My thirties: the decade of exhaustion & learning

I’m turning 40 next week. I know I keep mentioning it, but you guys, it’s in my head quite a bit. What is it about a new decade that causes reflection and pensiveness? I’ve been a little pensive and I must say, I don’t think it’s going to go away before next week, in fact, it may reach fever pitch, so humour me if you will.

One of the things that I have been thinking the most about is how much I remember my own Mum turning 40. Now granted, I was 15 at the time that she turned 40 so you know, of course I remember it and she was a young Mum and all that, but it has me spinning…how is it that I am here already? So soon?

I’ve especially been thinking about my thirties and what a decade that has been. I’ve had some thoughts and reflections that I wanted to get down and share with you guys, a closing of a chapter if you will.

I turned 30 when Daisy was just 6 months old. I decided to host a lunch at our house in Camperdown that we had just bought and moved into (house proud) and so I borrowed my friend’s spit, got a pig and invited all of Rob’s and my family over for a long lunch to celebrate. Now I remember for some reason that every one of my family couldn’t come – sick or living away (although I have a vague memory of my brother being there but extremely hangover and useless). I also strongly remember that I got my period back for the first time post baby, that Daisy had a cold from daycare and that she was cutting her first tooth, so you know, in a great place. I had a miserable day. I was hormonal as fuck and generally disappointed in everything. Poor Rob, he really tried so hard that day but he was up against it.

Funnily enough, I think that birthday represented so much of what was to come in my thirties. They are bloody exhausting. Well for me anyway.

I think my thirties were a time of exhaustion and of self learning. They were the years that I was most like myself, and of course where at times I felt the least like myself at all. They are the years that you just have to get on with it. You are an adult and there’s nothing much you can do about it but suck it up and get on with it. Go to work. Pay your mortgage or rent. Buy that car because it’s practical. Have the kid. Pay the daycare fees. Do with the work. You just have to get on with it.

I believe that the thirties are at time of “the least”. While your twenties can be about whatever it is you want to do and dream of, the thirties are a realistic slap in the face. Mine were a decade of the least amount of sleep. The least amount of sex. The most amount of exhaustion. The most amount of hormones and self doubt. They are hard bloody work.

I had all 3 of my children during my thirties and with a couple of non sleepers thrown in there it’s safe to say I got the least amount of sleep in my life during those 10 years. Toddlers and babies and little people are full ON. I know now, from hindsight and looking into my future of course that the smaller the child, the smaller the problem but still: SHIT. It’s survival mode. It’s looking across at your husband and wondering what the hell happened to sleep ins and morning sex. It’s working out kids birthday cakes and how to juggle bills and payments and who gets to go out and be an adult when. It’s eye rolling and middle of the night fights over who will get up, tallys over who does more when and where…it’s the little kids I swear to you…it will get better, it does get better.

And while all this seems a little doom and gloom it isn’t meant to be that. I’m just reflecting on the grown up ness of my thirties. They have also been so good. My goodness the very best. All the things I have learnt, all the decisions we have made.

There’s been no greater time for me of self discovery. I’ve learned more about myself from being a Mum than I ever had before. The “grown up ness” that I mentioned has taught me about limits and boundaries about patience and self discovery. I’ve learned about things and people that are important to me, and things that are not. I’ve discovered things I am passionate about, skills that I never knew I had and an ability to work on things that matter and make my heart sing. Because, who really can be bothered when you are so stretched in so many other ways? No me at least.

I have a confidence here 10 years later that I couldn’t even have imagined back then. It’s not an arrogance, but a self assuredness that comes with maturity and experience perhaps? I know what I like. I know what I am not good at. I know what triggers my bad parenting and bad wifing. I know what makes me happy and what makes my heart sing. I know what matters and all the stuff that doesn’t.

My family is everything. I need to work hard and make money to feel of value to the family unit and to myself. I know I love my husband and that he is the most patient person in the world. I know how lucky we are to live in our beautiful home and have the life that we do. I know that raising small people is super hard and that it does get easier. I know that a good time to me now usually involves a couch and quiet time in my house with everyone under the roof and a good nights sleep. I know my skin is looser and filled with lines of tiredness and child growing. I know that my heart is more grateful than it was at the start of my thirties. I know how fragile life is and that while I am here I will make the most of every moment that I can.  I know I can sleep when I am dead. Or hopefully in my mid to late 40’s onwards.

