There’s something a little bit arrogant about writing a guide to life. The implication is the writer has all the answers, that they know more than you. I don’t think I know more than the average person, so you’re probably wondering what makes me qualified to write a mid 30s guide to life. Well, I’m in my mid 30s, which you probably already knew. And I’m alive. They are the only two reasons I can think of.
Although if Miss Piggy can do it, then I’m sure I can.
1. It’s a House Not a Museum
I tell myself this house is untidy because I’m too busy playing with the children. In reality it’s because I just haven’t tidied it.
But really, a house with toys scattered throughout is a happy house. It’s where kids play. Sure it can be tidied away, and every so often it should be, but let’s try to think of the mess as a reminder of the fun that caused it. Now if everyone that comes to my house could think that too, that’d be great.
2. Love Your Partner
People say marriage is hard work. I know I will sound smug to some but I really disagree. You’ll have good times and bad times because life isn’t all beer and skittles. There are two of you in this so there will be compromises. But marriage shouldn’t be hard work. Love your partner. Don’t assume they know how much you love them. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a good laugh together, sort that out now. I recommend watching Kate & William: The Movie.
3. Envy is Bad
Chances are, you will know people with more money than you. Who live in a nicer house. Who are better looking / thinner / have better clothes / better taste / more talent etc. So what? That’s their life, not yours. Enjoy their amazing house. Admire their beautiful clothes. Be pleased for them. But if you find yourself thinking “why should they have that and not me?” give yourself a little slap. And if you think it all the time, a bigger slap might do the trick.
It’s good to want more for yourself and for your family – things don’t change without aspiration. But don’t compare what you have to what others have. Apart from anything else, envy is very unattractive.
And if there is just one breadwinner in the family, it will make them feel like shit. I think that’s my main issue with envy.
4. Make Your Own Food, Drink Water and Exercise
This bit of three-in-one is self explanatory. Do your best to be healthy and let your kids see you trying. When you eat chocolate don’t do a big song and dance about how you “really shouldn’t be eating this.” Eat it and enjoy it. Just don’t eat ten.
5. Support Each Other
Don’t buy into this “working mother vs stay-at-home” crap, whether a mother breastfeeds or formula feeds, or the supposed style wars at the school gate. It’s all so boring. Sure, there are some people who aren’t very nice. That’s a shame but that’s life.
You never know what’s going on in people’s lives. That woman you think is sneering at you for wearing yesterday’s makeup to school might be stressed out of her head and super tired. Give her a break.
6. There Are 2 Sides to Every Story
A spot of gossip is therapeutic and fun – to a point. Some of it is just plain horrible and I’m often amazed at what some people repeat. If you’ve only heard one side of the story you’re missing 50% of the details. Don’t believe everything you hear, don’t take sides and don’t repeat it. Chances are you don’t know what you’re talking about.
7. You Can’t Choose Your Family But…
… they will stick with you (for most of us, anyway). No-one is perfect and the same goes for your family. But their love comes with absolutely no strings attached and that is wonderful.
8 Keep Teenagers Busy and Broke
A mother of teenage sons once told me that, and I love it.
Although at the moment my knowledge of teenagers comes from once being one and watching Waterloo Road. So I reserve my right to change my mind when we our kids get older.
9. Sponsor a Child
We all know it’s important to support charity and I’m not here to lecture you on that. But sponsoring a child puts a name and a face to what you are giving. It’s also a great way of involving your own children.
Where you are born is a lottery. If you are reading this in your own home, where you have clean running water with food in the fridge, you have won. Children need to know this. Personally I think World Vision do fantastic work but there are other organisations too.
10 Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have
If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. No doubt my family is reading this thinking, “money advice from Rachel??? Has hell frozen over…??!! ”
So there you have it, my mid 30s guide to life. Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?