40 Life Lessons from A Doctor Mom at 40

I turn 41-years-old today – and 40 was a BIG year for me.

I started this blog …

I had a baby and a brand new driver and survived …

I started Life Coach classes …

I actually spent some money and time on myself. Crazy, right?

And I hope 41 is even bigger. I decided to spend this week reflecting on the past year (40 years really!) and this week provided me with SO much appropriately timed material.

So, without further ado, here’s my …

40 Life Lessons From a Doctor Mom at 40

40. Hello, aching arthritis

You really do start to “ache’ at 40. Sad, but true. Patients have complained to me for years of “just feeling (their) age. I just ache sometimes. That’s just age, right Doc?” Yep, I get that thought now. You just kind of ache in the cold or wet weather. Mine is mostly in the hands and back. I might be heading to Florida before you know it.

39. Previous injuries show with age

A few years ago, I fell getting into the shower and hurt my ankle. Yep, it aches now after I wear my super cool short boots all day at the office. I’m definitely not 20 anymore. Hasn’t stopped me altogether BUT I won’t be wearing them on consecutive days. That’s for sure.

38. Who you spend your days with can change your life

The continuous input from coworkers influences you. It just does. So, when you look for a job, consider that. If the office you are joining has a weird vibe or just doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct. Only you know what will work for you. It may be a great place for someone else but horrible for you. And that still means horrible for you.

37. The years really do go by faster with age

I don’t mean to sound REALLY old but the years do go by faster the older you get. I’m not exactly sure why…

36. Time is the most valuable asset

A brilliant friend recently asked me, “Do you ever feel like someone else is going to complete all of your dreams simply because they have the time to do it?” Why, yes. I understand that concept completely. Between Doctor, Mom, and massive driving life, I know there is some 20-year-old out there with nothing but time sitting in her bedroom reading my mind and incorporating it as we speak.

35. Coffee gets more important the older you get

I remember watching my Mom with her coffee cup as a kid and thinking, “She must drink a whole pot of that stuff.” Now, I watch myself do the same thing. The problem is …

34. Mom’s coffee = make, 1 sip, reheat, 1 sip, 30 mins of looking for coffee cup, remake or reheat

And that’s why I always saw my Mom with a coffee cup.

33. Teens and toddlers resemble each other in more ways than you think

I was so excited for this baby. Finally someone who LOVED me at home again. Then she became a toddler. Everything is NO, fits for no reason, and continuous mess throughout the house. I already had that with my teens. I wasn’t bargaining for this.

40 life lessons from a doctor mom at 40
The culprit

32. Being “that Mom” with a new teen driver is impossible to avoid

My teenage daughter, Ella, was driving on the highway while I rode shotgun (I don’t know if people still use that term but I do). After about 15 minutes of “Ella, you need to slow down. Why are you so close to that car in front of you? Did you signal?” it dawned on me. I had become that Mom. And I had zero control over myself.

31. Thongs just aren’t worth it

I had a baby at 39, people. That just influences your body and your bottom. And a thong that is too tight just isn’t worth it. I’ll take the panty lines – no one is looking anymore anyway.

30. The bravest women rarely look the best

Women who are willing to go all-in for their passion rarely look like a supermodel. Women rarely look like supermodels anyway. BUT women who “want it all” and “want to look good doing it” usually have watered everything down to achieve that goal. I used to look toward the “beautiful Doctors” to consider the ultimate in success. Now, I look for the grey-haired frumpy dressed wise woman in the back. Leading me to …

29. Everything comes with a cost of which only you can determine the value

I just don’t buy “having it all” anymore. You can have what you want – that I completely agree with. But there will be a cost. That cost may not be important to you or it may be devastating. The best part of being a woman in the western world today is that YOU get to decide. My biggest regret with my teenage daughter was the long hours that I spent on call and away from her at the hospital. Yet, those hours led to my livelihood and impacted her positively. I still regret missing that time, though.

