When women in their 20s think about becoming a mother, it typically involves five to 10 years in the future and an end to everything formally known as fun.
My thinking was not too far off, until motherhood squashed my expectations and met me halfway at 23 years old.
Turns out, motherhood in my 20s was actually exactly what I needed to be the best version of myself. Here are just a few ways it changed my life:
1. Patience, So Much Patience
Any mother of any age will tell you that one of the most important parts of parenting is being patient.
Children don’t listen. They test your limits, and once they find your limit, they catapult you over it. Patience gets you through it.
Before having a child, I could be as selfish as I wanted with my time and money.
Want to spend my last $20 on a bottle of Pinot and spend the rest of the night drinking it and flipping through Netflix? Sure!
But, when a child enters your life, selfishness is replaced with selflessness, and I don’t really even mind.
3. Standing Firm In My Choices
Everyone is a parenting expert and all of those experts want to tell you about breastfeeding, cloth diapering and whether or not you totally suck at being a mom.
But, at the end of the day, I am the mother and I make the decisions in which I have to stand firm.
4. Choosing My Battles
Not everything is worth creating a whole sh*t storm over, and before having a child, every molehill was a mountain to me.
My toddler has taught me to fight for things that are important and to let the molehills stay just that.
5. A Reason to Plan
I clearly remember living each day like there were infinite tomorrows, thinking I could always plan my future "later."
Once I became pregnant, suddenly I had a bunch of planning to do. Now, with an almost 3-year-old, I think about my future constantly.
I plan, re-plan and plan again.
6. My Time is G-O-L-D-E-N
Any time I spend working, getting to know someone or hanging out is time away from my son.
Before him, I would practically give away my time to things and people who were totally unworthy.
In motherhood, any time spent away from my child for anything else better be damn well worth it.
7. Taking Care Of Myself Is A Priority
I cannot tell you the last time I had a checkup or went to the doctor before an emergency when I was in my pre-child 20s. I always figured that if it wasn’t chronic, it wasn’t really an issue.
Clearly that is wrong, and being a mom, I want to be around for my baby as long as possible.
And, since I am not Benjamin Button, I have to take care of this body so I can make sure he isn’t without me at a young age.
8. Baking, Sewing, Crafting Queen
Before my son was even a twinkle in my eye, I was pretty creative. But, since I became a mom, my baking, crafting and sewing skills are on overdrive.
I have always admired those moms who bake cupcakes for the class, make Halloween costumes and that classic volcano for the fifth grade science fair.
I am going to be that mom.
It is so easy to kind of glide through life without a care in the world when you don’t have a little person looking up to you, watching your every move.
Having a child has made me aware of the news, culture and my reactions and interactions with others because my son will eat all of that up and regurgitate it exactly the same.
10. Love, Really Love
In my 20s, I’d throw around "I love you" so much, it became almost meaningless. Honestly, I am not sure if I knew what real, unconditional love was before him.
Sure, I love and have loved people, but the love you feel for your child is unrivaled and unbelievable until you feel it for yourself.