The Reinvention of Mama by Author & Later Mom Deena Goldstein

At various times in our lives, we’re defined by what we want and what we’re doing.

In our twenties, we may have our eyes on a diploma, an apartment, and a good paying job. Fast forward to the thirties (and it does go fast!), women find themselves settling into “who we are” and now, jobs turn into careers, and life becomes a box many wish to fill with a plus one and children.

By the time childless women are in their thirties, some may feel like an enigma to family and friends. At social gatherings and family events – whispers titter across the air – “she’s getting older, you think she’ll ever have kids?”, “I wonder what’s going on, she’s been married a while, why isn’t she having children?”. Honestly, if you want to enjoy the pot being stirred, it’s the perfect conversation starter wherever you go. Especially family members desperate for grandchildren – they love to speculate.

As with much of our lives, we don’t get to choose the when and where of it all. When we meet our partner, when we land that perfect job or when we have children. And for many women, it’s later in life. Perhaps it doesn’t seem later for them, but the perception is that it’s later than norms.

As we know, norms mean nothing – what does means something, is what works for us as individuals, without pressure or commentary from what anyone else is doing. I prefer emotional horse blinders myself, because there’s no one else privy to why I made the choices I’ve made.

I was one of those women. I met my husband at 33 on a blind date (another conversation fire starter – “what’s wrong, why is she still single” – obviously, singledom, for many seems like a leprosy diagnosis). I gave birth to my incredible daughter and love of my life at age 35.

“Oh my god, I’m a mom!” I would say to myself daily! While my husband worked, I was afforded the wonderful opportunity of staying at home with my daughter. I was over the moon. Each day, I planned like a camp counselor – up, dressed, fed, diaper bag in hand and off we’d jaunt to a climbing playground, mommy lunches, the library and art projects at home (I loved one-on-one time with my daughter, so that was my favorite!).

As a young couple, finances were tight, and I felt the need to contribute. Like many women, we want to be at home raising our children, but desire to help with the bottom line. I refer to these times as periods of “reinvention”, where we draw on our experiences, talents and gifts to think “out of the box”. By the way, this type of thinking is a prerequisite to being a mom (along with excessive multitasking!).

In our thirties and forties, we are settled in like a needle on a well-worn record, navigating the deep grooves of our day to day lives. As mother’s, we define ourselves as “a mom” and often lose sight of who are as a person. We get lost in the comfort and repetition of our daily lives.

The good news is, you can be whomever and whatever you’d like AND, be the super-mom you wish to be. Motherhood doesn’t always require you drop the ball on doing what you love. It does require some sacrifice and willingness to adjust timelines and think out of the box.

Once you have a child, what you wanted to do when you were 24, might feel differently, so taking a deep inventory of what your interests are is critical. You are not the same today as you were yesterday, and tomorrow you will be different than today. It’s a wonderful evolution of us becoming the best of ourselves we can be. And the best part is, there is no right or wrong. Give yourself permission to reinvent who you are, what you want to be and what you want to do – and yes – all under the wonderful blanket of motherhood.

Even at a young age, your children will be witness to your discovery and process – and what an incredible example for them to be a part of. They may be young, but like fresh sponges, they will absorb you by example. I’m confident that at some point in their lives, your example will bubble up inside them and guide them well.

My daughter is now in her twenties. My multiple reinventions have been life changing. And what you will find, as I did, is that everything connects. I never stopped creating and doing my artwork. Artwork morphed into digital and multimedia painting, exhibits and an online gallery ( Fast forward to me having the blessing of living close to my parents and sharing life with them as they aged. When a terminal diagnosis defined the immanent mortality of my father (and best friend), I reinvented again (unintentionally). I found myself writing. And I wrote for more than a year. Recently, I released my debut memoir, OK, Little Bird (now available on Amazon for preorder at about the unforgettable father-daughter relationship we shared. It’s irreverent, funny and inspiring. Those who have special relationships with loved ones will enjoy voicemails, family dinner craziness and lots of love. I took the gift of humor I learned from my father (I told you those examples we set for our children will come back to guide them!) and utilized it to navigate the most painful loss in my life. Readers will take a bouncy ride from laughter to tears, turning the last page inspired.

Through it all, I never stop being a mother and friend to my incredible daughter, I simply found myself along the journey of mothering, which started when I was 35. Age is a construct that means nothing, doing what you love means everything. Be healthy, be safe and embrace the whenever and wherever you decide to be a mom. It may not be easy, as we age our bodies and stamina change – but it will be the best journey you will ever embark on and truly, the gift that keeps on giving.

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