…So I have this new theory defining the type of people who have kids and when. Based on the responses I received there, and many comments I’ve read here on my blog, I’m thinking there’s a huge perspective difference in people who are very religious and those who aren’t. Most of the comments I get here that encourage me to take the leap I think come from people who are either LDS, or devout in their religion and have a strong belief in family bonds. Not saying that people who suggest I wait aren’t religious, I just think some adamant religious people aren’t as focused on careers, money, and things as much as others.
It also seems like a lot of the mom videos I watch on things like Momversations, with moms who seem to be “complaining” sometimes wish they had waited longer… I don’t see many LDS people on those type of sites. Why do you think that is? Maybe since people who don’t drink and “party” don’t feel like they have much to give up? Or is it just that our religion focuses SO much on family, that it’s not taken for granted as much?
What do you think? I’m really curious to know what makes some people wish they had waited longer, and others happy they had kids young. It could come down to personality, but I think it’s more than that. I think I’m seeing a correlation here–I think I’m on to something, and I’m really wondering what “category” I’d fall into. I’m torn because I am very career-driven, but at the same time I often find myself thinking how I’d love to run away to the jungle and just have my family–That’s all I want. I feel like I’m split between two worlds, but working in a cut-throat business that would leave me behind in a second once it got word I was lacking commitment–Putting my family first. So many people lose their families doing what I do and I’m not willing to let that happen.
I’m not sure how long the questions stay posted and I want to remember some of these answers forever so I’m going to post them all here. Forgive me for the long list sure to follow, feel free to scroll past to tell me where you stand or what you think of my theory. I’ll color code the advice by people who “suggest waiting” or wish they had in red and people who say “go for it” or enjoy being younger parents in blue. Those in-between or that I can’t classify I’ll make purple. I know there’s A TON of answers, but in there, there’s a lot of advice for future mamas, so if you’re debating like me, or looking for some words of wisdom, things they wish they new beforehand, and book suggestions etc. you may like to set aside some time to read them sometime!
Obviously deciding when the best time for me is my decision but it’s sometimes nice to hear a mother’s hindsight.
Is there anything you wish you had done beforehand? Anything you had wish you had known before “going down the road of no return?.” Any advice you’d give to a Future Mama like myself? I sometimes feel like I’m ready but then I’m worried I’ll wish I have waited longer later. Did you ever feel this way?
A little about me:
I’m 23, I’ve been married for about 4.5 years. I’m really thinking I’m about ready for a baby but I’m constantly back and forth, worried that once I become a mom I’m ALWAYS a mom. I don’t drink or party or travel that much, we’re pretty much homebodies, I’m just worried I’ll never be able to overcome this fear of the permanency of motherhood! Ahhh, help!
What I wish I had known is that the feelings you are having are perfectly normal and very very sane things to wonder.
Motherhood is forever and it is scarey and a total blessing at the same time. You’ll never sleep again and if you do you’ll feel good and guilty at the same time! You will never in your life know a greater joy nor a greater love than that of/ for your children. Nor will you ever have a more taxing and tiring job. And no matter how bad a day goes you will be very moved by how wonderful they are as soon as they fall asleep. 🙂
I had my kiddos much later than you but the feelings were the same. It is good to be realistic about how hard it is going to be. The surprise is just how wonderful it all is. You aren’t going to believe how much love you will have in your life.
Congratulations! You’re going to do fine!
From: Julianna W
I waited until I was in my 30’s, I have no regrets about that. I totally enjoyed my freedom. I had an education behind me and a good career, I can’t imagine doing it differently; except I wish I would of traveled. Also, I wish I would of known that you can’t expect grandparents to actually offer to take care of kids on weekends like on TV. That just might not be the case.
From: Rosie P
Hi Jennifer, What a smart question to ask! I dealt w/ that question for seven years before my husband and I finally made the BIG decision this past February and now we are expecting our first child this Thanksgiving 🙂 I still have many questions on parenting although I’ve read books and articles such as “Parenting for Dummies” and “Your Child’s Self-Esteem” but I understand every child is different. My advice to you is to PAY ALL YOUR DEBTS OFF (mortgage is an exception). My husband and I can honestly appreciate and enjoy our pregnancy without the pressures and tensions of financial instability. It took us two years to pay off $27,000 (car note, student loan, several credit cards) but there is no feeling like that of having an actual savings and having peace of mind that i can quit my job if need be to care for our child. Like many postings have mentioned- you are very young and have much time to make this BIG decision. Just take care of your financial responsibilities while you can BEFORE babies come along. I wish you and your husband the best no matter what you both choose. Good Luck! Oh, one last thing, if you still feel unsure if you want children- practice with animals first! Caring for an animal can be quite a task. We practiced w/ THREE and they are all a little spoiled. 🙂
From: Kimberly N
If only I could go back without a child for one day. I have wanted kids my whole life. I got married at 21 and got pregnant right away. Unfortunatly, we lost that baby. I got pregnant again at 23 and lost that one too. We finally got pregnant when I was 25 and I now have a beautiful 2 year old girl. I am a sahm and I love my daughter so much. Sometimes I wish I would have waited a little longer though. There is no sleeping late. No going anywhere by yourself. (not even to the bathroom) I didn’t go out either, but now I am wishing I would have. This motherhood is way harder than I thought. I really don’t have anytime with the hubby until she goes to sleep and by then we are both exhausted. I would take another year or two and just enjoy each other. Go on vacations, enjoy movies and what ever else YOU want to do. Motherhood is the best job I have ever had, and it is a love that I have never felt before, but it is totally different than I expected. Good luck with whatever you choose.
