There are pros and cons — benefits and drawbacks — to having a child at any age. It’s easy to let negativity cloud your outlook and bring down your confidence, and that’s true whether you’re younger (lacking in money and maturity) or older (lacking in energy and fertility).
But I prefer to embrace the positive, no matter the circumstance.
For us younger parents, I started a series on EarlyMama.com called “Why I Love Being an Early Mama,” to share the little perks that we can all cling to when we’re feeling down. Instead of chattering about the challenges, let’s embrace the benefits.
Here are the 5 biggest perks, for me:
Motherhood is an adjustment, regardless of your age — how you think, how you behave, how much human feces you suddenly have to handle — but it wasn’t a jarring interruption to a life I had become accustomed to living. I went from being a broke, exhausted unpaid intern/college student, to a broke, exhausted young mom/full-time employee. I wasn’t used to years of lazy Saturdays and impromptu brunch dates. I didn’t have a decade of “me” time, filled with little luxuries I’d have to do without. I was already in hustle mode, so there wasn’t a whole ton of “sacrifice” on my part.
So many parents complain about how hard it is to switch gears, but I have nothing to contribute to that conversation. I’ve been in a steady uphill climb from the beginning, continuously revving in overdrive. And it’s been a fairly smooth ride.
It’s easy to scroll through your Facebook feed and feel pangs of jealousy. Your former classmates are complaining of “boredom” (seriously?) or jet-setting to the kinds of tropical places you only experience through episodes of The Backyardigans. But here’s a little something that keeps me going: I’ll be 40 years old when Noah goes off to college. 40! And then I’ll jump on (still existent) Facebook and see those same former classmates posting tantrum-related statuses and selfies in the preschool parking lot. And I’ll smile from my beach chair.
That pressure of a ticking biological clock, getting louder with each year, is something I’ll never have to experience. And I’m so grateful for that.
4. More energy
This one is a bit subjective, considering I have no place judging anyone else’s energy level. That, and I’m really tired right now — debunking the theory that all 20-something mothers are endless balls of energy. But I can tell you one thing: When I’m running around playing superheroes with Noah in the backyard — up and down the stairs, spinning in circles, jumping over pretend obstacles — after a week of sleeping maybe 4 hours a pop, I’m thankful that age is on my side. I’m unfathomably exhausted, sure, but I’m still standing.
Motherhood can shift your perspective and intensify your emotions. It can bring out your creativity and ingenuity, your desire to do good, or even just a desire to do more. It can spark ideas, redefine what’s “important” in your life, and ultimately change you — in ways you never expected.
I’m thankful to experience this sooner rather than later.
Why do YOU love being a young mom? Why are you glad you waited on motherhood? Let me know.
And next week we’ll talk about the unique challenges — including the biggest challenge I never saw coming.