Despite the typical narrative of a young mom, there are positive reasons to start a family on the younger end of the parenting spectrum — but we're all pretty clear on that by now, right? We know how a lot of these perks directly negate common misconceptions: "You'll never have a successful career!" (Actually, I might be on a smarter career path.) "You're more likely to be poor now!" (Actually, you might have that statistic all wrong.) "A young marriage is doomed from the start!" (Actually, there are some really positive reasons to have a younger marriage.)
Yet we have our drawbacks — just as every life stage has. And most of them aren't what you expected.
Through communicating with so many young moms in Internet World and experiencing my own development over the past five years, I was able to pinpoint 10 of the most common challenges that 20-something parents face. And SPOILER ALERT: We can fully overcome most of them.
You can go on and read them over at Babble.com, but I wanted to hone in on one particular challenge that I haven't fully addressed here:
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT/RETAINING YOUR IDENTITY
While I still stand by my post about "finding yourself" through motherhood — especially the part about how it motivates us to be more introspective and purposeful in our personal development through the 20-something years — it's also incredibly easy for young women to lose themselves in their new identity as "mom."
In some cases, it's the only adult identity we know.
The problem with clinging to the identity of "mom," is that the role of a mother constantly evolves and changes over time — until suddenly we have more time for ourselves, and less of a constant need at home. And every time we define ourselves by a temporary identity, we lose a sense of who we — as young women — really are.
That and we have a heap of responsibilities that other 20-somethings typically don't have, so it's easier (although not necessary) to put ourselves at the bottom of that pile. Yet it could be at the detriment to our own development as people — not as moms or wives or employees or entrepreneurs.
And so you might feel an inexplicable inadequacy, or anxiety, or a feeling of being lost.
That's normal; the quarter-life crisis afflicts so many 20-somethings (especially in this day of over-saturation, distractions, and social media comparisons). But we have different obstacles and concerns and pit-falls that other 20-somethings don't have.
And so that brings me to two things:
1) Heidi and I are working on a webinar about personal development as young moms, which we're hoping to expand with more one-on-one guidance and advice. You can sign up for updates in the meantime! Request #1: Leave a comment below if you'd be interested in something like that.
2) We want to hear from you! (Like, really. You. We want you to comment!) Which of the 10 challenges did you/do you struggle with the most? Is there anything we missed? What are your biggest challenges as a young mom? We really want to tailor this to your needs, so we'd appreciate your input.