Popular Parenting Blog for Older Moms Over 35
Our group for older moms over 35 parenting later in life has a popular parenting blog that periodically features reviews of products, services, travel destinations, theater and other forms of entertainment and leisure pursuits. If you’d like to submit a topic for consideration, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to determine which type of writing opportunity is best for you.
July 2, 2010
I was driving through town tonight, and traffic was particularly horrific on the main road.
Why? I couldn’t figure it out, and I wanted to get home…to be there to receive Seth from camp when he got dropped off by the bus.
We had survived the tornado that shockingly hit us last week and wreaked havoc, including many, like myself, losing power. I was so very grateful when we regained our power after two nights of sleeping without A/C, lights, television, computers…not to mention having to throw out food.
So, the traffic today wasn’t due to that. The storm mayhem in town was resolved.
Today, a man driving in front of me, gave me the finger twice when I beeped him once for stopping short to talk to someone. That was after he made a really quick and crazy u-turn in front of me. I’m guessing that perhaps he was lost…but did he have to give me the finger…and twice?!
I drove a short distance behind him after that (had no choice), and when he came upon a parking lot he planned to turn in to, he deliberately stopped and sat in his car ..looking at me through his rearview mirror…as if to say “screw you. I’m going to make you wait here now.”
I ignored him. I refused to play into his obnoxious game. This was so beyond the situation at hand. This was a driver looking to take his frustration out on someone. And, I wasn’t going to be the one.
Eventually he turned into the lot, and I went on my way. I must admit, I was mildly shaken up by the incident. Here I was basically minding my own business, and because I beeped him, he went off on a rampage. It made me acutely aware of the fact that there are people in this world who are just plain jerks, and we have no control over their behavior. But, we can control how we react to it.
I found myself wondering…what is his story? Is he married or single? Is he a father? If so, what kind of role model is he for his child? Does he unleash his anger on him?
And, I found myself thinking…did he realize who he gave the finger? I know there was no reason for me to take it personally, but did it occur to him that I’m a nice person?! Of course not…that was irrelevant at the time.
And, what about the fact that I’m a mom? There is a car seat visible in my car…though my son wasn’t in it at the moment. But, what if he was? Would this man still have exhibited such behavior? Doesn’t the mere fact that someone is a mother command some level of respect? Their child needs them to be there to love them. Their child needs them to be safe and not preyed upon by rude people with a vendetta agenda.
Did this driver feel better afterwards?
Should I have laughed when he stopped in front of me? Or was it best to ignore it?
All that said, it raised my consciousness of teaching goodness and respect to our children. I’ve always felt this is important, but today’s incident pushed my buttons, and it really rang home.
I would never want my son to behave that way to another person. Even if it were justified, what does rudeness get you in the end?
Children should be taught respect. Respect for their parents. Respect for elders. Respect for others children. Respect for animals. Respect for authority figures. And so on.
We may not always agree with people, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of respect at the end of the day.
I will do my best to impart this lesson to Seth. And, as he grows up, while he may at times get his buttons pushed, as I did, hopefully he’ll learn to channel his reaction so that he doesn’t add fuel to the fire. Drivers like the man I encountered are living in the heat of the moment, and one day, he may just come up against someone like himself, and it won’t be a pretty picture.
I can’t shelter Seth from having experiences like this of his own, but in my heart, I do hope that my child will find the world a mostly welcoming place. It pains me to think that he will have fights and challenges along the way as he develops, but that is inevitable. It’s all part of the growth process.
For now, I’m going to snuggle in bed with him, and be grateful that I don’t encounter people like this on a daily basis, and that I was able to shrug it off in favor of focusing on the positive, supportive people I have in my life who I am immensely grateful for.
PS — Last week, due to the power outage, I was unable to blog.
July 1, 2010
A couple weeks ago, I took my daughter to the neurologist for an evaluation at the suggestion of her orthopedic surgeon, who performed heel-cord lengthening surgery on her a year ago. He was concerned about the hyperarching of her spine and a deterioration in her gait from the last time he had seen her. When she saw the neurologist, he recommended she get MRI scans of her entire scan as he thought she might have Tethered Cord Syndrome
, a rare but serious condition that would require spinal cord surgery in order to correct it.
We got to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP) at 7:30 am and despite a couple rumblings about being hungry, Amelia was really in quite good spirits. She freaked out at the idea of getting a needle and wasn’t particularly excited at the idea of having to be sedated and spend the day with me instead of going to summer camp to be with her friends. They put numbing crème on her hands and the sedation doctor came to check her out. Imagine my chagrin when she told us that Amelia’s adenoids were enlarged and wouldn’t be able to be sedated. Apparently, because she was having an MRI of her entire spine, she would need to be rendered entirely immobile, which one of the medications was designed to do. Unfortunately, because the enlarged adenoids pose a risk of sleep apnea, this meant that if they put her out, she might stop breathing and not start again. They told us we should leave, go see ENT and come back later. Unless….like a big kid…Amelia could get the MRI without being sedated. That would mean being slid into that nasty tunnel thing and staying completely still on her own for an HOUR. I asked her if she thought she could do it and she said yes. They said we could come back at 11:30 and have it done.
