By Yvette Manes of AquaSeventy6
This year I turn 40. I am tired of starting every New Year with a list of ways that I will change to become a better person. After 40 years, I know that I am a pretty damn great person already, so instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, this year I have made a Mom’s Midlife Manifesto.
It’s my body and I’ll do what I want. This is my hair. It is attached to my head. I, alone, must wash it, brush it, blow dry it, and style it. If I want to cut it short, grow it out, color it, or shave it off, I will. The same goes for the rest of me. If I decide to get a tattoo, nose ring, Botox, or a Kardashian butt implant, everyone will just have to deal. Maybe I will never do any of these things, but I will not allow anyone else’s idea of how a 40-year-old mom should look to influence the choices I make with my own body.
Peace out! You don’t want to be my friend anymore? Sweet! Don’t let the door hit ya.
In the past, I have suffered immensely over broken friendships. I replayed our interactions over and over again, wondering what I had done wrong or if being my authentic self was just wrong in general. I finally had to accept that in most cases there was nothing that I could have, or better said, should have done differently. I know that I am a considerate and generous person. Sure, I’m a bit of an introvert and have a few quirks, but I haven’t met one quirk-less person in my life. If who I am and all that I offer isn’t good enough for you, then I am happy to move on without you in my life.
Do you know Nunya? Nunya Business. So you don’t think that being a work-from-home parent is a valid career choice? My family doesn’t eat enough green vegetables? I should consider sending my children to private school? Remarks like these are what I call “Nunya.” If it happens within the walls of my home or in the context of my family, it is straight up nunya business.
What others do with their lives and families doesn’t concern me in the slightest, so I expect the same lack of concern in return. I am an educated woman with a great deal of common sense, 16 years of parenting experience, and 40 years under my belt. There are no observations you can make about my life choices that I haven’t already thought about, read about, taken a class on, or experienced firsthand. Let’s instead discuss your opinion on the Gilmore Girls reboot or who you think Shonda Rhimes will kill off next.
It’s my turn. I love the life I’ve chosen, but a big of part of being a wife and a mom is making concessions. Whether it is relinquishing control of the TV remote or staying behind to hold down the fort while my husband travels for work, the greater good always prevails over my individual needs and wants. At 40, I am finally ready to make myself a priority.
That means that if I want to see the new Jennifer Lawrence movie tomorrow, my husband and kids are going to accompany me to the damn movie. I really don’t care if it looks “boring” or if it is a “chick flick.” I have sat through thousands of hours of flying dragons, escaped zoo animals, talking rodents, and every known and obscure super hero ever created. Mom gets a turn. It also means that I will no longer feel too proud to ask the grandparents to stay with the kids so that I can accompany my husband on the occasional business trip or maybe even take a weekend getaway with a girlfriend.
I think back to when I was a teenager living in my parents’ home. I envisioned my twenty-something self in string bikini on the shores of Waikiki. My thirty-something self, warming up by a fire with a few friends, a cocktail in hand after an invigorating day of skiing. My forty-something self, trekking through Europe with my worldly teenagers in tow. I would have formed close-knit, supportive friendships which included neither drama nor competition. My parents would be healthy and happy and still married to each other, my in-laws the same. So much of how I pictured my life to be at this point is the exact opposite of my reality. I feel that it is time for me to start living the kind of life I imagined, even if I have to hop on a different but parallel road.
And if you see me on that road, sporting a pixie cut, my face temporarily crows-feet-free, and a diamond stud resting on my left nostril, you’ll know that I am living. Truly living.
About the Author
Yvette Manes is a freelance writer, audiobook & podcast enthusiast, compulsive redecorator & cheapskate fashionista. The proud Florida native is a blogger at AquaSeventy6 and has the reputation of being kinda crafty. You can find her work on Club Mid, Scary Mommy and in the Notes app on her iPhone. When she’s not embarrassing her two teenagers by booty dancing in public, she’s eating her way around town with her husband of 17 years. Find her on Twitter, Facebook , and Instagram .