Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: I’ll be 38 when I deliver my first child next year, and I’m thrilled about being a mom but also a little intimidated. My husband and I moved to a new city not long ago, so I’m several hours away from my closest girlfriends, and while I have made new friends, most of them are younger, single and childless. Do you have any suggestions on how to find other moms who can sympathize with the glories of going through this at an “advanced maternal age”? Pregnancy has been physically exhausting for me so I’m pretty turned off by the local mommies groups, which seem filled with pert, cardio-obsessed 20-somethings.
Also, if you have suggestions on parenting books, I’d love to know — preferably something written with humor and intelligence, rather than the cutesy condescension of “What to Expect”-type resources.
Parenting Over 35
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I’m a butt-collapsed cardio-starved 40-something and even I flinched at your description of the local mommies groups. Please do keep as open a mind as you can; if anything, formalized groups will always attract joiners and this can be a fatal flaw in the eyes of non-joiners, regardless of the age or fitness of the members. But if you’re motivated to get past that, then give the most convenient local groups a try. First group-impressions can mask a lot of individual variations in the members.
For some people, the better route for finding like-minded parents is just to get out of your house with your baby and frequent baby-friendly places. It’s a poorly kept secret that the value of Baby N Me (blank) (music class, gymnastics, yoga, etc.) is not to give your infant valuable music or hatha training, but to put you in a baby-safe room with a bunch of other parents who are just as thrilled as you are to have gotten out of the house, possibly even after taking a shower.
As for books with the right attitude, I’ll let others make recommendations for me because I’ve found that blogs have filled this niche better than any one volume can — not just because they’re often more raw and profane and breezy but also because you can sample a lot of different voices.
I think every parent should read “NurtureShock” (Bronson/Merryman) and “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk” (Faber/Mazlish).
Readers weighed in, too:
▪ I can’t recommend “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” enough. I credit that book with helping me keep a (somewhat) level head about all this parenting pressure we put ourselves under
▪ “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” OMG. It was a life-saver.
▪ “The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year.” It’s got real, no-frills advice and humor.
▪ Not a parenting book, but reading Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions” while my one-month-old napped on my chest definitely made me feel less alone. Funny and poignant. And she was 35 when she became a mom, so she talks about some of the things you’re probably worried about.
Great suggestions, thank you.
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