Originally posted July 2008
I used to jump on a lot of bandwagons in my 20s and 30s. There was the “ban the evil Pokemon” bandwagon and the “Harry Potter is from hell” bandwagon, the “make a million dollars from home in your pajamas with no make-up” bandwagon and of course, the “cure all that ails you with this super special berry juice that costs a fortune and tastes like blueberry syrup and is only available through your local so and so who got from theaforementioned make a million dollars from home bandwagon bandwagon.”
I almost forgot about the countless dieting bandwagons……..remember the liquid diet that we all tried after Oprah’s success? I also jumped on the grapefruit diet “bandwagon” which led to zero pounds lost and a mouthful of canker sores. There were many others, but all with the same result which was no result!
Women in their 40s and 50s don’t do all that bandwagon on and off. It’s quite freeing to just say no, or get over it, or they’ll out grow it, or don’t worry about it, it will pass, I don’t care or get out of my face! I’ve heard other women say that 40 is the new 30 in terms of seasons of life. If that is true, than I say 40 is the new 30 AND the new 50 at the same time.
I have the fortunate (not my idea) perspective from having become a parent in my middle 20s as well as in my middle 30s. Trust me when I say that it is a completely different experience in every way imaginable from diapers to diplomas!
When I held my first born son at the youthful age of 24, no one told me that he would be 9″ taller than me someday. No one told me that he would surpass my knowledge of computers in just 10 years. No one told me that he would love music from the 80s and roll his eyes when I sing along loudly to “I Love Rock and Roll.” Like he knows what it means to put another dime in the juke box, baby!?! No one told me that we would get our chin whiskers at about the same time!
I was a new mom with a new kid. He was our first try at parenting. Oh, yeah, and no one told me to bring maternity pants to the hospital when I went to deliver (that was a very long and uncomfortable ride home with my gut billowing out of my completely unbuttoned button fly jeans (remember those?) And, by the way, no one told me that you COULD get pregnant when you are breastfeeding or how difficult it would be to have two kids only 14 months apart. Hmmmm. So experiment number two was on his way only five months after our first was born.
Those were truly the years that my husband and I earned our parenting stripes – not the kind that proven military leaders get sewn to their dress whites, these were more like the kind that a dumb dog gets when he pees on the shag carpet for the 12th time. It was learn from your mistakes time for us.
We were the first in both of our families to have children. I remember the day we announced at our small church that we were pregnant (two months after our wedding). Our pastor smiled and with a “you don’t know what you don’t know” laugh, said “Congratulations and God Bless You!”
Now we know.
So from age 24 to 34, I spent a lot of time figuring out things and when a good looking bandwagon came along, I jumped! Wish I had jumped on and off the .com bandwagon at the appropriate times.
To complicate things, my mother passed away when I was only 27. I was left to navigate motherhood without a compass. I had to just figure it out. While most of my friends had their moms staying with them for a month after the birth of their babies, I had my trusted copy of “What to Expect the First Year.”
Now at the age of 42, I can honestly say that I’m not as eager as I once was to “climb aboard” the latest and greatest trends. (Although, I will say that I have been tempted to take a bath in cellulite cream.) I think with the years have also come the wisdom that things have a way of working themselves out in the end. I’m not so afraid of making a devastating mistake in my parenting.
I tell my five boys all the time that I am not a perfect mom (finally we agree on something), but that I am the perfect mom for them. I am quick to say “I don’t know,” “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” and “Because I said so.”
I am satisfied to trust that God created them. He will see to it that they make it (whatever and wherever “it” is).
Gotta say. I love being over 40!!!!