young mommy life

Reflections of a Young Mommy Life

There’s an oddly sad but also liberating feeling that washes over me when I think about the fact that a few months shy of my 35th birthday, I’m celebrating my 17th mommiversary. For those who don’t know, that would be my mommy + anniversary.

That’s right, the finish line is near. Well, at least with this one. My oldest child is 17-years-old. I first became a mom 17 years ago. And it was 17 years ago that my life, and the core of my being, was forever shaped. There’s a bit of excited, scared, happy, sad, and a lot of holy shiz I can’t believe I’m the mother of a freakin’ 17-year-old! going on in my head at this moment.

And I’ll gladly share all of that with you in this post… let’s get to it.

First, let’s talk about the liberation…

He’s 17! He’ll be a junior this year and a senior the one after that. Then, he’ll graduate high school and… do something other than hang out in the fourth bedroom smelling like old football uniforms. SN: I swear every time I walk past his room there’s a cartoon-like green smog radiating from his doorway. It’s really, REALLY, disgusting. OK, Back to the post.

So yea, in just one year he will be considered a legal adult. This is the moment. My 18-year contract with child number one is almost up. After all, that’s what everyone says when you’re pregnant “your life is over for the next 18 years.”

FREEDOMMMMMMMMM, FREEDOMMMMMMMMM, FREEDOMMMMMMMMM {in my best Beyonce-like singing voice… oh, I don’t have a Beyonce-like singing voice… let’s just be glad this isn’t audio or video :-P}

I’m almost DONE! I knew this moment was coming but I never could’ve predicted how great it would feel. Or Not.

Who am I kidding?!

And there’s the sadness…

My baby is about to be an adult. *cue the panic* He’s going to be his own responsibility. I have so many questions. Have I done enough? Did I raise him right? Will he be a functional, contributing member of society? The stress of pondering whether I parented good enough is like a ton of bricks on my shoulders – weighing me all the way down.

Nobody says “I want to have a teenager.” Everyone wants to have a baby. They’re cute, cuddly, bubbly, and oh so squishy. All I ever dreamed about was having a beautiful bouncing baby. And somehow, when I was completely NOT looking, that baby became a handsome young man.

The young mommy life…

When I think about the mom I was then versus the mom I am now, I can barely recognize myself. And to have another son ten years later has really shown me the differences in my parenting. As in, there really wasn’t much parenting going on back when I was in my late teens/early twenties.

Right after my senior year in high school concluded I had a baby and got married. And while I never blamed anyone or felt resentment, I surely did feel entitled to some sort of “make-up” time once I was able to break away – and break away I did. I was clubbing, hanging, and staying out at all hours. I’d make it home in time to grab a few hours of sleep and then do it all again.

And this was the cycle. Every. Single. Weekend. Thursday through Sunday night it was on and pop’N. And my son spent the majority of his time with his dad, my sister, and my mom.

I clearly remember the moment where I realized that I wasn’t there enough. When my toddler son asked me “Mommy, are you going out again or are you going to stay home with me?” I felt my stomach drop. He didn’t know it, but he had just drop kicked me in the gut something serious and I couldn’t believe that I had been so blind. While I was off pursuing the life I thought I had missed out on, I was missing out on something that meant so much more – and that I would NEVER be able to get back: his life.

He and I sometimes joke about the different mothers that he and his (ten years younger) brother have experienced. What he remembers of nights without me around or wondering if I was going out again is something his brother has never known. He got the mom who tucks him in every night and is there to spend time with him pretty much every day.

I suffered with mom guilt for a LONG time over this… and then he and I had a conversation one day a few years ago. In this talk, he explained to me that he understood. That I shouldn’t feel bad because he has some really great memories of us hanging out, getting ice cream together or me trying to get him to read. He remembers me telling him I love him and sneaking forehead kisses when I came home late and thought he was sleep. He also remembers that when he had questions, I was there with answers. And he’s always known how much I love and wanted him. He may not have been planned, but he was no mistake.

There’s still a very interesting dynamic at play with young mommy life versus becoming a mother at a later age. But, it’s good to know that I didn’t completely ruin his life with my selfish early days of partying and trying to claim a life that was never meant for me.

I want to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on young mothers versus mothers who have children later in life? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.

Comments 16

  1. You have a beautiful family. It sounds like you really did learn, grow and gain alot of wisdom over the years. We all do things we regret but God forgives us and uses those experiences for our good and to help other. You are definitely helping others. God Bless

  2. With parenting we learn as we go. It is not an easy job. It sounds to me like you did a great job with all your children. With all you have learned over the years, you will be able to help guide your children when they give you grandbabies. Thank you for sharing

  3. I can relate to that “mommy guilt” feeling. Although I was 24 when I had my oldest, my two are 10 years apart. A lot of the things that my toddler gets away with, my 12 year old never did. He’s noticed the difference….and thats where my “mommy guilt” starts to set in. I’m much more laid back this time around. We’ll see how things go when it’s time for baby #3

  4. I didn’t have my one and only until I was 40 and think that there are advantages to both being a young parent and an older one. There are many times that I wish I were younger, but when I think about why, they’re all about me, not about my little boy. I feel awkward being 10-15 years older than the other moms at school and on the playground. My 5 year old doesn’t know that I’m old (yet – I’m sure that’s coming and I hope he’s not embarrassed). Your son sounds fabulous and it really does sound like those partying weekends were just where you were – our kids are incredibly forgiving and really, every home has its “stuff” if that makes sense.
    My husband’s 20-year old daughter lived with us for a while in high school so he’s kind of in the same boat – he’s got a 20yo, a 16yo, and our 5yo. I think he probably had more energy for them when he was younger, but maybe more appreciation for the fleeting moments now.

