Becoming an adult is hard 

If you’re like most 20-somethings, you probably have a few goals for your life–a fulfilling career, love and maybe marriage, financial security, and perhaps eventually children.

When you were in school, you probably longed for the day you’d be totally in charge and nobody was going to tell you what to do next. But now that it’s here, figuring it all out for yourself can be overwhelming.

You want to create a life that has it all, but nobody’s explained exactly how to make that happen. Worse yet, everyone seems to act like adulting should be a breeze and shouldn’t involve struggles if you are doing it right. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone spoke to you honestly about the things you were likely to encounter as a young adult instead of pretending like it will all be smooth sailing? 

I’d like to help prepare you for what to expect

When my three daughters started to head off to college, I noticed that most of the time when we discussed their futures, I talked about limitless opportunities and focused on the upside. I avoided talking about the struggles ahead because I didn’t want them to be discouraged. Or maybe I hoped that they’d somehow magically avoid all the pitfalls.

​Then I read about a golden rule that marathon runners follow—if a runner asks you about the terrain on the trail ahead, you should let her know about tough hills and how far she still has to go. In other words, instead of resorting to happy talk and telling her it won’t be that hard, you should be honest.

So I decided to be more open about the challenges and dilemmas that come along with being a grown-up. I started sharing the non-airbrushed version of my experiences as a young adult and telling them all of the things I wished my mom or somebody had told me. I'm happy to do the same for you. 

Who’s this person who’s going to be telling you stuff? 

When I was in my 20s, I discovered that putting my adult life together wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and that very few life experiences unfolded like I had imagined they would.

Though I was free to pursue any career that I wanted, I still had a hard time finding a fulfilling job that made me feel like all those years of studying hard paid off. Even though I married my best friend after 4 years of dating, newlywed life still featured arguments and adjustments. I postponed having children twice because I had no idea how I was going to juggle having a career and being somebody's mother. 

In the end, it all worked out okay. I found my way to a career in marketing that I loved. My husband and I have been happily married for 33 years. I eventually had three daughters and managed to still have a professional life without becoming so stretched and stressed that I missed out on the best parts of being somebody’s mom. (You can read more of my backstory here.)

I feel badly that young people today face even more pressure than I did to try to have it all—even though nobody has ever explained how to pull that off. I’d like to help you be better prepared to navigate the struggles of young adulthood than I was.

A “subscription box” for assembling your grown-up life 

If you subscribe, your free Things Your Mom Should Have Told You newsletter will arrive in your inbox once a week. Every week, I’ll spill something from my stash of motherly wisdom, share snippets from my pick for that month’s “Book of Wisdom,” and toss in some clippings of news you can maybe use but might have missed. And along the way, I’ll toss in other surprises I think you’ll enjoy. (Click if you want more details about the content.)

If you’re looking for platitudes or preachy advice, you won’t find it here. I’m not going to tell you what to do; you are the only person qualified to run your life. But if you’re looking for practical wisdom along with a side helping of humor, Things Your Mom Should Have Told You should hit the spot. It’ll be kind of like acquiring an instruction manual for life that you don’t mind reading a week at a time. 

It’s not just you

You’ve probably already discovered that some aspects of adulthood are confusing or can feel like a huge pain in the ass. Just remember that becoming a happy and  competent person with a well-balanced and meaningful life doesn’t happen overnight. Uncertainty and struggles at this stage of the game are perfectly normal. 

My hope is that reading Things Your Mom Should Have Told You weekly will help make being a full-fledged grown-up a little easier for you. 

If you subscribe, I’ll see you in your inbox every week. And unlike your mom, I promise not to nag you about whether you open it or not. 

And BTW, drop me a line if there’s something you’ve been wondering about that you wish your mom (or somebody) would tell you about.

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Joanne McHugh

Writer. Mom-on-call. Dispenser of wit and wisdom. Loves throwback photos and telling candid, funny stories about becoming a grown-up. Uses humor to reduce troublesome things to manageable size.