If I had a pound for every time someone gasped at my life I’d be a very rich person. I got engaged at 22, married James at 23, fell pregnant at 24, became a mum at 25 and here I am feeling like a very happy 26 year old.
It’s taken me some time not to feel hurt by the reaction I receive when people find out I’m 26 and I’ve experienced most of my ‘best days’ already. Everything about my life I have chosen and I wouldn’t have it any other way and the fact I have to reassure people of that is really quite sad.
I knew from quite early on that I would marry James, he was perfect and I could see the most amazing future with him. When we got engaged at 22 we were lucky enough to be in a financial position that meant we could get married within a year and that’s exactly what we both wanted. We had already brought our first home together so getting married felt like the next most natural step in our relationship.
Just before we got married, a very senior person at work took me to one side and asked me ‘is this really what you want?’. I was beyond angry and felt like she used her seniority to ask me something she should never of. I spent the next few weeks feeling super conscious wondering if everyone else was thinking the same and if she was she the only one brave enough to ask me. Truth of it is – I was 23, I worked a full time job in the city and owned my own home – I wasn’t a kid. I was a fully fledged adult and I felt hurt that someone would second question my decisions.
Shortly after we got married, I fell pregnant with Isla, 3 months later to be exact. Amongst a barrage of ‘you didn’t waste any time’ came ‘you’re young aren’t you?!’, ‘you’re only a baby yourself’, ‘I was still clubbing at your age’, ‘I couldn’t imagine anything worse at your age’ – OH F*CK OFF. With every negative comment, came bundles of positivity from others but as always, the shit sticks, and it’s all I could think about.
I come from a family where marriage and babies in the early 20s is standard. Infact, I had Isla later in life than my parents and siblings had their first child. I didn’t feel forced to have her at 25 to stay in line with tradition, it just felt right. I wanted to be a mum, I felt ready to be a mum and I’d like to think that despite my age I’m a good mum. I haven’t travelled the world, I don’t have oodles of wisdom from all my years ‘on the road’ and I don’t have a book load of funny stories from ‘all the nights out and guys I’ve slept with’ but I love her like any mum loves their child and I’m learning with her like any mum learns with their first child.
I always joked about being the youngest mum at the school gate and maybe my joke might just follow through. I definitely have youth on my side and I’m hoping this means I will have enough energy in the tank to keep up with Isla. Being a child myself not so long ago also hopefully means it will be easier for me to relate to the envitable dramas of a teenage girl!
I always think that if I’d of waited until my late 30s or 40s to have children, that’s 14 years I would of spent living life when I could have been living it with my children. That’s almost two decades of memories, holding hands, sleepy cuddles and slobbery kisses. To watch your children grow and succeed, to love them for that little bit longer is pretty special in my eyes.
On a personal level, I never realised just how much having Isla would motivate me to be the best version of myself. To make better decisions, consider my future and to stay healthy are just a few of the things that I treat with far more importance since having her. She has allowed me to find happiness in the smallest of things and each day she gives me a reason to strive for the very best. My life is so much more purposeful and she’s the sole reason.
And do you know what – when I’m 50, Isla will be 25 and will be more than old enough to look after herself and I will still be young enough to enjoy the world and travel and see things that I didn’t when I was younger. Hopefully by then I will have the money to travel in first class as back packing has never tickled my fancy!
One last point, whilst myself and James are young parents, our parents are young grandparents too. We possibly have the best babysitters ever, they take her on endless adventures, piggy backs and running races, mud pie making and bundles of energy filled fun. Most importantly for James and myself it means more support for us and love for Isla. I hope that one day I will be a young grandmother and be able to enjoy every inch of my grandchildren like my parents can enjoy theirs.
I appreciate that there are people who don’t want what I have and those who do but their time hasn’t come just yet. There is no right or wrong in any of this, this is me purely showing appreciation for my situation, something which I haven’t always done.
Everyone’s life moves at the right speed for them and it seems I’ve spent the last 4 years in the fast lane for which I’m beyond thankful and grateful.
Lots of love