Hoda Kotb: People mom-shamed me about my age when I adopted my daughters

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Does anyone watch the later hours of the Today Show? Today is the biggest property of the NBC News division and they milk it for all its worth, but hey, at least they finally got Megyn Kelly out of there. Nowadays, the later hours are hosted by Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. On a recent episode, they bonded over being mom-shamed by viewers/fans. Hoda’s story was especially rough – Hoba became a mom via adoption in February 2017, then again in April 2019 (both girls). Hoda was 52 when she adopted her first daughter, and 54 for the second daughter. That’s “why” she was mom-shamed: her age.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager are opening up about their experiences with mom-shaming. On Friday’s edition of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, the co-hosts and fellow mothers talked about how they have been on the receiving end of critical comments in terms of how they parent — and in Kotb’s case, her decision to even become a parent at all.

“I got a physical letter in the mail … from a woman who wrote, ‘Who do you think you are, having kids at that age?’ ” said Kotb, 56, who’s mom to daughters Hope Catherine, 17 months, and Haley Joy, 3½. “I literally read it and thought, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe someone put a stamp on it and sent it.’ ”

While the television journalist “literally tore it up,” she admitted that she “felt horrible in that moment, because there is something that bothers you inside about that.”

“But then I thought, ‘Who would take a piece of paper and a pen and write that and fold it and put it in the envelope with a stamp and go to the trouble of mailing it?’ It took effort,” she added.

Bush Hager, 38, chimed in with words of affirmation for her friend, telling Kotb, “Anybody that would see the way you are with [Haley and Hope] … that stranger that took the time to write something so mean when she doesn’t even know what you’re like as a mother. She’s never seen you hold those little girls. That infuriates me. And I think why it’s so hard is that, as parents, we’re already questioning ourselves constantly.”

“Yes, that’s why it hurts,” said Kotb. “Every parent is second guessing. [And] we don’t know. Have you ever been on a plane with your kid crying? You know what that feels like. And anyone who gives you that disdained look either doesn’t have children, doesn’t understand or forgot how hard it is to deal with.”

[From People]

That really is awful. I’ll admit to thinking a certain negative sort of way when I was much younger, and the idea of new-motherhood in a person’s late 40s or early 50s seemed crazy (that’s a bit generational for me too – growing up, new moms Hoda’s age were not common whatsoever). Like, when you’re young, you can’t comprehend it. But as I get older, I understand how it feels like various choices slipped away – a woman thought she was going to meet a guy, get married, have a baby and a career and then suddenly she’s 40 and she only has the career. There are no guarantees in life, sh-t happens. I’d rather see a woman become a mom in her 50s who really WANTS to be a mother and has the means to do so as opposed to many of the horror stories we hear about, you know? And Hoda seems to just love being a mom so much.

Jenna’s story of being mom-shamed was less about age and more about the fact that she dared to, you know, travel for work and leave her kids behind for a few days. Jenna spoke about traveling to Vietnam with Michelle Obama and leaving her three children, including son Hal (who was born August 2019), behind because she thought the trip was that important. She got slammed on social media by busybodies who were like “why do you care about kids in Vietnam, care about your own kids!” People just suck. People are so eager to shame a woman at the drop of a hat.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, covers courtesy of People.

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70 Responses to “Hoda Kotb: People mom-shamed me about my age when I adopted my daughters”

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  1. Nev says:

    Love her!!!

  2. Emma33 says:

    I wonder if one of the reasons Hoda adopted a second child was because of her age, so that her daughter would have a sibling. With luck, Hoda will live into her 80′s and her daughters will be in their 30′s and may have to care for her around that age. I think they are lucky kids.

    • Snowbunny says:

      I was raised by my grandparents and now have had to uproot my life and career to care for them while I’m in my 30′s and trying to start my own family. I wish they’d planned for this, and that we’d had frank discussions about it. I also wish they’d helped out with college and/or a house downpayment to defray some of the very real impacts caring for them has had on my career and own life.

      It’s easy to talk about this stuff, and plan for it, and I’m sure Hoda has the resources to be savvier about all this.

      I benefitted from being raised by a different generation from most of my peers because I had a really different perspective on things and really different experiences. Good for Hoda and her girls!

