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Being a Young Parent Has Its Advantages

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What are the advantages of being a young parent? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Justin Gomer Ph.D., Lecturer, American Studies, UC Berkeley, on Quora.

Parenting while young (I'm 31 and have three kids) is like a Dashiell Hammett mystery. There's exciting new twists behind every corner that make the entire experience richer as it unfolds. Here's just a few I've been blessed with:

Free hair bleaching...for life! - In my late twenties, after my second child was born, I discovered shiny white hairs sprouting up on the sides of my skull. Now, with three kids and over seven years experience as a parent, I'd say close to 10% of my follicles have lost all color, and that percentage appears to be growing exponentially. I imagine within the next few birthdays that number will eclipse 50%, and I'm anticipating sporting the full Roger Sterling before the end of my 39th year. Most adults have to wait until at least their forties to get this process off the ground. Not me; kids kickstarted that transformation and ensured it was optimized by age 30.

Skin Texture - Smooth skin is too generic for twenty-somethings. Kids will give you an intricate spider-web of wrinkles around your eyes that'll make you look three, maybe five years older!

More time to yourself - How could that be? Don't kids take up all of your spare time? You are, of course, correct. I'm speaking specifically of that minuscule amount of time you're able to allot to adult interaction with your non-parent friends from high school and college. Turns out they aren't interested in you any longer. So sit back and enjoy the Instagram pics and Facebook posts of your high school besties at baseball games five miles from your house. That's the closest you'll get to an invite from them ever again!

Minivans - Need a new car, maybe the first one of your life? Got $30,000 to burn? Great! What would you like...a sports car? Maybe you're an eco-friendly type and want a new Prius or a Nissan Leaf? Perhaps you're fancy and want to splurge on a pre-owned BMW? Well parents, your choice is either a foreign or domestic...minivan. And remember this, the best thing about minivans isn't driving one around town; its paying $300/month to drive one around town.

I could go on. For example, watching your little ones grow is the most joyful experience of most parents' lives. As a young parent you'll get to do that for a looong time (fingers crossed). You'll live to see your kids retire. You'll watch your grandkids grow into adulthood, and maybe kick around long enough to make a few lasting memories with your great-grandkids. You'll likely have more energy to chase around, climb with, and run alongside your kids than you would've if you'd waited another seven or eight years. Your mid-life decades won't be spent changing diapers or raising tweens, but enjoying the changing dynamic between you and your children as they grow into adulthood. To an earlier point, you'll learn young that many of your "friends" weren't that at all. And even though you'll remain sore about how a few of them could so easily discard a relationship that meant quite a bit to you, you'll have the rest of your life to make more meaningful friendships.

Just about all parents are admirable in my view. I have nothing against folks who wait much longer than I did to start their families. In many ways, I think its a more logical choice. My wife and I haven't traveled the globe. We have no nest egg, and we didn't "enjoy" our twenties like most of our friends. We chose to have our kids young. We embraced the parenting mayhem during the front-nine of our lives and are loving the journey. We do plan, by the way, on having a debauchery-filled back-nine.

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