Panel of older moms discuss their experiences on national television show

Canada AM Panel

Between The New Family, Toronto Life and Canada AM, there’s been a lot of discussion in my world about being an “older mom.”

The reality is, however, that becoming a parent later in life is an increasingly more common occurrence. As women struggle with financial responsibilities, career goals and the inherent challenges of biology and fertility that age brings, the definition of “older mom” will continue to shift. While my personal situation is atypical (having raised a child to adulthood and also raising young children), my experience in being an older mom to elementary-aged children is not.

As a result of the Toronto Life and The New Family articles and podcast, the conversation on this topic continued on Canada AM (You can read the full Toronto Life article here:The Mid-Life Moms Club).

The segment made me reflect upon some of the both positive and negative aspects of parenting at an advanced age. Here’s some of the pros and cons of having children when you’re over 40 (or in your late 30’s).


  • I’m more calm and confident in my abilities
  • I’m more self-assured and less anxious
  • More financially stable/more money available
  • I’ve had the experience of already raising a child so know what to expect and am able to provide advice to first-time parents who are uncertain
  • Life experience has made me wiser and I don’t feel like I have something to prove
  • Career is more established when you’re older with kids
  • People judge me and think I’m crazy
  • Less energy than I had when parenting at a younger age – I get tired more easily
  • Going through menopause and middle-age while dealing with young kids or teen angst can be challenging
  • Generally speaking, older parents will have less time to spend with your kids and may not be able to be an actively-engaged grandparent due to age-related illness
  • Kids may not get to know their grandparents (my younger kids never met their paternal grandparents)

Did I miss any? :)

Watch the full segment here and let me know your thoughts:

Canada AM: Becoming a Mom at 40+

What are your thoughts about becoming a mom later in life? Has this been your experience or do you know someone who has taken this untraditional route? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.


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Faking It: When Your Kid Pretends to be Sick

by Samantha on November 7, 2015

So you suspect your child isn't really sick? Here are 5 tips for what to do

All of a sudden, your kid is nursing a cold. Then it’s a horrible tummy ache. Then their head hurts.

Trouble is, they were fine just a few minutes ago.

Coincidentally, you find out that one (or more) of the following things is occurring:

  1. Your child has a newfound bully
  2. Your child is struggling with a new subject: math/spelling/reading
  3. Your child dislikes his new teacher or there’s been a change in the curriculum
  4. Your child just wants some extra attention from you, alone
  5. Your child needs a “mental health day” away from school
  6. Your child is officially addicted to video games and would much rather stay home in bed all day playing Minecraft than be at school slugging through  the Three R’s

There are many reasons behind why your child may say that they’re sick when they’re not.

They could be trying to avoid a difficult situation at school. They may be feeling lazy and, like all of us, just need a day off to relax and reboot. Or, sadly an more alarmingly, their feigning illness may be a subtle cry for attention regarding something that’s very wrong at school, or an effort to avoid an uncomfortable or troubling situation that may await.

We’ve all tried this trick as kids – I know I did; my parents still laugh so many years later about the time I faked illness when I heard that they had both taken the day off work to have a movie date, only to be sidetracked by my “mystery illness.”

Indeed, most instances of “faking it” are caused by the usual reasons, most of which are innocuous; it’s the more insidious ones that we, as parents, need to be aware of so that we can address the causes at the basis of why our children are avoiding school.

If you believe your child is faking being sick, here’s what to do:

