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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Single parenthood, young moms, stereotypes

Am I the only one sick of ALWAYS hearing some stereotype about single parents or, and especially, teen/young moms? Cause let me tell you, the majority of young parents are NOT crappy, welfare-abusing people who don't take care of their kids. Yes, sad, that there are those people out there, teen mom & not teen mom, but not everyone is like that. There are many examples of single mothers who started as teen mothers that I've seen. Sure, not perfect, but doing their best! Many of these women I have seen grown in front of my own eyes, their kids are now years old, no longer newborns. They have gotten through some type of schooling, working job upon job, just trying to make sure their children come first. Some of these women may or may not be getting state assistance, but if they are, I ask you NOT to judge. I ask you to quit acting like they are less of a human being for needing assistance, for acting like I am less of a human being for doing anything and everything I can to make sure my son and I live comfortably. Many of these young women, including myself, fall with the burden of full responsibility of their child. That means taking on the cost of diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, toys, clothes, food. Then as they grow older you start paying for daycare, extracurricular activities, and preschool. It's a lot of money. Even in a two parent household, kids are expensive, but just think about being the only one paying for everything. Not to mention expenses that come with being a young person.
Luckily, there is public assistance that many young, single mothers can apply for to help with their usually smaller budget. Many women can get this assistance, not because they are lazy, but usually because they don't have the education to get a good paying job with benefits. For the first year of Cole's life, I worked my ass off at Red Lobster making minimal money and barely covering just the rent. I would, every once in a while, pick up a second job, usually something that was only $7.25 an hour, but flexible enough for my student/mommy life. I know many women in my position. Women who work full-time jobs and then work something part time in the evenings, to make ends meet. Women who work factory or labor-heavy jobs, 10 hour inconvenient shifts, just to make sure their kid(s) have everything they need. Before you speak ill on single mothers, just remember that they are still human beings who may have made a poor decision, a decision that landed them in their situation, but that gives you no right to judge.
Trust me, I have done my fair share of judging, especially before I had a child of my own, but my eyes opened to the struggle. I can see how some young mothers can't step out of their "teen" stage. The truth is, I am only 22. I see other 22 year olds being crazy, going out non-stop, being financially irresponsible. People say, "Oh, they're young, they'll learn." How is that not the same with other 22 year olds? Yes, they have a kid or kids, but that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes, or have poor judgement sometimes. I know I have made my fair share of mistakes, sometimes going out way too often, spending too much money on things I don't need. I know. But I am 22 years old. I'm not the smartest or the wisest I'll be in life, I'm going to make more mistakes, people will judge me for making those mistakes, but why? Why, when we all do it?
I just ask that you think before posting something stupid on facebook about how all teen mothers live off of the system. Or about how all teen moms are sluts, or alcoholics, or how teen moms need to stay at home with their kids all of the time, because their moms. Not even adult mothers stay at home with their kids 24/7. And those young, single mothers that tear down other young moms for "living off of the state"? Make sure you have your facts straight and PLEASE don't lump them all in to one category. Just because you don't receive state assistance does NOT make you better than me, or than others. It just means you're struggling, but so am I.

This was just a huge rant, and I'm sure someone will tell me how "dumb" I am for defending such a "hot topic", but if you don't know me, now you have a glimpse. My boyfriend will be the first person to tell you that I like to argue hot topic issues, and this is just purely opinion.

I also do want to say, before someone else does, that I know that NO ONE told me to get pregnant, forced me to get pregnant, or otherwise. I made a mistake as an 18 year old, rebellious, girl. I am now "paying" for it for the rest of my life, but in the best way possible. The past 4+ years of my life have been incredibly heartbreaking and hard, but also the best. I never knew what it was to love until I met Cole. But I should not be looked down upon because I had a child so young. I should not be judged because I do what I have to do to raise my child. & neither should anybody else. We unfortunately cannot walk a mile in everyone's shoes, but we should still be compassionate to their lives. We do not know what every single person goes through in every day life.

Just something to think about on this Saturday night.


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