Friday, February 12, 2010

You're a bit young aren't you??!

I was 21 when I fell pregnant with giggle girl so apparently that makes me a "young mum"
I always just thought i was a age had nothing to do with it but that's not how it was viewed from the outside. I was incompetent and foolish based solely on my age, or what my age was assumed to be by how I look.

I worked in a teeny-bopper retail store until i was pregnant and some customers were just very lucky they made their smart asred bigoted comments during work hours and not just as a comment to a passing stranger on the street.
i was asked many, many times if i was planning on keeping the baby, i was told i was too young to be a mum, asked if the father had stuck around and so on. It was actually almost amusing to see them backpedal when i told them i was 22 and married! All of sudden it was all congratulations and excitement, all the "normal" reactions a pregnant woman should receive.

After having giggle girl I was quite isolated as we were living in a new location and didn't have many friend around, let alone friends with kids

So joined up with a young mums group ran by my local YWCA. I figured it was an opportunity to be out of the house and meet some like minded mums who were of similar age to me.
the group was run from mums aged 13 to 25, but i figured most would be in the middle like me, i was also interested to see how a very young mum managed motherhood, because i sure wouldn't have coped well at the same age! (I dont cope very well some days as it is!)

From this young mums group there were different guest speakers there each week to discuss a wide range of topics ranging from DIY pamper sessions made from things at home through to budgeting and financial management of household expensive. A great program run by a very patient wonderful woman, Gina.

There were about 8 mums that went regularly many had been from disfunctional families or the foster system themsleves. I was the only one that was married and the only one whos parents were still together. The lack of education among the group was astounding as well, i was only one of two who had finished high school. There was also only myself and one other girl, who went on to become one of my very best friends, who are still with the fathers of their children.

I found it so very frustrating that I was trying so hard to make sure that was proving to myself and the world around me that just because I was a young mum didnt make one iota of difference to what sort of parent I was and that my age was irrelevant. Then there were these other mums who were more than happy to sponge of anything and everything from welfare, they were more than happy to perpetuate the negative stereotype of young parents. The final straw for me was finding out one of the other girls was pregnant again to her abusive boyfriend and she was still smoking weed. I never went back to that group. I felt too different from everyone else, for once in my life i was a minority. I think it was the first time ever!

So my experiences with other young mums hasn't been wonderful, I have only 1 or two mummy friends who are the same age as me and none younger, all the rest are older by at least 5 years This isnt intentional, i just havent found people I click with yet that are younger than me (except my husbad, he's a year younger than I am so he isn't even 23 yet!) I find it really sad as i KNOW that there HAS to be lots of young mummies out there doing a wonderful job with their bubbas.....why did i just have to meet ALL the crap ones! :(

What sort of experiences have you had with young mums? Are you a young mum? Where am i going wrong with meeting other mums my age without so many issues??

Love and Smiles


Clarinda said...

I was 21 and married when my 1st son was born. I too got the comments. I have/do feel what you have written.

Most of my friends are older too. lol.

I tend not to tell people my age unless they specifically ask.

nat said...

I have had a similar experience to you in regards to young mums.

I am not with my childrens father but I am a mum who enjoys being a mum and doing MUM things and spending time with my children.

I found the young mums groups were often seen as an opportunity to meet others who wanted to get smashed or hang out in shopping centres and I was told by the person who ran the group that I would have been better off running the group then participating and I had outgrown it(I was 18!)

I am a mum who has spent time trying to rise above the stereotype and just be seen as a mum like any other.

I now have a few friends who are under 25 and excellent mums (one became a mum at 15) and I admire them for being able to be the best mums they can be regardless of age or despite of.

Anonymous said...

I know a LOT of young mums (I went to 3 different high schoosl and I'm one of the few left without babies - I'm only 23!) And most of them are doing a wonderful job! Most of them are married, or with a long term partner, their partner works, some of the mums do, some don't, some are going to uni etc. They are mostly between 21-25 and are doing the best they can and strive to continue doing the best they can for their kids. They are such amazing women and I admire them for doing what they do.

Well done on arising above the stereotype :)

Woman Uncensored said...

I totally know how you feel. I was 19, and looked maybe 15 or 16. I worked at Starbucks at the time. It would be the middle of a school day, I'd be at work, and people would ask me what grade of high school I was in, all filled with pity and crap.

