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Young Moms Resent Being Judged

Young Moms Resent Being Judged

Spend some time on the Circle of Moms threads popular with younger moms and you'll quickly surmise they are beyond the proverbial "sick and tired" of being judged for their youth.

As Zarabeth counters, "My 11-month old is my priority. She is very content. Everyone says so. She is always smiling and talking. I am not the only one I know, but I think a lot of us 'young parents' do a damn sight better job then some 'older parents' have ever done. So stop judging us."

Well said.

I am one of those "older parents"—well, er, I don't feel that much older, but I at 43, I am. I was 29 when my son was born. Even then I was told—and still am told today—that I don't look my age. (Yeah!) This situation took an especially interesting turn when my stepkids Josh and Denise (now ages 25 and 22) were younger. Those who did not know our family story would ask just exactly how old I was when Josh was born. I'd tell them I was a junior in high school, which was true. You should have seen the looks. I actually got a real kick out of it. So I can empathize just a bit with these "younger" moms. Some of the stories supporting their complaints show just how catty people can be. Reading some of their posts is just downright heart-breaking.


What kind of insensitive moron says this kind of stuff to a woman juggling kids who is just doing the best she can to care for them? Words such as:

"I had four kids by the age of 23 years old. Complete strangers would go out of their way to tell me I had too many damn kids, and ask me if I had figured out a way to prevent pregnancy yet," posts Christina E.

"One day I was in Wal-Mart with Gracie. Some lady comes up to her and says, 'your sister is so nice for bringing you with her.' I said 'I am her mom.' She went off about me being a young mom," writes Tina S.

And, as Gemma S. shares in the Young Moms Aged 20-30 community, people behave as though young moms have no feelings: "An elderly woman said to the person she was with, 'I bet she doesn't even know who the dad is."

What is it that brings out such uniform disdain? What leads people to rush to judgment rather than encouragement and support?

I wish I had the complete answer. I think some of it is due to the fact that it's easier to find fault and quickly move on than to take the time necessary to offer help.

Three of my 22 year-old stepdaughter's high school friends are now moms. Two are happily married and the other is engaged. It warms my soul to bump into them at the grocery store and snuggle their growing sweeties for a quick baby fix. Each of these "young" moms is doing a spectacular job. Their children are their world.

Isn't that what motherhood should be, no matter what age?

