Elisa Keay first moved to the area when she realized her neighbourhood at the time wasn’t meeting the needs of her two young children.
“I was a die-hard Queen Wester, and we started our family, and I realized I wanted to be somewhere more family-friendly,” she said.
Last fall, when she noticed a lack of online resources for parents in her age group, she teamed up with a friend from “the far reaches of Thornhill” to start Urban Suburban Mommy, a blog aimed at older parents of young children.
Featuring the tagline “40 is the new baby,” the site covers everything from fashion and recipes, to tips on winter activities and books, to more in-depth interviews on the realities of daily life as a surrogate mother or a mother of twins.
Keay had her first child at 37 and her second just before turning 39, and found that much of the parenting content she read online wasn’t really applicable to her or many of her friends. While young parents are still just getting started in life, Keay and her friends are often more established in their careers and have more life experience.
“We’ve done a lot of living, and now we’re a little more settled, and it’s a different lifestyle to have a child in your forties rather than in your twenties, when you’re experiencing everything for the first time,” she said.
While younger mothers can have their own issues with pregnancy and parenthood, Keay said she was more likely to hear terms like ‘late maternal age.’
“The twenty-something or early thirty-something mom doesn’t have to have so much concern about chromosomal issues or high-risk pregnancies,” said Keay.
Along with Keay and co-founder/suburban mom Michelle Daides, the site has regular contributions on fashion and lifestyle from L.A.-based celebrity stylist Alissia Marciano and hair and beauty tips from Vancouver stylist Erica Wearing.
Practical articles (“How to celebrate New Year’s with the kiddos”; “Great Wolf Lodge – 10 insider tips for a howling fun stay!”) sit comfortably interspersed with rants (“At 44, feeling fertile is a state of mind”; “You want to tell me how to manage my strong-willed child?”). There are guest articles from dads, travel tips, and the crowd favourite ’10 questions’ feature.
Keay said the quick and enthusiastic response has been surprising and encouraging, with traffic from around the globe.
“I can’t believe actually how far it’s gotten,” she said. “We didn’t realize just how fast people would grab these things and share them. It’s quite universal.”
Keay hopes the site, which she calls a true labour of love, will grow in time, with more guest bloggers, to reflect the wide audience that has found the site already.
“Where we are in life is quite a shared story,” she said.