PERSPECTIVE: From a young mum

 

Is there such a thing as the “right” age to have a baby? If you have a baby at 20 you are often described as young, does that mean at 30 you are an “old” mum? Who decided to go ahead and label us… society! Society is always giving us labels and preconceived ideas about motherhood and when it comes to young mums the verdict is yet to be determined if it’s easier or harder. The legal age to have consensual sex in Australia varies from 16-17 across our states and territories, in December 2015  The Australian reported that the average age of first time Australian women giving birth is 28.6 years, so for the sake of this blog, we will classify a “Young Mum” as 16-27 years of age. So for us we are "young mum's”.

Jess was 21 when she had River, and Lisa was 27 with Wylie. And we definitly agree that Lisa's pregnancy was accepted by friends, family, strangers easier than Jess's was. Jess was faced with many hurdles, assumptions, and questions. This post in purely from our own personal perspective, we are in no way meaning to cause disrespect to anyone else.

Lisa interviews Jess.

When you close your eyes, what do you see when you picture a "young mum" ?

Okay, first of all I see centerlink, (that's where I had to go),  I see confusion on a face that should be carefree, but then again I also see youth, beauty, a fun attitude, a hot body with no stretch marks, haha. I see different things.

That's because there is no way to truly picture it, every woman is different no matter her age right?

Right, I don't think there is a stereotypical "young mum" anymore. You just have to look at some of the Instagram mum's who are young, entrepreneurial (you sell me those vitamins girl, I'll buy your homemade bibs and woven hangy things!), fit- my gosh this fitness craze is amazing, so many mumma's being healthy and active. But it's not all rainbows and butterflies (unless you are always using that #snapchat filter like me, in which case it can be!). Even though young mum's may have youth on ourside, we've been up all night too, we have a twitch in our right eye that won't go away, we are relieved we've made it out the door all clothed. Being a mum is hard at any age, but what I personally find the hardest is living up to our older counterparts.

Why do you think you need to be like the "older mum's"?

Older women have had the time to live longer, experience more and to be honest they seem like they have their shit together. I have found they know how to prioritise all the small things that come along with being in motherland. I want to fit in.

So, it's motherland, not motherhood where you feel judged/excluded?

Yes, at home I know I am an amazing mum. My kids are beautiful, my heart feels full. I love being around my kids, it's the land of the mothers where I feel I sometimes don't fit. When you become a mum you enter a new world, where you go to play dates, day care, parties- all these places where you interact with other mothers/fathers and it can be hard not to feel intimidated by these strong and capable people who have more life experience than you.

 Not all older women but most I have found, can sometimes talk down to me or sometimes not even notice me. I have more kids than some women, have been married longer- but that doesn't seem to matter, my opinion doesn't carry as much weight because I am younger. I don't even think it's intentional most of the time, we are sometimes just not thought of.

What else was surprising about coming into motherland?

A young person having a baby means “Yes you need to speed up your mental development 10 years and me, myself and I will never be again. You haven’t experienced enough of life to deal with motherland- and I’m not referring to the baby itself. I’m talking about the mothers groups, incorporating your young friends without children into your new world. Distancing yourself from some old habits to make room for new ones with new people. Dealing with the social pressure of being a stay at home mum, relying on someone else for financial support. All of these things are challenging. I can’t tell you how many times when people ask me my age; I lie and say I’m older then what I am. I think my mothers group thinks I’m now 30; I lie because I just want to fit in… And maybe that need to fit in is because I am insecure, because I am still young, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Jess pregnant with River at her 21st birthday!

Jess pregnant with River at her 21st birthday!

When I annoucned my pregnancy, I was met with lots of congratulations and happiness, it felt amazing to tell people, how did you feel?

I do feel being younger your judged a little more, especially when you announce your pregnancy and the comments are thrown around…

“Do you know how hard it is to be a mum?”

“What happens if you and Val break up?”

“You’re so young you should be selfish! You are supposed to be partying and traveling!"

 Too late, baby is in me guys - I’m Pregnant! And the follow up questions are even worse, and insulting.

“Was this planned?”

“Now Jess are you sure you want to do this? you have options"

“You’re crazy!”

 And what could I do, what could I say? I just took the onslaght with a fading smile, which is then met with...

 “Oh, but congratulations., I'm sure you'll be a great mum!"

If you are reading this thinking, hmmm I’m guilty of saying those things, don’t worry…. I had the same doubts when those 2 pink lines appeared on my pregnancy test.

I believe my first thought's were "Fuck, what am I doing?"

