An Angry Mouth

I need to start off with making sure everyone understands who this rant is directed at. This rant is NOT directed at mothers who neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT directed at mothers who don’t neglect their health and well-being for their children. This rant is also NOT for people who are not mothers and can’t fathom how/why a mom might feel like she should/has to/guilt because she did/didn’t neglect her health and or well-being for her children. To me all of the above positions are perfectly reasonable, acceptable, and a position I have held at some point in my life or another. (Sometimes wildly ping ponging between the first two during a single week) So who IS it I am mad at? The subgroup of category 3, those who want to be all judgey and lecturing and add to my maternal guilt (thanks, but I manufacture plenty on my own, but if you’d like to babysit while I go to therapy, well, hell , that would actually be helpful). See? Here I am, just full of steam and wanting to yell at someone, but my mouth hurts. (Oh & I vowed to yell less about 4 or 5 years ago, so there’s that too; I feel like getting a white chip every time I go a solid week, so it’s a work in progress… Argh! So much mouth pain I am having trouble thinking in any cohesive way… Sorry)

 Here’s the thing, I am not a wealthy woman (Like you hadn’t noticed or something) I live below the official poverty line for a family of 4. (I checked recently, just to see) But I pay (along with my nice grown-up lady job employers) for my health insurance, and dental and vision, for the four of us. Those co pays will add up quick (as I am certain you all know) so I often am making a call along the lines of say $100 + $25 for BoyChild II to get an eye exam and new glasses or pay the electric bill that is not overdue at all. (I can tell you in this rock-paper-scissors budgeting glasses beat electricity, as long as electricity is not overdue, but moving on…)Yeah It’s that tight around here, and 90% of the time (fairly good odds to my mind) I end up getting the necessities paid for ( we never go out to eat/buy brand new jeans/ video games, but that electric bill gets paid). But I don’t feel like I should have to draw a map of my monthly (or yearly) budget to anyone (see awesome things about being a single mom) I mean anyone, it’s my choice to share or not share my finances with you or with any service provider. So when I say (hypothetically speaking) “Well, I’d love to pay you $88 to pull the skin back from my teeth and clean (remove cracked tooth filling bits that are now “too old”)  inside the gum line on the left side of my face and then come back in 2 weeks to pay you $88 to do the same to the right side of my face, but unfortunately that ain’t happening this week, or any time soon. I will call to schedule the appointment as soon as I have saved up the money to do so.” This should be an accepted statement. No one should then go on and on (hypothetically speaking again) for say 10 to 15 minutes on how important my dental health is to my overall health. (Note: stressing over paying for  $176 and a total of 1 1/2 days off work is ALSO not good for my overall health) See, I have never had a cavity. My parents didn’t have any dental insurance until I was out of school so my first dental appointment wasn’t until I was 12 and I went about 3 times after that the last time being at the age of 16. I didn’t go to the dentist again until my wisdom teeth came in and my face swelled shut (not pretty), I was 21. My teeth are so crowded in my mid twenties they started cracking each other. Guess who had actual cracks in her teeth with no nastiness/etc  for the 4 years it took to save the money to pull/fill those cracking teeth? Yeah, so when they start getting on me about “this is a dental health emergency” I just smile politely and roll my eyes when they aren’t looking. (In case anyone is wondering? No I can’t fit floss between all my teeth, but I religiously am a CREST kid & I promise to update this post should I ever get a cavity)

So the day has arrived. Thursday I have an appointment with the dentist to rip open my left side gums and  really bleed a lot get them clean, I finally saved up the money to do it. The problem is when I called to schedule said appointment I was already hurting and swollen (I did not tell the receptionist this, however super sonic hearing is apparently her superpower) I was scolded again for not having made this appointment sooner. So in a pain/frustration induced haze I broke my own rule. I rattled off a list of the things I did this year that also cost between $100 and $200 instead of getting this cleaning done back in March.

