I don’t like the term young Mum. It has a few connotations that are insulting and I’ve heard it used in derogatory ways. ‘Oh another young mum’ ‘young mums always take up all the room on the bus’ ‘young mums shouldn’t be having babies in the first place’ ‘young mums are always on benefits’.
The latter implies that only ‘young’ mums claim benefits and that they are neither deserving nor entitled to them.
I personally am not on benefits and have not been previously. I’ve managed to balance working and being a mum with relative ease. Benefits are there for those who need them and I haven’t needed them.
But I have encountered a lot of people who have assumed that I don’t work and claim benefits. Sure start vouchers are vouchers available for those on benefits to buy fresh fruit and milk and formula for their little ones (if you are reading this in the UK and think you qualify for them and don’t get them then definitely have a look at applying for them.) Today I went to my local supermarket and was informed at the checkout that they could accept my milk vouchers. This was surprising to me as I hadn’t asked and I hadn’t handed over any vouchers. When I told the lady that I didn’t get them she looked equally surprised.
Now I know she meant well and was very polite but if I was older would she have made the same assumption?
I’ve encountered similar assumptions elsewhere. When I’ve taken Amelia to the Doctors quite often my age is brought up. Being a parent is a learning curve the first time round whether you are 16 or 32. Yes the 32 year old may have more life experience but that doesn’t mean they will be a better parent or find it easier. The 16 year old may have been looking after young siblings, the 32 year old may never have held a new born.
If you’ve had any experiences you’d like to share then please comment below or send me a message on my ‘contact us’ page.
Here is a picture of Amelia eyeing up the other little ones when we did the food shop this morning.