Being a ‘young parent’ – The good, the bad and the ugly

I was 24 when Luisa was born, I definitely considered myself to be a young parent. I felt a bit awkward having a baby in my early 20s as I was hardly a ‘teen mum’ but I was a good 10 years younger than the majority of people in my antenatal & (later) mums & tots groups.

In the UK the current average age to have your first child is 30.2 and climbing. In fact a newborn baby is 4x more likely to have a mum who’s over 40 than one in their teens. In my experience I was too old to be cut a break or given the benefit of the doubt but too young to be taken seriously by or ‘fit in’ with the other mums to be I encountered.

Now that I’ve been at this parenting malarkey for a year I really don’t care about any of that in the slightest. I don’t envy those who had their baby at a more, or less, appropriate time, In fact I don’t think there even is a ‘right time’. 

young-parent-good-bad-ugly I was 24 when Luisa was born, I definitely considered myself to be a young parent. I felt a bit awkward having a baby in my early 20s as I was hardly a 'teen mum' but I was a good 10 years younger than the majority of people in my antenatal & (later) mums & tots groups. In the UK the current average age to have your first child is 30.2 and climbing. In fact a newborn baby is 4x more likely to have a mum who's over 40 than one in their teens. In my experience I was too old to be cut a break or given the benefit of the doubt but too young to be taken seriously by or 'fit in' with the other mums to be I encountered.

5 Perks of Being a Young Parent

  1. Luisa has four wonderful grandparents who are still young enough (just about haha) to run, wrestle and jump with her. They help us out massively by entertaining her when we need a break & it’s amazing to see her relationship with them. She adores all her grandparents and I’m excited to see those relationships get even stronger and sweeter as she grows.
  2. Because she’s the first baby in the family Luisa is a real novelty. She is doted on by all of our siblings and I love the fact that they all have so much time for the littlest family member.
  3. When I had Luisa my career was far from established. Rather than interrupt it she has, in fact, created a whole new one for me. If I hadn’t had Luisa in my 20s whilst working part time doing admin for a publishing company I would never have had the time to start a pregnancy blog. I’d never have made all these brilliant online friends and I certainly wouldn’t be forging a career as a social media manager. Having a baby in my early 20s turned out to be an inspiration and springboard for my career not a wall I needed to climb over.
  4. I didn’t have to make big changes to my lifestyle or finances. We never had any real money or savings to start with. I don’t drive and don’t have a mortgage or a loan. Without those big financial responsibilities I found it pretty easy to save the money I used to spend on crap for baby. I guess because I never had a lot of spare cash I was used to saving up for things so it hasn’t been a big adjustment.
  5. When Luisa starts university I’ll be 43, so even if we have a few other kids we should have an empty nest before we’re 50. This means Matt and I can sell up, buy a camper van and go explore the world before we need a hip replacement.

 

 

3 Challenges for Young Parents

  1. Isolation. I’m sure this is an issue for many pregnant/new mums regardless of age but I felt like as a ‘young parent’ I didn’t fit in with the rest of the mommy set at some of the groups I went to. They we’re mostly lovely but at 8-12 years older than me they had different interests and not a lot of time for me.
  2. Your 20s is an odd stage, you could be at university, in a graduate job or off travelling. When I look around at my peers sometimes it seems like they are living them dream. They don’t have a lot of responsibilities and can be more spontaneous.
  3. It’s harder to have a social life as you need to be organised with a babysitter and things come up last minute like illness. That being said I feel like this is kind of a good thing as in my case having Luisa to consider has made me a) more organised in general and b) value my time more as a moment to relax or time away from her is rare.

 

young-parent Luisa & I

 

I absolutely love being a young parent to Luisa and from what I’ve heard the perks just keep increasing, Emma from Emma & Three was telling me how later this year she’s heading off on a holiday to Kos with her teenage daughter. Emma was 23 when she had her baby and loves the strong bond they have and that she can relate to her as a teenager. They love to go shopping together and have a great relationship. I’m really looking forward to having those experiences with Lu when she’s older although I’m under no illusion that i’ll still be her embarrassing Mum sometimes!

 

Amber of Goblin Child has beautiful twin boys and twin girls on the way. “We had our first set of twins at 25, in an area where the average first-time mother is in her late thirties. Con: everyone always assumes that my other half is the nanny! Pro: IVF worked really bloody well (twin pregnancies twice over, no failed cycles) and I’m reasonably convinced it’s because we started young.”

 

Lucy of Hello Beautiful Bear says that having her baby at 23 meant she had a few years of flying her kite and was ready to settle down when Lily came along. Her biggest struggle with being a young parent is that she’s had some negative reactions from people who perceive her to be reckless or incompetent due to her age. More fool them! If you know Lucy you’ll agree with me that she’s an outstanding Mum.

 

Amie from Finding our Feet had similar problems to me when it came to fitting in at Mums & Tots groups as a young parent. “When people ignore you at the coffee mornings because you’re the ‘young mum’ and they assume therefore you’re not interesting, educated or worth chatting to.” 

