Being a young mum is never something that is talked about highly, it's almost hushed down as if you should automatically be ashamed that a baby didn't come after 'more important' things that society deem you need to have first. It's ridiculous, of course that I can see now. It still doesn't stop the frowns, tuts and stares I often get as a mother of two at 24 years old. I think people automatically place you into a stereotyped category, they're thinking 'reckless, jobless and single' It sounds extreme but it's how I've been made to feel on several occasions. I don't get chance to explain that actually we have a home, both me and John work full time and we've been together for seven years. I know quite a lot of these thoughts may be in my head or me over thinking, but I can't help thinking that as soon as you become what society deems a 'young mum', you are on the back foot. Having to defend yourself and prove yourself to strangers, health professionals and even those around you.
I am generally a bit fed up of worrying what others are going to think about my family life, when I go out with two children. Do I put make-up on, or will people think 'god her priorities are all wrong', do I leave it and head out bare faced, or face judgemental looks that I don't look put together enough. Should I tell my toddler off if he's naughty in public, does that make me look like I can't cope, or will letting him run free seem as though I don't have any control over my rumbustious child? It's a huge game of trying to prove people wrong, which is ludicrous, completely, but I can't help it. When I had given birth to Noah and visited the doctors for my six week check, I brought my Mum along for some support and to generally help out in case Noah needed a feed or kicked up a fuss, she was there to be hands on. John was at work and she offered. Of course though, as I could instantly tell by her tone, to an older doctor we saw, I seemed like another young single Mum statistic, I remember distinctly of her not approving the way I re-dressed Noah on the bed after she'd examined him, even telling me to support his head at once stage. I felt like I wasn't being examined on my recovery, I was being examined on my ability to parent and that felt awful. Who cares if just say I had of been a single mum, if I didn't have a job or even a home - why would that give anyone the right to treat me differently to someone else?
Another aspect of being a young mother that drives me crazy, is the assumption that you've missed out on life, that you are missing experiences and haven't got to 'enjoy your youth' Of course there are things I find tough, seeing everyone else my age, friends from University going out, travelling, enjoying having no strings attached to their lives. But I don't feel burdened, not for one single moment. These boys are my absolute world and I feel so completely privileged and blessed to get to experience them in my life for as long as possible. I am still enjoying my youth, but I'm doing it with two smalls by my side (and you too sorry John) and quite frankly there isn't anybody else in this world I would rather do that with. I'm not missing experiences, I'm experiencing some of the best moments of my life. When people in the last years on earth think of the happiest times of their lives, I can't imagine it being an 18-30 trip to Malaga, or being out every weekend till they were 25. No, I envision it to be the births of their children, grandchildren and special occasions spent with those people - I get all of that now, I don't have to wait and I'm so thankful about that. People often say you give up a lot when you become a parent but I like to think that I gained far more than I've ever given up.