Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering – John Simmons

John M. Simmons ZenShould We Take the Only Thing They Have Left?

                                                          By John Simmons

Perhaps we should. My wife and I decided that it was the right thing to change our children’s names as we adopted them. This happened across the board, from Jack, who was only a month old when he joined our family, clear up to Emily who was fifteen.

That really upsets some people. My kids? Not so much. Recently a mom-blogger voiced her disagreement and so I decided to find out what my adopted children really thought. We had never talked about it before.

Whether or not I understand how it feels to have my name changed, my children do.  (My eighteen-year-old with Down syndrome could have been asked the question many times and would have provided contradictory answers, so I’ll leave him out of this particular story.) The children I questioned range in ages from twenty-two, down to nine. Four of the five said they preferred getting a new name. The youngest, my nine-year-old son, said, “I wish I still had my Russian name, but it’s okay….

Each of our five children from Russia bear the names of ancestors of either Amy or me, who left their native lands and migrated to the United States. We have used the stories of those ancestors to show our children that they are not the only ones in our family who left native lands behind. We teach them that emigration is never easy, but that with hard work, it can be worth it. Our children know that our reasons for changing their names were based on love, and wanting [Read More…]

By |August 8th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering- Jane Samuel

Jane Samuel's Zen photoDear Mama: A Letter to My Daughter’s Birthmother

by Jane Samuel

Dear Mama,

Can I call you that? Mama? I know you are not my mother, but that is what she would have called you if she had been permitted to. Had stayed in your arms, in your home, never finding her way to that gate and thus, that spartan, sweltering-in-summer, freezing-in-winter room of crying, hungry, abandoned babies. Unlike me, she would have said it with the right tonal inclination, parroting back your words as you taught her with thought, word and deed who you were – her Mama.

Mama, I have so much to say. So many questions and so many answers. Some for me but most her.  Perhaps you have some too? You should.

First can you tell me, tell her, who you are? Entirely, in every cell of your being. Are you a wife, tied to your husband, and his family, in the traditional, filial way? Or are you single, not ever planning to be mother but left that way after some human-need-driven encounter amidst some backward industrial city of the great China…

Sometimes I have wished we could find you. But I know that is next to impossible, and as she and I have talked she has come to know this too, as hard a fact as it is. Perhaps it is the impossibility of this that makes it safe to dream of meeting you, having you know her and her know you. Because as much as [Read More…]

By |June 16th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

Changes to MotheringintheMiddle.com

Dear Reader: in the upcoming weeks, we’ll be making changes to Mothering – updating the site and image, making it user-friendly and more easily accessible by iphone, ipad, etc. We’ll also be incorporating more photos and images with each essay.

This fall, we’ll be featuring a contest for best new story and best set of images/photos sent in by you – the reader! Winners will receive a free autographed copy of

The Zen of Midlife Mothering

We’ll continue to add writers to our roster and stories defining and examining midlife and the midlife parenting experience.

We look forward to providing you with more stories, information and general news, and growing up with you!

By |June 11th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

Your Answers: “You Know Are a Midlife Mother When You….”


  • Have a baby at the age of 47 3/4!
  • Love singing nursery rhymes in the car even if the little person isn’t there to join in.
  • Can’t believe how blessed and fortunate you are to have a child even when you’re changing the most explosive nappy, or struggling to stay awake the day after a sleepless night.
  • Are happy to be in on a Friday evening folding small clothes when everyone else is out on the town.  Ellie Stoneley
  • When you find yourself at the chiropractor’s office as often as the elementary school.
  • When your young child points out your increasing gray hair, daily.
  • When your over 50 multi vitamin bottle sits atop the Flinstone’s chewables. Maureen O’Neill Davis 
  • Don’t flinch when a school friend asks your child if you are the grandmother. You just smile! Karen Du Toit
  • You are not interested in adding new people into life’s highly valued and precious time, like when you were younger. Midlife brings a sense of knowing who you are, what you want and who you chose to spend precious time with or to have in your children’s circle of friends.  Monique Faison Ross
  • When you are changing your son’s diaper and having a hot flash at the same time. DeAnna Scott
  • You know you are a midlife mother when your roots are growing out, not because you can’t afford to color, or even because you are too busy, but because you just don’t care anymore! Joely Johnson Mork
  • If your parents are old enough to be in diapers and your kids are young enough to be in diapers.
  • If you are old enough to be the parents of some of the parent’s in your child’s [Read More…]
By |May 30th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

