Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering – Lora Freeman Williams

Lora and book

The Wilderness of Motherhood

by Lora Freeman Williams

….One of the deepest wounds of my childhood had been that I learned I did not matter. My hungers and desires were a burden to my mother who could barely feed and shelter me. My noise disrupted her already scattered thoughts.  My observations didn’t fit with her twisted ones, and she told me I was wrong.

And so, in order to survive, I had agreed with her. I hid my hungers from even myself; I became quiet to avoid disturbing anyone; I kept my thoughts to myself because exposing them just exposed me to ridicule.

And in this very early time of Isaac’s life, my little spark of life got so low and small and so critically essential to my child’s well-being, that I began to protect and nurture it. I took my precious little time alone to write an essay or two about what I was learning. I started to notice that some people actually gave me more energy than they took, and I sought them out. I learned that sucking up the happy moments of my life was a balm that healed the wounds of my youth, and I allowed myself the freedom to do that.

I learned to pay attention, even in the inevitable miserable moments of parenting, because my presence with myself and with my son fed us both. I learned that I could be kind and compassionate to both my son and to myself in the middle of the pains of life, and one step at a time along the path, I practiced doing that…….

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Listen To Your Mother – Interview with NYC cast member Barbara Herel

badgeHi, Barbara – thank you for joining us, today. So excited to interview you and get more information about Listen to Your Mother – a show which will reach 32 cities this year.

Q: Tell me a little about LTYM.

Listen To Your Mother is the brainchild of writer Ann Imig, a writer and blogger.  She had only been blogging for six months when she attended BlogHer, the national conference for women who write online, in the summer of 2009. While there, the self-proclaimed “Stay at Home Humorist” and mother of two young sons sat in on the “Voices of the Year” keynote, where bloggers read aloud from their award-winning posts.  She was profoundly moved by the powerful stories these female writers were sharing.

In May 2010, she brought a dozen local female writers to the stage at the Barrymore Theatre in her hometown, Madison, Wisconsin for the first Listen to Your Mother show. Over the last five years, it’s grown into a nationwide phenomenon! In 2014, 32 cities nationwide will have live Listen to Your Mother readings, giving motherhood a microphone, all in celebration of Mother’s Day. Continue reading

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Two Hands Mama

two hands

Boy screams “Two hands, Mama!” whenever I’m driving and both of my hands are not firmly fixed on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock.

The first time this happened was about a year ago. Boy had just turned three, Girl was not yet one. I remember it was raining, really raining—one of those precursor deluges of Japan’s fifth (secret) season. I was moving through that thick mental fog of too many nights doing the semi-sleep shuffle: Baby coughs and shudders—touch baby, baby is okay; baby cries—change diaper, cuddle; baby cries—offer breast; baby whines—cuddle; baby wakes at 4:20 a.m—get up, begin day. Continue reading

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What’s Missing in Our Children’s Books (A Commentary)

diversity in booksI am visiting my brother at his apartment in downtown Los Angeles. My two children and I are on our way down to our car to drive up to the Valley for the day so they can meet their two cousins — bilingual twins of Mexican descent — for the first time.

We step into the apartment elevator and make conversation with a friendly Jewish Rabbi, who is on his way to a conference. We are soon joined by two chatty African American teenagers, who fawn over my African American son’s dimples, much to his delight. When we reach the parking garage, there are two Asian American women in suits getting into the car next to us, discussing a legal case that one of them is representing.

I love the diversity we experienced in those five minutes. Continue reading

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Spring is in the Hair

maggie lamond simoneMy house, to me, is like my hair. For the most part, it’s clean; it’s just usually . . . disheveled. Tousled. Windswept, as it were. It’s got a carefree, playful look. Sassy, even. Some days I might forget to comb it, and for special occasions I might add a little style, but in general, I just throw a big ol’ hat on it and hope for the best.

Yes, I am not what you would call a neatnik. My husband calls me the Clutter Queen, and it was not without some irony that I married a man whose only truly pushable button is, yes, clutter. His dream house would be a vacant building. He believes that anything designed for storage, from the kitchen counters to the hall closet to the basement, is specifically designed for the storage of air. Continue reading

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Q&A with Faydra Koenig – America’s Divorce Coach

faydra koenigDear Reader: We’re pleased to present our newest contributor – Faydra Koenig, who will be available for any questions and/or issues you might have. Please forward any questions to midlifemothers@gmail.com. She will be happy to help you!

Q- Faydra, my husband left me and our young son for another woman. I feel so many emotions inside including anger, betrayal and insecurity. What is the first step for me? – Sarah from Oregon

Faydra- Sarah, first off let me say that I am so sorry that this is your current reality. I understand how you are feeling and want to encourage you to consider a few things as you move through these initial few months.

