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There’s No Such Thing as Being “Too Old” to Parent

ParentAge3

A few years ago, when my 44-year-old sister-in-law announced that she was pregnant, I was in shock. Her husband was 51 at the time and I couldn’t help but think, “Why on Earth would they want another baby at their age?”

I was of the mindset that parents should have their babies in their prime, which I defined as anywhere between their late 20s and their early 30s. Why take the risks? Why prolong parenthood? Why not do it when you have the most energy to run after a butt-naked toddler and clean up the Cheerios from the couch cushions, right?

Fast-forward a few years and I can now safely say that I was wrong. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was very, very wrong. Make that shamefully wrong.

After my sister-in-law gave birth, it wasn’t until the following Christmas that we met her newborn son and I saw her and her husband in action. And guess what? Like any new parents, they were loving, caring, and oh-so-patient with their baby. In fact, they were more patient than I ever was with my own two children, thanks to their experience and relaxed approach to parenting. It was obvious that being older parents gave them an advantage in that regard. They enjoyed the process more than the younger, neurotic me during my first years as a mother. So who was I to judge them? Simply put, they showed me that you could be a kick-ass parent at any age.

I rushed into motherhood in my late 20s because my husband was eight years older than me and I didn’t want him to be an “old” dad in his 40s. I feel silly even thinking about it now, because if we had waited a little bit longer, there’s a good chance we would have been a little more prepared for our journey as parents.

Recently, Hollywood actor Kelsey Grammer, said that he would love to have another child, despite the fact that he already has six kids at the age of 59. Some of the naysayers slammed his remarks in the comments:

I like Kelsey and all, but gracious isn’t almost 60 a good time to start enjoying grandkids and relax? I know I will be enjoying grandkids and not kids of my own at that age.

As old as he is? He’ll be almost 80 when the last one gets to college. That’s a bit much.

Sick, sick, sick — he’ll be dead by the time this kid of another one before (or shortly after) the kid(s) graduate high school. SELFISH!

First off, he’s 59, he’s not dead. These days, 50 is the new 40 and let’s face it, we’re all living longer, we’re eating right, exercising, and taking care of our bodies much better than we did years ago. I’ve seen 70-year-old men run, swim, and play ping-pong with ease, just like their much younger counterparts.

If Kelsey Grammer has the means to love and financially support of his children, who are we to say he is wrong? I mean, the man wants children and is excited about the prospect of expanding his family. How many 30-something men out there talk with that much enthusiasm about being a father? It shouldn’t matter how old you are, love is love, and nothing should stand in its way.

Of course, having children and appropriately raising them are two very different things. But if you’re willing to do both right, it shouldn’t matter what age you are.

How about we stop judging and discriminating parents based on their age, eh?

 

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