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.
June 8, 2010
Here are some tips for friends and family who are coming to visit our family here in New York City this summer:
First off, we don’t have a car. We walk everywhere or take the subway, and when we shop we buy only what we can carry or stash in the bottom of the stroller. And whereas it’s nice to hear about all the stuff you can fit in your SUV when you shop at Costco, Wal-mart and K-Mart, that’s not a reality here on the island. What is a reality is that we do pay more for everyday items, but we don’t like to talk about it for half an hour with you even after you’ve posted on Facebook how expensive paper towels are here.
New York City is a totally different lifestyle, so our conversations are vary from those you might be used to in the Midwestern suburbs. It may be fascinating to you to talk about resealing your driveway, to discuss why Budweiser is the king of beers, or to debate about which Lion’s Club will win the chili cookoff, but for this audience it might be a challenge to stay engaged. The bartender is not being rude. It’s just not relevant. Also, please don’t compare New York’s cost of living to your cost of living. We know we’re paying a lot in rent for very small spaces, but hearing that we can live in a mansion in Chickenville, Arkansas, for these prices doesn’t mean anything to us. Plus, there’s a reason real estate is affordable in Chickenville. Nobody wants to live there, and the Broadway productions suck.
No. Having babies in the city is not easy, but it’s definitely do-able. In fact, it has huge advantages. Whereas we may not have a lawn to play on, we also do not have a lawn to mow, so we have more time to sit on the floor and read to our kids. And to make up for the lack of lawns, we have plenty of lovely parks, award-winning, progressive schools, and a plethora of kid-friendly places where they can go and be exposed to art, music, theater and more. Just because we don’t have a backyard full of plastic toys, it doesn’t mean our kids are deprived of a rightful childhood.
Yes. New York City is dirty. And so are pig farms, restaurant kitchens, and your three-car garage. New Yorkers are probably some of the most germ aware people on the planet, and people like me have hand sanitizer on our persons at all times to prove it. That’s why we cringe when you put your shoes up on our furniture. We tend to take our shoes off when we’re in someone’s home, which is a gracious custom, as well as being more comfortable and relaxing.
Yes. New York City is loud. And so is your gignormous 72” flat screen TVs with Dolby surround sound that you have blaring constantly in your bonus room where you child spends most of his or her time playing with their Nintendo instead of getting outside and meeting other people, having social interactions, and being exposed to culture.
Yes. We have to go to the grocery store every two days. This is not a burden. It means fresh vegetables and fruits on our table instead of week-old broccoli from Safeway wilting away in the crisper. It means we walk more. It means we carry more. It means we stay active and actually burn off some of the calories we are eating.
You’re welcome here. This is a great place to visit and an advantageous place to live. But please don’t “feel sorry” for the children who live here. Most of them grow up to be very successful because of the culture, the education, the people, and the opportunities this city has to offer. The bar is set high here. And New Yorkers of all ages like to rise to it.
June 7, 2010
About a decade ago when HBO’s “Sex and the City” was all the rage, my girlfriends and I used to cozy up on our sofas—often with a drink in hand—to watch the show raptly for 30 minutes every week. Though I was certainly not as glamorous as the ladies on the show, I did identify with many of their dating woes, and also shared their fierce displays of female bonding with a handful of my own close girlfriends. Like the majority of my gal pals at the time, I most closely identified with Carrie Bradshaw; I, too, was a writer, possessed several of her neurotic quirks, and, most notably had my own commitment-phobic “Mr. Big” in my life (or, well, truthfully, a few of them!).
When Charlotte from “Sex and the City” whined “I’ve been dating since I was 15! I’m exhausted! Where is he?” I felt the same way. But I didn’t feel a strong connection to Charlotte’s character as a whole: She was much more uptight and conservative than I was, and, aside from our shared desire to meet Mr. Right, she seemed to have quite different dreams than I had. All that changed last week.
When I went to see “Sex and the City 2” on opening day, it was like being reunited with old friends. Much of the movie was silly and predictable, but it was still really satisfying to see Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha continuing to watch out for each other, and experiencing many of the issues I’m addressing in my own life. There was one big surprise, however: Although I don’t have her money or her nanny, or even a husband like she does, I saw myself in Charlotte for the first time—and felt a hell of a lot more empathy for her than I did for Carrie. Funny how people change when they grow up—in the movies and in the real world.
For awhile after seeing the movie, I felt quite nostalgic for my “single in the city” days—the freedom I formerly had to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to, the incredible body I possessed from my religious and obsessive daily workouts, and the exciting men I was able to date day and night. And then I remembered all the heartbreak I’d experienced from dating dozens of Mr. Wrongs…and all the lonely weekends I’d spent doing nothing but working out and watching movies. Sure, I did have my share of fun times—with decent guys and without—and I will always cherish many good memories from my single in the city life…but I’d never want to go back. And when I watched Carrie and Big committed to being together forever—but with no children in their futures—I felt sad for Carrie, and, honestly, a bit disappointed in her. On the other hand, my heart went out to Charlotte, who was so overwhelmed by being a mommy, and who so desperately needed a break (but felt guilty for needing one); I understood her now. Some days I am her. And while I couldn’t muster much sympathy for Carrie and her problems with Big, I bawled for Charlotte—and cheered for her in the end. I no longer want a Mr. Big in my life (and certainly don’t have the patience for one!), and while it would be nice to have a Harry sometimes, more importantly, I’m content with just my little Jayda. Being a mom may not be glamorous, and it sure can be frustrating and exhausting, but my life as a whole is a lot more satisfying than it was back in the heyday of “Sex and the City.”