28. No one has perfect parents

News Flash: You can’t be a perfect parent! How freeing is that? It is not possible. And those who are raised saying, “I grew up in the ideal family,” are really just expressing their thoughts about their childhood – ask a sibling and they will likely remember things differently. You can be a good parent, though. Take the pressure off perfect – you will fail. Go for good – you can succeed at that.

27. Your parents won’t be around forever

At 40, you know friends who have lost their parents. And suddenly they become the “old” generation. It makes you realize how silly those childhood beefs are and how much wisdom you can gain from your parents while you have them.

26. Your daughters are watching you for direction

I am a 3rd generation physician – and the first physician Mom in my family. And I love the fact that I can show my girls that opportunity. But, it is a lot. I’m not totally sure I would even want this life for my girls. I realized years ago that if I come home and complain all of the time, I am pretty well defeating the purpose of all the work I have done. I’m not saying to not be real and honest with your daughters. But, if you do nothing but complain, what are they learning?

25. If you don’t like pet hair, don’t get a shedding dog

Pretty obvious. I wish someone would have reinforced this before I got a large shedding dog for our family. The hair is my constant nemesis.

24. If you haven’t read #25 and got the shedding dog, skip the feminist rant and ask for a Roomba for Christmas

I know – I am as opposed to pots and pans for Christmas as the next Mom. But, Roomba is a life changer, my best friend, the only one helping me vacuum this dang house. And you will appreciate it more than a necklace in the end. I promise.

23. Setting boundaries and expectations is the key to parenting teens

By this age, if you don’t have parenting processes in place, you are in trouble. They are bigger than you, mouthy, and prone to not listen on a good day. Calmly delivered boundaries and expectations are your best bet for success.

22. High school is NOT the best time of life

Who says a Friday night football game is better in high school? You can still go to those games at 40 and don’t have to worry about who you are sitting next to or what everyone is doing after the game. Bed, that’s what you are doing after the game. And that alone sounds better than high school.

21. Neither is college

Not gonna lie, I am a book nerd. I love school. Not even that sounds better than 40, though. College parties with hangovers, worrying about grades, and endless angst about your future – I’ll pass. Cuddling my baby, watching my husband fall asleep at 9pm on the couch, and exploring my passions with a secure job – that wins.

20. Medicine is not magic

We can’t treat everything. Medications have side effects. Medications can be expensive. I wish I could magically produce the perfect solution but sometimes I can’t. I just can’t.

40 life lessons from a doctor mom at 40
Just a little obesity medicine …

19. Disease exists because we don’t have all of the answers

If we had all of the answers, we could cure everything. Americans today seem to believe that we are invincible. That Doctors can fix everything. I wish that we could, believe me. But disease still exists because we don’t have all of the answers.

18. Boobs become deflated balloons after breast-feeding

I better just leave that one there as my Mom will probably read this. Sorry, Mom. If you hate them, just wait until you finish having kids and consider breast implants. If not, you are not alone. Who cares!

17. Mammograms are not that bad

I have to admit I dreaded my first mammogram after hearing patients complain. Mine was cake. Don’t be overly worried about it.

16. Blending families is difficult – please withhold judgment and opinions

When my husband and I married almost 4 year ago, we went through nearly every living situation possible with our children. We had all of the time, none of the time, and half of the time. And I learned then that commenting on how other families blended was useless. It is painful at best. Support is all that family needs.

15. Teens grow into lovely 20-year-olds

My oldest step-sons were tricky for me when they were younger. First, I only had a small daughter. Second, they were reaching the ages of wanting little to do with us when I started dating their Dad. But, our relationships have grown as they get older. And it gives me even more hope for the teens in my home.

14. You ARE a different parent as you get older

My 16-year-old daughter was an island baby – with a stressed out medical school Mom. She had to go with the flow. We always got compliments at restaurants, on planes, etc., about how great her behavior was. She is quiet, has few opinions, and is happy to be at home. My one-year-old is wild, rambunctious, climbs on everything you can dream of, and I just laugh. We never get compliments on her good behavior – we get compliments on her ability to draw attention. Nature or nurture? You tell me.

