It’s a Saturday night, and most of my other 21-year-old friends are heading out for the evening.
Meanwhile, back at my house, my 2-year-old just tore her dirty diaper off in a fit of defiance and is running around the house naked. I try not to laugh as I put her in timeout and clean up the mess. After putting her to bed early, my husband and I eat a bag of $3 fried rice from Trader Joe’s and fall asleep at 8 p.m. to the sounds of The Office.
I’m not able to join my friends at the party they’re going to or at the bar where they will drop serious amounts of cash on fancy drinks and food. I would rather spend my evening with my family, and it’s not in my budget to spend money on drinks and eating out. My friends still invite me out sometimes, which I do appreciate, yet it reminds me of the different lives we lead.
It can feel isolating when I’m not able to do the same things as others my age.
Sometimes it feels as if there’s a disconnect. Not all of them can relate to being married with kids, and I feel out of touch with the typical young adult lifestyle. It’s been so long since I’ve had to deal with anything but dirty diapers, bills, and managing my home.
Yet at the same time, I feel intimidated by mothers who have more life experience than I do. I used a salad spinner as a spaghetti strainer the other day when I was making dinner, and I still don’t really understand how potty training works. I don’t exactly have all the answers, and that makes feel naive. My age adds to this insecurity.
As a young mom, I’m in an awkward stage of life.
I have too many responsibilities to be able to live the carefree life of my peers, yet I feel that I am sometimes looked down on by those older than me.
I have some friends who are also young moms, and we’ve had many conversations about it. There is definitely a stigma that some people adopt towards young moms that we’re less capable or that we’ve thrown our lives away.
Being a good mom is not defined by age.
Although I may have insecurities, I ultimately believe that age does not determine a mother’s ability to be a good parent. I know of wonderful mothers who are only in their early 20’s, and I also know of wonderful mothers who are in their 50’s.
Being a good mom is also not defined by whether or not they went to college, or whether or not they have or had a career. A good mom is one that puts the needs of her children before her own.
I also disagree with the common belief that having kids at a young age signifies a loss of self and the pursuit of one’s dreams. It’s true that balancing raising a child with a career or school is difficult, but it is by no means impossible. It’s also true that young mothers may give up aspects of their life prior to kids (like having free time and extra money), but priorities are willingly changed.
I had a baby at 20, and it was the best thing that happened to me.
I’ve traded beers for bottles and late nights with friends for late nights with a toddler on sleep strike, but I couldn’t be happier. I am 22 now, and I’m excited for my daughters to be able to experience my life with me as I graduate from college, begin my career, and grow my family.
Moms, no matter your age, we know you’re looking for expert parenting advice, and we’ve got it this weekend!
Join the Richmond Moms Blog team on Saturday, May 6 at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital for Bloom Richmond, an exclusive event for new and expecting moms. There will be a panel of local parenting experts. Come with questions, because there will be a Q&A session. See you there! Learn more and get tickets.