by Natalie Bascur
‘The secret to having it all, is knowing you already do.’
One of the most profound observations made about becoming an adult is the realisation that nobody really knows what they’re doing.
Yep, we all look at friends who seemingly have the perfect job, the perfect kids and the perfect man by their side. Not to mention the exotic holidays, the home that looks like it’s been pieced together by a Vogue Living stylist and the immaculate wardrobe. And don’t get us started on the social media (over) sharing ….
But the real success in being an adult is knowing and appreciating that you already have all that you need, whether that be a loving partner, a child that adores you, a degree you worked so hard to get, a house that you scrimped to save a deposit for, your fav chocolate bar in the fridge or simply friends/family that think you’re a pretty great human.
That doesn’t mean you can’t always strive to be a better person, but the secret is to know what truly matters. Cue the below tips to making adulthood all that it should be.
1. Be a kid again
No that is not a typo. Part of being a successful adult is learning when to let go and be a kid again.
One of the best ways to enjoy your children is to enjoy your own (extended) childhood. Be a kid again, revel in their joy of seeing things for the first time, and jump on that bouncy castle. Life’s too short to be too serious. It’s all a game.
2. Learn to do the ‘adult tasks’
Learning how to ‘adult’ is one tough journey, but hey, if you are recycling on your own, able to cook a meal from scratch, can change a light bulb, and most importantly can grow humans and then keep them alive, you’re kicking ass.
3. Relish being alone
The real thing that separates the girls from the women is the ability to be completely at ease in your own company. In fact, as a mother it’s probably the earthside equivalent of heavenly bliss to have five minutes to yourself. Mama ‘me’ time away from the kids is imperative. Get that big breakfast with the lot at your fav eatery, see that movie, wander around those shops, enjoy that triple choc cake at the patisserie you drive past every day, and relish in the simple pleasure of just being you. Don’t fidget, and don’t stare compulsively at your phone. Just appreciate the rare opportunity to eat in peace, without having to worry about little ones having an inpromptu food fight, or having to listen to anyone else at all. Just be you. Be woman. Be free.
4. Enjoy what you enjoy loudly + proudly
Unapologetically like the things you like. You love Boyz II Men? Then embrace it! If that is your jam then own it. There comes a certain point in life where you say, “This is me, take it or leave it.” Same goes for if you wanna blast Alanis Morissette ‘You Oughta Know’ after a fight with hubby. You do that mama, he should have known.
5. Manners. All the time
Don’t underestimate the power of please and thank yous. There is nothing bad and everything good about manners. You received a present? Thank-you note. Someone invited your child to a birthday party? RSVP. Got a text from a friend? Reply. There’s nothing to it. And it makes the world a better place.
6. Love with all your heart
‘To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.’ ~ C.S. Lewis. By the time we are adults, it’s fair to say our hearts have been shredded through the spin cycle more than once. It’s so important though, to never give up on loving completely as you once did. Heartbreak is a fact of life if we choose to love. Just think of how worthwhile it is when your partner or child looks at you like you are the best thing since sliced bread. Unconditional love is surely the reason for doing what you do, mama.
7. Live and let die
In saying that, you may really love something, but realising it is bad for you and recognising the need to go is part of learning how to be an adult. Your frenemy may be really fun to catch up with (inbetween manipulating you), chicken nuggets may be your favourite food, and you may enjoy saying ‘yes’ to everything (initially – until overwhelm kicks in ), but without serving your best interests, these things really should not have a place in your future. Saying goodbye is tough, but letting go will make you a stronger and better woman in the long run.
8. Be financially responsible
Save early and often. It is never too early to save for yourself and your children’s future, but it can easily be too late. Read up all you can, ask friends and family for advice, and talk to a financial advisor. Explore different ways of investing, and woman-up. It’s only money, but if you look after it, you can make it go a lot further that might think.
9. Enjoy the present (even when you’re tired)
When you feel ‘too tired’ to play with or read to your children, remember that in ten years, you won’t have the opportunity. Try to enjoy the no (a little tricky mid-toddler-tantrum, granted). Good habits and behaviours start early. If you feel particularly burnt out, take a weekend away with the girls for some relaxation and mama downtime.
10. Appreciate your friends and family
Whether you’re a single mother or have a partner to share life with, no one compares to the support and love of friends and family. These are the people that are always there to offer a supportive hand or a listening ear. You’re lucky to have them, so know this and count them as blessings.
11. Embrace the overwhelm (+ know it’s all good)
It’s completely normal to feel utterly tear-your-hair-out overwhelmed on some days. Maybe the kids are kicking the car seats non-stop, the perfect casserole you had simmering has been spilt all over the floor (or spat out and then thrown across the room by your weaning baby), or the hot mama hair transformation you had planned has turned out less fierce and more boys crop. These things happen. It’s all good. Take five minutes, scream, cry, breathe – and know that all these things are temporary situations. Ask yourself, ‘Will this matter in five years?’ If your answer is no, move on and have a good time. Then read the first sentence of this article again.