Becoming a mother at any age can be a challenge. It's the hardest job that any of us will ever have, but it can be especially trying for women who became mothers at what some will consider a "young age." I'm not sure why people are still trying to convince women that becoming a mother in their 20s will be the death of her youth, but they unfortunately are (as I know this from personal experience). While, yes, a woman's life will inevitably change once she has kids, I think becoming a mother in your 20s changes your life for the better.
There are certainly ways your life will be different when you have kids in your 20s, but it's different in the best kind of way. For example, having a baby in your 20s can actually make you more successful and more driven and provide you with more focus that, in turn, helps you determine what you want to do or be or achieve. When you've got little eyes watching you constantly, you're sort of forced to get your act together and, well, knowing that you've got an engaged audience can be impressively motivating.
All-too-often people want to focus on what having a baby will do to your social life, and how you will find out who your real friends are after having a child (and yes, you will) and how you'll never sleep or shower or do anything that brings you an ounce of happiness, outside of your kids. Some of that is true and some of that isn't, but regardless, it's important not to lose sight of the truly wonderful and amazing things that happen when you become a parent; positive things that we really should talk about more than the negative; things that add to a woman's life, not subtract from it. So, if you're a "young mother," fear not, because while your life will certainly change, having a baby in your 20s will be a positive change for the following reasons:
You Go To Bed Earlier
Going to bed early sounds pretty lame when we're young, but there's a valid reason behind that recommended eight hours of sleep a night. Getting a full night's rest gives us more energy, allows us to focus more on every aspect of our lives, and is better for our overall health. Honestly, getting plenty of rest makes you better (and helps you feel better) at basically every aspect of your life, and leaving your sleep-deprived former self behind is definitely not a bad thing.
You Take Better Care Of Yourself
Staying up until 4 AM taking shots of vodka and eating waffles buried in syrup afterwards is fun, I know, but it's not, necessarily, the healthiest life choice. When done in moderation, it's fine, but when it becomes a habit it, can take a serious tole on your body. I spent many a late night sitting at a bar until closing time, only to head to another dive bar that would serve its patrons a greasy breakfast afterwards, so I understand the allure of a college bender. Now that I'm a mom, though, I take much better care of myself, because I want to be around as long as possible for my kids. I exercise and make a conscious effort to maintain a healthy diet (though I definitely fail at this sometimes, because cake) because I want to set a positive example for my children. They make me better, and being better is never a bad thing.
You Try Harder At Everything
I don't think I'm the only woman who became a mother in her 20s that feels like I have something to prove. My husband and I did plan our first pregnancy, but I still feel like people see me as young and naive; like my only purpose or goal in life was to become a mother; like every other part of my being no longer matters because procreation, so I can't be taken seriously for anything other than that one life choice I decided to make. Well, that's just not true at all. It's not true for me or any of the other woman who became a mother in their 20s. I have a career and a mortgage and a degree, and I'm hell-bent on advancing my life in whatever way I can, not just for my kids but for myself, too. I'm a mother, yes, but I'm so much more than "just" a mother, and the worst mistake anyone could make is to underestimate me, or any other woman who became a mother in her 20s.
You Set Goals
Taking care of another human being makes you want to give them everything they could possibly need or want and everything you never had as a child, yourself. You want them to have opportunities and to grow up feeling happy and important. Setting goals is an important part of advancing your life with your child, and showing them that hard work can make their dreams come true is one of the best things you could ever do for them.
You Become More Focused
Becoming a mother in your 20s forces you to focus on what's important. It makes you take a look at your life and evaluate it on an entirely different level. Achieving goals and giving your child the life that you want them to have requires constantly keeping your eyes on the prize (the prize being the things that you want for your family), and having a baby is a very motivating when it comes to centering that focus.
Yeah, you pretty much have to grow up when you have a kid, no matter what age you are. There's really no getting around that, but maturing at a younger age will benefit your life in the long term. Getting your act together at a young age poses the potential to help you get to where you want to be much quicker. I still feel like a kid sometimes, and want to call my parents and cry about how difficult life is (honestly, I'm not sure if that ever goes away for anyone), but when I think about the life I want my boys to have, I'm able to tough it out and find my strength to soldier through the things I just want to whine about. Part of maturing is taking action, rather than just complaining or giving up, and when you have a kid, there is no such thing as giving up.
You Find Purpose
I have never been a morning person. Now that I've got kids that wake up at the crack of dawn every day, well, OK, I'm still not a morning person but knowing that I'm getting up to take care of my kids makes it worth having to set money aside in the budget for copious amounts of coffee. I lived paycheck-to-paycheck for most of my adult life, still do sometimes actually, but that's not what I want for my kids. The goals my partner and I have set for our family motivate us to try harder every day. We've come so far since we've had kids because they gave us purpose. They gave us a reason to wake up in the morning and bust our ass every day and, honestly, we owe everything we have to our kids and the motivation they give us on a daily basis.
Becoming a mom in your 20s can be hard, sure, but it gives you so many amazing reasons to better yourself. Personally, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me.