Meet Later Mom Lauren Dimet Waters
CHILDREN’S NAMES/AGE: Liam/7, Owen/5
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
I am the Editor-in-Chief of a fashion, beauty and lifestyle site for women over 35 who refuse to age without a fight called FountainOf30.com.
What was your road to parenthood like? My road to motherhood was miles long. My husband and I started trying from the start of our marriage. I was 40, and he was a few years older. I had been on birth control since my teens (to regulate horrible periods) and thought once I was off the pill (which I went off a few months before the wedding), I would get pregnant quickly. That was not to be. We knew time was not on our side, so we went to a fertility clinic on the Upper East Side after six months of marriage and tried IUI four times before we had to turn to IVF. Luckily our insurance covered about three rounds, but there were a lot of out of pocket expenses too. After testing, I learned my eggs were old and not of great quality. Even though I had quite a few fertilized eggs placed back inside of me, the first two rounds did not work. We were crushed. IVF is tough stuff too, but we soldiered on. We spoke to our doctor before the third round and asked if we should go elsewhere or what else we needed to do because this was our last shot. He suggested acupuncture. Some of his clients had success combining fertility acupuncture with IVF. Even though they had one on staff, I had the name of a highly recommended fertility acupuncturist in my back pocket. I was given his name by more than one woman who had success with him and there had been articles written about him so I knew Dr. Wu was my guy. (I have paid it forward and have referred many women in NYC having problems conceiving to him).
So with Dr. Wu’s help and working with my IVF protocol, I produced 20 eggs! I was shocked. And, this time the pregnancy took! In fact, apparently I was originally pregnant with twins but one absorbed. Yet I had a beautiful, perfect, healthy baby boy at the age of 42.
I wanted to try for another one, this time using only acupuncture, but my husband and I ultimately agreed we should be happy with our one child. Especially at our ages. So when I found out I was pregnant at 43 with absolutely no help, you could have blown me over with a feather. Our second son Owen arrived when I was 44. My boys are 22 months apart.
How does being a mom influence your work? I consider myself a full-time mom first, so the business comes second. It’s very important for me to be a hands-on mom since I waited so long to become a mother, and I wanted to experience everything. It’s the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever had. As my children age and spend more time at school, I spend more time on my business. I make sure I am home when my kids get off the bus and help them with homework, cook dinner and get them to bed and then I work some more. However, I do go to events in the evenings occasionally, and for that, I have a sitter I trust completely (I also have a backup one). As the kids get older and need me less, I will probably be more involved in my site and start traveling more, but my kids always come first. My husband works like a dog as a corporate real estate lawyer, so I can’t rely on him to help much with the kids except on the weekends.
I probably could have become a mommy blogger and more of a family travel writer, but my passion really lies with fashion and beauty. Besides, my husband was very adamant that I don’t photograph or involve our kids too much in my work. He has lightened up on that a bit when it comes to travel, so I am working to do more family travel writing now.
What inspired your business? Fashion has been in my blood since I was a young girl. I even went to school for retail management my first year of college. I would have become a designer since I have all of these ideas in my head but not a creative bone in my body. I can’t draw more than a stick figure, so getting my thoughts out of my head wasn’t easy. I went on to marketing in fashion, then somewhere along the way ran a tourism business with my father, then went into marketing IT, and one day I woke up hating where my career was. I felt like I had lost control of my destiny and my career just happened to me. I was sick of corporate America and wanted to get back into fashion. I was living in Chicago at the time and had met a graphic designer named Carol Calacci at a networking group. We became fast friends and shared a love of fashion and cars. We worked on building a website for a client of hers and realized we worked very well together. So we launched our site Second City Style in 2005 and I soon went fulltime on our site. We focused primarily on Chicago fashion (or the lack thereof at that time), not realizing our site would have a further reach. Back in those days, “blogger” was a dirty word. It certainly was not a career. Luckily that has changed. I also married and moved to NYC in 2007. We started Fountain Of 30 in late 2015 since I wanted our site to have a niche focused on fashion and beauty for women over 35 with disposable income, which there seemed to be a need for. Besides, I was tired of saying my site was called Second City Style living in NYC. People would look at me with total confusion. We still have the site Second City Style, but it has gone back to being Chicago focused, and my partner Carol mostly runs that site, and I just edit. My focus is now Fountain Of 30.
What advice would you offer to multitasking moms? Make a list each morning of what needs to be accomplished that day. This list should include personal and professional tasks. If you get 2/3 done, you are doing just fine. I find sometimes when I multi-task, I don’t do some of the tasks well. So I just try to bang out items on my to do list one at a time. If I can group some together, that’s even better. The problem with being a mom first is you have to expect the unexpected like a kid being home from school sick on a day when you had work events to attend. You just have to roll with it and not stress too much. I think too often moms get so stressed out over things they can’t control. I have learned to always expect the unexpected. I’ve been told I am pretty chill for an older mom. I really don’t know what that means.
Is it tough for women to balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits? Who do you turn to for support? Of course it’s tough balancing it all! And of course you will feel like a failure at times and wonder how other women make it look so easy. It’s totally natural. There will be times when everything will be in balance and then other times where it won’t. All you can do is your best. You need a support team to help you achieve balance. It can be your spouse, your best friend, yoga class or in my case my business partner. I don’t have my family around to help but have some amazing sitters who I trust with my kids entirely. As they say…it takes a village.
