I’m 26, and in a few months, I’ll be having my third child. Yeah, I’m a young mom! I was just 22 when my first was born (exactly 6 weeks shy of my 23rd birthday, actually). I’d been married just 18 months at the time.
But I did this on purpose. And I love it. I wouldn’t change a thing. Keep reading to find out why I love being a young mom!
I wasn’t born to a “young mom.” My mom was 33 when I was born. She swears she was a better parent because she was older when she had kids. And you know? Maybe she was. There were a lot of reasons why she didn’t have kids earlier — the desire to be in the army, finish my dad’s education, travel a little bit…. And when it was all said and done, she got pregnant. Literally like 6 weeks after it was all done.
I’ve always been a “mommy.” I was the little girl who played with dolls long after everyone else stopped. I was at home “taking care of my babies” when everyone was wearing make-up and pretending to date (yes, really). If I was at a neighborhood party, I was hanging out with any babies that were around…and driving their mothers crazy, I’m sure, even when my friends were begging me to go play (also driving them crazy, I’ll bet). I announced I was sure I wanted kids when I was about 7 years old. I never really wanted to be anything but a mom.
In my teen years I didn’t date much, I didn’t party. I didn’t care to. I’m not that kind of person. I baby-sat, I studied, I went out with my few close friends. I’ve been to a club exactly once, and a college party once. I didn’t enjoy either. So at age 20, when I decided I was ready to get serious about my future, I did. I met my husband, married him a year later, and got pregnant just 9 months after that. We both couldn’t be happier.
So why do I love being a young mom so much? Here are some major reasons why:
1) Energy — I’m young, so I still have lots of energy to chase my children around! I remember when I was in elementary school and my parents were in their 40s, telling me they were too tired or their backs hurt so they couldn’t play too much or take me to the park. I don’t have that problem! We (my husband and I) can easily get down on the floor and play horsey, run around, and do whatever they want to do and generally keep up with them.
2) Sleep Doesn’t Matter — Seriously, a lot of people my age (and a bit older) are still partying until all hours of the night, and they still get up to go to work in the morning. It’s because they can easily throw off that sleep deprivation. Youth has its benefits. Instead of using that ability to get drunk at clubs, I’m using it to get up with my kids eight times a night and still be able to function the next day! There have been times I’ve been out with friends (in their 30s) who could not believe that I was as awake and energetic as I was when I described the previous night’s “activities.” And this is without coffee.
3) Poor — Yeah, okay, I don’t have a lot of money. Yet. We’re working hard to save up for retirement and college and such (yes, we’re boring), but realistically, we won’t have a ton of discretionary income until we’re older. But the kids don’t care because we make our own fun at home. Then, when they’re grown, I’ll still only be in my 40s, and I’ll have money, so I’ll be able to travel and enjoy myself! I never quite understood the point of finally getting to travel when you had money but were in your 60s or so…would you really want to then? I don’t think I would.
4) Fun — Having kids is just fun. Sure, there are hard times. When they’re sick, keep you up at night, have bad attitudes, and so on. I deal with all that too. But still, I love waking up in the morning (even after sleepless nights) and helping them get dressed, feeding them breakfast, taking them “somewhere fun” (as my 3-year-old says) and just enjoying them. I feel like my energy allows me to be really creative with them. There are even moments where it’s just like a dream…like I’m back in my teens years, thinking about all the fun things I’d do with my children someday. I love it.
5) Mommy friends. I’ve found it, to some degree, easier to connect with other women when we have children of a similar age. I never know quite what to say to people, but when we’re bonding over things our kids have said or done (one of my favorite subjects), it’s just easier. And now some of those “mommy friends” are just my friends, and we do stuff even without kids! But I wouldn’t have met them if not for our children.
6) No “major adjustment.” Parenting is always a major adjustment, of course, because it’s something you can’t fathom until you do it. But I really didn’t have any “adult life” when I wasn’t married and wasn’t either planning for or having children. I’ve always imagined (and have read) that older mothers have had this whole career, 10+ years of freedom, and have gotten used to a certain lifestyle. That all changes when you have kids, and I’ve read a few articles from moms who felt a real disconnect and even depression from suddenly going from “me” to “mom.” I never had that. I didn’t have all that freedom and that well-oiled adult life to give up; I stepped right from adolescence into marriage and parenthood.
7) Resilience — I think that pregnancy and recovery may have been easier for me because I am young. I’ve had minor aches and pains and so forth, but it’s never been a huge burden to me. I can’t prove that, because my mom had an easy time too, but it’s likely that it was easier on my body, physically, because of my age.
8) Lots of Kids — I’m not limited by my age in how many children I can have. I know other mothers set goals, like, “I want to be done when I’m 35/40/etc.” Even if I were to say that now, what does it matter? My third will be born when I’m 26, so I could easily have two or three more if I wanted before I even turn 30. I don’t have to worry about some of the tests and issues that can go along with “advanced maternal age” because, well, I’m not anywhere near it. How many kids I can have is limited by how many I want, not a quickly-approaching time limit.
9) Accomplishments — Okay, this may not matter to everyone. But it matters to me. I can’t actually imagine turning 30 yet. When you’re 30, you’re an adult, whether you want to be or not. You *can* get away with kind of slacking off and having fun in your 20s, but people suddenly expect something from you in your 30s. That idea is looming. But I feel like, if I’m satisfied with the way my life is going and with what I’ve accomplished towards my life goals in my 20s, then turning 30 won’t be so bad. I don’t know yet — ask me in 4 years.
10) Connecting With Kids — My husband pointed out this one. When you’re only 20-some years older than your kids, you are probably still into the new music and technology scenes. You aren’t that far removed from your childhood. You can relate to them easily. Not that you’re their friend, you’re still the parent. But you can remember and understand more clearly than someone who’s had 10+ years in adulthood and has kind of forgotten “what it was like.” Maybe you’re still into video games (I remember my dad trying, but…his idea of video games was Atari, and my brother’s was N64). Maybe you can just get up and dance to their music without thinking it’s “noise.” Maybe, in your mid-30s, you can more easily remember and relate to your teenager. Who knows. But it seems like it will be awesome.
I really can’t think of any major drawbacks of having kids young. Any drawbacks are related more to society than to “me.” Like, people assuming just because I’m young, I have no idea what I’m doing and I “shouldn’t” have kids yet, or wondering if I’m actually just the babysitter. Luckily I’ve run across almost no one who is like this personally (mostly heard about this from other young-mom friends). But really, I love being a young mom and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Are you a young mom? Why do you love it?
Top image by Cynthia Aesthetic