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Being a Young Parent

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Finding support and acceptance as a younger mom

Oct 2011

I hope this doesn't sound ridiculous...

But I am 24 and just had my first son. He was an unplanned surprise but wonderful and we love him all the same. However, I feel like in the Bay Area so many people look at me like I had a baby at 16!

I have attended numerous mom's groups and made an effort to reach out to other mother's (most of whom are 8 to 10 years older than me) and I feel like they do not reciprocate, or if they do they treat me like a child.

Yesterday, I went to a new mom's group and a women actually asked me, ''How do you afford to have a child at your age?'' I was shocked! First of all, Both my husband and I have college degrees and have careers. We are financially stable and my son is not suffering because of my age! However, I feel like so many women think that he is and frankly, it makes me feel like an outcast.

So my question is where do I go to find mom's who can be supportive and accepting of me and my child without judgement? I am not a teen mother and although I may be on the younger side I am completely comfortable with my choice to be a mom.

All I want is for other mom's to give me the respect and consideration that they do the other moms because I want my son to be able to play with the neighborhood children when he gets older and not be the ''kid with the young parents''.

Thanks for the advice Young-ish mama Anon


Hang in there, young mom. I also had my first child at 24 (my husband was 12 years older). I looked very young, and in my daughter's co-op preschool, I was tied for youngest parent in 27 families. I mostly got a kick out of being the baby, and now that I've remarried and have a 4-year-old (I'm 45 now) I miss those days! Now I'm the old mom, and frankly, a little envious of the young ones, who have the time to have another child close in age to their first, and who have more of their lives ahead of them.

I suspect some of those moms who are being rude are having similar feelings, but you're going to find people who are jerks regardless of the reason. Just keep searching until you find people you click with. They may or may not be your age; I had plenty of friends who were 8-10 years older than me. I don't have specific ideas for you, other than persistence (co-op preschools can be great ways to meet people, but since you mentioned a career that might not be an option for you).

Now that I'm 45, I still have to work to find other parent-friends. Maybe it's because I'm older than them and they're not interested. being a young mom is great


Hay, wanna hang with me? I was 45 when I had my youngest & people ask if they are my grand kids. I would love to know the cultural everythings etc involved in being a parent all that time! Funny, I thought 24 was when you were ''supposed'' to have kids! Maybe North Berkeley is a younger crowd! We have parks! Come here!
First, I want to say that I completely sympathize. I had my son when I was 25 and I also felt basically like an outcast and a teen mom. I think once someone thought I was the nanny. I joined a mom's group and everyone was 7-10 years older than me and it was very hard to make friends. My son is 8 now and I still have a lot of trouble relating to his friends' parents.

I don't have a lot of good advice about meeting other young moms - I wasn't really able to find them. The local playgrounds can be good (I went to totland recently with a friend and it was nice), I met some nice people through a kid's music class and I also met a lot of nice parents when my son started preschool. I think the key is more than age, finding people who share your values and people you can relate to.

Also even though I wanted to have a baby it took me a while to grow into being a parent and a confident mom. As I became more confident in my abilities as a mom I began to care less about the weird things people said to me, which I realize now were often projections of their own issues about age or just a general lack of tact. It's tough and I feel for you - being a young mom here can be very isolating. Best of luck and I hope you meet some great people! Been there


Oh I'm so sorry! I had my daughter at age 25, and I have never heard comments like that and would have been shocked if I had. I did notice just recently that perhaps I will be the ''young mom'' in certain situations. My daughter is taking swimming lessons, and while the kids are all around her age, the moms are all much older than me. I always wanted to be a young mom, so it doesn't bother me but it surely would bother me to get comments like you have received. I'm sorry I don't have any advice but just wanted to let you know that there are other happy young moms out there!:) Cara
Congratulations on your baby! Just want to offer that it is easy to feel like a younger mom when living in the East Bay. I was 30 when my first child was born and even then I felt and looked young given that there are so many older parents in that part of the world. No judgment on older vs younger parents, just saying that if you leave the East Bay, you'll notice that the parents in most places are a lot younger. It's all a matter of perspective and surroundings! erin
I don't have any very useful advice, but I wanted to reassure you that even though I had my first at 30, I also had a terrible time in moms' groups and wondered why I was having such a hard time connecting with other moms. I have heard the same thing from so many of my friends. Maybe we're just a band of misfits, but I don't think so. I have been a mom for 9 years and now I have a nice group of mom friends and mostly feel comfortable in kid group settings. At least not terribly uncomfortable. I never got the kinds of comments you did (unbelievable!) but heard all kinds of other judgmental and annoying things (some equally unbelievable), as have most moms I think. Maybe it's because becoming a mother is a time of vulnerability and stress and sleep deprivation, so people are less kind than they should be? Who knows!? But don't let it get you down! I'm sure you'll find some awesome mamas out there soon who won't think twice about your age, but I know from experience that it can take quite a bit of time to find a group of moms that you really enjoy being around. -Give it time and try to make like teflon.
I know how you feel! I had my little girl at 24 and my son at 26. They're 3 and 1 1/2 now and I still don't have as many mom friends as I would like. But there is hope! There are folks out there who don't care about age, unfortunately there aren't really meeting for these folks. It just takes time. You'll go to the park and strike up a conversation with someone and things will click and you'll exchange info and hope you get some play dates. It's slow and lonely, but over time it'll get better. Oh, and none of my friends have kids (or are married for that matter) but they come around too. Some of my single friends even offer to watch my kiddos every now and then. Good luck! Rachel
So sorry to hear that people are being so crappy. It figures that in the ''liberal'' Bay Area, people are so judgmental of other people's choices. Those other Mamas are probably just jealous that they didn't have their lives together enough to start their family when they were younger.

