Reflections on starting a family at a young age

I got married at the age of 23. At that time, my husband was 25. Quite a lot of people told us that we were too young to start a family, and that we should wait a few more years. I guess the acceptable age to tie the knot is 30, so by that standard, we were really ahead by several years. They said we should have some savings in our respective bank accounts before we take the plunge into marriage so we will surely be ready to pay our own bills. A few people even suggested that we can make more productive use of our young adult life by traveling or pursuing further studies.

While the 23-year-old me appreciated and thanked them for their concern and (unsolicited) advice, I had to disagree with them. Here’s why.

First of all, I had set a number of personal goals which include finishing childbearing by the age of 30. Now how could I possibly attain that if I will only get married at 30? I’ve always known that I will be a mom and a wife and later build my own family, so to my mind, it doesn’t make any sense to delay the first step that will make me realize that. Apart from the biological advantages, I wanted to have kids at a young age so I can “grow up” with them and be able to relate to their interests. To put it another way, I wanted to be a “cool mom”. Yes, I am a mom who exchanges notes with my kids on which legendary pokemon was spotted, or which NBA player was traded to another team. I am a mom who sings the hottest hits and watches popular YouTubers’ videos with my kids. I also wanted to be physically capable of engaging in activities they like. I can still play basketball with my boys and walk around a theme park for full days, thanks to a head start on childbearing.

Moreover, building your own family, especially if you did it financially independent of your parents in your early adult years, brings a different sense of pride and joy. When we started, we didn’t have a comfortable level of savings, but we had a stable job so we were confident that we will be able to pull it off on our own. We made it a resolve not to burden our families by asking money from them because getting married was our decision after all. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, to be honest, and we made some mistakes along the way. We had to get a loan for our “startup” and live simply and within our means at that time. That meant making some sacrifices and adjusting our lifestyle to save up for more important things.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to put our careers aside while we were busy with our familial duties. (See related story here: Tackling the age-old question: “family or career?”) In fact, our careers soon took off and that put us in a better position to provide for our family. Slowly and after much hard work, we were able to build up our portfolio of properties and investments. Now we have our own house and several cars, our kids are in the best schools, and our family is able to go on trips here and abroad.

We didn’t only “grow up” with our kids; hubby and I became better and stronger together and because of each other. We were side by side through it all. This October, we will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. I can’t help but be amazed at how our life has evolved over the years, and I will always be mighty proud and grateful of what we have accomplished both as a couple and individually.

 

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