      • julia says:

        I really don’t think that your grandparents planned to raise you either. But they did. I think you owe them a thank you, rather than them owing you money for a down payment on a house or paying for college. You’re lucky you didn’t end up in foster care, bounced from house to house, and without the chance to even go to college. Reading your entire comment made my blood boil.

      • Jojo says:

        I agree some grandparents allow their grandchildren to enter the foster care system when the parents can’t or won’t take care of them.I would feel blessed if my grandparents took me in because they didn’t have to.

      • Snowbunny says:

        You really need to read my comment further down about the specifics of my situation. However, please don’t assume children raised by grandparents aren’t subject to abuse or neglect by those grandparents. Second, please understand how important it is to listen to children who were parented by older parents in order to understand the challenges. I am pointing out some things older parents should be aware of.

        Also – it might be worth people visiting the Reddit on adoptees before talking about how “grateful” children should be for being raised by folks who are their non-bio parents. I don’t want to get into the specifics of my childhood, but please, please tread lightly with adoptees before assuming they should be eternally grateful for being “rescued” — whether it’s by grandparents, or other adoptive parents. I was not technically adopted (you can’t continue getting government checks that way!), but empathize with that perspective. If I had been adopted, it would hopefully have been by parents who wanted me, and didn’t treat me as a burden.

        Also, Hoda’s kids are adorable, and I only meant to highlight the challenges that kids of older parents can feel — a perspective only a kid of an older parent could have.

      • Emma33 says:

        Children don’t have to be grateful because a grandparent or aunt cared for them – every child has a right to grow up in a loving home. Children who end up in this situation often have some trauma that has happened with their bio parents – and they don’t owe the world a debt of gratitude for being looked after following that trauma! If anything, it means they will have a more difficult time entering adulthood and deserve more support, not less.

        I think Snowbunny was talking about the cold, hard realities of her situation. No one is wrong or eight in the scenario, it’s just that being raised by elderly caregivers has a set of challenges that go along with it.

      • Jenn says:

        I was adopted by my great-aunt and -uncle. She was 60 and he was 72 when they first became my guardians when I was 6. The end of their lives was a trial — we were in and out of hospitals constantly — and I had no peers who understood caregiving. Caregiving kept me from keeping a normal job; my friendships and relationships would start and stop, start and stop. Their deaths were awful. By 30, I had been orphaned a second time (I had already lost my birth parents). I felt so alone. Eight years have passed since then, and I still miss them so much.

        Snowbunny, I really empathize with how you are feeling. I hope you have someone you can talk to about the mixture of very justified feelings and resentment you may be experiencing. Sending love.

      • Grandmasutra says:

        How selfish do you sound, you weren’t sent to foster care you didn’t have to sleep on the street. Lots of people have to pay for college THEMSELVES and have to save money for their own down payment for their home. Stop looking at the spoon you were fed with and being upset because it wasn’t good.

      • McMom says:

        Wow.

        I am a mother by adoption. I hope no one talks to my children the way many of you are “talking” to Snowbunny. Your lack of empathy and understanding makes my blood boil. I also suspect that none of you writing such rude comments about “gratitude” are parents. Sit this one out.

      • Snowbunny says:

        Emma, Jenn & McMom- thank you for your kind words.

        Jenn, it’s such a unique experience, to have lost your parents as a kid, and then to lose parents again, as a young adult when you are responsible for their care. Losing my Grandpa really taught me how powerful love is, because I think the strongest love I’ve ever felt was caregiving for him as he was dying of a painful cancer. I still can’t believe my friends are going to experience the same thing with their parents. They say that some people feel like “adults” when they have their first kid, but caregiving for a parent might be one of those experiences that makes you grow up quickly too! I still miss him, and even with the frustrations I’ve expressed caregiving for my Grandma, I am painfully aware that I’ll lose her soon too, and be a proper orphan again. Much love, and thank you for commenting.

