For all of the progress that we’ve made with feminism, it’s no secret that, when it comes to women, society still puts a pretty steep value on youth. And the older you get, the more unforgiving people are about some of the natural effects of aging—a few extra pounds here, a few extra grays there. (Not to mention the judgements cast on life choices, from career moves to major familial decisions.) But for all the downsides, there’s one major upside of getting older: The slights get to you less. Mostly. There are still some words and phrases everyone should really stop saying to women entering their golden years—which, for your convenience, we’ve collected here. And for more life advice for the woman over 40, check out 40 Sayings Women Over 40 Should Stop Using Immediately.
Things that used to not be squishy are now squishy and the number on the scale is one you’ve never seen before. But who cares? It’s the time to love and accept yourself now more than ever and no one should judge you for embracing yourself as you are. However, if you still want to put in some work, learn the Best Way to Target Love Handles.
Wrinkles happen (whether we massage anti-aging cream into our skin nightly or not). It’s just a fact of life.
How many children you do or don’t have
Haven’t had kids yet? That’s okay. Have one kid? Two kids? Three kids? It’s all okay. Don’t let anyone shame you into thinking your personal family planning isn’t the best option for you. If you are a mom, though, don’t miss the 20 Easy Ways to Be A (Much) Better Mother.
Your relationship status
Whether you’re married, divorced, or dating, your relationship is never anyone else’s business. Now that you’re 40, it might feel like your relationship status is under a microscope, especially if it’s changed recently, but your opinion on your life is the only one that matters. And if you need some reason to enjoy your newly single life, learn the 40 Reasons Why Being Single In Your 40s Is the Best Thing Ever.
Being a stay-at-home mom
Everyone thinks they know best. But when it comes down to it, it’s you and only you that knows what works for your life and wellbeing. If being a stay-at-home mom is it and people in your life want to knock you for not pursuing a career, then just ignore them, for example.
Wear what you want to wear—whether it comes from Ann Taylor, Chico’s, or the teen section of Kohl’s (hey, you do you!)—and don’t let anyone comment on it negatively.
Men fart, women fart—we all fart. While you might have spent your younger years being subtle about the inevitable flatulence that comes after a night of Mexican food, your 40s are the time to embrace your body’s natural functions and just go ahead and do what you gotta do when you gotta do it.
Not working out
Exercise has tons of health benefits (including boosting your mental health, thanks to endorphins). But if you’re not that person who wakes up early to get to the gym by now, then so be it. Tell your friends to stop offering you discount codes on memberships. You simply won’t be needing them. However, if you do want to start working out more, check out the 11 Ways Smart People Motivate Themselves to Go to the Gym.
No one has the right to judge your marriage. And if you’re not married, no one has the right to judge that either.
We get it—those dark, gnarled veins zig-zagging up our legs aren’t the cutest things in the world. But it’s a part of growing older, so tell the men in your life to stop pointing them out.
Your work title
Maybe your mother thinks you should have a more senior title by now. (After all, you’re 40. You’re no intern.) But your career is your career, and if you’re content with your current role, then tell the haters to back off.
Buying anti-aging creams and makeup
All of a sudden the cheapest possible moisturizer in CVS will no longer do the trick, and that anti-aging concealer for dark under-eye circles is looking more and more appealing. But if any young folk in your life want to comment on that, just rest assured that their time will come.
Do not be ashamed of your stretch marks. Ladies, we’ve earned our Tiger Stripes!
So there’s a few gray hairs up there. Whatever. It’s cheaper to just embrace them and not buy hair dye. So be it.
How you use Facebook
Listen, I enjoy creating long status updates about my day and exclusively sharing pictures of my children. Got a problem with it?
As if women (over 4o) breastfeeding is the most salacious thing to ever happen behind closed doors (or in public).
No, your mind’s not playing tricks on you. Your eyesight is probably going. So bring on the new glasses. It’s a more distinguished look anyway.
Listen, things aren’t what they used to be. You do what you gotta do. And for more tips on spicing things up in the bedroom, check out the 30 Best Sex Toys of All Time.
Acting like your mother
The only way to react to your husband (or your children) saying you sound like your mother is to grant them an unwavering death glare.
Having to pee all the time
Oh, it’s so hilarious to make fun of the girl who has to pee all the time. Hardy har har. But urinary incontinence is a real thing, people, and once you have babies, you’re lucky if you don’t pee yourself once a day.
Not cooking every night
I’m exhausted and was on my feet all day. When I say we’re getting take-out, we’re getting take-out—and I don’t want to hear it.
The girls aren’t as perky as they once were, sure, but hey, things still work the same way!
Being a lightweight
Drinking when your 40 is a far cry away from what drinking in your 20s was like. If you’re tipsy after just one glass, look at the silver lining: at least you’re a cheap date!
Talking to yourself
Back off, everyone. I’m the only one that listens to me anyway.
Going to bed early
In this house, it’s Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and bedtime. Don’t like it? Too bad.
Wearing a bikini
There is no unspoken rule that says once you turn 40, you have to only exclusively wear tankinis or oversized t-shirts to the beach. You feel comfortable in that swim suit? Flaunt it, girl.
Who says selfies are only for college kids? If you’re feeling yourself, snap a selfie and post it and don’t give a crap about what the haters say.
Getting a housekeeper
When you were younger, it was easier to keep up with everything going on inside the house. If you want to hire a housekeeper now, no one better judge you for it. You did your time!
Going out to a bar
Sure, you might be the oldest one on the dance floor. And sure, you’re running a high risk of having a hangover tomorrow morning. But you only live once, right? So go ahead and rage.
Going back to school
It’s never too late to go back to school. Learning is permanent, and anyone who says otherwise clearly hasn’t learned that.
Not being a homeowner
Look: It’s a renter’s market. There’s no need to tell me how you got married at 21 and bought your first home at 23.
Sexting is not just for the young and unmarried. Sexting is for the old and married, too. (Just make sure your face isn’t in it—you know, for insurance.)
Repeat after me: I will not feel guilty about eating carbs. I will not feel guilty about eating carbs. I will not feel guilty about eating carbs.
Not knowing how to do your makeup
There’s no need to understand the latest strobing or contouring techniques. Just stick with what you’ve been doing for the past 30 years.
Getting plastic surgery
It’s not like you’re 18 jonesing for a boob job. (And who are we to judge anyway?) If you want to get plastic surgery, go ahead and do what’s going to make you most comfortable.
Indulging in dessert
Weight Watchers, be damned. If there’s a cupcake in front of you, it’s your moral obligation to eat that cupcake and not feel a single ounce of shame about it.
Driving a minivan
It’s affordable, it’s efficient, and it fits everybody comfortably. Can Ted from the accounting say that about his Jaguar? Didn’t think so…
Not understanding slang
Fetch? Fierce? Fleek? Ditch the whole “trying to be cool” thing and just admit it—you have no idea what the youths are saying these days.
Not shaving your legs
Legs as smooth as a baby’s bottom are only for women in their college years. (Or for date night.)
Your body cracking when you get up
Every time you get up someone asks, “Was that your back? Or your knees? Or your elbow?” you might get annoyed. Or you can just yell, “YES, IT WAS MY BACK, I’M OLD AND IN PAIN” and they might just get the message to never bring it up ever again. For more great health coverage, check out the 20 Secrets Your Gynecologist Won’t Tell You.
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