momThe youngest in any family is often said to be spoiled.  There are many theories behind why this is.

Some feel the mother has pretty much just given up. She is older, tired. She’s done many years of parenting from the firstborn all the way to this last child and she’s just, well…. be right back. I’m going to take a little nap.  Keep an eye on the kid for me, OK?  I’m sure she’ll be fine – she’s practically raised herself.  I just need to rest my eyes for a minute…

Even if you practically sleep through it, still they grow up.

Another theory is that it’s not giving up as much as it is holding on, as if by holding on to the youth of your offspring, you somehow hold onto your own youth.

I was struggling with my teenager trying to clip the mittens to her winter coat, but kids that age are pretty damn strong and really resent having their mothers use them as a means of groping their ways through a midlife crises.  They’ll fight you on this.  They don’t need nor want to be treated like babies.  In retrospect diapering really was the easiest part of parenting, but remember – we were happy to leave that shit behind. Literally. Don’t linger here – it’s just creepy.

Try as you might to hold onto the days when your cherubic young ones needed you so, still they grow up.

Perhaps most of us old mothers have a little of the giving up and a little of the holding on within us.  There is a third theory, and it’s the one, in my opinion, that dominates why these youngest children seem a little more indulged than their older siblings were.


The more years that have passed, the more perspective a mother gains along the path.  Not only have the children done their share of growing up, but so has the mother.

Perhaps she realizes how fast it goes and wants to worry less and enjoy more. Perhaps she has concluded it’s pointless to spend even another minute squabbling about how messy a bedroom is.  Perhaps she knows that a report card with a comment saying “She talks too much.” isn’t the end of the world, not even close.  Perhaps she is even amused by such comments these days. Perhaps she just doesn’t give a flying fu…  um, what I mean is perhaps she doesn’t mind much if the child doesn’t eat her broccoli. Let’s face it – broccoli is gross. I’m with the kid on this one.

Regardless of whether we’re holding on or giving up or have simply gained a broader perspective, still they grow up.

Still they grow up.

There we are, us older mothers, left wondering… what now? To whom will we be the answer to everything? Who will revel in our ability to put peanut butter and bananas on Ritz crackers and serve them on fancy hors d’oeuvre trays? Who will laugh at our stupid jokes? Think our stories interesting? Let us read them rhyming books? Who will think we’re amazing?

And just when we think that gap unfillable, they lay a baby in our arms and call us grandmother.

Lin and Dex