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Being an older mum

(25 Posts)
Kathyjelly Thu 10-Sep-09 15:44:35

I'm a 46 year old mum of one, not planned but a nice surprise.

But now I'm home with Zac and I do playgroup and Aquababes and anything else I can find, where all the other mums are 15 or 20 years younger than me. As an older mum I expected aches and pains and tiredness and eventually generation gap problems but I never expected to feel thoroughly isolated and lonely.

I've always had a big job where I was flat out. I can keep busy and I am lucky to have a perfect baby at 45 but I can go through a whole day without speaking to another adult. Daytime TV makes me want to scream.

How do other mums in their forties cope?

PrincessToadstool Thu 10-Sep-09 15:48:09

I am a lot younger but I have no mummy friends, so if I didn't go out I'd go all day without talking to anyone too. How old is your DS? Mine is just coming up to 2, we go to the library, park, farm, just chat to anyone. Are there any toddler groups near you? I've tried a couple that I hated but am looking for more because you never know, there might be better!

Oh and MN is a godsend. I get MOST of my adult interaction here, by far.

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 15:48:21

I was 33 with DS1 and 38 with DS2 and i am now 53.
if i hadnt reached the menopause ,i would still be trying. As long as you are fit and healthy what does it matter. I still play badminton to a really high level. Think young, be young,dress young.
I wish i were you...i would give anything for another baby.

Tee2072 Thu 10-Sep-09 15:50:33

come talk to us over here. We are all 40+!!

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 15:54:10

I know what you mean by feeling like a social outcast but as you sound as if you have been in a high flying job, perhaps it wouldnt be so easy to integrate with the younger mums.
You have gained a life time of lifes experiences and have an in depth knowledge being an "older mum" and conversation about babies at dinner parties ,coffee mornings might not be your scene. I love babies ,but its nice to get away from that kind of conversation when you are out with DP/DH.
I ended up feeling the same as you at just 33 and 38 and I am still quite lonely now. i tried to reach out to other people but nothing ever seemed to you just have to get on with it and find lots to do, and new hobbies

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 15:54:50

did you mean to put babies name?

MrsSantosisafeminist Thu 10-Sep-09 15:58:28

chocolate mumsnet positive thinking??

I have done lots of mother and baby groups - some of which were viley cliquey, some were OK and a couple contained lovely mums who are actually friends and not just people with kids IYSWIM. There's something called Meet-a-Mum - not sure what that's about but might be worth googling? Mumsnet local or <<mutters under breath>> Netmums? You could try your local NCT branch - you might meet a lot of very middle class PITAs or they might be very nice. I know our local branch is always looking to bludgeon talk people into volunteering. If you've had a "big job" perhaps you have some transferrable skills you could use to help out or there are plenty of local charities for parents. They advertise nearly new sales for toys and equipment. I think you just need to keep trying and I appreciate your choice will be more limited if you live somewhere rural, say.

Plus don't write off younger mums. Yes, you have more life experience etc but one of my best "mum" friends is 28 and I am 43. She is very mature for her years and I am clearly still a bit juvenile blush

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 15:58:54

PrincessToadstool ,hi smile
i am really surprised as a young mum, that you are lonely...did you not get to meet anyone your age at ante and post natal...that's a real shame.sad
I too end up on MN as its a way of chatting to nice people an hopefully making new friends. I have found a few really nice people to talk to and it has recently taken up a lot of my time ,but i really look forward to going on it now.
Chin up ,there ae some nice people aroundsmile

Acinonyx Thu 10-Sep-09 16:02:00

I'm 47 with a 4 yr-old just starting school. I would love to have had another but couldn't.

Are you planning to be at home long-term? I don't think our age is the main problem. I honestly haven't felt that - I have a lot of mummy friends in their 30s and mainly they are friends I knew before dd or from antenatal classes. I never got into mum and baby/toddler groups though. Are you just not meeting any mums you feel you can get on with? 10 or 15 years shouldn't make such a difference - you just need to meet the right mums. I'm only really aware of it when they are having more babies and I can't, or talking about grandparents as my parents died before dd was born.

I'm also a postgrad student (2-3 days/week - maybe you just need some adult work - I certainly did) and my closest friend in the dept is only 24! Going from a busy, demanding job to SAHM is a big jump and it doesn't suit everyone.