I'm curious to know if you are actually in Berkeley proper or in a neighboring city. I ask because, although I am not a younger mom (I am 33), I found that people in Berkeley were a lot harder to connect with than people in neighboring cities. I moved to El Cerrito and am in Moms group here that seems more accepting and although most of us are closer my age, I think you would feel more welcome. Also, there are some women who have much older children so they started their families when they were closer to your age.

Feel free to PM me through the moderator if you want the info on this group. There are people who do not live in El Cerrito. Also, if you ever want to hang with someone who doesn't care how old you are feel free to give me a shout. I'm about to be out of town for an extended time (through the end of the year) but am around after that. Hang in there. Im sure you are a great Mom! A friendly Mama


I wish I had resources for you! I was looking for a Birth to Three group around here for you but can't seem to find one, maybe I'm missing it though. My mother and sister had kids starting at 24/25 and they are great moms, just as you sound like. I'm sorry you've been meeting moms who aren't as supportive. You sound mature and obviously love your son which is what counts most. Good luck and next time someone asks silly questions like that, you should ask them how they afford to have a kid being so old. Maybe they'll see how ridiculous a question it is. Moms rock no matter what age
i loved your post!!! as an older mom (first child at 38), i have to admit, i probably have been guilty of the things you mentioned (though i never would be so presumptuous as to say anything to someone's face.) i don't have specific advice for you about where to find the right people, but i did want to say that most of the older moms you are talking about are really just reflecting on their own immaturity or financial instability when they were your age. i definitely could not have managed having a child at that age because i was a mess back then. so perhaps when you get that judgmental vibe from someone, just try to remember that it's a projection of their own stuff.

i think if you just hold your ground (and by that, i mean, just keep going to those groups and participating in spite of the judgment), you'll find that as other moms get to know you a bit some of them will let go of the assumptions. the ones that don't will get weeded out of your inner circle as time goes on. and when someone says something like ''how do you afford it?'' just be confident and say ''the same way you do- i work.''

thanks for your post. i'll definitely remember it next time i hang out with a younger mom.... maia


Funny how our differences can make us feel bad. I was married at 22 and just yesterday two women told me at the same time, I was way too young to get married. Um, ladies, that's for me to decide. Well, now I'm a new mom too-nine years older than you- and I remember that in my twenties what people said to me really got under my skin. Now, not as much. I just laughed at those women and said to myself - you must not know me very well and why would you say that? I really don't think that those women were trying to hurt you. I know it's not fair to be categorized as a kid at 24, but it happens in other places too (like work). Maybe it really is more common for a lot of moms around here to be a bit older, but not exclusively. Perhaps you can look for a mom or two in your mid-twenties to meet up with if that helps you feel less isolated. Keep going to the mom's group though, they will eventually start to shed their biases. For now, I think you need to start self-validating yourself, not look to them for approval and just focus on being the wonderful mom you are. And when the older ones say something callous, you can just say something like, ''Right! Because I'm so incredibly young and fit, during delivery my baby just shot out of me in about an hour, I have absolutely no stretch marks and bounced back to my original weight in 1 month! And I have soooooooo much time to decide if I want another!''
Honestly I don't even know where to start except to say that I felt like you were writing about me!

My husband and I chose to have our first child when I was in law school at 23. He was 25. We wanted to be young parents and build our careers around the kids, not try to fit kids in later. Now in our late 30s we have a high school student and junior high student and are easily 10-15 years younger than most of their friends parents. I had no mom's group when either was little because I was treated exactly as you describe. In our birthing class for the first child no one spoke to us, we were treated like unwed teen parents. Even now it can be difficult to connect with other families at our children's grade level - most of the people our age have pre-school or kindergarten kids! We do have a lot of friends and I have to say the vast majority are people we have connected with based on our interests, not just through the kids, though there is some overlap. Being a part of other social organizations or even religious communities helps because it provides a broader group of people to draw from.

The fact is that it may well be financially harder to have kids young, but you can always respond with a nice retort like, ''well we all make choices based on what works best for us.'' Or one of my responses was always, ''babies don't really need a lot of fancy stuff.'' Remember also that when these people are sending kids off to college at 60+, you will be in your early 40s! Also - don't let anyone tell you that you don't know what you are doing as a parent because you are too young - you have exactly as much parenting experience as anyone else with a child the same age as yours - you just have less life baggage! Maggie


I was 28 when I had my son and I still feel like the youngest mom I meet, even now at 30. It just seems to be the case that most of the moms in the bay area wait until they are in their mid to late 30s before having kids.

There definitely are younger moms around, they probably just don't say their age to anyone (I think most other moms just think I look good for my age). I don't have any advice, except not to bring up your age, and if asked (I still can't believe people think it's okay to ask anyone their age once you're not a kid.) be vague. Then it's not an issue, or they're the jerk for making it an issue.

