Meet Later Mom Nekesa Mumbi Moody (Interview by Robin Gorman Newman)

AGE: 40+

Nekesa is a veteran journalist who is Global Entertainment & Lifestyles Editor at Associated Press, where she previously served as Music Editor.


What was your road to parenthood like?  It was definitely an uphill climb! I always wanted to have children, and when I married my soulmate, I hoped it would happen quickly, since I was already what you would call “advanced” maternal age (which these days seems to be past 35!). But it didn’t. I had fertility challenges and went through a lot of struggles until I was put on the path to adoption. Even adoption can have its challenges, but we have been blessed with our amazing baby boy.

How does being a mom influence your work?  It makes me more focused because I don’t have the time that I used to. I can’t stay as late as I once did, or work without interruption at home. I also drive now because of him, so I don’t have that subway reading time.

I try to knock out as much as I can in my day, though of course I still do work late at home when my son takes his naps.

How do you balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits? I think I’m balancing parenting and professional pretty well, and a bit of the personal. It’s much harder for me to do things for myself _ getting my hair done sometimes means doing it myself, and manicures and pedicures are rare. But I still get to enjoy being home with my son and hubby and since the baby is so adorable, I get lots of visits from friends!

(with her husband)

What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over?  Having a baby at my age, particularly because of my struggles, tends to make me much more appreciative of this blessing. I sing and giggle with my son all the time, even if it’s a 4 a.m. diaper change, because I want him to know he’s loved and happy. He makes me smile at every moment, unless he’s sick, then I’m sad because I want him to feel better! I’m just so appreciative.

The only negative thing is I think about how many years I have with him … and worry that there will be milestones when he’s in mid adulthood that I may not be here for. But that also makes me want to take care of myself and be as healthy as possible so I can be here when he’s in his 40s, or even later!!

What do you love the most about it, and what is the most challenging?  I love watching him grow, every milestone. I love that he laughs now, he has a sense of humor. He’s such a joy to be around. The most challenging is making sure  we do all the necessary things to clear space for him so he can truly explore and have room for the crawling phase, and everything else. Babies collect a lot of stuff!

Do you think it’s particularly tough to parent in this electronics age?  I worry about what twitter and facebook will be like, and cyberbullying. That concerns me, but I think I will be on top of it and hopefully these online things will morph into something positive once he gets older.

(with singer Janet Jackson)

What do you most want to teach your son?   What have you learned from him thus far?  Every day I pray that he grows up to be healthy and happy and a kind, loving person. And I think that won’t be hard; he’s already the sweetest thing I know. I have learned to be even more patient and just go with the flow.  Today, I was about to leave with him for work, and I noticed that he had suddenly pooped in his diaper. Instead of stressing about whether I would make my meeting, I just chalked it up to mommyhood and recalled  that meetings will always be there, and that these moments are precious, and he always comes first.

Has anyone shared any particular parenting advice that has really resonated with you?  Someone told me that every age as wonderful, if you’re parenting right, and that really stuck with me, because people will sometimes say, oh when they are 1, it’s the best age, when they are 4, etc … I want to enjoy each phase of this wonderful journey.

Any memories from your own childhood that inspire you, or things you hope to do differently from your parents?  My mother was filled with laughter and had a great sense of humor, and I want to make sure that my son grows up with that kind of household, which it already is. I just hope and pray I have the resources to do alot with my son, take him on vacations, go around the world …we didn’t have the ability to do that when I was a kid.

(with singer Taylor Swift)

What words of wisdom would you share with someone contemplating motherhood over age 35?  Just do it! I was worried that I would be tired, wouldn’t have energy, but the reason I’m tired these days is because I’m a new mom! Plus, I feel like I have more strength. I am so grateful for the blessing that has come my way, and whenever it came into my life I would have been grateful, but after so many years wishing for it, I’m so glad now.

Finally, one of the great things about being a mom late in life is I’ve accomplished so much with work, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything when I can’t do it because I have to stay home with him. I’ve missed key movie screenings, concerts, and other events, but I know that I’m not missing out because the best night I could ever have would be with my son and my husband.