Meet Later Mom: Laurie Gelman


AGE:  53
RELATIONSHIP STATUS:  Very Happily Married
RESIDENCE:  New York City
DAUGHTERS’ NAMES/AGES: Jamie, 16 Misha, 13

Laurie Gelman was born and raised in the Great White North. She spent 25 years as a broadcaster in both Canada and the United States before trying her hand at writing novels. Laurie lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Gelman, and two teenage daughters. Class Mom is her first book.

 

 

What was your road to parenthood like? Quick! We got married and I got pregnant on our honeymoon. I had never been pregnant before, and Michael hadn’t gotten anyone pregnant before, so it was big news for both of us.

How does being a mom influence your work?  I feel like being a mom IS my work, and I write for pleasure. But I know what you’re asking. As a writer, I find my work has benefited greatly from the life experiences I have had as a mom and the perspective that can only be achieved by raising children. As much as you think you love something, it can’t compare to the love you feel when you first meet your child. It’s brutally humbling.

How do you balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits?  With lots of help! Hilary Clinton is correct – it does take a village. In the end though, professional pursuits took a back seat in my life. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m glad I’ve had the time that I’ve had with my daughters. There are many mothers who make the whole trifecta work, and to me they are goddesses.

What inspired you to write your first novel?  What has been the response?  Do you plan to write more books? I wrote Class Mom mainly because my daughters were older, and I needed a creative outlet. I didn’t really choose this subject, it was kind of suggested to me by someone who cracked up at all the stories I would tell about being a class mom. He said “That’s the book you should write.”  And so I did. The response has been mostly positive. There are a few nay-sayers, but then again, there always are. I would love to write another book that continues Jen’s journey as a class mom, but I would also like to write something a little more serious. Who knows? I may do both!

What do your daughters think of your work? They didn’t like when I used to blog about them for babycenter.com, but they both love the book and are happy that I’m happy. Cuz when mom’s not happy…

(with Kelly Ripa, Bryant Gumbel)

What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over? On the positive side, I feel that by 36, I was emotionally mature enough to take responsibility for another human being. If I had had a child in my 20’s, I don’t think I would have had the patience to deal with all the crap that comes with raising a child. I was also in a better financial situation. I honestly don’t know how I could have done it on the salary I was making in my 20’s. And help from family was not an option at the time.

The biggest challenge is finding the energy – especially when they were younger and wanted to be amused constantly. As you get into your 40’s, you naturally slow down a bit, but your toddler doesn’t want to hear that!

Do you think it’s particularly tough to parent teens in this electronics age? I have a very “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude about parenting in this electronic age. I want to know all the things they know – the newest social media app, the latest music streaming device. I feel that if I keep up, I’m better equipped to deal with any incidents that come along. We all try to unplug when we can but the reality is, it’s the world we live in now and for better or for worse, you need to keep up.

What do you most want to teach your daughters?   What have you learned from them thus far? I want to teach them not to let their emotions get the better of them. Flying off the handle about little things didn’t do me any favors when I was young. Keeping a cool head in pressure situations is a valuable skill and people will gravitate towards you.

What have I learned from them? Patience.

Has anyone shared any particular parenting advice for teens that has really resonated with you? Yes. Someone once said to me that it is really important to know who your kids are hanging out with because no matter how good your child is, they will never survive bad friends.

What words of wisdom would you like to share for someone contemplating motherhood over age 35? Just do it! The joy is in the journey, and the journey is so worth it. You will find more love than your heart can hold and have that love reciprocated ten fold. You will have days when you wonder why you did this to yourself, but many more days when you can’t remember what you used to do with your time when you didn’t have this wonderful little person to share it with.

 

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