  5. I love this, and even though my kids are younger, I can still relate. I got divorced from my first husband when my oldest was a baby, and I was a single mom during her toddler years. I always felt like a disaster back then. Her little sister is 5 years younger (my oldest was almost 4 when i got remarried…) and I feel like she has a “better mom” than her big sis did. I loved this glimpse into the stage of parenting you are in now!

  6. Oh, I know how you feel! My oldest is 15 and sometime I get this panic thinking how little time I have left with him as my little boy before he’s off on his own! On a lighter note, it’s not just the football…my kid is in Marching Band and that’s enough to get a good stench going. Ug.

  7. I LOVE your honesty here and the fact that you have raised an amazing young man is testimony to your life as a mother!! When I think back to that age, I cannot imagine having the responsibility of raising a child! You done good mama! I thank God also, that you had such a great support of your mom and sister to help during such a tough transitional season between young reckless spirited life and the harsh reality of raising a child.

  8. *Hugs! We all have our lapses but there is no reason why we should dwell on the past. The most important thing is that we realize things and change for the better. You are a great mom and he sounds like a really great young man. 🙂

  9. I absolutely love this and understand those feelings in everyway,only difference I’m 34 and my baby(well oldest,but still my baby)is 19.Yes you read that right,I was 14 when I had him 15 a month later.I was a baby having a baby and yet even with all the obstacles I had I never regretted having him either.It’s amazing how fast my life has passed by,I look at him and see a young man and still picture him as a small child.I was married at 19 bought my house at 18 and gave birth to my daughter at 20.I didn’t really realize although accomplishing so much so early on the full potential of maturity that goes along way until having my daughter later.I have been blessed because even with them hardships I can sit back and realize I have some wonderful kids who I’m not only close to but they are very close with each other as well.FYI I’m still married and I now am a young grandmom to a beautiful 10 month old grandson.He is yet again just a another precious gift that has been added to my family.I think the best part of being a mommy so young is when you see all you’ve accomplished and you see your children grown and then watch them as a parent themselves and although young himself he has turned out to be a great daddy.It just melts my heart and I so happy to know that I have some part in it.Thanks so much for sharing these personal things in your life,it has been such a pleasure reading.

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      Hi Tara! That’s so true… there’s a maturity that happens and I think all young mommies end up growing and changing with time which leads to a different parenting style with subsequent children. That’s such a sweet story – thanks for sharing and congratulations on becoming a grandmother!

  10. This is a great article! I have experienced mommy guilt but it was as an older mom. When I became a mom at 14, I was that and that’s all I ever wanted to be – mom, wife, career woman. I didn’t run the streets – not because I didn’t want to but because my support system wouldn’t allow it. The mommy guilt I experienced was from relationship changes, first leaving the man I had my two girls with and then again when I left the man I married and had my two boys with. I still, on occasion, get lip from my kids about my relationship and it sucks.

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      Thanks Katie! It can definitely be difficult when our children live through relationship transitions and are aware of the ups and downs that occur. I had a lot of guilt over that whole five month marriage and resulting new addition that I put my family through; but it’s important to focus on the positive. And remember that everything happens for a reason. 🙂 xo

  11. I love this Carin. I just had this conversation with some friends a few weeks back. I had Will at 17 as well. I am glad I decided to have him. We grew up together and it hasn’t been easy. I believe without the struggles you would never enjoy the good. He has shaped my life and I truly believe if it wasn’t for him I’d be under a bridge some where. Just the other day he apologized to me about his “bad teenage” attitude and he wanted me to know that’s everything he knows and does is because of what I’ve taught him. And he hoped I was ready because we’ve got college admission to conquer! That melted my heart. He actually listened to all my nagging and all my “go to college get an education, no can ever take that from you”. What will I do with my time when’s he’s gone off to college ? Not sure he’s a tri athlete his only time off in a year is July. Mean while I’m trying to prep myself to find those new hobbies and new people. On a final note Yes! I’d do it all over again and wouldn’t change a thing!

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      Hi Brenda! I agree that the struggles help to shape who we are and the life we have – I really can’t imagine what life would’ve been like any other way and I know that everything was meant to be. I’m with you on that; would NOT change a thing! Good luck to Will, you’ve done an exceptional job and should be so proud of that young man YOU raised!! xo

  12. I love this, as parents we take on a variety of parent guilt for a lot of reasons. This is why its so important to sit and have those conversations with our children. To help them understand how we were feeling/thinking/experiencing and to find out how it made them feel.

    Maybe it will also be a reminder to them when they become parents. It’s not an easy job.

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