I had my children late in life. So late, in fact, that the doctors insisted on referring to me as a ‘geriatric’ patient. I find that somewhat ridiculous, but the fact remains that by the time my first child appeared on the scene I was nearly forty years old. That’s a lot of time to get set in the ol’ ways! On one hand, I think there are huge advantages to waiting to start a family. I had progressed to a point in my career where a high income and flexibility was more attainable, which I think made things easier. I also find that older parents tend to be more relaxed about most things. We tend to have been raised in simpler times with much less restrictive parenting so we are less likely (as a group) to hover. I personally would far rather let my child fall down and bruise their knee than have the same said child turn into a ‘Sissy Wah Wah’ (Clinical term) who is so over parented they can’t function without Mommy. But I digress. Despite the considerable advantages age and perspective lend, there are certain areas of life that children disrupt that I really hadn’t anticipated. Or if I did, I didn’t realize just how MUCH impact there would be. For example:
Cleanliness: BK (Before kids) I had a very tidy house. My husband and I have an equal standard of cleanliness and enjoy the serenity that lack of clutter brings. We enjoy knowing where things are and not tripping over things in our home. This is much more difficult now, to say the least. After I found out my baby-girl-to-be was actually TWO BOYS, I read a lot of information about twins and pretty much all of them advised to give up on the idea of a tidy house. This was not acceptable so we have really battled to keep a tidy living environment. Bottom line though, is it’s pretty much impossible. We are constantly picking up crap. My daughter will pick up a basket of small objects and fling them across the room just because. All. The. Time.
Quiet Time: There is none. Ever. Sometimes it’s happy noise, sometimes the rage that only a one year old twin who’s been punked by his brother for the sixth time can exhibit, but the noise is never ending. I remember a time in the distant past, when I lived alone, and the whole weekend could pass without my speaking to another person if I didn’t want to. I like it better now, but it is loud.
Free Time: Again, none. Ever. I thought I would mind this more than I actually do, though. Once in a while, Tony will take Grace shopping and the boys will be napping and I think “Yay!! Me Time!” I exalt in my isolation for a good fifteen minutes, but after that I start listening for noises from the boys’ room. Thing is, I like hanging out with my kids (and my husband too). I have work that I love and it makes the noisy, crazy family time all the more fun.
My purpose: I have no idea anymore. I was pretty sure for a long time that kids were not in my cards and I was okay with it. It made me more sensitive to selecting a career that had meaning and impact but I was very comfortable about leaving my legacy in other ways than reproducing. Now that I have reproduced three littles, I am a little more aware that my purpose just may encompass more than just me.
My Identity: Again, this has become less clear. I caught myself referring to myself as “mommy” when no one else was around and THAT was a trip. I definitely don’t find my identity in how I earn money anymore and I think that’s probably healthy. I try to see my identity in spiritual terms more than material ones now but becoming ‘Mommy’ really has added a new aspect to my identity. And I like it.
So yes, my life has irrevocably changed, and I am glad of it!