When I was 22 years old, holding a positive pregnancy test, it
felt like everything I had ever worked for — everything I had hoped and
imagined for my life — blurred out of focus. All I could see were those two
pink lines. My goals, my career, my future ... gone.
Despite the lifelong conditioning that "getting knocked up"
too soon would destroy my life, I was reassured by a few reminders: My body
would bounce back quickly, they 'd say. At least I had fertility and energy on
my side. Look on the bright side; I'd be a MILF! (Yuck, stop.)
And yet in the six years since that day in the bathroom,
pregnancy test in hand, I've discovered plenty of little-known perks to this
young mama life. I've realized that every situation, no matter when you start
having kids, has benefits and drawbacks. The perks of being a young mom (or an
"early mama," as I call it) go far beyond keeping my figure and being the "hot
Here are 7 little-known reasons to love being a young mom:
1.Less lifestyle adjustment
Being an adult means being a mother. I know no other way.
Transitioning into any new life stage, motherhood
especially, is a disorienting challenge. And yet when parents complain about
how hard it was to switch gears, to give up the lifestyle and luxuries they'd
been accustomed to, I can't relate.
I went from being a broke, exhausted college student/intern
to a broke, exhausted young mom/employee. I'd been burning both ends of my rope
for as long as I could remember. I didn't have a decade of "Me" time, with lazy
Sunday brunches and a vacation fund. I was already in hustle mode, so everything
from that point on has felt like progress.
Early Mama reader Claire Trundell agrees, saying, "If I'd
spent 10 or 15 years pleasing myself, pursuing a career, and rolling around in
disposable income AND enjoying all that time alone with my partner, I can't
imagine the shock that having a baby must be. I know older, professional women
who have been moved to tears by the loss of autonomy."
For me, being an adult means being a mother. I know no other
2.Sharing our accomplishments
I think there's something beautiful about showing your children how to get from Point A to Point B.
Did you know that your life doesn't end when you have a
baby? That you don't absorb into the boring black hole of parenting that steals
your identity like a soul-sucking vacuum? Because I hear a lot of young women
say that they're waiting to have kids until they've "accomplished everything
they want to accomplish" and it takes everything in me to not grab their
collars and scream, "YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER!"
I think there's something beautiful about showing your
children how to get from Point A to Point B, despite the inevitable obstacles
and setbacks. To grow a life alongside your children, and to share your
accomplishments with tiny smiling faces watching mom accept her Master's degree
in a cap and gown, or grow a business from the ground up.
3.Refocused goals and refueled ambition
Motherhood can change us in ways we never expected.
Nothing will shift your perspective quite like bringing a
new life into the world. Maybe it's a spark of creativity or ingenuity, a deep
desire to do good or a fundamental rearrangement of priorities. Motherhood can
change us in ways we never expected. It gives us a reason to do more, to be better.
And many young moms are grateful to have had that shift
sooner rather than later.
DeAndrea Newman, blogger at RealEcoMomics.com, said, "[Young
motherhood] broadens your horizons. It pulls you toward living a less
self-centric life. After having my son, there is no longer the concept of
simply working for myself; it has been replaced with having my family and our
future in mind. I'm so thankful that a greater proportion of my life will be
dedicated to being an active citizen and helping to make this world a little
better for at least a few of us."
4.A reason to purposefully grow up
There's nothing quite as introspective as motherhood.
The 20-something years are an incredible time for
self-growth and self-discovery. It's a time to define our adulthood and ourselves. So many people assume that the only way to "find yourself" is
alone, in the woods, in solitary introspection.
But, in my experience, there's nothing quite as
introspective as motherhood. It'll hold a mirror right up to your flaws, your
shortcomings, your deep-set issues. Seeing yourself — seeing life, in general — through the lens of a new life can be quite transformative. It's given me an
urgent reason to grow up and be my best self.
I'll forever be grateful for their endless supply of love.
Having my son at a younger age means that my parents were
younger, as well. And I'll forever be grateful for their help, involvement, and
endless supply of love.
Kenzie Swanson, young mom blogger at Hello Neverland, agrees. "I love that
my parents and my husband's parents are both still young enough to be very
involved in our kiddo's life. My grandma is my favorite person in the world,
and it makes me happy to think that our baby girl will have lots of time with
her own grandparents."
6. An early
The tables will turn when I'm lounging on the beach and they're cleaning up vomit.
While I could definitely make the case that young moms have
more fertile years for bigger families, I'm holding onto the perk of an early
empty nest. I'll be 40 years old when my son goes off to college — FORTY! — which
is an age that plenty of mothers are toting around toddlers or sending their
kids to middle school. It's easy to feel a wave of jealousy at friends living
the child-free life, but the tables will turn when I'm lounging on the beach
and they're cleaning up vomit.
I have an extra decade of love and growth, hand holding and heart tugging.
"I just like that I get to spend more time with them, if that makes
sense. I mean, Lord willing, [having] my kids in my 20s rather than my 30s or
40s means I get that much more time with them," said Kristel Acevedo, young-mom
blogger at Glowing Light.
I have to say, this is my favorite perk. All things being equal, having
my son at 22 rather than 32 means I have an extra decade of love and growth,
hand holding and heart tugging. An extra decade to watch my son grow into the
person he's meant to be. An extra decade.