Photo from thevisibilityproject.com
1. You often find yourself exhausted.
At the end of the day, you find you have no more strength because you were struggling to chase after your toddler at the park. Meanwhile, the twentysomething parents who were with you at the very same park weren't just playing chase, they were squealing along with the kids, looking like they were having the time of their lives. Oh, but on a normal day sans park visits, you're also exhausted. It's become your default setting. The park example was just a cute visual.
2. You worry about old age, which is not so far behind.
When your kids hit their teens, you will be going through ... gasp!... menopause! Not something to look forward to at all. "We will be in our 50s when our eldest hits his 20s. That's a bit of an age gap," says Justine Tajonera, mom of a boy and a girl. Imagine undergoing physical and emotional upheavals at the same time as your children? Neither can I.
3. You're no longer worried about missing out on life.
That's because you've already lived it in your 20s. So when you're stuck at home nursing a demanding little baby while seeing your friends on social media partying it up at the newest club, it's all good. "I'm done with all the crazy things everyone should experience in their lifetime, so I no longer have FOMO (fear of missing out)," shares Gabbi Pascual, mom of two little girls.
Fine, you might experience a twinge of envy when you scroll through Facebook and Instagram, but one look at your sleeping angel will remind you that the joy you are experiencing is unparalleled.
4. You feel more emotionally prepared for parenthood.
"I'm at an age when I am psychologically ready to have children," says Justine. "My husband and I have thought things through. We've considered age spacing. We researched and prepared, from Lamaze to breastfeeding to sleep sharing."
In your 30s, you aren't struggling with finding yourself or wanting to make a name for yourself anymore. If things worked out for you in your 20s, you had been able to do all this. Now is the time to devote your energies to someone else -- someone whose life depends on you.
5. You've seen the world.
Okay, maybe not the world, but you've already traveled to places you can't take kids to, so visiting only kid-friendly places isn't a chore. "You’ve been through the whole traveling alone thing (or with friends), and being adventurous; which you can’t imagine doing with your kids now," says Camille Laguda, mom of three boys. At the same time, Gabbi adds, "I'm still young enough to genuinely enjoy theme parks with my girls." So the family vacation can still be fun for all!
6. You've put in the hours at work and now you're reaping the rewards.
"Since I slaved away at work in my 20's, I now am able to take on a less stressful job and have the time to travel with the kids," says Gabbi. Justine agrees that she and her husband are also more financially stable now in their 30s too -- another reason why more couples decide to get married later in life.
7. But... you'll be working even in your old age because your kids will still be depending on you financially.
"We'll still be worrying about tuition and college education by our 50s...that's just 10 years away from retirement age," says Justine.
Most parents who feel their age dread having kids later in life because of all the payments they will still have to make when they could be relaxing and enjoying their grandchildren.
8. You're a more purposeful parent than your younger counterparts.
You've been around more so you're wiser, and you know what kind of parenting style you want to pursue. "We were also more patient and willing to explore options in terms of positive discipline and education such as homeschooling," Justine says.
You've had the time to observe other parents, read up on different parenting styles, and most importantly, you have a better understanding of who you are and what will work best for you and your new family. Yes, wisdom does come with age.
Although most thirtysomething parents complain about being old and tired, they know it's a wonderful time to be a parent. You're still young enough to play, but old enough to have satisfied your inner child to finally focus on someone else besides yourself. You're financially stable enough to give your child the best but still young enough to have the energy to instill discipline. All in all, I think we can agree that being a parent in your 30s is pretty awesome.
Ines Bautista-Yao is a parent in her 30s and yes, feels all of the above and wouldn't trade it for the world. She also became an author in her 30s and blogs about motherhood at www.theeverydayprojectblog.com.