It happens to me pretty frequently.
I’m just in a casual conversation with someone…
And then my daughter comes up in the conversation.
“Wait you’re a mom?!”
“Whoa, you look too young to be a mom!”
I get that a lot.
And every single time it is rude, condescending, and judgmental. Regardless of what that person’s intentions are, to (yes, a young) mom, what we hear is this…
“your age means you shouldn’t be a mom, or you aren’t capable of being a good or decent mom, because again you’re too young”
There must be a socially acceptable “look” for a mom, because even my 7 year-old neighbor has asked me if I’m just the babysitter. And he’s 7!
I often wonder what the “magic age” is for a mom. At what point will I look old enough to qualify as a mom. When will I no longer receive these types of comments. Is it upper 20’s, 30’s, when I have a ring on my finger to make it “ok” to be a mom?
I really have no clue.
Just once I wish I had the guts to turn around and ask someone…”what makes me too young to be a mom?”
Because I really am curious.
Do you have to be educated enough? Own a home? Have a minivan?
But I’m slowly starting to care less and less about how other people define my mothering capabilities.
I used to be really self-conscious about my age as a mom. I would try to wear more professional clothes when I went out…I even contemplated wearing a fake wedding ring for most of my pregnancy because I thought that one piece of jewelry would make me seem old enough.
When people comment on my age as a mother…ya it hurts. I see the judgment and I feel as if I now have something to prove because the secret is out. I’m only 23 and I have a 2 year old. I can see people doing the math…she had her baby at 21, she must not be through college, how does she make money, where does she live, is she on government aid, who is she using for her resources?
I want to scream at them…no, I’m a grad student, I work, I’m published in 2 books, I speak professionally, I’m doing things with my life, I’m not too young…
But then that’s just falling into their whole idea that age is a qualifier for respect and it’s not.
The stigma of being a young and single mom is ridiculous. It comes with a lot of nosy questions and pity. Both of those actions are designed to make someone feel inadequate and I refuse to buy into that.
I deserve respect just like every other mom out there.
Because in reality, every mom, old or young, is just a mom doing her best. We are all just winging it. None of us knows what we’re doing half the time…and when I turn 30 that’s not going to change.
Yes…maybe I can’t give my daughter what the “older, established” mothers give their kids, but I trust that what I’m giving her is enough.
Because I’m not too young to sacrifice for her, I’m not too young to play with her, I’m not too young to provide for her (even if it means asking for help), I’m not too young to tuck her in at night and say prayers with her, I’m not too young to wipe away her tears, I’m not too young to put her in a time out when she needs, I’m not too young look into her eyes and see how beautiful, precious, and valuable she is, and I’m certainly not too young to lover her.
Oh, and I’m not too young to stand up for myself either.
So yes, you’re right, I’m a young mom…and I will never let you make me feel ashamed of that.