Today’s guest post is from Heather Knight — a mom with three boys (ranging from 2 to 10), a husband (married 8 years), and an MA, which she completed with a 4-year-old at home, while pregnant.
As I round off the last few months of my 20s, I’ve already noticed quite a few changes in my life. Cute waiters have started calling me ma’am, I can’t remember the last time I got carded for wine, and I’ve even caught myself talking about “the good ‘ol days” when times were simpler.
People ask if I’m nervous or worried about hitting the big 3-0, but the truth is, I’ve been looking forward to this milestone since I was 19 years old.
You see, I’ve been an early mama for almost 11 years.
I thought back then that turning 30 would make people respect me. That by being 30, I would have arrived. I’ve always known I’m a good mom, but we’ve all felt the judgments about my young age. I thought that somehow — magically — I would no longer be an “early” mom at 30; I’d finally just be a mom.
What I’ve learned over the past decade (and through the birth of two more boys), is that things aren’t so easily black and white. Motherhood is an evolution, and so is early mamahood. I’m a solid 15 years younger than many of the moms in my fourth grader’s class. I used to try and wear my best office or “mom” clothes whenever I had to go to his school (I once got called kiddo at his school conference) — I guess I was trying to overcompensate. We had baby number two when I was 24, just on the early side of average here in the Midwest, and then baby number three came the week before my 27th birthday.
Then I noticed things changing in a way I didn’t expected.
By that time I had many friends having kids, and I became somewhat of a contradiction. I was still a young mom to the grade-school parents, but I was a seasoned veteran to my friends. (It’s a contradiction that even manifests physically, as I battle acne and grey hair at the same time.) Over the past couple of years, I noticed how valuable that contrast is — and I’ve learned to use it to my advantage. I especially love getting to have such variety in my life and with my kids.
I’m a better mom because I was an early mom, and nothing will ever change my mind about that. I’ve learned so much about myself — like how strong I can be and how indefinite plans are. I’m more flexible because I know that even if it takes longer, or if I have to endure more twists and turns along the way, we’ll get where we need to go. I’ve gained more confidence and learned that I don’t need to overcompensate.
My oldest has started his second decade of life, and I’ve loved hearing his voice grow too. We have a connection that I don’t know we’d have if I wasn’t a young mom.
In some ways we’ve grown up together.
The truth is, whether I’m 19 or 30 or 50, I’ll always be a young mama. I’ll likely be a young nana too (a young nana who will never, ever have grey hair). I hope my boys wait a little longer than I did to have their own kids, but I hope they don’t wait too long. Early motherhood has been such an asset — and it’s something I’ll never get past.
I’ve been doing it long enough now to be thankful for that.