When I had my first child in my 20s, I noticed more mothers around me instantaneously. They appeared, just like that. The young moms with high energy and buoyant personalities and the older, soft spoken, conservative mothers who keep to themselves. The ones with a “been there, done that” kind of attitude. The ones we aspire to be.
We want to be that mom who remains calm and collected in any situation. Like when one of our toddlers is having a seizure-like tantrum on the floor, and we look over at each other for furtherance. And once the problem has been resolved, she exchanges a genuine smile and nod with me, as if to say, “Don’t feel embarrassed, we’re in this together.” With a sigh of relief, I thought to myself, who knew I could handle this motherhood thing after all? But I get it now. I appreciate it. That’s the beauty of motherhood ― and all of it’s imperfections.
It never occurred to me that my life would consist of wearing yoga pants, having hair in a top knot, and picking up Cheerios one by one off the floor because they’re too sticky to sweep up with a broom. It didn’t strike me that I would be feeling so much joy after finishing an extra large load of laundry in just one day, and excited to line dry the clothes to save money on our hydro bill. Who am I?
That’s right ― we have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and homes to clean. We know every word to “Let It Go” and actually enjoy singing it. Yes we watch cartoons with our kids, because it wasn’t too long ago that we actually enjoyed them ourselves. And although we may get very comfortable with our children for being so close to us in age, it still enables us to have a bond with them unlike any other.
We laugh at the snorting sounds our kids make from watching Peppa Pig, but get easily frustrated when we don’t have time to shower, put on makeup, or style our hair like we used to. We wish we could buy that gorgeous outfit that we pinned, but buying new underwear and socks for our little ones with trucks or princesses on them excites us even more.
I never thought that buying a new refrigerator would make me jump for joy, or that a couch set from Ikea that has removable, washable covers would make my day that much brighter. Because we all get it ― buying the most expensive item on the market will never last. Not with toddlers spilling juice, climbing chairs, squishing grapes, puking, peeing, and pooping on the floor. Hell yes, I will shop at Walmart, thank you very much!
We see each other. We know who we are. We are the women on a journey. Transitioning and becoming domestic. Cooking, cleaning, holding down the biggest responsibility of our lives-raising another human being. We had to change our lives entirely and we had to do it fast. We were pressured to fit the part, to be perfect. Consequently, we are so tough because of it. We can take the hit and fight back harder. We can pick ourselves up after we fall because let’s face it, we have quite the endurance. We’re young.
We find each other for inspiration, to connect with women who can relate to when it’s 2 p.m. and we’re still in our pajamas vacuuming the living room for the third time that day. We are the mothers who like each other’s Facebook posts before anyone else does. We don’t have that many friends our age on social media who have kids like us, who are fearless like us. To have a family and be proud of it. We live in a world where people stray from commitment. They want to travel without boundaries, own a dog that has a name like “Michael” and bury their head in games like Pokémon Go while stopping traffic. What a world.
It’s imperative to connect with other moms like us to stay sane.
And those 30-something moms who know what life’s about, who look down at us and assume that we don’t have the slightest clue. Like we don’t know what it’s like to experience motherhood really and truly unplugged. As if we don’t have scars and extra pounds to lose just like them. As if we never heard of depression or anxiety before. Like society, we are automatically inserted into the stereotype of women failing at life, having babies outside of wedlock, not having a successful career ― the list goes on.
The answer is no, we are not the new “teen moms.” Not even close. We’re so much more than that.
We aren’t “kids having kids” either, and we definitely prove ourselves otherwise. That we can handle it. That we are meant for this life. And we will strive to be the best mother we can possibly be. We have the opportunity to have a close relationship with our children as they get older, which is indispensable to steering them in the right direction. We also have time, one of the most valuable commodities in life.
So cheers to us for being real moms. Who are brave enough to have not one, but two or even three children in our 20s. To the moms who are giving advice to women older than them and showing people that if we can get through it, anyone can.
High fives for our hard work and success at such a young age. For having the energy to care for our kids, chase them around, and teach them the ins and outs of modern-day life. For looking forward to the future, preparing for it, and acknowledging the fact that we can take our child out in 10 years without embarrassing them. That’s every parent’s dream isn’t it?