I was talking to one of my friends recently and the question that came up was whether or not I feel like I missed out on things by getting married and having children at a young age.
I got married when I was 22 years old. 6 months or so following our small, in the park ceremony, we were expecting our first child. I was 23 when he was born.
Out of the people we knew that were our age, during that stage of our life, many of them were still single. Single and going to parties. Doing the things they want to do, when they wanted to. We also knew some couples who did the same as our single friends (there is nothing wrong with that). We didn’t really have others around us that were going through the same changes that we were.
When we got married we had already been living together. I think living together is a bigger adjustment than getting married. You have to learn each other’s triggers and habits. Things as simple as the way that they fold their laundry are going to be different than the way you do things. You adjust to that in time.
Marriage itself, to me, is giving your life to that person. Committing to them your entire being. It is telling the world, this is MY PERSON (yes I watch Grey’s Anatomy) and you (the world) cannot have them in the same manner that I have them. It’s communicating everything to that person without hesitations; the good and the bad. It is knowing that you are never alone. Some people can experience this by not getting married, that is their choice. I just always knew marriage was what I wanted. The forever commitment is the most honorable thing that you can give to another person. Like, I love you so incredibly much that I want to spend everyday waking up to you. For traditional people, such as myself, it is taking his last name and becoming one family.
Before getting pregnant, I would say getting married didn’t change much for our social life. I never really was into the whole party scene. Perhaps that made it easier for me. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys adult gatherings and consuming alcohol from time to time. If anyone had to change I would say it was probably him. Although that did not change all too drastically until I was pregnant.
When you have children, yes your life changes entirely. You are no longer your only priority. Your children are above everything else.
The thing of it is, though, the changes are so worth it. I am not going to sit here and tell you it is cake walk by any means, because it’s not. Parenting is the hardest thing, I think, anyone can do. However, the good definitely outweighs anything “bad” or difficult about it.
Sure you have to cut back on certain things like adult parties, but you get to experience so much more.
One of my favorite things, as a parent, is seeing my child enjoy the things I enjoyed during my childhood. For instance, the magic of bubbles! It really is like on the movie Knocked Up, kids freaking love bubbles! Get them a giant toy for Christmas and they would rather play imaginative things inside the empty box. Seeing the joy that something so simple brings to them makes you realize life doesn’t need to be filled with material things.
Those parties you once went to turn into camping in the living room, tent (or fort) and all. Instead of going out to a party you spend time doing family outings like trips to the zoo, arcade, ice cream shop, sporting events, Disney on Ice, and going to the park. You experience them on a whole new level when your children are with you.
Holidays are different when you have children. Remember the joy you had Christmas morning waking up to knowing that Santa came to your house? Now imagine that feeling times 100. Watching your children get so excited about things, like Santa or the Easter bunny, is like reliving your excitement all over again. Only this time it is from a new perspective. A much better perspective.
Watching your children grow, from pregnancy, birth, and every milestone following is by far the most fulfilling and amazing thing I have ever experienced. From the first time you see their precious face, see them smile at the recognition of you, they cry because they missed you while you were trying to poop in peace, their first words, steps, their first everything, and watching them become the people that they are. THAT is true love.
So, while yes having children changes everything and makes you cut back on some of the things you might have liked previously, you definitely gain a lot more than the things you might have lost.
In short, my answer would be no. I do not feel like I am missing out on things because I chose to get married and have children early on. I don’t really feel like it made me “grow up” much more than I already was. People around me may say otherwise though, I haven’t thought to ask.
Until next time,