  3. tig says:

    As someone who has siblings 18 years older than me, my parents were in their 40s when they had me. I am lucky my parents lived until i hit adulthood, but i spent a lot of my time in my teens in hospital visiting rooms dealing with “normal” aging related issues my parents went through. Most children of older parents will probably lose one in their teens or early twenties. My roommate, also with older parents, lost his mom at 13 and his dad at 19. I am often jealous of my siblings who had so much more time with my parents than I. Its funny, because both of my parents were the youngest in their families, so all 4 of my grandparents were dead by the time I came along

    • Merricat says:

      My parents were in their 40s when they had me, and I did not spend my teens taking them to hospitals or doctor appointments, AND I was glad that I did not experience them as “new” parents–they made most of their mistakes with my older siblings, so by the time I got there, they had experience, a lot more patience, and a lot more money than they had in their 20s. So I don’t think this is a one-size-fits-all issue. It depends on health, income, and temperament. Hoda has everything she needs to be a good mother.

      • Case says:

        It’s definitely not a one size fits all issue. My parents had me in their 20s and still I’ve spent plenty of time in hospitals with my mom, because she happened to get cancer young. There are super healthy 70 year olds and 40 year olds in poor health.

      • tig says:

        when you go through it, you are more empathic to the children getting ready to embark on a similar path

      • minime says:

        @tig I’m sorry that’s how it went for you, but I don’t think you can say they are “ready to embark on a similar path”. As Merricar or Case said there are older people that can be healthy and fit for a very long time and there’s also younger people who may be more unfortunate :/ My parents had me with 18 and both my grandparents were already dead.

      • Ohpioneer says:

        My parents were in their late 40s when I came along as the tail end of their family (proverbial menopause baby). They were fit and healthy well into their later years. My dad passed at 79 and my mom very suddenly at 89. Never did I miss out on my childhood/teen years/young adulthood because of my parents age. They taught me many things parents who were younger just didn’t have time for. I was so blessed and because I was in my 20s & 30s when I had my family my children have wonderful memories of them as well. Go Hoda you give those girls a wonderful life.

    • Ragna says:

      My oldest half-sister is 28 years older than me, the youngest is 20 years older than me.

      I was scared to death that my parents would die early after a kid at school said they were old and would.

      Then my mom died in 2005. My dad is 76 I’m still terrified of the day he dies.

      It can do something to you, even when there are no major hospital visits etc.

      So I do think that particular aspect, the mental one, of a child knowing that they won’t have their parents as long regardless of whether there are any accidents tends to be brushed aside fairly quickly.

      It is real and it’s tiring and we (the kids) deserve that consideration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to live, but people need to not brush away the mental toll it really can take on kids.

      • lisa says:

        100% agreed. My parents were 46 when I was born and I spent childhood and teen years getting teased for having “old” parents, and in my 20s worrying about their health instead of my own future. The PTSD from having older parents (or being raised by grandparents) is no joke.

    • Kate says:

      Yeah, I think there is a difference between saying she can’t be a good mom because of her age (which I don’t think is true) and saying that there are just certain challenges that kids may face with having one or both parents be older. The fact that my husband is a few years older than me was definitely a consideration for us and so we did decide to have kids right after we got married rather than wait a few years. I also have a friend that has a slow growing form of cancer and while she expects she has 20 years or so it changed her family plans because all of a sudden she was thinking about whether it was fair to a child to know she might not be around that long. I don’t think age is the only factor to consider but I do think that it is sensible to take it into consideration.

      • Miss Margo says:

        I had kids younger as well because my husband is almost a decade older than me. I get it. The thought of age definitely effects certain decisions.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      I agree she runs the risk of dying or having serious health problems before her children reach adulthood. My parents were in their early ‘40’s when I was born and my father died shortly after my 21st birthday just after I graduated from college. The loss impacted me in so many ways.

  4. yo-yo says:

    smash the patriarchy !

  5. Case says:

    I understand why she adopted later in life. Because when you think you might want kids one day it does kinda happen how this article describes – you think you’ll meet someone at some point to have a family with, but that might not happen. You don’t know how you’re life is gonna go. I’ve had it in my head for years if I’m not married by 35-40 and have a desire for children, I’ll look into adopting. That process can take years. So yeah, I totally get it and I admire her for going after the life she wants.