At 23, you are lucky–you still have lots of time. So, I’d say wait for another few years, because you’re not sure about the permanency of it. So, my suggestion is to do more come-and-go activities. Go places at the drop of a hat. One night before kids, we were watching SNL, saw a Taco Bell commercial at 11:45 PM, then hopped in the car and went to Taco Bell. Do all the spontaneous stuff you can now, and get it out of your system, because once you have sleeping kids at night, you won’t be able to make fun midnight runs to Taco Bell together anymore! Plan some little trips last minute. We went camping when we were waiting for our adoption, and it was a good bonding experience because we HAD to spend our time together.
Go to movies! Go to lots of movies! R-rated movies! That is so hard to do after you have kids because, at least while I was a SAHM, babysitters were definitely not in our budget. Then once your kids are old enough, you’ll only be seeing kid movies.
Have tons of fun now, and when you have a baby in a few years, you’ll have no regrets.
From: Wanda C
Great question. The most important thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t have to change a thing unless you want it too. We travel more now thann we ever did before, only now, I get to show DD all of these wonderful things too. She once told my mother that Mommy and Daddy don’t give her things, the give her memories.- Proudest moment of my life. I’ve been able to go back to school fulltime, because being a mom makes mee slow down. My school work keeps me sane. (Yes, friends, this is me “sane.”) We were together for 5 years before marriage and started trying for our DD as soon as we came home from our honeymoon. I was 23 when I had her…5 Years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.–most days. 😉 You will know when it is right for you. — OH, one thing no one will tell you that I really wish I had known…your pre-pregnancy shoes will NEVER fit again. I had the best shoe collection. Got pregnant-feet swelled- bones shifted- no amount of weight loss will ever get me back in those shoes. Someone at a women’s shelter in Indiana hit the jackpot. I wear flip-flops now. (tear) 😉 *** ETA after you update. Very few people are ever 100% ready. We tried for 6 months and then thought, “OK, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.” Quit my job and got pregnant the day I left my very well paying job for a much more dangerous, less paying, but more rewarding job, and I got a dog. I immediatly found a much better, and safer job than the first and DH took the dog over, because he made me sick. Most of the people that have responded said they would have waited longer. I’m not saying you should do it now, but if you try to wait until you are 100% sure, you may be too late or have to spend 1,000’s for fertility treatments, or adoption. Take your time, but watch that clock too. I know that I didn’t want to be 50+ and have a child in high school. That might work for some, but our plans have us sailing around the world as empty-nesters at 50.
From: Allison O
It’s OK to ask for help. No one expects you to be a super mom all the time. (I wish I had learned that a lot sooner) Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young. I had my first at 22, 2nd and 23 and 3rd at 25 and wouldn’t change a darn thing. I don’t think you are ever 100% ready for the new baby, but you do have to be 100% ready to let go of your old life and enbrace the new…and all it’s wonderful craziness.
From: Jamie F
Something I wish I knew….. It took us soo long to get pregnant that when it happend it was magival, my pregnancy was wonderful and so when my son came, I imagined it just the same, angelic and wonderful. That was my biggest mistake, it was not all grins and giggles. It was really tough! Not all the time, but when he cried and I couldn’t tell why, or waking up at 9,12,3,6, repeat….. It was tough. I wish someone would have sat me down and explained that I wouldn’t know everything, (regardless of the 12 years chilcare experience) and that I would have to figure out what my baby needed and it would be O.K. if I needed help. It would be O,K, not to be super mom.
Good luck to you, don’t let my post scare you, Motherhood is wonderful!! I wouldn’t trade it in for anything!
From: Stacy B
Wait until you’re ready. I wasn’t ready until I hit 30! at that time, I just KNEW. It’s not just the permanence of it. You will have to adapt your life. A lot of people say you change who you are, but you don’t have to – you have to incorporate your kids into your life instead, which is just as tricky. And the one thing I wish I had known – the whole baby part is the EASY part. They’re portable, they sleep a lot, you eventually figure them out. It’s when they’re 2, and 3, and 4, etc that it gets hard. I figured if I could make it through the first few weeks of sleepless nights and constant nursing I’d be ok. Hah! So wrong.
From: Laurel S
Something my Mother in law tells me…”Not to decide is to decide”. If you aren’t sure just wait.
What I wish someone had told me was how hard it was going to be at first. All the adjusting to the new baby and how the relationship changes with DH.
What I wish I had done before having kids…travel more, done more as a couple, just basically experience life a little more. I was in my late 20’s, I wish I had waited at least a couple of years.
