Friday, May 10, 2013

On Being a Mom at 22



I've had this post on my mind for a long time, but never could get it down for fear that I wouldn't have the right words to explain myself or that it might come off really defensive. But with Mother's Day around the corner, I guess this is as good a time as any to put it out there.

People, here in Northern California especially, seem to have a really hard time understanding why I would get married and have kids at such a young age. I can only guess at the reasons that my age seems to shock--even offend--people and try to explain my point of view.

1. I'm throwing my life away: I assume people think the appropriate things for someone my age to be doing are being free, partying, experimenting, traveling, "finding myself". Well I can honestly say I don't feel like I've missed out. I'm glad that I've never once tasted alcohol or any other substance that could affect my behavior (talk about freedom)! There's plenty of time to travel, and I am "finding" the best possible version of myself in motherhood. So don't worry about me missing out on life experiences; as un-glamorous as this is, I've never felt more fulfilled.
Bob Marley to back me up:  “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; Live for others, and you will live again."

2. You should be more "ambitious"/ You should be pursuing a career: Why? I decided to have babies while I'm at my peak of health and energy (and to be blunt, fertility) and to focus on my family. I took my eduction very seriously, I did well in school, and I graduated. When my kids are a little older and more independent I want to start a career, maybe go back to school, etc. I also know I may need to work sooner if money gets tight, and I'm totally fine with that. Currently, love doing little side jobs/projects to keep my mind active in other areas. But I try to make family my top priority.
 I think most people choose the path that's best for them, and I respect that. I hope people can likewise respect that this is the right path for me. And believe me, wanting to be a good parent is plenty ambitious. This isn't settling.
Rose Kennedy to back me up: “I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love & duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting & challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it."

3. You're not mature enough to be a parent yet. That's probably true. But I don't know if anyone could be 100% prepared to be a parent. You learn most of it as you go, and I think most moms at any age would agree with that.

Or 4. They just assume it was an accident and I didn't really have a choice. It happens, but both of my pregnancies have been part of the plan (obviously getting 2 the second time around wasn't). We'd been married for almost three years when I had Clark. Ya, that means I got married at 19 but that's a whole other story.

So hopefully that helps people understand my choices and priorities a little better. Are there any other reasons people frown upon getting married and having kids so young? I'm genuinely interested in knowing, so please tell me--I won't be offended.

6 comments:

Cassie said...

I don't have kids yet obviously but I still get the comments about getting married at 20. It's funny you know, because it doesn't affect anyone but me, so I've never really understood why people care. Although now that we're pushing three years of marriage- family, friends and ward members are giving us the "no kids yet?" questions accompanied with that "look" that you're probably familiar with. Without trying to sound to victim-y, it's like you can't win! Haha, really though, this is so perfect. You do what's best for YOU and YOUR family, and don't worry about anyone else.

PS- I'm diggin the new blog design!

The Glover family said...

Natalli- Wish I had gotten to know you better when I was in P2, I had my first at 19 and my last (and 6th) 12 years later at 31. I love the idea that I will be a young grandmother one day. I felt the way you do when I was your age, and you are right it is much easier to have kids young. Keep making choices for you and your family. :-)
Carissa Glover

The Glover family said...

Natalli- Wish I had gotten to know you better when I was in P2, I had my first at 19 and my last (and 6th) 12 years later at 31. I love the idea that I will be a young grandmother one day. I felt the way you do when I was your age, and you are right it is much easier to have kids young. Keep making choices for you and your family. :-)
Carissa Glover

Sara said...

Love this!!! I'm a young mom too, and I could not be happier. I think happiness in motherhood is one of the biggest secrets out there;can't wait for everyone else to jump on the bandwagon :)

Brooke said...

You go girl. I feel the same way sometimes about my decision to pursue my job/passions a little more before having kids. I think it's so crazy that some people are still so narrow-minded. News flash: everyone is different...when is that one going to stick? I think motherhood is going to be hard for me, but I get excited about it when I read your blog.

Lari said...

Well, now I have cried all my mascara off. You expressed all the feelings of my heart and as the scripture says: I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth. It is an honor to be your mother. What you wrote just made my mother's day! (Plus I am wearing the corsage you made me!)