ga('send', 'pageview');

About this Blog

MidAge Mom is for women who are parenting in midlife rather than celebrating the empty nest on a beach in Bali . . .

Read more

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

5 Myths About Babies

Once I had a baby, I realized that a lot of what I’d heard about infants was wrong. Or at least it didn’t apply to my situation.

Here are five things they tell you about life after birth that often turn out to be untrue.

Misconceptions About Life With Baby

Nursing Takes the Fat Off.

I nursed my two girls for a year each and never lost a pound from it. Nursing made me ravenous. Early on I had to eat a full meal after doing it. I think nursing makes skinny women lose weight but not heavy ones.

Babies sleep a lot.

Before having my first child, I’d heard that babies sleep as much as 20 hours a day. I was told I’d get a lot of work done while my baby snoozed.

But I didn’t get anything done. My first child was up all the time until we “Ferberized” her when she was six months old, letting her cry it out for a few nights so she could learn to sleep on her own.

My second baby slept all the time. You never know what you’re going to get.

Babies are Angelic.

The truth is that babies can be little terrors who cry a lot. I wasn’t prepared for this. With the first, I thought I was doing something wrong. But babies cry when they’re hungry. They cry when they’re tired. They cry for attention. And they cry for no reason at all.

So if baby is wailing, don’t assume it’s your fault. She’s just acting like a baby.

Babies Make Great Travel Accessories.

I found traveling with my first child hell.

The problem is not just changing them on the plane or having them cry amidst the other passengers. The problem is all the gear you have to bring: the stroller, the car seat, the port-a-crib, the baby carrier, the diaper bag, and an extra change of clothes for the plane – just to name a few things on the packing list.

Worst of all, you have to leave behind your beloved infrastructure: the nursing chair, the diaper-changing table, the kitchen where you can find the bottles.

I’ve never been so glad to get home as after traveling with my first baby.

After having the second, I skipped the trip to Washington D.C for my husband’s law conference, which I’d accompanied him on with our first child. It was hard enough to get baby and toddler out of the house. I was happy to stay home.

Mother Knows Best.

Sometimes. But men seem to have a better sense of self-preservation than women do. Dad is often better at drawing the line; my husband was the one who insisted that we “Ferberize” our first child.

Then again, mom may need to train dad for the job. Some men only step up to the plate when their wives allow or encourage them to.

Train him to give the baby a bath. Then back off and let him do it his way.

The Bottom Line On Babies

There is the advice, there are the guide books. Then there is life with your baby.

Do the best you can, and it will all work out.

***

How is life with your baby going? Share by commenting below! Or contact me at: jenniferbhull@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

***

Don’t miss a post! Receive MidAge Mom free by email or RSS feed. Subscribe Here. And visit my website to receive advice, insights and announcements by subscribing to my free newsletter.

***

                                                                                      Photo © Haywiremedia

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Share

Why Older Mothers Rock

We all know the disadvantages of having kids late.

It’s harder to get pregnant and pregnancy can be tougher than if you were younger. You’re more likely to develop diabetes or high blood pressure. Your risk of chromosome abnormalities resulting in Down syndrome is also higher.

I had to do fertility treatments and had C-sections with both of my daughters, born when I was 40 and 42.

But actually being an older mom rocks. The benefits of having children over 35 or 40 are significant. The more research they do, the more they seem to find.

Consider five advantages of having kids late:

-Your children are smarter and better educated. Swedish research shows that babies born to older mothers stay in the educational system longer, are more likely to attend college and do better on standardized tests than children born to younger mothers.

-Your children are better behaved. A study done in Denmark found that children of older mothers did better emotionally, socially and behaviorally. This was because their mothers were more psychologically mature than their younger counterparts and, for one, didn’t scold their children as much. Frequent scolding has a negative effect on behavior.

-You live longer. A New England Centenarian study found that women who gave birth in their forties were four times more likely to live to 100 than women who gave birth at a younger age. Perhaps the women who had children late were just in better shape to begin with. But I can also say from experience that having children late keeps you young.

