I was chatting with a 40-something Dad a year or so ago, and he said that when he and his wife had their first baby (in their mid- to late-30s), the hardest part was the major lifestyle adjustment. They couldn't take the vacations they were accustomed to, run out and meet a friend for lunch at the last minute, attend fancy cocktail parties. They couldn't sleep in on the weekends and pour as much money into their house.
It was tough, right? Right?
He looked at me as if I'd eagerly jump into the conversation because, naturally, this is a MAJOR. DEAL. Yet I just smiled and nodded my head, swiftly shifting topics a bit. But inside I was, for the first time in a long time, happy to be a younger mom. (This was around the time that I was lying about my age and feeling very insecure around older, more "established" parents.) I realized that my adjustment was no where near the level of adjustment that older parents must feel. I wasn't embedded in a work routine, established in a career, buried under responsibilities I had been accumulating for the last decade. I wasn't used to years and years alone with my husband -- just the two of us -- ready and able to take an impromptu road trip or hop a plane to Costa Rica. I wasn't used to spending money on little luxuries that I'd have to do without.
I went from being a broke college student to a broke intern to a pregnant entry-level employee. I didn't ease into adulthood with a decade of "me" time that I could get accustomed to. Instead, I became a college graduate, an employee, a Horton and a mother all in the same year. To me, being an adult means being a mother; I don't know any differently. I was used to having little sleep, little money and little time. Now anywhere I go from here seems like progress rather than sacrifice. When it comes to my job, my money and my lifestyle, I feel like I'm continuously propelling forward rather than being stalled.
And that's pretty comforting to me.
Note: I've been collecting all of our reasons that we love being "Early Mamas" in this weekly feature. Do you have a reason? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.