    • H says:

      I said the same thing, if I’m not married by 35, I’ll have a baby via a sperm donor. I turned 33 and found out I had endometriosis and bye bye dreams of bio kids. I now suggest to my nieces who are nearing that age without a partner to look into freezing their eggs. I’m Hoda’s age and now taking classes to adopt out of the foster care system. I don’t want a baby but an older child. We all get to motherhood, if we want that, in different ways. Good luck @Case.

  6. minx says:

    I had my second baby a week after I turned 47. Sometimes, things just happen that way.

  7. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    Maybe the age difference is felt more by moms? I don’t get why so many people get so stuck on age but I grew up with my father who married my much younger mother. My father is 87 and I’m 32. I find myself fortunate that my dad is still around and is healthy. Yes, he had hospitalizations while we were growing up and his age sometimes got to him when we played hard. I guess I knew that no matter what happened to my dad that I would always have my family support system: my mom (27 years younger than my dad) and my older brother and his family (my dad’s son from his first marriage). Fortunately, my dad credits my younger sister and I for keeping him young.

    • Lua says:

      Thank you! The supposed feminist comments on this thread are terrible! Women should not be shamed or have to read that everyone thinks they’ll be a burden and die on their kids just because they chose to have a career before family. If she’s healthy she’ll live for thirty plus more years. And people saying they were raised by grandparents and now their life is hard and why didn’t Grandma save for college?! Are you serious? Grandma sacrificed her Golden Years for you. Return the favor. And you pay for your own school, take out loans, or do a trade of your parents didn’t save. It’s called working for what you have. I worked and took out loans because my (young) parents didn’t save. They were poor. Better to have older, loving parents than young, uninvested ones who aren’t emotionally or financially capable of raising kids.

      • Strawberry says:

        That’s not what she said. She’s saying that she has to pay for college, plus also pay for her older parents’ care, both financially and with time that could have gone into furthering her career. So instead of building her own life and career, she has to sacrifice all her potential so that she can take care of them. You were able to take a loan, but you didn’t have to cut short your career path because you have to plan your day around your older parents’ needs.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        Lua,
        Everyone has a different story, a different family, and a different experiences. Even my dad told my sister and I from the time we were very young that he may not live to see us grow up. It was a very real risk and a reality that I would lose my dad before I reached adulthood. I’m lucky he’s still here. I always thought that it was a great experience to have an older dad, I feel raising us at his age made us mellow. I had other privileges that other children in similar situations may not have had such as a supportive family including my mom, a much older half-brother, and lots of extended family around to offer support and to pick up any slack. Most importantly, I couldn’t ask for a more loving dad whose wisdom runs miles around dads just hitting 60. Like many have expressed, just because my

      • Snowbunny says:

        Yikes. I don’t know if you were talking about me, but I was just asking that older parents and grandparents consider that if they need or expect their children to take care of them in their older age, they plan accordingly if possible. This wasn’t meant as a slight to Hoda, or others undertaking older parenting, but from the perspective of someone who actually has experienced this.

        In my very, very specific experience I had to work to pay rent and for clothes during high school, and for all 7 years of post-high school education. I didn’t have health insurance from 18-25. I didn’t own a car until I was 34. Then, when I had managed a life for myself with a well-paying job, I had to disrupt my career, and drag my husband across the country to address a crisis situation with my grandparents. Both my husband and I needed to become licensed by the state bars of the new state, and find jobs in our highly specific legal fields. We left all of his family behind and won’t have anyone nearby capable of helping us when we have kids.

        Please be careful in assuming that people raised by grandparents were automatically raised in a loving, supportive environment, and that we should be grateful. Many of us experienced serious neglect and trauma in our early years, and are not treated like actual children, but like a burden on our grandparents’ “Golden Years.” We are expected to be grateful, and work so much harder to get where we are. I think this applies to adoptees as well — they are expected to be so “grateful”, and to gladly take on obligations bio children might complain about.

