Meet Later Mom: Ondine Landa Abramson
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
RESIDENCE: South Orange, NJ
CHILD’S NAME/AGE: E., 10
I’m the President and Executive Producer of Stage17.tv a recently-launched new digital entertainment channel.
Stage17.tv is a “hub of must-see web series” (USA Today) aiming “to lure a demographic of 25-to-54-year-old females by using Broadway as a jumping-off point,” (Variety) by producing and presenting original and curated entertainment for the world’s largest stage — the Internet.
What was your road to parenthood like? I always wanted kids, lots of them. I always wanted to be a mom. When I became very sick in my twenties with a chronic illness, it wasn’t clear after all the chemotherapy and other experimental treatments whether I could conceive. I met my husband when I was 33, and we had our daughter when I was 38. Because of my medical history, I was categorized as a “high risk” pregnancy but had a very uneventful pregnancy in the end. I have one biological child, and she’s the best thing that ever happened in my life.
What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over? Pros: You have a greater sense of who you are and what gifts you have to give as a parent. You have more wisdom and are at a place where you can completely embrace being a parent. I’ve never felt like I was compromising some other area of my life by being a parent.
Cons: Being sleep deprived is harder when you are older.
Has anything about being a mother surprised you? If so, what? What do you love the most about it? Surprised: I never expected to see the world as differently as I do now. The dominant prism through which I see and experience the world is through the lenses of motherhood.
What I love most: Being her wingman and watching her soar. She’s funny, kind, smart and wise beyond her years. I love just hanging out with her and listening to the stories she writes. We have so much fun together. She’s a wise old soul, and a very funny one at that.
Can you share a funny or AHA parenting moment with our readers? Overheard one morning, when E. was about 4 and talking to her stuffed animal while sitting on the stairs in our house: “I know you love me, and I love you too, but I can’t marry you. You’re a dog and I’m a human.”
What do you most want to teach your daughter?
Be compassionate towards others.
Follow your own path.
Embrace your failures—they are the best teachers.
Pick your friends based on how nice they were to the “unpopular kids.”
Be kind, everyone is fighting his or her own battles.
Live out loud
Being successful is measured in increments of happiness, not by the size of your house of the brand of you car.
Play to win.
Be a giver.
What does your daughter think of your work? My daughter loves what I do. I think she’s very proud to have a mama who she sees actively pursuing a career. She likes that I’m the boss. She loves coming to my office and hanging out with my staff. They love her. She’s our mascot.
What influence, if any, has your own mother or father had in your life and in your parenting? Both my parents were older when they adopted me. My mother was 42. They were incredible parents. Not without their flaws, but wonderfully loving and deeply generous.
My mother is probably the most influential person in my life—my daughter is a close second. She was a remarkable human and had an incredible life. She was kind, generous, funny, smart, compassionate, tolerant, and hardworking. She grew up during WWII in occupied France. I think she developed her deep compassion watching both her countrymen and the occupiers struggle to make sense of the world in wartime. She was an iconoclast and rebelled against the upper-class world from where she came, making her own life on her own terms. As a mother she was an inexhaustible source of love, wisdom, and support. She could be quick tempered, but she never held on to her anger. You always knew she loved you even when she was upset with you. I hope E. knows that I never stop loving her even when I’m upset with her about something—that deep knowing you are loved no matter what—that’s very important for kids to have.
Where do you turn for support as a mom? How important is to connect with mom peers? How do you think an organization like Motherhood Later…Than Sooner can be helpful to later families? I have a small group of women where I live that have made my motherhood experience incredible. I met them all through being a mother in one-way or another—mainly, because their children were or became my daughter’s friends. These women are like sisters to me and we are like a tribe, supporting each other, watching over each other’s kids.
We were all about the same age when we had kids, some of us are stay-at-home moms, others have big careers in the city, but we all value being mothers deeply. They are all great parents, they are all different kinds of moms, but they’ve also been wonderful role models. I think any organization that helps you and supports your choices as a parent can be wonderfully helpful and should be sought out. It really takes a village…
What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a parent, particularly if they’re 35 or older? Do it. You don’t have to give birth to be a parent, but if you feel compelled to have your own, and you can, then do it. Otherwise, consider adoption…so many beautiful kids need loving parents and stable homes.
I think being a parent after 35 is the best, because you can really embrace it, but obviously I’m biased!
When you became a mom, did your own mother or father share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated? Or do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you that you’d like to pass on? My mother had a saying she lived by “Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe.” “The dogs are barking, but the caravan passes.” In other words, let people say what they will.
It meant to her that people will always criticize what you are doing, especially if it is new and different, but don’t let that stop you from living your life and being who you really are meant to be. You are the only one who can live your life, and your life is unique so be true to yourself and don’t worry about what the “dogs” are saying. She believed that to her core, and I think it’s a powerful way to live your life. I would add, be compassionate towards others as you passionately pursue your own path.