What's on Your Gratitude List?
By Kaytlin Hall
Over the past few years, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays. Although my extended family doesn’t live locally, my parents and the group of people I am lucky enough to call my friends have made this holiday very special. This year am I’m exceptionally thankful as my own family has grown and my son will be celebrating his first Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to think about being thankful and having gratitude for the people and things in life. 2019 has left me with so many things to be thankful for. Below are a few of my examples.
Mom Support - It really does take a village to raise a child and I don’t know what I would do without my village. I am one of the lucky ones since my parents and sister are local plus I have a very supportive and hands-on husband. I also am grateful for the extended village I’m starting to build. Meeting other moms, especially other working moms, has been a lifesaver. The pressure for maintaining a work-life balance can be crushing but the group of moms I have surrounded myself with seems to keep the important things in perspective while also not judging. Some days are more work and some days are more life. I’ve learned that there is no perfect balance and that every day is different. I want to be around to see my son grow up but I also don’t want to be out of the workforce for years while raising children. This can happen to a lot of women and transitioning back to work after the kids are grown can be hard, as a lot can change professionally during those years. I am very grateful to have the best of both worlds.
College Savings Account - This must be genetic because my mom always talked to me about education and how important it is. I’m pretty sure she started telling me in pre-school that I “had to have college diplomas on the wall” before I got married and started a family. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started saving for college for my son. I wanted to make sure we had as much time as possible to save for his future. So many kids come out of college at 22 years old with tens of thousands in debt. My son’s college savings account is probably one of the most important accounts I have as it helps ensure he has everything he needs to be a successful and educated adult.
Health - Childbirth takes a lot of strength and it doesn’t end once the baby is out. I had a fairly easy delivery and recovery but there were a few little speedbumps. Medical care is also not cheap, however, I did a lot of research to make sure I had the right plan for me. Some of the things I looked at were: what’s my deductible and out of pocket maximum? Do I need a referral? Do I have an HSA or flexible spending account? And how do I add my son to my health insurance? Planning ahead saved me a lot of time and anxiety when I needed to put my medical plan into action. I’m very thankful for the amazing doctors I have and the care they provided me with.
Bringing a baby home has changed my life forever, and I love it. But I was organized and had my financial ducks in a row before he was born. It took years to build my own plan and although it has changed and will continue to change, I’m so grateful for everything this year brought and am looking forward to what the future has in store for my new family.
During this time of year, it can be normal to feel overwhelmed with the holidays on the horizon. But I think it’s important to really think about the things you are grateful for. Try to make a “Gratitude List” every day. The idea is the more you write down what you’re feeling grateful for, the more you start to notice and appreciate the things that make you happy. My Gratitude List for today: hot tea this morning (that I actually finished warm), an amazing family, clients who are more like “friends”, and of course my happy and healthy little boy. hat’s on your list?
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