Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Abstract mothering -- at any age

I had Flybaby after the magical age of 35, when fertility is supposed to go downhill and a host of problems can invade your body or the baby’s, and so I had lots of joy-withering appointments with a genetic counselor while Fly was cooking. Any mention of parenting and age captures my attention.

Good Morning America reported today on a study that looked at whether older mothers can be just as good as younger mothers. The study appears to have looked at first-time mothers 50 and over.

First of all, I don’t understand the need for this kind of study. You can tell how youth-obsessed our culture is when we question if an older woman is as good as a younger one in any realm. It shouldn’t be a matter of “as good as.” It should be a matter of how young motherhood and older motherhood are different.

(And when are they going to study if older fathers make better fathers than younger ones, or vice versa?)

Anyway, apparently the study looked at women in their 50s and compared them with mothers in their 40s and 30s. The article that goes along with the report says, “Overall the researchers found that women in their 50s were not more stressed out than the younger mothers, and that women in their 50s were just as physically capable of chasing a toddler as were the younger women.”

So, stress levels and the ability to chase after a toddler are the key ingredients to being a good mother? Interesting. I would have thought the hallmarks of a good mother are love, attention, being able to “read” your child, providing new life experiences for learning, etc.

I just don’t think you can make motherhood a scientific study.

Other parents’ experiences may be different from mine, but I’m finding there’s little logic or science to parenting. It kind of drives me nuts. Flybaby is amazing and has become such a big part of my life in such a short time. However, there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to when he’s going to be hungry, or how long/when/if he will sleep, even when I follow the advice of baby books and my friends who have older children. I feel I’m just throwing a bunch of stuff on the wall to see what sticks (as my former boss would say). And that stuff is different every day.

Science? No, parenting is more of an art, I think. Abstract art.


Blogger scribbit said...

I think it's odd that older mothers get so much attention, as if having a baby when you're older is somehow irresponsible, that a woman shouldn't do that to a child or her body or whatever. Why is wanting a baby and to be a mother treated that way? Whatever age, bringing a child into a loving home is a wonderful thing.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Star said...

I saw that study on BBC news in my RSS feed the other day. I thought it was weird, too.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

I agree. Parenting is definitely more art than science.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

Yup totally. To top it off each child is different, so if you have more then one you have to do an even bigger dance to make it though.

I have to agree with you about age not making much of a difference. Each age has differing abilities and strengths, there really can be no perfect age to have children.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I hate the studies of moms. Like we don't feel inadequate enough. SAHM vs WAHM vs Working moms. Someone is always better than you. You can never do enough. Sometimes the pressure stresses me out so bad. God, we are moms and we are all good moms that want the best for our kids. Isn't that enough?!?!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Must we always compare? Evidently the media thinks so. Gotta make the public think they're never good enough at anything so advertisers will continue to give up loads of money to brainwash.

Definitely an art! And boy does it get messy at times. :-)

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Much More Than A Mom said...


Amen Sista.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous marsha said...

Parenting is definitely an art. Being a mom is not easy. I don't believe age has anything to do with being a good mom or a bad mom. It's all in the attitude of the journey.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Abstract art.

Amen, sister.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I think motherhood is so different for everyone. I have friends who thrived having kids in their 20s and are awesome moms. Me, on the other hand, I wasn't ready in my 20s and needed to live a little for myself. I had my first when I was 32 and it was a wise decision to wait. I'm much less self-centered and more focused on fulfilling my children's needs. By living for myself first, I can now focus on them and not be resentful.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I hardly think 35 is "older"... not when women in their late forties and over are having babies...

12:39 PM  

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