When my mother was my age, I had just finished graduate school and was starting my career. I, on the other hand, have a daughter who is in middle school. And I am not alone; many of my friends have children even younger than mine.
At the time when I was having children in my mid-thirties, I never considered the fact that I was a decade older than my mother had been when she had me. I waited to have children until I was well into my career. I felt like this, combined with financial security and a certain level of maturity, would prove to be the best foundation for being a parent. What I didn't think about was just how tired I would eventually be as I entered mid-life when my youngest was entering adolescence.
It's not unusual for me to go to bed before my daughters these days. I hear my bedroom door open, the bright light from the hallway streams in, and then I hear a not-so-whispered voice.
"Mom, Mom, are you asleep?"
Often, I pretend to be asleep and wait for click of the door closing and the darkness to take over my bedroom again.
And then there are those unusual weekend afternoons when I stop my usual state of perpetual motion for just a moment to lie down on the couch or a lounge chair on the porch and shut my eyes.
"Mom, Mom, are you awake?" I hear, jarring me back into the world.
The funny thing is I don't ever remember my parents sleeping in, taking naps, or going to bed early. So, somehow, in the back of my mind my need for sleep seems like a failure of epic proportions. But, truly, I know its not weakness, just the reality of mid-life parenting. And for the most part, I do a pretty good job of keeping pace with my busy girls, I really do. But if you're looking for me late in the evening, and can't find me, especially after a long day of work, there's a very good chance its past my bedtime.