I'm sorry you're having a hard time finding your group of moms, but seriously, keep trying! There are accepting and young moms around, you just need to look in different places. I found a great group of moms through my neighborhood listserv, my neighbors happen to have a son the same age as my son, and a bunch of friends of friends have kids the same age. Somehow all of these different people have turned out to be great people to bond with over parenthood. We don't even talk about our ages, but there's a range from 26 to 42.

Also, have you read www.girlsgonechild.net ? She's a blogger who got unexpectedly pregnant at 23 - she now has several more children, but she wrote some great stuff about being a young mom in LA, where most moms were in their late 30s.

Hopefully you can find some mom/parent friends who you can bond with! Good luck! youngish mom


The woman who asked you how you and your husband could afford to have a child at the age of 24, was being rude! Having said that, as an older mom, I think you might be being a little defensive. While 24 is young for first-time moms by Berkeley standards, it is pretty standard for many parts of the country, including some communities in the Bay Area.

Why are you broadcasting your age, anyway? (Not that our ages are anything to be ashamed of, but I don't know the ages of many of my mom friends and acquaintances -- it just doesn't come up in conversation very often.)

I do know that when I meet a young mom, such as yourself, it's ME who feels self-conscious and defensive! I worry that it's youthful, fresh-loooking you that would be judgmental and find me old and out-of-touch and generally too un-hip to be your friend. Maybe some of these older moms feel similarly defensive?

I think you should let this go (minus the rude comments of course) and be open to being friends of new moms of all ages. Older mom who colors her hair!


Dear Young-ish, I experienced the same exact thing when I was your age. I turned 23 right after my first baby was born, and I was 26 when I had my second. I have always looked pretty young. At the time, I was married (to an older man), we had a house, and I was a stay-at-home mom. People would ask me if my daughter was my little sister. I would often hear, ''Wow, I couldn't have had a baby at your age!!'' People would shake their head at me and give me looks like I was a single teenage mom on welfare who didn't know any better. Luckily, I made friends with a wonderful woman who was also having her first baby. She is 14 years older than me and has been my best friend ever since.

Ironically, I turned 40 last year and gave birth to my third baby. Now I'm on the other side of it as an older mom. Most people I interact with are younger than me. Although you would probably rather hang out with moms closer to your age and also first time moms, I would like to ''pay it forward'' and offer my ''new mom'' companionship. What I realized when I read your post is that regardless of age, new moms are on a level playing field. Even though I have older kids, its been 14 years since I had a baby and there's a lot I don't remember. Please contact the moderator for my email if you would like to get together! new old mom


Ignore them. Don't let their attitudes bother you. I am an older mom, had my daughter at almost 37 YO. I see mothers like you every now and then, do a double take and wonder to myself about who these women are ONLY because I'm amazed to see someone so young who is mature enough to start a family--because at your age I acted like a college kid at best, was nowhere near mature or responsible enough to raise a child. To be honest, I'm a little (OK, a lot) jealous of women like you who start their families young, for all sorts of reasons: you have more energy, you can take your time to have additional children without worrying about that unforgiving biological clock, you'll still have many years ahead of you when your child graduates from college, you might get to enjoy grandchildren. I imagine the reactions you're getting are just disguised envy, and if you really are getting judgments, then their opinions aren't worth worrying about anyway (something you learn as you get older).

I want to say also I think you're giving your son a huge gift by having him young. My parents were your age when they had us and it is so nice to still have them be so vital - they have the health and the energy to do all sorts of things including travel and hike with us, help out with my daughter (and my sister's new baby). It's a gift I'm infinitely grateful for, and a child of older parents probably won't get to have this. You have my respect and admiration! late bloomer older mom


I have a group of moms (of all ages) that get together to support one another, walk together or for nights out without the babes. Our babies were born between February and June 2011. If you are interested in getting together, contact me and I'll connect you with the group. Lindie
Hi Young-ish mama,

Congratulations on the birth of your son! I'm sorry to hear that you've had some less than supportive experiences with other moms regarding your age. I'd love to have you attend the new moms' support group that I facilitate at Banana's in Oakland. My next series starts the first Tuesday in November (and runs for three weeks). We meet from 10:30 - noon. Moms of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Please find more information (and to register for the group) on the Bananas website (www.bananasinc.org). You can also get more information about my group and the other services that I offer as a New Parent Coach on my website (www.newparentcoach.com). I hope to meet you and your son soon. Shauna


That sucks. Sounds like they are possibly projecting their issues onto you. Maybe a change of scene is needed or an expansion. I understand both sides. I had my first at 26yo, second 17months later.

I am now 31 with two close groups of friends my age; one WITH, one WITHOUT kids.

WITHOUT are stressing about having only 5 or so years left of ideal baby carrying. We all have degrees, some nurses, one even an OBGYN/L&D Nrs Pract. All raised American, independent, strong-willed, and most are 1st generation (from around the world). We were raised to get an education, career, and somehow figure out a family. In contrast to our parents: my mom was raised to be a mother & a wife. Our parents strove to provide opportunity/choices. But is this better?

WITH are Muslim. Raised American, some 1st generation, all varying ethnicities. We met before our kids existed and there was never a plan although our eldest kids were born the same year, with myself leading the second round. I don't believe either one is BETTER. It is a personal choice. I'm very thankful to have 'gotten my kids out of the way'. I'm not stressing about settling down and producing a kid or two on a deadline. I also knew I didn't want to be an old parent; calculating the oldest I would be comfortable being when my kids are 18-21yo. But that's me. I'm friends with older moms, too, who respect my parenting, regardless of age. Just because one person didn't feel prepared/capable to have a child is no reflection of you!