So thirties? My dirty thirties? You’ve been quite the ride. Shit, you’ve seen me at my worst (middle of the night screaming kid tantrums of my own more times than I care to recall), you’ve seen me at my best with becoming a Mother and a whole other person that people count on personally and professionally. I’ve seen some amazing places in the world having been so lucky to take some wonderful trips near and far. You’ve seen me grow up, whether I wanted to or not.

I can’t wait to see what’s to come.

What do you remember most about your thirties?
Parties and travel and good times?
Or grown up exhaustion and toddler dictating?


  1. Yeah baby. 8 days to go. Hooray for the dirty thirties but, gosh, I reckon our 40s are going to be crackers!

  2. Just about to turn 30 at the end of the month & am looking forward to all the lessons I’m about to learn…. hopefully not too many tricky ones! Happy Birthday Beth

  3. I’m skidding into my 60’s still trying to work “it” out, but this I do know, I’m content, I have nothing to prove and wish I could tell my younger self, hey you’re okay. Happy Norti 40 xx

  4. Oh here’s to some fabulous 40s!
    I am 3 years into my 30s and I love them. I am more myself than I’ve ever been and I know myself better than I ever have. If only I could have had this wisdom and maturity in my 20s when I could do whatever the hell I wanted haha.
    I used to think 40 seemed SO OLD when I was a kid but now I feel like I’m excited. If this is my 30s, I think my 40s will be even more fantastic.
    Happy birthday in advance xoxo

  5. Susan Beauchamp says

    My 30’s were fantastic as I met my wonderful hubby and finally left home at 31! We then had our son and settled into parenthood, working, mortgage and still travelled. In my experience turning 40 made me feel more settled. Our boy is now 14 years old and while he can be challenging, it’s still exciting seeing him growing up and to see what his future holds. I turn 48 in a few weeks and some days the body feels older but on other days I’m thankful to be getting older and wiser and excited for our happy life to continue. My dad died at age 48 so I’m very conscious of living in the present and be grateful for what we have.

  6. My thirties! So long ago now! I turned 50 this year and it was definitely a time for reflection…
    Nothing much has changed though, I’m just keeping on, keeping on 🙂
    Happy Birthday for next week 🙂

  7. Love this post, darling. Thanks for sharing. I’m 40 in just over a month. The thirties were a time of paring down everything to the most authentic, most important, most frigging sleep deprived, child bearing, child rearing, breastfeeding, tantrum tangled times of my life. But we wouldn’t have them any other way. My fourth and final babe starts school next year *gasp!* so many things have been on hold for so long – will I really want to do them now? Fourty will be fascinating, I’m sure for both of us! 🙂 xx

  8. 30’s – definitely a decade of adulting and self discovery and self respect. They say you find yourself in your 20’s, but I feel like you can really be anyone in your 20’s. In your 30’s it’s more about being the person you need to be. {although I could be talking out of my hat – I’m only 31 ???}. I can’t believe how much you look like the girls in your younger photos!! I bet your 40th will be AMAZING.

  9. Such a lovely photo with the rainbow cake. So much joy on all the faces..

  10. All the good gear happens in your 40s. My 30s were fun but my 40s are better. Enjoy fellow Leo.

  11. Supernashwan says

    Was the best thing you learnt about your 30s was that fringes are not your friend? You look so much younger with them!

  12. Alwadys so poignant beth!
    You are on the right track hun
    Enjoy as much as you can!
    Lovely pics!
    Much love mx

  13. Fi Longmire says

    Forties are the best! My kids are in their teens now and so far they’re great people and my best friends (I get that could change at any time!) I love the freedom of my forties and it’s taken til now to just not care what other people think. I’m happy with who I am, where I’m going and the journey I’ve been on and so long as my family are happy with that so am I. Get ready for a great ride, 40’s are awesome!! (& the sleep-ins are pretty good too).

  14. I don’t track my age – I love my life so much I don’t want it to end & I’m unfortunately pessimistic when I’m reminded of the years ticking on. I just enjoy what’s on offer at the time & linger on the good bits of what has past & briefly visit what was not.

    A side mention how I love to see the strong genes of your Mum, you and your girls. I especially like the picture of you and your Mum looking down at I think a photo on a coffee table. You both look so alike and gorgeous. It looks like you struck it lucky with such a joyful matriarch.

  15. Love this post Beth. You look fabulous for 40. I’m still 3 years into my 30’s and I can so relate to what you experienced in your thirties. Kids do make the ride wild, but they also make it a lot of fun and I believe they’ve brought out the best (and sometimes the worst) in my as well. x

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