Elizabeth AllenAge: 52
Marital Status: Married
Children: Darci, 16 years old
Profession: Three years ago I discovered a nearly insatiable appetite for writing. My first two books are essentially embellished memoirs that have been called everything from "sexy self-help" to "Pride and Prejudice on Steroids". I am co-writing my third book which is a young adult sci-fi with my daughter, Darci - it's kind of a cross between Charlotte's Web and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I am committed to donating 5% of all my book sales to beating ovarian cancer having lost my grandmother, mother and sister to that disease. Visit www.elizabeth-allen.com.
Aside from writing, I've worked as a financial advisor for the last 15 years, and I'm currently with Ameriprise, having emerged somewhat bramble-torn from Charles Schwab and Merrill Lynch. Despite all the chaos, I love working in financial services and hope to pass my practice on to Darci if she choses to follow my footsteps (although I seriously doubt she will!).
Q: Why did you decide to become a mom later in life? Tell us what your road to parenthood was like.
A: I could say it was in my dna because my mom was 39 when she had me, or that I waited to be established in my chosen career, but that would be taking the easy way out. Truth is, I was in a lot of highly dysfunctional relationships throughout my twenties. I was engaged three times and ran away three times (not quite at the altar, but close...) I knew in my gut that each man would be a mediocre husband and worse father. While I could've probably settled for an okay spouse, I would not compromise when it came to what kind of father the potential candidate would be. Not after being raised by a serial cheating alcoholic. Ultimately, I decided it would be better to forego parenthood than to selfishly bring a child on board the Titanic. Thank God Eric found me in time!Q: What do you most love about your work?
A: As far as writing, I love the initial creative process and ultimately hearing from my readers what a difference my book(s) made in their lives. As far as financial advice - I love the long-term relationships I have with my clients - most of whom I deeply care about. I have helped them through some of the toughest times of their lives and they know they can count on me.Q: What is most challenging about it?
A: Writing - editing, revisions and waiting. Marketing is pretty challenging too during these times. The most challenging aspect, however, has to be getting scathing reviews from people who simply didn't get it. I respect everyone's right to their own opinion, but when someone attacks me for writing what I did and attacks other readers for liking it, then I have a problem. Then again, they wouldn't post their rants on the internet unless they had an overwhelming need for attention. But I digress...As far as financial advice - the most challenging moments are when I have to tell someone they have lost money on an investment...but that's par for the course.Q: How long are you doing it?
A: Been writing for 4 years and I've been a financial advisor for 15.Q: What does your daughter think of your work?
A: She is extremely supportive of and impressed by my writing ( what I'll let her read anyway - the first two books are too adult right now for her). As far as financial advice, she is in awe of how I work with numbers, especially since we both admittedly hate math.Q: What have you experienced through motherhood that has helped in your work or personal life?
A: There is nothing like becoming a mother to open your eyes as to why your own mother was the way she was! There is also a different level of tolerance/patience - or lack of it - when you have a child. I am more patient and nurturing with my clients and friends when they are going thru personal challenges.Q: What do you see as the positives and challenges of becoming a 35+ mom?
A: I have virtually no frustration that I didn't do all the things I wanted to do when I was younger; I see so much of that around me with younger moms and it's sad. They harbor unspoken resentment toward their kids and on some level, the kids know it. I was so ready and excited about the decision to be a mom that the weekend we said "let's go for it!" I conceived. Seriously. As far as challenges: I try to stay fit but I wish I had more energy. There is nothing more appealing to me than the idea of a 2-hour nap every afternoon, but no time.Q: Does being a mom give you new material for your writing?
A: Heck yeah! I see it in the way I work with and speak to people in general. It is a HUGE part of my writing even when the material has nothing to do with motherhood. Being a Mom doesn't necessarily redefine who I am ( no, it didn't complete me) but I recognize who I am and the many roles that shape me - with motherhood being perhaps the largest allocation. There are very few things I do or choices I make where that little voice in my head doesn't ask " how will this affect her future?"Q: Has anything about being a mom surprised you?
A: What surprised me the most is the newfound appreciation I have for my own mother and how she really did the best she knew how ( of course, I didn't understand that as a difficult, hormonal teenager - I only saw her as a royal pain.).Q: What do you most want to teach your children?
A: To be a good person, find the balance on her own so that when she loses it, she can regain it with self-confidence, be as honest and as ethical as possible but not when her honesty could hurt someone unnecessarily and it's always better to express your feelings then to keep them bottled up.Q: What influence, if any, has your own mother had in your life and in your parenting?
A: Post-humously (she died before my daughter was born), I made conscious decisions to try not to repeat mistakes I deemed she had made. That was a disaster! The more I avoided them, the more I seemed to act them out with gusto! But I do believe I have a keener awareness of my behavior and actions then my mother did. We resolve quicker and healthier.Q: Where do you turn for support as a mom?
A: This may seem weird, but I turn to younger women who are closer to my daughter's age. They give me honest and candid feedback of how a situation makes them feel when their mother did or does what I'm asking about. It's very helpful. All of my female family members predeceased the birth of my daughter, so I gravitated to them for support instead of other moms.Q: How important is to connect with mom peers?
A: It's nice for some commiseration but I don't find it necessarily important per se.Q: How do you think an organization like Motherhood Later…Than Sooner can be helpful to later moms?
A: It's a great sounding board if a later mom finds herself isolated without like moms in her community. It's also a great resource for information and commeraderie.Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life?
A: Congratulate yourself for waiting! Don't ever think you're cheating your kids out of a young mom and that someday they'll hate you for it. Odds are you'll be able to devote so much more time and attention to your kids as an older mom and there's nothing better. Besides, they're really only children for about 14 years and as long as you feel good, you can give them your all!Q: When you became a mom, did your own mother or mother figure share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated? Or do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you that you’d like to pass on to your children or other moms?
A: Choose your battles wisely and frugally. Kiss and hug and say "I love you" to your kids more often than you do...it's never enough.
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