Should every aspect of your life be "planned". Does it really work out that way? Is a person bad if they didn't share your plan?

Sometimes religious/philosophical/cultural paradigms shape our views to the extreme - when we not only live our lives by them, but judge others against them. If you're having difficulty clicking with your neighborhood, try a different approach. Make a commitment to attend ONE parent & kid interest group meeting/playgroup. A nurturing connection is worth driving to. If age seems to be the great divide in your 'hood, scope out different ethnic/cultural groups at the playground, talk to moms at the supermarket who are under 35-40. There's usually more in common than one would think. I don't get along with everyone, but have found most moms to be happy to interact. Make an effort to connect with moms who are approachable about ANYTHING (don't worry too much about seeming creepy/desperate/neglected). After practicing, you'll be able to radar a possible connection.

What about participating in something social for yourself, where you can build friendships based on YOU? (My whole family benefits from this!) That's potentially kid-friendly, but not kid-oriented? Best of Luck! malama pono na keiki


I know how you feel. My husband and I were 25 when we had our first son (we are now 27 and on baby #2). We both have college degrees (the hubbs is a PhD) but people here tend to think we are SUPER young. I know how frustrating it can be. I wanted to invite you to a moms group we are starting. We are having our first meeting on Tuesday Oct. 25th at 9! It will be held at 1221 Marin in Albany! We have some great women who will be there. If you can't make it to that, feel free to contact me and I would love to hang out sometime! Melany
I want to hug you! I can 150% relate to your post! I got married the summer I turned 23 to my husband, a PhD student at UC Berkeley. We also had an unplanned but very welcome pregnancy quite shortly thereafter. Like you, I was 24 when my son was born. This is actually a very normal age to have a first child in many places in the States. I come from the East Coast where it is very normal- my own mother was married with 2 kids by age 24. When she would visit me and we'd go to baby venues in the bay area she would be astonished by how old all the moms were. She'd say ''oh my gosh that woman is MY age with a baby!'' And I'd be like ''yep... that's Berkeley.'' I too tried some mother's groups but found it impossible to fit in with a bunch of 40 yr old first time moms. We were at different places.. and I hated feeling that they viewed me as some kind of teen mom or something- as if I had been irresponsible. The reality is: I had a baby at the age my body was most capable of supporting a healthy pregnancy and birth. I will not be in a nursing home when my grandchild is born. I will have energy to parent through the years and that's a huge advantage. -I don't have anything against older parents- but it has its negatives, just as younger parenting has its own pros and cons, and I hate this snide attitude from some of the culture of older Bay Area parents.

I felt very isolated as a new mom in Berkeley. Currently I am 26 and mom of two now (second baby was planned). I never did find other moms my age to connect with in the Bay Area, and a month ago my husband finished his PhD and we moved back to the East Coast for a job close to my parents. I have been kind of in shock since arriving- nearly all the moms I meet are my age! I have made several friends already. It's been nice.

I don't know what to advise if you plan to stay in the Bay Area in terms of meeting other moms and playmates for your child. But I can highly recommend an online forum I joined when my son was 6 months old to combat the isolation I felt. While the site is geared at supporting teen moms, there is a strong community of young but NOT teen moms there as well. In fact, most the moms on the site are in their mid 20s. It has been a life saver for me and I made lasting friendships there. The site is http://www.youngmommies.com/ymboards/index.php

Also feel free to request my email from the mods if you'd like to talk. Been there


Ha, did I just go back in time 7 years and wrote your post? My situation was identical to yours in many ways (although it was a deliberate choice for me to have my first kid at 24): college educated, successful career, etc., etc. And yes, all mothers I've met were 8-15 years older than me. As a result, it's always been hard to connect with other parents, be it at a playground or in my kids' schools (I have two now) and I am absolutely certain it's due to the age difference. I remember when I turned 30, some sensitive specimen said as a joke: ''Now you can legally have children''. Obviously, today this continues to be an issue as parents of my son's peers are still 8-15 years older than me and he is still a ''kid with a young mother''. But it's definitely not as bad as it used to be - the diference between 25 and 35 seems to be far greater than the one between 35 and 45. Over the years I've developed a close friendship with one mom (who is 10 years my senior, but neither one of us remembers that), but it takes time. Other than that, I make an effort (which is all I can control in this situation) to maintain superficial friendships with many parents for my son's sake, so he can have playdates with his friends, etc. and I have enough childless friends of my age to fulfill my own needs. Not ideal, but what can you do... Wish my old 24-year-old self could hang out with you
Hi Youngish mom! I'm also young mom (turning 24 next month). I have a one year old daughter and I am also looking for younger mom's to get together with. (I have also felt the judgement about being a ''young'' mom). So maybe we should get together! Good luck! -D
Hello - I am 40 now, 1st kid at 34 and 2nd on the way. I wanted to send you a virutal hug right away when I read your post because I know the kind of insensitivity people can show new moms, especially younger moms.

You have gotten a lot of great responses so far. Most of which were spot on. I agree the negative comments you are getting are from folks projecting their own insecurities.

