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    I was a young, single mom when I had my son, and I thought I was missing out on my 20s. Now, I'm glad I had him when I was younger.

    By Ashley Archambault,

    Ashley Archambault had her son in her mid-20s.
    • When I had my son, I worried I might miss out on my 20s.
    • There were trips I wanted to take, and I knew it would be easier to date if I wasn't a parent.
    • However, I realized that my time with him was precious, and I'm glad I had him when I was young.

    I found out I was pregnant with my son just before turning 26. At the time, I didn't have my own place, I worked part-time, and I had about $300 in my bank account. I had no assets aside from owning my car, and I was not in an ideal position to have a baby .

    Back then, I didn't have any other friends who were parents, and I felt that I just wasn't ready to become a mom. But now that my son is 10 and I've made it over the halfway mark to him being 18, I'm actually really glad I had him when I was younger .

    I reminded myself to be present

    When my son was little, sometimes I did feel like I was missing out. But when he was born, I was filled with this intrinsic wisdom that his stages wouldn't last forever. Reminding myself to slow down, be present, and enjoy his younger ages always helped me get over the fear of missing out on doing things I might otherwise have been doing if I wasn't a parent.

    When there were times that I wished I could date easily or take a big trip, I told myself that those things could come later. What I didn't want to miss out on was him.

    I was in better shape

    I just turned 37. While I know I'm still young, I'm definitely starting to feel my age. One recent morning I woke up, and my hip hurt for no apparent reason. I look to my close friends, who are experiencing similar aches and pains, and wonder how they're dealing with chasing around toddlers on top of it. Looking back on how much I accomplished as a young single mom, I'm not sure I would have been able to do the same if I had a new baby at this age.

    No one is ever ready

    One thing I've observed is that no matter what age you are or where you are in your life, no one is ever truly "ready" to become a parent. It's something you figure out as it's happening, and that's exactly what happened to me. During the duration of my pregnancy and my son's first year, I grew up really fast. He made me want to be the best that I could be, because I wanted what was best for him, and so I figured out the challenges as they came along.
    Ashley Archambault had her son when she was 26 years old.

    I only figured out what I wanted to do because I had to

    I don't think I would have figured out what I wanted to do with my life if I didn't have my son when I did. After having him, I realized two things. The first was that I wanted to show him it is possible to have a job you enjoy.

    The second was that I wanted to be available to spend time with him before and after school, as well as on the weekends. So I finished my degree and became a teacher, which allowed me to be home when he was. I knew my life as a writer would come in time when he was older, and I had all of those summers off.

    As a parent, everything looks different

    When I became a mom, I saw everything differently. As I watched my son grow up, I saw the world from his perspective — how magnificent everything was, but also how difficult. My attitude toward my upbringing changed as well, and I was able to empathize with my dad, who was also a single parent. Becoming a parent helped me feel connected to other people, because I saw that what people want for themselves and their children is often the same.

    When my son graduates from high school, I'll be 44. If I still want to, I'll be able to take those big trips or pursue careers I wouldn't have been able to while he was young. I once thought waiting to do these things later was a sacrifice, but I know I see it as a blessing. When my son is grown, I'll still be fairly young and fit, but I'll also be wiser than I was in my 20s. The lessons I'll have learned from parenting will actually enrich the experiences that I've put on hold.

    Read the original article on Business Insider
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