You are so young, I would try to accomplish your goals as a person before having a little one.
From: Lynnette B
I wish I’d known how much having children would change me as a person, and how that would affect my relationship with my husband. I’d always been a fairly ambitious ‘career woman.’ I married young (21) but then finished college and started working in the corporate world, moving up fairly quickly. My dh had always said that my ambition and career goals were a big part of what attracted him to me in the first place. I had my first child at 30, and suddenly, ambition went out the window–all I wanted to do was spend time with my baby and be the one to raise her. My husband was totally shocked. He thought I’d get over it as she got older but I really never did. I stayed home as long as I could, then went back to work part-time until she was a year. When I had to go back full-time after that I was miserable. I finally quit my job when my 2nd was born and I haven’t worked full-time since (my oldest is now 12). It took a really, really long time and a lot of effort to make our marriage work after I had this big change of heart about what was important to me. DH seemed to lose some of his respect for me. He completely stopped helping around the house and I felt like the maid. We still sometimes have issues–my youngest is 4 and we talk about having me go back to work when she starts kinder, but then we start thinking about all of the kids’ after-school activities and what they’d have to give up and how in the world we’d get them to the places they CAN’T give up (like relgious school), and it starts to seem like I’ll NEVER go back and he gets frustrated all over again. So, that’s a very long story, but the point is that sometimes the changes that motherhood brings can be a bit shocking and can have a big impact on all areas of your life, and you have to be ready for that. I’ve known other women who were the opposite of me…always thought they just wanted to be a mommy and nothing else, then the babies came and they went nuts and couldn’t stand being home. The best-laid plans can always go awry…you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s happening! I think you’ll be a great mom, just realize that there will be changes and you and your husband BOTH need to be able to roll with it. Good luck!
From: Tisha E
first of all, your only 23!! if your having a hard time deciding right now, then wait a little. there’s no rush….it is ok to wait. secondly–don’t be afraid of motherhood when it comes. the way you feel when your pregnant–priceless(i’m talking about that little critter kicking inside) the way you feel when you give birth–priceless..the way you feel when you hold your baby and not want to put them down just because they are sleeping cuz they look so sweet… priceless…the list goes on and on…but take your time you are still young..
The funny thing is, once you have a baby, you will really not remember what life was like before. Everything is different, but it all falls into place. Sure, it is hard (anyone who tells you otherwise is a lying). My babies were “suprises” (we were using protection , so don’t think you won’t be suprised too;)). Good luck and just the fact that you are thinking this far ahead probably means you would be a good parent.
From: Stephanie S
Just make sure you and your husband are ready…Then go for it and enjoy ALL of it-even the bad parts. It goes by sooooo fast before you know it you will be like me with a 19 year old in college who is 6′ 5″ who you still think of as your baby. I have to admit my kids are pretty awesome and when there were rough times we always just worked thru them to get over it. We have always been a family who did everything together even the rodeo weekend life. You cant be afraid to take your kids with you everywhere you go-its much better than being seperated from them. Just Enjoy It!
From: Christina T
Jennifer, My advice may not really help, I was 18 when I got pregnant for the first time 20 for the second. I am not really a “free” spirit but I believe things DO happen for a reason. What I wish I had known or done beforehand would fill BOOKS!! But in hindsight, I would not change a thing. The things I don’t know may still fill a book, but the things I have learned fill my heart to overflowing. Yes its easer to travel with out children, go to school, find yourself, but who you are changes anyway when you become a parent. I can’t say I regret a single thing. LOL reading back on this its not advice at all. Be happy with you as a single person and you as 1/2 of a couple.
From: A M
Hello! Great question. I got married at 26 and had my son at 31. My hubby is 5 years older than me. He’s military and we lived in Germany for 4 years so we were able to travel extensively. I feel very blessed to have had this time because we wouldn’t have traveled like that with our little one. I always thought I wanted to be a mom, but wasn’t sure I was ready. We had always said we’d start our family when we moved back. So even though I wasn’t sure, we proceeded with that plan. We were blessed to get prego while my hubby was home on R and R for two weeks. I lived alone for 7 months of my pregnancy and made a transatlantic move with 3 dogs. My husband made it home safe and sound 3 weeks before our son was born. I wasn’t sure we were really ready until I heard my little one cry for the first time. I was concerned about my patience level, but it’s like you are blessed with an infinite reserve of patience for your child. I definitely agree with the posters who said you should trust your instincts. People will give you so much unsolicited advice, but the truth is you know what’s best for your child and your family. I wish I had known that I would be so overwhelmed with love for this tiny creature that other things that used to bother me would fade into oblivion. I also had no idea how scary the world would seem once I had my little one. I had no idea I could be so fulfilled spending the entire day entertaining my little one. Being his mama and being happily married to his papa is the most thrilling role I’ve ever had. You’ll know when you’re ready… Even if you’re unsure. Trust your gut. The things I didn’t know that I might’ve prepared for better is my lack of time. I spend all day with my little one, and have just a few minutes here and there to accomplish laundry, projects, etc. What used to take a few hours now takes me a few weeks. I don’t mind that my life has slowed down… Also, I wish I had known not to be so judgmental. Being a mom is doing a thousand things you never thought you’d do. The other advice I have is if you’re going to get a new car, take the car seat with a watermelon in it and practice getting it inane out before you buy. I thought the car we picked was perfect, but now that my little guy weighs 15 lbs, it’s torture on my back getting him in and out… Totally worth it, though. Blessings to you and your hubby!
