As a mum of two, I live in the constant mum-mode whirlwind. I have two boys – one nearly 8 years old and one nine month – yes, there’s a big gap between the two of them. I am now the ripe old age of 3-0 and quite content to be a Mummy of two, a fiance, a homemaker and the such. But it’s not an easy task – parenthood is tough, and motherhood is at times the most testing role I’ve ever had to undertake. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. My children mean everything to me.
Seeing as I’m thirty (eek) and my eldest is nearly 8 years old, the math will show that I was 22 when I had him and 21 when I fell pregnant. I’d been with my partner for two years and we had our own house etc and as someone who grew up very quickly as a teenager, and had always been very mature for her age, I never once felt like I was too young to be a mother.
I moved out of home when I was 17 and remained close to my parents, but I’d always been very headstrong and fortunately that headstrong attitude was backed up with a strong sense of confidence and sensibility. So when I fell pregnant there was never a question that I could and would do this. Despite not planning on becoming a mummy at that age, I was so ready to be a mother. I think I was born maternal and had always loved being around children and had babysat so much in my teens that I felt I could nail motherhood hands down. Twenty-one, pfft I’d got motherhood down..
To be honest the practicals were easy – bottles, routines…I just kinda got them. But the emotional element was a lot harder, especially when the post-natal depression kicked in. I would have done anything to protect my baby, I would have laid down in the road, walked over fire…anything for him. But the rush of love they tell you that hits you at birth, well, it took a little longer for me. And it was only with time and acceptance that I realised this is normal. Especially for first time Mums.
Despite being 22 when Josh arrived, I’d partied and lived enough that I never felt like I was missing out on the other side of the early twenties. I still went out occasionally, but would have happily chosen a full night’s sleep over a night clubbing by that time. Motherhood changes everything – your priorities instantly shift, your needs change to match that of your baby and of your circumstances. Suddenly family days out are more appealing when it comes to budget juggling than a fortune on drinks and club entry.
In your early twenties you are still very much learning who you are… I was adamant I was sure of myself. I knew who I was. I knew what I was about. Everyone else was wrong when they said you’re still learning – they may have still been learning who they were, but I wasn’t, I was the exception, I already knew. Or so I thought.
Your outlook, your goals, your approach and values are all so incredibly different at 20 to 30. And it’s only time that’s taught me that. Yes I knew who I was then, I don’t actually disagree with that. I did. But I am also a very different person now – and that I didn’t expect. People do change. Especially in their twenties and in every single way a person can possibly change.
It’s probably since I had Hayden last year at the ripe age of 29, that I realised just how glad I was that I started my motherhood journey so young. But in the same breath, I also enjoy it far more second time round – with my older age and my experience. Josh is now nearly eight – he’s a whole proper person. With personality and humor and he’s my best little friend. We talk, like really talk about things and he has his own personality, his own likes and dislikes and his own opinions – something which I adore. He is who he is. He’s company now too. Having him young means I now have a whole big person. A person who is such an addition to my life. He brings so much value to our family, that when he’s not here there’s a big gap and we all find ourselves a little bit lost until he returns. Having started my motherhood journey at a young age, to me means that I still get to enjoy ‘young’ things with him, rather than as a bystander. But that’s my reality, so therefore my personal perception.
Motherhood teaches you a whole new outlook. It shows the world through a completely different perspective that once you’ve seen, you can never unsee. For me personally, being a young mum has worked, and has been the best thing I ever did. But it’s been hard. As motherhood is at any age. I’ve also seen the flip side now I’ve had my second child at 30, and enjoyed the process so much more. So I’m not saying older mums (my age and above) are missing out, or doing it wrong (before the internet police chime in!) What I’m saying is that my journey is unique to me, as every mum’s will be. I wouldn’t change my young motherhood, nor would I change the very large gap between my children. I also know friends who have waited until their late thirties and forties to have their first child and it’s been the best thing for them. Motherhood isn’t one-size-fits-all, my motherhood story doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for me. And having children young, was the best thing I ever did.