Parenting Talking Point

Growing up and growing older

Cycling the High Tatras
Written by Kirstie Pelling
Cycling the High Tatras

Matthew shows his strength as he conquers the High Tatras

Talking Point 7: Growing up and growing older

This photograph was taken a year or so ago when we cycled from Munich to Krakow over the Slovakian High Tatras. Well, I struggled over them on my bike while my 10 year old son powered his way up and over on his, without really pausing for breath.

On our recent trip to London he showed me up again. Firstly at the Ski and Snowboard Show where we had a go at roller skiing. I shuffled around in a circle like a pensioner in rubbish slippers with a recent hip replacement. (If you don’t believe me, check out this little video clip). While of course he did just fine. Then later on in the week, at the Natural History Museum’s pop up ice rink, yet more humiliation; I pretty much needed a zimmer. (Luckily there were some to hand in the shape of penguins). But my son, of course, had no such need.

Roller Skiiing

I’ll still have a go at things like roller skiiing, but I feel useless…

Yesterday he turned 12. Today I turned forty five. At this time of year he feels his age (in a good way) and I feel mine (not so positive). It’s my own fault. I should have timed the pregnancy better. Moved the two birthdays six months apart to give me time to forget.

Today I am crossing the divide. I am now in a different bracket on an insurance form. The dreaded 45-60 bracket. He is still in the under 18 bracket and will be for quite some time. I think it’s safe to say I’m not at my peak any more. And I think it’s certain he is heading towards his.

But I don’t resent his age. I resent his fitness. I am jealous of his energy and the ease with which he  bikes every mountain, surfs every wave, skis every downhill, and walks back up again without puffing, coughing, flopping on a rock or stopping for an emergency coffee.

Does that make me a bad mother? Just checking.

Talking Point

Do your kids make you feel old and past your peak? What can I do about it? Accept gracefully that I’m on the way out or fight to keep up with them?

Join the conversation

Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo, post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Leave a comment with your thoughts or tell us what the photo says to you.

For more photo inspired fun why not check out Travel Photo Thursday from Budget Travelers Sandbox, Photo Friday at Delicious Baby or Friday Dreaming at RWeThereYetMom.


About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • Never a truer word said! My children are just 5 and 8 as I approach 40. My husband cajoled me into a running race with my 8 year old last week. Let’s just say, she’s likely to beat me next year. So, though i’m not there yet – i can see it coming just round the corner. It’s a good incentive to get me off my butt and as fit as possible. (when if find the time to do so that is!).

  • My 2 turned 9 and 6 as I turned 42 over last 6 weeks. Soon they will be fitter and faster than me and I’ll struggle. Have to keep challenging myself including a promise of go ape for daughter’s 10th and my 43rd… Need to get in shape now!

  • The point you are describing is yet before me, while I am barely half a year younger than you, your boy beats my girl by almost 4 years. So I can still lift her, outrun her, outcycle her, even though I am by no means a sample parent of fitness. But they can both, even the little one, outski me, having learnt as toddlers what I had to learn at fourty.

    Obviously that does not make us bad parents, just look what brilliant parent an obese person or a paraplegic can make. Look how a parent with a CSE can “work” with a highly intelligent child. If we are good at giving them roots and wings, they’ll eventually outfly us, and we should be proud.

    We should still not give in easily but give them competition…

  • Have you had the ‘pat on the head’ look yet? My son is 13 and now an inch taller than me and I don’t like it at all. When he was little I slowed my pace to match his, encouraged him without patronising and occasionally let him beat me. Now he bounds off and takes great delight in coming back to ‘check on me’ or waiting for me to reach him before he’s off again. Although he doesn’t actually reach out with his hand, as he looks down at me I can almost feel that pat on the head! I suppose it’s part of growing up isn’t it? That desire to beat your parents, to be bigger and stronger. I could give in gracefully and let him go but it’s not really my style. I keep going, no matter what and I’ll get there eventually because that is what I’ve been trying to teach him all along.

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