What are the positives and challenges of having a child over age 40? The positives is that I had many friends tell me to revel in and be present for every moment because it flies by so fast. I really took that advice to heart, so I make sure I am in the moment with my kids. I don’t want to look back and think I was too busy not paying attention and all of a sudden they are off to college like many of my friends who had kids younger told me they experienced. One challenge is that you just don’t have the energy and stamina you did in your 20’s. There is a reason why God intended for us to be moms in our 20’s and 30’s. I literally crash some nights when my kids are in bed. One glass of wine and it’s lights out! It’s exhaustion on another level. One other positive is that people think I’m younger than I really am because I would like to think I take care of myself, but I know in reality it’s because I have younger children. People usually gasp if I admit my real age. They typically think I’m a good 10 years younger. I think that’s why I tell women to fight aging as best as they can. Another challenge is that you feel really old when you are hanging with the other parents who are a good 15-20 years younger than you and/or are still having babies as you are approaching menopause.
Has anything about being a mother surprised you? What do you love the most, and what is the most challenging? My biggest surprise is that I love it so much. It was nothing like I expected in a surprisingly good way. I never really liked kids when I was younger. I hated babysitting and never found babies cute. In my mid 30’s, that began to change. By the time I got married, all I wanted was a baby and felt like a failure I was having such a hard time conceiving. I thought God was punishing me for being a late bloomer. Once I felt that baby kick inside of me though, I was a goner. I had crossed to the other side. I was literally obsessed with my first born. I could not wait for him to wake up so I could spend the day with him. It was love on another level. For the first time, I put someone before myself. I grew up. I became less selfish. Being a mom changed me in so many ways I can’t even begin to explain it. Turns out I was meant to be a mom. Had I figured this out earlier, I would have had four or five. Sadly, it’s too late for that now. I would love to adopt a baby girl, but my husband has put the kibosh on that. I expect to have a puppy soon.
What do you most want to teach your children? What have you learned from them thus far? I want my children to grow up be responsible and hard working adults. But, I also want them to be kind and compassionate to others. Since my boys are so close in age, they are thick as thieves, and being boys, they are pretty active. I don’t want them sitting in front of the TV or on the computer all day. I want them to be raised like I was. I wish I could tell them to go play in the neighborhood and not come home until dusk like my parents did, but we live in different times. I want my boys to figure some stuff out for themselves. I think parents today mollycoddle their kids too much and therefore allow them to think they are the center of the universe. When we all do this, we raise some pretty self-centered children. I read a book called “How To Raise An Adult” which really resonated with me. It made me rethink how much I should step back because I will not be there in college to do their laundry. At least I don’t intend on it. Our job is to raise the best kids we can and then lightly kick them from the nest and watch them fly. Give them the right tools, and they will soar.
What have I learned from my kids? So many things, but most importantly is that you can love your kids equally yet differently. I never knew I could have that much love in my heart to go around. They teach me something new every day. My little one tells the best stories and has the most expressive face (like Jim Carey,) so I have earned to sit, look him in the eyes and listen to him intently. He has this way of telling a long story and you think he is off on an unrelated tangent, but he always brings it back on topic. He is fascinating. Both of my boys are very loving, and we tell each other we love one another every single day.
Have your parents offered advice that has really resonated with you? My mother always says to me “You are such a better mother than I was.” I don’t think that is true. I am more present I think, but again, I presume that has to do with my age. My mother was just 27 when she had me. My mom really doesn’t offer much advice unless I ask. She thinks I’m Mother Earth which makes me laugh. I’m so NOT, but in her eyes, I am. My father passed away when my oldest was 5 and my little one was just 3, and it makes me so sad they will not really remember him. I lost two grandparents around the same age, and I hardly remember them either. That breaks my heart because my dad was such an awesome father. He didn’t give me much advice before his death, and now he will not be able to. I just tell my boys lots of stories about their Papa. I want them to know him through my eyes as that is the best I can offer in his memory. We were very close.
Do you have any particular memories from your childhood that inspire you with your children? I have so many memories as a kid that I can’t list them all or this would go on forever, and all inspire me. My father always sang these silly made up songs to my brother and I as kids. Actually he even sang to the family dog. Oddly, I now do that with my kids. My dad was really goofy and fun so I have carried that on with my children. We also traveled a lot, and I remember all of those family trips vividly, so I would like to make those same memories for my children. My mother was more of the disciplinarian than my father, but she would say “I always love you but don’t always like you” when my brother and I did something bad. So I try to balance being goofy, yet I am not afraid to discipline my children either.
What words of wisdom might you share for someone contemplating motherhood later in life? I am a firm believer that if you want kids, you should have them (at almost any age), and if you don’t want to have kids, don’t have them. There are too many neglected children who did not ask to be brought into this world to suffer a hard life. So there is no shame in not wanting kids. Then there are late bloomers like me. I decided I wanted children later which can potentially be problematic when it comes to conceiving. Your age should not matter as long as you have the energy to raise kids. And believe me you will have to muster it up!