-You’re more emotionally and financially secure. By 40 you and your mate have probably established your careers and are a lot more stable than you were in your twenties.

My husband, Bill, got tenure as a law professor a few months after our first daughter was born, allowing him to share parenting in a way he would not have been able to do otherwise. By the time we had kids, I’d lived in Los Angeles, New York and Nicaragua. I’d gotten a lot out of my system and was ready to settle down in Miami, where we still live 20 years later.

-You’re less likely to experience cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Southern California found that women have “better brainpower after menopause” if they had their last baby after age 35. Their research cited strong evidence of a “positive association between later age at last pregnancy and late-life cognition.”

That’s not to say it is easy to be an older mom. I have less energy than I would have had at a younger age. But the advantages are significant, and this is only a partial list.

I’m definitely a better parent than I would have been earlier. What about you? Share by commenting below! Or email me at: jenniferbhull@gmail.com

***

Don’t miss a post! Receive MidAge Mom free by email or RSS feed. Subscribe Here.

***

                                                                                 Photo © Aledeane

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Share

Mad Mother

 

 

 

Almost more than anything, my battle with anxiety and depression the last few years has affected me as a mother.

It’s hard to be there for other people when you can not be there for yourself. While my two daughters have been incredibly supportive and understanding, the cost of my illness has been and continues to be high for our relationships.

In short, on many occasions in the past four years I’ve been a bad mother.

I didn’t visit my older daughter, Isabelle, when she was hospitalized with a kidney infection a few years ago. I also missed her college tour two years ago and her graduation from high school last spring. And I certainly wasn’t there to send her off to college.

I started driving my younger daughter, Jessica, from school to dance this fall after realizing that unless I did I would never see her since she gets home from dance at 9 p.m. and I go to bed at 7:30. When I do pick her up, however, I am often in tears, which can’t be easy for her. And I’ve been known to miss her in The Nutcracker.

My father had problems with depression and alcoholism so I know what it’s like to have a troubled parent. It’s hard. My illness has been difficult for both of my daughters but perhaps especially for the oldest, who found me lying on the floor last summer with a cut on my head that required stitches. Isabelle also couldn’t have felt great when, suddenly feeling better, I attended her younger sister’s ballet recital a week after missing her graduation.

When I haven’t been there emotionally for my daughters my husband has had to fill the gap. It has made the three of them closer than they probably would be otherwise. But that doesn’t make up for the guilt and loss I feel for missing years of their lives. There is much about them – from the names of their friends to that of their teachers – that I don’t know and would know if I were better. And just because they are older now, in college and high school, doesn’t mean they don’t need me.

I certainly never imagined it would be like this when I wrote the book Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life when they were younger and I was so involved in their lives.

For four years, the household has also been missing its mommy manager, leaving family life a bit disorganized. Bill says that with me out of commission the house is falling apart; repairs have gone undone, bags of stuff await Goodwill and the house is way overdue for a general purge.

Despite it all, though, along with my husband, my daughters have been my biggest cheerleaders, urging me on. I have a card on my desk from them that says, “Keep going Mom! We love you! Izzy and Jessy.” Along with their support, it helps keep me from giving up. My younger daughter is particularly good at reminding me to take things one day at a time and although she doesn’t always find me in great condition, the older one keeps those calls from college coming. I am not like some sick people who find themselves ill and alone.

My illness has also made the good times that we do have together all the more special. I’ll never forget what fun I had shopping and eating out with Isabelle in San Francisco a few months ago. And I think both Jessica and I find the times when I am well and pick her up at school special.

In any case, both girls seem to understand that I am doing the best that I can. I answer the phone even when I’m in bad shape when my older daughter calls from college, and I try to ask about the younger one’s day even when I pick her up from school in tears. I’m the best mother I can be right now.

So thank you Isabelle and Jessica for all your understanding. You constantly remind me how much I have to live for. I’d be a lot worse off without you.

***

Am I a bad mother? Share by commenting below!

***

Don’t miss a post! Receive MidAge Mom free by email or RSS feed. Subscribe Here.

***

                                                                                      Photo © Qqibb

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Share