Just Being a Mother by Cyma Shapiro
When I began my project about new midlife mothers and then began writing about related topics on MotherhoodLater, I was grappling with the truth: about coming into motherhood at a much later age; about my encroaching my middle age; about the “Change of Life” and all that it brings; about reinventing oneself and all that it means, especially having gone past the century mark (sssshhhhh).
In truth, before this time, I was always racing along trying to be the same – the same as all the other mothers on the playground; the same as all the other mothers at school; the same as so many other mothers I’d see at the grocery school and mall. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to be or feel included. That nagging childhood feeling of being the last one to be picked for the (sports) team or having the last birthday in the class (I was nearly always the youngest), or just being plainly different would haunt me daily.
Interestingly enough, many people said that I wore motherhood “well;” that I seemed quite at ease pushing a stroller. In fact, many people said that they liked the way I looked as a new mother. None of this lessened my acute and never-ending feeling of dissimilarity, and being the odd-man-out.
It’s a strange thing this midlife mothering. Most of us don’t feel our age, many of us don’t look our age and nearly all of us want the same thing that many other women want. Only we want it during a different chronological age than much of the rest of the world’s mothers. The sociological reasons for this are varied and complex: maybe we couldn’t find Mr. (or Mrs.) Right; maybe we were headlong into a successful career or the pursuit of our goals. Maybe, like me, we had a fear of motherhood or commitment or could rationalize away the timeline believing that when and if we were ready, we would nevertheless instantly become mothers. Many of us now know otherwise.
And, so, Plan B emerged – how would we do this without: a partner, natural childbirth, money, support, good health, and on and on. As midlife mothers, we’ve all had to grapple mightily with our internal and external truths. We’ve also had to grapple with our age – not in theory, but in reality. We all know that our lifetime is short and the amount of time left spent with our children not long enough. All mothers feel this way, but we acutely feel this fundamental truth each and every day of our lives.
But, at the end of the day, we are all just mothers – longing for a family/love/legacy/bonding, and trying to do the best job we possibly can. Perhaps the “time of life” has changed me. I can no longer compete and I really (feel I) am no longer in the same league as so many other mothers. But, this doesn’t matter at all. My goals and desires are just the same as yours and I’m also living it every day with joy, peace, and a very full heart. I am a midlife mother but, first and foremost, I’m just a mother, too.