Being a mom at any age can certainly be a struggle, but each stage of our lives presents a specific set of challenges. Women who become moms when they're teenagers face their own special circumstances, while women who become moms in their 30s or 40s have their own unique set of obstacles, too. While the majority of women who have kids become mothers at some point during their 20s, there are's definitely a list of struggles only moms in their 20s understand.
There is no "right" age to become a parent, and I'd definitely be quick to argue that even when you think you're "ready" to be a mom, you're absolutely ready to be a mom. I became a mom in my 20s, intentionally, and though I felt like I was as prepared as a person really could be, I still wasn't completely prepared for some of the struggles I faced once I had kids. The baby books don't really tell you about what having a baby will do to your social life or that you might end up harboring unfamiliar feelings of resentment or sadness or irrelevance. They also don't really explain some of the weird things that happen after you become a mom, and trust me, there's plenty of weird and awkward and embarrassing to go around.
I understand that my own parental journey is unique to me, but I also feel like a lot of my friends who became moms in their 20s faced some of the same challenges. It's nice to feel like I'm not fighting these battles alone, and neither are you. So, if you're a mom (or you're getting ready to become one) in your 20s, here are nine struggles that you'll probably face at some point. No need to worry though, I'm surviving them just fine, and you will, too.
You Suddenly Feel Old
I'm not old at all (far from it, actually) but parenthood has a way of exhausting you physically, mentally, emotionally and in a way that will inevitably wear you down at some point. It can drain every last ounce of your sanity, and allow you only a few hours of rest in order to attempt to recover your mentality. Sometimes I wake up sore in the morning, like I played in a football game the day before, and I wonder what happened to me. It takes me a few seconds to realize that it wasn't just one thing, it was a thousand things. I chased two boys around all day and cleaned up their messes and cooked their meals and worked and ran errands and made beds and, well, I do a lot of things that make me feel like I'm 90 when I get out of the bed in the morning.
You Might Take A While To Get Used To Your Body
Pregnancy took a toll on my body, as it does many women. I knew that my body would change, but I wasn't prepared for how I would feel about those changes. I'm very physically healthy, but I don't look the way I did when I was 18. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I'm to the point now that I wear every stretch mark and new curve as a badge of honor, but I still have my days when putting on jeans gives me anxiety. Learning to love your new body can be a challenge, but that body did an amazing thing and it most definitely deserves to be loved.
Adjusting To Your New Social Life, Or Lack Thereof, Is A Little Awkward
I didn't go out every single weekend before I had kids, but I did have the freedom to. When you have kids before some of your friends, sitting at home on a Saturday night because you don't have a sitter stings a little more than it did when you chose to be anti-social before you had kids. Becoming a parent can feel isolating sometimes, and finding the right balance between tending to your child's every need and fulfilling your own need for adult interaction without feeling guilty is sometimes a struggle.
Constantly Prioritizing Someone Else's Needs Above Your Own Is An Adjustment, To Say The Least
Humans are selfish creatures, by nature. Before we have kids, taking care of ourselves isn't something that we ever think twice about. After kids? Well, it's something that we desperately need, but rarely prioritize. The transition between not having to worry about anyone but yourself, to taking care of another person 24/7 is sometimes a bumpy one.
Trying To Have Adult Conversations Can Get A Little Tricky
On the rare occasion when you do get to take care of yourself, and when you do get to be social, conversing with other adults who don't have kids is slightly awkward. When you spend all day, every day taking care of a little human who can't yet communicate, your own ability to communicate tends to suffer. And by some, I mean that you're actually going to be the awkward person at the party who has no idea what any of the cultural references your friends are using mean, but you'll awkwardly laugh any way while you Google what "on fleek" means.
You Discover An Entirely New Level Of Exhaustion
I thought, as I was accustomed to late nights in college, that getting little-to-no sleep as a new parent would be a seamless transition. It wasn't. Being tired in high school and college was pretty much the norm when you stayed out late partying. It was never a big deal though, because you could just sleep it off for as long as you needed. There's no such thing as "sleeping it off" when you've got kids, and getting up at the break of dawn every single day, no matter how much sleep you did or didn't get, sort of feels like a terrible hangover. Never getting a chance to catch up on those hours of rest you miss out on every day introduces you to a whole new level of exhaustion.
You Get A Little Behind On Trending News
No, Beyonce's Lemonade is not a drink recipe or the title of a cook book, but an epic music video/documentary/movie thing that is apparently a musical milestone in our culture. Honestly, I'm still not sure because I haven't seen it. If Doc McStuffins didn't fix it and Mickey Mouse didn't sing about it, well, then I'm probably unaware what the heck you're talking about.
In General, You Just Feel A Lot Less Relevant
When your baby is too young to show gratitude, your many efforts aren't praised in the way they definitely deserve. Spending all of your time taking care of your child is rewarding in its amazing own way, sure, but feeling isolated from the outside world has a way of making you question your relevance. I am all too familiar with this feeling, as I have felt alone and isolated and resentful more times than I'd care to admit. Not knowing what is going on in the outside world, or what your friends are talking about when they reference something from pop culture, or not being a priority in the lives of your friends that don't yet have kids just because you do have them stings a little sometimes. The thing is though, having a child actually makes you more relevant than ever to one person in particular: your child. Taking care of them might not be the "coolest" thing in the world to other people in their 20s, but it is by far the best and most important job you will have have.
Suddenly The Song, "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" Speaks Volumes To You
I sang this song with great conviction as a teenager, but I had no idea what it really meant until I got older. It's cheesy, yes, but it makes so much sense now. I still feel like a kid sometimes; like I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing with my life (although, I actually mostly do know these things most of the time). I sometimes still want to turn to my parents to answer all of life's pressing questions, and there are definitely days when I don't feel equipped to even take care of myself, much less my kids.
Those days and feelings are, thankfully, fleeting. The thing about becoming a parent, at any age really, is that it gives you the opportunity to give another person everything you've always wanted. You get a chance to give your kids an amazing life, to teach them lessons, and watch them grow and thrive and learn, so growing up for the sake of helping your kids to do the same is almost an instinctual thing. It changes you, yes, but in the best kind of way. The transition that happens in your 20s between being a girl and a woman, especially when you have kids, will never not be awkward of difficult or challenging, but one thing I know for certain is that it will always be worth it.