a few lessons from Eve or Rah Digga #sorrynotsorry).

Possibly your rainbow loom skills leave a little to be desired. You have a different cultural perspective to offer.

I’ve already begun indoctrinating my kids with my classics – the Beatles, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, The Velveteen Rabbit and Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, The Wizard of Oz and even The Princess Bride (or, The Pwincess and the Bwide, as J says). Thanks to my own “old mom” I came to love Marilyn Monroe, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and Louis Armstrong. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Seven. At some point, you’re going to be convinced that you’re too old and tired to do all this. At some other point, you realize that “all this” is actually helping to keep you young and present.

Eight. It’s possible that as your kids (and you) get older, someone will mistake you for their grandmother instead of their mom. This hasn’t happened to me yet, so I’m not exactly sure how I’ll respond, but in principle, I feel it’s totally OK to think daggers at that person and walk away muttering obscenities.

Nine. You might be more comfortable with and feel less guilty about taking “me” or couple time than a younger mom. You’ve had a longer time to sit with being YOU, the individual, you the wife, not just you the Mommy. You likely know what you need in your daily routine to stay balanced and sane. Take it, own it, and then help any mom you see in child-overload distress to calmly call their partner (or an extended family member) for relief and slip into a hot bath. Guilt-free. This is how we support one another.

Ten. Because you don’t really KNOW anything more about parenting than a younger parent. And vice versa – they don’t know more than you. Honestly? We’re all kind of amateurs when it comes to parenting. Because children are . . . inscrutable. And also all different. So your first pregnancy and your first child are not fully going to prepare you for your second, or third, et al, and certainly don’t inform you about anyone else’s kids, who are their own smart, snotty, mystical entities. None of us really know what we’re doing.

We can all agree on that.


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Jen Thomas
I am a native Cincinnatian working in the higher education / learning solutions industry and am passionate about education, reading, and all things literary. I live with my husband, daughter, son, and 2 dogs and we love reading with the kids, especially the stories my daughter writes and illustrates. Our family also enjoys hiking, travel, and cooking together, and as a bit of an amateur foodie, I'm committed to running on the streets and trails around Cincinnati to burn off the food.


  1. I had kids in my 20s, 30, and 40s. Wait till people think your older kids are the parents of the younger ones. I had 9 kids from 35 on thankfully never got asked if any of them were my grandkids.

  2. I had my babies later and I always felt out of sync with my friends. By the time I had first, instead of being with a group of moms talking breast feeding, diapers, etc, all my friends were into little league, ballet recitals………never did catch up. By the time I had my second, I was way out of the loop.

  3. Thank you so much for this. When I was pregnant with my second, at almost 38, I was part of a baby boom at work. Well, most of them were first-timers and much younger than I was…it was a little lonely. I joked with my husband that it was a good thing that my high school didn’t have a 20 year reunion that year, because I can almost guarantee that I would have been the only alumni there that was 9 months pregnant!

  4. Thank you for all the comments! Seems like there are quite a few of us in the tri-state blessed with this condition of “advanced maternal age” or “elderly primagravida.”

    I especially love seeing the perspective from the mamas who have experienced both ends of the spectrum – having kids early and then a baby later in life as well. You truly have seen it all! 🙂

  5. I had my one and only at almost 40. A 61-year-old mom of 21-year-old twins once told me, “Young moms play tag with their kids; old moms play coma.” I’m still laughing 6 years later 🙂

  6. I hated being an older mom…had nothing in common with the mother’s of my son’s friends, but they didn’t want to talk to me anyhow. I felt like a total outsider at Gymboree, preschool and elementary school events. Completely out of the loop. When my son was about 7 he asked me why I was so old and the other moms weren’t. How do you answer that??
    If I had to do it over again I would have kids in my late 20’s to early 30’s.

  7. I am 41 and will deliver my third son this fall. I had my first at 29 and second at 33. This third one was NOT planned and I have struggled for the past 5 months with accepting that I am going to be an “old mom.” My husband has talked about how old we will be at different points of time and that seems to make it worse. I sometimes wonder if I will have the energy (I am wiped out a lot more with this pregnancy) for a little one. My other two got 1000% of me, but what about #3? Everyone around me is supportive, thrilled and encouraging; I appreciate that. I do realize that any child is a blessing and I keep that in my mind. I AM grateful for my little one. Still, ALL the things I was told could go wrong (very concerned about preclampsia and gestational diabetes, which I never had to deal with before) buzz around my head. I came into this pregnancy heavier than before and anemic! So far, all the tests have come back good and in a few weeks I will have the diabetes test. Yikes! Yet, with all that being said, I am a Christian and just pray and trust that God will take care of me and the baby. Besides the technical reasons of why I am pregnant, I believe this is all happening for a reason and is in HIS plan. 🙂 I just have to stop worrying. P.S. It will be very interesting to interact with the younger moms in preschool and so on. They may just look at me as the wise old owl…lol!


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