        We are really far afield from the situation Hoda is in here. I was only suggesting that older parents take into account that their children may not be as well-established when the parents start needing help as they would if their kids were in their forties or fifties when they started needing assistance. That could be as simple as the parents having their own finances and plans in order to allow them to pay for their own care, or to consider they might have to do some extra planning, or give extra help to their kids in their twenties and thirties if they need their help. I pay out of pocket for a private social worker, and bought my surviving grandparent a condominium to downsize to. I’m lucky that we landed on our feet and are able to do this, but we really struggle by not being able to be near my husband’s family and the fact we will need to caregive for both our future kids, and my grandparent without family support.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        @Snowbunny In speaking of the age difference between my parents to others, it has been rare to be met with empathy from someone who did not go through a similar kind of situation. Most of our cultures place a big importance on age and it is still taboo when there is a large age variance. Admittedly women are scorned more than men when they date someone with a large age gap. It’s something a lot of people struggle to understand and honestly I think relationship ageism/age variance is something that our world will struggle to fully understand in this respect.

      • Ange says:

        ANY parent should look into future planning and sorting out their retirement if possible instead of banking on their children as an old age care plan. There’s literally nothing wrong with feeling the strain of your younger adult years being lost in caregiving and being years behind your peers when you finally emerge after the added gift of losing your parents. I mean, am I taking crazy pills here or is that not such a weird thing to be a bit unhappy about?!

      • Miss Margo says:

        Nah Lua. Don’t agree with you. The fact is that if you become a parent late in life (single parent in this case) you will die when your kid turns 30. And posters here with older parents are saying it can be tragic for them. This isn’t an issue with feminism. If an 54 year old single man adopted a baby we’d be having the same conversation. It’s not fair to the child.

    • Snowbunny says:

      @NotSimpleTaylor – I really appreciate that you told your unique story from such a specific perspective. I think non “traditional” families can have *so* many benefits for kids — like your father’s wisdom. It’s just a little frustrating when those outside that experience pass judgment on those who have actually experienced some of the challenges.

  8. McMom says:

    The mom shaming is tiresome. I work with a non prof that supports vulnerable children and the stories are heartbreaking. A child needs love – and if that love is from an older parent, so be it. I know plenty of lousy young parents and healthy older parents. There are no guarantees and no crystal balls.

  9. Sigmund says:

    I find it interesting that women get shamed for having children later in life when there are definitely men who have kids in their forties, fifties, and even later. Are they getting shamed for it? Doubtful, just like they aren’t getting shamed for leaving their kids for short (or even long) periods of time.

    Same old misogyny over and over. It gets exhausting.

    • Merricat says:

      No, men don’t get shamed for it, they get congratulations on their virility.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        I must politely disagree. I think men do get shamed for it but they get shamed in different ways and by people more familiar to them like family. They are also shamed inadvertantly by comments like mistaking him for being out with grandkids but those are his kids (speaking from personal experience on this) and then the reaction when corrected.

      • Merricat says:

        You’re right, sweeping generalizations are stupid. To be clear, I don’t think the two are at all equivalent, and what I see in popular culture tends to, for the most part, celebrate the masculine power of men with many children or men who sire children late in life, whereas women receive a LOT more public shaming. Those ridiculous traditional attitudes may be changing, and if they are, I am pleased to hear it.

    • equality says:

      Also interesting how the women get shamed for traveling on business when they have small children but men don’t.

    • Sparky says:

      What about Alec Baldwin? I’ve seen plenty of comments about his age relative to his kids– here and elsewhere.

    • Lory says:

      I partly agree. Men indeed don’t get shamed for leaving their children for a few days. It seems some people still think the mom has to be the caregiver at all times so if the dad leaves for a few days it’s fine but when the mom leaves it’s as if there is no caregiver anymore. Uh hello? There’s still a dad around! As to the age thing I don’t think that’s true. The thing about age is that people link this to still being available and healthy for the child. I have/had older parents and I worried about losing them both.

  10. Ennie says:

    Yesterday I was watching an interview with late Spanish diva Sara Montiel, who told that in her mother’s side, women could get pregnant at very advanced maternal age, even beyond their 60s.
    My jaw dropped on the floor.
    Myself and my husband adopted when I was 47 and he 38.
    I might be selfish, but I think that one is enough, but we have to compromise in giving our kid Enough opportunity for socialization and friendship.
    If I had Hoda family support and resources, I might have considered to adopt two kids.

    I remember being kind of ashamed as an asshole preteen when I noticed that my mom looked different to other younger moms (she had me when she was 43). Well, karma has funny ways to manifest. I am prepares already.