I do, however, think I don't have as much energy as younger mums - but tbh, I think I was born tired! It does often feel as though 15 years of my life were lived by someone else and now I've rejoined the 'normal' population.

Seeline Thu 10-Sep-09 16:02:43

I was 33 and 36 with my 2, and am now 41. I too noticed a definite age gap between me a most other mums, which I often found hard to deal with. i eemed to have very little in common. I have found it easier since the DCs started school, as many of their classmates are the youngest of several children, and hence have older Mums. I too still feel quite lonely, but at least I can have conversations with people at some point in the day about things we have in common.

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 16:03:33

MrsSantosisafeminist.. hi fellow juvenile mum... I am a 53 year old one, but I am not accepting it as real yet. I really believe you are as old as you feel and my mental age and hopefully physical is no where near that. Have still got endless energy and zest for life.I'll try anything as long as iyts not life threatening.
I firmly believe,you get out of life what you put in and keep a positive mental attitude. It keeps you young

MrsSantosisafeminist Thu 10-Sep-09 16:09:07

I do look younger than 43, allegedly. I was mistaken for DH's daughter the other day hmm there is an age gap but not that big!

OP - the other thing that worked was to think about what interested me and then find other mums who were into the same things e.g. fell-walking, gardening, climate change protesting (I don't do any of those they are just illustrative!!) Where do you live?

PrincessToadstool Thu 10-Sep-09 16:09:44

Hi alypaly, unfortunately not - the NHS only offered one class and no one spoke to anyone. I missed out on NCT classes, though there was a post-natal group - we met once and only three people turned up the week after that. I emailed everyone offering to host the next week and no one replied. Bit of a shambles.

Maybe I'm just not very nice? My neighbour fell pregnant soon after I had DS (our children are almost exactly 1 year apart - just a few days in it) and I have since then tried to offer friendship but she's not interested (I moved here at 8 months pg so no getting-to-know anyone pre-DS really). I was always saying, oh pop round for a cup of tea or give me a shout when you're in - I've given up as she is obviously not after a friend in me.

I've given my number to some old nursery staff (I worked for a year, just left to be a SAHM) as they had children and were leaving to also be SAHMs but no contact. IT's all very disheartening. And I never judge on appearance or decide if I will or won't like someone because I don't care how someone dresses or how old they are ,just if they are chatty, friendly.

So I just focus on DS now, we were out this morning, it was all groups of mates and then just me and him.

Sullwah Thu 10-Sep-09 17:44:34

I have 19 month old twins and am 43. I also had a "big job" that I cam taking a 2 year break from.

I have never watched daytime TV - that is the work of the devil. I have Radio 4 on all day long .... so I am quite well informed wink and of course there is mumsnet. There are many days when I dont get an adult company til DH comes home (he also has a "big job" and is out for about 12 - 14 hours a day).

I never went to mums and toddler groups. My NCT lot just thought we were freaks having two - so never made any friends there. I am quite happy with the situation (I find baby talk dull)... but I guess I can see an end in sight.

I would not dismiss those that have not got back to you. Sometimes you get so overwhelmed with the day to day that you never act on those "give me a ring sometime" conversations. Be proactive (like you were at work ... remember? grin) and get in touch with them again yourself with a few options of definate plans you can do, rather than a vague "wanna meet up sometime".

mathanxiety Thu 10-Sep-09 18:11:45

Have you ever joined a book club? They have their pitfalls, but some very desperate nice women join or start them for a bit of intellectual stimulation that's not all about babies. I joined one after I saw a notice on my library bulletin board. There were eight of us of various ages who liked reading and discussing --and wine--. We did it initially as babies and toddlers played, then in the evenings as some went back to work or babies could be left with a sitter, whatever worked, time-wise.

