Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Younger and more delusional by the day

According to all the statistics I’m pretty much an old bag.

The average age at which Canadian women give birth is 29.7 years. I was just past my 36th birthday when Graham was born, so there’s no denying that the numbers place me squarely in the category of “older mother.”

Too bad. I’m calling bullshit.

I don’t feel like an older mother and I refuse to believe I look like one either. (Yes, I’m a bit of a diva – hence the title of my blog).

I spent last summer on maternity leave and it was one of the best summers of my life. I lived in kitten heels and pony tails and sundresses and enjoyed leisurely early morning strolls through the neighborhood with Graham, soaking up indulgent smiles from the senior citizens we routinely encountered.

Ah, young motherhood, I imagined them thinking and I would smile back serenely, feeling every inch the ingénue with her darling love child.

Perhaps had they looked closer they would have seen tiny lines around my eyes, or thickening thighs, but I like to think not. My body may feel the demands of caring for a child and my mirror might belie my delusion, but I don’t feel much different than I did 15 years ago.

And I’m not gonna tell you it’s because I’m seeing the world through a child’s eyes and blah, blah, blah. Some parents say kids keep them young, but in addition to being a cliché, I think that’s a bit of a lie. No matter what your age, caring for children is just plain hard work. You never get enough sleep and the repetition and drudgery of day-to-day mothering in the waking hours can make you feel beaten-up, bone-weary and old beyond your years.

Yes, there are moments of pure magic, moments when you really do catch a glimpse of how beautiful and fresh the world must look through your child’s eyes. And those moments completely, totally ABSOLUTELY make all the hard slogging worthwhile. But I’d be lying if I said I thought they outnumbered the moments in which I bust my butt struggling to be a great mom/ wife/ employee/ friend/ daughter/ blogger, etc.

So, if I can admit such fatigue, why do I still feel as if Statistics Canada is talking about someone else when they refer to women my age as older mothers?

I don’t know. I just do. Makes it’s because youth is so strongly associated with happiness and right now is, without question, the happiest period of my life.

Or maybe it’s just pure, stubborn delusion brought on by age-related senility. But I will enjoy my ponytails and my kitten heels and my young motherhood right up until the day my darling love child puts me in the (hopefully comfortable) old-age home.

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