Wednesday 8 August 2018

Mommy Diaries: The F-Word (not the one you think)


Fabulous forty, or not-so-fabulous forty? For me, turning forty was a significant time in my life. I reflected on my past accomplishments, on my current state of living and on my desired future.  I was privileged to be born into a loving middle-class family with parents who had the capacity to support me and to teach me how to make good life decisions. I have endured the normal ups and downs of l
life; but overall, I have been lucky to live a life free from significant adversity.

At one point in history forty was old! I am so fortunate to have reached forty in relatively good shape. As I sit here writing this, I don’t yet feel old or middle aged, and I still believe I have a lot of living left to do. I still expect that I will have my ups and downs, and gains and losses as I continue to age but my goal is to figure out how to make “the rest of my life the best of life” and how to live with few regrets.

Reflections on forty: F-Words Lost

I have lost the flirtatious days of my twenties: dating boys (lots of boys!), going out dancing, first kisses and time to enjoy fancy restaurants, even if I couldn’t afford them.  I am missing the fun and carefree days and laughing so hard I cried. I no longer have the freedom I had to travel easily. To go where I want without having to answer to anyone. I miss the flexibility I had to live my life how I desired and to be who I wanted to be, independent of being a mother, a wife and a boss. I was able to be a follower who took my lead from others, rather than having to set the course. I now struggle to have the time and the desire to prioritize fitness. I miss being firm and physically strong. Mostly importantly, I have lost many friendships over the years. The easy relationships and spending every spare minute with my best friends are days of the past. Many friends have moved far-away. I have lost the time and the energy to focus on these things that I once held dear. I have lost my sense of fun.

Reflections on forty: F-Words Gained

What have I gained? I have gained so much.  I have a wonderful family. An amazing and helpful husband and two beautiful young girls. Together we found a great community and have finished building a beautiful home. We have become financially secure. We have had strong role models and great advice to help us be aligned with our financial decisions. We have gained a future retirement home, at our cabin at the lake. I can now afford to have fancy dinners when I have enough energy and time. I can take a family trip every couple of years. I have been fortunate to be successful in my career. I appreciate now that I have figured out who I am and am continuously working on who I want to be.

I have also gained some less desirable traits. I have gained some fat. I care, but not really. I don’t seem to have the energy reserves to will myself to want to work out. I know I would feel better, but I just can’t get there right now. And for some reason I have gained an aversion to cooking food. Food preparation just seems like so much work and my kids never like it anyways.  My face has gained some wrinkles and my hair has gained some grey. I have had to become the first responder to every crisis in my family and at my work. I often have to be the one to fix problems. My life has become a frenzy of running to children’s activities, trying to manage a household and to run a school. Unfortunately, I have found anxiety and stress that have led to exhaustion.

Overall, I have gained forty years of life experiences. I have gained insight into who I want to be but am still on the path to get there. I know that I need to focus on priorities and set foundational goals. I’m almost there.

Advice from a forty-ish year old

While I certainly don’t have all of the answers, let me leave you with some f-words of mostly unoriginal advice:

Find your passion. Ensure that you love what you do. Although my job is hard, I love it. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t.

Follow your heart. Look for the good in every situation. Believe that things will get better. Learn to love yourself and to find the best in others. Know that you will learn something from every situation.

Figure out your priorities. I once took a course that helped me to define my values and priorities. I wrote them out and still look for ways to embed each of my priorities into my weekly schedule. I am doing a good job with some and some I have to keep working at.

Forgive yourself. You will not be perfect. You can only do what you can do and won’t be able to be good at everything. I have put on a few pounds, but have been successful in work. I dislike cooking but love coordinating special events for my students. I have learned that I can only do so much at any given time.

Feed your soul. Mine likes chocolate and wine.

Forget about your problems for a while. Find a spot in nature and absorb some positive natural energy and focus your thoughts to get yourself back on track.

Find a copy of the audio book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and listen to the first chapter when having a bad day or going to face a tough situation. It’s both swear-y and empowering.

Funny quotes. To cheer myself up I created a secret Pinterest page with funny quotes. It makes me laugh out loud to read them as I delight in their sarcastic awesomeness.

Let your kids fight it out and fend for themselves sometimes. It’s good f

or them! I always say that my lazy parenting fosters independence.

Fake it ‘till you make it. Don’t give up, don’t wallow in self-pity. I have found on my hardest days that if I get dressed up and put on a smile that I can get through almost anything. If I put out positive energy, even when I am running low, I get it back from others. Keep going, you’ll get there!


  1. Oh I just love this! Happy 40! :)

    1. Thanks. My friend Jaime did a great job writing this post.

  2. Great post, Jaime! So much inspiration. I'm in my forties too and all this positivity is making me excited about the decade ahead.