Young Motherhood vs. Not So Young Motherhood?

Someone once told me I would have more patience and be less emotional if I had waited to have children. This person {who will remain nameless} told me that I would be a better parent if I had waited until my 30s to have kids.

I think that’s a load of crap. I don’t think I’m going to be any more patient 9 years from now than I am today. I don’t think I’m going to be any less emotional, either. I have ALWAYS been emotional. I have ALWAYS worn my heart on my sleeve and never feared showing any emotion that I had. I have ALWAYS been sensitive and quick to go off – but I’ve also always been quick to calm down {after I’ve stomped my feet and pouted a lot}.

I don’t understand why people say that: you’d be a better parent if you had waited until your 30s. Women in their 30s make great moms. Do you agree with that? Mothers in your 30s, do YOU agree with that? I’m curious. I really do want to know if being 30 instantly makes you “SuperMom” just like that person said. I’m not saying that women in their 30s aren’t great moms, but why is 30 so different from 20?

Personally, I think at any age, we will make mistakes; both as parents and as people. I don’t think hitting the golden age of 30 will suddenly cure any bad decisions or fleeting moments of no patience. I honestly couldn’t tell you when the “right age” to become a parent is because I don’t think it matters.

I think that if you love your children, you’re doing a great job. If you feed them, clothe them, educate them and help them grow – you’re doing a good job. If you make them feel cherished and loved and safe, you’re doing a great job – regardless of age.

Young motherhood – young parenthood for that matter – gets such a shit review from the very small percentage of moms & dads who shrug off their responsibilities {much like that of Jenelle from Teen Mom 2} in order to “enjoy being a teen”. But what we don’t often hear about are the “older” mothers who do the exact same thing. That’s kind of a taboo subject though, in a way. The media is quick to portray young mothers as irresponsible, yet the mother who is in her 30s and displays the same behavior as those few young moms like Jenelle never gets any notice.

Why can’t it just be said that some women are irresponsible? Some women don’t make good parents? Not everyone makes a good mom. Not everyone is up to the 24/7 job of parenting. Not all those mothers are young moms though.

It sort of gets my hackles up when someone makes a comment about young mothers and then remembers that I am a young mother and says “well I didn’t mean ALL young mothers”, as if that makes it any less hurtful on this young mother. Its a generalization, a stereotype. Its like saying something completely racist and then following it up with “but not ALL of them”. It’s really just not cool on so many levels.

I’m really tired of being told that if I had waited until I was 30, I wouldn’t be this emotional or whatever other not so great personality trait. This is my personality, its here to stay – regardless of whether or not I’m 21 or 30. I’m also tired of hearing that my marriage is going to fail because “we’re young”.

Age doesn’t have all the answers.

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “Young Motherhood vs. Not So Young Motherhood?

  1. Personally “waiting until your 30” i agree is a load of crap. I completely agree. Having a baby at 16-20 or higher, maybe your not “mentally ready” or “financially” set for a baby, but truthfully, no matter what age, I think that your not prepared for a baby, because what you think will happen will and more. If that makes any sense?

    I keep saying I should have waited until I was emotionally better and could handle D better then I do sometimes, but really? I was like this when I was 16 and I am still like this (emotional and wear my heart on my sleeve, take everything personal and like it’s the big picture) and I am almost 22.

    Jess, you couldn’t have said it better!
    Great post. πŸ™‚

    • I definitely don’t think you are EVER ready for a baby, not fully. Even having a second {or third! or fourth!} baby is completely different. It never is what you expect.

      Financially ready is something I believe in, but you can always MAKE yourself financially ready. When we found out we were pregnant, we didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Now? We’re doing pretty damn well for ourselves – not to toot my own horn.

      And I’m the same way, we’re just over-emotional over-sensitive people haha.

      Thanks love ❀

      • Hm, well I was totally and completely ready to have a baby when I did. Just saying it is possible to get to that point. Like you, I’m very much into planning. By the time I was 30 I’d had a very successful career for 8 yrs (it was good but I knew I wanted to be a sahm one day.) I had partied a lot, travelled, been married a couple times — #2 was Mr. Right. I did a tonne of research on pregnancy and parenting, and I still study parenting actually. Anyway, yeah, some people are very ready when their first comes.

        That said, I know of partying moms in their 30s, who will never have enough of the single, swingin’ life. I think, with age, there is a greater liklihood of being more prepared and more mature, but it certainly is not a guarantee. I know I personally would not have done this well if I had a baby 10 yrs ago.

      • Well, I meant that you can TRY to prepare but the reality of it is always different…like you can’t really ever truly prepare for the emotions of it.

        Everyone’s different, I guess? πŸ™‚

  2. Like Shutter Girl, you’re never ready for a baby.
    I got pregnant right before I turned 21 (like 3 months before) with my first, and halfway to 23 with my second. I’ll say the 23 one was easier but that was ALSO because … um, second baby.

