The day I graduated college, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do for a living. My plan was simple: do something, work my way up, get married, have a bunch of kids, save money, and retire at forty. I looked forward to my life after forty, which held the promise of sleeping late, traveling with the family, and endless lazy days by the pool. I did not think too much about the in-between. And, I certainly did not think it would be this hard. So, the countdown begins. In exactly 12 months and nineteen days, I will be forty.
I laugh at my naive twenty-one year old self. She really had no idea.
So, after college I got a job in sales, worked my way up, got married, and had three kids. Check.
We put money in our 401k and in a college savings for the kids. Check.
Retire in one short year, not even close.
I did not account for overwhelming costs of life: tuition, travel ball, electronics for five, insurance for everything, cable, grocery, and Target bills, and every single thing else.
That being said, life has been very good to me. I have three beautiful boys, who all still love their mama. I just celebrated my fifteen year anniversary with a husband who is still my very best friend. I opened my own business over five years ago which has expanded by leaps and bounds since then. For these wonderful gifts, I am grateful. I know that at the end of my life, I will remember these in-between years fondly.
In the meantime, I still have to negotiate each minute of the day. I just did not realize how hard it would be to raise a child, or two, or three. I did not realize that I would be tired, all the time. I can only give about 70% to work, 80% to my kids, 60% to my husband, and about 15% to myself. That adds up to 2.25 people. I lose my footing, which my husband lovingly calls “acting like an insane person.” My kids have witnessed me crying over spilt milk, in the literal sense. People ask me all the time, “How do you do it all?” The honest answer is: I don’t. I just do what I can until the next day. I am extremely fortunate to have family, friends, and employees that help make up the difference. I don’t like to ask for help, and with them, I never have to.
I celebrate it all. The schedules, the work, the cleaning, the homework, the ballgames; they make my life whole. My children are beautiful. My job is fulfilling. My husband supports me. My parents are proud of me. My cup is full.
Swap Boutique has been a loyal sponsor of New Orleans Moms Blog and did not compensate us for this post.
About Michelle Reinhardt
Michelle Reinhardt graduated from LSU in 1997. She began her career in sales and management. After ten years, Michelle decided to start her own business so that she could spend more time with her three boys. She opened Swap Boutique in 2008. She has since opened four additional locations in Louisiana.