Does Age Make a Difference?
Jackie Nield shares her experience of having children in her twenties and her forties.
In my twenties, I planned to have all my children before the age of 30 and, I managed to tick all the boxes by having three girls and my fourth child, a son, who was born in my thirtieth year!
My reason for having children early was so that I would have lots of free time in my forties and fifties and still be young enough to enjoy it. But what they say about “the best laid plans.” is often true. My circumstances changed, I separated from my husband and, with a new partner, at the age of 43, I had a fifth child, another son.
Having Freddie was like having my first born all over again, except that I had years of experience under my belt and felt much more relaxed. We were also financially better off, I had lots of help from his adult and teenage siblings – and I didn’t feel under pressure to have any more children! Despite this (or perhaps because of it), as Freddie went off to pre-school, I found myself hankering for just one more baby, a younger sibling to keep him company. At 48, I did end up having my last child, a third son.
In my twenties, motherhood was care free, and spent with other friends of the same age. We enjoyed the parks and local toddler groups and I made lots of friends, some of whom are still my friends today. In my forties, I have made new friends who are also older mums and on the same wave length! Meanwhile, my “first generation” mum friends are out doing exactly what I imagined I would be doing now – going on holiday, having late nights and sleeping in! Mostly, they think I am mad, but I get immense joy out of my boys, my life is full of fun family outings and holidays, and the early mornings are a small price to pay. As the mother of adults and teenagers, I love also being the mummy of two little boys who generally don’t answer back and who go to bed at a time that suits their parents – unlike my older children who go out late at night, stumbling in just when I am getting up with the little ones!
In my twenties, I felt that life would go on forever and old age seemed a very long way off. Twenty five years later, and having lost two loved ones, I am all too aware that life can come to an abrupt end at any time. This makes me aware of how important it is to remain fit and healthy for the sake of my two little boys. I want to be there for many more years and enjoy their youth, adulthood – and, of course, grandchildren!
In the twenty five years between having my first and last child, the lives of mums in this country have changed dramatically. First time mums these days are much more adventurous and there is now so much more to keep them and their children entertained. Even the range of food choices is greater, with a wide choice of finger foods and home-made but shop-bought dinner products. Twenty five years ago, finger foods were carrot sticks or bits of cheese, and meals were Cow and Gate products or Heinz baby jars!
But the very best thing of all about having both older and younger children is the relationships between them. The older ones share photo clips and videos of their younger brothers on Facebook. They are so proud of them and adore them so much. There’s nothing more heart-warming for me than seeing my 18 year old son, cuddling and kissing the baby or sharing appropriate games on the i-pad with his 5 year old brother. I love the fact that my youngest children will share their lives with so many loving adults.
Jackie Nield’s love of children offered her a natural career path in early years care and education, in nursery, pre-school and school settings and as a private nanny. She now owns and runs Little Scallys Nanny and Babysitting Agency in Surrey. For further information, visit www.littlescallys.com