Can We Have It All? - Lessons from a 40-something (caffeinated) mom
“Mamma, Mamma, Mamma!”
These are the words that awake me each morning around 6:00am.
It’s not the sunshine, alarm clock, or gentle touch of my husband arousing me from sleep; it’s the declaration of two children under 3 years-old. My day starts the moment they say my name.
Luckily, I’ve prepared their sippy cups of milk the night before (#winning). I know that in an hour I’ll be rushing to get ready for work while trying to make waffles, eggs and fruit for my kids. I suspend these visions long enough to take my first sip of coffee, trying to savor short moments of solitude (my time for quiet meditation). These days, morning rituals consist of standing by the Keurig machine and daydreaming.
It didn’t always used to be like this. Flashback to 5 years ago when I practiced morning yoga and scribbled intentions into my journal. It was then that I dreamed up this life---this jumbled, loving mix of marriage and motherhood.
I’ve been planning my whole life for these moments; I was ready to become a 40-something mom.
MY FIRST CHILD
I spent the first half of my life tending to my “first child,” aka my career, while fantasizing about the day I’d become a mother. One of the perks of being an older mom is that by the time my babies were born, I didn’t have to juggle career development and family; I could just focus on caring for my babies knowing my business was established and thriving.
I learned from building my practice, to trust my gut and believe in myself knowing that all of my life experience and training had prepared me for the task of running a business and this translated later in life into managing a household and a family.
THE OXYTOCIN FAIRY
One of the downsides of being a middle-aged mom is that I have a lot less energy. Sometimes I feel too tired and old to do this (ladies, don’t look in the mirror before you’ve had some coffee). Yet there’s this tremendous resilience that arises from within. I find the strength to play with my kids, and suddenly I’m immersed in the magic of being young again---seeing life and wonder through the eyes of my beautiful children. Chemically, it’s the effects of oxytocin that give me a natural feeling of love and elevated joy; it gives me the boost I need to compensate for the fact that I’m no longer (let’s face it) a spring chicken.
WE CAN HAVE IT ALL
Managing everything in my life---and all at once---has been my biggest challenge. From things like work, kids, finances, mortgages, daycare, self-care, spending time with family and friends, tending to my marriage, enjoying hobbies and expecting myself to do it ALL---well, that’s just not realistic.
The truth is that I can HAVE it all, but not ALL at the same time.
TO THE MOMS
40-something moms, please remember this: It’s essential to acknowledge each and everything we do right.
I’m proud of the way I can roll out of bed, feed my kids, shower them, change diapers, pick up around the house, and rush out the door for an 8-hour work day. So what if my hair’s a mess? So what if I forgot to pencil in my eyebrows or FaceTime my Mom? It’s ok! I’m not perfect and we as busy, beautiful moms need to stop holding ourselves to this unrealistic standard. I talk to so many like-minded moms who feel the same way.
That’s another thing that comes with time: I care more about what’s important, and care less about the things that don’t really matter (#priorities).
The best part of being a 40-something mom? I know who I am because I’ve arrived at the best version of myself and this version is what I offer my children, my husband, and the world.
The wisdom of the last three decades is stored in my loving hands, which wipe away tears and holds hands until my little ones are ready to let go. I feel truly empowered, like sitting back with a confident smile thinking, “I got this!”
Because I do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valentina Verani is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, and registered yoga teacher who runs her own private practice based out of Boston, MA. Her advice has been featured in Boston Magazine, Dr. Oz's The Good Life magazine, Medium, and Well+Good. She is a wife and mother of two who has traveled the world and enjoys spending time with her family on the South Shore and Cape Cod. Valentina loves lying in savasana at her local yoga studio. For more about Valentina, visit her website and Psychology Today.