From: Karen B
I wish I had talked to my husband more about our expectations of parenthood and how we might handle different parenting issues (discipline, balancing our time, etc.). It’s so much harder to find time to sit down and discuss these issues when you are in the middle of them. It’s impossible to plan for everything that parenthood throws at you but if you and your husband can reach some sort of concensus on how you will handle the big things before the baby comes then you’ll be off to a much smoother start than I was. When you’re sleep deprived and stressed out from the children it’s not a good time for your husband to say “I think you’re handling this wrong, you should do…”. By the way, my husband only made that mistake ONCE! (ha-ha).
Seriously, talk about everything you can think of ahead of time. Do you plan to work or stay at home? Regardless of your choice how do you see the household responsibilities getting divided up? Do you or your husband do anything that takes up a lot of your down time (golf, crafts, fishing, etc). These hobbies do NOT have to end but you will both have to be more thoughtful and aware of how much time these things might be taking up and cut back or plan these things together so that they do not cause a problem later.
As everyone else has said, it’s a wonderful trip that has led to no regrets on my part.
Good luck, Karen
From: Brittany A
The only thing I was worried about was that I had not gotten to spend enough one on one time just being with my husband beforehand. A baby takes a lot of teamwork, and the stronger the team the better. You have been married 4.5 years, so I know you two will be just fine. Good Luck and Congrats!!! Babies bring such joy that nothing else will matter ( :
From: New Mama D
I always said I wanted to have my kids early, about 25, but that just wasn’t in the big plans for me since my husband didn’t come along until a couple years later. I am so glad for this, because we got to enjoy travel and get in a better place financially so that I didn’t have to go back to work afterwards. I watched several of my friends have kids young and they didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I am, because I feel they weren’t mature and patient enough, but also because they were constantly struggling which put a huge strain on their marriages. Each and every persons situation is different though. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best in the world, because once you look into your little ones eyes, you realize that you have met the second love of your life! One thing I wish I would have done more was let my daughter sleep on my chest more. It was always so sweet and it doesn’t take long for them to not want to be held like that anymore and you already miss it!!
From: Stacey B
Wow, that is a great question. I was 24 when I had my daughter and 28 when I had our son. My husband is 4 years older than me and was ready to start a family on our honeymoon! Yikes! However, our daughter was born the day before our second anniversary. She is now 20 and our son is 16. My husband and I have enjoyed our children and wouldn’t change anything. I do like that I can sleep late! Jennifer, the love you feel for your child is overwhelming. There is absolutely NOTHING you wouldn’t do for them. It’s good that you are thinking about this. If the thought of being a parent didn’t scare the crap out of you, I would be concerned! It’s the hard job you will ever have and the most rewarding.
From: Laura W
It’s really easy to think of the sacrifices moms make and wonder, how can I do that. I will never have a life of my own. What I’ve discovered over the last 14 years of mothering is that this is life and it is so full of joy, energy and love (and trials) that I could never even wish to go back. It’s nice to have children under foot in the home and I will miss it when they are grown. The past 14 years have gone at light speed, and there will be time to pursue other interests. Meanwhile the complexities of raising 6 different personalities (maybe I should add myself and my husband to that number 🙂 make for very interesting days. Having one (or so at a time) allows the transition into mothering to be gradual…though when you get the soft sweet (screaming) little wee one up on your chest after you’ve given birth…you’ll have no doubts about who you are and what you want to do. What a sweet place to be. Two more things: We had our first when we were married about 5 years and I was almost 26. When you have babies as a young woman, it is usually easier to conceive… though it took us 3 years. Your body bounces back easier, and you may not need a walker when you are traveling and enjoying life after baby. Just something to think about 🙂
From: Laurie A
We were married 10 years before we had our child… on purpose. She was planned and we were ready? As ready as we thought we could be.. We had been through rough patches in our marriage and had learned to communicate through counseling… We slept in as late as we wanted for an entire year… and then never slept in again until she was about 5…..
I wish I had known that there would be weeks, where my husband and I did not have a true adult conversation…. We would look into each others eyes across the room and just have to know what we were feeling, without words.
The other thing was I wish I had followed my own “mommy heart and gut”, instead of listening to others, just because they were my elders.. (this only happened twice). I knew what the problem was, but because I was used to respecting elders, I did what they suggested and my daughter ended up in the hospital both times!
I am also really glad I married my best friend instead of a guy who would just be a good provider, cause now that our child is in college, I will be living alone with him for the rest of my life….
