Today's Q+A comes from a blogger you may already know. Read on for her positive, uplifting experience as an early mom:
1. People may recognize your blog as one of the top kids' style blogs on the Internet, recently being awarded a prestigious Cribsie award. Yet people may not realize that you're a younger 20-something mom yourself. How old were you when you got pregnant for the first time?
Well now I’m blushing. Too kind!
I am younger, I was 26 when I had my first baby. Not the youngest mom, but definitely the youngest mom on my block and part of the minority in my city. [Ed note: This is how I define "early mama." It's not about your age, it's about your personal experience.]
2. From the look of your beautiful family on your blog Baby Blackbird, it looks like you planned to have a younger family. Is that so?
Ummmmm yes! It’s actually a little funny. I had always planned to have my kids before I was 30 -- for many reasons, but mostly just because I wanted to (it’s a pretty good reason, right?). From the very first birthday (of mine) that I celebrated with my husband (and then every birthday after that), I would remind him how many years I had left until I was 30 (aka until my "having kids" deadline arrived), counting down each year until mother nature got tired of hearing my counting.
3. Women who plan to start having children in their mid-20s are in a unique situation: Far from being a teen mom, but not necessarily established professionally/financially. What do you wish people knew about you before labeling you as a "young mom?" And what does the term "young mom" mean to you?
Young mom totally means a fun and hip mom. Mainly because that’s what I always thought of my mom when I was growing up, and she had her kids around the same age as me.
In my experience I actually haven’t felt the term "young mom" has been used towards me in a negative way. But with that being said, most people are shocked when I tell them what I did/do and that I had a career in fashion prior to kids (and I didn’t have kids right out of school).
4. Tell us how your blog came to be. Was this something you planned to do from the beginning of your pregnancy?
I started Baby Blackbird when I was pregnant with my second, initially as more of a personal blog with a kids' fashion twist. I wanted to (like many blog start-up stories) keep my family updated on the kids, all while keeping my brain sharp and still in a fashion focus (as with kids it can quickly turn to baby mush). I just kept writing, developing my style, focusing in on the things that I had experience and a passion for (my kids and fashion), and it sort of evolved from there.
5. When it comes to being a style authority, do you feel that your 20-something image is an asset? Or is it something you tend to leave out of the conversation?
I actually never really talk about my age, but I think it’s written all over my face. I get a lot of the young comments (not often in a negative way). I think my 20-something age makes my voice fresh and unique in the kids’ fashion world. But I definitely don’t think you need to be young to be hip and know what’s happening, because I know I plan to never give either of those up!
6. I know there are many younger moms out there who want to dress their kids in on-trend fashions, yet lack the funds for a designer wardrobe. Do you have any special sources for a stylish look on a budget?
Personally I don’t like to spend a lot on my kids' clothes. They grow way too fast and as they get more active they rip through them. I like to mix in more affordable items from Target, H&M, Joe (if your Canadian) and Old Navy, with a few items from moderately priced stores (usually sale items from these stores) and vintage.
Vintage for kids is cheap, cute and one of a kind -- and sometimes way more fun to style and be creative with. Etsy is a great resource for vintage, or if you live in a smaller town (big cities tend to be over picked) visit your local thrift stores. A few of my favorite online vintage kids' shops are: 3ringcircus, The Littlest, and The Little Reader.
7. Beyond your blog, what are some of your favorite reasons that you love being an "earlier" mom?
I feel like a big ball of energy. If I didn’t have kids, I'd still be running around like one. And this may be a bit selfish, but it’s a bit easier to get your body back after kids when you're younger. It’s still a lot of work, but less then it would be later in life. I also look forward to being relatively young when my kids graduate from high school and start their own families.
8. Have you faced any judgment or criticism for starting your family in your 20s?
Not at all -- actually the opposite. A lot of people have said they wish they had kids earlier.
9. What's your advice for moms who have a strong interest (like fashion, perhaps) but aren't sure how to make a career out of it? Where do you think they can start?
Well I think in any creative field, the best way is to learn as much as you can on your own. Immerse yourself in it. You will find out quickly if you’re still in love or if was just a phase (I’ve had a lot of creative phases). If you still love it, depending on what your end goal is, definitely look into schooling. Although there are a lot of hugely successful creative people who didn't go to school for it, they probably lived, breathed and ate the field they were passionate about. But if you're looking to work for a company or attract clients, it’s much harder to compete with the other applicants without a college or university on your resume -- or at least some workshops/night courses. Also there is only so much you can learn on your own, and think of going to a workshop or a class as time alone (I’m sure that’s a rare moment in your home, as it is in mine). Double enticing.
10. If you could go back and tell your pregnant self one thing, what would it be?
Oh geez! I honestly don’t know, I don’t think I would change a thing. I love my little family to bits and don’t think I would have done a thing different. Ok, well maybe I would tell my pregnant self to play the lottery some more -- so instead of just buying the kids' clothes, I could buy myself some too!
Thank you for participating, Brandy! Check out her blog Baby Blackbird (Bookmark it! Facebook her!), and stop back here for more Early Mama success stories! Have a story to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.