May is the month to celebrate mothers, but this month also brings a milestone birthday for me, and I mean it’s a BIG ONE! With age comes wisdom, I keep hearing, and I guess that’s true. I think the best thing about waiting so long to have kids is that I’m wise enough – and just too darned tired – to sweat the small stuff (and even most of the big stuff). I will probably turn into a raving worrier one day, just like my mother, but for now, I know there is no sense in worrying too much because it won’t change the outcome.
Here are ten nuggets of wisdom I’ve gained through the years that you can start using now.
1.) As Katherine Wintsch reminds us often, “Stop comparing yourself at your worst to others at their best.” This is a good one, and it can’t be overstated: 99% of social media is all of the highs and none of the lows in a family’s life. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but there are lots of downsides, too. Don’t get caught up in your perception of other people’s lives, and don’t spend so much time looking at their lives that you miss your own.
2.) March to the beat of your own drum. My new favorite mantra is “You do you,” and when I find myself being too quick to judge how others are living their lives, raising their kids, or whatever else is none of my business, I repeat “You do you” in my head. The same goes for me choosing different paths than the rest of the pack for lots of things. I keep reminding myself that we’re doing what works for us, even if it might be different from lots of our friends.
3.) Don’t wait. Life can be short, and we never know when our time here is up. Recent events have really hammered this home, and I know that the time is now to see the world, live in the moment, and not wait. I have wanted to go to France ever since I started taking French classes in the sixth grade, and now that I waited, I will never get to see Notre Dame in its original glory. Now that my sixth-grade son has started on his path with the same language, I know we need to get this trip planned and see the sites I studied for so many years.
4.) It’s temporary. I tell newer parents this a lot. Whatever stage you’re in or phase your kid’s going through, just remember, it’s almost always temporary. It’s hard to remember this when you’re in the middle of it – when you think you’ll never get a full night’s sleep again, or your kid will never get out of diapers – but trust me when I say that this stage will be a distant memory before you know it (and this goes back to that try not to worry too much thing…).
5.) Think before you speak, type, or text and if you think you may need to walk away and reflect before responding to a situation, you probably do. Words are powerful and lasting, choose them carefully.
6.) Buy an outfit or something that makes you look and feel amazing. Knowing you look great is an instant mood lifter and will make you feel and act more powerful, sexier, smarter, etc.
7.) Get enough sleep for your body. There are no awards for burning the candle at both ends, only bags under the eyes.
8.) Listen to music that makes you sing loudly and brings back happy memories. It’s another guaranteed mood-booster.
9.) Make time to see your friends and family members in person. The digital age has equated to a huge decline in real-life interactions. Don’t let Facebook replace a face-to-face conversation.
10.) Get outside as often as you can. That Vitamin D from the sun thing is the real deal, and just ten minutes a day will do the trick (but thirty is better!). Breathing in the fresh air is another instant mood-lifter. If you can do it in your rockin’ outfit while listening to your favorite tunes, you’ve hit the trifecta!