When I look at Instagram and sometimes when I just . . . look around in the wrong locale, it seems like everyone has:
Beautiful modern home. (Us: Nope)
Luxury cars. At least one Tesla. (Nope)
Full time childcare. (Yes. Our largest expense category by far, more than housing.)
Amazing vacations, both with and without the kids. (Somewhat. This is definitely a goal.)
Retirement at a reasonable (or younger-than-average) age. (Probably. But we’re talking late 50s/early 60s, not 48.)
Private school. (For now, yes. Though not the priciest one.)
Fully funded 529s. (Uh, no. We do contribute steadily, but all 3 accounts put together still wouldn’t buy one year of private college at this point. Working on it.)
Sleepaway camp. (No for now, but maybe someday)
383427 kid activities. (No since 2020, but I see this ramping up soon.)
Yeah. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I’m here to report that this list in its entirety is not feasible even with two jobs that I would consider highly compensated — jobs that took a combined 22 years of post-college training to qualify for. I have a (non-medical) friend who can afford all of this, but even she has the benefit of family wealth in addition to a partner who probably earns 7 figures.
Maybe if I had chosen dermatology. And ALSO had invented an anti-aging miracle serum. (Speaking of which, probably indulgent self-care and intermittent plastic surgery could be added to above list).
I am not sure what I am even trying to say here except that doing our quarterly finances and concurrently tearing through Emily Oster’s book made me think a lot about our life choices. And often I can’t even figure out if we’ve made the right ones. For example, every Sunday afternoon the list of chores and that amount of mess in our home often feels depressing and insurmountable, making me question everything. Hearing about how wonderful Teslas are makes me side-eye my 2011 Prius. When I struggle with the kids’ behavior (and whether you can glean that from this blog, let me set the record straight – often I do. Some kids more than others), I question what I have done wrong to make it feel so hard. (As in: I have ruined them because I work, haven’t I.)
But there are also moments when I recognize how lucky I am to have a job that I generally enjoy and feel so happy to have that PLUS my 3 healthy kids. And I also recognize that even people who have everything on the list often end up unhappy and anxious. And even they probably feel like they are lacking in some way (compared to Elon Musk or something).
WELL. This has been a post. On the up-side, C LOVED soccer camp yesterday! He came home raving about everything *especially* the lunch. Hahaha. On the down, I am missing G’s first dentist appointment. (It got moved because she had been sick, and the only day available for months was a clinic day).
Two parenting podcasts I have enjoyed recently:
3 in 30: How to Develop a Peaceful Routine with Kids (this is what I want, so badly. Our home is not very peaceful EVER unless screens are involved.)
The Mom Hour: Never Thought The Day Would Come (gives me hope!)