    Age, IMO, doesn’t matter, it all depends on the maturity of the person. You have more maturity than some women I know in their 40s. And that was BEFORE Nolan πŸ™‚

    • Definitely! I only have one now, so I can’t exactly be an expert on “baby #2” but I imagine it will be exactly like Nolan: TOTALLY not what I expect. I’ll know what to do as far as changing, feedings, sleeping etc looks like but I can’t even fathom the emotions etc I will feel.

      Age definitely doesn’t matter – it IS all about maturity! And thank you very much hehe ❀

  3. I am less patient overall than I am when I was younger, for what that’s worth.

  4. i am so glad you wrote about this…

    is anyone ever READY to become a parent? no matter how much you plan, or want, or expect things to happen a certain way, they never will. whether you have kids when you’re twenty, or you have ’em when you’re thirty… it’s new and exciting and scary and hard and painful and eye-opening regardless. just because you are in your thirties doesn’t mean you aut0matically have more money, or patience, or life experience. i’ve had parents, teachers, mentors, bosses, friends, tell me that i have more life experience than most people will ever know in their life-time. age doesn’t mean shit- what matters is that you own up to your responsibilities, and you do your job not only as a parent, but as a decent human being.

    you and matt have a more stable, responsible, and loving life than most of the people i’ve met in my twenty-some years of being on this earth. do you know why i like you so much as a person, and as a friend? because i respect you. i respect every decision you’ve made because you make it with your family’s best interest at heart. you ponder the consequences and the outcome of everything in order to give nolan (and your relationship with matt) a promising future.

    you and matt have more love and support in your marriage than most of the married couples i know who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s… to say that your marriage will fail because someone else’s has, or because you’re “too young”, or because you don’t “know what you want yet”, is complete bullshit. you know yourself better than anyone, and you understand your relationship with matt more than someone from the outside ever could- so who are they to judge what kind of relationship you have and whether it will fail, or not?

    can you tell i’m a little riled up? i guess i was struck with grief by a situation when i was only seventeen- and even at seventeen… regardless of the abuse and the pain and the drinking and the lifestyle and awful position i was put in, i was brave and smart enough to make the RIGHT decision based on my situation and what would be best for everyone in the end. was it hard? yes. do i still think about it? every single day. but to say that EVERYONE is too immature in their twenties to make smart decisions is absolute bullshit. nolan was born into a family with not one, but TWO parents who not only love him, but love each other. matt works hard and long hours to make sure you guys can live in a safe, and happy house… and you put all of your effort into making that house a home. you both make sure there is stability, always… and that’s admirable.

    i’m rambling, but this subject always gets a rise out of me… who’s to say i’m too young to be a mother, or a wife, or hold a steady job and make an outstanding income, given my past or my background. who’s to say i’m not responsible enough, or smart enough, or able.

    you and matt are living proof that young married couples, and young parents CAN and DO make it work.

    punch that dillwad in the face for me, thanks.

    love you.

    xx

    – e

    • I love your blog-post-comments ❀ hehe.

      And you absolutely made my day with those comments about Matt & I. you're right; we definitely AREN'T going to let someone tell us that our marriage will fail for [insert lame ass stupid reason here].

      I admire you so much for the choices you’ve made.

      xoxo
      ❀

  5. I’m with ya. I got pregnant at 22 and had my son at 23. He’s two now.

    I make mistakes and every day I learn something new, but I love my child with everything I have and I have never loved a ‘responsibility’ so much. THAT is what makes me a good mom. And that’s something that I think I would have had in me at 22 or 32.

    I do think that there’s a big difference (generally speaking) between teen moms and young moms. I finished high school in three years. And I went away to college and finished in three years. So I had “it all out of my system” by the time I got pregnant.

    • Yes there is, but the “young moms” {our age group} get lumped up with the teen moms. I got pregnant when I was 19 and had him two months before I turned 20, so I’m at the tale end of that LOL.

      I also had it “all out of my system” before I got pregnant. πŸ˜‰

  6. agreed with everyone here, lol, i can’t really add anything else. i’ve gotten only some of what you have. more on the marriage end of things. you and matt are awesome!! you have defied the statistics, i will say that! it just shows that attitude and commitment go a long way. πŸ™‚
    ❀

  7. This is a very interesting topic… I’m not a mom, so I can’t really relate, but I sure do understand where you’re coming from. Young moms get a lot of bad press, and most of it is thanks to tv shows like MTV’s. I don’t think anyone ever thinks he/she is fully prepared to be a parent – you might be more financially prepared, or have a more stable career/environment when you’re older, but age alone isn’t going to make you a better parent. It pisses me off to no end seeing people (of any age) not behaving responsibly around their kids. For instance, there’s this show on Spanish tv right now called Rich Women (self explanatory title) and two of the women who are in their 40’s and act even more childish than their teenage daughters. How are they going to teach them if they don’t set an example? Partying every day, even if it’s a school night, etc.
    Anyway. I think the part that’s most annoying is when people generalize – you’re right, it’s a whole lot of prejudice, and it sucks. I’ve had to suffer it a lot when I was younger, and I still do. For instance, if I get good grades it’s because I’m a nerd and don’t go out at all, but if a boy (a year younger than me) gets the same grades I do, he’s just “so smart and intelligent!”. Ugh.
    Also, I’m not married, but living with my boyfriend at such a young age means that I also get comments (mostly from people the same age as me, interestingly) that I’m crazy, or it’s too early, or whatever. We’re very happy though, so that’s that.

