What Not to Say to a Young Mom
As if being a young mom isn’t hard enough - people’s judgemental commentary certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Having an amazing family to support me was crucial to being able to finish college and still have the life I pictured for myself. While I truly believe it was better than it would have been had I not had Camryn young, tell 18 year old Nikki that and she definitely would not have believed you. In 2018, I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING! And I’ve grown some thick skin along the way... But I also don’t mind telling people they’ve offended me - and you shouldn’t hold back from respectfully putting people in their place either.
Here are 5 things you SHOULD not say or do to any mother - ever!
- “Wow you don’t look old enough to have a [insert any age] year old.” Really? You know I menstruated at age 13, so biologically I could have a 17 year old, jackass. And before you defend yourself with “it’s a compliment, I mean you look SO young” maybe realize that it’s a back-handed one? And that a back-handed compliment is actually NOT a compliment? You didn’t say “you look great” - you said I didn’t look old enough. They’re not the same.
- “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?” Yes Martha I mind. As I mentioned above, I’m biologically old enough to have a kid, so it matters ZERO how old I am. And your desire to know for the satisfaction of knowing does not matter to me at all. Sorry not sorry.
- “Is she yours?” Yes, what the hell? We are twins for one. And sure the whole “you look like sisters” is cute when you’re 30 and 55 or whatever, but at 10 and 29 it’s just insulting. Yes she is mine, I don’t bring random children places just because I’m nice. I’m not that nice actually, at least to kids under the age of 13 (I’m a high school coach, so I actually love that age). But that’s a whole other thing...
- When people are rude enough or ignorant enough to ask one of the three questions above, my favorite follow up comment from them is “Wow, was that really hard?” ...... tell me one mother who thinks motherhood is easy! Um of course it was hard, as it is for everyone! And that is just a stupid question, please don’t. Life is hard, motherhood is hard, and apparently your head is hard.
- And lastly - my absolute favorite question they ask is “How did you do that?” The same way any other mother does it. You get pregnant and 9 months later if you are lucky enough to have a healthy pregnancy you deliver and then you parent the best that you can, with the help and support of people around you. There is no magic answer and every mom learns as they go, regardless of the age. And acting baffled and shocked that someone can in fact get pregnant and then have a child before they’re 20 is just insane. I’m 29 and I don’t feel any more prepared to have an infant NOW than I did 10.5 years ago!
I don’t mean to be insensitive and rant, but my entire life since being pregnant and becoming a mom I have dealt with condescending tones and questions that are for no one’s benefit and just leave me annoyed and feeling that I constantly need to justify myself. Through all of my frustrations with people’s thoughtless commentary, I try to remind myself that people are mostly good, and many haven’t been in my shoes and don’t understand how their words impact me... and at the end of the day, I’m one lucky momma and having Cam is worth it all.
From one mom to another, age is age, and motherhood is hard, so we have to look out for each other no matter what obstacles we have to overcome. We’ve got this ladies.
Thanks for reading,