  1. Get to the root of the problem. Your child’s feigned illness may be caused by a number of things. The desire to stay home may be linked to something minor, like just wanting to have the freedom to play all day or take it easy. Conversely, not wanting to go to school could be the result of something major, like being the victim of bullying. Consider any recent changes to your child’s life – both at school and at home. Remember – even what an adult may consider a minor change or shift in how things are done can have a major effect on kids.
  2. Make sure they really aren’t sick – Look for measurable, physiological symptoms. Take their temperature, gauge their behaviour (sick one moment, happy and laughing the next) and look for other tell-tale signs of real illness (lethargy, no appetite, bathroom frequency, etc.).  Following all of these steps will help you figure out what’s really going on with your child and whether or not you have real cause for concern.
  3. Open the doors of communication – Talk to your child, consistently. Don’t wait until a claim of being sick before asking questions an finding out what’s going on in your son or daughter’s’s life. Discuss their daily activities, specifically what they’re doing in school (academically an socially), as part of your regular conversations. Sometimes it’s hard to do, but by making it easy and safe to talk about difficult topics with your child, the real reasons behind their hesitance to go to school will become apparent.
  4. Line Up Resources – You may have an inkling that your child’s problem is more involved that you originally thought. For this reason alone, it may be time to call in the experts. Start with your in-school resources, including the school counsellor, nurse and of course your child’s teacher(s) and principal. Most educators are happy to help parents and kids resolve any issues that may be occurring.
  5. Bite your tongue – Your first instinct may be to say “You’re fine!” or “No, you’re not sick! You’re going to school.” Often, if a child is indeed faking being sick, there are larger issues at play (see point #1). A gentle touch and gentle prodding will likely garner you much more information than following your first instincts that may stop your child from revealing what’s really going on.

Does your child fake illnesses in order to avoid going to school? What are the reasons for your kids’ behaviour? Are they trivial or more serious? How do you handle these situations? Tell me about it in the comments section below.


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Ivy Lea KOA provides an enjoyable camping experience for non-campers

I’m not a camper.

Anyone who knows me knows that camping and I — “never the twain shall meet”

Having grown up as a first generation Canadian with parents from the Caribbean, the whole “camping in the woods, getting back to nature, avoiding bears paradigm was lost on me. The few times that I’ve gone camping haven’t turned out particularly well. On one occasion, I froze my tush off when the temperatures dropped to almost 0 degrees Celsius. Not exactly my idea of a good time. Suffice it to say that, following this debacle, the thought of revisiting such fun activities was not the first thing that came to mind.

And then of course, I heard about glamping. Apparently, there’s a movement towards bringing la dolce vita to the great outdoors. You know — a “marshmallows and merlot” sort of vibe. After roasting these sugar bombs on a stick, you, too, can retire to your fully decked-out tent (if you can call it that) that is not only heated and spectacularly furnished, but, in some cases, includes indoor plumbing. This, so you don’t have to relieve yourself in the woods in the middle of the night like the common folk do.

Surely, I thought to myself, there must be a happy medium to each of these extremes. What does one do when they don’t want to wake up aching after spending the night on a cold and bumpy tent floor or they don’t want to spend a pretty penny “glamping up” a fully-furnished, industrial-sized tent just to get a good night’s sleep?
Thankfully, there is an in-between option for camping-shy folks like myself, and it works. Think cottage-meets-camping-meets-nature-meets comfort. Not exactly “glamping” (something I don’t get, really, why not just be inside instead of outfitting a tent?) but not throwing caution to the wind – or sleeping in the wind – either.

This camping middle ground is a great alternative for those of us who aren’t “outdoorsy” enough to rough it like the big kids, or aren’t ready to pop open the Moët & Chandon while moose roam around outside.

Some may call it “Outdoor hospitality” or “Soft rugged.” I, unashamedly, call it “the comfortable and easy way out.”

I recently took the family to this well-needed middle ground at KOA Ivy Lea, located in the Thousand Islands. Having never been to this part of Ontario (heading North to cottage country from Toronto, not East has been the usual route during the summer long weekends), I was eager to check out the scenery and also find out if there really were 1,000 islands embedded in the St. Lawrence River (there are).
To say that there was some trepidation about the accommodations is an understatement – let’s just say that there have been previous experiences where the family and I entered our rented cabin and fear and disgust were just two of the emotions felt upon walking through the door.

Not so with this latest escapade, as the cabin was decked out with all of the advertised amenities with no surprises (thankfully!). Yes, I love nature and the great outdoors, but I also love satellite TV, a fully outfitted kitchen and running water. Oh, and heat, on a cold September night.

“Check” to all three.

