Today, I turn 48. It’s official, the 40s are in my rearview mirror and 50 is speeding towards me VERY quickly. I admit, I love birthdays and am always happy to celebrate a new one. I am sharing my birthday news with you today not for all the birthday wishes, but to tell you about my life as a “Mid-Life Mommy.” I am the mother of two terrific boys, ages 8 and 4, yep, go ahead and do the math; I became a first-time mom at age (gasp) 39 and my second son at age 43. I have high school friends who have grandchildren older than my own children.
I did not plan to be a Mid-Life Mommy, in fact when I was a teenager and in my early-20s, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted kids of my own. I’ve always loved kids, I just didn’t know if I was “mom material.” When I was in my 30s, I started changing my mind (possibly the biological clock ticking louder). I met my husband at age 36, we were married at age 38, and parents at age 39. I knew from the minute that I found out I was pregnant I was “mom material.” The love that fills my heart is from being a mommy.
Here are my top 10 secrets to being a Mid-Life Mommy:
1. Hang out. Spend uninterrupted time with your kids, no distractions. Play a board game, build LEGOS, paint, throw a Frisbee, etc. Just hang out with them without watching TV or if you do choose to watch TV, watch one of their favorite shows or movies.
2. Exercise. I realized very quickly if I was going to attempt to keep up with my boys, then I needed to exercise. My body isn’t 20 anymore, so I started running (not fast), my boys are so impressed that they will be joining me in running a couple of 5k’s this fall/winter.
3. Pray. I pray every night for my boys, to keep them safe, happy and healthy. I also pray for myself and that the Lord continues to keep me healthy in mind, body and spirit. I also give thanks every night for making me a mommy.
4. Laugh. Kids are silly, they say and do silly things daily — laugh about it. Try being silly yourself, tell jokes, tell funny stories about yourself when you were a kid. Whatever it is, just try to laugh, it is good for the soul.
5. Moisturize. Take care of your skin, wash daily and moisturize your whole body. I wear sunscreen every day and I believe I am aging gracefully, even with the laugh lines on my face.
6. Lead. I am a leader and my boys see it. I volunteer in school and church; they know how important it is to help others. They see me put sunscreen on daily, so they never complain when I tell them to put it on. I always wear a bike helmet when we ride, they don’t question about wearing theirs. Be a leader — don’t just “talk the talk, make sure to walk the walk.”
7. Socialize. Your kids should not be the only ones that have “play dates,” get out there and socialize with your girlfriends. Take time to enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest dish, go to a movie, shopping — anything, just take the time to hang out with your friends.
8. Organize. This one kind of makes me laugh, because I love to be organized, it just doesn’t happen all the time. There are things in the house that are very organized such as the “homework box,” library book box, my activities calendar, etc. It does make life less hectic to be organized.
9. Been there, done that. As a “Mid–Life Mommy” I have no regrets. I had a great single life, I travelled, went out with friends, went to college, owned a home, etc. I don’t have thoughts about “I could be doing such and such if I didn’t have these kids;” I am right where I want to be at this time in my life.
10. Remember. To me, this one is very important. Remember what your childhood was like and either emulate it or change it. I was very fortunate to have a fantastic childhood; I have wonderful parents who taught me well. My hope for the boys is that they will look back at their childhood with a lot of wonderful memories that they will pass onto their own children someday.
My secrets aren’t really secrets, just common sense. Take the time to enjoy your children, they are only young once. I am proud to be a “Mid-Life Mommy.”
Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at email@example.com.