40 Things Working Moms Should Know by the Age of 40 | Working Mother

40 Things Working Moms Should Know by the Age of 40

Because we're older, wiser and DGAF.

The 20s are your decade of uncertainty and experimentation. Your 30s are a time of rootedness and growth. But the 40s? Well, now that I am here, I would say that it's a decade of expansion and also strategic experimentation—unlike the chaotic experimentation of your earlier years.

Your 40s come with the air of wisdom that you are certain of who you are, and now that you've paid your dues, you get to take some chances. You can reinvent yourself a bit. You're not the most seasoned rooster, but you're no spring chicken. You have an edge up on the slightly demure but confident 30-year-old you were. And most certainly, you're a lot sexier and more powerful than you were in your shaky 20s. There are things you know now more than ever because you own who you are, completely.

For me, that's exactly how it has been. My 20s had extreme joys and lows. The more-rooted growth period of my 30s brought me a child. And now entering my 40s, I feel like I own my own skin and soul. It's a bit scary and amazing. And while I don’t claim to be an expert at this working motherhood gig, I’ve found there are definitely some things working moms have figured out by the time they hit 40—and that’s a wonderful feeling. Here’s what we’ve got down pat:

1. That it's important to be kind to everyone—from the janitor to the President.

ellen degeneres

When in doubt, trust Ellen.

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2. Mothers-in-law are not supposed to like you if you married their sons … it's against the law … or something like that.

marie barone mother in law

Accept it and move on.

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3. Wear sunscreen and, hey, put it on your kids too. Moisturize also, and don't fall asleep in your makeup!


If only you could convince your teenage self.

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4. Your younger coworker thinks you get away with murder because you have kids and get to leave work sometimes. Give zero f*cks about this. Always.

whatever katie holmes

They shouldn't criticize what they can't understand.

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5. A good bra is a woman's best friend. Pay a little extra if you need a special size. It's worth it.

good bra

Look good, feel good.

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6. Smile at everyone (minus crazy people, of course). A smile is a calling card for people to like you, trust you and want to know you. Even when you're feeling bad, smile—except when someone orders you to do it. Then scowl.

smiling rabbit

Smiles are contagious.

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7. Say no without feeling bad about it. Feeling bad about saying no is a one-way ticket to Guilt City.

say no

It's a no from me.

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8. Also, have boundaries—in fact, you should be the master of boundaries. You show others how to treat you. If you let others treat you badly, they will.

deserve better than that

It's OK not to be a people-pleaser.

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9. Bring stain remover—everywhere.

stains on clothes

Murphy's Law of Stains: You will spill coffee on your white shirt before a big presentation.

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10. Don't apologize unless you actually did something wrong, like committed an injustice or gave an offense. Never apologize for your feelings or your existence.

not sorry

Sorry, not sorry.

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11. Your kids won't want you around at some point, so love it while they do.

monkey hugs

Bring it in for a hug.

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12. A quickie before the workday might just make you more productive. Actually, it will.

quickie before work

Start off the day right.

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13. Try to empathize with even your most annoying coworkers. This will make your job easier.

cringing smile

It will pay off in the end.

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14. Take time for yourself and don't feel bad. You need it more than you know.

treat yourself

Treat yo' self.

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15. Know how to swallow your pride and ask for help.

need help

Admitting it is the first step.

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16. Understand that you will have bad days as a mom and sometimes, horrible ones, but know that overall, you're a damn good parent.

i am amazing

No one's perfect all the time.

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17. How to fire and hire a babysitter.

youre fired

Gotta do what you gotta do.

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18. How to suck it up at a bad job, while looking for a better one because damnit, this is adulting.

love my job

Grin and bear it.

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19. Have the balls to tell someone how you feel, even when it is hard.

gonna be honest

Be brave.

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20. That sometimes, sticking up for yourself means you're going to piss others off, and it's worth it.


You come first.

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21. Never rest on your laurels. In other words, make sure your resume is always up-to-date and looking sharp.


Stay on your A game.

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22. Being comfortable in one's skin is great. Being financially comfortable is good, too. Being comfortable with a bad marriage is awful. Being too comfortable at one's job most likely means you're not challenging yourself. Know when being comfortable is good … and when it is bad.

challenge accepted

Get out of your comfort zone.

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23. How to write a kick-ass thank-you note.

thank you note

You will always be remembered.

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24. How to say you're sorry. Know how to do this genuinely … and thoughtfully.

saying sorry

The most important part: meaning it.

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25. That your kids aren't you, so don't expect them to be. Parent them the way they need, instead of how you envision they "should be."

mean girls mom dancing

Can't force it.

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26. How to effectively clean up vomit without vomiting, too.

throwing up mouth

Weak stomachs eventually do toughen up.

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27. What a fever "looks like" on your kid. Same goes for sickness.

know your sick kid

This is probably not normal.

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28. How to brush off unwanted parenting advice, and not care about it.

deal with it

Did I ask for your opinion?

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29. That you don't need a lot of friends, but you do need the right ones.


Quality over quantity.

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30. And with that said, you absolutely have to have connections in your neighborhood beyond her friends and family. It takes a village to raise a child.

takes a village

Parenting is not a one-woman show.

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31. That you are sexy and loved and accept every inch of your own skin.

love yourself

Hello, gorgeous.

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32. How to ask for sex the way you want it, without apologies.

get it on restroom

No shame in your game.

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33. That each childhood phase is a phase, and passes. That wishing for it to end is silly because the next stage will bring new and "interesting" phases as well.

kill me

This too shall pass.

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34. Even a mom who can't stand makeup knows at least one good lipstick to use at the drop of a hat for a work meeting, a last-minute date night or any other event.


Even Steve Buscemi agrees.

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35. Same with fashion: You know the right look for you when it comes to clothes. You know that some trends work—and some don’t. And it's OK.


Flaunt what your mama gave you. (And hide everything else.)

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36. How to ask for what you need at work, whether it's a raise, promotion, flex hours or a better pumping room.

not bossy

You earned it.

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37. Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid and so are the Joneses. Well, not really. The Jones family is lovely, but alas, keeping up with them is so last century.

so yesterday

Competition? Not here.

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38. You are never too old to want your mom for advice about anything.

mom advice

Moms are all-knowing, all the time.

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39. That venting is an absolute must between friends, but competing and passive-aggressive digs is an absolute no between friends.

not allowed

Friends lift each other up.

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40. That you must reinvent yourself each day to learn how to be better at everything, from parenting to work. Everything changes and nothing stays the same, and so neither can you.

go change

Here's to the next 40 years of change.

Photo: Giphy


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