Ever since I gave birth to Jonah my life has changed dramatically. I spend most of my days at home, I get barely any sleep, I consider a 10 minute shower a luxury and I RARELY see my friends. I work hard every single day to the best of my ability to care for my son and still wouldn't trade it in for a private villa in bora bora where I never have to work again. I, like most mothers, love being a parent and count all the work worth it, and yet... I get glares from older women at the store, am the brunt of people's jokes on the Internet and have rude remarks made about me anywhere I go.
At first I thought that maybe because I look like I'm about 15, that's why people would judge, and I'd awkwardly laugh and shrug it off. But after talking to other moms who are also in their early 20s but actually look it, I realized that it's a widespread judgement that young mothers are bad mothers. And not just 13yr old hill billy mothers but pretty much any mother under 25.
Now I could just say "oh well people are ignorant", but I think that it's important that every now and again, someone can share how they're feeling so that those who want to know can understand and so that others in the same situation don't feel so alone.
The thing that has me so riled up about this misconception that young moms are automatically not good enough (mature enough, financially secure enough, smart enough, emotionally capable enough blah blah blah) is that, all the while this is being said, people are saying "young people can do anything". Obviously that's not a bad thing to say, because it's true. Young people can do anything! They can learn and achieve great things, but why isn't parenting one of them?
I mean, it takes good understanding and maturity to get a home loan and buy a house, but of course we believe young people are capable of and should do that!
It takes planning, hard work and some wisdom to go out and travel the world, but that's what nearly every teenager is told they should do once they're out of school.
We want young people to foster their passions and skills so they can head up businesses and invent new things, yet we condemn those who choose to start a family. Where is the logic in that?
If a 17 year old can start his own million dollar company, then why can't an 18 year old raise a child healthily and happily?
I mean c'mon, there are 30-something year olds out there raising their kids to be bullies and racists and tax auditors! (Just kidding, I have nothing against people working for The Man)
Now I know the responsibility of raising a child is a great one, but that doesn't mean you have to wait till you've tackled ever other responsibility to do it. Sure having plenty of money would make life easier when you have a child but you don't need to be rich to provide everything they need.
Owning your own home is a great way to start out having a family but it definitely isn't a defining factor in a stress free life or happy childhood.
Having all the knowledge and wisdom in the world would be the best thing when you have a child but you know what...Wisdom isn't gained by waiting till everything is perfect to actually start living your life. Wisdom is gained by learning from your success and your failure.
You can't have experience until after the fact.
Parenting is something that most of the time, matures you. It forces you to grow up, and why not do that while you're young? You don't have to forsake your youth but you should always mature.
Let me just point this out now before anyone gets the wrong idea - I'm not saying everyone should have kids young but what I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with having kids young. Not everyone is cut out to be a young parent but at the same time people have been doing it since the beginning, and look how far we've come!
I love being a mom, Oliver loves being a dad and Jonah is a happy and healthy baby. We have hard times but overall we're doing well, so why should we have waited?
-We have enough money to provide all the things Jonah needs (and sometimes a little extra)
-We're still totally in love with each other (even more so now actually),
-We still have fun and find time to see friends (but let's be real, we never went "out" a lot before anyway)
-We're still going to travel the world (but this time with a little buddy to help us see it in a new light)
Having a child hasn't stopped us from doing anything we want to do, it's just added another person to the party. So what reason is there to say we are too young to be parents? I know that we and 99% of the young parents I've met, will raise our children with love and kindness and as much care as any good parents can.
At the end of the day, your parenting ability isn't dependent upon how much life you've lived but how much you're willing to give to your children.
And I would lay down every minute of life I have for mine...