For the Teen Mom


For the Teen Mom
When you became a mom did you feel like you lost a part of yourself? I hear that often from mom friends, but it’s not a conversation I can join in on with my own voice. It’s like a distant drum in a land unknown when I hear them describe their careless college years, jumping from one major to the next and doing the same with boyfriends — having endless opportunities without the pressure to settle down. Having the freedom of time and depending on just oneself, hobbies were like a pair of underwear: changed often and disposable with little cost. If I squint really hard, I can almost picture what that would have been like. But I never allow my eyes to shut all the way and wish away the fact that I didn’t lose myself as a mother; I found out what I was made of.

This is for the young mothers. The moms who said yes to the hard choice of having a baby as a teen. The mother who had no clue what she was doing, but at the moment had nothing else to lose.

Going from babysitting for minimum wage to changing my own baby’s diaper was strange. I semi-walked out how my life started as a Mom, but have a had an unsettling feeling since stirring up those early years. Young momma, do you know that you are just as capable of raising your child as a mom who is a decade or two older?

You don’t have to wear more makeup, talk a different way, or have all the answers for the next five years. Sure, you have given up some of your younger years in which you had the energy to stay up until the bars closed and the tolerance for teen drama. But really, it’s worth trading those bar hops for middle of the night feedings. When your baby wraps their hand around your finger and won’t let go, tell yourself this: “I am their everything. I am all they have as a mother.” Be thankful that your latest drama stems from diaper rash creams.

Now is not the time to measure up to someone else’s standards. The mom who is celebrating her seventh wedding anniversary and gender reveal at one time is not walking the same path as you. Don’t push your community away. Find a woman you look up to and invest in her life as she returns ten-fold in wisdom. Listen to her when she says not to rush away these years; she means it. She’s lived it. The energy, lack of “know it all-ness,” and joy you have now in a life worth living is a gift. You’re going to lose friends. Some won’t understand why you didn’t make a different choice. You might sometimes wonder why you didn’t make a different choice by bringing a child into your naive life! I’m speaking to you from honesty; it’s okay to go back and discover what made you say, “Yes, I will bring a baby into the world and raise it.”

Fight hard to find yourself.

Find out what you like and don’t like in a man. Find out where you want to put down roots or if you would like to travel a few states before settling down. What were your hobbies before? How can you adapt those into life with baby? Trust me; kids are more adaptable than we give them credit for! I remember loving to hike, camping without a bathroom in sight, and walking through rivers barefoot. Taking my baby back to the woods, I was first able to lay down a blanket in an opening and crack open my calculus bookwhile he cooed up at the clouds. Those brief 20 minutes of contentment felt so rushed and not worth it a decade ago. Now, looking back, I still tear up at the preciousness of being able to bring my baby into the world I was discovering.

Be okay with failing, jumping higher than others, and falling down.

Do not forget to get back up. Would you tell your baby when they started to take their first steps that they couldn’t do it? Nope, no you wouldn’t. Baby talk to yourself when no one else is around and be your cheerleader. You are enough, momma.

If you are a single momma in college, local to Chattanooga, you would greatly enjoy the Momentum Network! I wish there had been an organization like this when I was navigating those early days. It’s like an instant sisterhood of like-minded mommas with kids. Founded by Cara Hicks, a fellow teen mom turned world changer. If you want to attend a gathering, I would be happy to come with you!


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