It might be hard for you to wrap your head around, but in 5 short years you’ll be a full time stay at home mom with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Those two little ladies will bring you more joy and more worries than you ever thought possible. It sounds great, doesn’t it? You don’t have to go to work everyday! No more workplace drama and meaningless customer complaints. Just relaxing and playing with your kids everyday. Oh, man. I wish you knew…
Yes, watching your children learn and grow each day is incredible, but it is also a lot of work. Work that has no 15 minute coffee breaks or end of the day cocktail hours with coworkers. This will just be a different stage in your life, no better or worse than before, just different.
While I’m sure you are having a blast down in Alabama and your stubborn tendancies will not likely take any of this advice easily, I wish you knew...
Shopping is one of our favorite things to do. Finding that adorable new dress or perfect pair of trendy shoes brings us joy, but I wouldn’t waste your money on fancy things. Pretty soon, you’ll be comfortable reveling in the moment wearing one of your 4 or 5 go-to mommy uniforms. Something that isn’t necessarily trendy, but fits you and your style + is comfortable throughout the day and makes you look pulled together when you feel like a hot mess.
While we’re on the subject of wasting your money, lets talk a little bit about how much money you’re spending eating out. Birmingham surprisingly has some amazing cuisine, it’s true, but there is simply no need to eat out every single night. Trade that in for cooking at home the majority of the time. That condo kitchen may be tiny, but spend a little time in there and learn how to cook a few recipes until you are a master chef (or at least have a handful of recipes memorized). You’ll thank me in a few years when you suddenly realize that it 4 o’clock and you have yet to plan dinner. You will easily be able to pull from your catalog of tested recipes instead of reaching for that store bought pizza at the back of the freezer.
You're not going to want to hear this one, but I strongly encourage you to take a look at your bank account. You are making a lot of money (compared to the zero you’ll be making as a stay at home mom) and it doesn’t look like you’re saving much, if any. Why not skip the bars this weekend? The amount of money you’re spending on alcohol will shock you in 5 years! (Also, in 5 years you’ll get drunk off of just 2 glasses of wine and suffer a horrible hangover after 3.) You are probably thinking that you’ll have plenty of time to build up that nest egg and you’d rather have fun now, I wish you knew...
Here’s a thought. If you insist on wasting your money, waste it on something good. All of the money you’ve wasted on clothes + restaurants + bars in your early 20s could have paid for many trips off your bucket list. Waste your money on experiences now as those experiences will be much different when you have kids to consider. Then, when you look back on the days as a newlywed, you’ll think less of the wasted money and more about the experiences you shared with your new husband.
Money will not bring you happiness, but having a little cushion of it will bring you much comfort when you are not the only one you need to support. I know it’s hard to look towards the future now, during your first real moment of independence. I’ve been there, I know. I also know how stubborn you are and that you’ll probably decline this advice with a bit of know-it-all attitude, but I just wanted you to know.
In the end, it will all turn out alright. You and your husband will work through the hard bits and live a comfortable life (even if you’ll still be paying those student loans off until eternity!). In five years, everything will be different. Not better or worse, just different and you’ll love every bit of the journey (even the hard bits). Trust me, I know.
Your 30 year old self