40 Things Every Woman/Mom Should Have and Should Know by 40

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Everyone says that time goes by so fast, but I never saw it pass… it just did.  In the blink of an eye I went from 20 to nearly 40.  For those of you that are nearing 40, turning 40, or past the big 4-0, here you go…

I so enjoyed Glamour’s article, 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30. Shockingly, I could check many of those items off my to-do list.  What’s more shocking is that I’m not 30 anymore, not even close.

A whole decade has passed.  Where did it go?  An amazing husband, multiple careers, a recession, two incredible children, and the blink of an eye later, I’m here, turning the corner on 40. There are many subtle yet life-changing differences a decade makes.  (This may not be as sentimental as it’s predecessor, but hey, I’m a humor columnist):

By 40, you should have… READ ON, IT’S WORTH IT!

  1. Access to a great therapist, a great dry cleaner, a great hair stylist, and a great lawyer… but mostly a great therapist.
  2. Cellulite that you play with when you sit “criss cross applesauce.” 
  3. The knowledge that the position I just referred to was once un-PC-ishly called “Indian Style.”
  4. Enough videos and pictures of your children to fill a credenza.
  5. A credenza.
  6. Worry lines from every bruise, bump and first day of school that you lovingly freaked out about.  
  7. Gray hairs from every tantrum, debate, and negotiation lost to a toddler.
  8. A designer handbag that’s so pricey you would sell on Craig’s list if you didn’t think someone would murder you at the pick up.
  9. A designer for Target item, which you don’t like and doesn’t fit, but you wear anyway because you had to fight another woman for it.
  10. A drawer filled with mostly unsuccessful creams/scrubs/supplements for your cellulite, stretch-marks, dark puffy circles, and increasingly dry skin. 
  11. A cabinet filled with wraps/casts/prescriptions for your bad lower back, arthritic toe, irritable bowel, adult onset ADD, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  12. Broken capillaries from exfoliating hard enough to erase your crows feet. Freakin’ crows feet!
  13. Laugh lines from being a total dork with your kids, and spider veins that your kids affectionately compare to tattoos.
  14. Saggy boobs that have been blown up and deflated with each pregnancy, like a Snoopy in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
  15. A great foundation (even though you swore you’d never wear one), that’s not cakey and covers redness and freckles — also known as rosecia and age-spots.
  16. Enough success in parenting that you have faith you’re kids will turn out ok (Well, maybe with minimal psychoanalysis.)
  17. A bathing suit or shorts that you should no longer be wearing. A fact everyone is aware of, but you.
  18. The ability to pull off heels, flats, or a ponytail with almost anything.
  19. A pair of jeans that are too tight, but you refuse to throw away, because those 5lbs you haven’t been able to lose this decade will come off, you just know it.
  20. Spent enough time chasing dreams to know that they can be caught. (oh, I can be beautifully sentimental when I wanna be!)


By 40, you should know…

  1. When people call you ma’am, they’re trying to be polite, even though it sounds REALLY rude.
  2. How to cook at least a week’s worth of meals. (I mean, if someone had a gun to your head.) 
  3. Enough about politics to have a position on healthcare, and taxes even if that position is to not have one.
  4. That you DID become your parents, even though you swore you wouldn’t. 
  5. How to throw together a bus stop/carpool appropriate outfit in under 2 minutes.
  6. That said outfit doesn’t not need to include makeup, shoes or a bra… yes, even pants are optional. 
  7. How to make a man happy in 5 minutes or less. (For your benefit… and his, but mostly yours. Hello, there are reality shows to be watched.)
  8. At least one man who knows how to satisfy you.. and hopefully you’re married to him.
  9. That as your parents age you need to start checking how much they tip the waitress.
  10. 40 is nowhere near as old as it seemed when you were 20.
  11. That most the celebs you wanted to be like in your 20‘s and 30’s have things that are fake, enhanced or airbrushed.
  12. That said celebs are now nearing or over 40!
  13. It’s ok to have the fake hair, fake lashes, fake nails and any other falsie, if you so desire. (see 11.)
  14. Gas is still funny… maybe funnier.
  15. That your parents didn’t know any more about raising children than you do.
  16. How to get kids out the door for school in 10 minutes because YOU overslept.
  17. That Spanx are like chocolate or cheese, they make everything better.
  18. You’re just like you were in your 20’s only savvier and less bendy.
  19. That you can survive on 2hrs. sleep each night for 6 months.
  20. That you can’t fight it anymore – You are officially a WOMAN – and that’s not such a bad thing to be.