I’m going to miss out on Friday night boutique, espresso martinis, oysters, traveling back packer style and of course the same man for the rest of my life-oh dear gosh. From talking to multiple friends of various ages, I have found we all have this initial reaction, that selfish, independent voice that screams “what have you done” and shows you a highlight real of flashing moments of all the things you will miss out on…. Supposedly.

Well you already know this, but I sat naked on the toilet for an hour, staring at the stick watching my life flash before my eyes! You are not alone in those feelings, it is natural. But, now that you are a little older, with all this experience as a mum, have you grown more confident?

Yes and no. I am more confident now in standing my ground, sticking up for myself and my choices, not afraid to voice my opinion. I still feel like I need to be on trend though, haha maybe that's just my vanity monster coming out in me. But, I have a great mothers group now, with women of various ages and we really do support and listen to one another. I think it is important to find a parent group that supports you, just like you would choose your normal friends, be picky with your mothers group too- find the one that lifts you up and so you can do the same for them.

Lisa pregnant with Wylie age 27, Jess pregnant with Scarlett aged 24.

Lisa pregnant with Wylie age 27, Jess pregnant with Scarlett aged 24.

Well, I am on the border line of being young/old mum, and I can tell you that we don't all have our shit together, we have just had a bit more time to adjust to the other elements in life like navigating social groups, building a career and all those things you didn't have time for yet. But you are just as envied trust me, when I look at you I see a strong and brave person who put herself aside to give life to, two amazing girls. You are unique and special and the bond you have with your children is beautiful to watch. Plus, you're always the hottest mum at the park ;)

Hahaha. I love you. That's why you're my best friend. And a mummy friend.

Both: (start singing- we're all in this together- Highschool musical)

Okay- I think this interview is over now, give these women what they came here for your top five reasons why being a young mummy is AMAZING!

Okay, Okay, Mumma's here are my top five reasons why being a Young Mum Rules:

Living with your kids and not through your kids.

You’re a kid yourself you grow with them…

Young Mumma’s still find the joy in simple things and the fun in all the small adventures,

you’re usually climbing the playground equipment with your child, not watching from the sidelines. Also a young mum’s priorities often include travelling and exploring the great outdoors, you collect wonderful family memories and learn so much together. 

FOMO (fear of missing out):

We all get it, young Mumma’s just tend to give into it and say, “you know what, Grandma might want to come for a sleep over tonight, Mumma is hitting the town with her girls!”- We usually end up home and in bed early but hey we tried and had a great dinner and a few well earned cocktails! It’s okay to see what your friends are doing, and take a time out to join them occasionally it feeds your young spirit and will help keep you sane.

Grandparents:

Something that’s a huge bonus being a young mum is having younger grandparents and even great grandparents around to be a part of your children's life. My children are fortunate to have everyone at one stage from grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents.  

I’m obsessed with my grandparents and it’s awesome to see my children have the same bond with them. A grandparent’s love is a special thing and they usually are the first ones to volunteer for baby sitting (awesome for those FOMO nights!).

River with her Great Grandmother: Photo Cred to my Pa

River with her Great Grandmother: Photo Cred to my Pa

The ladies plus Val of 3 Generations... This is myself, hubby and my amazing grandmother and mother at the Elton John concert last year. 

The ladies plus Val of 3 Generations... This is myself, hubby and my amazing grandmother and mother at the Elton John concert last year. 

10 years more with our children:

I can’t and wont regret having my first child at 21 instead of 31, we have an extra 10 years possibly to watch our babies grow old having their own babies. An added bonus is when my child turns 21 I wont even be 40, we can party all night watch out REVS!

Sex drive:

A woman’s sex drive peaks around 30-35 years of age so my kids will be old enough to have sleepovers at friends or grandparents for extended periods of time, so a dirty weekend away with your partner is definitely on the cards! And just think at this age some of your friends will just start to have kids and will be in the realm of nappies and shit and spew meanwhile, you’ll be relaxing by the pool sipping a cocktails waving at your ten year old playing in the pool who by the way is a fully capable swimmer that knows how to go to the toilet, feed and dress themselves!

So in the end, motherhood at any age isn’t easy, but if you have a young mum in your circle of friends take some time to get to know her, ask her, her opinion and you could just make her day. We love mumma’s of all ages, we think you are all sexy, fun and doing the best you can!

Stay young at heart Mumma’s, till next time…

Jess & Lisa (The Young Mummies)

P.s- cue high school musical- “We are all in this together…!”