A guest post by writer Ann Jacobus:
At the supermarket the other day, I read about Teen Moms and their latest trials in a tabloid. As I was missing my glasses, I could only decipher the headlines. A teen mom, I marveled as I yawned. Imagine having all that energy. But being a parent as a high school kid? Crikes.
Then I had to wonder, is it better to be a parent as a kid, or as a geezer?
It doesn’t matter. You have to be a parent whenever you’re a parent. And for some of my friends and family, again when your kids are teen moms. By contrast, I had our youngest son when I was in my late thirties. I’m really a mom and a grandma rolled into one.
I’m in good company, though. Many of the parents at my son’s middle school are my age or older, and their thirteen year-old is their eldest! For heaven’s sake, I also have some twenty-somethings. I’m an old hand at this. So to speak.
Some of these parents by the miracles of modern medicine are still having babies. Good luck with that, I say. Getting up in the middle of the night with an infant? I wouldn’t even be able to hear them.
Maybe these parents just look older.
Age has its advantages. I’m more relaxed than I was with our older children. The youngest’s room is even messier than his siblings’ rooms were, which is saying a lot, and finally, I don’t care. No yelling, no grounding, certainly no cleaning. I just close the door and let the rodents fend for themselves.
Our son eats Skittles and store bought chocolate chip cookies before our frozen TV dinners, and I don’t blink. Maybe I pour him a glass of Fanta. Maybe I join him! Then dinner conversation revolves around bad backs, Caribbean cruises, colonoscopies, and our son’s soccer schedule. I’ve been a soccer mom for two flipping decades. Sure I’m relaxed. It’s called exhaustion.
Fortunately, our last child is a responsible kid. I guess someone has to be. Which may have everything or nothing to do with our laissez-faire parenting. He does his homework by himself, because I decided the moment he was born to never help him, after being humiliated with his siblings over their math workbooks. I do occasionally bring him a cup of hot cocoa and some prunes.
We like all our kids, but we’re enjoying this last child in a special way. The truth is, as tired and scattered as I felt sometimes with our older kids, as much as I looked forward to the time they would strike out on their own, and when I would have more time for myself, I miss them a lot.
We’ve forestalled empty-nestedness! We still have someone else to talk to! His activities get us out. Best of all, he can read small print for me when I can’t find my glasses.
Ann Jacobus lives in San Francisco with her family, where she writes YA and middle grade fiction, blogs regularly at www.ReaderkidZ.com, and listens to 80’s music on her Walkman. Learn more about Ann at her website, www.annjacobus.com
Photo Above is Ann’s youngest at age seven, proud of a second lost tooth. Photo Below is Ann.