More Magazine, in an eye-opening new survey of 1200 women age 60-95+, explored, among other areas, marriage, mommyhood, mates, and mistakes. While the overwhelming response of respondents was that life keeps getting better, and that, specifically, their happiest decade was after age 40 (81%), all that self-congratulatory drivel stops when the subject of parenting comes up.
In the midst of favorable responses to almost all areas of life, women over 60 considered parenting their least successful endeavor. Only 31% would have given themselves an “A” in parenting skills, as opposed to 44% in work skills. Parenting is the only category in which any 80+ woman gave herself an “F” in skills.
The survey found that women who gave themselves a high grade in parenting did so because of the outcome, rather than the input. If their children ultimately became happy, productive, caring adults, they considered themselves successful. But few felt they had been successful while enduring sleepless nights, sibling rivalry, wrecked cars, underage drinking, back talk, teen angst, toddler tantrums, and soul-destroying parent/teacher conferences.
While marriage and career were items that made women happiest in their 30s, by their 40s, this was replaced by confidence and self-awareness. By their 50s, freedom, specifically from children, was what rocked their boats.
In spite of this, 90 percent of respondents said if given another chance, they would have become parents again (and 75% of non-moms said they would choose again not to have children.) And the top thing women said they would have changed would have been to have had more children.
The best news is that researchers found that there really is something called “The Betty White Boost.” The older women got, the less likely they were to judge themselves harshly. Women in the 80 plus range, gave themselves higher marks all around in all areas of life.
We can conclude the following from this survey:
If you are younger than 60, stop whining about aging. Every birthday brings you closer to that magic time in life when all will be good. And consider that it’s really those obscene stilettos that are putting you in a bad mood, not your actual life.
If you are a young parent, stop stressing about your competence in raising children. You have none. Somehow, your kids will evolve into humanoids in spite of anything you do and there will come a time when they have you over for Thanksgiving dinner and you won’t have to do shit except sit down and enjoy the meal.
If you are single-and-looking, divorced or headed that way with your partner or spouse, we can’t help. Just know that a huge number of women over 60 said they found love at 60, 70, or 80 plus. Your prospects are bright. Just have that Astroglide ready.
If you want to ride a Harley, fly a plane, climb Machu Picchu, belly dance, run for office, or learn new sex tricks (or just have sex,) know that women over 60 are doing exactly that. The years will give you all the self-confidence you need. Just don’t tell the kids.