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58 thoughts on “40 Things Every Woman/Mom Should Have and Should Know by 40

  1. mara

    Welcome to the 40s ma’am. Its more fun than you think it is. You forgot one: You glow when people look at you aghast and ask, YOU have a teenager?, even though you know perfectly well that they’re full of shit.’

  2. justkeepinitrealfolks

    I’m pushing the big 5-0 and couldn’t agree with you more. Thank GAWD for my therapist, that amazing poison called Botox, a wonderful hair stylist who gets rid of my gray, and the occasional Xanax. That way when someone calls me Ma’am I don’t punch them in the mouth.

  3. cherie

    Very funny, but true. Although I forgot what it was like to turn 40, wait till you get to 60, you thought time past fast..whoosh I just woke up in 2015. Where did the time go.

  4. Sheila

    By 30, you should have …6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
    By 30, you should know…5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next. (I so totally rock these two things.)
    At 40, all of at least most of the above.

  5. Bari

    Forty is beautiful. It’s the age when I married your dad. It was a perfect time. A woman is most beautiful at 40, that’s according to a very reputable facial plastic surgeon. And you certainly are both beautiful and a perfect mom.

  6. Jennifer Pereyra

    Okay, literally LOL!!! The funny thing is having met you in life, I could totally picture you saying each and every one of those things in my head. You are about to be tweeted, pinned, and shared EVERYWHERE! Love this!


  7. Sarah Maizes

    This list is hilarious! I have at least 2 pairs of jeans that somewhere deep inside my muffin top, I know will never fit again. And yes. Gas is funny. Especially when it’s mine.

  8. weezafish

    True, true, true, true, TRUE! I’m 41 and loving the savvie, not so much the post children ageing bod. But what you gonna do? Love being a woman, that’s what.

  9. Alison

    Jenny-Totally offended that you FB’d me about this post…as if I could relate to any of this jargon! JK…just having a reality check that we have 1 more year in our thirties, at least on paper because no way I am ever admitting a day over 34! I was rolling over the additions that were not child related…though some of them could be relative to the man-child I married. Thanks for the laugh girlie…YOU ROCK!

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  11. Holly

    Does playing with ab flab count? Instead of cellulite, I mean.

    I can relate and am just sort of coming to peace with my age. In a kind of maybe almost way.

  12. Lori

    Along the lines of shock at having teenagers…getting ID’d for alcohol ranks high on my list of Things That Are Awesome. Three days ago it happened in front of my best friend even! The happy feeling lasted for, well, still lasting! Great list Jenny! Love the savvier and less bendy part. Isn’t that the truth!

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  14. Alexandra

    Aw, said with all the enthusiasm of a freshly minted 40 year old.

    This list is a nice start.

    But I love your bright eyed and happy tail wagging hopeful ways.


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  19. Jen

    Thank you! I love this! Have to admit I am feeling a little melancholy about the whole big even next week and this made me feel much, much better. Even linked you on my blog!

  20. Heather Gupton

    This list is so much better than the 30’s one. You had me at 40 things I’ve been waiting for this list. It’s perfect and hilarious and exactly what I needed after a week of taking care of sick people! You are the best!

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  22. Jennifer Cook

    Thanks for the uplifting info. I just turned 40…everyone is asleep and I was having a meltdownn. much appreciated!

    1. Laura Smith

      I laughed when I got to the one about checking how much your parents tip the waitress. I take my elderly father out to eat a few times a month. We each pay for our own meal but he always insists that he’s got the tip. That means he’s going to put down $2-$3 no matter what. I’m always trying to add more without him seeing. When he catches me he thinks I’m nuts for being so generous (I’m just trying to reach 15%). I’ve heard of the opposite happening too, where the elderly over tip or go broke donating to every charity that asks. I don’t think I have to worry about that with Dad.

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  37. Kim Blackstone

    Oh my goodness! These are so true!

    But can someone, anyone, please tell me how to get a foundation that’s the right color for me? At 37 I STILL can’t figure that one out. I guess I have three more years to get the hang of that one.

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