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7 Hidden Perks of Being a Young Mom

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.

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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 mom."

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 way.

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.

5. Grandparents

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 empty nest

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.

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7. 10 more years with our children

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.

And in the end, isn't that all that matters?

See all 20+ reasons in my series Why I Love Being an Early Mama.

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