“You’re Just Like Your Mom”
I got my first pair of high-waisted “mom” jeans a couple of years ago. When I slipped them on and zipped them allll the way up, a choir of angels sang out as I transformed perfectly into my mother. Not that I hadn’t been practicing for years: the twinge of a Minnesotan accent (though she was born and raised in Indiana), the quirky and delightful sense of humor, the intense adaptability and resourceful problem-solving. I lucked out.
With half of The Good Trade team turning 30 this year, we all felt inspired to connect with our moms to get some perspective on what this decade of life holds for us. These women have been small business owners, stay-at-home moms, teachers, software tech analysts, seamstresses, and marketing directors. It’s no wonder we wanted to share some of their words of wisdom.
Maybe you see your mom every day or are long-distance, or maybe you are mourning a loss or broken relationship. Maybe your parent is a stepmother, aunt, or grandmother—or maybe your dad filled those shoes. Moms can look many different ways, and we embrace every version of them. 💖
Read on to see what our mothers each advised us on being in our 30s. When you’re done, text your own mom for her advice to you in whatever stage of life you’re in right now. We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. 😘
Danielle’s Mom “A”
“Teach yourself self-love. For many, your thirties are when you get married, have children, purchase a home, focus on your career, etc. However, I have found that women often have misconceptions about what it is to be a good wife, mother, lover, friend, or colleague. You will not be any good to anyone if you don't place proper boundaries for all and learn to take care of yourself first. It's okay to be a little selfish. It's okay to take time for yourself. Being a martyr is overrated.
Nurture your friendships and relationships with family. Let go of the toxic people. Forgive those who may not have done right by you. Be the one who starts the dialogue and the road to healing. Make the phone call. Send the note. Stay connected.
Start to build a financial plan and savings. Struggling financially or being stressed about money is awful. There are numerous ways to build savings through conscious money management. Make your coffee and prepare more meals at home, invite friends to your home for beer and wine instead of meeting at a bar, buy vintage clothing, do your own nails, learn how to do minor repairs at home, review your insurance policies yearly, review your auto-renewals and cancel unused subscriptions. Live below your means.”
AmyAnn’s Mom Terry
“My first advice is to be present. This wasn’t always a part of our common cultural vernacular, and I am reminded of the advice my own mother gave me through the years. At every new milestone, she would say, “This is the absolute best time of your life—enjoy it!” I used to chuckle to myself after hearing this from her repeatedly. Now I see she was urging me to present in the different stages of my life and to enjoy them. (I will admit this is such an easier thing to do when you're older because more plates are spinning when you’re in school, establishing careers, and raising children—but as much as you can, slow down and savor the moments of your life.)
Life is a journey, not a destination, so enjoy the process. I always felt like I had an important goal in sight that I was reaching towards. We pursue that elusive carrot at the end of the stick just to find it and pursue another. While pursuit of something is very important to our happiness and wellbeing, it’s also so important to remember that life is always a journey. You, AmyAnn, love planning for vacation, maybe more than actually taking one! This is good! Enjoy the processes of your life, as much as the destinations.
Control what you can control and let the rest go. I can tell you with some conviction that you cannot make a goal that requires another person to change. Your happiness cannot depend on the behavior of any other person. It is impossible to control a two-year-old or your partner; of course, you can help guide them, but you cannot control any other actions but your own. This revelation is quite freeing because, in the end, your happiness is in your hands.”
Courtney’s Mom Casi
“Focus on your skill sets, your goals, and dreams. BUT be flexible! You will find new opportunities around every corner. Be open to creative turns and new possibilities.
Find your nest and build your nest. Embrace new life! Have children. Adventures may be expensive, but they will expand you and your children’s view of the world. Take simple moments and forget about the laundry, get creative, and laugh. Treat your children as small but fully cognizant humans. Be respectful of each other and of your children and they will respect you back.
In your 30s, work towards your goals, save when you can, but remember to have fun and embrace this amazing decade. Get involved with your community and find ways to help make our world better.”
Emily’s Mom “C”
“How do I give advice to my daughter entering her 30s when our two lives have been totally different? What can I say without sounding preachy or cliché? Here are some standards that I have set for my own life that I feel safe to pass on to my daughter in any circumstances of life: What you believe in your 30s for yourself should hold true in your 40s, 50s, and beyond, morally and ethically. Emotionally, be nice to yourself but remember—life is much bigger than you are. If something feels like it is missing in your life, you are probably right.
Celebrate your life to your God-given core, through your body, soul, and love and appreciation of nature. Those things should always keep you balanced and grounded. Physically, only one bit of advice: take care of your health daily. I always say it is much easier to die than it is to live. Living takes effort.
Financially, never live beyond your means. If you can't keep up with your paycheck, may you grant yourself the ability to make changes through grace and humility. Pride is good, humble is better still.”
Kayti’s Mom Sally
“I had four young kids in my thirties. Everyone tells you how fast that time will go, but you don’t believe them. And then you wish you could go back. I wish I would have been more mentally present when my kids were little, and not just trying to survive—survival was my theme back then.
I’d also say it’s easy to fall out of a self-care routine in your thirties, and it’s easy to drift away from friends and family. You always think you have more time, and you put things off for ‘someday, someday.’ But then the years are gone. I wish I’d been more present and focused on maintaining self-care habits and routines, as well as regular catch-ups with loved ones.
But I also don’t regret anything about my thirties, or any decade for that matter. Except for sunscreen. Always wear sunscreen.”
We’d love to hear the advice you’ve received & the lessons you’ve learned. Share in the comments below!
Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio.