My husband is 22 and I am 21. Starting February, we will have two kids nearly three years apart. We are still in school, we rent a condo, and we are probably not what you would consider financially prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood. We live on Jake’s valet job and our student loans.
A lot of people wonder why we have chosen to have kids so young. Why didn’t we wait until we had a house and careers and a solid amount in our savings? Won’t our kids be missing out on so much by having young, poor parents who have to dedicate part of their time to going to school? For some reason the choice to have kids at this stage of our lives draws in a lot of opinions- and some of them aren’t necessarily polite. Having said that, I’m not bothered when people pass me in the store and say “wow, you’re really young to have a toddler” or “you’re just a baby yourself”. I love being a young mom and I am more than excited to continue to grow our family.
Before I go any further though, I do need to explain something: our oldest son, Easton, was born when I was 18 and fresh out of high school. Easton is also not biologically Jake’s. When Jake and I started dating, Easton was about 8 months old and I had been broken up with his dad for almost a year. This is a really long and complicated story that I don’t really want to get into on this post, but I did want to point that out. Getting pregnant so young was not something I did on purpose, however, I did decide to keep my son.
Regardless of how things got started, Jake and I did purposely want to have this baby. After I had an early miscarriage a few months after our first wedding anniversary we knew that it was what we wanted and it felt right to us. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a stress free decision, and I was a little more ready than he was, but we’re both more than excited to have two kiddos.
So why? Of course I couldn’t change the way things were with Easton. I would be a young mom. That’s just how it works. But why would we decide to have another kid when we’re not at the place the world seems to think we need to be before having a family? Why wouldn’t we want to play it safe and wait a few more years? We’ve both only got a few more semesters until we’re done with school. Why not wait until then?
This comes down to a short list of pretty well-made reasons. 1) I didn’t want our kids spaced far apart, 2) Jake wants to go to law school when he’s finished with his bachelor’s which means I will need to be the sole (or at least the primary) provider for our family, 3) I want a big family and want to be long through with having kids by the time I’m 30.
More than anything though, I want a close family unit. I’m not saying that people with kids who are spread out can’t have close families, but I think there’s something special in having your kid’s first friends be their siblings. And because I already had Easton it was important to me that our family unit not only included him but revolved around him in the way other families revolve around their kids. I wanted him to have playmates in the form of siblings so he could learn to be a friend, be a mentor, and so he would never feel like he was part of a family separate from our other kids. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be and I’ve been lucky enough to have found someone who feels the same.
In the end, I don’t think having lots of extra money or job security or a mortgage matters that much. Life is ever changing and often without warning. People lose their jobs or take financial hits all the time. But a strong family unit stays a strong family unit- in the best of times and in the worst of times.
So that’s our story! And we’re sticking to it.