Image Source: iStock

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
AngelaSalciccia AngelaSalciccia 5 years
I had my first child when I was 18. I am now 40 and have two wonderful children. My oldest is turning 21 and my youngest is turning 4. When I was raising my first, I went through all the typical BS you get from the so called "expert" moms. I was a single parent then, and it was hard enough raising a child, working and completing my education. I did not need the unwelcome comments or "advice". I still hear " you're not old enough to have a 21 year old" or "wow, you must have been a baby yourself when you had your first child". It will never go away. That stigmata of being a young parent. Ahh, but then here is what you hear as an older mom. "Aren't you getting a little too old to think about having more children." "Aren't you worried about how old you'll be when she graduates college". " aren't you tired". All I can say is that being a mom does not get easier if you are older. It's not easy when you're younger. A mom is the hardest title you'll ever own. I don;t care if you're 15 or 45, a mother is someone who gives her heart, her time, her patience and her strength to her children. At any age she is always being judged for something. The way she raises her children, the way she looks, the home she keeps. To all the people out there who still feel the need to judge a mother....take a good hard, long look at your own life, where your children are today, and ask yourself....have you made ANY mistakes along the way.
AshleyWilliams63970 AshleyWilliams63970 5 years
Back in the old days they had babies young too! My step grandmother has nothing but bad things to say about me, so I know how it feels. I was 19 when I had my oldest and now I am 25 with 3 kids. I have had the same job for 6 years which I work full time and I go to school part time, and still manage to do anything and everything for all three of my children. I support all three on my own and they don't want for anything. When I was 12 years old my parents would get my nephew all the time and if we went somewhere I got lots of dirty looks.
MeaghanGarlick MeaghanGarlick 6 years
I'm a young mum too (21 wen my daughter was born) n also dress a little alternatively. This article sums up in a nutshell what it's like, but it's far worse if you have tattoo's n piercings. I can walk around pumpkin patch for an hour with $300 in my wallet but because not 1 person even thinks to offer help, I leave n spend it elsewhere! So sick of being singled out n discriminated against not just because of my age but because of my outfit >:/
CoriMiller CoriMiller 6 years
My son will be 2 in June and I am due with my second little one in September. I am 25 but I get told a lot that I look too young to have children. It is sad when people assume. I was 22 and a college grad with a good job when I got married. My husband and I waited until we were married for sex. Our son was a surprise. We'd been married for 8 months and were on bc when we found out we were pregnant. I know a lot of young moms that are as far from promiscuous as you can get. It is just like bottle feeding; breast feeding moms assume you are lazy if you bottle feed. They don't really know if you tried and had complications or anything other than their face assumptions. We are all part of a sisterhood together- we are all moms. Lets get over being petty and grow up!
TracyApplebury TracyApplebury 6 years
Okay ladies, I've been looking at these post for a while, it's a shame that almost all of you have experienced such rude treatment. Now for me a young mother isn't 18, I am in mass, now here going to the clinic or the big hospital a young mother is 12. The fact that pregnant girls are expecting in the 6, 7th and 8th grade is a problem and an issue. The fact that many of you were 16 and up some married some not that people you crossed paths with felt the need to express their opinions on you as if they had the right sucked. I was the old mom to be at 24 sitting in the waiting room with girls 12, 13, 14 some expecting their first, a few expecting their second. Some of the medical staffed had a tone with the young girls that didn't change when it was my turn so I not so politely inform them of my age and that talking to me like that wasn't acceptable. I didn't and still don't have a problem with telling folks to mine their own business. You don't have to scream or cuss but letting someone know that you aren't a child is important.
annemareeprentice annemareeprentice 6 years
what a great topic we should advertise it lol get some awareness out ! that having a baby at a young age is not a crime n dosnt automatically make u a hussy n mean u sleep around i was 22 when i had my first child n apparently that was to young as i do look alot younger than i am.. i remember being niggled at from passing people saying wow look at that kid with a kid ! n yes it does get to u and it does hurt wish people would just mind there own bussiness and be happy that there is new life in the world and if the parent n child look happy respect it ! times have changed deal with it nothing wrong with being a young mum
RachelVallender RachelVallender 6 years
