I am a young mom- not by choice; my first child was unexpected, but has undoubtedly become my favorite mistake! My son is my whole entire world, but it has not been an easy road. I became a mother just after my 21st birthday. Before learning of my pregnancy, I went out on a binge of drinking- because it was finally legal- and had the time of my life! Man, this is great– or so I thought! Days later, I realized I was pregnant and my days- though short lived- of time partying in bars was over as quickly as it had begun.
After getting married, I had my daughter at the age 25- which is still young, by today’s standards. Although I would not change my life or children for anything, I do feel that I have made many sacrifices and faced many struggles on a daily basis.
Here is a breakdown of the daily struggles of young moms:
Am I mature enough to be a mother? Well, when I was 21 I am certain I was not, and I did go out on week nights to drink and party with friends, while my mother babysat. Do not get me wrong, I stepped up and did what I had to do for my son, and was his primary caregiver, but I was still unwilling to give up my time with my friends. In your twenties, you are still craving freedom, and children take that freedom away entirely. Now, at age 26, I still need a night out from time to time. When I get out, I drink…a lot. I certainly drink more than I should, especially knowing I will be up at 6:30 a.m to make breakfast and play with my children. Is drinking too much irresponsible and immature? I think so. Maturing is natural throughout your twenties, it is a time to transition to young and free to….old and boring: or so it seems. Would I do it differently now? No, but I do still need my nights when I can let loose. Will I need that in my thirties? Perhaps. But, time has passed, and every time I wake up with a hangover I realize more and more that my days of wildness are at there end, but my struggle to balance my responsibility and maturity level are daily.
This struggle is linked to a young mom’s maturity as well. I find that all too often, as my girlfriend’s discuss meeting for cocktails and movies that I am jealous of their lives. I cannot even fathom being able to wake up and do what I want to do. My life is not my own, I do not have the option of heading to a movie on Sunday or out for cocktails on a Saturday night- or at least not with a week of preparation of finding a sitter and such. I am certainly jealous of my friend’s freedom in their youth.
3. Fitting in…
This is particularly hard for me because I am cursed (and someday lucky) that I look like I am 18 still. I am a very young looking 26 year old, and people often shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them that I am not THAT young. In fact, it has been so bad that I was mistaken for my husband’s daughter and my son’s older sister before- Yes, it was horrifying! Anyway, mother’s snarl at me, and gossip as I walk past, and teacher’s treat me like a baby or babysitter. I am constantly explaining that “yes- I am his mother.” I do not fit in with the thirty and forty-somethings, and have a hard time being respected or even noticed. This may also have a lot to do with the fact that I am quite shy (lack of maturity and confidence?)- however, I may look young, but I am still a great mom.
The struggles of a young mom are quite relevant. It is hard to mature faster than one is naturally ready for, and it is certainly hard to fit in with a crowd of mom’s who look at you like you are still a child yourself. It is necessary to hold your head high and remember that you are a mother- and you deserve the title. Mature in age or not- if you stepped up to change diapers, survived sleepless nights, read books, and sung lullaby’s, you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.