Off we went to Wal-mart to get a movie for her to watch while in the MRI tunnel (Princess and the Frog) and a prize for her and her sisters if it went off without a hitch. WHICH IT DID! I was writhing like a maniac on my little bench but every time I looked at her little feet sticking out of the tunnel, they were completely still. I could not get comfortable, sitting up, legs crossed, laying down, I don’t know what was wrong with me. But Amelia? Not a single twitch. Needless to say, she got her Princess and the Frog movie, her Toy Story 3 Water Blaster and an ice cream cone, to boot. She is an amazing little kid, I tell you that.
When we were walking back from getting ice cream, we had the following discussion:
Amelia: “So mama, can you guess what my favorite part was?”
Me: “Watching the movie?”
Amelia: “Yes, and…?”
Me: “Going out for breakfast with mama?”
Amelia: “Yes, and…?”
Me: “Getting your ice cream cone?”
Amelia: “Yes, and…? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a T.”
Me: “Taking the braces off? I don’t know!!!”
Amelia: “THE TUNNEL!!! It was so fun!”
She’s an amazing kid, that one. Finds a way to have fun during an MRI. Go figure. Oh, and the happy ending to the story? The results were completely normal. So, let’s hope she brings that happy-go-lucky attitude to the physical therapist’s when we go. And let’s hope that I do, too.
June 30, 2010
I am typing this on my computer, by flashlight, with a battery-operated fan at my side to cool me off. Why? Because yesterday, my neighborhood was hit by a verified tornado.
I live in the suburbs of Long Island, right outside of New York City. This is not tornado country. Yes, an actual hurricane has actually passed us by a couple of times. And Nor’easters and blizzards are not uncommon. But tornado – never. And based on the devastation this tiny tornado has left, I am not very eager to move to REAL tornado country. We have no electricity and were told that it will take close to a week to get the power lines up and running again. I am not exaggerating when I say that there is a tree or tree limb on top of every neighbor’s house around me, including ours. Only a scant few streets are passable due to downed telephone poles and draping electric cables all over the streets and properties. Large trees have been uprooted by their bases and are lying either across streets, the owner’s property, or worse, on top of or inside of their homes. I have never witnessed anything like this before in my life. And, more amazingly, I summoned it.
As many of you are aware, my husband and I are not legally separated, but we are living in two separate areas of our house, along with our son. For our son’s sake, my husband and I have been getting along fairly amicably. I find this mind-boggling since I continually unearth reason to resent or dislike my spouse more and more as time goes by.
Both my husband and I want full custody of our son. And each of our lawyers advised us that if either one of us were to live outside of our present home, it would be legally considered “abandonment”, and the one who left would forfeit their “right” to be considered our son’s primary custodian. Thus, our absurd living situation.
Yesterday, about 15 minutes before the weather erupted, my husband came to me first to discuss how great we are as parents to our son, especially given the situation we are in. He then asked, again, for us to become officially, legally separated. The last time he asked was about 6 months ago, and when I asked him why, his response was, “I don’t know.” So this time, again I asked why, and I got the same response of “I don’t know. I just think it would be better for us.” It was at that moment that I felt like I summoned the wrath from the heavens.
I lashed out at my husband like I’ve never done to any other person in my lifetime! And as my anger mounted, the winds outside started howling. And as I cursed and screamed, torrential rains poured out of the sky. As my wrath grew, and I verbally lambasted my husband, large balls of hail fell from the sky. And as I ranted and raved, I heard trees splitting in half! I believe in God. And I personally felt as if God was physically relaying the extent of my fury towards my husband! I also felt as if God was physically giving me the power to tell my husband how I REALLY felt about what he is doing to our family and me. But once I heard our upstairs windows, which crank outward, start to rattle, I screamed that the sight of my husband was making me physically sick, and I raced upstairs to lock the windows so that the intense winds would not take the windows off of our house.
Once the tornado passed, I went outside to survey the damage. I was shocked and speechless to find that every house around ours had some type of damage, some of it severe. Our house had absolutely no damage whatsoever. All we had was a small bough from a tree on our roof. The neighbor’s backyard to our left had so many downed trees and debris; you could not see one blade of grass. Our neighbor to our right had a tree fall and split their beautiful, wooden deck right in half. My neighbor across the street had one of her trees literally rip her electric wires off her house, knock down a telephone pole, and fall, lengthwise, across the street, landing on a different neighbor’s car. Yet our home and property was virtually untouched.