  11. lucy2 says:

    Those 2 girls have a beautiful, loving, and caring family because Hoda and her partner adopted. How anyone can think that is a bad thing is beyond me.
    Yes they are older, and yes there may be challenges because of that, but they have a lot of resources and help that many younger parents don’t have. I wish nothing but the best for their whole family.

  12. Emmitt says:

    Yet if Hoda had her kids at 18 she would’ve been mom shamed for being a teen mom.

    If Hoda had one kid, she would’ve been mom shamed for having only one kid.

    If Hoda adopts another kid, she’ll be mom shamed for having too many kids.

    If Hoda had adopted in her 30s she would’ve been mom shamed for adopting and not waiting to get married and have children with her husband.

    The fact the only “right way” to be a mom is get married at 20 years old and have your kids in your 20s and stay at home. That’s the only way to not be mom-shamed and even then you’ll be mom shamed for being a SAHM.

    So, the moral of the story is people will always have something to say so you need to do what’s best for you.

  13. Pose83 says:

    I think a distinction should be drawn between bringing a new life into the world in your 50s and adopting. I can only ever see adopting as a wonderful, giving act.

    Being from the UK, I don’t know much about Hoda, but she’s obviously a smart and accomplished woman. She knows what she’s doing. I’m sure she has a plan.

  14. Joan Callamezzo says:

    So Hoda is being mom shamed for becoming a mother in her 50’s? To 2 children in need of adoption, at a time in her life when she has the patience, success and financial security to give her girls the best life? I wouldn’t give the negative criticism 1 second of my energy.

    • Snowbunny says:

      I agree that Hoda shouldn’t be shamed for adopting at an older age, but I’m going through the adoption process now for older kids, and just want to point out that there are usually about 50-100 waiting families for infant adoption.

  15. Grace says:

    Good for her…providing a home for children who need a home! Makes sense. Also consider all the grandmothers raising children due to their parents being incarcerated, fighting addiction, legal troubles, etc. Those folks are heroes. So is Hoda. I am old and tired of the ageism (and sexism, and, and…and…). If I had her resources, I might have done the same thing!

  16. Kyla says:

    I was raised entirely by my grandparents, who were 59 and 62 when I was born. I have no siblings. I had a great life and they were both very healthy and active. But I was always aware of their age and constantly feared something would happen to them. I had a lot of childhood and teenaged anxiety about that. In the end, I lost one parent at 22 and matryed myself after to make sure my remaining parent wasn’t alone. By my early 30s I was an orphan. I wouldn’t trade my life experience for anything, but it’s realistic to worry that both of these girls could loose their only parent at a young age. Which I know can happen to anyone, but the odds increase here.

    Hoda seems like a wonderful parent and I’m sure her girls will be loved beyond measure with a wealth of opportunities. She’s changed their lives which is an incredible gift to them all.

    • Snowbunny says:

      I was raised by my grandparents and had a really similar experience, though my grandparents were a little younger when I was born, so I am sacrificing my early thirties instead of twenties. It’s definitely a trip to hear friends complain their parents can’t or won’t help out with care for their grandkids, when you’re consumed caring for your parents, and can’t even imagine having or caring for your own kids on top of it.

      But I agree that I had some really great experiences because of it, and think Hoda has the resources and education to make things as easy for her girls as possible.

    • Ragna says:

      The fear and worry about what might happen is very real. I love my parents, but I have one left and I’m only turning 30 this year.

      Older parents can be awesome as all, mine were, but there’s still this big worry and the weight of that is really heavy sometimes.

  17. Anette says:

    Historically, before birth control, there were actually quite a few births to women in their 40s – so called “ooops babies”. One of my grandmothers had two children while in her 40s, and another had six from her mid- 30s to mid -40s. Both lived to see all of their own children into their forties and even fifties! It really wasn’t a big issue to be discussed or worried about. Somehow, it is ok to bash older parents for being “unfair” to their children, even if they are out there coaching their kids soccer teams. But I see so many younger parents in their 30s who are unfit, grossly obese etc. and not able to play or do sports with their children. Yet bashing them for their unhealthy lifestyle is not okay. It’s an ageist double standard!