My List:

  • Aforementioned glasses
  • Electric bill (every month thank you very much)
  • Extra $200 in gas every month we lived in the hotel (4) after our house flooded (to do completely frivolous things like get kids to school, me to work, etc)
  • Tires for Suzie (my 2001 Isuzu Trooper)
  • Carpet Cleaner (to get indescribable things out of flooded carpet)
  • $300+ per month co pays for meds and therapy for BoyChild I
  • Breaks for Suzie
  • School clothes (underwear/pants/socks/shoes) at about $60-120 per child x3 since someone grew 4 inches, 26 lbs, and 4 shoe sizes this summer. (& well, they can’t go to school shoeless and nekked, no matter how clean their teeth are)
  • School supplies
  • Inspection ready repairs to Suzie & then inspection/title renewal (old girl has had a rough year, but we still love her — & she requires no car payments)
  • Infected toe (I have a feeling the growing 4 sizes was bad for it too) decontamination and whatever else the pediatrician did along with antibiotics
  • 2 children’s birthday parties (ok, I know this is not necessity, but you gonna say “sorry hun, no birthday this year, Mommy is going to the dentist instead” ? Riiight)

 Now it’s not a crazy list, I’ve had worse summers, and I don’t own a credit card so there’s no debt, but it was enough that I just couldn’t fix it until now. I was telling a friend about this, the receptionist and her reaction and what I had to say to shut her up (again, not for sympathy, just shut up) when a stranger nearby says “sounds like you just shouldn’t of had kids if you can’t even take care of yourself.”

What?! Like in the cartoons when they turn red and steam comes out their ears? Yeah, like that.

 So that’s what this was, my rant to get off my chest exactly how asinine both those people were being. I hope if you have ever judged like that you are feeling a bit shame faced and will never do it again. I hope if you have been judged like that (after several Lamaze type breaths) you will know it isn’t you, it’s them. Do you have a story like this? Do you think I’m just needing a nap and a stiff drink calm down because I am overreacting? Let me know. Looking forward to it!

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Dreading Back to School

Even the ads taunt & intimidate me…

This weekend we went Back to School Shopping. I hate back to school shopping. I love summer and to me it’s always the herald that rings in the end of our carefree days. A taunting voice echoing in my head “Back to School. Back to never having enough time. Back to feeling like you are missing out on their childhoods. Back to dreading phone calls. Back to always feeling just shy of good enough.” So obviously, I probably need therapy (or a stiff drink), but I am very careful to not push my hatred of the beginning of the school year, I pump it up in my excited I’m-trying-to-talk-you-into-being-thrilled about this voice. (You may have noticed I use this voice a lot) I’m all “Cool, new teachers! Awesome, new friends! Ooo, want to pick out folders? Yea, let’s get some cool new stuff for school! I wonder what cool things you’ll get to do/see/learn this year?” Blah, blah, blah. Inside I’m scared, every year I approach teachers all bight eyed, full of hope, maybe this year will be different, but by  November I am wishing I could quit my job and home school all three of them. Apparently I am not the only one who gets miffed with the school. All of this trauma starts for me every year with the supplies lists. It seems like that shouldn’t be such a horrible thing but, if you’ve never seen one of these, let me lay a little crazy on you for a minute…

These lists always contain the basics, stuff I have no problem, by the way, purchasing for my children. Items like loose leaf notebook paper, they specify a preference for Wide ruled vs College, but no worries, or book bags (always with this written beside it: NO WHEELS! Apparently wheels will be the death of us all) also no big, I buy them book bags every 2 years -saves money and helps teach that we have to take care of our things. Then they get sneaky. (they being whoever writes these lists) Pseudo basics. What you ask? The list will say: 1 box 12 washable Crayola Markers. That seems like a basic, right? I made this assumption with GirlChild in Kindergarten, I was so naive. I sent her with a box of RoseArt (you know the ones on sale right this minute for $0.50 a box as opposed to the $1.17 Crayolas at Wal-Mart?) 12 Washable Markers. I wrote her name on the box with Sharpie, stuck them in her book bag along with her other supplies and sent her skipping off to school. They sent them back. Along with a note. Have you been the recipient of many notes or perhaps emails that drip from their written word with judgment, disdain, and patronizing tone? I know a few teachers who are great at it. I will paraphrase the note (since it was 8 years ago now) but it is not the only note to the same effect I have received from a teacher regarding school supplies, so it goes about like this:

Please send the requested Crayola 12 pack Washable markers with your daughter immediately. I am sure it is important to you that she be adequately supplied each and every day of school in order to not hamper her learning this year.(that last sentence is a direct quote, BTW) As per ABC County School policy we place all school supplies in bins for the entire class. Do not continue to write GirlChild’s name on her supplies. All markers, etc will be placed in their appropriate bins and we do not want the children to argue over the quality of brand of their supplies, and after all, I am sure you would not want GirlChild to be the child who brought the inferior markers.

