The Age of Moms: An Unintentional Cultural Shift


Moms of the 21st century have been slowly evolving.  We have come a long, LONG way from our moms of the century before us.  The societal mindset to do things so completely different from the way our moms and their moms before them did things has caused a huge swing in the pendulum of the average age of mothers today.  Whereas my mother – like most mothers of the 1950’s through the 1980’s – had her first child in her 20’s (gasp!), that is almost unheard of in today’s day and age.  There was a huge revolution for women to “establish themselves” in a career first, conquer the boardroom, travel the world and THEN have children.  But how is that affecting the future of family, and what does that look like?  I feel like society has yet to see the full cultural effects of that movement, and are we prepared for what we are about to see? I have the perfect firsthand experience on which to base this theory, so allow me to elaborate…

  • My grandmother – thank goodness – is still very much with us, as is my grandfather.
  • They had my mother at the very appropriate age of 22.
  • My mother then also had me at the same age, which made my grandmother just 44 years old when I was born!.  I lived a very idyllic childhood with all 4 of my grandparents in my life, active in experiences, taking us on trips… so many vivid memories of life with them, even up to present time! 

Here’s where I started to realize what was happening.

  • I started having children at the age of 27. My children are 11, 9 and 2.
  • Currently, my oldest two children are also getting those same amazing experiences and memories with not just their grandparents, but with their great-grandparents. My parents – who are in their early 60’s and young by any “grandparent” terms – are so involved in my children’s lives. Attending baseball games, taking them to water parks, on road trips, and they have such a strong presence in their everyday lives. The kids have also enjoyed a fairly “young” mom and dad for the last decade.
  • We had my youngest daughter 2 years ago – although I still felt very young and 39 was a totally normal age in society today to be having children – I am realizing the experiences she has been blessed to have been having with her great-grandparents she may not even remember, and the window of her “golden years” with her grandparents, will be much shorter.
  • Worse than that, fast forward almost 40 years to when she is my age – I’ll be 80 years old! If she were to have a child when I had her, that child will probably NEVER KNOW ME!  Their grandmother!  And that child’s great-grandparents? Forget it! They will have been long gone from this earth for years.

It makes me so sad to think about that child and their family dynamic. Entire generations of children growing up without the summer road trips, Christmases at Grandmas and a lifetime of experiences and memories with the incredible generations of people who came before them. Has anyone ever really sat and thought about this?!  I can’t possibly be the only one. We just effectively aged ourselves out of our grandchildren’s lives.

There are other effects to consider as well.

  • Totally rockstar 40-year old new moms will be 50 when their boisterous, trouble-making and fun-seeking, adventure-loving child is 10-years old. They are just starting to want to ride the big-kid roller coasters and our 50-year old selves will be like “Hell, NO!”
  • My mother is a reliable and frequent babysitter – often! But in another 8-10 years, I’m pretty sure her desire to watch overwhelmingly exhausting children will be non-existent. And quite frankly, my faith in her sharpness when faced with potentially stressful situations will probably be much lessened as well. I better start saving up for those teenage babysitters now, I’m pretty sure they charge minimum wage!

Seriously, did anyone think about this when we started shifting the shape of parenthood?
We have essentially just skipped over an entire generation. Which I suppose slows down the overpopulation and ultimate demise of this earth, so that’s a positive… but I digress! It absolutely breaks my heart that I won’t get the typical grandparent-experiences with my youngest daughter’s children that I got to have with my grandparents and that even my older children are getting with theirs.

We haven’t fully felt the result of this phenomenon, but in another 20 years I feel the new face of family life will be obvious. We’ll be old and talk about the good ‘ole days, and the children will never know any different. Obviously, we still have relatively young moms too. Although there are not nearly as many 22-year old moms by any means – those days are gone. But we will survive, like generations of families before us survived losing all of their built-in farm help to glamorous colleges and university-bound independent-minded children.

Life is so funny that way, how one drop becomes a ripple.  I suppose we just have to ride the waves.



  1. A very well written and very well-thought-out perspective. Your Insight is amazing for someone so young, relatively speaking. Both your mother and I are very satisfied to be able to have the experiences with you and the grandchildren as well as with the great grandparents. It really brings together the family unit as a whole and gives deep meaning to our lives. And even though we may not be the sharpest tools in the shed in a few years, I certainly hope we’re not babbling fools either, and can still enjoy life with you to the fullest.


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