The only bit of advice I (partially) disagree with is to stick with your moms groups because people will bring their guard down/get to know you better/ etc. They may or may not. Mom's groups come in all flavors and varieties. Run in the opposite direction if it is clear you are not clicking with these mamas. There will be other opportunities and other groups. I was in a new mom's group when my son was just born and I realized the only thing we had in common was our kids were born within a few months of each other. We had extremely varying viewpoints on a whole host of parenting topics. I was really uncomfortable for a while until my mom suggested it would be ok for me to stop going.

In your post you said you have already been to several moms groups. My advice to you is to keep looking until you find the Mamas who appreciate you and your point of view. If you haven't tried them yet and are interested, LaLeche is great for nursing moms. or you may have better luck starting with one other mom and building from there. I don't know why, but as another person said, it takes a while. Good luck and know you have a lot of folks rooting for you! 40ish Mom


Honestly I have not attempted any mom support groups, however I can definitely relate. I'm 23 turning 24 next month with a 7 week old. While pregnant I just had this feeling like '' I know I'm 23 but I feel like a teen mom'' I was really aware of this feeling but not sure where it was coming from.

Currently with all these advances in fertility treatments, older women are able to get pregnant. Also here in the bay area there a lot ''professional'' women who wait later in life to have kids. So it seems like we are the exception and not the rule. I am confident that with all the love I have for my son, he will be well taken care of. I think there is so much superficiality and competitiveness that anything other than ''normal'' is looked down upon.

Sorry I can't offer you a specific group. But hopefully I'm not telling you anything new, you love your baby, your husband loves you and your baby and you'll do anything to give him the best so he'll do great and so will you. Lupe


Well, my first thought was, why not start your own moms' group? Post something here on BPN looking for other moms in their 20's, and you will undoubtedly find some. You are a rarity but not alone!

Second, I would suggest that insofar as you are able, you should hear these other moms' comments as reflections on their own lives, not yours. When someone says, How can you afford kids at your age, she is really saying, I could not have afforded kids at your age (because I was sleeping on a futon in a flophouse with 6 roommates while screwing Mr. Wrong and waiting for someone to tell me what to do with my life). As a mom who had my first at 35, I imagine that most of the judgment you are hearing is due to these women being thoughtless, not malicious or consciously judgmental. Some of it might even be other moms' awkward way of expressing admiration or envy. I doubt very much that anyone actually thinks your child is suffering b/c of your age! That's nuts. And anyone who would actually think that wouldn't be worth having as a friend anyway. Maybe you could practice some gentle ways of directing these women's attention to their insensitivity by re-directing the conversation back to them. So when someone says, how do you afford kids at your age, you say, my husband and I haven't found it that hard. Why? What was it like for you at this age? And who knows? Maybe someone out there will surprise you by confiding in you about her sordid, difficult past and a friendship will be born. Honestly, I believe that new moms have so much in common just based on being moms. Focus on that and don't give up. It is WORTH IT to find mom friends who really work for you - my mom friends are absolutely my sanity, and it has been well worth going out of my way to get to know them (and also well worth putting up with weird crap from moms I didn't click with. That judgmental stuff can happen to anyone of any age...)

Finally, if the age discussions are really just causing you a lot of pain, go out of your way to avoid them. My mom was a SAHM in the 70's who also happened to have a Ph.D. in chemistry. She found out very quickly that as soon as other moms found out she had a Ph.D. they stopped being her friend. So she actively hid her education and her brainy side. I remember being horrified as a feminist teenager when she told me that. But she didn't (doesn't) regret it. It was too important to her not to go through motherhood alone and without friends. And honestly, when she got to know a person really well, they didn't care anymore that she's a total brainiac. Good luck finding your niche. And thanks for posting. I will be more careful in the ways I admire young moms in future. an older mommy


I had my first child at age 30 so while I'm not in your shoes, I do have a solution for you. Make Mormon mommy friends. I am not kidding. When my twins were in kindergarten they befriended another set of twins. Their family is Mormon and the mom has 4 sisters. I've become close friends with the mom and friendly with the sisters and their families. Most Mormons start their families young -- my friend had her first at 25 -- and they are so much fun! They are welcoming, there are always a zillion cousins or friends around and I just don't see them on Sundays. In fact, we spent 4 July with their extended clan this year. Huge BBQ, softball tournament, swimming. I work FT and most Mormon mommies don't but this doesn't seem to bother them -- their husband work a lot and we have dinner together at least one a week while the kids run around. My kids are 9, 9 and 13 now. And as an upside, they know tons of people and always have a sitter to refer. Of course my 13 year old now babysits for them, too. Good luck to you! Another Mommy
I know you already have received many responses to your post, but I feel a need to chime in! I was also a young mother (27 years old, gasp!), and also felt at a loss amongst the other new mothers. Though my husband was more the age of what seemed like most first time mothers in Berkeley (39), I still felt I was in such a different place than them all. A ''young'' mother by choice (though people always assume it was an unplanned pregnancy, being sooo young of course), a new graduate student (poor student income), most of my friends still single or without children yet.... yes I felt out of touch and very isolated.

