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I can't always be sure if it's a mum or a grandmother.

(48 Posts)
Anya Fri 06-Feb-15 14:18:42

In these days of elderly primigravida I'm finding it harder and harder to tell if I'm talking to a young looking granny or a older mother. I very nearly put my foot in it earlier today by assuming a mum was grandma.

Is it just me? Or should I get myself to Spec Savers? confused

Marmight Sat 07-Feb-15 00:06:42

I have a friend who had her first baby at almost 50. She decided to go ahead with the pregnancy although it came as a tremendous shock, her partner left her and disappeared off into the sunset and she became a single Mum. Complications with the birth, she nearly died and was in hospital for 2 months, the baby took up residence in the children's ward as her only relative was a brother ten years older and living abroad. Her business went to pot and she has lived on the breadline, helped by 'benefactors' for the past 22 years. Her health has suffered considerably, it was hard bringing up a son alone and life has been very complicated for her. She made a brave decision, but I wonder if she doesn't sometimes think it was the wrong choice bearing in mind all the heartache and medical problems which have ensued.

rosequartz Sat 07-Feb-15 00:22:20

A couple I know had their first child when she was 48 and he was well into his fifties. They had been married for nearly 25 years and it was a tremendous shock as she thought it was the menopause.

absent Sat 07-Feb-15 06:49:54

But when you meet an "older" stranger with a child surely it's not difficult to talk about the lively little one without making assumptions about parenthood and, possibly, putting your foot in it. It's quite different with little friends from school. Absentdaughter had a friend who was shocked to discover that I was not only much older than her mother but also slightly older than her grandmother. She got over the shock and we had a very warm relationship. Lovely girl – I still love her.

Anya Sat 07-Feb-15 09:05:41

But Absent ?

Why do your posts always sound so crotchety eg 'surely it's not difficult' and 'without making assumptions' etc?

Do you mean them to sound as they do? Surely it's not difficult to post without always sounding so prickly?

I could retaliate by saying we weren't talking about 'livelely little ones' (as indeed we weren't) and accusing you of 'making assumptions' but it would only be done in the spirit of holding up a mirror so you can see how you make others feel.

gillybob Sat 07-Feb-15 09:10:07

I was always mistaken for being my sons "big sister" when he was a baby. At 18 I looked about 14 and was often told how "I was a good girl for helping mum" shock

Anya Sat 07-Feb-15 09:15:02

Had it's drawbacks though Gilly as it make it difficult to persuade bartenders to serve you!

Falconbird Sat 07-Feb-15 10:11:52

I was out for the day with my son, his wife and two grandchildren ages 7 and 4. My son is 45.

We were on a boat (not moving) and my son came down some steps to meet us.

The guy who was a sort of guide, said,
"Oh look here comes dad or is it grandad."

Luckily I was the only one to hear this.

My second son is 43 and when I was selling a house with his help, I always introduced us as Mrs.... and Mr. ..... my son because I could see that people were trying to work out the relationship.

I am 68 and one of my happiest days was when my son's neighbour asked who I was and how old I was. (bit nosey) when my son told him he said I looked about late fifties - I was on cloud nine for days.

I was having a good day. smile and obviously have never been mistaken for the children's mum although hope springs eternal.

glammanana Sat 07-Feb-15 11:46:39

I was classed as being an older mum when DS2 was born when I was 32 all the mums at the clinic looked about 16 to me at the time,I became a nanna when I was just 40 and again quickly at 41 and I was always taken for their mum when they where babies they still are now and they are 23 & 24 and have a striking resemblance to their uncles who are 34 & 40 I never minded people making a mistake I classed it as a compliment really.

janerowena Sat 07-Feb-15 12:01:10

I've got several sets of friends who had a couple of children in their early 20s, then gone on to have another couple in their early 40s. It seems quite common now. They say they are still fit and healthy and far better off, the mums want a second chance and to be a 'stay at home' mother. They all said that as they had already had children, it didn't feel as tiring the second time around, as they knew what to expect.

