Make the most of the “I’m going for it” decade.
There comes a time in your life when certain behaviors, thoughts or expectations of yourself are no longer valid. At some point, we all tell ourselves, “I’m getting too old for this garbage.”
I remember thinking 40-year-olds were pretty much crypt-keepers when I was a kid, but our 40s are different than our mothers' 40s. I’m not sure what exactly my mom thought when she hit 4-0, but I know for so many of my friends, we found ourselves wondering: What’s next? What haven’t I done yet that I’ve been wanting to do? What and who in my life needs to go at this point? What do I still have to figure out?
In other words, it’s the “I’m going for it” decade. Our forward motion is propelled by the confidence we gained from growing ourselves in our 20s and 30s. With that said, the New Year is almost here. What should we feisty 40-something working moms embrace as our New Year resolutions to make 2019 a kick-ass-and-take-names type of year? Here’s what I suggest:
Forgive your flaws.
Do you beat yourself up over being disorganized? Being anxious? Too loud? Whatever the case, get over it. You’re most likely going to be disorganized, a little nervous and a bit loud when you’re in your 80s. We’ve all got stuff about ourselves we don’t like. Join the club!
Whatever you do, quit beating yourself up over who you are. You can certainly try to be more organized. Or you can say screw it, and forgive your forgetfulness—and focus on your many positive traits instead. Whatever you do, just own, recognize and accept who you are, because that’s how we do it in our 40s.
Don’t try too hard with moms who refuse to return the love.
Nobody gave us a “Guide to making friends as mothers,” and for some people it’s harder than others.
My tip? As a mom in your 40s, don’t force a relationship. Make effort, and as you find moms reciprocating, work on those relationships. For the others who don’t try, let them go. Not everyone is your cup of tea and vice versa. If someone isn’t keen on catching up, don’t bother with them in 2019.
Cut out the yelling. But when you do yell, forgive yourself.
OK, I might get some flack for this but, to me, yelling is a sure sign I have lost my marbles, and it's not an effective discipline method. I might as well run around throwing glitter everywhere, because yelling just invites chaos. It only heightens my kid’s negative behavior or mood, and, in general, accomplishes squat.
So to my fellow yellers, I say, resolve to reduce yelling. But if you do yell, forgive yourself, apologize for losing your cool, effectively discipline your kiddos once you’re not a total madwoman, and shake it off, as Taylor Swift says.
Cut down on screen time—and not for the reason you think.
How many of us are pressed for time? How many of us then find ourselves sucked into a vortex of quizzes on social media, answering pressing questions like, “What would be your profession in the 1800’s?” or “What is your spirit animal?”
There is nothing wrong with decompressing. Nothing wrong with a little random pop psychology via Facebook. But so many of us complain we don’t have that extra 20 minutes to exercise, read a book or run for a manicure. Make a resolution to cut out unnecessary screen time and see what you can do with those extra minutes, even if it’s just to take a bath alone.
Own something sexy.
Wear it. Don’t complain about your body. Repeat.
Now is not the time to give a crap about an extra 10 or 20 or whatever pounds. Now is not the time to body shame yourself for your big booty or thick thighs. You’re a woman who’s lived, loved and made a baby/babies. Find something sexy—a dress, bathing suit, top, whatever—you love to wear, and don’t worry about what others might think. You are in your 40s. Worry about what you think.
Stop taking on too much and then whining about it.
We all have stuff we just can’t say no to, like feeding our kids. But we can say no to too many plans, too many activities and too many extra responsibilities. We all want to be involved in our kids’ schools and our communities. We all want to have social lives. But … you can’t have it all, all the time.
And if you say yes to something, don’t complain later when you have no time to breathe. You’re grown now, girl. Learn to say no and save time to rest.
Cut the empty threats.
You know that moment when you’re ready to trade in your children for a family of donkeys and you swear you’ll never buy them another birthday gift again? Or that you’re going to toss the iPad out the window? Yeah, cut that out.
First, you’ll never act on those empty threats, and, second, if you toss out the iPad, there goes your peaceful five minutes in the shower. Give out consequences you are sure to dole out. Don’t bother with the threats. Your kids know they’re bogus, and as sophisticated 40-somethings, we have to be on our A game in 2019.
Cut the excuses and try that hobby out.
You’ve been meaning to go to yoga since Obama was first elected. Have you gone? Meh. No. You’ve been meaning to join a hiking group, but so far you’ve only escaped to your own backyard.
Make the time. Do it. You’ll never do yoga or hike if you don’t start now. Excuses are for slackers, and we are not slackers. Set up the first lesson now, before 2019 is here and ready.
Accept your kid is never going to do something you've been hoping for.
Your brilliant singer won’t attend voice lessons. Your mathematician prefers to do less work, and get B’s. You’ve ripped every gray hair out of your head trying to convince your kids to do something differently, and so far, it hasn’t worked.
Let your kids be who they’re going to be, so long as they’re not hurting themselves or others. We can’t help but want to push our kids to their maximum potential, but, sometimes, the pushing only wastes our time and divides us from our children.
Designate a girls' weekend at least once in the new year.
You did each other’s makeup and swapped stilettos before you bar-hopped during your 20s. You inspected each other’s interview wardrobes in your 30s. It’s now time to do nothing but have fun, minus the impractical clothing (but hint: sexy is still good).
Designate at least one weekend a year to be with your girls. Nothing makes us shine more than the support and love of our fellow ladies. This is the time to enjoy each other and get down time together.
True friendship is such a gift. Resolve to make this a habit in 2019 and beyond!
Written by Laura Lifshitz for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.