Having Kids Later in Life? Read This First!

While the numbers certainly suggest that most married couples will at some point have kids, the actual parenting notion strikes some of us rather late. Whether it be schooling, a career focus, or just not believing that it’s the correct time either financially or emotionally in order to take on this momentous undertaking, some of us just wait longer in life to have children.

For your average dad, the reasons vary as to why you’d elect to have children later in life, but financial security, stability and job security are always among the top reasons. At some point in life, you’ll wake up, realize that you’re nearing middle age, and realize that it’s really now or never. While men can father children for most of their lives, their wives have far different complications with advanced age pregnancies. For those of you wondering about the term, “advanced age” it’s commonly accepted to mean age 35 and older when referring to women intending to start a family.

So, why is this such a problem?

Well, for one, risks of pregnancy complications increase significantly in women age 35 and older. Another contributing factor is fertility. Fertility rates begin declining in a woman’s late 20’s, although it’s not as drastic of a decline as we’ve been led to believe in previous years. That said, this decline certainly exists, and it picks up significant steam in a woman’s mid-30’s.

Fertility Concerns
Approximately 1 in 3 couples that feature women 35 and older have some form of fertility problem while trying to conceive. The most common cause of age-related declines in fertility among women 35 and over are less frequent ovulation, and egg quality. As women age, they begin to have less frequent ovulation, and the eggs that they do release are of a declined quality in their 30’s and 40’s. To increase your chances of successful conception, you and your wife should ask your doctor for a fertility evaluation if you have been trying for 12 months or longer to conceive. If your spouse is over 35, it’s often best to ask for this evaluation after six months.

While these numbers don’t lie, breakthroughs in medical technology, such as in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments, and intrauterine inception have helped many advanced age couples who were previously unable to conceive.

Pregnancy Complications
Women aged 35-45 have a 10 to 15-percent higher risk of miscarriage than mothers younger than 30. Additionally, research has found that advanced age pregnancies lead to a higher instance of premature birth, high blood pressure, and a need for delivery by Caesarean section. Ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb) are also quite common, and research shows that the majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in women between the ages of 35 and 44.

Birth Defects
The overall risk for having a child with a birth defect is rather small. However, the risk of genetic defects such as Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), or Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome) increase significantly in advanced age pregnancies. Luckily, we now have a noninvasive prenatal test that screens for these trisomies. This test involves a small sample of the mother’s blood being sent to a lab for screening. You can view the results with your healthcare professional within 5 days from the date the lab receives the initial sample.

Is there anything I can do?

Aside from planning your family earlier in life, there isn’t really anything you – as a male – can do to lessen the impact of an advanced age pregnancy. For the mother, ensuring good health before and during the pregnancy can go a long way to minimize complications. Exercising and eating well can help to reduce the risk of diabetes and hypertension, which are two significant factors in conception, pregnancy and delivery. In short, keep your family healthy by taking care of your body. This is the biggest single item that you can do to reduce risk of complications.

Family Camping Never Loses Its Magic

Camping is one of those great family activities that requires everyone to sacrifice a bit of their time to open a window of opportunity for some real family bonding. Often times, parents take cell phones and keep them somewhere safe on camping trips, so that the members of the family can communicate and bond without outside interference.

So why doesn’t every family go camping? Well, depending on several factors, camping can be expensive, time constraining, or unsafe. However, these are very special circumstances. For the average family, camping can be done without spending a ton of money, during a time that’s good for everyone, in a completely safe and fun way.

The most common reason for not camping is the expense factor. Camping can be extremely expensive, depending on your requirements. However, camping is about “roughing it” a little, and not having to worry about a little dirt under your nails. Tents and sleeping bags are typically the largest “required” expense for camping. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, though. For a summer camping trip, summer equipment will do just fine. You can find quality summer tents, with rain flies, big enough to sleep 4 people and their gear for as little as $80. Sleeping bags can be expensive, but, if you are summer camping, you don’t need a -40°F bag. A simple 20°F sleeping bag will work perfectly. You may even find yourself not using it at all, depending on the temperature. These summertime sleeping bags can be found for as low as $30. All together, that puts you at $200 for quality reusable gear.

Other gear you will need depends largely on the type of camping you want to do. Coolers for food can be expensive, but many campgrounds have small “general stores” to buy food from. Obviously, one of the most important things to bring is water. There are several options for water supply for a camping trip. You can bring bottled water, but there will be a lot of trash and weight. There are water-purifying bottles, but these can be very pricey. There are survival-style items, such as iodine tabs, that can be used, but most folks aren’t this into camping. There are pros and cons to each of these options. Be sure to choose the one that’s right for you.

