The Perspective Of Being An Older Mom

by Gigi Ross on April 2, 2014

older momMoms share some universal experiences and feelings. But what about perspective? Do you think that older moms approach parenting in a different way? Melissa from Home On Deranged does – and she would know. She had first child at 40. Read on to hear how being an older mom has changed her perspective.

The day I found out I was going to be a first-time mom, I was already 40 years old. The day I found out I was going to have another, I was 41. Sure, my head was filled with all the bad possibilities that the doctors said were likely with my “old eggs.”

It wasn’t until after our daughters were born, each with all 10 toes and all 10 fingers, that I realized, this parenting business is nerve wracking, no matter what age you are. But the beauty of being an older first-time mom is perspective. It’s all about perspective.

1) Some of the moms I come in contact with are young enough to be my kids.
I’m now 44 years old. And considering the life I led in my 20s, this is something to be proud of. But I recognize that I could be mom to a 20-something. And it’s a very odd sensation. I remember my 20s. Well, most of it. I partied hard, drank too much, smoked too much, stayed out way too late, had questionable dating partners and exceedingly ridiculous job choices. Now, my fellow toddler moms, they seem so young to me, and as the older, “wiser” mom, I find myself saying, “It’s going to be okay. It always works out. Somehow.”

2) Secretly, I’m kind of glad that I was an older first-time mom.
Yeah, those crazy 20s. If I’d had a kid, heaven knows how that poor child would have turned out. I was too focused on a career, too focused on not getting married just yet, and too focused on having fun. With all of that out of my system, I don’t begrudge my children for my lack of bar hopping nights, never going to fancy restaurants, or getting to put money in my IRA. I’m glad to be past that. Although I do miss dancing. A lot.

3) The stylish moms will never invite me to their club.
I see plenty of younger moms in yoga pants or t-shirts, hair in a ponytail or under a hat, clearly just trying to run errands in peace. But then I see the ones with manicured nails, perfectly coiffed hair, the latest trends in tops, skirts and shoes, and I think, “Man, I don’t remember seeing that at JC Penney the other day.” I used to be the trendy girl. I wonder if I’ll ever be again.

4) The size 8 jeans have been donated.
Since I’ve never been a “small” girl (only short), gaining weight during pregnancy didn’t phase me too much. And I was one of the lucky ones who returned to pre-pregnancy weight quickly. But these 20-somethings in their skintight jeans, who don’t look like their skin ever stretched to carry a child, yeah, I’ll never be that mom. I’ll be the “pleasingly plump” mom at all the parties, the one who doesn’t show her belly, much less her belly button ring. In my 40s, I can lose weight and tone, but I will never wear a bikini again. And you can all thank me for that later.

5) The realities of life have already hit me. Hard.
I don’t have the same nonchalance I had in my 20s. I don’t think I’m invincible. I don’t think my parents will live forever. I think about health insurance, life insurance, private school tuition, college tuition, making sure that my husband is healthy in case something happens to me. I’m not surprised when finances fall, or big, bad, chronic illnesses take hold. It’s a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I wish I was still surprised or even shocked by the things that kids can do (hello, poop deposited in my hand). On the other, I don’t freak out when my kids eat dirt, and I’m the mom who picks up a dropped pacifier off the floor and licks it clean, to the horrified looks on younger mom faces.

Being older hasn’t made me the perfect mom. It has made me a slightly more laid-back mom, which has resulted in independent children who often wear clothes that may or may not have been washed since the last wearing. I’m old. I can’t always see the stains.

About the Author
After a career in journalism, Melissa Swedoski thought she was well informed on the chaos of everyday life. Then she married a man 13 years her junior and became a SAHM to two toddler girls. Now, she’s mumbling through the mayhem of marriage and motherhood, turning her investigative eye on the mishaps and misadventures of parenting and the marathon that is marriage. She is a contributor to Motherhood Later…Than Sooner, and her work appears in The Mother of All Meltdowns. Find her living her big little life at Home on Deranged.

 

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Loving My Child Through Anorexia

by Gigi Ross on March 26, 2014

helping a child through anorexia

What happens when your world turns upside down? What happens when you learn that your daughter has an illness that you never thought she’d have? What happens when she has anorexia? Today, Jennifer writes a beautiful post about how she faced this challenging situation with her own daughter.

I am a homeschooler. Not just your run of the mill homeschooler, but part of an even stranger subculture. In my 15 years of homeschooling I have ground wheat, baked sourdough bread, lived off the grid, raised chickens and even wore denim dresses for a blessedly short time.

After sixteen years of living this lifestyle of total devotion to having a natural home, with little emphasis on looking amazing, I was shocked to realize that my daughter was dealing with anorexia. It came on as suddenly as a sandstorm, bringing devastation in its wake. My daughter had always been a stoic little thing, and the accident that preceded her disorder was a perfect example of her grace under pressure. She had been rappelling down a cliff face with friends when a lone rock came tumbling down on her cliff-braced thigh, tearing the flesh while she was suspended in mid air. After hiking two miles out oozing blood into a bandage, she was rushed to the hospital for stitches. An infection followed, with the inevitable bacteria destroying antibiotics. Sadly, those same antibiotics also destroyed the good bacteria in my daughter’s gut, which left her more susceptible to depression and mental disorders.