 If you can’t see what’s wrong with the above note, please stop reading, walk away from my web page, we can’t be friends.

For the rest of us… Really?! How many 5-year-old “brand snobs” do you know? Have you  ever heard (or read I suppose) such complete crap? And toss in a little Mommy Guilt, wow, f you too Mrs. Soandso. I have received a note along these lines any time I have not sent in exactly what was on the list, down to the brand. (At this point I have accepted defeat and just buy the damn Crayolas for the school and we use perfectly good whatever brand at home)

Other Pseudo basics (these items don’t belong to your kid, they belong to the whole class, which is my problem. I don’t mind buying supplies for my kid. I will even donate a few items to the “wish list”. But I don’t want to contribute an entire additional child’s worth of supplies to each of my children’s classrooms):

*BTW these are real examples & quantities requested on Supply lists for at least one of my children*

12 solid colored pocket folders-no fasteners (I have never seen one of my kids use more than 4 in a school year and that includes the year that BoyChild II lost his “homework folder” and I had to buy him another one, right, not  the teacher replaced it from the class bins, I had to buy another folder, in orange specifically)

15 glue sticks (I want to know who is eating the glue, cause if each of 30 children sends 15 glue sticks, plus the Elmer’s liquid glue on that year’s list, that’s a lot of glue)

12 pack Crayola Colored pencils (again with the brand prejudice)

7 Composition notebooks-black and white only (That is just lame, in my opinion)

6 packages of #2 pencils (again, who is eating these supplies, each package has at least 12 pencils, x 6, x 30 kids…)

Minimum 30 black/blue ink erasable pens (these are impossible to find & almost as hard to write with, why are we still bothering with them?)

That’s obviously not all, but you get the idea, I’m sure. Then they toss Non-supplies on the list. What are Non-supplies you ask? Things the children do not use, that are on the supply list, not the wish/donate/please list, the you-must-have-all-of-these-things-on- the-first-day-or-you-are-interfering-with-your-child’s-schooling list.

Again these are actual “supplies” and quantities from years past.

Non-supplies:

3 reams copy paper (this one has appeared many times, my problem is despite me sending the paper, none of these kids can operate a copy machine. Maybe this year I’ll send 4 and a request for extra practice…)

7 packages of Post-it notes (so that the teacher can send as many disdain filled notes as she/he likes)

4 bottles hand sanitizer (#1 I have a child who can’t use this stuff. #2 why is this ok but sunscreen is a dangerous topical drug? #3 And again with the supply drinking…)

Paper clips/staples/red ink pens/dry erase markers (again things I would totally donate, but be real, none of these things are being used at my kids desk)

And then the completely ridiculous: (I feel like these mostly stand on their own ridiculous feet despite their craft potential)

200 small-dessert sized- paper plates

2 boxes snack sized ziplock bags

4 boxes sandwich sized ziplock bags

Inexpensive small toys for our Prize Box- minimum of 10

2 packages Brown paper lunch bags

Saran Wrap

Aluminum Foil

See what I mean? I am poor. That’s no one’s fault but my own, I get that but why add to that burden? Each year I work extra shifts in order to pay for these lists. This is not even covering the new clothes that kids end up needing each year, I’m not talking expensive clothes, I mean the jeans I bought this weekend at $7.50 a pair at the consignment store (Once Upon a Child– I love them) for BoyChild I who gained 3 inches in height and 22lbs in weight this summer and no longer owns a single item of clothing for school that fits. All in all I spend an average of $125 per child. I make about $700 every two weeks, before I do things like buy $300 worth of meds and therapy co pays each month and even more frivolous things like rent for example. When I read this article and it said this was the second busiest time of year for retailers I believe it. After Christmas I start saving for back to school shopping. The rest of the school year has its own mishaps but damn do I hate Back to School Shopping.