Where camping tends to get expensive is in all the outdoors activities there are to do while camping. Typically, the price goes up with the intensity level of the activity. For example, bird-watching is only as expensive as a set of binoculars, but zip lining can be very expensive. It’s not a bad thing to spend money on things that will bring you and your family closer to each other, but you have to ensure that the things you purchase are worth the price.

ATVs, for example, aren’t exactly cheap, but they can supply 10+ years of fun for you and your family. They can bring an experience that not much else will give your family. Plus, there is a cheaper alternative; trail-worthy go karts! While not as inexpensive as a pair of binoculars, go karts will offer so much more, in terms of excitement and thrill. To top it all off, they are probably cheaper than you’d think. A good quality go kart can sell for as low as $564.77 with a company like Killer Motorsports. Just be sure to do your online shopping to find those companies that offer good products at a great price.

Remember, though, that the best part of camping is not what you bring along; it’s how you use the things you bring to create opportunities for family bonding. Kids and parents can come together, around a warm campfire, and truly learn about each other in ways that sitting in separate rooms throughout the house just can’t offer. Camping is a time that the family will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives.

How to Know When It’s Time to Change Your Style

Whether male or female, we all tend to get stuck in fashion ruts, sometimes for a lifetime. That’s not necessarily a good thing. For better or worse, we are judged by how we look.

The fashions we choose could be the subconscious, deciding factor on whether or not we land a job or promotion that we are after. Not getting that job means not improving our income, which means having fewer options, with depression and self-esteem issues tagging along for the ride. All this because we chose the blue sweater instead of something more fashionable. Sometimes we just have to force ourselves to escape our fashion rut. Here’s how we know when it’s time:

New Relationship Status
Relationships develop their own styles. Something happens when two people come together to form one social unit. They develop a look and a sound and a fashion that is easily identifiable, even when the two are not together.
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Good Manners Might Just Be the Most Important Thing You Can Teach Your Kids

Nobody likes a screaming, disruptive, out-of-control kid, even yours. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but, there it is. ADHD is a serious disability with serious social consequences. But not every unpleasant child is suffering from ADHD. Many of them are suffering from something just as annoying, but a lot more treatable: bad manners.

Experts draw a clear link between spoiling a child and the development of bad manners. Parents spoil their children with the best of intentions. But the results are almost always bad. There are reasons why giving a child everything she wants is a really bad idea, and can lead to poor behavior down the road. Here are some manners every child needs to learn, and why a spoiled child finds it so hard to learn them:
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Driving a Mile in My Father’s Tire Tracks

It doesn’t get any snazzier than a 1965 cherry red Mustang convertible – the ultimate bachelor-mobile – a muscle car that was really a 1964 ½ model vehicle, which my Dad got about three years after his divorce.

This was how Dad stopped moping around. He bought this car, which he expected would make him the sexiest bachelor in New York City, and he took a vacation in the Caribbean to work on his tan and his tennis game, although it was the former that he seemed to concentrate on the most.

The Ford Motor Company had his number. He bought a brand new 1966 Mustang and followed that up with a new one each year through 1973 or so, by which time the Mustang had dropped its lightweight image and had powered up to a long, slender vehicle with plenty of juice, but little of the sex appeal that had made the early “Stangs” such a hit.
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Reclaim TV Time by Making It Safe for the Whole Family

What ever happened to just hanging out and listening to music or reading? We live in a world where popular music has to be marked with an explicit tag, and you have to show ID for the latest beats as if it were beer or cigarettes. The subtle lyrics of romance have been replaced with crass declarations. Your kid’s radio needs parental control settings.

They took away comic books by making them even darker and more sinister than they used to be. The heroes are more troubled and morally ambiguous in the name of character complexity. We call them “graphic novels” so that baby boomer adults can feel justified in buying them. And they are, as advertised, more graphic—and more disturbing.

Now, they’re coming for your TV. Actually, they’ve already got it. You may have purchased that big-screen TV for wholesome, family entertainment, but show by show, network by network, you’re losing the ability to turn on your television without it undermining the values you’re trying to instill in your kids. Violence and sexual situations make even prime-time, “family” TV shows earn their MA rating (for mature audiences only). Aside from TV Land and the Cartoon Network, our options as parents are getting narrower by the day.

The time has come to reclaim your family TV for your family. Here are a few suggestions:
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