I was 26 when I got pregnant so I was not that young but I am a single mum and my ex never see's my son. And I get judges for that daily. And you know what? They are right! I was a total idiot for getting pregnant with such an idiot. I was a fool who only cared about skiving off work, drinking and having a laugh. But I chose to have my baby- and the day I did that I turned my whole life around- no, it was not easy. And it happened slowly. But now my son is nearly 18 months. He is the brightest and happiest kid at nursery- I holding down part time work and we have our own beautiful flat near my family. I never get to go out- let alone drink and act like an idiot but that does not matter now cause I have my son. However when people judge me I don't get angry- they are absolutely right! I just make the effort to explain if they want to listen and ignore them if they don't. Getting pregnant at a very young age is mostly unplanned and a bit silly- but that does not mean your whole life is destroyed! I am glad I waited till I was older cause I got to have a ball for all my youth but that was my choice. And I sorry to say, there are people having children too young and being bad parents- just like older people can be bad parents. Can't we all just give each other a bit of a break? Noone is perfect. The judged or the judger.
kayleighlewis32053 kayleighlewis32053 6 years
I had my daughter at 16, and by 15(when I found out I was pg) I had my own house and no state and my fiance do everything without help from anyone, no family, no state assistance, nothing. We have dedicated our entire life to our little angel and are so proud to be parents. But so many people still judge us. I went into the dr for stomach pain a mo. After birth, and the nurse asked if I was on birthcontrol, n me and my fiance decided to use other methods,n she went on to say, well you do know your only 16, im surprised you kept your first,i don't know how you will do it if you get pregnant again. I was do offended I asked for a different nurse. And when I was in labor a nurse asked me if I wanted to call the adoptive parents,i said I was keeping my daughter and she just looked at me and said it was good I had my parents to help raise my daughter, when my parents were not even there at the hospital. But I raise my daughter as well or better than older parents and she Is a normal happy child. I work with heer everyday and because of that she is above average in body strength, walking and talking. I could not be happier.
CarolynneHerzog CarolynneHerzog 6 years
Even a mom or two commenting on this article were a little harsh in their wording. I endured some trauma as a child, and was told I would never be able to have children, and after each of my 3 sons, I was told the same. I had my uterus repture while I was pregnant, I am 28 an have been going through perimenapause since I was 21. My oldest son will be 11 this year, my middle son 9, and my youngest is almost 7. From the second I found out I was pregnant in Highschool, I changed by diet, my dreams, and everything I did, I beleived, that was my only chance to ever be a Mom, and I was not going to mess that up, no matter how many people, including my oldest sons father told me I should give him up or have an abortion. I researched parenting classes and took them, and I raised my oldest son, by my self with no assistance from a soul, until I met my husband a year later. Two out of three of my sons are in classes for gifted children- they also have Autism, and I am their biggest advocate.One of them wants to be an Aeronautics Engineer- thats right... a rocket scientist. The other one, he wants to go to Northwestern and get a masters in creative writing. My youngest son is an extremely talented dancer, and wants to be famous one day, he can mimic any dance with only seeing it once, he has a natural free flowing movement in his body like the late Michael Jackson did! My oldest sons Kindergarten teacher- refused to acknowedge me anytime I tried to speak to her, only on days twice a week, when I paid my Mom, to pick him up afterschool, while I worked, did I know what was going on with him. It aggravated me so much that I switched him schools! Now I am 28 and my sons are my everything, its tough work, but I have been with my husband for 10 years, and random strangers, as well any outside people that come around our family tell me what a great job I am doing with my sons, and how much they applaud my patience, and the way I handle my children. - However, I was raised with an absent Father and an inattentive Mother, and was bounced from house to house!! To pre-judge- or to be predjudice of anyone for any reason, regardless of your personal beliefs is nothing other than blatent ignorance (meaning lack of knowledge). Its a waste of energy to cause such negativity and anguish for those who make such judgments and those whom it is directed towards. It is in everyones best interest to have an open mind and an open heart, and see things for what they are and not for what you "expect" them to be.
GayeDurst GayeDurst 6 years
My daughter is a young mom of a six month old. She juggles nursing, pumping, cloth diapers, collage and her relationship just fine thank you. Loves it & wouldn't change it.
LillianMcWatters LillianMcWatters 6 years