I’m not saying that children are for everyone—and thankfully, many people who would rather not be mothers realize this and don’t try to have kids. But I do think that parenting—with all its challenges and sleepless nights—has helped create a much better life for me, personally. Back in my “I’m Carrie Bradshaw” days, I wouldn’t have dreamed of feeling this way…but I’ve grown and changed a lot. And while, like Carrie, I think my life can always benefit from a little “sparkle,” I know I can get quite a bit of that now from my little gem of a daughter. And if I ever need more, knocking back a Cosmo every now and then with my girlfriends is all I really need to shine.
June 6, 2010
I never considered myself a gardener. In fact, I can’t stand planting anything. However, I am good at watering my children. It’s very simple. Watering my children equals love. I know that because when I hug, I get a smile. When I kiss, I get a smile. And, when I hug and kiss, I get a really big smile. That’s how I know that A plus B equals C. It’s the water that does it all.
To start, I fill the pots with nurturing soil, provide an ongoing dose of fertilizer and water them daily. I let them dry out occasionally, before coming back around again. But the dryness only lasts for a short while, and it is usually due to excessive sun.
I never got the same kind of watering as a kid. In fact, it’s a miracle that I didn’t shrivel up and die, at all. But, the dearth of it, the lack of sustenance is the one thing that gave me the steely resolve and determined fortitude to live. It also provided the largest ongoing bucket of tears that a person could find. I sometimes think that it’s my tears that supply the enormous, nearly endless amount of water I provide for my children. I swear, sometimes, that I can taste the salt.
I believe that my water is good and clear and crisp. It runs exactly where it is poured. I rarely ever need to mop up the excess; it seems to go straight to the roots where it’s most needed. I sometimes wonder if I’ve wet the roots enough or even too much (my father said that I was a child who needed too much), but the body of the plants seem firm, secure and tender; the tendrils luscious and bright. I can’t imagine that any child needs too much love, especially mine. I suppose if they do, I’ll work on finding the drain.
June 5, 2010
Many women enter the corporate world excited about the possibilities. They were told as girls they could accomplish anything. Then even though they are promoted early on, the roadblocks get tougher to climb. Frustrated, they start asking, “What’s next?”
In researching my book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction, I found that many women start wandering from job to job searching for the place they will feel heard and acknowledged for all they have to offer. When they tire of being disappointed, they begin to see work as simply a training ground to develop skills they can use in their own businesses.
These women decide to jump off the corporate ladder not because they want to spend more time with their children but because it is the best way to meet their personal needs of achievement and contribution. How then do “wander women” cope with being stay-at-home working moms?
1) Segment time and space. Julie English, a Six Sigma Master Blackbelt engineer and CEO of Within Reach Consulting, said she quickly realized she needed an office outside of home. She only goes there two or three days a week, but she needs the physical separation to segment her time. Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch president of the corporate coaching company The Pyramid Resource Group said she books “mommy” time along with her work appointments. She also said she recalibrates her time as her children grow up, giving some of that time to herself. She recently published her memoir, Mystic Grits.
2) Integrate activities. Julie takes the family with her once or twice a year on business trips. On the other hand, when DJ found a note from her son in her suitcase asking her if she loved travel more than she loved him, she started hiring other coaches to do the ground work which allowed her more time at home. Ultimately, this led to her winning bigger contracts because she had a team to do the work.
3) Maintain social bonds. Putting friendships on the back burner is one of the greatest mistakes wander women. Not only will your empathetic friends help you maintain focus when customers whine, kids scream, health issues nag, and projects overwhelm, they will keep you from feeling isolated when you work for yourself. Find at least three other women who are consciously trying to create more satisfying, purposeful lives like you are. Meet regularly. Eat meals together. Take walks. Your “community of support” keeps you sane as well as productive.
4) Keep your body healthy. Julie discovered that she quickly lost track of her schedule when working for herself. To keep her body in good working order to get everything done, she found she had to start the day with exercise before even reading read her email. Also, make sure you eat healthy meals instead of what you can gobble down in quick breaks. Schedule your lunch hour and stick to it.
5) Regularly notice the world around you. I get acupuncture once a month to reset my overtaxed body. It was my acupuncturist who first told me that I was disconnected. He then prescribed a daily dose of going outside, smelling the air, appreciating the trees and feeling the ground beneath my feet. When I reconnect with nature, I reconnect with my soul.
6) Recreate. DJ said she still needs to recreate herself every few years, answering the question, “What’s next.” She has to give herself private reflection time to find an answer which always includes work that is meaningful for her and contributes to the world she brought her precious children into. She says she will always be learning, playing and growing to feed her wandering soul.
Marcia Reynolds is a coach who teaches classes worldwide on emotional intelligence and empowerment . Read more about her and her book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction at http://www.wanderwomanbook.com/.