Please Don’t Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA
Cary mom and author Sharon O'Donnell releases a book about having children later in life
With the publication this month of my second humor book, "Please Don’t Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA," I’ve achieved a goal I’ve had for a long time: Documenting the humorous and poignant moments that some ‘older’ moms might experience. I have three sons, ages 27, 24 and 17, and I had the last one when I was 38, which makes me a member of the group doctors call “advanced maternal age.” This less-than-glamorous moniker is given to women who have or adopt babies when they are 35 or over. Census reports show that more women than ever are waiting until later in life to become moms, and so I knew there was a market for such a book about the topic.
But getting published again was an uphill battle. My first humor book, "House of Testosterone: One Mom’s Survival in a Household of Males," came out in 2008. That’s right — a decade ago. And I started working on my current book immediately after the first one was published. Clearly, my journey getting the second book published was a not a smooth one, involving agents, the economy and family health issues.
I could easily have given up on "Please Don’t Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA," but I believed in it. I believed in its potential audience. I believed in those moms out there who are tired of sometimes being mistaken for their child’s grandmother, who can’t read the small print on the children’s Tylenol directions and who are enduring the onset of hot flashes while trying to understand fifth grade math all over again. So, after updating my manuscript, I followed the advice of a fellow writer and sent it to a wonderful Durham publishing company, Torchflame Books. The publishers there loved my book, and at last, the book is released.
There are anecdotes in the book that will resonate with "older" moms, but also some that will also resonate with all moms. A chapter titled, “How I Got My Wrinkles,” details experiences along the way that a mom of any age can relate to. Below is an excerpt from that chapter.
Due to some overcrowding issues, we put Jason in private school for the second semester of second grade. It was an extra expense, and we had to cut back on some things, but we thought switching schools was in his best interest.
The biggest transition for me was getting his uniform of solid collared shirts and khaki dress pants ironed and ready for him each day. For someone who despises ironing, this was cruel and unusual punishment. It had been so easy when he could just throw on a pair of jeans and T-shirt. It was especially tough because Jason was big for his age and was at that awkward stage where regular pants were slightly too tight, but husky pants were too big. So I had to buy husky ones and have them tailored. By the first week of school, I finally had five pairs of dress pants that fit him perfectly hanging in his closet ready to go. This was a ‘mom thing,’ wanting to make sure my son was prepared to follow the dress code and would look nice. That next week, I went to pick him up one afternoon in the carpool line and saw to my horror that Jason’s pants had a huge rip in the knee.
He got in the car and said, “Mom, I made a 105 on my spelling test!”
I said, “Holy crap, what did you do to your pants?” Perhaps not the most supportive thing I could have said, but it was from the heart.
Learn more about "Please Don’t Let Me Be the Oldest Mom in the PTA" at sharonodonnellauthor.com or by attending a book reading at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh's North Hills Shopping Center.