As a young wife and mother, I hear a lot about things I should’ve done by now. Things I should have accomplished before settling down. Get all the exciting and wild stuff done before the boring stuff begins, right?
The media is filled with articles telling you all the things to do in your twenties, or things to do before you get engaged. Let me tell you something, everyone is different! Everyone’s life pans out different and we need to get out of the mentality that there is one certain way to do things. There isn’t and there just never will be!
I should have traveled
This is a big one. I love traveling and experiencing new things as much as the next girl but it’s just not realistic for me. I work 40 hours per week. Even if I wasn’t married, I would still work 40 hours per week because that’s what it takes to support myself. I can’t take a year off and travel Europe because my job can’t just be put on hold while I’m gone. And not only that, but traveling is so expensive. I don’t know how other people my age afford it, but seriously, good for you guys. I was fortunate enough to travel a decent amount when I was growing up, so I don’t feel too deprived.
When I scroll through my Facebook news feed and I see pictures and check-ins of friends spending semesters abroad or backpacking through Europe over the summers, yes, of course I am envious! Those are amazing experiences and I am so so happy that you get to have them. I’m not saying they’re not valuable, because they are, and you are so lucky to get to experience them. But the reason why I haven’t done it is not because my marriage or children are “holding me back” in any way.
I should have a college degree
Oy. Can I please just start by saying school is not for everyone. High school was a struggle for me, and college was no different. Do you know what is different? College is optional! For those who knew me while I was pursuing a college degree, you know I was stressed out and miserable. I would try my hardest and still barely pass, or even fail. I am not a good test taker, and had trouble retaining information from lectures. I was working 2 jobs plus going to school and I just couldn’t juggle it all. I could not be more proud of my friends who are graduating right now! It’s an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated, because I know how hard you worked. I chose not to continue with school because I absolutely hated it. Not because I got married or because I got pregnant. Those things are completely unrelated to my schooling, actually. School made me genuinely unhappy. Kurtis has continued to pursue to his degree even after we got married, and after we found out we were expecting, and I am confident he will finish. Not only that but I will encourage him to finish, because school is important.
Getting a degree is a huge accomplishment, and something that people work so so hard for. It’s amazing to finish college! Maybe one day I will go back, if it is necessary. But it honestly just wasn’t for me. And I have been so much happier this past year that I haven’t been in school!
I should have a career
A lot of people want to focus on their career when they’re young and settle down later. I get that. Doing something that you love and working hard at it is so fulfilling. Making a name for yourself in your field and making good money can be so important!
But you know what’s fulfilling for me? Going home to my husband every night. Making him dinner. Feeling our child move in my tummy. For some the idea of being “tied down” at this age is boring. Cooking dinner for a man is lame. And having a baby at my age is downright terrifying! I understand that! But I don’t feel deprived of anything by not having an illustrious career. I love my job working in fitness. It brings me genuine joy. Some days it’s hard but I am so blessed that I have a job that is flexible and that I don’t dread going to each day.
And you know what the best job of all is? Being a mom. One of the reasons I was so okay with not going back to school after the wedding was because I knew one day I just wanted to stay home with my children. Having children happened a lot sooner than I anticipated, and I won’t get to stay home full time right away, but that is the best and most fulfilling career I can imagine for myself. It is what I truly feel called to do. I also look forward to the day when our kids are older and in school and maybe I go back to finish my degree and I do have that illustrious career every speaks so highly of. The idea of that is so exciting to me. Whether I get my certification in nutrition that I’ve been dreaming of, or I take on writing full-time, I know my future still holds exciting things outside of being a wife and a mother. While I’m beyond excited for my current adventure of being a mom, I know I don’t want to stay at home when they no longer need me to.
Maybe I’m doing things a little out of order according to others. Maybe I “should have” pursued a career before a family, according to others. But according to me and God’s plan for my life, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I was not encouraged by my family and friends to get married and start a family young. I was not discouraged either. All my choice are my own. I happened to fall in love when I was 16. And that was the biggest adventure of all. I wouldn’t trade that for a trip to Europe.
Everyone does this thing called life differently. If you were able to check off everything on my above list by the time you were 23, that’s amazing! And I hope you are as happy with your choices as I am with mine. Your decisions are none but your own. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by choosing to be a wife and a om instead of traveling or having a big career. And If you’re not currently a wife or a mom and you’re galavanting around Europe or Asia, or working hard pursuing a degree, you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything either! Do whatever makes you happy.