She also raised a really interesting point RE career, “It’s hard being the junior in the office and not being able to put the time in like the other juniors because you have other pressures on your time other than just yourself and your career. On the other hand you have a hell of a lot more motivation than the other juniors in the office!”

 


What age were you when you had your first baby? Do you think that there’s a ‘right time’ broadly speaking or is it very much a personal thing? I think it goes without saying I wouldn’t change how or when I had Luisa for the world. She’s changed my life in almost every possible way and I’m proud to be a young (ish) parent.

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12 Comments

  1. 5th May 2016 / 11:56 am

    I feel exactly the same, I had my eldest when I was 23 and youngest at 25. I don’t consider myself a ‘young’ mum but I’m always the youngest at baby groups. I personally love being a ‘younger’ mum and I completely agree with all the perks you mentioned but I do equally agree with the challenges too. It’s good to hear the same views from another twenty something Mummy ? Xx

  2. 5th May 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Love this!! I was 19 when I had Bella and already married! Eeeeek. I used to get a lot of attention and I avoided baby groups etc for this reason. My husband and I have always been mature beyond our years and been together since we were 13 so it was a natural progression for us to get married and start a family. I, like you, don’t care what others think now. The pros to being a young Mama definitely out weigh the cons!! xo
    Harriet @LifeWithMrsLee recently posted…Me & Mine {April 2016}My Profile

  3. Nat Halfpenny
    5th May 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Great post!
    I was 21 when I had my twins and I’m super happy they came along when they did. If my youngest lives at home until he is 20 I’ll only be 45 then, thats when I’ll go wild! Plus I’m much more fun that my kids friends Mums so I’m their hero!

  4. 5th May 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the feature ma dear! Unfortunately, I’ve already submitted this month’s Under 30s Round-up but will definitely keep this one in mind for next month! Great post – really hits the nail on the head.

  5. 5th May 2016 / 9:24 pm

    I loved this post as your pros were exactly the things that I have experienced. My chloe was the first grandchild on both sides and the fact she was a girl was the icing for my inlaws after having three boys themselves! Being chloes mum made me more ambitious and I qualified as a teacher after having her. I was also the first of my friends, my old best friend has just had her first at 38 and yet here I am with a 16 yr old!!

  6. 5th May 2016 / 9:45 pm

    Love this! I was 21 when I had George and I always felt like a bit of a ‘tween’ around other mum’s at baby groups – too old for the ‘young mums’ but too young for everyone else. Its comforting to see there’s other 20-something year old mum’s out there who feel the same – it isn’t just that the other mum’s don’t like me after all! X

  7. 8th May 2016 / 2:50 pm

    I don’t think there’s one blanket right time, I think it’s a personal choice. When the time is right for you can be so different to when the time is right for the next person. I believe that children need love and time (and all the practical things too of course) and age doesn’t determine whether or not you are able to give those things. It’s just a number!
    Debbie
    Random Musings recently posted…Geek Girl 5: Head Over Heels By Holly Smale – Book ReviewMy Profile

  8. 10th May 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Thanks! Thanks a bunch! I feel proper old 😉

    We did all our travelling in the 8 years before he came along, and as we only met when we were 30 & 34, the last thing we wanted was a child. We wanted to set up home, travel, move home, travel, work a bit, travel and finally travel some more. Some places we’ve been to we would never do at a later age (Antarctica) because the cold would simply kill the bones!

    The whole “being left out” is the same no matter what age. Jane is feeling the same sometimes when trying new groups, mainly because you get groups of NCT peeps going and it’s hard to crack their shells to be let in to their “clique”.

    The only thing I worry about by being an older day is picking little G-Man up from school and someone saying “Awww your first grandchild?”.

    As said in a previous comment, there are pro’s and con’s for both.
    Chris recently posted…Worlds Most Expensive Car Seat at £10,605My Profile

    • 12th May 2016 / 1:55 am

      Ah no! Sorry! haha. I totally agree with you though, lots of the challenges I mentioned can apply at any age or stage. Esp agree with Janes experience of the NCT crew! Yikes. I suppose they have to get their moneys worth somehow, maybe forming a cult is their answer.

  9. Sarah
    11th May 2016 / 4:31 pm

    I love this post new parent myself and I can totally relate? I was 26 when I had my wee one now 27 and defently understand all the pros and cons although love being a parent at this age and can’t imagine it any other way now ?

    • 12th May 2016 / 1:56 am

      It’s the best isn’t it 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post!! Thanks loads for leaving me a comment 🙂 xx

  10. 8th April 2017 / 1:17 pm

    I love this Hannah! I was 22 when I had Harrison, but I look younger, I act younger and I still feel like a teenager. Baby groups are terrifying, and I can definitely relate when you say that everyone around seems to be living the dream. My year group generally finished university last year, and everyone seems to be in Australia, or Thailand, or starting their careers – yet I’m sat on the couch with this new little baby that no one else seems to be close to having. Like you said though, the positives are there, and they will outweigh the negatives in a few years time. I’m just so bloody happy it gives me an excuse not to have to spend my Friday and Saturday nights in the clubs my friends still love…

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