But it also comes with a wealth of judgement and whispers. You get people come up to you on the street, ask you questions and be negative about your situation.
Unless you know that young person you have no right to make those judgements. So here are 10 things to not say to a young parent.
1: “What a waste of your future, didn’t you want to travel/get an education/get a good job?” Oh how fickle people are. Having a child does not waste your future. It simply changes the course slightly. Having a child young doesn’t mean someone can’t travel, get an education and a good job. Many young mums are teachers, business women and even politicians! Some even have degrees!
2: “Did you do it for the council house and benefits dear?” Wow, yes. I definitely chose to bring a child into the world so I could secure a house and benefits on the state. Umm if you didn’t realise we are in a housing crisis! Less than 1% of council homes are occupied by parents under the age of 25! I definitely was expecting a council house with those statistics.
3: “Is the father still around?” I mean that’s not something that is said to a 30 year old mum so why does it get said to a young parent? So what if one parent is or isn’t involved? Yes there is a lot of single parent households. Not all of them are young parents though.
4: “But you look so young, you’re only a child yourself!” I think my reproductive system says otherwise. I’m old enough to get married, vote, drive a car, live alone, have a job. I’m pretty sure I’m old enough to have a child.
5: “You don’t do it like that, you should really do it like this” When it comes to parenting everyone does it differently. As long as you are not hurting or putting your child at risk then you should be left alone! WE DONT ALL PARENT THE SAME.
6: “I bet you leave your child and go out each weekend” First of all, what a parent does in their spare time is none of your business. If they want to go out, then as long as their child is being cared for and they have some spare money then why shouldn’t they! I know personally I’ve not been out for so long I can barely even remember it. But I do enjoy a good glass of wine and a movie.
7: “Didn’t she know about contraception” This is a touchy subject for me. I was on contraception when I got pregnant. Many girls and women are. The one thing that needs to be noted is education. Sexual health and awareness education is so low for young people that it’s barely non existent. I didn’t know about contraception, stis, implications of pregnancy. I didn’t even know wheat to do when I found out I was pregnant. What these girls need is an education. Not a lecture.
8: “Why don’t you get a job instead of rinsing the benefits system” In a world where it’s hard to get a job for a graduate, it’s even harder for a young parent. With rising childcare costs, lack of support and minimum wage not being a living wage, it’s easy to see how a mum can get lost and not know where to start. A support system for young parents, from education through to the workplace needs to be there in some capacity. They need help as much as the others wanting a job.
9: “You look young enough to be her brother/sister” I’m going to take that as a compliment even though you meant it as an insult. If I can still look young with these eye bags and this saggy body then I must be doing something right honey?
10: “You’re doing so much better than the other young mums, at least you are doing something with your life” See there is my problem. All young mums are doing something with their life. Whether that be working, studying or something else. They are still doing something. They are raising children! That is a bloody hard job and that needs to be applauded too. So if you’re going to give me a pat on the back can you give a pat to all the young parents?