Profession: Carol Leifer is the author of “When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win,” a collection of humorous essays.
Marital Status: Committed Relationship for 12 Years
Partner’s Name: Lori Wolfe
Residence: Santa Monica, CA
Bruno, age 3
Q: Why did you decide to become a mom later in life? What factors precipitated this decision (or dictated it)?
A: I thought that I would never have children but motherhood really became a calling to my partner, Lori, after being together for ten years. I saw how very important it was to her, so we became parents at ages much older than women normally do. Lori was 43 and I was 50! And it’s pretty strange getting Parents Magazine in the mail along with AARP magazine! But I wouldn’t trade it for the world and love having a child. I’m glad Lori was the driving force for us to become Moms. I feel as active and engaged as mothers young enough to be my daughter. Age is a state of mind, in parenting as well.
Q: What do you love about your career? What is most challenging about your work? How long are you doing it? Where do you see yourself heading? What prompted you to write a book and why the particular subject you chose? What is the primary message of the book? What is your next book project (if you have one), and when is it being published?
A: I love that I get to do a bit of everything in my career. I still love to do stand-up, how I started out as a college student. And I have a great respect for stand-up because it’s brought me everything else in my career. But I also love writing for television and writing these essays that make up my book. The theme of the book is how the best part of my life has happened since I turned forty. Most women don’t get that message out there in the media. They usually get the “gloom and doom” report but I wanted to spread the message that this part of your life after forty can truly be the happiest and most transformative. I’d love to do another book but it depends on the success of this one – so go out and please buy it!! I guarantee it will change your perspective on life!
Q: What have you experienced through motherhood that has also helped you in your work or personal life?
A: I think that every mother would agree that motherhood single-handedly rips you out of being self-involved. That thing about stepping in front of a speeding train to save your child becomes a stone-cold fact. And that focus on my son, the selflessness that it brings, I feel has made me a more generous and compassionate person in other areas of my life as well. I think motherhood has made me a happier person, too! As he experiences the world for the first time, I am now along on that ride with him. So when he wonders at a fountain, or bubbles, or being on a trampoline, you take a moment and join him on that wonder. As adults, we forget. (And trampolines ARE pretty cool when you haven’t been on one for the last 30 years.)
Q: What is a typical day for you like, managing both work and home life? Do you do any work from home? If so, how do you find that? How much time do you spend daily writing, whether books or material? Have you worked more or less since you became a mom? Do you travel a lot, and do you take your family? What does your child think of your work?
A: My partner, Lori, left her job to become the full-time parent. So that gives us a lot of flexibility, especially since I do my writing from home. I actually love that I don’t have to leave the house for my job. When I’ve been working on a project for a few hours, I can take a break and come out and play with Bruno for a while. That’s much healthier than yet another Frappucino at a local Starbucks. Even if it’s a 5 mins. break, playing trains on his Thomas The Train set, it’s five minutes I get that Moms who work away from the house don’t have. Bruno is very aware of my office in the house and is well versed in the “rules.” He knows that when Mommy’s door is shut she is working and he knows that if he comes in he needs to knock first and then take off his shoes if he goes on her couch. (what I paid to upholster that thing, it’s a must!). Bruno is actually developing quite a sense of humor, too – he watches my old sitcom, “Alright Already,” and quotes lines back to me! Lori and I don’t travel a lot with Bruno right now, unless it’s in the car and we have our trusty DVD. We took him to Hawaii last year and the 6 hours back and forth on the plane were a nightmare!! I became that parent that the old, single me self used to glare at, but it is really hard to stop him crying on a flight.
Q: How do you think being a later in life mom has affected your experiences as a parent (share both good & not so good)? Has anything about being a mom surprised you? What do you most try to teach your child? What influence has your own mom had in your life and in your parenting?
A: The biggest thing I was worried about becoming a mom at fifty was I felt like I wouldn’t fit in with the other moms. Nothing could have been less true. No mom cares how old you are. The bond of just being mothers trumps everything else. Far from it, the younger moms (which is EVERYONE I know) have never made an issue of it at all. When moms get together, they just want to talk about their kids, vent, and share info. “Is your boy screaming a lot at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason like ours is?” “Is your child fighting using a fork or a spoon and still trying to get you to hand feed him?” Stuff like that. Age becomes a non-issue when another parent tells you that raisins are a choking hazard at 2 years old and you didn’t know that and you’ve got raisins in your purse for his snack.
Q: Where do you or did you turn for support as a mom? Your mom? Do you have a support network and community? Others in the entertainment field? How important do you think it is to connect with mom peers? Do you find social networking sites of value? Do you consider yourself a role model for other later moms or aspiring later moms?
A: There’s nothing like other moms to give you advice about anything and everything. People who are “living the life’ have the best first-hand info and resources. I love how you can just hand your kid to another parent in a crisis and they know immediately what to do. We relyed a lot on our sisters and sister-in-laws in particular. They always swooped in when we were flailing. Especially at the beginning, because we adopted our son at 10 mos. old. They literally handed him to us and said, “Here you go!!”
Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life?
A: I would tell any woman to not let age be a negative factor in the decision to have a child. I know I am such a better parent now than I would have been in my twenties or thirties. I know who I am now and my priorities are so much clearer. I also have so much more patience now than when I was younger, and you’ve got to have a lot of that to be a good parent. I have just as much energy as the younger moms, so I would recommend a cardio regime to keep up with the young hotties!
Q: When you became a mom, did your mother share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated?
A: My mother always imparted to me as a child how smart she thought I was. I remember that very vividly and it gave me a lot of confidence in my life. I am mindful of sharing that same message with our son. These formative years really create a foundation and I want him to know that I think he’s the next Albert Einstein! (even when he just spilled an entire jug of syrup on the floor at Dupar’s Pancake House yesterday).