TOP News

relationships: My kids are about 15 years apart, just like Britney Spears’ will be. Here’s my advice

Here's what parents need to know about COVID-19 as their children prepare to return to classrooms

  Here's what parents need to know about COVID-19 as their children prepare to return to classrooms As Manitoba families get ready to send their kids back to in-person school on Monday, some are worried about the risks that change might pose. Here’s what parents in Manitoba need to know about COVID-19 and their children.New cases are still surging in the province, as the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant causes a spike in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions among people with COVID-19.

Britney Spears announced Wednesday that she and fiancé Sam Asghari are expecting a child.

After breaking free from a 13-year conservatorship that allegedly controlled even her reproductive rights, Britney is celebrating the big news, as are her fans.

While I’d be hard-pressed to find much in common with a mega-talented superstar, when Britney’s baby is born, we will both have children with a large age gap between them. Britney’s sons, Sean and Jayden, are 16 and 15, and my youngest was almost 15 when I had my third child at age 46.

The author, like Britney Spears, became pregnant with her third child many years after having her first. (Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson) © Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson The author, like Britney Spears, became pregnant with her third child many years after having her first. (Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson)

Whether due to divorce and subsequent relationships or, in my case, the surprising last gasp of a geriatric egg, large age gaps aren’t all that rare, despite the median interval between siblings being 24-29 months, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

5 Major Fast-Food Chains Still Using Antibiotics In Their Meat

  5 Major Fast-Food Chains Still Using Antibiotics In Their Meat These big-name players are lagging behind in their antibiotics policies—here's what that means for consumers.

Age gaps present unique challenges and gifts.

So what do I have to offer by way of advice to Britney as she starts over, a decade and a half after the birth of her last child?

You’ve got this

It may seem hard to imagine bathing a tiny baby again, schlepping all that gear around, and giving up one-on-one time with your partner. However, like muscle memory, you will know what to do. Also, you are stronger. You are wiser. You have more stability than you did as a young woman. You know how to ask for help and advocate for yourself and your baby. Most importantly, you have been around long enough to understand that each child is different, and that a lot of the small stuff parents fret about is, well, just small stuff.

You will be pulled in two directions

Much as you would like to cocoon with your new baby and your fiancé, you know that your older boys need you. Your ability to maintain a relationship with them during years of personal turmoil was a hard-fought victory, and you will continue to cultivate it. You will accept being pulled in two directions. I remember climbing the bleachers at a cold lacrosse game four days after giving birth, in order to support my daughter. Let’s just say my baby wasn’t the only one wearing a diaper. Being a mom of teens and a baby will require flexibility and generosity on everyone’s part, and you’ll learn to live in the messy midst of it.

Kate Middleton Is Gorgeous In Blue Satin Gown On Caribbean Visit With Prince William: Photos

  Kate Middleton Is Gorgeous In Blue Satin Gown On Caribbean Visit With Prince William: Photos Kate Middleton stunned in a Cinderella-esque blue gown just after she was spotted wearing shorts for the first time in years. Kate Middleton gave off some stunning Cinderella vibes while on their annual Caribbean trip. She stunned in a light blue satin dress with straps that slid down her shoulders and held a matching clutch as she walked beside Prince William. He looked just as classy wearing a tuxedo and a fancy bowtie. The two definitely looked like royalty in their elegant attire.

Britney Spears And Sons Visit Dodgers Stadium - April 17, 2013 (Jon SooHo / LA Dodgers via Getty Images) © Provided by TODAY Britney Spears And Sons Visit Dodgers Stadium - April 17, 2013 (Jon SooHo / LA Dodgers via Getty Images)

Don’t expect the kids to be besties — yet

We picture our older children and new baby hanging out, making a perfect family. There will be sweet moments. However, teens are focused on peer relationships, and a baby brother or sister, while cute, doesn’t have much to offer. Teens need to know you value them for who they are, not for how they interact with the baby. Their emotions may range from excitement to resentment.

People said to me, “Oh, you’ll have a built-in babysitter!” assuming my teen daughter would want to help with the baby. In those early months and years, she was more like a wealthy "Downton Abbey" parent, content to give her brother a pat on the head once a day, as long as he didn’t mess up her clothes or impact her schedule. As the baby grew, there have been many opportunities for them to bond, without being forced.

At 40, Britney Spears' Abs And Arms Are Toned AF In A New IG Workout Video

  At 40, Britney Spears' Abs And Arms Are Toned AF In A New IG Workout Video "FITNEY ????????"

I would suggest mandating photos in matching pajamas, though. There’s nothing cuter.

The author and her family in matching pajamas. (Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson) © Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson The author and her family in matching pajamas. (Courtesy Anna Whiston-Donaldson)

You get to enjoy the fun parts of parenting again

Teens are awesome, but sometimes a closed bedroom door or a grunt is all you get. You’re dealing with big people, and big issues. You’ve gone from Mommy to Mom to Bruh. B.O. and body spray are a far cry from that new baby smell. Not only does a baby adore you and want to be with you, everything is new to them. No holiday or milestone is too small to celebrate, and your older boys will probably enjoy them, too. First laugh, first steps, first words. A baby brings wonder back into your home as you see things through a child’s eyes. By the way, I need to break it to you that leprechaun traps are now a thing.

You may parent differently

You are not the same person who parented your first two. Keep what worked and rethink the rest. While your mental health struggles tragically played out in public, every mom struggles in some way. Show compassion by thanking and forgiving your former self, acknowledging mistakes you may have made and giving yourself permission to keep growing and changing.

The one parenting trick everybody needs to know

  The one parenting trick everybody needs to know How positive reinforcement can encourage your kids to clean up their toys, brush their teeth and maybe even be nice to one another.“When he does something good, we kind of go overboard. We make a huge deal of it—if he’s helpful with things around the house, when he shovels the walk,” explains Starling. “His sister was upset and he brought her a stuffie. I said, ‘You’re such a good brother, that was so thoughtful of you.

Let go of the pressure to “enjoy every minute”

Parenting is hard, whether you are 25 or 40. Just as the world rejoiced when you became pregnant, my friends and community celebrated with me when I became pregnant in my forties. It was five years after my oldest child died in an accident, and my pregnancy felt like a miracle — a way to redeem what had been broken.

You have been through so much. Like me, you have the perspective of knowing how special this is, and just how fast this baby will become a teen. But even that realization doesn’t mean you will cherish every minute. Those celebrating with us don’t have to get up in the night to feed the baby, or make hard decisions for our child.

Observers see pregnancy as a happy ending, tying up your difficult story and mine with a tidy bow.

You’ve seen enough to know that it’s a beginning, just one more part of a brave and complex life.

Britney Spears announces she is pregnant .
Britney Spears could be pregnant with her third child, at 40 years. Britney Spears announced that she was pregnant in another enigmatic message. « I had lost weight and I gained it back, and my husband told me: You’re pregnant ( …) So I took a pregnancy test and… well… I’m going to have a […]Britney Spears announced that she was pregnant in another enigmatic message.

See also