Becoming a mum young: what’s it really like?

Hey guys, I got such a good response to my post Getting married young: what’s it really like? so I thought I’d do another post similar to that. This post is going to be all about what its like being a young mum!

So, I’m 24 now and was 22 when the girls were born. Whilst I got married young, it was never my plan to have children young. In fact, growing up I never particularly wanted children at all! When Josh and I got together I started to imagine what it’d be like having a person that was half him and half me and I came round to the idea, but we thought we would be having them later in life, maybe our 30s because there was so much we wanted to do before we got tied down!

ANYWAY, flash forward five and a half months after our wedding, I found out I was 2 weeks pregnant! It took me a long time to come round to the idea but by the time my girlies were here I couldn’t have been more thrilled. That being said, being a young mum has come with its challenges that I have discovered over the past couple of years!

First of all, I feel, rightly or wrongly that people don’t take me seriously. Especially when I was pregnant, I felt as though midwives etc. didn’t really ‘get’ my situation and didn’t think I was doing it right. I think this was pretty much all in my head but it was just a feeling I got. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing! I actually still don’t most of the time! But I always feel like people are watching my every move, checking if I get it right for being ‘such a young mum’!

None of my friends have children! Of course I’ve made friends with other mums but in terms of people close to me from school etc., nobody has babies! That being said, my best friend Holly has a daughter who is seven months younger than the girls so its amazing to have a close friend to talk to about stuff! But the rest of my friends seem to be at a very different stage of life to me and it can be pretty easy for me to envy them when I see them bossing their careers or off travelling the world! However, I am lucky because my girls have lots of ‘aunties’ to shower them with lots of love and affection!

On that score, I always really worried that other mums would be a lot older than me and would look down on me. I kind of thought nobody would want to be friends with me because I am younger, but I have not found this to be the case at all! I actually have realised that despite the fact I am younger than some people I meet, it doesn’t matter at all. We have so much in common because we have very similar lives and its great to have people to talk to about it. And to be honest what is a few years once you’re an adult? So if you’re a young mum-to-be reading this, that’s something you don’t have to worry about! Even throughout school I had many friends who were a few years older than me and it didn’t really matter then and it certainly doesn’t now! I think with time your confidence in yourself and your “adultness” just grows – these days I’m more comfortable talking to a 50 year old than a teenager!

One thing I must admit I struggle with is finances. Since I had just graduated uni when I became a Mum, I’ve never had a full time job. When Josh and I got married the plan was that he’d work and support us both and we’d live very cheaply for the first year, then when I got a job we’d feel like we were rolling in it and have plenty to spend and also save for travelling, buying a house etc. Sadly, this wasn’t to be… we are still living on one income 3 years in to marriage and I’ll admit at times it’s really tough. There is not much extra left over and saving is just out of the question. Thankfully, because we are currently living in a teeny house owned by my parents (I mean tiny, we share a room with the girls and have to take them to my parents to have a bath) we are able to save a bit. But we still only have one car and can’t always afford to do everything we want to. I find it hard when I see my friends quite a lot further along than us however I also have to remind myself that they are that bit older and all these things take time. I also realise that once the girls are old enough then I will certainly be working and then we will hopefully be able to afford a mortgage and holidays etc.!

On a more positive note, selfishness is completely gone. I think being a young person in your 20s makes you selfish, not purposefully but the thing is, realistically the most important person in your world is yourself! It isn’t a bad thing, but when you have children your selfishness just gets completely zapped. You become selfless, but not because you want to be! It just seems that these little people have to come first no matter what and you just fade in to the background! However, I have become more selfish in other ways such as with my free time and not wanting to share my husband so it’s swings and roundabouts really!

Ambitions and dreams don’t die, they get stronger! For the first few months it was hard to think about life beyond babies, but these days my ambitions are finding the way back to the surface of my brain again. I want to be a good role model to my children, I still want to have a good career and I want to be successful! It doesn’t matter what form that takes but I’m just glad it hasn’t gone away! And I definitely still want to travel the world… it’s just the small matter of HOW. But I’m confident we will do it!

Priorities change. This has been a huge learning curve for me. Whilst many people my age prioritise amazing holidays, nights out, new clothes and nice meals… I prioritise nappies, sippy cups and shoes that will be outgrown in a few weeks. My own health is less of a priority than my children’s, my happiness is less important than theirs. It sounds harsh but at the end of the day they won’t rely and depend on me forever and for now I can give up the new pair of trainers in favour of a new toy box and hope that my kids grow up to have amazing jobs which pay for the plastic surgery to remove the years worth of dark circles I will have (just kidding… sort of!).

In the end, I believe there is no “right age” to have children. 17, 25 or 45 – you can make it work. You can give your child the best life and still have a pretty amazing one yourself, all it takes is a little perspective, confidence in yourself and your abilities and lots and lots of coffee.

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