  18. Catherine says:

    Family planning is Very, very difficult and yeah. That’s exactly what happened to me, I assumed I would Meet a guy and get married and have my legal career too. Then I turned 40 and decided to do it on my own. My son was born this spring and I am 42. I worry A LOT about How this will play out for him, later in life. I can’t have anymore bio kids.

    There is a 15 year window where it is both socially acceptable and biologically possible for women to have children, it sadly aligns with career building years. I didn’t have the means to be a single mom 10 years ago. I have to keep myself healthy and strong for as long as possible and I know I’m going to give him the best childhood. I worry about 30 years from now, 40 years from now, his adult life without me.

    And that’s sounds crazy, considering his only 5 months old, but this is “mom worry” and it’s real. I love Hoda, people need to leave her alone. But yeah, I worry.

    • M4lificent says:

      It’s absolutely a legitimate worry. I also had my son as a single parent when I was 39. And from my experience, that worry never goes away — especially with the pandemic. And it is a source of stress for my son, who is now 13. He’s had bad dreams since he was little that I die.

      And my focus is to try to save up for retirement as much as my budget allows. At some point, I will almost unavoidably be a maintenance burden for my son, so I’m determined to at least not be a financial burden.

      But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve found on the parenting
      path that most every situation has some bonuses along with the negatives.

      In my case — it’s a large extended family. Even though we don’t live in my home state, I’ve made sure that my son has a really close relationship with his aunts, uncles, and cousins. We visit often, and my son is always chatting with an aunt or gaming with his cool 20-something cousins. I’ve promoted those relationships (even with relatives I don’t personally get along with) because it’s fun and good for my son — but it also gives the him the sense that he is not alone in the world. If something were to happen to me, he knows that he has a whole village of people who love him and will make sure he is not alone.

      • Ragna says:

        My mom was the same age you were when she had me. My dad was 8 years older than her and I’ve had (and still have) the same fears.

        In my case my family on either side aren’t close and that’s definitely made it harder. After my mom died, my only real maternal relative was my grandmother, but she’s gone too now. I have an aunt I’m fairly close to on my father’s side but the rest of the family I hardly see (although that just seems to be a weird family quirk on that side of the family).

        I will say that my parents were and are awesome and that them being older let me grow up with access to a lot of interesting thoughts and experiences. But yeah, the fear is real and hard.

  19. Andrea says:

    Did anyone shame Anderson Cooper? Did he even take a paternity leave? So much double standards.

    • Jojo says:

      Yes people shame him for being a gay parent,for raising a child without a mother. I see negative comments every time an IG page post photos of him and his son.I haven’t seen as much regarding his age.

  20. Snowbunny says:

    Would people be so mad if I suggested bio parents save up for their kids’ college or down payments if they *could*? Particularly if those same bio parents were the ones who might have made a decision that would make their kids’ lives a little more difficult? I was only suggesting ways that older parents, who are able, might need to plan for the future differently.

    I’m literally off to go meet with the private social worker I pay to help my Grandma, so we can decide what to do about the current crisis. I really wish people on the internet had more empathy, or at least understood there are situations they *don’t* understand, and times they may need to listen.

    I’m adopting older children and will be very careful not to ever make them think they need to be grateful to be in a family, or that they are a burden.

    • Ragna says:

      I think your points are fair, it is a worry of my own what will happen to my dad when he needs help and who has to provide it.

      In my case my dad (and in a way my mom since I got the inheritance she would have gotten when my grandmother died because she died earlier) helped me put down a down payment on an apartment so I could get a foot in the door.

      He’s also helped pay for other things (we have free education were I live, but I’ve taken some courses that he’s paid for) to kind of help me get started. He’s also offered to pay for my driving lessons.

      Obviously my dad has the means to do that, but it has helped me get established earlier than I would have been otherwise.

      No one asks to be raised by anyone when we’re born and young. Life does as it wants and this feeling that you should be grateful you had a roof over your head sounds like something out of Charles Dickens.

      • Snowbunny says:

        Ragna – thank you so much for speaking candidly about the help you got. Of course it doesn’t make up for the loss you suffered, and of course having loss and maybe appreciating a little extra help doesn’t mean having older parents is terrible!

