Vicki AbelsonProfession: Writer (just completed my first novel, "Don't Jump") and creator of Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write, literary soirees, featuring the creme de la creme of current best selling authors and singer/songwriters.
Web Site(s): Facebook profile and www.VickiAbelson.com (currently under construction)
Marital Status: Married
Residence: Montrose, Ca / New York City, NY
Harry, 15; Samantha, 11
1. Why did you decide to become a mom later in life? What factors precipitated this decision (or dictated it)? I was career driven in my twenties and most of my thirties-–an actress/comedian, then a rock n' roll promoter and publicist. The hours and the lifestyle did not lend itself to motherhood. More importantly, my first marriage ended when I was 30 and even though I met my 2nd husband a few months later, we did not begin dating until I was 34.
2. What do you love about your career? Being of service to women and to writers is thrilling to me. My salons are an opportunity for women to slip away for a few hours and be stimulated, entertained, and to contribute food for the body and the soul. And it's a forum for writers (mosty women) to read before an intelligent, nurturing group of women who read and buy books.These soirees are profoundly transformative for all of us. Women Who Write is a perfect marriage of my skills: promoter, publicist, performer, and co-ordinator. What is most challenging about your work? It takes diligence, almost 24/7 to cultivate relationships with hard-to-get, much sought after writers, especially celebrity writers, which Women Who Write has had an abundance of in its short life. There's also growing interest and queries as to how to read and/or "join." How long are you doing it? WWW- 14 months. My novel, 8 years. I worked on it every day, for at least five minutes, without fail, for 1893 straight days and a couple of years sporadically before that. I just completed my third draft last week and sent it off. Where do you see yourself heading? Pitching WWW for TV, preferably to Oprah for her OWN network, continuing the ongoing bi-coastal monthly salons; looking forward to adapting my novel for the stage and performing in it. And, I have my next book (non-fiction) in motion.
3. What have you experienced through motherhood that has also helped you in your work or personal life? Motherhood informs everything I do, all that I am. I ended my career (as a rock promoter and publicist) when I had my son to allow me to be a full-time mom. I unofficially managed my husbands burgeoning writing career and as soon as Harry started pre-school, at age 2 1/2, I focused my "work" energies on helping to raise money for his school, organizing yearly events and that carried over to his elementary school, where it became a full time job for three to four months every year. That experience allowed me to "stay in the game," feel viable and continue to hone my skills. Being active in both Harry and Samantha's classrooms, and being a parent in general has fostered patience, a trait I'm not known for. Having the needs and schedules of my kids be my priority has been gratifying and humbling. The desire to be of service, whether in their schools, in 12 Step programs, personally and with Women Who Write, is a direct result of motherhood.
4. What is a typical day for you like, managing both work and home life? I wake about 6, make the breakfasts and lunches, iron the days outfits and drive the kids to school. Once they're off, I do my morning pages, speed walk and then get down to the days networking, most often on Facebook, which is where I've connected with almost all of the writers that have read at WWW. I pick the kids up at three and depending upon their schedule, the next few hours are usually devoted to them. Sometime during the day, before bed, I make sure to get in at least 5 minutes of writing, which usually translates to an hour, sometimes more. Do you do any work from home? I do all of my work from home, including hosting my soirees in my living room. If so, how do you find that? Fabulously convenient and difficult. I love being able to work whenever the time presents, but I also tend to put in too many hours, as my computer is right in the kitchen. I have a hard time not engaging. At the same time, I find the distractions of bill paying, laundry, house cleaning, and phones ringing, a constant deterrent to my productivity. Have you worked more or less since you became a mom? I've worked more, in many ways, and there are no days off, or vacations from motherhood. But I've just begun to work towards monetizing what I've labored on these past years. Do you travel a lot, and do you take your family? We still have our Manhattan co-op and head east whenever school schedules allow. What do your children think of your work? My children are my greatest supporters and biggest fans, God bless them. They also, understandably, wish I'd get off the computer a lot more.
5. How do you think being a later in life mom has affected your experiences as a parent (share both good & not so good)? On the one hand, I was so ready to be a mom at 38. It was a long-held dream come true. I had no resentment giving up my career at that point, in fact, I was thrilled to do so. The rough part was in trying to figure out how to restart and reinvent myself at 50, in a youth loving culture, where not only would my lifestyle no longer allow for me to reenter my field as a music promoter (late nights), but the scene itself has changed and become almost obsolete. Has anything about being a mom surprised you? Everything about motherhood has surprised me. Not the least of which is that I have been "back in school" with them. The mommy dynamics sometimes mimic kid dynamics. I never envisioned the all-encompassing power of motherhood, or the depth of my desire to try to control everything. What do you most try to teach your children? I hope my children feel empowered and know that anything is possible. To never give up on passion or a good idea. To be kind and thoughtful and of service to others. What influence has your own mom had in your life and in your parenting? My mother did her best. She was a single mom in the 60's, which was a tough gig. She worked outside the home. I was a latch-key kid. It was a lonely life for a young girl and I was determined to do it differently for my kids. My mother is very savvy, creative and responsible and I'm blessed that a little of that rubbed off.
6. Where do you or did you turn for support as a mom? My husband, other moms, my mom and sometimes a therapist. Do you have a support network and community? Yes, I have a few. How important do you think it is to connect with mom peers? Very. Do you find social networking sites of value? Facebook has changed my life in terms of restarting my career by allowing me direct access to people I'd not otherwise have. Do you consider yourself a role model for other later moms or aspiring later moms? I'd be honored to think so. Hopefully, writing and finishing a novel in my 50's and beginning a bi-coastal, growing literary scene, also in my 50's, will encourage others to believe it's not too late to restart ones life.
7. What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life? Do it before your skin loses it's elasticity. If you have one child at this point, do you envision having more? NO. Oh wait, I already have two.
8. When you became a mom, did your own mother share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated? "Feed him more. He's thin, you're starving him." Or do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you and you’d like to pass on to your children? "Always take a sweater, ya never know."
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