My 35 year old mommy self verses my 20 year old mommy self:
How many people can compare what it is like to be a young mom and an older mom? I was twenty when I had my daughter Paige, twenty four when I had my son Will, and thirty five when I had my daughter Charlotte. How does the difference in age compare in becoming a mommy at twenty verses being a mommy at thirty five?
I was raised Catholic and it was engrained in me from early on that you get married, next you have kids, and finally you live happily ever after. I am happy that my happily ever after has happened, but the road to this special place has been very interesting (and sometimes very long). I never anticipated becoming a mother at twenty, but life happens and I found myself pregnant at 19 years old. I feel very thankful that I was a junior in college (I graduated from high school in three years so I started college early) and I was on my way to finishing my college degree. However, looking back, I was just a baby and I feel like I was always in survival mode.
Mommy at 20
When you are a young mother, you are more naive and I feel that you don’t worry as much. I was always in survival mode. I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy every milestone with my new baby. I willed Paige in my mind to get to the next milestone because the older she got, the easier she became. My last semester of college required me to do student teaching (which is basically being a teacher but not getting paid) and taking two correspondence courses. My mother was kind enough to watch Paige while I was student teaching, but I remember her telling me “You better come home the second you are done.” I will always remember me rushing home and walking in to Paige screaming her head off. The deal I made with my mom was that she would watch Paige during my classes or student teaching, but every other second I was on my own. This was very generous of my mom because this was not her deal and I will always be grateful for her watching Paige so that I didn’t have to put her in daycare as an infant. I remember countless nights typing papers on my computer with Paige on my lap screaming. In fairness, I did get some breaks with Paige’s dad and his mom. He was also finishing college in engineering so I remember us arguing over whom would watch Paige while each of us tried to study for our finals.
I know that I definitely had more energy as a twenty year old mommy verses a thirty five year old mommy. I still wanted my “happily ever after” so I got back in the dating world and went on dates when Paige’s dad had her. Being in the dating world with a baby is just weird. I hated every second of it. I will never forget my friend Walter babysitting for me. Paige cried and cried and cried for him too. I know Walter always left my house thinking “Thank goodness I get to leave. I am way too young for this!”
Benefits of having children younger
You have more energy.
You don’t worry as much because you don’t have the experience or aren’t wise enough to know all of the dangers out there.
You are younger when your kids go off to college so you still have many golden years to enjoy with your spouse.
There aren’t as many risks involved in your pregnancy when you are a younger mom verses an older one.
Disadvantage of having children younger
You have less money which sometimes means fewer opportunities.
You get judged by many who automatically assume you that you must be on welfare.
You are naive and lack many life experiences that would make motherhood easier.
You are in survival mode and don’t get to appreciate all of your child’s milestones.
Mommy at 35
Being a mommy at an older age is COMPLTETELY different. My husband and I were married a couple of years before we decided to try for Charlotte. Because we are older, we are lucky enough that I get to be a stay at home mom. I am not in survival mode with Charlotte. I got to savor every single moment of her as a baby and now I savor every moment of her as a toddler. I wake up everyday and thank God for my family and my life. Paige is sixteen, William is twelve, and my stepdaughters Allison and Abbey are fourteen and twelve. Because I am not in survival mode or working full time as a teacher, I not only get to enjoy the thrill of having a toddler, I get to enjoy going to all of my other children’s activities and spending more quality time them. I’m not always running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I get to stop and smell the roses….and appreciate the roses. I am very sad that my daughter Paige will be in college in a little over a year. Time has flown by with her and I hate that when she was smaller, I was in survival mode trying to make ends meet. I can’t dwell on the negative so I just try to focus on the positive and all the wonderful things in the future.
Benefits of having children later
You are more established and are able to be able to do more for your kids.
You are not in survival mode and are able to appreciate more things.
You savor the time with your kids more.
You are wiser.
You have more patience.
Disadvantages of having children later
You have less energy.
You will have less time to enjoy the golden years with your spouse.
There is a higher risk during pregnancy the older you are.
I wouldn’t change the opportunity to be a young mommy and an older mommy for the world. I think that the struggles that I went through as a young mommy have made me a better older mommy for all of my kids. I appreciate my past and the things I have learned and look forward to my future. If you see a young mom (even a teenage mom), don’t immediately dismiss them as being a failure. Encourage them and tell them that they can have a fantastic life. None of us are perfect and judging someone for being a young mom does not help anyone. You never know, they could end up like me, a young and old mom!
The question I would ask is what age do you think is the ideal age to have a child?