A lot of that changed when I decided to move past my own insecurities, and tried to find things that I DID have in common with the older mothers. There were things I couldn't talk about (discussing how easy it was for you to get pregnant is not always the best topic when in the company of older moms), and discussions I couldn't partake in (older moms DO tend to have more financial stability, so I often was left out of those housekeeper versus mother helper discussions), but there was plenty in between. My true friendships didn't form with the other moms until my son started preschool. That gives you a LOT in common, and it was easy enough to find the more laid back and fun moms in the bunch. Yes, it is annoying to be mistaken for the nanny. But it must also be annoying to be mistaken for the grandmother. Good luck! Young Mom-- Only in the Bay!


Someone wrote last week ''When someone says, How can you afford kids at your age, she is really saying, I could not have afforded kids at your age (because I was sleeping on a futon in a flophouse with 6 roommates while screwing Mr. Wrong and waiting for someone to tell me what to do with my life). '' This made me laugh out loud, and think ''have you been spying on me my whole life ?!?'' :-}

I had mine ... after my third decade, not becasue I was excelling in a competative professional life, but b/c it took me that long to get it together. I'm a bit of a procrastinator. So, please give yourself a high five for being a self aware and together young mother. I bet you have a loads more energy and a many fewer aches than I do. anon


Being a young mom is hard in the bay area!

June 2009

Hey everyone! I looked in the archives to see if there was some magical place that young moms hang out or something but all I found was an article from a person who has a similar problem as me dated 2003... Basically I graduated from art school last year... Absolutely none of my friends out here are even remotely thinking about having children.... And they have also slowly stopped hanging out with me regularly assuming that I won't be able to hang out anyway (annoying)... So basically I am posting this to find either young moms/dads (or moms/dads who don't mind that I'm only 25) who have a child or children about the same age as my child (Quin is 2). I would prefer parents who are open minded, radical, liberal, with perhaps a little dash of anarchy (in a good way)

Perhaps you refer to your child according to their sex but don't necessarily believe that constitutes their gender... Preferably you believe that kids that identify as boys can still be princesses and that little girls can be kings. We are free to chill all day long from sun up until Quin's papa gets home at 4:30 so get a hold of us! Quin (and I) need family fun friends! stefanie


Dear Friend- I know EXACTLY how you feel. I had all three of my kids by 25. Thank God I did because I had a hidden condition which would have made any later pregnancy only a dream (radical hysterectomy at 35) But I do know you can feel isolated. Here's the deal. I live in Berkeley and I am now a grannie so I take my sweetie down to Willard Park's tot lot. OMG!!! LOTS of young parents...seem very progressive...and lots of nannies, etc. But what I really noticed (aside from all the obvious international UC grad students with kids) was there seemed to be a group of young moms that were having a neat picnic together on a regular basis. If there are any other BPN members out there who belong to this or a similar group. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this dear young mom know how to hook up with you. In the meantime, try any local tot lot, although I've heard people say they drive in from Emeryville and Oakland to use the Willard Park one. It's just above Telegraph Ave. above Willard Middle School. Good luck and bless you! Susan

Bay Area young-ish mom blues

Feb 2005

as a 32-y.o. mom with a 7 and a 4 year old, I know I'm not extremely young, but feel lately a bit out of sorts with other bay area families that I know, all of whom are older. Many who did not previously realize my age seem subtly judgemental when they hear it, and I end up feeling a little ashamed, as if having had my first child at the end of grad school here is the equivalent of having ''accidentally'' had kids in high school somewhere else; and mostly as if my conscious choices were not politically enlightened (i.e. stay at home, undeveloped career on hold.) I do not have regrets about my choices just am feeling a bit out of place and think I am experiencing a lack of acceptance/ unspoken judement from the older generations (5-15 years older.)Any thoughts, advice welcomed, Thanks. relatively young


I am 29 and have a 3/12 year old and a baby on the way. I have a career, my own house, a wonderful husband, and the best thing is... I still feel so young! A lot of my friends don't have kids, but guess what, my son stole my best friend from me! My kids are part of my circle of friends and we're all enriched by my family. I still go out for girls nights, still do all sorts of family things, travel a ton, and still have everything an older mom might have (a good job, house, etc). I too have found that I'm looked at as a young mom, but I'm incredibly proud of that. Maybe I don't feel as much judgement from older moms because they can sense my confidence in my decisions and my life. In 20 years, when I'm still in my late 40s, my kids are out of the house, and I am doing whatever I please, I don't think the moms who are in their 60s will be looking on me with pity. If they are now, well, maybe its just from a lack of understanding of how someone in their 20s could be so sure that they wanted a family and confident enough to make it all happen.

Believe me, there are plenty of young moms out there, a whole lot that are younger than you. And mostly, there are a lot of ''older'' moms, who would not think twice about your decisions to have kids in your 20s. I doubt as many of them are judging you as you think. Some of my mom-friends who are in their late 30s or early 40s commend me for having kids young, especially after some of the problems they had to go through to conceive. So maybe they're just thinking about how lucky you are. Anyway, be proud to be a mom, whether you're in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or whatever! another youngish mom