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

faydra koenigQ- Faydra, this year Mother’s Day falls on my weekend with the children. I know it sounds selfish, but I don’t want to give up my time with the kids. Is it wrong for me to expect her to let them be with me this weekend? -James, Iowa

 A- James, you present a question that comes up a lot with divorced couples. When families are already divided by time and location, it is difficult to want to deviate from the custody plan. Typically, families are in agreement that Mother’s day and Father’s day are spent with the respective parent. I would ask that you put your motives in check and if you aren’t just trying to hurt your ex by default, see if there is a mutual compromise. Perhaps the children can come and go home early for Mother’s day on Sunday. Perhaps your ex isn’t as affected as you might think, and is comfortable celebrating on an alternate day. Communication is key and remember what you sow you shall reap next month on Father’s day. When in doubt, let kindness rein. [Read More…]

By |May 29th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Joy of Being a Mother

By |May 20th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||2 Comments

11 Great Mother’s Day Quotes

mother's day images 1

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”  — Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

“The phrase ‘Working Mother’ is redundant.” — Jane Sellman

“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.” — Margaret Culkin Banning

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” — Linda Wooten

“Any mother could do the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.” — Lisa Alther

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.” — Jessica Lange

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” — Tenneva Jordan

“We never know the love of the parent until we become parents ourselves.” — Henry Ward Beecher

“Anyone who doesn’t miss the past never had a mother.” — Gregory Nunn

“A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” — Emily Dickinson

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” — Abraham Lincoln

By |May 10th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

Mother’s Day Month

Dear Reader: We are blessed to have a roster of incredible people and incredible writers hailing from the United States, UK and Canada. What better way to showcase our many viewpoints, writing styles and perspectives than to offer you one whole month of Mother’s Day Essays! From May 1 -31, 2014, we will offer you plenty to mull over and enjoy! Please feel free to repost on social media or your own  sites. We only ask that you provide a link back to our website, www.motheringinthemiddle.com.

We hope you enjoy!

And, please add your comments. We love to hear from you!

By |April 30th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering – Suzanne Braun Levine

Suzanne Braun LevineSelf-Invention: The Bond Among Women of All Generations

by Suzanne Braun Levine

One thing about being an older mother is that you are constantly reminded of the truism that age doesn’t really describe the shape of a person’s life. Nor does our place on the family tree, the generation we are assigned to at birth.

When my daughter was born,I was 44 – old enough to be her grandmother. When she went to school, I was old enough to be her teachers’ (and her friends parents’) mother. At the same time,my contemporaries had long since forgotten about coping with babies and young children – they were on to the joys of grandchildren. My most meaningful cohort was other women with children my children’s age, but not my age themselves.

In other words, for most of my adult life I have belonged to no generation – or all generations. If anything defined me, it was in the trajectory of my life, not where I was in the timeline of my life. Therefore, even though the teachers were half my age, their insights about my child and their expertise about teaching made for a very intimate and respectful relationship. They had acquired an understanding of children in their short lives that I was in need of at that parenting starting point in my long life..

By |April 25th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||0 Comments

Minimum Self-Care Requirements – An Excerpt from The Life Organizer

Life OrganizerBetween surviving and leading a fully humming creative life lies the middle ground of determining your minimum requirements for self-care, a duded-up way of saying what you absolutely must have to stay in touch with your center.

Basic needs, or minimum requirements, are different for each woman, although getting enough sleep, moving our bodies, eating fresh food, being touched, and connecting to something larger than ourselves show up pretty consistently on women’s lists — but again, not on everybody’s.

It can be easy to discount the importance of these basics, because getting enough alone time or napping when you are tired just doesn’t sound as sexy as realizing some fabulous dream. Yet without these basics, the dreams don’t come true, or you can’t sustain them when they do, or, most tragically, it turns out that you are following not your dreams but rather a script about what you should do. [Read More…]

By |April 16th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments
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