I Am Not a Young Mama

Sona Charaipotra
4

lefty clockThe other day, I was on the phone interviewing a TV star when Kavya, hanging out with her papa in the background, let out a laugh-out-loud squeal. That's one of the perks of being a work-at-home mama: your office chatter tends to veer toward baby babble. Generally a fun thing, but it can be inopportune at times.

Anyway, the celeb, a dad himself, commented that I sounded like a young mama. Which I probably do. I have a young voice, and had it been an in-person interview, or had we just simply been hanging out at the park, he might have said the same thing, because, essentially, I could pass for college-age. I used to hate it, but now it's nice.

Here's the thing, though, as a first-time mother in my 30s, I'm not really a young mama by most standards. And I'm okay with that.

I was always that girl who wanted to focus on her career, first and foremost, and for most of my 20s, I did that. I told my long-suffering dad that I didn't want to get married 'til I was 32, which, especially by Indian standards, was Just. Too. Old.

By New York City standards, though, it was just the norm. Women here are work-driven. It's the energy of the city and the people in it. I know so many women in their 30s and their 40s who are nowhere near shifting the focus to family. I thought I'd be one of them.

Then I met Navdeep. And quit my job. And all that flew out the window. By 29, I was married and floating work-wise. The schedule I had in my head was thrown off, and it would have been really easy to settle into family life at that point. But neither my husband nor I were ready. We knew we needed time to ourselves, time to explore the world and what we really wanted to do. So we took it. We went on a crazy backpacking adventure through India. I started a freelance business. We both finished Masters degrees. We got to know each other, to settle into a groove as our own little family. Then, when the time was right, we thought about babies. Because, timing, as they say, is everything.

But of course, the timing is never really right. Kavya's 8 months old, and I'm working full time and in grad school. I'm busier now than I've ever been. And while I still get pangs about dropping her off to day care, when, at least in theory, I should be able to handle her and working from home, I know it's not feasible. But we're all surviving. Maybe even thriving. So I guess, what I'm saying, is I wouldn't really have it any other way.

So, no, I am not a young mama. But I am a happy one.

Are you a "young mama" or an "older mom"? Was it what you planned?


Image via RBerteig/Flickr


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