There are so many perspectives and issues out there in the world regarding motherhood. There’s sleeping, car seats, food, screen-time, mental health, immunizations, education, bullying, and a million more . . . way beyond my required word count. In all the differences of opinion and ongoing debates, we can all agree on this: being a mom changes you, and it’s by far, the hardest job there is.
My three boys are now 14, 11, and 8. My life is different compared to those moments when I finally held my first squishy-sweet, blue-eyed, baby boy with feet that never stopped, and teeny-tiny fingers that held mine like they’d never let go. Everything’s different. I’m different.
And like it or not, they do let go.
I was almost 29 when my oldest was born. This May, I turned 43. How can everything not change? The canvas of my life may be the same, but the picture an artist would paint is not; faded here and brighter there. Life and circumstances evolve, and so do we.
I’m all about keeping it real. I thought it might be fun (or depressing!), to give you a real list of ten things that make up the life of a mom my age. Now this obviously is not going to be representative of all moms, but I can only speak from my own experience (and those mamas I’m closest to that are in the same boat).
- Speaking of those mamas, by this age you know who your real friends are. These friends are there when you need them most. When the crap hits the fan, time and time again they’ve been there to talk, text, have coffee (or something stronger), cry with you, laugh with you, and just let you be you. If you don’t have them yet, find them! You must get through this journey together.
- One day you will look down and your hands will be your mother’s…or grandmother’s; depending on what time it is. You will also acknowledge you have wrinkles. You might even have a moment with your husband where you show him the big one, and he looks at you lovingly and says, “It’s funny that you think that’s the only wrinkle you have.” Thanks, dear. Talk of moisturizer, night creams, and anti-aging products have found their place at mom’s night out.
- In your 40s, you are over unnecessary drama. No one has time for it and you’re ready to be done. It may slither in like a snake somedays, but the difference is now you are brave enough to squash it!
- The 40s are challenging. For me, they’ve been the toughest. You are pulled in many directions, but they’re all places you want (or need) to be . . . except when you don’t, because sometimes you won’t (Dr. Seuss was right). Some days for sanity the couch must come first, but as women and moms, we always feel like we should be doing something else. This is the prime of wanting to be everything for everybody.
- Your 40s force you to evaluate your health. Thankfully, I’m relatively healthy. Be aware, one trip to the doctor often leads to another. Since turning 40, I’ve seen a cardiologist, had my yearly mammograms which even led to a biopsy (all clear, but get the girls checked!), a physical therapist, my neurologist, a dermatologist, and of course my ophthalmologist and gynecologist. Fun times, and I know it’s just the beginning.
- With health front and center, many moms in their 40s decide it’s a great time to make positive changes or keep the momentum going. Many of my mom friends (and me) have found the perfect app to keep up their fitness routines, started a new cardio workout, are focusing on strength training, are signing up for the next big race or obstacle challenge, or are simply making it a point to take the stairs. Every step really does count, just ask my Garmin!
- Hormones . . . MORE THAN EVER . . . enough said.
- Typically, when you’re in your 40s, your kids are a little older. Although your world is very busy and revolves around practices, games, concerts, competitions, lessons, and where to be next, FOOD, and everything school related. There are unexpected bonuses that happen along the way. We no longer have to change diapers or buckle kids into car seats. Our kids can set their own alarms, make their own breakfast, and even put on their own sunscreen. They can pack bags for sleepovers and one day when you least expect it, you’ll realize you can go for a run or do a quick Target trip and leave them home . . . alone. The verdict is still out on that one!
- The 40s are filled with heartbreak. Aging and sick parents, cancer spreading like wildfire, the unexpected loss of a student at school, the mom you know from the gym who died unexpectedly, your best friend’s daughter who just checked into the hospital, your son’s teacher with the devastating diagnosis, or maybe your own child trying to figure out this world, only to be halted by crippling anxiety . . . the list goes on. Some days it’s unbearable, and all I can do is pray.
- The 40s are a great decade to start again. We still have time to live out the choices we make, and so many mamas realize this is the perfect time to reinvent themselves or move on to something that works better for the whole family.
One thing remains constant; the never-ending and fierce love we have for our children. It rips at our heartstrings to watch them grow up and pull away, but it’s amazing to witness the babies we grew within our own bodies become the people they were meant to be. As much as I want to stop time, I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for them, and me.
Are you a DMB reader in this stage of motherhood? Is there anything you would add to the list??