Waking up in the morning to a freshly brewed cup of coffee indoors, via a coffee-maker is a really great thing. Yes, I know – it’s all about the fire, right? No worries – that can still be done…and then you can go inside to sleep…on a bed.

The site was nestled in a lovely part of the Thousand Islands, with easy access to the Thousand Island boat tours that are popular with tourists. The family and I took a boat tour with one of the many tour operators that are offered in the region (thanks to KOA Thousand Island owner, Dave, for helping to coordinate and for being a generally amazing host). Check online for a variety of options and cruise providers to suit the tour that will best suit you and the family.

A quick rundown of what made my “camping” trip at KOA Ivy League agreeable (other than the obvious fact that I was not sleeping on the rough or soggy floor of a tent):

The cabin was spotlessly clean and well taken care of – When I walked in with the family, I breathed a sigh of relief that there was not a dust bunny, mouldy smell or grimy appliance to be found.

Main cabin area







There was a reasonably-sized kitchen area with a stove (gas),a full fridge, making cooking for the family a breeze. Bring along some groceries that you can pick up in town and you’re good to go.



No middle-of-the-night trips to the woods to pee here: there was a three-piece bathroom with a shower.



Ever shivered in a sleeping bag while inside a tent when temperatures dip much lower than you planned for? I have. It’s not fun. And for this reason, sleeping inside, where there’s a  fully-functioning furnace for cold nights is appreciated.

Accommodations for our family were great – with the three kids, myself and my husband, we comfortably slept in our own respective spaces. The boys had a small  but cozy room that had a bunk bed – perfect for mischief-heavy evenings when sleep was the last thing that was on their minds.

Boys bunk


Kids in bunk bed


The Master Bedroom was clean, comfortable and large enough to sleep a couple, as it included a Queen-sized bed. It also had generous storage (drawers, wardrobe) for clothes and personal items. Oh – an the view out of the window was great.




In the main living area, the futon is large enough to sleep two adults and one child, or three children, or a combination of all. In other words, the space is generous for anyone who’s looking for a good night’s sleep.


Okay – I’m a bit of a slave to technology and so are my kids. Guilty. I’m also not very good at being creative all of the time, especially when the kids are whining about being bored. For this reason, I’m fully admitting doing whatever is required to keep the children quiet, if only for an hour or so, just for some peace and quiet. Selfish, I know, but so necessary, especially on a family vacation where the weather may disappoint or downright spoil any possibility of enjoying the great outdoors.

This is a very long way of saying that the large TV and satellite service are welcome amenities for those who are traveling with kids to this location.



*Note* The wi-fi was spotty and in the cabin it wasn’t accessible. Apparently it’s under repair so will likely be up and running better than ever by the time you visit!

What I really love about the cabin was the privacy. It was nestled in the woods and a bit off the beaten path, though only steps to all of the outdoor amenities (if that makes any sense), such as the swimming pool, the main building/store, the playground and the hot tub (if you get one of the cabins that have one – make sure to specify this when you book).


The way that the camp is set up is that there are many heavily-treed areas that afford visitors the visual privacy yet are not too far away from the popular features on the campsite grounds. The cabin itself is lovely, with a full deck, outfitted with some Muskoka chairs, a BBQ and a table that can easily fit a family of five. If not enjoying a meal, the deck also provides a great place for reading, relaxing, and socializing, or for the kids – a place to play.





The campground provides a number of amenities, not the least of which were a pool with a slide (the kids love it!).

Kids in the pool

FullSizeRender (2)

There was also a huge trampoline-type thing where one can jump to one’s heart’s desire. Yes – we all got into the groove:




VIDEO: KOA Trampoline Fun

Some things to remember:

  • There are no linens,  so bring your own, as well as towels.
  • Bring groceries with you – there are a few items available in the campsite store, but they’re more expensive than they are at the supermarket and the selection is limited.
  • This location and cabins in particular are very popular so book ahead to make sure you can get exactly the type of accommodations that you want.

All in all, the kids had a blast and the family got some well-needed rest and relaxation with the perfect balance of fun in the great outdoors. If it’s not abundantly clear, we had a fantastic time on our trip and hope to visit again next year.