Get a grip, girl! As an ''elderly'' mom, 10 to 15 years older than many of the parents of my son's peers, I'd go nuts if I worried about unspoken judgements and opinions. Sure, I have some different issues than the other moms in the car pool, but we have our kids in common--there is a wonderful bond in being moms. I've felt that bond with the young mothers of infants, and with women whose children are adults themselves. Those women may in fact be looking at you and wishing they'd been able start their families at a younger age.... anon
Hi, I was very curious and surprised to see your message and other people's responses on it. I am 28, and have 2 and 4 year old children, and funny thing is that i never considered myself to be on a ''younger'' side I do come from a different culture, however, where it's more than a norm to get married right after high school and have a baby a year later (I'm from Former Soviet Union). So, believe it or not, most of my classmates were married at 17 or 18, and have kids that are much older than mine - so, I'm a minority there as well I don't know if it makes you feel better, just wanted to show the other side of the spectrum Feel free to email me. polga
Hey, youngish moms out there. I missed the first post, but wanted to tell you that 18 years ago, I was a 24 year old, single mom who moved back home to Bezerkeley to raise the baby. Even then, all the other moms (except two of my friends) seemed way older than me. But, as my son grew up, so did I -- making the age gaps between myself and the other moms more and more insignificant. During those 18 years, the age differences were over-ruled by our commonality as mothers. heather

How to meet other young parents?

Sept 2004

Hi, My husband and I moved to Albany with a 3 month old from S. Cal. We've been here for a month and my husband just started graduate school at UC Berkeley. Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions about how to meet other young moms/parents!? I'm a stay at home mom and am only 24 (my husband is 23)...so, we're on the younger side. I've checked into Mother's groups, but can't afford the expense to be in one. It seems sort of like a silly question, but what's the best way to meet people in the Bay area? thanks, Kelly


If you're interested in meeting other parents, try the park. At University Village, you can meet other younger parents with grad-school spouses. As your baby gets older, kindergym at the Albany Y or University Village are good options (and not so expensive). Even if you can pay for just a month or so, you will meet peolple if you make an effort. anon.
No clue -- this is part of why we're planning on moving out of state soon. Everyone we know who's having kids is at least mid- 30s. I'm a 27 year old SAHM with an 18 month old. Both my husband's boss and more than one relative assume our daughter exists because we're too stupid to know how a rubber works (um, no, not exactly....) which has led to some extraordinarily awkward conversations (''Well, it looked like a bad thing at first, but she's so cute, and you've adapted well.'' ''What?'')

I've given up. I'm the same age my mom and my aunts were when *they had kids...but today, at least in California, it seems like being a young mother is really frowned on. Sara


I just finished reading the recent postings to your request for advice and while I don't really have any suggestions on how to meet people our age with babies/toddlers (I am 29 with a 16 month old whom I wouldn't think of putting in daycare so that I could go to work), I wanted to let you know that we are obviously not the only ones in the area. Like you, the moms I have met are much, much older. Neither my husband nor I have made any great, or even good, connections with other parents. Like one of the posters, we have seriously consider moving out of the Bay Area because being a stay at home parent seems to be looked down on and we just can't compete with two income families for houses, schools, etc (plus, we have absolutely no ties to the area- no family, no close friends). It's tough- you are not alone. As for meeting other moms, I go to Gymboree, the park, etc- and hang out with my daughter...haven't met anyone that way. Mostly, I enjoy chatting with the sales people at Nordstrom in Walnut Creek. NO, I'm not at all suggesting that I have the money to spend there, but that place is the most entertaining to me these days. At least I see lots of other moms and strollers!! Good luck. Another Young Stay At Home Mom
I was startled to realize after reading the recent post on this topic that I am part of the ''Old Mom'' group. I am 38 and for a variety of reasons am now the mother of a two year old. I am friends with a 24 year old mom from my birth class. There doesn't seem to be much difference between us that I can attribute to age.

I have noticed three young stay at home moms at Memorial Park in Albany. All three were very friendly and in general it seemed like all of the moms there were open to talking. I have not had as much luck at Thousand Oaks Park. We mostly go to Memorial now.

I think that if you label a group as too old you may limit yourself from experiencing some good relationships. I hope someone wouldn't discount me just because I am (gasp!)38 Young at Heart


Young parents feeling out of place

May 2003

My husband and I recently moved to Berkeley from the deep south, where we both grew up and had a great circle of friends. We are both 23 years old and we have a two year old daughter.

Ever since we moved here, we've felt sort of ''out of place'', being much younger than other berkley parents. When I take my daughter to the park or wherever, I feel like everyone assumes I'm the nanny, just like someone mentioned in the ''mid-forties'' thread..

Walking around Berkeley, all I seem to see are people under 25 that look like ''free spirited'' college students that my husband and I feel would never want to hang out with parents of a 2-year-old -- or I see parents in their mid thirties or fourties, who we also don't have much of anything in common with (my own parents are not much older than them!).

My husband and I love every minute we spend with our daughter, but we need some friends of our own! Are there any other under 25 parents out there that can let us know how to connect with people our age? We are both in graduate school, but even the other parents at school are much older. We moved out here not knowing a single person, and we're still feeling really out of place. Help!! meg


