While at my daughter’s gymnastics class, someone made a reference to Nick At Night and my old Gen X heart soared. Is there someone here who remembers Nick At Night besides me? Let’s be besties! We can put our tired feet up and discuss which NKOTB member was our favorite (mine was Donnie) and why our backs hurt.
Because honestly, mom life after 40 is a mixed bag of comforts and exhaustion that is best discussed with other moms in their forties while listening to a Cyndi Lauper mixtape in our “fancy” leggings before 9 pm.
Before having kids, I looked much younger than my actual years. When I was teaching, students and parents would ask me dubiously, “Are you the real teacher?” Wondering if I was actually old enough to be out of college even though I was thirty-something.
After giving birth in my last seconds of being thirty, gray hair started popping out at my temples, and wrinkles and eye bags took up permanent residence on my face. No sleep and small children will do that to you.
Now people guess my age pretty readily but are surprised that I have children that are going into kindergarten.
Suddenly everyone around me has a 12-year-old but is ten years younger than me. Cool. I mean, I could’ve had kids back in my twenties, but I was having too much fun without them. Now that I am so ready to give up on anything after 8 pm that doesn’t involve Netflix, having young kids makes perfect–and very comfortable–sense.
Besides getting to stay home more, I have found mom life after 40 to be the absolute best.
I don’t really sweat the small stuff as much, including gray hairs, cat hairs, and wrinkles.
My body has changed exponentially since pushing those two humans out and I am more okay with that than I thought I would be. In fact, I am totally okay with it. Sure, my back and feet hurt more and I wear orthopedic sneakers and a heavy-duty bra, but it’s all freeing, really. The funny thing is, I am so much happier and more content in my body now than I was twenty years ago when I was very fresh-faced. I mean, my body made humans. I am completely in awe of what it can do. So now I think of my wrinkles as friends. I mean, we laugh together and are inseparable, so, yeah… really, really good friends.
Mom life after 40 has also afforded me more confidence in my parenting choices.
I am way less judgmental of others and of myself. With mom-shaming being so prevalent and millions of “experts” weighing in on what to do and say to your kids so you don’t break them, it’s hard to find your own voice or parenting style. If I was in my twenties I would probably be overwhelmed trying to listen to all that expert advice.
Having almost half a century under my belt gives me the ability to kick back a little and not sweat every detail. Honestly, I can’t remember half of the details anymore anyway.
I don’t necessarily think I’m a better parent just because I’m older, or that I have it more figured out than anyone else. I’m just less worried about having it all figured out and am more focused on simply loving and raising my kids the best way I can.
That said, do I think my kids are still going to discuss me in therapy when they are older? Absolutely. It’ll be a time-honored family tradition. But it will hopefully be with more love than resentment.
I also find it much easier to get over the mom guilt and shame that society loves to hand out. Or maybe I just forget about that easier too. Either way, winning! (Side note, if you are a mom reading this, you are doing great! Pat yourself on the back and put your feet up even if they don’t hurt!)
Being a mom and a woman in my forties is pretty great overall. Full stop.
I’m not going to say that forty is the new twenty, because it’s better than twenty in a lot of ways. I may not be as great at some things, like staying up late or getting up from the couch without making noise, but hey, I also don’t care about those things as much.
So, if you are living that mom life after 40, raise a glass with me. It can be the glass jar your eye cream comes in, because it’s probably time to slather it on. Let’s toast to being sexy and confident moms and talk about how Gen X has still got it going on.
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