My next door neighbours, both 43, had given up all hope of ever having children - and then she started to feel ill. They now have beautiful 3 year old twins. She now weighs about three stone less... grin But they love it. They said they had been about to settle down into staid middle-aged existence, and it has given them instead a new lease of life and they have far more energy. They need it - we had to let them install a second gate to our wall to keep the little wotsits from escaping down the lane!

grannyactivist Sat 07-Feb-15 12:25:38

Seeing people trying to sort out the logistics of my family is actually quite funny. I am 61, my husband is 51 and our daughters are 38 and 31. If my husband and older daughter go out for lunch together I think it's quite reasonable to assume that they're a couple. Plus, our daughter refused to give up her maiden name when she married so they still share a surname. I had my youngest son at 38 and no-one ever mistook me for his granny because by the time he was born there were plenty of other mothers around of similar ages. When I had my first child there were very few older mothers in the playground.

ninathenana Sat 07-Feb-15 17:43:49

My friend had her 1st child at 19 and could now be a GG at a young looking 59.
My mum used to collect my DC from school. One day she chatted to a man at the gate about GPs and child care "I'm waiting for my son actually" came the reply.
DD was visiting her new partner in hospital a couple of weeks ago. They are both 28 a nurse thought she was his mother grin

Deedaa Sat 07-Feb-15 19:10:59

Our SIL is 10 years older than DD and because he was the youngest of 13 children his parents were as old as our parents. It was very surreal at times. When DH was working away and DD was at university we used to go out together and he would pretend to be my husband.We could cause great consternation in the local tea shoppes because they were never quite certain if we were joking.

Purpledaffodil Sat 07-Feb-15 19:49:12

Dear friend had twins at 48 through IVF abroad. They are now 7 and gorgeous. She and her husband had waited so long and she had always been so generous when other women announced their pregnancies. She d oes say that it has been harder being older since all her friends of the same age were now coping with teenagers.
It is hard to know whether the people coming to collect children are parents or grandparents. For safety, when on supply I always ask if the child can see their special person. Saves my blushes grin

thatbags Sat 07-Feb-15 20:30:32

I agree, absent, and I don't think you're being crochety, just straightforward and not nosy about details that don't really matter. We don't actually need to know if a woman is a child's mother or aunt or sister or grandmother most of the time. We don't actually need to know if a man is a child's father or uncle or brother or grandfather most of the time. So long as family and close friends know who's who, the rest of us just need to make polite conversation and if, in time, we get to know the people concerned well enough to understand all their relationships, that's a bonus.

My mum always wanted to know at parties she'd been invited to who was 'with' whom and whether they were married or, tut tut, only shacking up together. I was a source of grave disappointment to her in not being nosy enough about other people's business because I didn't give a damn.

Why do you all give a damn? If you don't give a damn you don't make assumptions that might cause you to put your foot in it.

Pass the crochety straightforwardness badge over here, absent.

absent Sat 07-Feb-15 21:23:54

Badge passed over to you bags. Would you like the pompous flag too? grin

Soutra Sat 07-Feb-15 21:57:46


whenim64 Sat 07-Feb-15 22:27:28

Personally, I don't want the library lady calling me mummy and attributing anything I've said as being spoken by my grandaughter's parent, nor do I want my grandaughter wondering why they think I'm her mum, so each time she has called me mummy I corrected her. When you get friendly with people, it's confusing if they've assumed something incorrect about you then later wonder why they were left with the wrong impression. No big deal.

seasider Sat 07-Feb-15 22:27:59

I have two older children then a "surprise" baby born when I was 45. Oldest DGS is only 18 months younger than my DS. When DS is out with his older siblings it is sometimes assumed they are his parents. I often find teachers are reluctant to ask if we are GP or parents. It was more lonely when on maternity leave with youngest DS as all my friends had older children and did not have a lot in common with the young first time mums

gillybob Sun 08-Feb-15 00:01:39

With an unplanned baby at 18, not "being served at the bar" was the least of my worries Anya smile

thatbags Sun 08-Feb-15 08:25:16

Similar story to yours, seaside, so that when Minibags and I are with DD1 and my two GS, people might easily assume that DD1 is Minibags's mother. It doesn't bother any of us in the slightest. When DD1 was in her early teens, people who didn't know us thought we were sisters. That didn't bother us either. Where I live now some people have taken my German friend and me to be sisters. We laugh and let them think what they like.

There's a simple way round these misconceptions if it is really necessary for people to know one's relationships: one tells them. The rest of the time one chuckles.

thatbags Sun 08-Feb-15 08:26:12

Flying the pompous flag high, abs wink

Actually, I'm just amazed at what bothers people.

Anya Sun 08-Feb-15 08:37:04

I can well imagine it wouldn't be Gilly - at least you managed a smile at the end of your post so hopefully it all turned out well in the end?