Older and Wiser? Or Just More Experienced?

Ever since having had my first child almost ten years ago, I’ve witnessed the following discussion on a regular basis: “Who makes a better parent? Someone younger or older?”

Now, to clarify, younger doesn’t mean a teenager, and older doesn’t mean a grandparent. It’s usually a conversation about having your first child in your 20s versus having your first child in your 30s.

There are strong opinions on each side of the discussion. Some insist that younger is better, because you have more energy, you’re more in touch with culture, you’re more open-minded because you’re still growing yourself. On the other end of the spectrum are those that swear it’s best to wait to have children, because you’ll be more grown up, wiser, have more life experiences, more money, etc.

The really interesting part is when you get mothers that did start having children at a young age who think they would have made better parents if they had waited, or those that did wait, for a variety of reasons, that think they would have been better mothers to their children if they had been younger when the children were born.

It’s kind of a silly discussion, because if you did it one way, there’s no way you can ever know how it would have turned out for you had you done it the other way.

Am I a better mother now than when I had Turkey? I sure hope so! But it has nothing to do with my age then or now. It’s all about my experience as a mother. In any job, you tend to get better the longer you do it…more efficient, more knowledgeable, more confident. I view motherhood the same way. I’ve had almost ten years of experience, and I know what I did right and wrong the first four times, and I can apply it to the fifth child, and learn from my previous successes and failures. Yes, I’m older now, but if I was just starting out, I wouldn’t have those experiences to look back on…I’d still be just starting out, and learning from my first set of mistakes.

So, I don’t think that older women make better mothers by any stretch of the imagination. Life experience does not equal parenting experience. I would, however, like a little of the extra energy I had in my 20s back to help me through this stretch of parenting, though!

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