Do you also hate this time of year? Am I overreacting to the supply lists? Does your local school system do the same? Also, someone make me a drink, it’s gonna be a long year…

They are all Liars! Or Just Flip the Box…

Here lately it seems a girl can’t turn around without someone putting

Balance & education are key

in their two cents regarding how we should all be feeding our kids and how anything less than that is tantamount to child abuse.

 If you are looking for an article like that, STOP, boy have you fallen down the wrong internet rabbit hole. There are no such instructions on this entire blog.

Okay, back to the rest of us is this Village where we educate ourselves, swap advice, info, and also silliness. As many of you know one of my (many) pet peeves is people with holier than thou attitudes (and little other qualifiers, often) telling me what to do with my kids. I am going to leave that statement right there, standing on its own because it is probably the opening line for a whole different post I will write later (probably when angry at one of those people). I get really tired of the constant nutrition-based craziness I hear/read/etc all the time it feels like. There are the parents whining that McDonald’s is bad for their kids but advertising to them and how the government should step in and stop them, which I think should now be known as anti-parenting (defining statement of such a character: I, as the person claiming to be the parent of this child, am not able to care for them and/or set reasonable limits, and therefore choose to demand that my government/doctors/the school  system/corporate America do the parenting for me. )There are the celebrities, with no medical training, who are offering Nutrition Guidelines. There are idiots wandering around wanting to make blanket laws/policies regarding what Americans can buy in a grocery store. There are Faux Scientists (these are the ones getting paid by corporations to attach their name and it’s credentials to skewed studies) trying to scare the hell out of us, or conversely, sweeping dangerous shit under big corporate rugs. So what should we do? As parents, what can we do? Educate ourselves, do the research, check the research, talk to your Pediatrician about your unique children. A lot of parents I know do that, but then we forget the next step. Teach your kids. I have said it before, I feel like a big part of my job as a mom is to raise my kids, you know, out of babyhood, through childhood and teen years and on to be happy self-sufficient adults. Adults who need to understand nutrition basics. We all talk about this epidemic of childhood & adult obesity (and I have seen the children and adults) but here’s the thing; not all of our kids are obese, some of them are underweight. I’m not referring to children whose parents cannot feed them regular meals. I have a child whose pediatrician has him on a diet that includes suggestions like “if you can add peanut butter, butter, or dressing to it, do that”. He is the thinnest child in my house. He still drinks (brace yourself for it) 2% milk (the rest of us drink skim, we are not underweight, but no one in my house has ever been close to overweight either), he’s 12. He has been on this diet (using the dictionary definition of the word here) since he was 2, under the monitoring of his pediatrician. He is the reason that I know, for sure, that one meal plan for all can’t work, shouldn’t work.

Every Saturday RedBird, K-man, BoyChild II, and I run errands. We go to roughly 2 different grocery stores each Saturday. We spend a lot of time discussing, debating, and reading labels. The boys (particularly BoyChild II) ask questions about what we are doing, so we explain it to them. We call it Flipping the Box. It goes something like this:

Mom, can I have this? (holding up some brightly colored box of cereal)

I don’t know, Flip the Box and see.

(Turning box) Well, it has 12 grams of protein per serving… ohh, (face falls) I see sugar and 3 “oses” in the list. (Puts box back on shelf) Maybe this one? (moved on to another box)

That’s kinda my point, no tantrum, no whining, he understands what he read (sugars end in ose most of the time– he calls them sneaky sugars, & he’s right) and why that was too much. He is seven and knows that an occasional cookie or whatever is fine, but not for breakfast. He asks for help, cause he’s seven, but he has been given the tools to figure it out himself. Now am I telling you he doesn’t pick up the box of Froot Loops “Just to check”, like maybe that sugary, food dyed, candy masquerading as breakfast got all healthy on us since last Saturday? (it hasn’t) He is seven, after all, he also buys in to the marketing schemes, which brings us full circle. He gets confused, “but it says whole-grains. Those are good, right?” or “They said balanced breakfast. Aren’t we supposed to eat balanced all day?” and so on. This does not, however make me mad at the commercial, it’s an opportunity to teach him how to understand what they are and aren’t saying. To teach him what the hell all of those health food catch phrases really mean. I found a great article here that lists the biggies and explains them really well. He can learn it, not cause his mom is some sort of super smart nutrition guru, or because he’s so exceptionally bright (no that he’s not a smart kid, calm down), he learned just like his SN brother and his sister did (and continue to do so) I take the time to learn the facts and then to teach them. Going to the grocery store is something that becomes a hugely important learning tool. I know I learn better by doing, my kids do too. If you would like some handy resources check out the links I have attached below.

