I guess you can call me Benjamin Button. Well OK, I am not exactly getting younger each day, but my face is far younger for my age than what is deemed normal. So I am told. Regularly.
I look a lot younger than I am. What was that? “So what?! You should be glad!”, I hear you say. I am aware that making ladies look younger and other age reducing ideas are a roaring business in this day and age, and the fact that I don’t need them (yet) is despicable to you. But hey, hear me out. The judgement I face regularly isn’t great either.
Yes, I am only 22, married and proud mummy to a one year old baby boy. I understand that is deemed to be a young enough age already, without adding a face that actually looks like it belongs to a 16 (sometimes 14!!) year old!
You see, I was still being offered the child ticket on the Arriva Bus back when I was in England, whilst studying for my degree at university. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my face, body, looks etc, but I don’t appreciate the comments some people spew out.
Having a baby seems to have heightened this “tragic youth tale”, because everyone seems to think that my baby boy is in fact my baby brother. I respond each time with a nervous awkward laugh, but my brain is screaming “Err… WHAT?!” This has been told to me by NUMEROUS people, be it family, friends or the shop assistants who are waving at my baby. Don’t even get me started on the number of people who have gone on to ask me my age to confirm that I am above the legal age to marry! (Side-note: I thought it was rude to ask a lady her age anyway! Oh wait, I am not a lady, I am just a little girl, right?)
The point is, before having Baby Z, it never really bothered me. Child ticket at the bus? Hooray, I only get to pay half price! Heck, I even took it as a compliment, and said a little grateful prayer to God for making me this way. (Don’t worry, I still am grateful to God.)
However, post baby, these comments and questions come with an undertone. An undertone that irritates me very much. The one that questions whether I must be mature enough to handle such a big responsibility. The undertone of mockery at how amateurish I look. The worrying looks of whether I must be able to keep my baby alive and well. “But you look so young!” … “How old are you?!”… “Is he YOUR baby?!” … “Oh, I didn’t even think you would be married!” OK, I get that you are curious, but do you REALLY need to ask that question? As Baby Z gets older, the reactions are coupled with even wider eyes, wider gaping mouths and longer blank stares, as they assess my parenting capability in their little minds.
This is a sad sight to see. Why is it so easy to pass judgement like that? Why must I answer or even tolerate your questions about my looks or age? Why must young parents be made to feel like they can’t handle it. Of course, I did struggle too, and every day with a baby is a learning curve like no other, but that is the same for any first time parent, no matter what their age.
In my head, I look forward to the day that I can be considered a cool young mummy by my son when he reaches his teenage years. I hope that being and looking like a young mum means that I can be more in touch with the next generation, perhaps allowing me to better sympathise with issues that Baby Z will face later on.
I know that the gaping mouth and wide stares will eventually dissapear, but for the time being I will continue to offer them an outwardly awkward laugh, whilst screaming inside my head.
Note: I am not at all being ageist and do not mean to offend older mummies who are ageing gracefully. I am only mortal, and God will surely gift me with wrinkles too. I am simply sharing my perspective and thoughts on what Is an increasing occurrence in my life, which is also beginning to irk me very much.
Have you received any judgmental comments pertaining your looks or age? Is it fair to feel irritated or do you feel it is not worth pondering over? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!