Are you an ageist mama? Have you ever found yourself sitting there, pondering that, ‘that girl is far too young to have a baby’? Or, on the other hand, are you a victim of an ageist mum or person? Have you ever been sitting in a café while your child screams and refuses to eat making you already feel like a failure to realise there is already a mum 5 years older sitting in the corner judging you as her child the same age sits nicely?
Now, do not sit there and act all perfect as you read this because we know we have all silently judged another mum at least once in our heads. However, most of us are quickly brought back to reality when our child reminds us how they can go from cute to feral real quick, then we get some guilt’s for putting our judgey pants on – well this is the normal scenario for most of us. It has been made aware to me that not all mothers function this way though.
Being a young mama of two has been an eye opener. I have been told a few things by various different people and it always seems to come back to my age. Why is it that some (to be clear there are plenty of older mums/people who aren’t judgey but there are plenty who are) older mothers think they are better than a women who became a mum at 21 because they became a mother at 29?
I sit in the ‘young mum category’ and I am proud to say I am a young mum and a dam good one at that. I do feel as though I have to constantly prove to those older, that I do know what I am doing, regardless of age. There is such a preconception on young mothers, by everyone – not just older mums. Example of this being that when Harlee-Jae was only 2 weeks old and she ended up in hospital, we were asked some pretty interesting questions from the doctor-
- Do you have a cellphone?
- Does your cellphone have credit?
- Will you ring an ambulance if something is wrong?
- Do you have a car to drive to the hospital in an emergency?
- What sort of housing situation are you in?
- Do you have heating in your house?
Well slap me sideways and call me sally. I knew I looked like crap because I had a newborn who was sick and bugger all sleep but never did I think I looked homeless, haha! Now sure this might be some sort of protocol but really. Did I really look like someone who would not ring an ambulance if I needed one? I still think I got asked these questions purely because of my age, I bet they didn’t ask the 35 year old mum down the corridor the same questions!
This is what I really felt like saying to the doctor but I was far too tired to care at that point. ”I do own a cellphone which always has credit, shock horror huh. Another crazy fact, we own a bloody car! It even has petrol in it and I even have a full license to drive safely to the hospital, if need be. And I know, you’re probably thinking ‘bet they live at home with their parents or in a run down crappy flat.’ We actually own our own home! All by ourselves! It even has a fireplace to keep us warm just too really throw you off.” Could you have imagined the look on his face if that is what I really did say, ha!
The most common phrases people love to throw at you when they find out you are pregnant usually include-
- Oh you are so young, why have children now when you have your whole life ahead of you? Yes, I am young but having children young only means I get to enjoy my whole life with my children in it. When you are 35 with a new born, changing nappies and still having sleepless nights, I will be sleeping peacefully in my own bed while my grown ass children make their own food and wipe their own asses, ha!
- You are just a child yourself! Thanks, for the input but 21 is not a child, I am a grown, independent woman who can look after herself and children.
- Shouldn’t you wait until your friends are having kids? I have never been one to do something because someone else is; everyone leads their own journey and will do things when they are ready!
- You should have travelled the world first! Has it ever occurred to people that travelling the world is not everyone’s cup of tea or that maybe I would prefer to travel when I am older?
- You have not had time to enjoy your twenties! Oh sorry nancy drew, I wasn’t aware you were so invested in my life to know what I have and haven’t enjoyed! I have had my fair share of drunken weekends and concerts now I plan to invest my youth into my children.
- Your parents are far too young to be grandparents! Gosh, I never knew there was an age restriction on when you can and cannot become a grandparent! These people would be shocked to know my youthful parents in there 40’s love having grandchildren and have the energy to enjoy them.
- Having a baby is really expensive, can you afford that at your age? Babies are always going to be expensive. No matter what age you are, you will make it work and give your baby what is best in your ability.
Then there are just the downright offensive comments-
- Was it an accident? Really, why is this such a big deal and why cannot we use the term surprised? Like yeah I was not planning on this right now but I would not call any of my children accidents. They were a surprise and I would not have it any other way!
- It is just not right. You are far too young! Well regardless of my age, am I doing a good job? Yes, you say. So why not back off about the age side of things!
- At least you got it out of the way early… Yeah really out of the way. The kid is our kid, and will be our kid forever so I am not quite sure how it’s ‘out of the way’, Ha!
- Did you consider abortion? Do I really need to explain why this question is not okay? RESPECT people. It really is not hard!
- Wedding must be happening before the baby is born then. Why does a ring determine if we will be good parents? To be honest, a child is a lot more testing and way more of a life commitment than a wedding soooo short answer, no.
- You might regret having kids so young. The. Heck. What sort of assumption is this? I am pretty confident when I say that every mother who has had a child young would never regret them. But hey, what do I know? Because I am just a ‘young’ mum right. 😛
Why is it okay for people to be so offensive to mothers regarding age? Tell us how we are doing but do not regard it to our age. We do not need to be reminded every single day that we are young. We know our age and if a child is being brought up in a safe, happy and healthy way then who is anyone to judge?
So next time, you want to judge a mum purely because of her age, stop and think is it really worth it? Because in all honesty, I am as much like you as you are like me. We all have bad mum days and we all have amazing mum days. We all feel mum guilts. We all feel like we could be doing a better job and we all feel some crazy love for our little humans but it is time for mum’s to stand together and have each other’s back regardless of age, race, working mum, stay at home, mum of one or mum of ten. We are all doing what’s best for our families and busting our butts to make the best of this crazy adventure we call life.
So, in case no one has told you today. YOU are a good mum, YOU are doing an amazing job and YOUR little humans are so lucky to have you! ❤