 Pocket Guide for Portion Sizing

 How to Read Nutrition Labels

 16 Misleading Food Phrases

 12 Confusing Foods

 Another Article about Evil Parents, not Evil Junk Food

Learn it, love it, explain it.

So go shopping with the kids, drag them into the kitchen for a lesson in meal planning or just a lesson in what all that stuff on the box means. As always, talk to your doctor, do the research, and don’t blindly follow this week’s trends with your kid’s bodies.

*A note of warning: Following this advise can have the side effect of your children being VERY judgey when they catch you eating out of your junk food stash at 11pm when you think they are asleep. (don’t act all innocent, like I’m the only one) 😉 *

Minimum Wage, a History Lesson, and an All American Hug

Today I was reading an article about minimum wage and how they are thinking about raising it again on the MSN website. Then I read the comments listed below it, once again I was disturbed by how pseudo informed people seem to be. I say pseudo informed (my own made up description) as opposed to uninformed, because these people believe they are quite knowledgeable about a subject that they are in actuality only regurgitating that which they have heard. They make gross assumptions about how our own country works and state these propaganda style statements as fact. I see it all the time, in any of the blog forums I read regularly. It usually irks me, but I don’t feel the need to rant every ten minutes so I just go on to something else. This time I’m reading a pretty well written article about a topic that I have actually done extensive research on. I wrote, while in college (about 4 years ago), this long research paper comparing minimum wage and the living wage, where they came from and why. (I am not publishing the paper here, mostly because it is a really long, 13 pages, and therefore boring research paper, not what this blog is about) For record’s sake I got an A on said paper, so this doesn’t make me an expert, but I can tell you I understand it better than the people whose comments I read do. I did go back and get some references, and updated sources to check what I’m going to share here, mostly because I do not want anyone to take my word for it. I believe that this is my generation’s biggest failing (there are a lot, guys, but this one breeds others) we don’t arm ourselves with knowledge, we simply assume what we’ve been told really is fact, so read people, follow the links and learn.

Whew, sorry it got preachy there for a minute. So I’m going to summarize the article I read in as few words as possible. Essentially it was an article about the idea that our government is proposing another minimum wage increase, which then sparks the debate over minimum wage that has existed since the first one was enacted in 1933. (the minimum wage was $0.25 per hour, it was revoked as unconstitutional in 1935, then reinstated in 1938 FYI) The arguments regarding minimum wage haven’t really changed since then. The cons: it will hurt small business owners, government shouldn’t be that involved in our lives, if you establish a wage “floor” people will never “get off of it”, prices of goods and services will skyrocket, and my personal favorite, fewer jobs will exist because employers can’t afford the workers. (other cons exist but these are the biggies, and have been argued since the 1930s) The Pros: workers will not be as easily taken advantage of, fewer people will live in poverty, people who earn more money per hour will be able to spend more and help stimulate the economy. (same as with the cons, not the only arguments, but the biggies)

Now, a bit of a history lesson, FDR started minimum wage as part of the New Deal plan to help bring us out of the Great Depression. (as a side note this is also when Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, and most of our existing welfare programs originated from) Everyone knows enough about the Great Depression for me to feel silly and insulting of your intelligence trying to describe it, I wasn’t alive, I have spoken to people who were, but I can’t tell anyone much more than they can read in a book about it, so we will be moving on.

