It occurred to me recently that I'm about to turn 38 in a few short weeks. Gross, I know.
I mean, HOW did this happen? Wasn't I just 17 and worrying about picking the right prom dress or 21 busy holding a friend's hair back at a party we never should've attended?
Who IS that old lady in the mom jeans and greasy hair staring back at me in the mirror!? She looks tired.
I am learning to accept this version of me, but it is a process, my friends. So I'm imagining that I can't be the only one going through this anti-acceptance of aging.
So here is what I'm learning about being a mom in my (okay, late) 30s...
1. You will not love your mom-bod.
Cool it, Karen of the Body Shaming movement.
I'm not here to say that our bodies aren't strong or powerful or anything. I am just speaking truth.
I don't care what size your pants are, there will be something you discover in your 30s that you just aren't crazy about.
The power comes from owning it--big ear lobes, wider butt, that mom pooch above our baby-maker that just never went back to normal after kids. Own that mess and rock it out because dang it everybody's got something. I promise.
2. You will begin sneaking things.
Maybe its just a coffee en route to work or a stress burrito on the way to school pick up, but I promise you that your level of stealth increases in your 30s.
I have been able to hide Christmas gifts from my entire family for years and we live in a tiny house. BOOM. So imagine if I don't want my husband to discover an Amazon habit or my kids to know where I hide the good candy.
They'll NEVER know. I'm a ninja.
3. You will feel like you are too much and not enough...at the same time.
It literally contradicts science and makes absolutely no sense but the truth remains that in one moment you will feel like both too much and not enough.
Too talkative, too anxious, too homely, too annoying, not small enough, not good enough, not smart enough, not funny enough.
Ugh. It's all just gross and we need to kick this crap to the curb and light it like the dumpster fire we think we are because we AREN'T. We're all just figuring this out and some of us just fake it better than others.
4. You will question your ability to make/keep mom friends.
You will wear cutesy tees your BFFs got you that say things like "Mom Tribe" but then you secretly wonder if they'd still love you if you told them that you are about to file bankruptcy or that your husband just told you he was cheating on you because life is complicated and freaking hard and cute t-shirts can't solve the world's problems.
So you will worry that your problems are too real for the friends you've had for a long time but fear you don't have the energy to make new ones so you'll just sit in limbo for a while wondering when and how you were thrust into adulthood without giving your permission and be thoroughly convinced that no one really understands you.
5. You will convince yourself that you are a big, fat faker and everyone else has it all together.
Lean in close, sister, because this one is important.
No one knows what in the actual hell they are doing. Nope. Not one of us.
Yes, I know that Carly's mom somehow finds time between 5am yoga, mastering the perfect business-cassjjjhhh ponytail, and coaching gymnastics to make non-GMO gluten-free holiday themed desserts for your child's class...WHERE she is, of course, the room mom.
Well good for her skinny a*s but guess who is secretly miserable, battling an eating disorder, and hasn't slept in the same bed as her husband for two months? Yup.
We are all messed up in our own ways, friend.
We just have to figure out how to stop putting on masks and start being honest so others can realize they aren't alone. Heck, I've had on the same outfit for three days and I am not even mad about it because this life is hard and my kids are (mostly) clean so, win!
6. You will go through a period of social anxiety.
Maybe you count yourself a wild extrovert or someone who absolutely loves hosting the whole gang for big childhood birthday parties with bouncy castles and princess characters or game nights for friends and family Thanksgivings, but hear me out...
You WILL experience a certain level of hatred for "peopling" during your 30s.
It may be a sudden onset or you might be like me and have gradually gone from life of the party to plan maker and guaranteed canceller over time.
There is just something about being a wife, mom, business person, teacher, kisser of boo boos, cleaner of messes, maker of dinners (EVERY night), and handler of bedtimes that just wears you the hell out and you have to pull a Zack Morris and say, "Time-out!"
And that's okay.
7. You will decide you are no longer hit-on-able and this will hurt your feelings.
It's more than when you no longer get carded for ordering wine at dinner (or, in my case, to get into a rated R movie...COME ON!).
This is when you realize that your teenage son's friends do NOT refer to you as the "hot mom" anymore or you become painfully aware that the twenty something pizza delivery guy isn't looking longingly at you because he thinks you're sexy but because he is genuinely worried that you've ordered from Domino's 4 of the last 6 nights.
It's cool, friend.
One word of caution here though. Don't fall into the trap of wanting to be seen this way. Being in our 30s is also kind of awesome for ways we will get to in point 8, so don't throw away your freaking awesome family and loving husband over some copy guy named Lenny who works on the 3rd floor and calls you Lisa but your name is Kathy. Just don't. Not worth it. You'll thank me later.
8. You will discover the things you truly love.
This takes time but now that we are officially adults, you'll start to figure these things out.
Maybe you sincerely love to read instead of watch movies so you finally get the nerve to tell your hubs, "No thanks, I'd rather read."
Maybe you figure out that you freaking love the feeling of running--outside, no kids, uninterrupted. So you start training for a race and sign your bad self up.
I realized that I love to speak and to write and I'm damn good at it. Now that I'm basically ancient, I don't have to care who thinks otherwise. I am chasing my dream in the face of their dumb comments and jaded attitude. And one day, when I'm famous for it, I'll invite them to sit in the front row where I will spitefully wink at them...because being adult doesn't always equal maturity.
Also, I love coffee (okay, creamer), and I prefer to be home alone to just about anything else. That doesn't mean I love my husband or kids any less just because I need some time in complete silence without them around me.
I love to make funny faces with my daughter with unicorn blankets on our heads or take my son skateboarding and laugh when I fall down, but I'm happiest alone, reading or writing, with coffee and quiet.
And that's okay.
Friend, being in our 30s is a time when we are really getting down to the nitty gritty of what we're made of and figuring out who we are beyond our looks, our smarts, or whomever we are dating/married to...this is a time when we get to decide things for ourselves, own our choices, and then go do what truly makes us happiest.
So, get out there, sister. I'll be there too. But don't talk to me because, remember? I like the quiet. 😘