When I turned 35, something in me fundamentally changed. I began to put myself first, and as a result, motherhood — and life in general — got a hell of a lot easier. Now that I am 37, I am riding high on the horse of “I do what I want” and I’m pretty sure this how I am going to gallop into 40.
In fact, I’m hoping that this new attitude is what a midlife crisis looks like: me flipping the bird to every single unrealistic and unfair expectation of me and the roles I fulfill as a wife and mother.
If my thirties have been any indication of what is to come, then I’m looking forward to a midlife crisis. So far these are the things I’ve dropped from my life with no regrets:
1. Censoring Myself
Growing up, I was told, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” That is ass backward advice to give a kid, especially girls. We live in a world where people like Trump get to spew hatred and incite violence in public. Well, fuck that noise. I have things to say that are important and may not sound nice or polite, but my right to express myself is more important than someone else’s need to feel comfortable by my silence.
2. Letting Others ‘Mansplain’ Things to Me
Nope. Nope. Not happening anymore. I work with men. I live with a man. I deal with men every single day, and do you know how many times things get explained to me in a patronizing and condescending way? So often that I have started making it a point to call men out when they do it. I am not a fucking nitwit — I’m a woman. Show some respect.
3. Putting My Pleasures Last on My List of Priorities
I will eat food. Not diet food. Not tiny servings. I mean, I will eat the food that makes me feel happy. I will also drink wine, drop an f-bomb, use my vibrator when my husband isn’t in the mood, buy those expensive-but-unbelievably-comfortable shoes, and demand a regular girls’ night out, because you know what? I have needs that extend beyond taking care of everyone else.
Unless my doctor tells me to change my diet and drop some weight, I could not care any less about my muffin top. You know what else I don’t care about? How other people feel about me in a bathing suit. Oh, and also? No twenty year old will tell me that I can’t wear hoops, dye my hair or rock some stretch pants in public. Fuck that noise too.
I have absolutely zero problems with unfriending assholes on Facebook. You will not hear me hem and haw about not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or make anyone mad. Share a racist meme, post a sexist comment, pick a fight with some trollish statement, or keep trying to add me to one more goddamn group where you want to sell me shit, and you are gone.
6. Telling Another Mom When Her Kid Is a Jerk
This one took some time to master, but was totally worth it. My kids come first, which means that if your kid is being a jerk to my kid, then I am going to tell you about it — and I’m not going to mince words or try to sugarcoat it. By the same token, if my kid is acting like a brat, then please say something! I’m trying to raise decent human beings here, s0 let’s help each other out.
I’ve met strong women in life who seemed to carry power with them everywhere they went. I couldn’t understand how they got this power or where it came from, until I hit my thirties and realized that power comes from within. I could make my own power. I could set limits and boundaries in my life in order to protect my happiness and sense of self-worth.
And now I am that woman who carries power with me everywhere I go. And I refuse to give it up.