To address what seem to be the main misunderstandings people have regarding minimum wage, first of all 2 things got this country out of the Depression, The New Deal and World War II. Well, we tried having a war this time, it did not help, but A for effort, guys! Maybe now we can focus on the other HALF of what helped this country before? When minimum wage was established studies were begun to see how it would affect small business owners, individuals, and the economy as a whole, guess what? Unemployment dropped from 13.9% to 9.4% in a few short years. Most businesses were, in fact, able to stay afloat. This particular argument returns at each raise of Federal minimum wage, did you know not once has there been an increase in small businesses going under/laying off workers immediately (with in 3 years) following a minimum wage increase? In fact, traditionally, minimum wage goes up, unemployment goes down, taxpayer’s welfare spending decreases (or there are shorter wait lists for services), and the economy enjoys a moment of recovery. I find it ridiculous that after decades of proving this we are still making the old arguments against minimum wage.

Now, why should we be increasing minimum wage now? Hello, highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, people! Hard working Americans are unemployed and underemployed. People work 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs, not to support an extravagant lifestyle, but to keep a roof over their heads, a roof they could afford prior to 2009. This is where we get into living wage. In case you aren’t sure what that is exactly, it is an amount per hour, based on location, that a person would need to make to secure food, shelter, and utilities for an individual. In case you missed it, living wage does not account for children, clothing, medical costs, vehicle expenses, or even toiletries, as it was established (and the criteria for that has not changed ) in the 1930s when all of those things were established as “luxuries”. Living wage is adjusted for inflation, and local rental prices etc. In 1933 $0.25 per hour was the living wage (living wage also assumes you are working 40 hours per week at this rate and take no time off).  See where this is going? Minimum wage was to help people starting out in the work force to survive and establish themselves as they grew in a company and acquired more marketable skills, which is why living wage was calculated in the first place. Minimum wage was not meant to be an arbitrary number, it was meant to help people help themselves out of poverty and destitution.  The last time minimum wage was within spitting distance of the current (at the time) living wage was 1967. Today’s minimum wage, while it sounds like a huge increase ($0.25 to $7.50), is actually the furthest below the living wage (percentage-wise) that the minimum wage has ever been. So this means what? That’s right you would need to work 2 minimum wage jobs 40 hours per week each to hit living wage. Tell me about entitlement now, tell me about people whining and wanting the government to rescue them because they are “too lazy” to help themselves. (Obviously I get pissy about these kinds of ignorant comments, thus the long blog today)

So, do we want another Great Depression? Or are we ready to suck it up and help our fellow Americans?

Whew, now that it’s off my chest, feel free to comment, disagree, fact check me, etc. I am waiting to here what you think.

Teen Moms

Ok, so I have completely stayed away from anything that could be remotely construed as controversial so far here at the table. I don’t like long fights in discussion boards, and well just wanted people to like me. But, as anybody who knows me would tell you, that was only bound to last so long. (I think a month was   quite the superior show of restraint) So here we go…

Unless you are living under a rock, (with your laptop, which seems unlikely) you’ve  heard of this show on MTV called Teen Mom. This show, amongst other things has really brought into mainstream everyday discussion being a teenage mother. I have watched several episodes of both Teen Mom and Teen Mom2, mostly because RedBird enjoys them and we can veg out on a Tuesday night for some trashy TV. Do I let GirlChild watch this show? Absolutely not. I let her watch the ABC Family’s Secret Life of the American Teenager, because I will (kinda) watch it with her and it’s a great way to induce a little practical & moral discussion/direction with my young teen daughter. But Teen Mom? No, these girls are a hot mess, and they make me way too angry almost every episode I see.

Here’s the thing, I was/am (not sure the semantics-someone feel free to correct me on this) a teenage mother. I was 17 when GirlChild was born, married her father, had BoyChild I at age 19, and was divorced by my 21st birthday.  So I can look back at myself over a decade ago and see the teenage me in these girls right, actually no, no I can’t. Am I sitting here saying I had my life together at 17? Duh, no, I was pregnant at 17. However, these girls make the 17 year old me look like the most logical, pulled together, responsible, respectful, considerate, and mature 17 year old you’ve ever met. (by the way I wasn’t)These girls give teenage mothers a bad name. I’m not saying that it’s all roses and sunshine in reality, but these girls are so extremely bad at what they are portraying that reality is lost about 5 minutes into every episode.