From: Amy W
Hi Jennifer, I just wanted to respond & tell you that there will always be things as a mom that you would like to do, but can’t do, or can’t easily do because you have a child. Whether it’s something as simple as sleeping in on a Saturday or as big as going on a trip. The thing I think you should remember is that you are still very young. You have plenty of time to have children, so don’t feel the need to rush it. Live a little more of your life with your husband & wait. Especially if you are unsure if you are ready. I know plenty of people who have had children at a young age, and plenty of people who waited. Once you have a child, your whole life really does change, and it’s beyond wonderful, but it is a lot of work. I had my son when I was 2 weeks from my 31st birthday & there are still things that I wish I could do, but can’t because it’s just not that simple to get up & go do it anymore. He’s the highlight of my life & I love him dearly, but I am glad I waited. Of course my friends who had children young are very happy & love their children, but some of them feel they missed out on a lot of their youth because of it. So, don’t stress out about it. Just wait. You’ll know when you truly feel the time is right. Best wishes!
From: Elizabeth H
Hi Jennifer! Being a young mom, to me, is such a HUGE advantage!!! My Mom had me at 20 and she is honestly my best friend and the person I go to for EVERYTHING!! Not that you can’t be that when you are an older Mom but I personally think it’s easier when you are younger, you can relate a little better. I hear my older friends always saying “I should have started younger.” Being a Mom is hard no matter what but there has never been one day I looked back and wish I had waited (I had my first at 25). My husband loves being young too because he can now be a “big kid” again and does everything they do!! Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy grandkids better too!! Don’t worry! It’s God’s perfect timing anyway…we like to take credit and think we have control but God really does the deciding for us. You’ll be fine and I promise you it’s such a fun ride and such a huge blessing!! You’ll look very “cool” too when your kids start highschool and you are the “young” Mom on campus!! At least that’s what I’m hoping!! Ha Ha! Congratulations!! Elizabeth
From: Nancyrae S
Motherhood is a permanent status and position. You are Mother until you die. Once you’re in it there is no turning back.
If you’re ready – truly ready – there will be no regrets. It is truly the most rewarding and most thankless job you will ever have in your life.
All you can do is take the advice of your own Mother, Grandmother, Aunt or whomever it is that you’ve admired and do it. If you are ready for this adventure of a lifetime, you will do fine. Go with what you know, your instincts and your gut. Always remember to protect your children and speak up for them – you are their only protection.
From: Lisa M
If you’re ready to open yourself up to being completely devoted to the needs of your child, then you are ready. I didn’t have my first until I was 32. Not because I wasn’t ready until then, but because I had not met the right guy until then. I love my son with every part of my being and his needs and desires come before mine any day of the week.
My younger sister, on the other hand, married at 21 and by 24 was feeling the pull to have a child. Her friends were having them, I had my son, etc. However, she has never adjusted to “life is no longer about me”. She loves her daughter, I know. But, I don’t really think she was ready when she got pregnant.
The differences in she and I, I am the oldest, she’s the youngest. We have a brother between us. She has always had someone to take care of her. She lived at home until she was married, commuted to college, and she had my brother and I to help take care of her as a child, etc. I, on the other hand, left home right after high school to attend college, I did move back for a year at 22. But, I was out and on my own, living my life. There are things that I didn’t get to do that I wanted as a single girl. But, now some of the things I want to do I can take my son along and he can experience them with my husband and I. My greatest joy now will be seeing him experience those things with his parents.
Don’t be afraid to take your child with you places. Our son went with us out to eat at 8 days old. We take him practically everywhere with us. There are some “adult only” times. But, 90% of the time the things we do he goes along with us. I must add, though, that our circle of friends includes some couples that have young children as well. Most of them bring their children along, too. Some have easier access to babysitters than we, such as grandparents that live here, etc. When we became parents we seemed to have made a shift that most of the things we do, kids are welcome. It wasn’t intentionally, but it just happened.
From: Jackie T
I wish I realized there only little bitty for a year and how fast that year goes by. The first three months were hard really hard. But after that it got eaiser and eaiser. No one told me that your hormones would be out of wack for a long time…mine durring preganancy and are just now settling back 17 months later. We were homebodies before and were still homebodies. Being a parent is a learn as you go process. I was 28 when we had our son. My mother was 24 when she had me. She thinks its great that we waited longer because we were actually adults and could handle things eaiser than she did…what ever that ment. They grow up fast and move on to college and highschool. Even my son at 17 months wants to wander to the neighbors house. Its not a life sentence its a blessing. It dosent sound like your ready. I never was one that had a “need” to have a baby. My son is the only diaper I have ever changed. He is wonderful and I know what a Blessing he is to our family. I grew in every way when I had him.
From: Jodi E
You almost make it sound like it’s the end of the world to become a mom! In actuality, it’s awesome, and it’s hard to remember what your life was like without your child. I didn’t get married until I was 27, and had my daughter when I was 30. Like you, we didn’t party much and were home-bodies. I remember standing in the baby’s room a week before she was born, freaking out, knowing I wasn’t ready for this and sure I wasn’t going to be a good mom. But it was too late for that, and the fears were totally groundless.
