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NAME: Aleta St. James
Aleta St. James is a successful author and motivational speaker with a busy private healing practice in N.Y., L.A. and San Francisco. She also created an healing event called the Life Shift Experience.
CHILDREN’S NAMES & AGES : Twins: Gian & Francesca Sliwa, age 3
Q: Why did you decide to become a mom in your 50s? What factors precipitated this decision (or dictated it)?
I always wanted to be a mother. My grandmother gave birth to my mother at 54, so I didn't think I was going to have a problem in that department or think that there was anything abnormal about having a child at a later time in my life. I had experienced many things and felt that I had a lot of wisdom to give to children and that I could devote my entire focus and energy to helping them reach their unique potential.
Q: What do you love about your career? What is most challenging about your career?
I love helping people shift their emotional blocks and limited thinking about what they believe they deserve to receive, and focus that energy on helping them reach their highest potential and realize their dreams. The challenging part of my career at the moment is being a single parent and balancing the demands of a successful career and the time I need to spend with my precious children.
Q: What have you experienced through motherhood that has also helped you in your work?
I can better help and understand what women go through trying to get pregnant with IVF, being pregnant, having to work and the challenges that come from being a mother. It has opened up my heart to be more compassionate and understanding as a person and I’ve become a lot less judgmental. .
Q: What is a typical day for you like, managing both work and home life?
My morning begins usually at 6:30 when I quickly run into the kitchen to make my breakfast and turn on WABC to listen to my brother Curtis Sliwa on the radio. By 7, I can hear the rustling sounds of my twins getting up, so I rush into the bedroom and greet them with a warm good morning. We have tickle and play time that starts their day off on a happy note.
Occasionally a fight breaks out and needs to be resolved. We then have a negotiation about changing their diapers followed by them marching off into the living room, blankets in hand, to begin their day with Elmo on Sesame Street. While they are engaged with watching Elmo, counting with Mr. Count and playing with their assorted toys, I am feeding the fish and Jessie, our 4 lb Maltese, making their breakfast, interacting with them, checking my Black Berry, getting my vitamins down, checking my Voice Mails, and waiting for Edna, my right hand, to arrive so I can take my 3 minute shower.
By 8:30, I am dressed, and Edna and I pile Gian and Francesca into their stroller so that we can all ride down in the elevator together and say good-bye to mommy in the lobby.
Q: How do you think being a later in life mom as affected your experiences as a parent (share both good & not so good)? Has anything about being a mom surprised you?
The miracle part of having children at a later age is that I am totally grateful every moment for being able to have Gian and Francesca in my life even when they are difficult. I never feel like I am sacrificing my life for them. I feel like I am 100% behind them in and their corner because I had done and explored everything I wanted to do and because of it, was ready to share the wisdom I had learned from life experiences. I feel I can keep things more in perspective. and I don't sweat the small stuff with them.
The surprise part happened about three months ago. I woke up and realized that they were not only getting bigger but were going to continue to do so! I also realized that they had endless amounts of energy and that going through IVF was only the beginning of the challenges of raising twins in New York City. My days of sleeping in over the weekend, reading a good book and watching video's was over.
Q: Where do you turn to for support as a mom? Who is your support network and community outside of work?
In my book, Life Shift Let Go and Live Your Dream, I talk about how important it is to have a Dream Team of Support. My children had a total of 26 God mothers and God fathers at their christening. I have a wonderful care giver Edna who has been with me since the twins were four days old. She has the same loving approach as I do to parenting, and I feel totally secure that she will make the right decisions when I am at work.
I have an eclectic group of artistic friends, musicians, artists, actors, CEO's, editors, writers and family who come over and play with the twins. They also play with their cousins who are triplets and one cousin who's Grandmother is a childhood cousin who I was very close to growing up.
Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life?
Have a great support group. Make sure your financial situation supports the financial challenges that children create, especially if you are living in an urban city. Make sure you have help that is consistent, stable and loving. Be super-vigilant in terms of your own health, exercise and nutrition. Follow your intuition, and lead from your heart.
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