I became pregnant with my first child when I was 20. Now at 25, my husband and I have three beautiful, healthy children. I am very proud of my family and the lifestyle I chose, but being a young mom has presented a unique set of challenges and benefits in my life. I’m sure you other young moms out there can relate. Here’s what it is like being a young mom.
Parenthood is Not That Exhausting…No Really
Once my best friend asked me, “What’s the hardest part about parenting?” I told him that for me, the hardest part was keeping my temper in check. He said he had asked a few other parents, all in their 30’s I might add, and their answer was “It’s exhausting.” I was surprised to hear this because I have never felt very tired as a parent. I’ve been more tired as a teenager staying up late talking on the phone and in college working on a paper until morning. I realized I have never been truly exhausted because I am so young and my body can still bounce back easily from the late night wake-up calls for milk or monsters. Plus being a parent keeps you home more, so most nights I am able to go to bed as early as 9 pm–if I want to that is.
Everyone Stares at You
It used to be the worst when I just had Lily. When you are toting around a baby and you look like you’re a teenager, everyone stares. Especially in grocery stores. Once you have more than one kid, you get less dirty looks, but more awkward glances. I think at that point people assume you didn’t make “a mistake” and you must be older than you look.
You know you’re a young mom when you take selfies with your kids.
Strangers Say the Darndest Things
At the hospital giving birth to my third child, you should’ve seen the nurse’s faces when they were under the impression it was my first. Wait, you’re 25? Blank stare. It might be worse for the grandparents, they hear, “You don’t look old enough to be a grandma!” about ten times a day. I wonder if people understand what this comment is insinuating and that they are highlighting insecurities ingrained in women’s minds for the last two generations. I was once in an auto shop with just my youngest when the following conversation unfolded. It was the perfect example of how most strangers insert themselves into your situation and judge you because you look too young to know better.
This middle-aged woman said, “What an adorable baby, how old is he?”
I said, “Thank you, 7 months old.”
She said, “Oh he must be crawling all around, just you wait, he’ll start walking in just a few short months.”
I said, “He doesn’t crawl, yet. He is pretty young for that.”
She responded, “Oh honey, no. Most babies crawl around 6 months. But that’s okay, he will catch up. Don’t worry.”
I didn’t respond. I could’ve said that this is my third kid, or that most babies don’t crawl at 6 months, or that she should mind her own business. But I didn’t, because that was just one in a sea of comments I get from strangers every time I’m out that are inappropriate.
You Constantly Question Your Parenting
Of course, the previous point leads right into this one. Society tells us we are too young to be good parents, so we are always left wondering, are we good parents? I don’t think being a young mom disqualifies me from being a good parent. I was once told just the fact you are thinking about ways to improve your parenting shows you are a good parent. It’s true that the brain doesn’t fully develop until humans reach their mid-twenties. Perhaps this is why I am constantly feeling the need to improve and grow in my parenting knowledge and abilities. It’s how my brain has been growing for the last five years of my life.
It’s Easier To Get Your Body In Shape After Pregnancy
I will admit, this is a great benefit of being a young mom. Your metabolism is likely higher than moms that are older than you so your post-partum body can bounce back faster. Your skin is usually more elastic and resilient, so stretch marks are not as noticeable. Your face has fewer wrinkles and shows little in the form of bags under the eyes. It’s true that being young gives you a higher chance of achieving a “hot mom bod,” something I’m grateful for.
In Cozumel with my husband, feeling hot–literally and figuratively.
You Lose Friends, But the Good Ones Stick Around
I had kids before any of my high school friends did. At age 25, I finally have a friend who had a baby near the time I had my third.
Theo & Landon, born 4 weeks apart
I am surprised by how being a young mom has shaped my friendships. I have lost friends that I thought would be around for a lifetime because they felt we were in different places in our lives. I have also gained numerous new friends who are parents and are a great source of support for me, although they are 5-10 years older than myself. And most importantly, I have a few amazing friends who have stuck by my side, even though our lives are starting to look like polar opposites, making an effort to stay interested even if I am unrelatable to them. I love you (you know who you are)!
Though being a young mom has given me many ups and downs, the best thing it has given me are these three children. I wouldn’t change a thing.