One chick actually ranted about how school girls "like me" shouldn't "sleep around", and how being a single teen mom was going to be so hard, blah blah blah. When I told her I was married to the ONLY man I've ever been with, and nearly 20, she just scoffed like she thought I was lying.

People are awesome.

Lauren said...

Hmmm I agree Squishy Bum Mum. It is difficult being around other young mums who don't have the same intentions i do, who seem not to care as much as we do, i have seen a few mums like that.. However i have also seen mums like this beyond teenage years and beyond the early 20s, smoking weed while pregnant, taking pills etc...I feel the need to help these young mums as they obviously don't have the support we had, they don't have the education we have, they don't have the simple love from their partners like we have.

I am 19, I am engaged to my partner who I have been with for almost 3 years. A lot of people look at me like 3 years is nothing and that i cant possibly be in love at my age.. I think they can go jump in a lake...
I think that we should make it our intention..people like us, young mums like us.. to influence and be a positive role model to the young mums out there who don't have the life we do.... I don't think I would have ever been ready to have kids, who is? It just happened and I wouldn't change it for the world.
And I went to a pregnancy class today and brought my 3 month old daughter to share my experiences and hope that my positive attitude and my dedication to my baby girl and be the best mum ever rubs off on the other girls who aren't in the same place as me. :) - its because they have negative influences in their lives, but we don't, I present myself in hope that I can help any of these girls, be-friend them and influence them into better decision making and help mould them into the great mum that every single woman/teenager can be.

on another note you spoke about before...Personally the one thing i hate the most from judgemental A**holes is the "did the dad stick around or run off" I find it so rude - Yes actually we are engaged to be married and he is 27 years old and works 14 hour days in blistering heat to put a roof over our to love the look on their face after they realise I'm not a teenager, I am a mum, with a loving fiance and a beautiful daugher. I am not a kid.

prissymissy33 said...

I agree whole-heartedly...I'm turning 21 in april,my partner will be 29,and my daughter will be 1 in may.

I WAS a heavy pot smoker, until i fell pregnant with my daughter,and my life was put into perspective.

I have many friends that i am no longer close to with children,that pass their kids off onto any old person,and spend their weekends drinking cocktails, and hanging out with "the girls".....What happened to mothers being real mothers? Not just vessels that carry a child for 9 months, birth it, then palm it off?
It angers me so damn much,and i have a very hard time trying to find DECENT friends,as i tend to find most other mums my age simply dont have time in between drinking and "having fun" to spend quality time with their bubba's...
Sorry this is a long rant, but i feel VERY strongly about this!

Great blog by the way :)

Busy lil' Bee said...

I was a young mum. Im now finally NOT one. I just turned 26. But, my son is 10 1/2 (I had him at 15 1/2), my elder daughter is 8 1/2 and my youngest is 18 months. I found it to be a huge challenge to win approval, and since I moved interstate with my boyfriend (now Husband) when my son was only 12 months old, I really felt I needed to. I was 16 1/2; Tris, who was NOT my son's father, was 19. He had a job already, but because of my age and family situation, I could not get one. We planned my daughter, and I was pregnant within 3 months of moving to be with him. But people automatically thought that I was stupid, because I had 2 babies at 17. I was a good mum though. I looked after my kids, and every time FAYS were called (usually due to misguided concern that was more due to my age than genuine concerns of neglect), they said there was no reason for them to be there.

I was a better mum at 15 than many women I know are at 40. I am STILL a better mum.

And you know what, I wouldnt change it for the world. Even though Im unwell, Im still young enough to enjoy them, to appreciate what they are going through, and to remember it for myself. I will be young enough to enjoy my Grandkids.

And to put it simply, why the hell do we ovulate at 13 (for me it began at 9...) if we are not meant to start producing babies while we are still young?!??

Talk about cultural madness!

Ratbag Mumma said...

I became a mum 6 weeks before my 19th birthday. My oldest child is now 5 years old. I have 2 other sons , aged 3 and half yrs old and 20months old. People often ask if they are from the same father (yes they are) and if they were accidents (it wouldn't matter if they were would it they are here now lol)we are actually almost a year into TTC#4. I dont care who thinks if i am a great mum or not. at the end of the day, i do what works for my boys.
That being said I can think fo a few mums who are my age and have no clue. And i feel bad for their children.