    • Also, I’m sure I’m always going to be as impatient and as emotional as I am today – whether I’m 22 or 32, I don’t think it really matters.

    • How are they going to teach them if they don’t set an example?

      EXACTLY!

      Nolan is going to watch us work hard to reach our goals, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing because it will teach him that reaching you goals is extremely possible, even if statistics say its “not”.

      People are ALWAYS so quick to criticize and form opinions. Sigh. But you’re happy, so there’s that!! ❀

  8. I was 24 when I had Dylan. I was patient with him. I had Thomas when I was 30 and I was tired as hell. Whoever told you that is full of crap. You’re a good mom – your age makes no difference.

  9. Kathy

    Ok, I can say that having my first son at 17 I wasn’t ready, but having my second son at 26 I was more ready but that is because I had son #1, so age wasn’t the reason I was more able to handle it. I think if I had, had my first child at 26 I would have been just as ready as I was at 17. I can say though as I have gotten older things (and what people say or try to get me to do) do not bug me as much or make me as upset as it used to.

  10. Kathy

    And I totally agree with Alittlebite that MTV makes young moms seem like basket cases or party animals.

  11. ignotus mulier

    by the time i get around to having kids i will likely be almost 30 and i always thought i would have had kids by the time i was your age or slightly older. sure, some 16 yr olds can’t handle it, but some 26 and 36 yr olds can’t handle it either. i’m not saying getting prego at 16 is ideal, but it doesn’t have to mean you’re a shitty mom. i wish i could have had kids younger because as i get older i may get more mature, but i’m also getting OLD(er). and i’ll have less energy to chase after kidlets. there are benefits for me (and surely some other late starters) for waiting tho; there’s that i’ll hopefully have some savings, maybe a house, perhaps a profession or career waiting for me when i’m ready to go back. so yea, i may be a wee bit envious of you younger moms. and i happen to think you’re all just great.

  12. Couldn’t agree more. Both good mothers and bad mothers come at all ages. Just watch Teen Mom. Haha. I know you will, looking forward to ranting about tonight’s episode with you.

  13. I got pregnant at 18. Not by any random joe, thank god, which is what I feel like happens with a lot of teenagers, but while in-college… working a part-time job at a portrait studio, owning my own car and renting my own apartment, with my fiancee’. And yet… I’m instantly grouped-in with ‘teen moms’ and it frustrates the living hell out of me, because (aside from not finishing college) there wasn’t much about having a baby that hubbs and I weren’t financially, or in my opinon, even emotionally, prepared for. Yet everyone assumes I must have my hands full and be a basketcase… because of my age. I know women in their late-twenties who were living like my husband and I were, and yet the skepticism continues. I’m never anything short of amazed by ignorance.

    I love this post, and I’m adding it to my links page!

  14. I love this post more then I can put into words. Let me start off that I don’t have any children. I was however a Nanny to 2 little girls. When I started the youngest was 1 month and the older child was 5 years old. I stayed with them for 6 years. Since I was with them more then their parents (ages 41 and 45 when I started ) I viewed and treated the children as if they were my own. When I started working there through college when I was 18 years old. I tell you all of that to tell you this. I will never forget the looks I got from “adults” as i cart around 2 child to go grocery shopping or to get them clothes at the mall. I even had women come up to me and say she was “sorry I put myself in such a situation and twice no less”. Seriously??? Who says that to any one! regardless if they aren’t my children I was still majorly offended. The stares were the worst like I had committed some unforgivable since at 18years old. I was not their parent, but what if I was? Would I have been outcast in the upscale neighborhood they lived in. Thier parents were something else. These parents were in their 40’s and openly admit that their kids were “oops” babies as they put it. They hired me so they could live their lives and come and go as they please. It was 9 years ago and I don’t think that I have any more or any less patience then I did at 18. Yes I have a degree and more money in the bank which I sure would relieve some stress from my life, but I don’t think I would be that much different then than I am now had I been 27 when I start watching them (if that makes any sense). Bottom line. If your a good parent your a good parent. If your a bad parent your a bad parent. End of story. age doesn’t necessarily change that all that much.

    • So true! And who, I can’t believe someone came up to you and said that! I get a lot of looks too. Before I got engaged or married, I got even WORSE looks. Now they look at your finger, and if you have a baby or a bump it’s okay if there’s a ring on it because “someone must be taking care of you”.

      SIGH.

      Sometimes, society sucks.

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