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Featured Article

Jan 30, 2013

"Ipinanganak ko ang apo ko!" ("I gave birth to my grandchild!") The Challenges of Late Parenting


.

Gone are the days when single men and women in their late twenties are bombarded with the nagging question, “Why aren’t you married yet?” Thirty seems to be the youngest age to get married these days, unless you got… oh, but that’s another topic altogether.

 

The phenomenon of pushing marriage to a later time in our life is a product of the changing times which gives importance to enjoying one’s single blessedness and fulfilling career dreams before “settling down.” Anyway, we all know that getting married is definitely not settling down. It’s getting yourself into a whole new set of challenges, foremost of which is raising your children.

 

This is more challenging with women because having children has a more serious deadline. Just when you’re reaping the rewards of your hard work in your chosen career, you hear your body clock warning you, “Tick tock tick tock! If you want a baby, better do it soon!”

 

For men, they have more time to spare and that is probably the reason why we see a lot of men who are very successful in their chosen fields, driving the most handsome cars, living in posh subdivisions, the big bosses in their offices, probably ahead of their batchmates, but definitely behind on one thing: parenting.

 

It is always a delight to attend baptismal and first birthday parties of friends who belong to this league. A college classmate said it aptly during a baptismal party while he proudly carried his newborn son, “Ipinanganak ko ang apo ko!” (“I gave birth to my grandchild!”) True enough because I recall that when my husband and I hosted baptismal parties, I was still wearing shoulder pads! It’s that ancient.

 

This phenomenon of parenting at an older age has its own advantages and disadvantages. I asked a few male friends who are very successful career men and are still in the abc/123 stage of parenting what their top pros and cons are. Let’s hear what these lolodads” have to say.

 

“A big advantage is I have attained financial security before I became a father.” Having invested a good number of years in their chosen career, these fathers are confident that they can provide for the financial needs of their children. They can send them to the best schools, travel together, buy nice toys and provide the comforts of life that all parents wish to give their children.

 

Being the bosses and not anymore the corporate slaves, they are also more flexible with their time as one said, “I have more control over my schedule, I can leave the office to attend to my kids’ events.” Another one said, “I have the time to be there and actively help raise my children.”

 

One also mentioned having the maturity and patience is also an advantage. Although another one finds himself on the other end of the patience spectrum, “When you’re older and used to the comforts of life, you don’t have enough patience to deal with whining that you sometimes give in unnecessarily.”

 

Still another one finds learning from the parenting challenges of friends who became parents ahead of him an advantage, “I have the benefit of hindsight by getting proper advice from peers based on their personal parenting experiences.”

 

All of them have wives who are significantly younger and I don’t know if they consider that a pro or a con. They didn’t mention.

 

The biggest con that they all seem to agree on is their lower energy level. “Playing sports with the boys is a challenge!” and this is coming from a guy who used to play basketball like a beast! I recall the younger years of my sons when their favorite game was “Rough Games with Papa.” It was their mini wrestling with their father on the bed and each session would end up with someone getting hurt, all of them wet with perspiration, a few times with small traces of blood and tears which freaked me out. But they all enjoyed tremendously, that the same routine would happen again the following night.

 

There was a study that measured the energy levels of two-year-old boys and they found out that they can rival those of athletes, so it’s really hard to play and keep up with your toddlers when you’re already in your golden years. And when Daddy can’t play, we can’t blame Junior if he turns to his computer games.

 

One time I joked one of them and said, “Imagine if your son follows your footsteps of marrying late, you will have your grandchildren at age 100!” Even as we laughed at the joke, there is a common concern about the huge age gap, “Will I still be around to see my kids graduate? Get married? Will I still see my grandchildren?” But there’s one positive thing about this age gap. I notice that most of these lolodads become more health conscious. They eat right and exercise regularly. They want to be healthy as long as possible and they end up looking good, younger than their golden years, and not so much older-looking than their young wives.

 

Another challenge that some of them acknowledge is the flipside of the financial security. It’s easier to provide for their children’s whims because money is no longer an issue. Moreover, being conscious of their shorter time with their kids in the future gives them a justification to give in and become less strict during the formative years. They’re concerned that they may be raising spoiled brats. One of them narrated a story when they travelled with their kids who acted up and cried at the smallest inconvenience. It was an eye opener for my friend who said, “My kids were acting like the kids I hate! After that, we had to come up with stricter rules to discipline them.” This is really the price of privilege. And it’s a good thing that my friend saw this early on while his kids are still young.

 

Different circumstances give us different challenges as we embark on this very important role of parenting. The lolodads have their own pros and cons but the most hilarious con I got from them is this, “It’s so irritating when your co-parents address you with ‘po!.’”  

 

To all the lolodads out there, I wish you all a happy journey.

 

Happy parenting, po!

 

Rose

 

Special Thanks to my friends who contributed their inputs to this article. You know who you are and I won’t mention your names anymore because I don’t know if you’re comfortable announcing your age to the whole world. J

 

 

(Rose Fres Fausto is the author of the book Raising Pinoy Boys. She was an investment banker before she became a full-time mother to Martin, Enrique and Anton. She is married to Marvin. Send your questions to maryrose_fausto@yahoo.com or log on to www.RaisingPinoyBoys.com. You may also send text to 0927-5159011.)

 

This article is also published in www.PhilStar.com.

 

Photo Credit: Images from blaugh.com and aliwaw.press put together by the author to deliver the message of the article.

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