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To think ‘you look too young to be her mum’ is not a compliment?

(69 Posts)
TheActualRealCinderella Wed 13-Jun-18 08:25:11

I’m short, flat chested and have a chubby face. At first glance and from the back before they clock the bags under my eyes, and jaded cynicism some people think I’m a lot younger than I am.

I had my child at 23 but looked like a teen then. Ever since I’ve got ‘ooh you don’t look old enough to be her mum!’

Why am I supposed to take it as a compliment. The message is actually ‘you look like you must have been a silly teenager who got knocked up’.

I understand people do become mothers young, and feel compassion towards someone (usually) in a difficult situation, doing their best. I’m not slagging off teen mums, just asking what is meant to be a compliment about ‘you look too young to be x’s mother’.

SideOrderofSprouts Wed 13-Jun-18 08:26:39

Oh I don’t know

At 33 I take it as a compliment I still look young. I was 22 when I had our eldest. She’s tall and looks older as well

CantankerousCamel Wed 13-Jun-18 08:29:31

As a society we put far too much emphasis on staying young. I enjoy being older, I enjoy being wiser, more sure of myself, I love watching my husbands face change with age. I don’t know why as a society we vilify it so much

Chocolatecoffeeaddict Wed 13-Jun-18 08:30:44

I'm 30 and take it as a compliment. I always get " you don't look old enough to have four children" or " you're not old enough to have a ten year old".
I do think I look a few years younger though, and I don't think people would comment to be intentionally insulting.

DaffoDeffo Wed 13-Jun-18 08:32:58

no I didn't like it when I was your age. I looked young for ages (I don't now) and used to get these comments all the time. In fact my first child looked nothing like me (I'm fair and she was v dark) and people used to ask if I was the nanny hmm

don't worry, it will pass and you'll look your age at some point but yes, I know how irritating it is so have a flowers from me

MereDintofPandiculation Wed 13-Jun-18 08:36:51

Society values young women and doesn't value older women. Therefore someone telling you you look young intends to compliment you and thinks they are doing so. The message actually is "I feel well disposed towards you and want to communicate this to you by saying something nice to you".

(They're not saying you actually are young, so there's no implication about how old you were when you became a mother)

numbmum83 Wed 13-Jun-18 08:40:52

I definitely take it as a compliment . My 14 year old is nearly 6ft and looks a lot older , I still get asked for I.d for alcohol quite regularly , I now carry my passport and I'm 34 so I must look like his Sister rather than his Mum . So many people tell me I don't look my age and it's a good thing !
I would take it as a compliment and don't overthink it.

theymademejoin Wed 13-Jun-18 13:55:39

It bugs the crap out of me. I'm 53 and my eldest is 20. I keep getting "Oh, you don't look old enough to have one that age" or "You must have started very young".

I was chatting to someone at work recently and mentioned I have been there for over 20 years and she said "you must have come in straight from university". She then started to comment on what age she thought I looked when I told her I had been in industry for 10 years prior to working here.

I think it's rude to comment on someone's age. What does it matter if I look older or younger than I am? It's not exactly a major achievement on my part. I have good genes. That's it! I drink, am not too careful in the sun, only started to use moisturiser in my late 40's etc. so it's not anything I've done. Even if it was, the whole emphasis on women's appearance and the fact that youth is valued over age, particularly in women, annoys me. The wrinkles I have are evidence of a life lived. Can we not value that over superficial appearance?

KappaKappa Wed 13-Jun-18 13:57:52

At my age I’d take it as a compliment but in my twenties I wouldn’t have done!

Trinity66 Wed 13-Jun-18 14:01:13

I'm sure people mean it as a compliment, I would always take it as one anyway regardless grin

theymademejoin Wed 13-Jun-18 14:01:58

@numbmum83 - * So many people tell me I don't look my age and it's a good thing !*

Why is it a good thing though? It's not an indicator of health or experience or knowledge or anything else positive (or negative) about you. I'm sure you have many wonderful qualities that make your world a better place. Looking younger is hardly one of them. I'd much rather be complimented on qualities that are not down to chance.

xoguineas Wed 13-Jun-18 14:05:59

I think I will probably take this as a compliment when older but it irritates me just now! I'm 22 and have a 4.5 month old and people always make comments about my age. If I'm out with my mum and daughter, people assume she is my younger sister and are quite shocked when corrected. I do look younger for my age but some people just take it too far. One woman said I looked 12 and she couldn't believe I was a mum. Another took one look at me and started telling my mum about another 14 yr old she knew that had a baby as if I was also 14! I definitely understand how irritating it is, although I do love the look on people's faces when I correct them!

AlonsoTigerHeart Wed 13-Jun-18 14:06:58

I'm 33with a nearly 16 old, you get used to it

TheActualRealCinderella Wed 13-Jun-18 18:02:56

It’s probably people not really thinking about what they are saying.

Chathamhouserules Wed 13-Jun-18 18:07:55

I'd like more people to tell me this. But rarely happens now! Because I look plenty old enough to have my three.
I think people generally mean it kindly. Don't look for insults when none are meant and I think you'll probably have a happier life.

Racecardriver Wed 13-Jun-18 18:10:44

I have spent my whole life getting you look much older. Not pleasant.

MissionItsPossible Wed 13-Jun-18 20:46:01

Though I have no children I am 32 and still get mistaken for 15-17 years old. I won't try to enter any unfamiliar pub, bar or club or shop (if buying alcohol or lottery tickets sometimes) without ID and even then get shrieks of disbelief when presenting it and they see it, so annoying and patronising..

starzig Wed 13-Jun-18 20:55:38

I think you are just being oversensitive. I would consider it a compliment.

NotUmbongoUnchained Wed 13-Jun-18 20:58:19

Try being young looking AND Asian! People assume you’re the au pair!

RhubarbRhubarbRhubarbRhubarb Wed 13-Jun-18 21:02:17

My mum looked young for her age and we always got “you could be sisters”. It was either meant as a lovely compliment for my mum, or a bit insulting to me grin!

endoftheworld Wed 13-Jun-18 21:07:09

It does get annoying but think people think theyre complimenting you. I find it a bit embaressing because I work with teenagers and young people so it is a bit awkward when visitors don't realise that I'm staff.

The weird thing is,I used to go to pubs and clubs underage so they must have been really slack with i.d in the early 00's.

x2boys Wed 13-Jun-18 21:20:40

i got asked if i was ds1 grandmother when he was a baby i was 33 when he was born thats not much fun either😏

TheActualRealCinderella Wed 13-Jun-18 21:30:20

Would a ‘did you mean to be so rude?’ work here?

To all those saying ‘don’t be over sensitive’ would you say the same to someone who’s being told ‘oh, you are too young to have grey hair!’

And being told that at least once a week. Wouldn’t the comments about ones personal appearance get old fast.

TheActualRealCinderella Wed 13-Jun-18 21:30:33


theymademejoin Wed 13-Jun-18 22:32:01

@TheActualRealCinderella - Would a ‘did you mean to be so rude?’ work here?

Unfortunately not as most people don't seem to see it as rude. I'm with you though. I think it's rude.

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