Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Life Is Ruined, Or Is It?

I remember my mother telling me on numerous occasions when I was younger that she wished she would have waited until she was older to have me. She wished she would have gone to college, had a good job, and traveled. I know she did not tell me these things to make me feel bad or unwanted, but to prevent me from making the same “mistake” she made and suffering as a result of it.

I have to admit, this did often make me feel pretty crappy. I mean, had my mom went to college, had more money and more time to pick a more suitable husband (which would mean I wouldn't be here) we would be so much better off, right? We would have lived in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood and took family vacations. We wouldn't have been repeatedly evicted, forcing us to cram into small apartments with other family members. She wouldn't have had to rely on welfare and food stamps to get by. I understood my mother's point perfectly, having a child young (she was 20) will ruin your life.

As I got older and became a sort of young mom myself at 26, I realized how challenging being a parent, especially in expensive New York could be. I was renting a small apartment, didn't have a clear path as to what I wanted career wise and had a ton of debt. Having a kid made saving and paying off debt harder and being able to pay for the continuing education classes to advance my career nearly impossible.

One thing I did realize when I became a mom was how much time I wasted after college in getting my act together. I found out I was pregnant about four years after I graduated from college. That was four years of my life I could have spent taking those continuing ed classes to advance my career and save money. I took for granted that I was still young and had time to figure things out and as a result I wasted five years at a dead end job and found myself in serious credit card debt. I only had myself to blame for not being happy. 

Had I not become a mom would I have more money? Yes. I would not have to worry about paying for insurance, daycare, food, clothes, medicine and toys. Had I not become a mom would I become focused on advancing my career and becoming debt free? Maybe, maybe not.

My life is harder, but better. My son has inspired me and motivated me to become the responsible, mature adult I want and know I can be. I want to be a good example to him, I want him to see me grow as a person, to see what hard work and success looks like so that he may take those life lessons with him as he grows. I don’t want him to grow up watching his parents fail, give up or make excuses. He will learn that in life there are always going to be struggles and hardships but that we have the power to make the change we want to see in our lives.