So, no other reality TV show pisses me off like this one does. I don’t really watch them as a rule, I’m just not entertained by them. But I don’t get angry at the producers for airing those shows  either. Why the hate? I have spent 14 years of my life living down a stigma. 14 years of “Are you baby-sitting your younger siblings? How Sweet.” and “Are you old enough to be her mother?” or “Haven’t you figured out what caused that yet?” or (in front of a toddler) “Why didn’t you just have an abortion? Wouldn’t that have been better?”.  I deliberately dress only in certain clothes if I am going places with my kids, I jokingly call these clothes my mom wardrobe, for the purpose of looking older. I think every mother, to a certain extent wrestles with some self doubt, and some doubt of others. But the teenage mom gets this everyday, every minute of everyday in spades. At an age where most girls are trying to figure out where they are going for spring break we are trying to make real life impacting decisions that make adult women nervous to be making.

A few points I want to make clear. I do not regret having any of my children, I love them more than I could have ever imagined loving anyone. If I could go back would I change it? No, I wouldn’t be the mom, or the person, I am today without having lived through that experience. (and for the record I’ve discovered that after 30 you suddenly become a fan of yourself, which is totally cool) Would I recommend for anyone to have a baby/ get married before you graduate high school? No, no I would not. (BTW I did graduate, on time, but I worked my ass of to do it & my daughter attended at 6 weeks old my graduation) Am I writing any of this to make someone feel sorry for me? No, I made choices, stupid, childish choices, that affect me to this day. No one at 17 or younger (& quite frankly most 25 and younger) should be making adult decisions, they aren’t ready, they think they are but they aren’t. I wasn’t, I just knew I was ready and so in love. I can look back and say that both of those statements were as true as they could be when I was 16, 17, and 18 years old. Here’s the thing though, they were my choices to make, good, bad or indifferent. I had to make those choices, then I had to live with the consequences of those choices.

That’s why I can’t stand these shows, even the Secret Life dose it but it’s at least not claiming “reality”, these girls aren’t living as real teen moms. These girls go on job interviews dressed sloppy, and don’t follow the instructions of their interviewers and manage to get jobs. They work part time, or less but somehow have money for  food clothes, etc. They attend college while other people watch their kids for free, which I get sometimes happens, but every time? No, I don’t think so. They rent apartments or houses. Where can you sign a lease at 17, or 18 with no job for that matter? These girls are treated like celebrities, but claim to be living as “real” teen moms. It’s an injustice to any real teen moms. Girls should know that being a mom is hard, being a teen mom is even harder.

This show also is perpetuating a nasty stereotype, one I’ve had to live with the last 14 years. My SIL is a young mom, she was 19 when her son was born, and my brother, her husband is her baby’s father. She feels similarly to me on this. (not as angry I think-but I’ll give her time lol) Just the other day she was at work and was randomly interrogated by a customer. (She works in food service, so in order to keep her job she was forced to stand there and be polite to the man asking her these questions) “Why didn’t you just have an abortion or give it up for adoption to someone who could be a good parent?” My nephew is 3 and quite healthy/happy/smart, thank you very much. “You’re married? But not to your baby’s father, right?” “Oh, he is your baby’s father? Did you get married just because you were pregnant?” “Why do you work here? Why don’t you work a real job?””Who takes care of your son?” It went on for quite a while. This is not an isolated incident. I’ve had strangers ask me these same questions and others. I once had a child in an emergency room do to the fact that each day for the 4 days prior I took him to the Pediatrician because I was afraid he was dehydrated only to be (literally) patted on the head and told, “he’ll eat and drink when he’s hungry or thirsty”. He was admitted to the ER with severe dehydration, and the first thing that was said to me?” This is why little girls shouldn’t have babies, yours almost died because you   didn’t know how to take care of him.” A social worker was called. By the way I was 21 at the time, but looked like a teenager still, I was charged with neglect, and it was later dismissed in court, but its that attitude that I’ve fought as a mom. Shows like Teen Mom only encourage that attitude, which I can tell you can be dangerous to both the moms and those little babies.

Well, now that I ranted to you all, I’m curious, what is your position on teenage parents, shows like Teen Mom, and why?