40 Things Every Mom Should Have and Should Know By 40

I recently read a sentimental piece about the 30 things every woman should have and know by 30. Shockingly, I could check many of those items off my to-do list. What's more shocking is that I'm not 30 anymore, not even close.

A whole decade has passed. Where did it go? An amazing husband, multiple careers, a recession, two incredible children, and the blink of an eye later, I'm 40. There are many subtle yet life-changing differences a decade makes, which is why in my attempt to embrace existence (numberically speaking), I wrote this list. (This may not be as sentimental as its predecessor, but hey, I'm a humor columnist.)

By 40, you should have …

  1. Worry lines from every bruise, bump, and first day of school that you lovingly freaked out about.  
  2. Gray hairs from every tantrum, debate, and negotiation lost to a toddler.
  3. Laugh lines from being a total dork with your kids, and spider veins that your kids affectionately compare to tattoos.
  4. Access to a great therapist, a great dry cleaner, a great hairstylist, and a great lawyer ... but mostly a great therapist.
  5. Cellulite that you play with when you sit “criss-cross applesauce.” 
  6. The knowledge that the position I just referred to was once un-PC-ishly called “Indian Style.”
  7. Enough videos and pictures of your children to fill a credenza.
  8. At the very least, knowledge of what a credenza is.
  9. A designer handbag that’s so pricey you would sell it on Craigslist if you didn’t think someone would murder you at the pickup.
  10. A designer for Target item, which you don’t like and doesn’t fit, but you wear anyway because you had to fight another woman for it.
  11. A drawer filled with mostly unsuccessful creams/scrubs/supplements for your cellulite, stretch marks, dark puffy circles, and increasingly dry skin. 
  12. A cabinet filled with wraps/casts/prescriptions for your bad lower back, arthritic toe, irritable bowel, adult onset ADD, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  13. Broken capillaries from exfoliating hard enough to erase your crows' feet. Freakin' crows' feet!
  14. Saggy boobs that have been blown up and deflated with each pregnancy, like a Snoopy in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
  15. A great foundation (even though you swore you’d never wear one) that’s not cakey and covers redness and freckles -- also known as rosecia and age-spots.
  16. Enough success in parenting that you have faith your kids will turn out ok (Well, maybe with minimal psychoanalysis.)
  17. A bathing suit or shorts that you should no longer be wearing. A fact everyone is aware of but you.
  18. The ability to pull off heels, flats, or a ponytail with almost anything.
  19. A pair of jeans that are too tight, but you refuse to throw away, because those five pounds you haven’t been able to lose this decade will come off, you just know it.
  20. Spent enough time chasing dreams to know that they can be caught. (Oh, I can be beautifully sentimental when I wanna be!)

More from The Stir: 10 Confessions That Sum Up Motherhood

By 40, you should know …

  1. When people call you ma’am, they’re trying to be polite, even though it makes you feel really old.
  2. How to cook at least a week’s worth of meals. (I mean, if someone had a gun to your head.) 
  3. Enough about politics to have a position on health care and taxes even if that position is to not have one.
  4. That you DID become your parents, even though you swore you wouldn’t. 
  5. How to throw together a bus stop/carpool appropriate outfit in under two minutes.
  6. That said outfit doesn’t need to include makeup, shoes, or a bra … yes, even pants are optional. 
  7. How to make a man happy in five minutes or less. (For your benefit ... and his, but mostly yours. Hello, there are reality shows to be watched.)
  8. At least one man who knows how to satisfy you ... and hopefully you’re married to him.
  9. That as your parents age, you need to start checking how much they tip the waitress.
  10. Forty is nowhere near as old as it seemed when you were 20.
  11. That most the celebs you wanted to be like in your 20s and 30s have things that are fake, enhanced, or airbrushed.
  12. That said celebs are now nearing or over 40!
  13. It’s ok to have the fake hair, fake lashes, fake nails, and any other falsie, if you so desire. (See 11.)
  14. Gas is still funny … maybe funnier.
  15. That your parents didn’t know any more about raising children than you do.
  16. How to get kids out the door for school in 10 minutes because YOU overslept.
  17. That Spanx are like chocolate or cheese, they make everything better.
  18. You’re just like you were in your 20s only savvier and less bendy.
  19. That you can survive on two hours sleep each night for six months.
  20. That you can’t fight it anymore -- you are officially a WOMAN, and that’s not such a bad thing to be.

What would you add to this list?


Image via SuburbanJungle

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