Today I turned 38. The big 4-0 is staring me directly in the face but it’s not something I’m actually afraid of. After spending a lot of my 30’s being elbow deep in dirty diapers and sleep deprived with newborns, my 40’s will be spent with reclaiming most of myself back while enjoying my children being a bit more independent.
As I approach that huge milestone, I’m reflecting on so many things I’ve learned so far. Some are smaller than others, but they’re all significant to the growth of my soul.
So without further ado, in no particular order, my 38 life lessons:
1. It’s not the quantity, but the quality of friendships as an adult. I don’t want a bunch of friends at this age. I only want to be surrounded by a small, meaningful circle of like-minded women.
2. Self-care is so important. Motherhood can be very draining. Taking breaks and knowing when you need time to yourself is nothing to feel guilty about.
3. Learn to say “no”. I used to worry what others would think if I didn’t agree. I now easily say “no” if my happiness is dependent on it.
4. Dogs make the best therapists.
5. Apologizing to your kids does not make you a weak parent. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes and fess up to them when I’ve wronged my children.
6. My body isn’t anything to be ashamed of. This body has created and nurtured three growing babies inside of it. It deserves my respect and acceptance.
7. Do what you love and what makes you happy.
8. There is nothing wrong with speaking to a professional about your mental health. If I go to Urgent Care when I have the flu, then I shouldn’t hesitate going to a therapist if I need some help with life and my anxiety.
9. The friends you’ve had all your life need to be treasured. They’re the ones who have all of your good and bad moments safely stored in their memories. They can show you a reflection of yourself when you need a reminder of who you are besides “Mom”.
10. Your mom truly becomes your best friend when you’re grown. Unlike when you were little, her advice now is beyond appreciated. A mother now yourself, you value everything she did for you.
11. It’s the little things. I don’t need to constantly go on extravagant vacations with my family. Even simply spending the day watching them play in a creek makes me happy.
12. It’s okay to ask for help.
13. Locking a bathroom door for two minutes of peace is allowed.
14. Sometimes Oreos at 12:30 in the morning after a stressful day with the kids is more than okay.
15. Give compliments and accept them.
16. Laugh daily with your kids.
17. Write and write often.
18. Being weird is a good thing. I am proud of being the weird/goofy mom. I always tell my kids, “Be weird. It’s boring to be like everyone else.”
19. Some of my best meals are fast foods when the kids are strapped into seats and I can actually eat.
20. Hiking is good for the soul. And sometimes going alone is necessary.
21. Life’s too short to hold grudges. As Elsa said, “Let it go.”
22. Take care of your relationships with siblings. At the end of the day, they’ll be the ones who will have known you the longest in this life.
23. Embrace your faults.
24. Buy lots of dry shampoo.
25. Not everyone will like you. They’re not your people. Don’t waste your time.
26. Accept the fact that there’s always laundry.
27. Take a deep breath in the school drop-off line.
28. Make time for your spouse. It was the two of you before the kids. That foundation needs to be strong. Even ten minutes to reconnect after bedtime helps.
29. You don’t have to keep every little thing your child does. Who likes clutter?! Definitely not me. It stresses me out. I’ve learned to not feel guilty if I toss something my kid does that doesn’t “spark joy”!
30. You can always go home. No matter how old I get, or how long I’ve lived where I am now, I can always go back to my hometown when I’m homesick.
31. It might take a year to finish, but read good books.
32. Find your tribe. The ones who get you. The ones you don’t feel judged by. The ones you don’t have to wear a bra around and who love your kids like their own.
33. Never lose that child within. Age is only a number. Look at life through your child’s eyes sometimes. Run around and be silly. Jump on the trampoline!(Just change your underwear after!!)
34. Staying in your pjs all day, occasionally, is perfectly acceptable.
35. Accept your parents’ mistakes and continue their successes with your own.
36. It’s impossible to be up past 12 drinking anymore. 7am comes way too fast!
37. Don’t throw all of your maternity clothes away. You might want a pair of those pants during that time of the month or after Thanksgiving dinner!
38. There’s always tomorrow. There’s going to be bad days. There will be days you end in tears about the mistakes you made as a parent. You’ll feel as if you failed. Forgive yourself. Your children always do. There’s always tomorrow.
I feel positive and excited to start this new age. I don’t cringe about getting older. I love learning new things and gathering more wisdom at each stop in the road!