I am the author of my teen motherhood story. I had my daughter fresh out of high school, and children raising children was defined to me as a losing game.
But that’s not my story. That’s not my path.
My story is charged with the mission to redefine the labels put upon me. I’m here to tell you that teen motherhood doesn’t mean my child will grow up on scorched earth. Teen motherhood, to me and many other young mothers that I know, means an opportunity to raise children in love and to give them a space to grow and be cherished.
Teen motherhood is just like any other motherhood. The only difference is that it happens a few years before the cultural norm.
In fact, teen motherhood opened the doors that eventually led to my career, it showed me how to adult, and above all, it gave me my daughter.
It’s complicated and wonderful. It taught me – and is still teaching me. More importantly, it created a base of motherhood for me. Here are five lessons teen motherhood has taught me.
Talking about sex and relationships is healthy.
I grew up in a home that didn’t talk about sex, religion, or politics. Just say NO was the motto of my childhood. But sex is not a dirty or shameful topic. Teaching healthy friendships and boundaries to our young children is so important to do as a parent. By doing so, our children grow up to be youth who advocate for themselves and for others. But, if parents stop talking about relationships when their child is “of relationship age,” the basis of what was created when the child was younger was for nothing.
A Quick Thought when Talking about Relationships – Keep an Open Mind: If you show your kids an open mind, the lines of open communication will go along with it! Your action of open mindedness will build trust between you and your young person. No matter the age, no matter the subject.
You Define the Labels People Give You
Accept it. Define it for yourself. Crush it.
Asking for Help is a Strength, Not a Weakness
When I was in the hospital with my newborn, the medical staff was more concerned with making sure I had a written plan of what to do when my daughter was crying than providing answers to the questions I had about my body. Why? Because the statistic of teen families and shaken baby syndrome is higher than any other family type. While I see where they were coming from, it made me feel like if I wasn’t doing a perfect job in all the things, I was less than a mom.
As a result, I didn’t ask for help. I wasn’t perfect but pretended to be.
Asking for help is a sign of growth and strength, not imperfection.
#momlife is an Actual Thing
My high school friends went off to college the same summer that I became a mom.
I couldn’t relate to college and they couldn’t relate to my mom life.
Build a mom tribe because moms get it. Moms get the exhaustion, the joy, the power of wine and/or chocolate. I’m not saying don’t have friends who aren’t parents; you should invite them into motherhood. But have a group who are mothers, too.
Exist with a Full Cup
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Find your self care niche and invest in yourself. “But, I don’t have time!” Schedule time, get a babysitter, pretend that you’re pooping just to have five minutes of quiet time. You do you, Momma, so you can be fully present with them.