When you talk about or contemplate having kids, you're usually left with one resounding question to consider: "Are you ready to have kids?" What exactly "ready" means, depends on the individual but, sadly, so many people think that being "ready" means hitting a certain age. Is there a magic age where you are just instantly ready to have children? Nope. Everyone grows and matures at different rates and is ready for kids at different times (if they want to have kids at all). There are many times I have been thankful that I became a mom in my 20s, despite some of the difficulties I may experience along with it and regardless of whether or not other people thought I was "ready."
I often get criticized for having my daughter "too young" and "not living my life." Those criticisms don't phase me, though, as I can confidently say that I am happier than I have ever been, because my daughter is in my life. While I am young, I most definitely am not "too young." I am mature, responsible, and perfectly qualified to be a great mother, regardless of (and actually because of) my age. My partner and I balance our work life, school life (before we graduated college), social life, and family life (which includes the time we spent with just us) and I would argue that my daughter has not suffered any from it, but instead, has flourished because of it.
Not spending every moment of every day with my daughter makes our relationship strong, too. My last semester of college, I was able to participate in a concert that required rehearsals, performances and many nights of practices. I was able to enjoy something I absolutely love (with friends), then enjoy spending time with my daughter. Perhaps, most importantly, I could rest easy knowing that my daughter was witnessing her mother do something for herself, by herself, and I can't tell you how happy and fulfilled that made me. Even though she wasn't even two years old, I could see how proud of me she was, and how much she had enjoyed the show. That made it all worth it. That moment made being a mom in my 20s so rewarding and made me so thankful I can share them with my daughter. So do moments like this:
When Your Kid Learns How To Run
Play time can be the best but man-oh-man can it be exhausting. When your kid is mobile and running around like a crazy person, it pays to be "young." I can't tell you how thankful I am for my stamina, because my kid puts me through work outs on a daily basis.
When Your Kid Doesn't Want To Sleep
Thankfully, losing sleep isn't as hard for me as I imagine it is hard on older parents. I still remember how it feels to stay up all night cramming for a final or writing a research paper (and actually did so when I was a mom), so sleepless nights with a baby are a freakin' breeze. (OK, kind of. I mean, not getting any sleep is still the worst.)
When You Have A Presentation/Performance/Final
You definitely don't need to be a specific age to present something at work or carry out a performance or slay a final, but when you're in your 20s, doing any or all of those things while also having a baby is just, well, easier. Maybe it's because, not too long ago, we were taking multiple classes in either high school or college, juggling a bunch of responsibilities simultaneously. Maybe it's because we're young enough to think that doing all of these things is a good idea. Either way, we have it on lock.
When You Calculate How Old You'll Be When Your Kid Graduates
Because I had my kid when I was "young," I'll have so much life ahead of me by the time my daughter graduates high school and goes into the world. I'll still have plenty of time to travel or start a new career (or continue with my current one) and I'll still have my faculties in tact so, you know, I'll remember it all.
(Of course, it's worth mentioning that you don't have to be of a certain age to start a new career or travel or do anything at all but, you know, still. Being "young" when all that happens will be nice.)
When You Want And/Or Have To Travel
The idea that your traveling days are over just because you've procreated is bogus, at best. I can (and do) still travel, my daughter just comes along with me. I can't tell you how awesome this is, especially because I'm in my 20s. I can handle the long distances (and all the bags we have to pack for a freakin' toddler) and I can really relish the fact that my daughter is getting to experience all these new places and people. I can handle carrying 75 pounds of stuff, and I can enjoy the new memories I'm making with my wonderful family.
When You're Looking For A Job
Although job searching can be stressful and tiresome after a while, I think there is something powerful about going through this with my daughter. Because I needed an income to support her and provide for her, I was more determined than ever to find a job that would help me take care of my child. I mean, it's not just me anymore.
When Your Kid Starts Taking An Interest In Physical Activities
If my kid starts taking an interest in certain sports or other physical activities, I'll be ready. I'll be able to throw a ball around with her or kick a soccer ball with her or run around in a circle, with her, without dislocating a shoulder or cracking a hip and, most importantly, without feeling like I was ran over by a truck the following morning.
When You Start Thinking About The Future
As a young mom, I will not only have the ability to share my 20s with my daughter, but I will (hopefully and if my daughter chooses to have children) have the ability to share my life with grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren. To be able to watch my family grow will be nothing short of priceless, and to be able to remember the times I not only spent with my daughter, but spent with any subsequent grandchildren that may, one day, exist, is going to be, well, awesome.