As the infection healed, my daughter stopped eating, and as the weight dropped off her small but sturdy frame, her paranoia about her size increased. Soon, my angelic daughter who had rarely rebelled was pitching huge fits as I tried to encourage her to eat. I was completely unprepared mentally to deal with this disorder. My daughter had been a perfect child, a little intense at times but a simply amazing person. She was a natural beauty, prettiest when she had been cavorting in the sand at the beach or running through the brush on our property. She had always seemed perfectly unconcerned with her body and with cultural concepts of beauty. I had several friends who had struggled with eating disorders in high school, but since they had both come from difficult homes, I couldn’t conceive of how this monster had visited my “perfect” home.

However, as my daughters delusions about her size continued, I could no longer ignore the truth that was staring me down. Sadly, I felt completely alone in this struggle. In the homeschool world, there is such an emphasis on raising good kids, that I couldn’t imagine what my friends would think. Even the books on anorexia that I found were completely discouraging. One in particular laid all the blame for an eating disorder on an overprotective mother, and the only cure suggested was a drop off at the nearest treatment facility.

Although this assumption about me as a mother had a shadow of truth, the advice was abhorrent to me. I could remember my high school friend going in and out of rehab, usually ending up with a group of even more dangerous friends each time she checked out. After sixteen years of putting my heart and soul into parenting this amazing girl, turning her over to strangers was not an appealing option. I finally found a book which was a beautiful gift. “Eating With Your Anorexic” by Laura Collins, outlined the Maudsley Method which simply encourages parents to do exactly what the treatment centers would do. Feed their child.

This was absolutely life changing. I had been in deep water with a terrifying disorder that I knew nothing about. Suddenly the path was clear. I didn’t have to stand aside wringing my hands while strangers were given the privilege of loving my child through her illness. Although this was just a first step in a long path which involved lots of counsel, it made perfect sense.  As I began to understand that while my daughter was starving she couldn’t make good decisions for her own body, I had the confidence to require her to eat, and as she ate, her recovery was initiated.

There were many other islands of hope during this stormy time. We were blessed with strong faith in a loving God and supportive family members who were available as counselors to both my daughter and myself.

Although there were many “aha” moments which put us on the road to physical recovery, my daughter credits the turning point in her mental recovery to a speaker she heard who shared a verse from the Bible, a verse which says that we are, “Called and kept by God.”

Kept, a small word, but so descriptive of how even through such an intense time, God kept us safe and gave us just enough wisdom for the day. For all His gifts, I cannot help but be forever grateful.

Jennifer Pepito is married to her best friend and mom to seven children. She enjoys writing and speaking about the adventure of motherhood, drinking strong coffee and reading good books to her children (and herself).. She blogs about her adventures at http://homeschoolingforthewholefamily.blogspot.com

 

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Telling The Truth To Tween Girls

March 19, 2014

Tweet If you have tween girls (or soon-to-be tween girls), this post will make you laugh. It will also make you afraid. It least it did for me! We all have to decide what, where and how much to share about sex, puberty and all things grownup with our tween daughters. But it’s not as […]

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Raising Kids Dangerously

March 12, 2014

Tweet Do you raise your kids the mainstream way – a house, a yard, a pet, a school routine? While we all might have small differences in the way we parent, the general environment we do it in is fairly the same for most of us. Not so for Behan, who lives on a sailboat […]

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My Marriage is Not My Masterpiece…And Why That’s OK

March 5, 2014

Tweet When I was younger, I wanted to be married so badly. I wanted the companionship, the family, the love. I wanted lazy Sundays in bed and long walks. I wanted gazing into each other’s eyes and secret smiles and laughter. I wanted a movie scene. The problem is that movie scene portrayals of relationships […]

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The Best Of The Wisest Kid

February 25, 2014

Tweet This post was sponsored by Campbell’s Condensed Soups. As some of you know, I’ve been working with Campbell’s Condensed Soups over the last five months to bring you great ideas on how you can make mealtime fun and easy for your family. I’ve introduced you to The Wisest Kid, a very cute, smart and […]

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Irish Fonts

February 14, 2014

Tweet Out with the pink, in with the green! It’s time to start getting ready for St. Patty’s Day! Here are some terrific Irish and Celtic fonts that will be great for your St. Patrick’s Day craft projects. Learn where to download these after the image! (P.S. I’ve got last year’s St. Patrick’s Day font […]

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Wonder Woman Does Not Exist

February 12, 2014

Tweet Ever had another woman ask you, “How do you do it all?” How do you answer that question? For many of us, we don’t. Even though people might think we’ve got it all figured out, we know the truth. Things fall through the cracks. Mistakes are made. We’re not Wonder Woman. Or maybe it’s […]

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6 Free Can’t-Miss Resources for Kids with Learning Disabilities

February 10, 2014

Tweet I don’t know about y’all, but I find that as my kids get closer to middle school, unexpected issues pop up that I’m not necessarily prepared for. One day my son might come home with a D on a science quiz. Or my daughter was excluded on the playground by someone she thought was […]

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Parenting With Your Ex: Tips For Success

February 5, 2014

Tweet I’ve had plenty of friends navigate the difficult world of parenting after divorce. It seems that one of the trickiest parts is redefining a relationship with one’s ex so that it’s positive for everybody involved. I love this post from Maggie of In Mama Maggie’s Kitchen because she’s living proof that change comes from […]

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