This led me to believe that not only is there a higher power in this universe, this higher power is truly there for me. Yes, there was a tremendous amount of physical damage to our neighborhood, but there hasn’t been, amazingly, any reports of injuries or deaths from this storm. This storm, in my opinion, was meant to prove to my husband the extent of my wrath towards him. And it gave me the power to fight against him, and come out virtually unscathed, just like our house. I even texted him and said, “If you think this force of nature was bad, don’t even THINK of messing with me. My wrath will be far worse than what you physically see.”
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have one of the gentlest dispositions of any other person they know. I will and have gone out of my way to assist others and help whoever is in need of anything. But purposely try to hurt me for no reason, or hurt my son, and I will become a tornado. And I can also summon the wrath from the heavens to prove it.
June 29, 2010
My friend Rachel is one of the best moms I know. She’s dedicated. She’s involved. And she has two great girls to prove it. You might classify Rachel as one of those women who has everything: nice house, great sense of humor, slender figure, and hard-working husband. She even has a dog with extra personality.
Rachel is my go-to girl when my inner bitch appears. She gets it. She has one, too, and it’s just as sarcastic, frustrated, and hard to contain as mine is. We both work to curb our tongues. And we’re really hard on ourselves when we don’t succeed. Most of the time our husbands are on the receiving end of our verbal release, and this does nothing to help our marriages, which makes us all the more frustrated. We really do adore our husbands most of the time.
There is one thing Rachel and I both agree on: We got everything we wanted. We wanted children, a nice home, and the luxury to stay home with our children in that home in order to be there for those brief, beautiful moments that transpire magically in childhood and motherhood.
And we got it. We got it all. And we’re happy with it.
So then why are we so bitchy?
Six months after having the twins I was over-the-top tetchy when it came to taking care of the boys. There was one way to do everything: my way. I got so mad when my husband would rearrange things or not follow protocol. I spent a lot of time talking myself down from the ledge of rage over the smallest, stupidest things. I felt horrible about myself. It was so bad I called my doctor. She told me it was normal. I would outgrow the hormones and irritability after a year or so. Fourteen months later I do feel much better, but I am not back to me.
There is still a shadow of resentment along with a show of frustration and exhaustion. I don’t think my husband knows how hard it is to run the house with a set of twins on hand. I don’t start my work at nine. I don’t stop it at five. I am on the clock all day long. Even when I have a nanny I am working. She watches the kids and I cook, clean, run errands, and then usually for 45 minutes in there somewhere, I go out to lunch and read a magazine – a parenting magazine – so I can stay on top of any issues that may surface. I’m all mother all the time.
My mind is obsessed with minutia. At any given time of the day I can tell you roughly how many calories each boy has consumed, how much more they need, the last time they pooped, and how much sleep they have had in 24 hours. It’s almost impossible to shut the calculator off. I know used to think about other things that were worldlier, but for the life of me I cannot remember what they were.
I’m also defensive. Everything my husband says becomes a critique about my parenting. This is from a woman who for 20 years made her living having her work criticized by three to four people before it was accepted and published. Dave said once: “The boys are starving.” And I said back, “For the love of God, David, the boys are not starving. I’m a good mom. I don’t starve my children. They’re hungry. Not starving. You need to be careful what you say to me.” He just looked away and said softly, “Yes dear.”
That’s so not me.
As much as I love motherhood, and as wonderful as it is to be typing up this story while my little guys sleep with their butts in the air, I still struggle with who I am as a mother. It can be really uncomfortable. Sometimes my frailty is embarrassing. Yet at the same time, I have never been stronger as a human being. I have never been so loving, so understanding, so sensitive and awake.
Maybe that’s what it is. It’s being so awake. So alive. It’s agitating. Stirring. Motivating. It’s so many things at once. Everything is in hyperdrive, and I can’t shut it off. I feel like George Jetson stuck on the treadmill and yelling, “Jane, stop this crazy thing.”
There comes a time when we know as mothers we have to surrender. Rachel and I are well aware that we have to lay down our arms. Become vulnerable. Release our quick and defensive judgments. But we both suck at it. So we have a beer and chuckle on the phone together, making sarcastic remarks. We know it’s a difficult challenge to be both protective and unprotected at the same time. We hope our husbands understand that. We hope our friends and family do, too. Because we know we won’t be like this forever. It’s a short time in our lives, and the best we can do is laugh at ourselves and get through it together – and try to honor our well intended, high strung, minutia obsessed, exceedingly exhausted, quietly happy, inner bitch.