I am an adoptive mom of a 12 year old. I am in my mid 30's but I know several moms who had their kids in thier teens that were on both ends of parenting skill. My daughter's mom was 16 and 18 respectively when she had her 2 children and does not have custody or much contact with either of them. My daughter has a friend whose mom was 13 when she had her. She grew up and is a fantastic mom. My sister had her son when she was 18. she is an awesome mom who has had to deal with the difficulties of a special needs child. We shouldn't judge the parenting ability of a person just because she was young when she became a mom. What we as older mom's should do is offer support for those young mom's who are on thier own with noone to be there for them. What if you bumped into that one young mom who needed you at that time and said something judgemental. Do what we teach our children, step back and think before you speak. Your words could be the difference between that young mom asking for the help she needs or suffering in silence. Young mom's don't be afraid to tell someone that they are being rude because sometimes they don't even realise it.
KaylaLaird KaylaLaird 6 years
this is a good article, i had my first baby at 19 and am now pregnant with my second at 23! i have gotten all those comments: "your to young"..."you don't know what you are doing".... "this should be illegal your ruining both your lives..... i've heard it all my daughter starts kindegarten in september and is one of the top kids in her preschool which i put her through.... she is a princess and hit every mile stone before her time is is just an overly happy child!!! I have no issues throwing that into the faces of people who think their opinion is justified!!!!! my kid made me grow up fast, i held a job, supported her 100% on my own, and also put myself through university...... i think we often do a better job then those who criticize us!
wfountain wfountain 6 years
I had two kids by 21. I lived in am area where the average age of a new mom was 30+. The looks I got were unbelievable, but my husband who is six years older then me cruised through with out a second look. I've made it a point to treat every mother with respect regardless of age because we are all in the same boat. Good luck to every mom of every age.
jessicabaze44305 jessicabaze44305 6 years
I was four months pregnant when I graduated from high school. I was told at the age of 16, that I was incapable of becoming pregnant, and boy wAs she a surprise! A year and a half, I became pregnant yet again, while using condoms. Due to cervical cancer, I have been unable to use birth control, and I was on birth control when my first child was conceived (for irregular periods). So along came my beautiful little boy. We bought a big beautiful brick house, and while my fiancé was busy taking over his father's business, I was busy starting my own. As I write this, I am pregnant yet again, and more than happy. My kids are happy, we are happy, and we are finally getting married next week ( I did not want to be one of those girls who got married simply because they were knocked up). I dare any woman to say she is a better mother than I am, or more capable of raising these kids.
My eldest child is 38 and I had him when I was 25 and I had been married for almost 3yrs. I was told I was too young. That was in the early 70's and no-one was having babies that young or getting married. A lot of my friends were travelling the world going on adventures etc. Subsequently when I had my 4th child 14 yrs later and I was 38 people either told me I was too old to have a child or assumed that it was my first "and wasn't I being brave and courageous to have a child that old" or they assumed I had had my career and was now ready to be a mother. When some people found out I had three others then I was given a lecture about over populating the world. Isn't is strange that no matter what you do there is always someone to tell you how to do ur, what you should be doing or not doing. You can't please everyone so as long as you are happy, your children are feed, clothed, have somewhere to live and you are acting responsibly it isn't anyone's business.
HeatherTroain HeatherTroain 6 years
Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I had 3 children by the time I was 24, and my oldest was only 3. I got, and still get, looks and even some criticism by family members. My children are my world! They are teaching me what life is all about. I know many young mothers and my advice is always the same, age doesn't determine how good of a mother someone can be.
AshleyDelaney48365 AshleyDelaney48365 6 years
i am 24 with 2 girls who are 18 months apart. sometimes when we go out people give me looks cause they are so close together but most of the time people love them. its usually the "older" mothers 9in their 30's who are the most judgemental. i just kill them with kindness and smile.
BarbBlenkin BarbBlenkin 6 years
I had my first at 21, and I got some grief for sure. I don't even consider myself a 'young mum'. And when these old people were having kids....weren't they like 16? How is it different for me, who is married happily and building a healthy family, than for someone's grandma who was married to an older man at 17 and pregnant days later? Perhaps they cast their troubles and pains from being young mums themselves onto us...maybe not. Either way, we deserve respect for the tough job we have in front of us.
LisaLeblanc39806 LisaLeblanc39806 6 years