        I’m a little bemused that people are coming for me because I suggested financial help that parents might not otherwise think to provide is a way to assist their kids with some of the challenges of being a kid with older parents. As I mentioned in my other realllllly long comment, I paid rent in high school, didn’t have health insurance after I was 18, and paid my way through college and an elite law school. I will be paying loans forever. This is not ideal. I think older parents in general probably have more resources, and those who do might want to consider using them in the way your dad did. Those who don’t have those resources might want to have realistic conversations with their kids about their expectations for the last decade of their lives.

        My grandparents *did* pay for my mom and uncle’s college, my uncle’s down payment, and my cousin’s private high school. Again, I paid rent in high school. I did the bootstraps thing. My uncle and mom have both died, so I am the one who returned to my hometown to help out. It’s not just commenters here who think I should be grateful and not wish things had been easier, it’s people in the community as well. It makes it harder for me to get help for my Grandma, and a diagnosis for her dementia, because people think I am just trying to get her in a nursing home so I don’t have to deal with this. People here don’t see me as the big city big law firm attorney who had her shit together and was building a life, they see me as an orphan with an obligation who should become a full-time caregiver. I’m just trying to get her qualified for a little extra help so I can continue my job and start a family. There are no big law firms here, it’s rural and I now work in (and love!) public interest.

        I’m adopting an older kid, and I see some kids who want to age out of the foster system. I sort of get that, because then you get to at least start adulthood on your own terms. I love my grandparents, but I think it’s fair for kids of older parents to share their experiences of caregiving for, and losing a parent as a younger adult. If my grandparents were aware of these challenges, they might have planned differently. I’m also very appreciative that parents through adoption pushed back here about some of the “grateful” language. Your kids are lucky to have such great parents! (And Hoda’s kids are lucky to have her, and she is lucky to have them!)

    • Ange says:

      I, for one, got exactly what you meant and found the comments about you needing to be grateful particularly disgusting. My mother is adopted, so is my FIL. Nobody should be ‘grateful’ for receiving the basics that every child should have and it’s revolting to think a *child* should feel that way when they didn’t even ask to be here.

    • McMom says:

      Snowbunny,

      Get ready – if you adopt older children, you are going to get some crazy comments. You will get lots of “oh, you must be a saint – I could never adopt from foster care” comments as well as “they are so lucky.” Two of my kids had special needs and I used to get that all of the time – fortunately, those comments have subsided because people eventually focus less on how your kids came into your family and more about your family as a whole.

      I have tried to raise my kids with a sense of gratitude because our family is pretty privileged….but *we* are grateful because we are healthy and have the financial means for a comfortable life, NOT because they were adopted. Their adoption has nothing to do with it and I am equally grateful that I have had so many opportunities where others have not. It might seem like a fine line, but there is a difference between making our kids recognize that our *family* has been really privileged and making my kids feel like they are supposed to feel gratitude for what every child should take for granted (love, support, access to education, etc).

  21. Daphne says:

    I plan to foster or adopt later in life, particularly because I will have more savings and flexibility to do so with my career path. I am single and do not want to birth children for multiple personal reasons (health issues, family history, carbon footprint). It’s her business what her aging plan is and how to manage her family. I’m sure she has taken all the variables into consideration. We should give women the benefit of the doubt.

  22. Lory says:

    Based on my own experiences having older parents I do think the choice to have children at an older age has some extra considerations. The older you get the more care you can need and the question is if you want your children to do that for you. That said, that is my personal opinion based on my personal experiences which is only relevant for my choices in that regard. My opinion isn’t relevant for another person unless they specifically ask for it and it’s certainly not relevant for a complete stranger. To feel the need to put your opinion on paper and sent it to a complete stranger, who by the way is already a mother, seems very self-important and also completely intended to shaming her because she’s obviously not going to send her children back or something. What a horrible person that woman was for doing this and not realizing that no one cares about her opinion.

  23. Miss Margo says:

    When Hoda is 79, her youngest daughter will be 25. It’s odd to have a kid that late because humans don’t live forever, and aren’t you then a burden on that child? I guess it’s the same kind of situation if you were raised by grandparents. Still sad that by your 30s, your mom is gone.