Meet Later Mom: Debbie McCormick
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
I am an ex-corporate ladder climbing professional turned Alpaca farmer, and I never saw that one coming. There was a time in the not so distant past when I was a senior account analyst in the corporate world. Then I had a set a triplets at 43 years old, and could be found quite often curled up in a corner sucking my thumb. Metaphorically of course. Life was crazy. So crazy that I developed a life threatening illness which literally knocked me down about a year after the babies were born. I planned and worked hard on the “big one year old party” for the triplets and then the day my triplets turned one year old, I spent it in the hospital after emergency surgery for a perforated stomach ulcer. I found myself not one of the fabulous women who can do it all. I decided that the best place for me was at home taking care of my family, and my husband supported that decision. Turning into an Alpaca farmer is something that just sort of happened. It began with laughter over my kids saying Hot Llama after hearing it on a TV show. Then I googled Llama. And googling Llamas means you will not only see Llamas, but also Alpacas. And that is when I fell in love with them. Without writing out all the details that happened from there to here on this journey, we now own an Alpaca farm and sell yarn and Alpaca fiber products. It is very rewarding to have a family run business that my kids are involved in. I have a website called, I Grow yarn, featuring crochet and fiber art tutorials, country cooking, homesteading, Alpaca farming, and of course, parenting humor. www.igrowyarn.com
What do your children think of your work? My work is also their work and like all children, sometimes they grumble and complain. I do too. Alpaca farming is not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes we love getting out and taking care of the Alpaca’s, watching them eat, spelling the sweet hay, and grabbing one while sinking our hands into their soft fiber. Other times when it is pouring rain, frigid cold, or sweltering hot, none of us enjoy it. As far as my website, my kids are pretty much clueless and couldn’t care less when I am writing about yarn or recipes.
What was your road to parenthood like? I was 22 and 25 when my first two children were born. I became pregnant so easily then I could just picture a baby and poof! Pregnant. Then at 34 I found myself divorced. At 39 I remarried. My husband had no children and really wanted to be a dad. And being the people pleaser that I am, I said OKAY!! Our road to having more kids involved many things medical, and a lot of heartbreak. I felt like a human pin cushion who had no more tears to cry. But in the end, we did get the prize and were blessed with a set of triplets. Our family was complete. Almost. Shockingly at age 45, I found out I was pregnant again, spontaneously. And I was scared to death. But the pregnancy was a healthy one and we had our last baby girl. I like to remind my husband of the fact that at age 45, I had four kids all under two years old! Especially when I want presents.
What is it like parenting triplets? What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over? I am not going to sugar coat this at all. Parenting triplets is hard no matter what age you are. Sometimes it sucks.You have two arms, but three crying babies. You have to rotate the feedings so the same baby is not the one who always drinks their bottle alone with a bottle prop. You have to have someone go with you when you must take the babies to the pediatrician because it is next to impossible to carry three infants alone. You have to schedule a baby sitter just to be able to go out and buy groceries. When they hit toddlerhood and begin walking you have to lock up every door (refrigerator included). They go in opposite directions and you can’t be in three places at one time. We know this because we have had chicken soup, coffee, chocolate syrup, ketchup, and parmesan cheese poured all over our new Berber carpet. Add to this the fact that at 43 your energy level is a lot lower than it used to be at 25.
There are positives too. Instant 24/7 play dates. I don’t recall ever having a moment when one of my kids sat around bored with no one to play with or nothing to do. Another positive is looking at them and truly feeling blessed by God to have these three little healthy miracles to make us laugh, to love us back, and turn our house into a loud, messy, fabulous home.
4. Has anything about being a mother surprised you? What do you love the most about it? Besides the chicken soup, coffee, chocolate syrup, ketchup, and parmesan cheese thing? No. After that, nothing surprises me. I have learned that things happen and in the craziest moments of life to chant “This too shall pass.” The thing I love most about being a mother is knowing that my kids are, and feel, loved. I get one shot at this motherhood gig, and I know I will make a ton of mistakes, but in the end I know my kids will look back on their life and know they were taken care of and loved more than anyone else could love them.
6. What do you most want to teach your kids? What have you learned from them thus far? I want to teach my kids to be someone that other people enjoy being around. To be polite, sincere, honest, and helpful. I also want to teach them to be confident and not to fear trying new things. I have never liked, or agreed with, the phrase “You can do, or be anything you want to be!’’ Because that is not true. I want them to know they can try to do anything they want to do, but also that it may work and it may not. I would rather teach them that if their dream falls through, to move on to the next one. My kids have taught me to not take life so seriously. With four kids under seven years old, humor is the best defense against anxiety.
9. What influence, if any, has your own mother or father had in your life and in your parenting? My mother and father are the reason I am the way I am today, so they have had 100% influence in my life and parenting style. I think everyone learns a lot on how to parent from their own childhood. Now that I have children of my own, my mother has been my biggest cheerleader. I honestly could not have survived these past few years without her help..
Where do you turn for support as a mom? How important is to connect with mom peers? Sadly, I have never joined up with a mom’s group in my area. I never seemed to have the time or energy. I have, however, been heavily involved with online groups, forums, and fellow bloggers in my niche. The online community has been a lifesaver for me. I LOVE Motherhood Later…Than Sooner. All mothers have a bond because we all go through the same parenting issues. However, “older” new moms have unique needs and experiences, and it is wonderful to have a place to go where I can read other stories similar to mine and to connect with other moms who I fit in with. I mean, not many new 25 year old moms have fed their baby while reading their enrollment packet from AARP. (True story)
What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a parent, particularly if they’re 35 or older? 35 years old, to me, is still young for child bearing. However for someone 40 and older, I would tell them to think long and hard about what comes after the fun squishy baby stage. Think about high school and college and how it will probably mesh together with retirement. Think about finances. On the flip side of this, often times when we do reach 40 and beyond, life is more settled. We already know what we became when we grew up. We already have an established career or life plan. This is one of the great things about older motherhood.