When I had a baby at the age of 24, I was the first of my close friends to enter the brave new world of parenthood. I quickly learned that motherhood is full of unique challenges and joys, no matter when you take it on, but, for many of us younger moms, those challenges are amplified by having fewer peers to turn to for guidance. (Shout out to the veteran mama friend I bombarded with round-the-clock texts during those early days. ?)
That’s where #TeamMotherly comes in: We recently asked for your best advice for fellow young mamas. And, as always, you did not disappoint with your awesome insight.
Here are a few of the comments we received:
Trust that you have same instincts as any other new mom
“I had my first child at 23. At the time, I felt so completely overwhelmed and underprepared. I had virtually no experience with children whatsoever and I worried I would always feel so... Inept. Unnatural. Frazzled. Today, I'm 31 and have three children. I wish I could tell the younger ‘me’ that I would, indeed, adapt. My maternal instincts would grow and strengthen. And my love for motherhood would too.” —Melanie
Remember postponing doesn’t mean missing
“I wish someone had told me the travels, education, career, vacations, dream house, hundreds of dinner dates with your husband, fancy car, ‘perfect’ body, etc. can wait. These are all transient successes and luxuries that are attainable during and after babies.” —Lily W.
Forget about friendship age differences
“Find older mom friends who are experienced when it comes to taking care of little humans. They can be a wonderful support system.” —Daylen H.
Be willing to let go of control
“Up unto that point, I was in control of my life, and at that age you haven't learned that you aren't invincible yet. As soon as I let go of what I thought it SHOULD be like (thanks to all the baby books and the internet), we were all much happier and laid back. So, read one well recommended book and then stay off the internet.” —Lindsay R.
Know who to turn to and who to tune out
“Social media has everyone comparing themselves to everyone else and bombarding you with techniques and methods... I didn't care what anyone thought or said to me except for my grandma and one older twin mom friend. With those two women and my mom, I had ample advice and I knew it was solid.” —Bobbie S.
Don’t let comments bother you
“I had my first child at 20. I am almost 30 and she is almost 10. People assume she's my sister OR that I must've had her at 15... I wish I could've told myself not to listen what others say. Being young doesn't mean I wouldn't know what to do as a mom.”
Keep your friends close
“Just because you have a baby doesn't mean you can't go out with friends and have fun. It takes a little more work and planning, but you can do it. You also find who your real friends are. If you're able to make time for a friend who doesn't have a baby and they can't make time for you, they clearly aren't your friend.” —Rachael K.
Expect so much joy
“No, the best years of your life are not being wasted. Sharing your life with a little human that you grew in your belly and love more than life itself, who looks at you in wonder, who sees you as the whole world, that's not wasted time... There is absolutely nothing I'd rather do on a Saturday night than cuddle with my little girl or watch my husband tickle her and blow raspberries on her belly as she laughs. Those are the moments you'll live for, and the ones you'll remember for the rest of your life.” —Kathryn D.
And remember: To your baby, your age doesn’t matter. How many places you’ve already traveled doesn’t matter. The progress on your personal bucket list doesn’t matter. All they know is that you are the perfect mama for them.