It’ll be tough to do what you want to do right after the baby’s born. There are some things you have to give up. But babies grow up quickly. Now my daughter does just about everything with me. She’s even got her own passport so we can go on trips wherever/whenever we want to. Don’t let being a mom stop you from doing what you want to do.
As for advice, my biggest piece of advice would be “Don’t think you have to do it all on your own.” When the baby’s being fussy and you just have to hand her off to someone else and walk away before you pull your hair out, you’re not a bad mom. When you look around the house one afternoon and realize that it’s covered in baby paraphernilia, that the dishes are piled in the sink, that you can’t remember the last time you vacuumed and you haven’t had a shower since the day before, and you want to run away screaming, you’re not a bad mom. When she won’t stop screaming, even after you’ve tried Mylicon, Baby Orajel, Baby Motrin, a warm bath, and all you can do is lay her down and let her cry, you’re not a bad mom. You’re a normal mom. You’re a super mom because you handle this day in and day out and you feel rewarded by it when she gives you a smile, or as you watch her peaceful face as she sleeps in your arms. It’s tough, but it’s worth it. And forget the housework. It’ll still be there tomorrow when she’s old enough to help! Enjoy her being small while you can. =)
From: Michelle G
wow- what a great question. I have never really thought about it. But here goes… I wish I was a little younger when I became a parent. My daughter was born when I turned 40. And frankly, sometimes, I get really tired trying to keep up with her. (She is 5 now.) I wish I had not wasted time reading books. All babies and kids are different. You have to trust your instincts about what is right for you and your babe. (For example, she slept on her stomach from day 1. Scary, I know.) I wish I had known that I would never sleep the same way again. First, out of worry of SIDS. Later, well, for a million other things. These days I am out of bed once or twice a night just to go in and look at her. But really, I wish I had known the depth of love and selflessness I was capable of. I never knew I had it in me! It took the right partner to make me see it in myself. I guess that’s why it took me so long, huh? But anyway- trust your gut and listen to your heart. You’ll hear the answer when the time is right.
From: Jessica L
I know everyone use to tell me that kids grow up so fast, but I didn’t get it until the last few years. My girls are teenagers (16 & 17) now, and I miss them being babies. I was so young when I had my girls and in a bad marriage so I was constantly depressed. I loved my babies and took good care of them, but I didn’t cherish them like people told me to do. I wish I could go back and just play with them and hold them more. Also, I wish I would have raised them in church. We go to church now, but I wish I would have started them when they were babies so I could have been a Christian mom their whole lives.
I will be in prayer for you and your husband to make the right decision. God bless!
From: Camille G
Hi Jennifer, I got pregnant for the first time when I was 36, didn’t try to but yep there it was , lol , I didn’t think I could even get pregnant & had accepted my life without children and dealt with it, but it happened. 🙂 Up until that point, it was ALL about me. You get pretty used to thinking of only yourself when you’ve done it for that long! Motherhood is forever. Its not easy and not for the faint of heart. 😉 But only when you have a child will you understand a love that is beyond anything you’ve ever felt or known. At 23 I think you still have time to put off motherhood a little longer, but thats just me. I wouldn’t wait too long though. I know women who do wait too long and then find out they can’t conceive. Good luck.
From: Sarah T
I do wish I had gone to Disney World and had taken my husband to France. I loved France and now with 4 kids that would be a difficult trip to do.
I worked in daycare for years before getting pregnant so I already knew a lot, but I am a terrible multitasker. Keeping a clean house AND watching 4 kids is very difficult! I wish I had learned organization, cleaning schedules ect prior to having children, maybe that would have made it easier.
I wish that I had learned more about birth. I read the “What to Expect” books and took a birth class at the hospital. What I now know is that those classes only teach you how to be good obedient patients. It took four awful birth experiences and four c-sections before I learned what is in the gems (The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Gentle Birth Experiences, Ina May’s books, and others.) Women spend more time dreaming about and planning their wedding then they do their births! Birthing isn’t just a means to an end, it’s a rite of passage. And done well, it can be beautiful for mother and gentle for baby. And done poorly, it can be horrible as well as dangerous.
Are you ready for kids? Well, I don’t know. I was your age when I had my first one, born just before our 1 year anniversary! I had another unplanned pregnancy only 5 months later, and #2 was 6 months old when I was preggo with #3! I believe I was ready. And it was much easier having two then one, especially since they were only a year apart. When children are close in age they are more easily playmates.
Sarah, mom to 4 on Earth and 5 Heavenly Treasures
From: Kristi M
You’re right that motherhood is permanent. It will change how you sleep, how you eat, how you hear the nightly news, how you relate to your husband. This will not change when the child turns 18 or 20. You will be the mommy forever. You won’t just pick up and go to a movie because you want to see it. You will do something much better… you’ll sit at home and watch this marvelous creature as he/she smiles, coos , yawns and amazes you. You will worry more than you knew was possible. You will celebrate things that you don’t even notice now.
What I wish I had known as a mother is to trust my instincts instead of being swayed by the opinions of others. Usually the instincts of a loving mother are right. I was not so confident, and I regret that.
