This is 30


My 30th birthday is today. Every birthday can be a time for reflecting on your life and thinking about what you’ve accomplished, or maybe a time for getting a little down on yourself about the things you haven’t done.

I’ve been feeling a bit like that lately (the second one, I mean). I know, I know, I know 100% that comparing yourself to other people is the quickest way to make yourself feel like a failure, but it’s really tough not to do that sometimes.

Facebook, I am shaking my fist at you right now for making it too easy.

Every so often I question my choices. Was staying home with Natalie the right move? Should I have continued my education? Put the one I have to better use? Do I even have a purpose right now other than cleaning up the same hurricane of baby toys EVERY DAMN DAY, just to start all over again tomorrow?

And then I came across an intriguing document in my Google Drive titled “Helmrath 5-Year Plan.”

Date of creation? December 30, 2010. Never opened again until I unearthed it the other day.

There’s not a whole lot there, but what I wrote is eerily accurate. I forecasted the approximate date that we’d be debt free. I was within a few months of being correct about when we’d buy a house.

Good news: we’re ahead of schedule with the babies! According to my plan, Natalie wasn’t supposed to have been born until April of 2014 (actual birthday: July 2013) and Baby Helmrath #2 is not even on the radar until after the five-year plan expires.

We’re just overachievers, I guess.

But here’s my point: despite being a curmudgeon my whole life with regards to children (I always hated them and couldn’t even FATHOM why you would want to bring those wretched, snot-nosed little beings into your life ON PURPOSE), having kids was one of the ONLY things important enough to put on my 5-year plan.

Five whole years in that document and not ONE word about getting another degree or career goals or anything even related to a job.

What did I plan? A family.

And now, at thirty years old, I have that.

Will and I are coming up on five amazing years of marriage. We have a daughter who brings more light and laughter and joy and chaos to our lives than we ever would have thought possible. We’re learning each and every day how to be better parents to her, and better partners to each other. Our family is growing. In just six short months, we’ll be The Helmraths, Party of Four.

(The cats are hugely disappointed not to be included in that count.)

This is not the stuff that everyone’s dreams are made of. I know this and I’m extremely grateful for everyone who makes different choices than I do. I don’t think for even one minute that you can’t be fulfilled unless you have children, because that’s total rubbish.

But for me?

I’m thirty years old. I’m a stay-at-home mom. Professional toddler wrangler, world champion hair braider, and undisputed queen of reading books in a silly voice.

And right now, my life is right on track.

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