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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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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
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!
With the trend towards parenting by the over-35 crowd, it’s no wonder that there’s a collective feeling of exhaustion that exists amongst those parents who just want to put their feet up and chill in front of the TV. The stress ratchets up a notch or two when your child insists on a physically-challenging activity that may not only tire you, but injure you as well.
Thankfully, there are options for those who, for whatever reasons, be it age, physical limitations or otherwise, are not able to literally keep up with their kids. Read on for simple solutions that won’t put a damper on the fun.
Five Tips For Tired or Older Parents
1) Set your own goals – You’re NOT 25 and nor should you behave like you are, or expect to keep up with those 10 or more years younger than you. Yes – the young, energetic moms and dads may be able to physically race after their kids but you, dear parent, are likely more financially stable, more patient and less worried about the minutia of day-to-day life. For these reasons alone, march to the beat of your own drum and leave the (literal) running around to those who have the energy to do so.
“March to the beat of your own drum and leave the (literal) running around to those who have the energy to do so”
2) Get in shape, within reason – Physical fitness has been proven to provide the stamina and energy required for running after active kids. Do something that is healthy but not stressful on your body. Keeping tip number one in mind, set your own goals and make plans to be healthy within the range of your own abilities (not anyone else’s). Consider yoga, walking or low-impact cardio activities that will get your blood pumping without causing any physical pain or damage.
3)Think “quality” not “quantity.” – So, you’re not up for another three hours of touch football following your two-hour hike through the local trail? No worries – it’s not about how much you do with your child, but rather how memorable and fun each activity you do with them becomes. In other words, it’s perfectly fine to hike with your child for half-an hour as opposed to two hours. Similarly, play that game of touch football but end it before you start feeling those physical strains, aches and pains.
4) Encourage non-physical activities – Fun and games doesn’t always have to include running, jumping, climbing or dancing. Make some new memories with your kids that don’t include a physical element. Do what you did when you were a kid: play board games, cards, go for walks or lie down outside and gaze at the stars on a clear night.
5) Meditate and be thankful – You’re in a place where so many would like to be – you’re “mom” or “dad” to a child/children and there’s nothing more amazing than that. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Use mindfulness to help you both appreciate the positive things in your life (like family) as well as to calm your mind when the stress of parenting gets to be a challenge on various occasions.
And yes – I am both an older and a tired parent. Read all about it here:
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 an inexpensive date or a cheap way to entertain the kids on a weekend afternoon or evening?
Between the popcorn, the giant drinks (no smaller sizes are to be found in most movie theatres these days) and the candy, you’re realistically looking at close to $100 for a family of four to go to the movies and indulge in some unhealthy snacks while doing so.
For this reason, among others, is it any wonder that parents are looking for less pricey ways of entertaining the family? With flat-screen TVs and home entertainment systems more accessible than ever, what seems to be the only thing missing to have a full-blown “night at the movies” experience at home is the popcorn and, of course, the movie. Thankfully, this problem is one that can be solved pretty easily.
A recent night in (due to sheer exhaustion, laziness and cheapness by yours truly), the kids started complaining that they had nothing to do, nothing to watch and that they were generally bored. Feeling tired and disengaged, it sounded to me like the perfect evening to have a “movie night” and to get the old Netflix streaming along with some goodies and snacks to keep the kids engaged.
On the agenda? Night at the Museum – Secret of the Tomb. My boys loved this flick and it kept them engaged for the whole hour and a half.
For my tween daughter, Freaky Friday (the remake, not this original version, which I loved back in the day) is just the flick that will engage older elementary school and pre-teen kids. Heck – I’d venture to say that teens would like it too, as well as some adults (guilty).
Finally, if you want some more adult entertainment that the kids can still enjoy, how about these options:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a classic – and still makes me laugh out loud all of these years. The kids will love it too, though it does set back your lessons on “respect for your teachers and authorities” just a tad.
For teens and adults, you may both enjoy the “Men in Black” franchise, both the original and the sequel:
That’s it for this month! What are you watching with the kids (or alone)? Tell me about it in the comments section below.
Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
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 recently had the pleasure of speaking with Rita DeMontis, who has made her mark as an award-winning Lifestyle and Food journalist for over 36 years.
On the eve of the back-to-school craziness that engulfs most households with kids, we spoke about a number of topics, including “Helicopter Parenting,” the effects of coddling children, freedom and a the importance of maintaining a “tech-free zone” every so often. It was great to have this discussion as these topics are becoming increasingly more pressing and real for so many of us who are trying to raise our kids the best we can.
We had a great discussion and got on famously while “dishing” on the challenges of raising children in a digital age. As with so many other posts on this blog, the topic of how to balance technology and kids’ screen time, as well as “the good old days” were key themes throughout the interview.
Have a listen and tell me what you think about some of the topics that we touched upon during the interview. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
To listen to the full interview, start at 14:10 to 25:50
Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
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