I'm writing this in response to a previous article on the benefits of being an older mum to highlight the differences and similarities between older and younger mums. We both face a certain type of stigma for many different reasons, but the fact remains that there is no right age to become a parent. It is up to the individual. Younger mums are accused of being lazy, selfish and having made a terrible life ending mistake, and older mums are equally accused of being career focused and selfish also but for different reasons. We have to acknowledge that the beauty of parenting is that no matter how young/old you are, having a child is a great leveller and age does not stop you from experiencing the sleepless nights, feeding problems, anxieties about beginning a journey into a whole new era of your life. The benefits of being an older mother are absolutely true, there is so much to be said about having a secure financial situation, of having more life experience and wisdom to pass on to your children, but being a young mother (and dare I say it Teen Mum!) Is just as rewarding, and just as wonderful an experience and there are many advantages to starting a family young.
1. Unique sense of purpose
Having a child young creates a unique sense of purpose, we have so much to overcome, and quite frankly the odds are stacked against us and in response, this creates quite a fierce. You become and adult and a mother at the same time, and with children comes that huge reassessment of your life goals, and with that, you gain more perspective and you can base your future upon what you really want to do. It's easier to follow your heart when you're encouraging a small person to exactly that! There is nothing more driving than the need to provide for your child and to set a good example for their future. You tend to look introspectively as a mother, you reassess who you are and who you want to be for your child and this can help get you to where you want to be despite all the challenges you are already facing
2. Low Expectations
Having a baby young comes with serious negative constructs surrounding what is expected of our future. Your teen mum comes with Vicky Pollard-esque imagery, we are lazy, benefit scroungers, whose sole purpose is simply to reproduce and live off the state, our aspirations are limited to the confines our of our state-funded social housing and we have no potential, that was laid to rest the moment we made the decision to reproduce before we had contributed our 'fair share' of taxes. Well on the brighter side of this is the alternative version where a Teen mum manages to break this cycle and say get a job, a degree, or a mortgage you have already managed to go above and beyond what is expected of you!
3. Learn adaptability
As a young parent you learn a significant amount of adaptability, we have no high-pressure career or the freedom of which to compare being a mother too, as it's all we've ever known often it's not as difficult to adjust, our expectations are possibly more realistic as opposed to idealistic, because all we've heard from everyone is how much of a mistake you're making and just how hard raising a child is. We haven't had years of disposable income so the things we lose out on are more trivial things like university halls, 3-day sesh's and week-long hangovers
4. Younger grandparents
Having children young generally means that your child will have the opportunity to create a close relationship with their grandparents, it is true that younger parents often require a greater amount of advice from their parents as we lack the life experience we do, but that does not mean that your child will ultimately gain from 4 more people who will give them complete unconditional positive regard.
5. Growing up closer (in age) to your child
Having a child young does not mean that your own life ends, in fact, your life and their life is just beginning! You hold the key to yours and your child's future and it can be successful, but it is difficult, you have no stability, very little financial backing and from your peers you often have what feels like a vote of no confidence in you, but you have to rise above it, and with a little faith in yourself you and your child can grow, learn, explore and experience all that life has to offer together.