One of the reasons that I started this blog was because of the isolation I sometimes feel as a young(ish) mother. I am, may I say 24 years old and in my opinion this has never been 'too young' to be a mum. My mum had me at 22 and I had Josh at 22. In my eyes any 'twenty something' aged female was able to be a mum without facing judgement. So imagine my suprise when this turned out to be incorrect.
I am a very young looking 24 year old, I'm sure in ten years I will love this element of my facial features but for now it's the bain of my life as a mummy. When I mention my son in passing people usually respond "SON?! How old ARE you?!" to which I reply honestly and then there unbelieving responses begin. Shock and awe sometimes stop passes by too as they join in at the amazement. It's a bit annoying really. I may be the only person on the planet who is eagerly awaiting there first grey hair to add decadance to my age declarations. (Ok thats a bit extreme because I'm sure I will cry inside a little when that does happens for yes I am sadly very proud of my hair! Vain, I know.)
The lack of wedding ring doesn't help either. I can't moan, well actually yes I can moan! Come on Jamie (my baby daddy) pull your finger out! We've been together for 5 years this year, we have a mortgage a beautiful son and I have put up with a lot of his 'antics' in my time. I think I deserve a rock of some description. Now, please. Even one of those plastic, naff looking toy ones would do. So anyway when me and baby daddy are out together with Josh the judgement on us doubles. Baby daddy also looks like a teenager when actually he is even older than me! We look like the stereotypical teenage family living off benefits, well thats what a lot of the 'older generation' seem to be intent on saying loudly as we stroll by. I couldn't disagree more. I try really hard to fend off these judgements of being too young. We have a mortgage, we have two cars and before I had my son I had spent three years as an Account Manager at a national media company travelling here there and everywhere. Baby Daddy had a well paying job too, we were (and I know still are) very lucky in that sense. So when I spend my money I don't enjoy hearing people in the queue say to their shopping partners that 'they' can't even afford to buy their child 'that' sort of toy, brand of food etc but 'SHE' (meaning me) can. Implying I'm spending their taxes on my son's favourite Ella's Kitchen pouch or treating him to a new Happyland toy. Oh no, this fresh faced mummy couldn't make her own money could she?! Grrr.
I realised what I was up against when I became pregnant (I think it was worse then, I remember when I was about six months pregnant and only just showing walking around shopping for baby clothes this woman physically did a double take in front of me and ground to a complete halt. I was mortified.) I quickly made effort to ward off some of these unjust stares in the street. I saved like a mad woman for a lovely branded pushchair, thinking this would help people see I clearly wasn't selfishly living on benefits (there is nothing wrong with living on benefits if you need them by the way). It didn't work though because most of the people who judge me are far too old to know the difference between a Quinny limited edition and a repeat episode of Quincy on tv. I also made an effort to have a full face of make-up, perfect hair etc which again didn't help because I can't change my actual face with my make up trowel, the only othe thing I can think of is walking around with a bag on my head. Even then I'm sure my shoes, or any other feture still showing would probably still give me away.
After it became apparant I couldn't stop these people from wrongly thinking I was a teenage mother I stopped trying so hard to make people think I was a teenage mother. I like to dress fashionably, although I am more of a cute ballerina pump or heels girl on some days I do like the whole skinny jeans and converse look. These days I deffinately get more stares but I have learnt to live with it. I like dressing how I dress and I can't help how I look so it seems irrelevant to try and change it for other people's benefit. Even if it would make my outings easier.
It doesn't mean it doesn't still niggle away at me when I park the car knowing I'm about to embrace a whole bunch of sideways glances as people cheack A.) my face for signs of age an B.) My ring finger, BUT I am now accustomed to it. I do sometimes try and loudly make refernce to my age, even if it's to my son-ie "Lets get Mummy a nice bottle of wine, she's nearly 25 so I think she's allowed" as it does make me feel better! Petty, yes but hey ho! The worst places are coffee shops which is sad for me because I pretty much avoid a nice pit stop when out and about. Never mind though, there are worse things going on in the world!
For now though I'm resigned to having a young face and a young son. I know to Joshua he doesn't care how old (or young) his mummy and daddy are and that's the most important thing. I would say this though, for every person we look at assuming they are too young to be a parent, for a portion of them this judgement is incorrect and unfair. I'm not saying I don't look at young mums in the street because sadly in today's day and age I think we all do this to some degree, but I now make the effort to show my biggest, warmest smile to them all. Regardless of how old I think they are.