Monday, 5 March 2012

Keeping up with the Jones': Then and Now (Part i)

I remember when I was pregnant, I asked my midwife if there was a 'young mum's antenatal group' that I could join. I just really didn't want to sit with what I then called 'a bunch of 30-somethings' talking about how disastrous it would be if the extension/kitchen/landscape garden wasn't complete before the baby came...! I was too busy thinking 'is it possible for me to finish my PhD in 2 years before the baby comes, nope.... hmmm maybe I should just quit?!'... I had my own 'disastrous' consequences to avoid... plus, I didn't want them to judge me for being what I thought was a 'young mum'.

The midwife just laughed (how rude, right!) and said 'you're not a young mum, I have 12 year olds coming in here! You'll be fine. The young mum's group is for 12-19 year olds'

Yikes, that was a reality check!

So I wasn't young enough to be a 'young mum' and I wasn't old enough to be an average aged mum... so what exactly was I? An anti-statistic?

I knew - I was betwixt and between. I soon realised that for as long as I was going to be a mother, I was going to be in the same situation...somewhere in the middle...and I knew I had to have new Mum pals for support. I'm all about the network. So, shortly after Little Miss O came along (then still a mere aged 23), I decided which camp I would rather align myself with. I realised that although I didn't have the financial stability that usually came with those additional years, I did have more in common with the 'bunch of 30-somethings' than I did with the 12-19 year olds, yet, I was still a student, with a boyfriend (not husband) and I definitely wasn't 'settled'...

The pregnancy was a complete surprise - as it turned out, it she was a good one!

With disclaimers out of the way (I love my child etc and wouldn't change things etc), and in the brutally honest style that I prefer to write in, I can still say that I think things would have been easier if we were 'all set up' before getting married and setting up family. It's unusual for someone with a high level of education to be pregnant at age 22...and probably for good reason...

[That said, I know a lot of 30-somethings who are finding their own issues in child-rearing. There just is no perfect time!]

I only know one situation in and out and that's our own. It has been hard at fact, more than half of the time. We've had to set up home(s!) whilst completing our studies, whilst learning how to be half-decent spouses and whilst learning how to be half-decent parents. Given all of this, I don't think we're doing a bad job - but then I am biased...

It's only recently that we can relax a little (a little!) and my 'original' friends are starting to 'settle down', get married and a few are having kids too (Welcome baby TJ - not even 1 day old and already loved SO much!!!!). I call them the originals because they're the ones who I have a history with, even though our lives have moved at different paces and in different directions now. Amongst my 'newer' Mum circle, I'm considered somewhat of a 'veteran' now, they just say things like 'thanks so much for giving baby X this toy/outfit/whatever', 'it must have been so hard for you' and 'wow - I can't believe you did all of this with all the other stuff going on'...

Aside from wishing Little Miss O could have gotten a few hand-me downs (kids can be ££££ when you don't want them to want for anything), I feel quite proud of us really - a lot of people would have cracked under the pressure (God knows we nearly did!)...

In terms of keeping up with the Jones' I can't say I ever tried. It always seemed like a losing battle. But if someone were to do a quick poll to see whose kids are most happy, generally healthy (after all they all get an ear infection at some point!), balanced, grounded, growing and developing, polite and confident - Little Miss O would win hands down...

Fine, I'm biased, but I have every right to be - and for that we give ourselves a HUGE pat on the back....

Next up is Part ii of 'Keeping up with the Jones': Then and Now'


  1. Nice post. You guys look so young in that pic (loving Miss O's face!). It must be nice to look back and see how far you have come!

  2. Wow, we have a similar story. I was a third year Chemical Engineering going on to my senior year when I got pregnant with my daughter. I was sad and cried for days. It was not what we planned or wanted but luckily my boyfriend at the time who is now my husband is an amazing man and we got married before our baby was born. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. It made me a better person and for that I am grateful.

    On a side note, I just replied to your comment on my "about+contact" page. Please forgive my oversight. Hope you are having a blessed week. The pics of you and your family looks great!

  3. I can so relate. I had my first baby 18 days before my 23rd birthday. I wasn't married and was working on going back to get my Master's degree. I felt like I was doing things backwards and realized that I had more in common with the older moms than the younger moms. Plus, my husband (then boyfriend)is older than me.

    When you're young with kids and trying to finish school and establish a career, it's hard and almost impossible to keep up with the Joneses. I think that you start to realize the more important aspects of life are not about what you have or don't have.

  4. @Chichi - I know right?! Same hairstyle though : )

    @Blessing - Chem eng! ouch! But look how well it turned out. We need to mail!

    @ YUMMommy - we were exactly the same age. The pic above is taken just a few weeks after my 23rd birthday! You are so right, there are so many more important things...

  5. sharing this on my twitter, hope u dont mind x and would really love a chat with you blogger if u could maybe add me on fb or something x cheers (good blogging)


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