“Wow, she’s so young to be a mother. Poor thing.”
Lock me up now, because the next time I hear those words, someone’s getting stabbed. I want to start off by saying that this isn’t a piece about why everyone should run out right now and go have babies. Motherhood isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re young, and I get that. Enjoy sleeping in and having nipples that aren’t sore to the touch (one of the many upsides of breastfeeding). I’d also like to say that if you don’t want kids or if you’re not ready for kids or if you’re single or if you’re casually dating or if you’re enjoying the small amount of time you have in life to be one hundred percent selfish and not even thinking about kids – I’m genuinely happy for you. Truly, I am. There’s something to be said about people who live their lives to the absolute fullest on their own first before bringing a child into this world (if they even want any), and I would love to hear stories about all the magnificent adventures you’ve had.
That just isn’t the lifestyle for me.
I got married at the ripe old age of eighteen. I was young and dumb and had the world at my feet, and I chose to get married. Everything happened really quickly and sort of unexpectedly, and it was never something I had planned. I always thought of myself as the type of girl who would marry in her thirty’s and be so filthy rich that I could quit my job when I decided to have kids and walk them around the neighborhood in their diamond incrusted strollers and be the envy of soccer moms everywhere. I still like to imagine that I’m the envy of moms everywhere, but the filthy rich part is a little muddled.
Anyway, I got married, and kind of on a whim. My then boyfriend (now husband) was deployed to Afghanistan for the entire duration of my senior year of high school through the first two months of my freshman year at college. When he was finally back home, our hormones were raging (sorry, Mom) and our hearts were filled. We were two kids in love and we wanted it to stay that way. When he proposed in the middle of the freshly fallen snow on that chilly December night, there was no hesitation in my answer. “Yes” just fell right out. Then we took the plunge. I got married. I traveled. I discovered. I got pregnant. I had a baby.
And I love it. Every poop-filled, sleep deprived, booger infested minute of it. Sure, I occasionally get nostalgic when I’m scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and I see one of my high-school friends getting all dressed up and staying out until three in the morning with her girlfriends just because she can. Or when I come across a picture of a college buddy double fisting two separate bottles of tequila (I’m not really jealous of them drowning in liquor, but if they can do that, think about all the responsibilities they don’t have. I’d have so much free time). But then my daughter shows me her drawing that she is so proud of or she says a brand new word I didn’t even know she knew or she kisses me by surprise on the cheek and I snap back into reality – how could anyone pity me?
I kick-started my adult life a little earlier than a lot of people my age, but doesn’t that mean I get to enjoy it all for longer than most? I’m young enough to have the energy to keep up with my rowdy two-year-old all day, and still want to stay up until midnight with my husband, cuddled up on the couch watching a new movie and talking about our day. When I’m thirty, and people I grew up with are freshly married, I’ll already have more than a decade clocked in with Jarred. If you see marriage and kids as the end of the “fun part” of your life, you’re doing it so, so wrong. It’s one of the greatest parts of life. I mean, yeah, Sofie’s pooped on every single good pair of jeans I own, but that little face is worth all the weird looks I get when I go grocery shopping in sweatpants that have holes in really unfortunate places and I don’t realize it until three hours after I get home.
Age has nothing to do with the quality of a mother or a wife. Their own self-worth does. So, go have a baby when you’re young. Or don’t have one until you’re well into your thirties. Or don’t have one at all. Go elope with your high-school sweetheart. Or don’t get married until you’re well into your thirties. Or don’t get married at all. Go travel the world straight out of high-school. Or don’t leave the state. Go do whatever you want to do with your life, just make sure that you make every single minute of it count.
I don’t think I emphasized just how much poop you’ll be dealing with if you decide motherhood is for you, though. It’s a lot. A lot.