Being a teen mom isn’t easy. It’s even harder when most of the teen moms you know are not at all concerned about being good mothers. Don’t let yourself be a crappy teen mom just because that’s the only type of teen mom you’ve ever seen. Here are 5 points of advice to get you started.
1. The first thing to do is accept reality. You are now a mom. A teen mom to be more exact. But the most important word of those two is the mom. You will only be a teen for a little while longer. You will be a mom for the rest of your life. It’s much more important to put all of your efforts into being a mom. It is time to accept that even though your age is still in the teen digits your worry free and responsibility free days are over. It’s time to grow up and be a mom.
Don’t get me wrong though. Giving up a couple years of teen time is a very small price to pay for all the wonderful things that come with being a mom. The first smile, the first hug, when they want you and only you. But wait. There’s more. Being a TEEN mom gives you a couple added benefits. Like the fact that by the time you’re in your early thirties, your kids will be old enough to stay home alone. You’ll have a life again! And by then you’ll be wiser, make better decisions, and be able to afford it. Plus all your friends who were not teen moms will more than likely have small kids then and can pay your kids to babysit so you can all go out. Don’t forget the designated driver!
2. Now that we have decided to accept reality and make the most of being a teen mom, it’s time to make another important decision. This is a simple rule Child first- man later. If you are still with the father of your child and have a good strong relationship then you can skip over this rule. But if not, as let’s face it, most teen relationships do not last, then it is time to concentrate on your child. The relationship you form with your child is going to be the most important relationship you start in your teens. Put all your efforts into your relationship with your child. I once read something that said the happiest children are the ones who have parents who light up with happiness every time their child walks in a room. Make your child the star of your world, a man can come later.
3. After deciding to focus more on the mom part of your title than the teen part, it’s time to make some changes. Your old hangout might have been the mall or some other place to go hangout with other teenagers. Time to find new hangouts, mommy hangouts. A good place to start is at your local park or at a story time at your local library. Your kid will love it and you can work on making some new friends. Mommy friends. These are the people who have a lot of the same priorities that you now have. Talking about being a mom is a great icebreaker. And making friends with other moms will give you someone to talk to when you and your child are having a hard day.
Changing from teen to mom instantly can be daunting. Don’t think about it as giving things up, think about things from a new perspective. Instead of going to the movies to see the latest action flick with your friends, go rent the latest Disney or Pixar movie and settle down to watch it your child. There is a whole new world out there designed for kids, but the secret is, most of these places are pretty fun for adults too. Chuck-e-cheese, America’s Incredible Pizza, the zoo, science center, local toy store, all of these places have things to not only interest a child but to interest you too, you just have to look. And when you’re feeling sad about growing up so quickly go buy a new toy for your kid and pick yourself up something too, it’s okay to feel like a kid again in a toy store.
4. Being a mom is hard work, and being a teen mom can sometimes make you feel very alone. There are many places you can find support. Look for a local Teen M.O.P.S. group. M.O.P.S. stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, which means from birth until school age. Many places offer a special Mops just for teens. They usually meet at least one evening a month, sometimes more. You bring your child and they get to go play with other kids and you get to eat a meal with other moms your age without children interrupting you. The meetings usually include some sort of activity, art, a movie, guest speakers, or parenting lessons. These groups also tend to be good places to find resources. Some even have ways you can earn items like diapers or other baby/ child items. Most Teen mops are free. Some are held in churches, but you don’t usually need to attend the church, just be aware that they might pray at dinner.
Another great place to find support is through playgroups. Playgroups vary widely, some meet at people’s homes alternating each week, some meet at area parks or places of interest locally like zoos. You can Google the word playgroup and your zip code to find local playgroups. One thing to be aware of is that even though most of these say they are open to anyone you might have a slightly hard time fitting in at first because of your age. A lot of the moms you will find at a playgroup will be at least 10 years older than you, maybe 20. The stereotype about teen moms is an obstacle you need to overcome, and the best way to do so is to show up again. Show them that teen moms can be great moms. A playgroup will first be for your child, but eventually might end up being just as fun for you as you gradually make friends.
5. Being a teen mom is hard. Being a mom is hard period. But you will always have an advantage over other moms who waited to have kids. First of all, your young, you have tons of energy. Even though sleepless nights with a crying baby are no fun, doing it in your teens is much easier than when you’re older. Secondly, never forget the light at the end of the tunnel. In 18 years, you won’t be all that old, in your thirties, and your kid will be off to college and you will have your life back. You’ll be a better person then because you already raised a child.
Embrace being a Teen Mom. Enjoy it; your child really will be grown before you know it. Push yourself; expect great things from yourself and your child. Teach them, love them, and encourage them. Show them that having a teen mom for a mom is a wonderful thing!