13. The best days are those spend at home with family

You can take those fancy events with sitters, makeup, and uncomfortable heels. I might do 1-2 of those a year. Instead, I live for weekends at home in PJs with my kids making puzzles while the one-year-old repetitively removes her diaper. I have the rest of my life for those events – my bonding time with the teens and toddler is short-lived.

12. I embrace “This is the part where…”

One of my Life Coach teachers uses “This is the part where…” when going through a difficult time. I like to think of it as a chapter in my life book – the book I really do plan to write some day. I have a lot of “This is the part where’s” to be added.

11. My husband is not responsible for my happiness

How disappointing is that. Don’t lose me there… it is actually pretty inspiring. Here’s the thing – how can your husband MAKE you happy? Half of the time I don’t even know what will make me happy – how is he supposed to guess? Ain’t gonna happen. And while I waste my time thinking of him and his failures, I am ignoring the more important part – making myself happy.

10. I know my weight matters but not THAT much

I had to really think about my relationship with food recently when my Life Coach teacher asked, “If you could eat the same bland bar for all your nutritional needs every day and nothing else, would you want to do that?” Mind blown there. I have to say, my answer is no. I love food and the celebration, preparation, and experience of it. It made me realize that my weight matters to me but not THAT much.

9. Being healthy is the most important goal for weight loss

Most women set a goal weight less than they have ever weighed as an adult. That perfectionist thinking ends in frustration and failure. Health is really the most important aspect of weight loss. Losing 10% will significantly help reduce obesity-related disease. That is a great goal.

8. Impossible dreams are truly impossible to achieve

See above. When we set goals that are too lofty, we quit. And then instead of achieving some, we achieve none.

7. Perfectionism may actually be my nemesis

I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist. A friend used to tell me I lived in “a model home” because I can’t go to bed without everything in place. I actually used to feel like perfectionism was my secret weapon. Now, I feel like it was robbing me of a life. I was so focused on perfect that I missed the present. It is a work in progress.

6. Take a gap year before college

Explore the world. Try out that paycheck to paycheck life – while no one else is dependent on you. Then come back and get to work at your passion.

5. Explore your passions and not just your job

Most of our life decisions are decided in our 20’s and we never look back. We pick our job, our spouse, and our location. And then we become robots at that. When I turned 40 last year, I decided it was time to explore my passion for writing. There is no better time than now. You will feel alive again, like a student again, and bring passion back to your life.

4. Hate hurts you more than the other person

We think hate punishes the other person – we are really getting them by ignoring them or thinking negative thoughts. Only, they may not even know. And who is the one left angry, agitated, and bitter? Who is the one who is actually spending MORE time focused on that person we hate? Ouch.

3. My threshold for fake is dwindling

I have sympathy for those who don’t know themselves well enough to show up as who they are. I still do that myself sometimes. But, I recognize it and try to avoid it. My face shows when I don’t believe you – and I’m no longer trying to hide that.

2. My threshold for love is growing

My husband has always had the best approach to my frustrations (other than when directed at him, of course). He says, “Life is hard, Emily. Imagine what they are going through.” We are all living this human life – one of 50% good and 50% bad. Why not love each other through it?

1. Self love is the basic ingredient to a fulfilled life

Until we learn to love ourselves, we judge, we hate, we are jealous, and we think everyone else has it better. So many of us get to the point that we don’t even know what we like anymore. We are so busy worrying about everyone else. And until we learn to love ourselves, our love for others will always be conditional.

40 life lessons from a doctor mom at 40
Happy birthday to me from my fabulous girls!

Happy Birthday to me! Hope you enjoyed it…

For More Blog posts on My Story, check out: https://doctormome.com/post/my-baby-bump-changed-my-medical-practice-and-not-in-the-way-you-think/

https://doctormome.com/post/doctors-struggle-to-find-words-too/

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