I wish I had known as a young mom that it is not failure to need someone to watch the baby so that I could take a shower or a nap. If daddy is at work, ask grandma or that nice lady at church who loves to hold him to come and hold the baby for awhile so you can feel human again. You’ll be a better mom with some sleep.
What I am glad of is that even at the very young age I became a mother I trusted that natural is usually better, and that a little bit of extra work will benefit the baby and the mom.
What is most important about being a parent is to live honorably so that your children will be able to fulfill their scriptural mandate to honor you. You are already off to a good start here by taking parenting so seriously. Kids need to know that their parents are solid, good and trustworthy. This is what gives them their foundation.
I would not presume to advise you as to whether you are ready for this. I will say that if both parents are not in agreement about it, then this is not the time. Also, no matter how much advice about mothering you receive there is no way to understand the richness and awe this brings to your life. Being a mother will change every thing. It can sound so trite, but what is ugly in the world will disturb you more and what is beautiful now will be even moreso. And the love you will feel for your baby is something that none of us can describe.
Well my hubby and I have decided there is no perfect time to have a baby. When we got married we planned to wait a couple years, but surprise, six weeks later I was prego! Now our son will be two next in July and we might be prego with number two, we will soon find out:) When I look at my toddler and think “holy cow, I am going to do it all again!” sometimes I think I am a crazy woman. But you know when my toddler crawls in my arms and tells me he loves me and I rock him to sleep or after he wakes up after a nap, the love that swells my heart makes me realize I wouldn’t have life any other way. There are a ton of things I didn’t know going into parenthood but that is part of what makes the journey so wonderful. It has it’s challenges and as my mom says a part of your heart lives permanently outside of your body, but it is so worth it! I didn’t marry until I was 30 so I did do some cool things before children, but if it is in your heart to be a mom, go for it! Nothing I did before kids matches the awesomeness of having them. Well gotta run…baby just woke up and isn’t too happy!:) Let us know what you decide!
From: Katrina M
Hi Jennifer! I just wish I had been as mature as you and not jumped into having kids at such a young age. I love my kids but my bad decision caused them to have a tougher life than they deserved. The good thing is you have been married for so long that you know your husband and you know if he is going to make a good dad. The one thing I would stress is that if you and your husband don’t get along 95% of the time don’t have kids. I know from experience that when you fight in front of your kids (as Dr. Phil says) “you change who they are”. Marriage takes a lot more work when you have kids. Make sure that you and your husband have talked about how you will raise your kids to make sure you are both on the same page. Being a parent is hard but let me tell you, there is nothing more rewarding than kids. One thing I will NEVER forget is the bond between my husband and I when we held our tiny little miracle that we made together. It is amazing! I had two kids in my early twenties and one when I turned 32. I will say I knew a lot more and made a better mother at 32 but that was partly because I had finally married a good man and I had been divorced twice and single while raising my first two. I learned things the hard way. Good luck in your decision and there is no reason to pressure yourself. You are so young.
From: Sally G
take time to travel! you’ll never have enough money or time to do one….so make it BIG!
From: Janad H
I went through the same battle before I started having children. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be good at and I’d be “stuck”. You will be surprised just how amazing it is to hold your baby for the 1st time. I do admit that at times motherhood can be frustrating, tiring and totally unrewarding, but at the end of the day when your baby gives you a huge grin or a giggle and you put that baby down and you walk in their room and see them sleeping peacefully, it’s all worth it. I wish I would have known just how much sleep you loose in the first few months so I could catch up on some z’s before hand! I think it’s great that you are spending so much time thinking about this big decision. That will help you a great deal in the long run. Good luck!
From: Sara L
I felt that way the whole time I was pregnant. I was worried that I could never again be selfish or over-indulgent, and that I was going to lose myself. For me, when my daughter came, it was nothing like I expected. The love you will feel for your new baby will be so strong, stronger than any love you have ever felt. It is a type of love that you can’t even imagine now, but that is much much greater than any fear you are feeling now. You change as a person, not because you have to but because you all of a sudden want to. Standing on the brink of any big life change is scary, but you will find that once your baby is here, this “road of no return” just becomes your daily life, and it is a more rewarding life than you ever could have imagined. It helped me to read as many parenting books as possible. That way, I felt more in control, and like i would know what to do and how to do it well. When she came, I was prepared and able to enjoy my time with my new baby. One really good basic book to get you started is Baby 411. It walks you through the first weeks and months in a really easy to read way. Remember, almost every first mom has these fears. I remember crying on the couch in fear when I was pregnant, but now I am happier than I have ever been. Also, my relationship with my husband is deeper, stronger and more solid than it ever was before. With an 2 year old and another on the way, I truly feel that we are a team. Good luck!
