Last week I met my friend for dinner — no kids, no wiping up spilled juice or playing tic-tac-toe on my napkin . We had appetizers and wine and lingering, uninterrupted conversations. It was bliss…
Then a young woman walked by with a baby. No big deal. Right? But as they passed our table, the little guy—chubby arms wrapped around his mama’s neck, dimpled hands in her hair—peeked over her shoulder and gave me the most adorable toothless grin. I melted.
“Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have one of those,” I sighed, taking another sip of my wine. My friend looked at me as if I had just suggested I’d like to drink hot candle wax.
“Are you bonkers? Why on earth would you want a baby now? We’re almost home free. No more getting up in the night. No more diapers. No more teething, potty training, teaching anyone to tie their shoes. We just have to get through these next few years of high school with our kids, then it’s smooth sailing.”
Fair points, all of them. Still, this wasn’t something I said on a whim or in a cuteness-induced, wine-fueled moment of weakness. I’ve actually given this a lot of thought, and I don’t care if it sounds ridiculous—I totally want another baby. In fact, in spite of the fact that I will soon round the corner on half a century (or maybe because of it), I think I would totally rock new motherhood at this point in my life. Here’s why…
I have the wisdom of twenty-plus years of parenting.
Y’all, I know a lot of stuff. I know the best cure for diaper rash, when to introduce solid foods, and how to wean a baby (okay a toddler). I know all the words to Victor Vito, and I am an expert at doing the voices of ducks, bears, foxes, ogres, witches, and princesses. I also know when to worry about a fever and when it just needs to run its course. I know how to get that gross smell out of a sippy cup and the best way to sneak spinach into a batch of brownies. I can calm a temper tantrum, shut down an argument, and deflect a tweenager’s bad attitude. Basically, I am a walking Momopedia. I put in a lot of time and tears to gain all this knowledge and wisdom. It seems a shame to stop using it now.
I would be the coolest mom in the playgroup.
With all this insight, I think it’s safe to say that I would be the most popular mom on the playground. Young mothers get a lot of information and misinformation. Who better to help them sort out the facts from the old wive’s tales, than an old wife? Sure I could impart my wisdom to a new generation of mothers without actually becoming a new mother myself, but believe me, it is really hard to get into a good playgroup if you don’t actually have a child — or so I hear.
I have all the stuff.
No, not high chairs or exersaucers. I long ago got rid of carseats and bouncy seats. But I have all the important stuff, like an extensive library of really cool, adult-friendly kid tunes. There will be no Kidz Bop or Baby Shark for my baby. I’m talking about the classics like Woody Guthrie, Peter, Paul and Mommy, and Free To Be You and Me. I’ve been dying to dust off those old favorites since my last baby traded in Laurie Berkner for Twenty One Pilots. I’ve also got some old VHS tapes of Little Bear I’d love to revisit, and I think there may be a box of Polly Pockets in the attic.
I have an excellent immune system.
Stomach bugs. Strep throat. Fifth Disease. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Head Lice. I’ve had it all. I’m talking two decades of exposure to some really gross stuff. If I’m not immune to it, I know how to get rid of it.
I would have a staff.
My children are 22, 20, 17, and 14. What young adults and teenagers wouldn’t be thrilled (and not at all embarrassed) if their mom got pregnant? And what kids that age would not love to have a little sibling to take care of? I have no doubt that I would have nearly round-the-clock help.
I am an expert cuddler.
This was true even when I was a twenty-something mom, but back then I was always torn between my need to get things done and my desire to sit and hold my babies. But now, my need to sit down would definitely trump my need to get things done
But hey, ladies! It isn’t just me. I am not the only midlife lady who would totally slay geriatric motherhood. In fact, think of it. We could produce a whole generation of children raised by mothers who are both incredibly wise and extremely exhausted. Life would be so simple.
After all, who among us would have the energy for over-the-top birthday parties, extravagant promposals, and magazine-quality dorm rooms? Extreme sports schedules would give way to Sunday afternoon pickup games and city league rec teams. Soccer and baseball practice would only happen on warm, sunny days and only last thirty minutes. Best of all, it’s highly unlikely we would be helicopter or lawn mower parents — because, wisdom and exhaustion.
So what do you say, ladies of midlife? Who’s with me? Who’s ready to change the face of modern parenting? Anyone? Anyone at all?…Okay, I’ll take your silence as a maybe. And while you mull it over, I’m going to present this idea to my husband. It’s possible he’ll agree to it. Worst case, he will totally be getting me a new puppy.