Mine is a young student family as well and we'd love to hang out with your family- especially now that summer is upon us. We have several things in common in addition to age [i'm 24, husband is a cartoon watching 27 yr old]- we are both grad students, we have a 2 yr old son and we moved here from the South too -Atlanta. email me and we can exchange contact info and set up a time to hang out! Ruha
Yes, things are a little different here. I, too, am from the south and went through some adjustment issues when I moved here three years ago. It takes time to find your community out here. Feel free to email me. I have a child about your child's age...but alas, I'm one of those old parents you see in the park...but I do have friends your age with kids I could hook you up with. Interestingly, my friend was saying that VERY thing the other day. She wanted another dad her 25 year old husband could shoot hoops with! Esther
Believe me I feel you 100%. I too was a young mom. I had my son at age 22, but I was blessed to have several friends in college who were also going through the same thing. Don't fret. There are a lot of us out there. My son is now eight, and still to this day my husband and I find ourselves much younger than most of the children's parents my son hangs out with. We've kept in close contact with those who shared in my experience as a young parent, and have participated in multiple child oriented activities for my son to open up our circle of friends. If you're a grad student at Berkeley, I would recommend you take a active role in the Student Parent's Group at Berkeley. Their offices are in the Ceasar Chavez Center, 1st floor, and the director of the program is phenomenal-Alice. I met several mothers in this program, and many of those relationships have progressed on to much larger and meaningful frienships. I commend you for reacing out the way you did in this email. I'm sure you'll be surprised to find many young parents. We're out there, believe me. Feel free to email me anytime. monica
Well...we're not as *young* as you guys (27 and 29) but I certainly know how you feel being often much younger ourselves than a lot of parents in the area. Plus my husband and I both look younger than we are. We have an 18 month old daughter and while we've lived here in the Bay Area for 4 years now, none of our close friends have children *yet*. I've recently joined a playgroup and while the other women in it are older then me, I find that since we all have young children we do have a lot in common. But, I think my husband would really like to meet other young dads to hang out with, even to go to the park with! I one time thought of posting a message to one of the boards about starting a playgroup for parents under 30, but didn't know if that would appear rude, though I know there are playgroups for mom's over 40.

Whenever I see another young mom with her child walking around, or even at the supermarket I always want to ask her if she wants to *be my friend*, but I never have the nerve to! I even talked to this super cool girl and her baby once, but it never escalated from there. And like you we go to parks a lot too (I work part time at UCB), but I often find most of the younger ladies with kids are nannies too and I don't really need any more friends that don't have kids ( ; We go to lots of outdoor music events and always see a lot of younger parents there and always strike up nice conversations with them. I guess it just takes time.

Email me if you want to meet at a park sometime. Perhaps you'll get a lot of people writing to your post and we could all meet at a park on a Sunday or something! Jami


I am a 23 year old graduate student at Berkeley with a 6 1/2 month old baby boy and I know exactly what you are talking about. My husband and I live in San Rafael and it is possibly even worse over here! It is very frusterating to be treated like either a nanny or felt sorry for as if this was an accidental teenage pregnancy. I don't have much advice in the way of meeting more people like us because the only people I know that are our age with kids live in Los Angeles. (We moved up about a year ago...) I did, however, meet some really nice and helpful people at the Student Parent Center at UCB and they had lots of advice and resources. They were all young or young-ish and helped me to feel much more comfortable at Berkeley as a parent. Please email me if you would ever like to meet or if you find out any other helpful groups, etc... Good Luck, Lauren
I don't have an actual resource for you but just wanted to offer a few words of sympathy. I think that must be extremely hard here. I had my first baby at 26 and second at age 29 (my husband is one year older) and I also feel so much younger than other bay area parents. I also completed graduate school but feel many unspoken judgements as if I had my babies in high school and never got the chance to complete my education. I think it was even harder with the first because I looked younger than 26 but it got easier with #2 because now at 30 I look at least 35! Ahhh rapid aging and sleep deprivation do have some benefits if you are a young parent in the bay area. I have found a few older parents whom I connect well with regardless of age diff. and a few my own age just by being around many other parents these last few years. I don't think I would ever fit in a typical mom's group nor even with the majority of chit chatting in the parks. But please keep trying with the free-spirits and with the greying parents of toddlers. Many are absorbed in their own things, but I'd say there are at least some if not many who could use a new friend. Some people seem judgemental when really they might not be comfortable reaching out to someone who seems different but they might really appreciate you reaching out ( and others need to stay judgemental.) I hope someone knows of a group too. Best Wishes. Chris
You should join our playgroup! I've mentioned it here before. The moms in our group span a big age range, but several of the ''regulars'' are twentysomethings. My playgroup is open to absolutely anybody. We have a broad range of ages -- parents AND kids. Several of the ''regulars'' are twentysomethings, several are not. Many have more than one child, some don't. We try to meet weekly at various parks and attractions around the East Bay, especially Berkeley. I'd be happy to respond directly to anyone who is interested in hearing more. We always welcome newcomers! Loralee
I just wanted to say that, even though I am not a twentysomething parent (I had my first in my early thirties)I think it's terrible that you should feel judged for having children at what seems to me to be a perfectly normal age, and in my opinion, the best age, b/c you will have a) more energy, b)more time and consequently, c)a longer period to enjoy the lives you've brought into the world. In my early twenties I certainly thought I would have had my children by the time I was thirty, and though I wouldn't change a thing now, sometimes I wish I had (health reasons and other life events postponed things). I grew up here in Berkeley and I think it's only been in the recent years that there have been so many older moms, and it has been my experience that as an older mom I am the exception not the rule in the groups I hang out with.... I suggest to you that you take pride in your decision to start your family when you did, that it was a responsible and natural course for you to take. Maybe you need to make more of an effort to surround yourself with younger and/or less judgemental moms (which is unfortunate that this burden is placed on you) but believe me there are lots out there....good luck! anon
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