I'm a mom, an experienced mom. I feel like I ought to carry around business cards. (Query: can one order business cards for something that is, essentially not only non-business oriented, but which is frequently seems almost totally non-productive? Because I'd like to order some cards that say "Mom: doing the yucky stuff no one else wants to deal with." Or maybe: "Mom. I don't see YOU scrubbing the diaper pail!" ) But thirteen years into the gig it's time to admit the truth: the kids are winning. Oh sure, I outweigh them all (collectively, sadly. I'm WORKING on it!), and I still know where the best candy-hiding places are around here (probably the reason I'm still working on the weight thing), but I've hit a milestone, and I still have the dent marks to prove it.
That's because motherhood after 40 is a whole 'nother ballgame, people. For one thing, the opposing team is smarter than they were when Mom was only 30 or so. And stinkier. And they no longer believe me when I say I know everything--they've seen too much evidence to the contrary. But "new" motherhood--the kind that comes with hospital bills and diaper rash--after 40 is not only another game, it's a totally different sport. The concept remains identical: raise baby into productive adulthood, but the rules have changed. For example: how does one simultaneously fight pregnancy weight and middle-age spread? How does one combat 2 a.m. feeding fatigue while trying to get the older kids on the 6 a.m. school bus? How does one accessorize spit-up stains for a Parent-Teacher conference? I'm being pulled at both ends, and the joints are starting to go,
I'm good at either end. New baby? Absolutely! Tweeners? Got it covered! But both? That's a mix that should only be attempted by professionals, and I'm trying to retain my amateur status in case they come up with the Mommy Olympics. (When they do, I'm entering the sheet-folding competition. I can fold a fitted sheet into a neat rectangle while humming the national anthem. Style points!)
It could be worse, I suppose. There is a special category of moms who give birth after marrying off a child or two. (Old Mormon joke: How can you tell it's a Mormon wedding? The bride isn't pregnant, but her mother is. Ha, Ha.) Please, for the love of all that is holy and chocolate covered, don't wish me into that division. I can't play in the big show--I'm strictly minor-league.