Verdict? Highly-recommended!fourstars

Finally, for those of you who are confused about the title of this blog post, here’s some ’80’s pop as a hint:

VIDEO: Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

Are you a camper? Do you like roughing it outside, or do you like the “camping lite” type of holiday similar to the one described above? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.


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Article outlines the personal stories of moms who became parents over the age of 40

On family, over the ages.

The November, 2015 edition of Toronto Life magazine peers into the lives of women who have bucked convention and have gone on to become moms at the ripe old age of 40+.

Who are these women and what were they thinking, really?

We may feel that attitudes towards the raising of children have changed drastically over the years, but you’d be surprised at how far we still have to go. Society’s preconceptions about what is an “acceptable” age for becoming a mother hasn’t changed as much as many of us would like. And while medical technology has advanced the cause for those who may have had difficulty conceiving in previous times, attitudes towards older women having children still has a long way to go.

Read the stories of women who have become mothers past the age of 40, along with my own journey to parenting children over four decades in this edition of Toronto Life.

If you’re able, pick up a copy and read the full feature or if you’re not able to, stay tuned to this blog where I’ll update this post with a link to the digital version of the story (which is not online yet, but will be).

**UPDATE** Here’s a link to the full article: “The Mid-Life Mom’s Club



Do you have a unique or unusual journey to parenthood? Tell me about it in the comments section below!


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PODCAST: Parenting in Four Decades!

by Samantha on October 29, 2015

What's it like to raise kids in very different times? Listen to The New Family podcast and find out


What’s it like to parent kids in four decades?

Sounds like a strange question, but it’s one that I can answer.

You see, I’ve done it – and continue to do it with my four children, who range in age from adulthood to elementary school age.

Confused? Surprised? Intrigued?

Read The New Family article where I provide details and listen to The New Family Podcast where I’m interviewed on the topic by The New Family website founder, Brandie Weikle.

the new family

On the podcast, I had a great discussion with Brandie, who provided me with the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics related to my unique parenting journey. Some items that we spoke about include:

  • Parenting in the digital age – how technology has change how we parent in today’s world
  • Becoming a mom in your 40’s – and society’s acceptance or lack of acceptance for this choice
  • Inappropriate and rude comments related to being pregnant at an older age, including discussions on body image and questions regarding fertility and IVF
To download and listen to the episode in iTunes, click here:
To download and listen to the episode via Stitcher radio, click here:
It’s definitely a unique story and has certainly been a trip! Lots of ups an downs and many learnings along the way.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to this great podcast series on iTunes and give it a rating, if you’re so inclined.

Can’t wait to hear what you think of the episode! Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Keeping Up With the Kids – Top 5 Tips For Tired or Older Parents

October 11, 2015

How to have fun and stay active with the kids in spite of your exhaustion Whew! Just looking at this picture tires me out! How about you? If you’re like me – or so many other parents out there – the ability to keep up with your kids is a challenge to say the least! […]

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There’s No Place Like Home For a Family Movie Night

September 29, 2015

Stay in and make family movie night a tradition, with Netflix DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. Remember the days when a “night out at the movies” was […]

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SIRIUS XM Radio Interview: Dishing With Demontis on Parenting

September 25, 2015

Coddling our kids, the effect of technology on parenting and the “good old days” are discussed in this radio segment Parenting. It’s a tall order but someone’s got to do it. Figuring out just how to do it, successfully, however is the question that most parents find themselves wondering about more often than not. I […]

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The Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Active During the Fall

September 22, 2015

How to keep the kids busy during the autumn months Five Fun Family Festivities For Fall School is well underway and fall is in full swing. No more lazy days of summer; nowadays, the kids are antsy on the weekends after a long week of reading, writing and arithmetic. As a result, when the weekend comes, they’re […]

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VIDEO: How to Save Money on Baby Items With Kijiji

September 11, 2015

Advice on how to bring home baby while staying within your budget DISCLAIMER: This post is written in partnership with Kijiji in support of raising awareness about how the Second-Hand Economy can support new parents who are looking for the best value for their family dollar. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely […]

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