I applaud this article!. Thank you! I am 25 and I have 2 kids. 6 yrs and 4 yrs. My husband is 33. We get married when I was 19 and all his friends warned him that we probably wouldn't last because I was too young and naive. I am happy to report that we will cele rate our 6th anniversary in 3 weeks and are happilly married and a good family environment for our kids. I stay at home and it's hard sometimes but my kids are so well behaved and use perfect manners. I have been judged too 'oh at least you did the right thing and married him' I don't consider it the 'right' thing I wasn't going to turn an accidental preg. Into a divorce we married because we loved eachother. I would also like to add that all the friends who said it wouldn't last are all divorced now. Their age appropriate wives were the partiers not me!
KatjaCaseyMagnus KatjaCaseyMagnus 6 years
This is very interesting to read, who is to say that you are a better mom wheter you are young or old. I am 42 and have a 2 year old and always get the "oh what a cute grandson you have or ahhh you get to spend the day with grandma". No may I add, I do not look old. As a matter of facts most people think I am 35, so I do not understand where the grandma thing comes I am glad I had my son at an older age but do not judge anybody for having kids at a young age, cause like I said there is no wrong or right age, it is when ever you are ready for a child and are able to take care of it.
ShaylaMiles ShaylaMiles 6 years
i know exactally how the judging is and i am even on state help all the looks and everyone saying stuff i was 18 when i got pregnant now my son is 2 and i'm 21 i still get looks and hear stuff being said like the most common "i bet she doesn't know who the father is" someone when i was pregnant in school said i was a whore when i've only been with one person my whole life and even though he and i are no longer together, but i've also heard from some lady saying to her kids that they should never have kids young because then you'll go to hell, i mean seriously?!? she was talking to me all nice then walking away she says that and not to mention those who saying your not doing enough your probaably just sitting on your butt at home not doing anything or trying to find a job... I was always trying to look and apply online when my son took his naps and now finally after 2 years i got a job, but just because i got state help to provide for my son i was lazy a terrible mom and not doing anything... i swear some people just have no feelings at all...
JanicePenning JanicePenning 6 years
I am an "older mom" I had my 1st at age 28. I am currently PG with number 2 at age 31. I am glad I waited. However, my parents had 3 kids before they were 24. I liked having young parents, but I did not want to be one, b/c I was not ready to be married and have the full responsibility of being a mom. I do not judge those of you who choose to be a mom at age 20. Although, I must say the odds are against young families, but as my parents have shown it can work out. They have been married for 34 years and have raised 3 great kids. I must say, their story is not the majority these days. That is b/c people change so much from age 20-25, and marriage and raising a family is not a fairytale. It is a lot of work. I can tell you that I do not support those who get pregnant in high school. I know that sometimes high school pregnancies workout, but most do not and the one that suffers it the baby. High school kids are KIDS, and they do not need to be having children. So if you are a teenage mother, I wish you the best, and hope that you have a great support system b/c your road has just become all the more difficult to navigat.
AlishaParker9725 AlishaParker9725 6 years
I had my first child when I was 19. While I was at work one night a man asked me the sex of my unborn baby. I proceeded to tell him it was a boy. He then asked if my husband was excited that we were having a boy and I told him that his father wasn't around. He then starting screaming and yelling at me that I was going to he'll and so was my unborn son. All I could do was stand there and cry. Then when I was 23 and pregnant with my second child, a good customer of mine noticed I was pregnant and proceeded to tell me I was a fucking idiot and if I wasn't pregnant then he'd beat the shit out of me for being so stupid to get pregnant again. I've had people tell me that I'm a piece of shit and going to be on welfare and all sorts of horrible things. It sickens me to deal with people like this. I know I'm a damn good mother and my children are wonderful kids and will grow up to be amazing adults!!!
KelliGrindstaff KelliGrindstaff 6 years
I have not noticed this where I live, either people don't care or its very normal for "young mom" to be aplenty. I was 21 when I had my first child, 20 years later I had my last child, where I live I find it much harder being and "older mom" than when I was a young one. If I'm out with my children people automatically assume the babies are my oldest daughter's and I'm grandma! I find that just as insulting as you young mothers find your experiences I'm sure
saracochran66020 saracochran66020 6 years
I was a young mom i had my first child at 16 and I heard alot of things .People told me i should give her up and all kinds of mean thing they had no right to say .well now im a mom again i am 35 and i have 5 children 18,16,9 ,and 16 months and now people think my twins are my grandchildern people should just keep there opinons to them selfs because there are good moms and bad moms of all ages .
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