First off, infidelity rarely has to do with your adequacy as a wife, woman or mother. Studies have shown that men and women who cheat on their spouses were rarely seeking to hurt their spouse. Most often, people cheat because there are unresolved issues plaguing them and the cheating becomes an escape. Second, if you live in a state that has a no-fault divorce ruling, you will not be entitled to any sort of advantage during your proceedings because your spouse cheated. Many people feel they are entitled to more because they are the victim of infidelity. Last, it may be difficult to keep your emotions in check right now. Please engage with someone who has the training to help you keep your head and make important decisions. Continue reading

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Fighting Under-Eye Aging

eye circles IIOne of the first places to show aging is under our eyes. Wrinkles, lines, discoloration and puffiness are giveaways. And while nothing (including surgery!) will give us 20-something skin again, there are ways to minimize the impact and renew the vibrancy under our eyes.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go far to start treating under eye issues. There are solutions right in your cupboard:

TEA – Caffeinated teas can constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling, while chamomile tea can soothe redness and inflammation. Soak two tea bags of your choice of tea in hot water for a few minutes. Let cool until the bags are slightly warm. Lie down, close your eyes, place a tea bag over each eye and relax for 10 minutes or so. You can also refrigerate the bags after you’ve steeped them, which is especially refreshing when you need a pick-me-up. Continue reading

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10 Things Not to Say to a New Older (Midlife) Mother

numbersWomen choosing motherhood over 40, 45 and 50 still remain in the minority, especially in certain geographic locations.  Although new older parenting is increasing incrementally, women choosing motherhood at later (and later) ages are often the butt of jokes and the recipient of rude, politically incorrect, and sometime insulting comments.

My primer, below, should make it easier for those who are inclined to comment (on any aspect of this fact). Consider the power of words, even if well-intentioned:

1)      “Are you the Grandmother?”

Unless you need to ask this to determine whether an AARP card is applicable, or to somehow confirm lineage, don’t even ask. Not only is this a painful question for any woman/mother over 40, but if applied incorrectly, it’s an insult to the children who are usually listening. Think about the overall cost/benefit of asking this question, especially if little ones are in tow.

2)      “How old were you when you had/adopted your child?”

Is this your business?

3)      “Do you know how selfish you are?”

This references the fact that I may die long before I get to experience my children’s milestones, and my children will be left motherless. However, people die at every age. Long life is not a surety for anyone.

4)      “Why would you have/adopt a child at your age?”

Why not?

5)      “Wow…..that’s so….great!” (Or) “Good for you!”

What’s so great about it, and why is this good for me?

6)      “Really??”

Yes, really.

7)      “Is this your first marriage?”

What does that matter?

8)      “When do you plan to retire?”

The answer to this is a definitive “never.”

9)      “You have a what?” (In answer to the question about the ages of your children).

How can I help you?

10)   “It seems like a lot of people are doing it these days.”

What are they doing? Deciding to be parents at any age they deem “right?” If that’s what you mean, I guess so. Thanks for your interest!

Dear Reader: This is a reprint of my most recent Huffington Post article, which, at last count, had 1200 likes and 169 shares. I took this opportunity to share it with you!


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Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering – Lori Pelikan Strobel

Lori's zenMom On Demand

by Lori Pelikan Strobel

…I hear the garage door open and footsteps. “Mom, I’m home!” yells my daughter from the kitchen as she loudly drops her book bag, coat and whatnot that I envision lying in a trail on the floor. My peacefulness is broken by her voice and I am suddenly transported back ten years ago when she would come home from school with the same declaration. Although times have changed, things have a way of staying the same. I am still here whether or not she is.

Finally, I hear, “Mom?” as she nears my office. And, upon finding me, it is like presto! I am “on,” just like the cable TV that always slightly glows as it waits to be powered on. She has turned on the Mom-on-Demand remote.  Press the button and I am available 24-hours-a-day. My children choose when, how and where to connect with me. I am always here glowing, softly waiting whether or not I am needed. Nobody brings my children what they want more than Mom-On-Demand!

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Working Hard to Stay at Home

Taber and Mama 2I wish I had known how much I would love being a mother.

How could I have anticipated the depth of this love?

My heart opens with wonder when I watch my two-year-old son lift his arms, snap his fingers, and sway to music. Any music. We could be in the check out line at Walgreens and if he hears music, he lifts his arms in praise.

Oh, the world is good to him. Despite the little, blue bruise on his forehead from a sad encounter with the edge of an antique bureau, it’s a loving world overall. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a gentle and consistent source of kindness as he learns to speak, share, swim, and jump. May he internalize my love and bring it forth as an inner light in days to come, days when I am no longer by his side to wipe away the tears of sad encounters. Continue reading

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