What it's like to be a mom in your early twenties
My husband Dom and I always planned to have kids when we were in our early to mid-twenties. We met and fell in love young—I was 18 and he was 21—and we were married by the time I was 21 and he was 23. I gave birth to our daughter when I was just about to turn 24 and he was just under 26.
Having always known I'd wanted to be a planned, semi-young mom, I knew there would be hardships that would go hand-in-hand with that. There are difficulties of being a mom in your mid twenties that are all together different from that of a teen mom or an older mom.
For example, nobody ever tells you it can be lonely. Most of my best friends from high school and college don't have kids yet. While I've made many military-associated friends of all ages who have young children (my husband is in the Army), my BFFs are living a completely different lifestyle from the two of us. Even if I still lived close to my closest friends—say, walking distance like we did in college—things would still be different than they once were. As a twenty-something mom, you're in a group all your own. Your favorite comrades are still going out and having wild nights while you're at home cuddling a teething toddler or spending some much-needed alone time with your significant other. You often can't accept invitations to go out for drinks or even to get dinner because your son or daughter has a 7 p.m. bedtime. Even if your friends have children of their own, your individual schedules are dictated by naps, appointments, and bedtimes. You can make these things work, but it can still be isolating, to say the least.
You also have to grow up quickly. Most women in their mid-twenties are still, to some extent, figuring out their lives. They are starting new, booming careers, getting engaged, or just trying to figure out what the next step in their lives may be. I have friends in all different stages and lives—one who travels the country working as a tour manager for a well-known country music band, one who is a military officer just getting the reigns on her first career, and one who is in a huge period of transition and is moving, starting fresh, and figuring out where life is going to take her. As a sweet, giggly little girl's mom, I had to figure many huge pieces of my life out long ago. Of course, I can still change careers, spend time with friends, and start something new, but no matter what choice I make, I have to remember that every choice I make has a heavier weight than most twenty-something women because it affects not only me, but also my daughter.
You have to learn to put someone else first. Always. And you learn to love it. A twenty-something mom can't always sleep in on the weekends, grab a last-minute brunch with her friends, or suddenly decide to quit her job if it's not quite panning out. You have to make decisions based on your child, your family, and your life even if it's not what you want to do be doing at that moment in time.
That being said, there are great things about being a twenty-something mom, experiences that, for me, beat out brunch or a night out for drinks hands down. While you miss some fun events and you are, at times, lonely from missing your friends, you are never truly lonely. No matter what, you have someone by your side. Even better? It's a someone who you love more than you ever imagined possible. For every night of missed parties, you get to squeeze a clean, squishy baby while you kiss them goodnight and rock them to sleep. For every morning you can't attend bottomless mimosas at your favorite brunch spot, you get to hear the cutest, chubbiest feet run around on your floors in a path that leads straight to your arms.
Regardless of sometimes being a little (okay, very) jealous of my BFF's glamorous job, I know that every choice I make means for a wonderful and fulfilling life for the one little person you I more than anything in the world.
There's no question about it: motherhood is hard. As a twenty-something mom, different aspects about it are even harder because the life you are living isn't the typical life of a twenty-something woman, at least not in this day and age. Regardless, when I look into my daughter's eyes, I know I'd never trade it. Being a twenty-something mom is the best job I could ever ask for.
Our family photo by Chubby Toes Photography.