Public Parenting

Too Young, Too Dumb…To be a Mum

I wrote this blog post when for the first time in 6 months I was simultaneously baby free and husband free. Hurrah! (Nope turned out to be pretty boring) A was at my mums and the husbun was playing a wedding as part of the function band that he’s in. I’d never been in my house completely alone. A was cooking nicely at when we moved here and my husband only played one or two gigs before he was born but with them I reveled in the chance to get my comfort on as best I could with full scale of our double bed.

That however, looking in A’s room, giving the living room a quick once over and rejig (6 months old = new developmental milestones = shopping for overwhelmingly large items for stimulation = my house now looks like a Mothercare showroom) and crawling into bed gave me some blogspiration. Sadly this is because after all of that, being alone here suddenly made me feel more like a fraud than I already felt and even more so now it’s come to post it.

In the car a few weeks back my husband and I were doing our “Life CV.” Mine read as follows:

26 year old, mother of one (6 months old), in a year and half long marriage, currently studying a Psychology and Child Development degree (on hold for Baby A), working for a company affiliated with Google, with a background in Education, Retail and Hospitality. 

I mean it sounds impressive doesn’t it? That’s where you’d be wrong. Often when out and about with A, apart from the comments touched on before (The Black Woman with the White Baby), as a young-ish first time mum, you tend to find that people doubt your ability. So much so that you begin to doubt yourself. Doctors, nurses, health visitors, sales assistants, random passersby all seem to want to chime in and help the young(ish) new mum.

Far be it from me to knock a bit of good advice, but its the people who think they know better than you, purely because they’re older, that really irritate me. Those who chime in with how 10 years ago there was never a Ewan the Dream Sheep or Tommee Tippee Prep Machine. Teething toys, ergonomic pillows, room thermometers and sleeping bags all seem to be something to be laughed at and if you’re interested, or follow certain guidelines its all because you’re too young to know what you’re talking about.

Upon hearing my actual age, I am often told that I’m just a baby myself and don’t I ever wish that I had lived more of my life first? The fact that I am indeed married seems to be something that is akin to having murdered a small village in Cambodia; shocking and unfathomable. The fact that my rings still don’t fit post pregnancy also leads to raised eyebrows. When you tell people that at 25, you found out you were pregnant (to your then and still husband) that you’d been planning to have a baby is more horrifying than saying that A was an unexpected surprise. I apparently am a “young mum”.

My friends of course see me as a mother as “just another thing that happened” with my nearest and dearest forming his posse of Godparents. Even with that I feel like they know what they’re doing more than me and I won’t lie there are times I question if they even think I know what I’m doing.

Even at A’s nursery, they tell me things sometimes, and all the external doubt has me thinking “shouldn’t you be telling my mum this?” I don’t ask my mum for much in the way of advice for A, being determined to “go it alone” and pave my own way through motherhood. Almost daily I doubt myself.

When is the appropriate time to become a parent? When will I be taken seriously? I look at other mothers who pass me in the street and I just think “Wow, I really hope my level of ‘shit togetherness’ reaches that point” desperately hoping that one day it all clicks and I become this super mum who people aspire to be like.

Not many people had me down as the mum type so it’s possible I’m questioning if I live up to their expectations. I tell myself all the time that as long as A is happy, fed, clothed and healthy, as long as I’m providing for him, then surely I’ve got it. So why is it so hard to believe that as the truth? 

I want other children. Badly. So much so that I’d pop a couple out now if I so selfishly didn’t want to have to share myself with anyone but A. I just want him to myself for now, I want to give him everything I can and let him experience everything without hinderance from any external factors (whether this is a sibling or not). Maybe the day I have another and my world doesn’t fall apart I’ll feel like I’ve made it. It doesn’t help when other people are so surprised you’ve created some womb fruit (and that they’re still alive).

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