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.
Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
Your child is struggling with a new subject: math/spelling/reading
Your child dislikes his new teacher or there’s been a change in the curriculum
Your child just wants some extra attention from you, alone
Your child needs a “mental health day” away from school
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
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!
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.
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:
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:
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