"I was always saying, oh pop round for a cup of tea or give me a shout when you're in"

hmm your neighbour might be shy, if someone said that to me I would never take them up on it as I am quite shy in that regard but if they said are you free next Thursday at 11am then I would say yes IYSWIM. Might be worth another chance.

alypaly Thu 10-Sep-09 22:57:25

PrincessToadstool ..i used to think that about myself too.I go all day without talking to anyone too. Thats why i have ended up spending so much time on mumsnet. I feel like i have 'friends'on MN,but would love to see who i am speaking to sometimes. How about you?
I sometimes wonder,like what is wrong with me ,why dont people like me.Am i nasty or horrible and i really dont think i am. I always used to ask people to come round for supper or lunch. Sometimes they would come round ,sometimes two or three times but I never got the invite bsck. |I used to wonder if i tried too hard. Do you come over as a confident person on the outside,as i was told i do, and i believe some women find that threatening . They didnt realise that underneath, i was actually really shy and felt quite inadequate. I think i was just good at putting on a facade. Maybe i should have worn my heart on my sleeve...maybe that is the route to having friends... i dont know anymore either, i have given up too, and I still feel quite lonely, in fact at times the phone never rings for me for a week at a time, and I would love company of a like minded friend. Loneliness is horrible and it doesnt seem to get any easier, sad

Acinonyx Fri 11-Sep-09 08:53:51

Princess - I was so lucky with my antenatal group. I didn't even realise that was the real purpose of the group until much later.

But moving is very hard going. We moved last year and I completely missed the boat with preschool here which is where a lot of my friends really made friends with local mums (all my mummy friends are in other villages). So perhaps that will be a way forward for you when your dc is 2ish and starts preschool.

BlueChampagne Fri 11-Sep-09 14:01:30

Have you tried asking your HV for local playgroups where you might meet some different Mums? Or baby/toddler swimming, yoga etc? How old is your DC?

fifitot Fri 11-Sep-09 15:53:23

I kind of know where you are coming from. I was the oldest at 42 in my AN classes but have kept in touch with a number of the women and tbh my age isn't really an issue.

When I was on mat leave I just went to something everyday - soft play, toddler group, everything.

There were times when I felt a bit left out though when my younger friends were either pg again or ttc but there is nothing I can do about it.

Keep going to activities and you will meet like minded people. Age is not really relevant if you get on with them - I've found anyway.

Kathyjelly Sun 13-Sep-09 14:23:04

I read all of these. Thanks. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one. Having mulled it over, have concluded it would be better to go back to work.

I always thought I should be around for DS until he is at least two and half but he's 13 months and already running, climbing and loves playing with other toddlers which I can't provide at home. Better all round to go back to work, he gets to play with other tots at nursery and I stop feeling like a wet weekend.

elvislives Sun 13-Sep-09 14:45:26

I could have written your post when I had DD1, and I was 23 at the time! I also did that thing PrincessToadstool described with a couple of neighbours. Zilch. I really don't think age has anything to do with it.

I am now 46 with a 2 year old and haven't had too much trouble making friends this time round. Those I have got friendly with have ranged from early 20s to late 30s and really the age thing has never come up. (Except when they say "is she your only?" and I have to say well actually my eldest is 23 and she is the youngest of 5 and they go shock grin )

Scotia Sun 13-Sep-09 15:09:08

I'm 43 with a 7 month old ds, my 6th baby. We moved here 2 years ago, and I do have relatives here so not totally isolated, but I haven't got a social life really.

When I was pregnant with ds2, I was told by the midwife, 'YOU won't be coming to antenatal classes' (because it was my 6th baby), so I didn't go (because I would have felt stupid after what she had said!), and didn't meet any other pregnant mums.

When ds was about 4 months old, the HV opened a breastfeeding group so I plucked up the courage and went along... and nobody else turned up hmm. The baby clinic is a bit mixed as many of the mums there know each other and chat away oblivious, to the point where I have been ignored when I have tried to join in. I just sit there with a silly smile on my face and try not to let it bother me, but it does. I can't bring myself to go along to mother and baby groups.

I'm already dreading the school run in 4 years time!

Katisha Sun 13-Sep-09 15:18:10

I found that it was when the DSs were at school that I slowly developed friendships with a couple of people. Although I am full-time WOHM I can drop them off at school and it was just a slow process. Mainly parents of particular friends of DSs.

The baby/toddler stage was particularly thin for adult interaction I remember! The toddler group was a real strain and I gace it up pretty quickly.

Second the idea of joining book club or something else non-child related.

Mumwhensdinneready Sun 13-Sep-09 20:11:08

I was 39 when DS2 was born and never felt a problem being an older mum when they were little.
Now I'm 51 and DS2 is 11 I do notice that I am older than most of their friends' parents.
It doesn't help having a colleague a year older who has 3 grandchildren.

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