From: Amy H
I think the feelings you are having are perfectly normal. I have 3 kids and am 30. I had my first at 24, my husband was 22. It was the right time for us, but other people thought we were crazy! Being a parent is hard work, and yes you lose that ‘me’ time, but if you have a great husband and friends, you will always have the support. Also remember that you get ‘you’ back when your kids are grown up. So, do you want an ‘old’ you our a realativly youngs you? Whatever you decide, just make sure your husband is right there with you and find friends that have kids…they will always understand your feelings. Good luck. Oh, what I wish I had know before becoming a parent…kids are hard work. I kinda knew that, but man, the degree of how ‘hard’ was greatly understated. But it is fun work!
From: Carla B
My life is more rich with my children in it. I have forgotten what “childless” is like. Go places now. Maybe that’s one… I miss just picking up and going somewhere for the weekend. Go someplace really cool with your husband before you get preggo…A cruise…something that will give you both good memories. Once you are a Mom, don’t forget to take time for yourself and hubby. Date night at least once per month. CB
I wish I would have known about Gripe water with my first and wish I would have known to not throw away any breastmilk. Whatever breastmilk you don’t use left over from a bottle or pump and dump, so to speak, freeze it in 1 and 2 oz and use for diaper rashes and facial rashes and other topical needs. I also wish I’d known with my first to not be afraid to give him a cereal bottle and get some good sleep.
As far as the fear of the permanency of motherhood, my philosophy is that’s what morning sickness is. When you realize the magnitude of what you’ve gotten yourself into, it makes you sick to your stomach. However, when you have that baby all fears diminish. You’re going to be a great mother.
My mother always told me to have my children before 25. I waited until 37 and 40. She was on to something. At first, I thought, I’m so happy to be older and wiser. Forget that. There’s therapy. I want my energy back!!!
From: Linda W
I cannot think of anything “i wish i’d done before I became a mom” Once you have a baby you will love that baby so much (for it’s entire life) that I don’t think you will ever question yourself on this. You can always get a relative or a reputable sitter if you want to go do something that your child cannot go do or just to have “moms day out” or even a second,third forth fifth…etc honeymoom with your hubby for a few days. a child is alot of work but the joy & the love for that child far outweigh the tiredness & the responsibility. You’ll be thinking “i don;t know what i’d do without my baby rather than what do I want to do before I have one:) It is good you’re thinking ahead, I consider that a responsible person. But I have 7 children (all adopted)but I have NO regrets. My advise, have them while your young & can enjoy doing things with them. Im 52,& have twin 5 yr old girls & a 19 month old son (along with twin 18 yr old girls, 19 yr old son & 34 yr old son) Its much harder with these 3 smaller ones at my age than it was with my older ones because I was young & enjoyed places like Six Flags etc. Oh yes,I enjoy it now, I just dont have the energy now I did back then. BUT i wouldn’t trade my life with my children for anyone’s & you will feel the same once you become a mom. I would like to add one thing, I knew my daughter n law before she ever dated my son & she always said she did NOT want children & if she ever became pregnant,she was giving it to me. I assure you that changed…lol! She met my son became pregnant & now has two beautiful children & is a wonderful mother!! Her kids are her life. She went from never wanting children to a mom that loves & cherishes her children. They are her life!
From: H O
Wait……………that is my advice to you. I am 39 and I have 3 wonderful children. But, I am worn out. I believe your 20s is a time for YOU …you have SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much time ahead of you. Once you are a mother…that is it…….NO MORE YOU….it is ALWAYS about your children…they will come first for evertything…Concentrate on improving you and fulfilling your personal goals and dreams NOW…because once you have a child…all that is secondary…and you might miss you your chance.. Listen to the little voice inside you………it is telling you something…All I wanted for Mother’s Day was time…time for me…I went in my room for 2 hours alone and that was it…the children started knocking on the door begging for me…and then I was back on “duty” again…
Wait….wait…wait…focus on you….live your dreams NOW…because if you don’t you will regret it…Children are great but…..once you are a mom……..YES! you are always a mom…….24/7…hope this helps.
From: Marcy L
Hi Jennifer. Being a mom is one of the highest honors in life. You will still be Jennifer, as being a mom doesn’t have to take away your identity. The main thing I’ve learned in being a mom (My kids are 17 and 22)is that I can really trust God with my kids, and with my own desires. Kids are gifts to us for such a short time, as they grow up so fast. So if and when you become a mom, enjoy the moments, don’t get caught up in competing with other moms, love your husband in front of your kids, discipline in love, and pray about everything. It won’t be easy, but you will learn the most valuable lessons from watching your kids grow and loving on them. Train them, by being an example before them, and praise them often. And finally, be yourself. Continue to date your husband, take up hobbies, develop who you are. This too will bless your kids. Enjoy…
From: Tia P
I think you already have the big picture: once a Mom, always a Mom. Being a Mom has been the hardest, most thankless job I have ever done. It’s also the most important job I’ve ever done.
Did you know that research shows that a couple’s happiness in marriage decreases after they start having children? And often doesn’t ever return, even after the children leave home (thus divorces after 20-25 years of marriage).
You’re so young, you have lots of time to enter the “permanency” of motherhood. I would even say that when you’re really ready, you will embrace it BOLDLY, not with trepidation or fear.
Tags: when to have a baby