Bottom-line, the day you become a teenage mom is not doomsday.  You can have a productive and successful like with your children after having a baby at young age.  Pittsburgh Brown Mamas is a living testament to that and so is my mother.  Most of our moms started motherhood at a young age and went on to further their educations, marry and have the life they yearned for.  In addition, teenage moms have a plethora of knowledge to share with their children.  The advantage of teenage motherhood is that if you’re paying attention

1. A Promise is a Promise

My mom kept her promise.  She might not have had all the time, all the money and all the resources she needed, but she kept her promise to provide for us, love us and give us the best she has.  Throughout my life my mother is the one person I know I can count on when times are good and bad.

2. Be Resourceful

Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  That’s what we call it in our community.  Well my mom was the master of it.  Through her ability to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table NO MATTER WHAT, she taught me that where there is a will there is a way.  There’s no such thing as can’t.  There’s only won’t.  From knowing how to make sure all the bills get paid when there’s not enough money to looking fly when the cash ain’t high, my mom taught me that resources come to those who will them.

3. Everything Will Not be Perfect

With no daddy in our house, a mom whose still learning as she goes and the crazy antics of my sisters and I, things were not perfect in the Levy household.  But, boy did that house run.  The ghetto does not have to be a place of havoc and chaos.  Perfection is in the imperfection.  My mom worked 9-o-5 and then some.  But selling icy cups out of our house when my mom wasn’t home and riding our bikes down the steepest hill in Wilkinsburg made me the person I am today.  So, while things were not perfect, it was in those moments of perfect imperfection that Cindy Mendoza became who she was meant to be, and I’m happy with that.  Thank you mommy!

4. Trying is not Doing

Stop trying and just do it. My mom would always say this to me, and I say it to my sons all the time.  My mom didn’t just try to send us to Catholic school on a $30,000 a year income, she did it.  She signed up for scholarship programs, robbed Peter to pay Paul and good grades were not optional in here house.  Simply put, if you’re effort includes whining, complaining and fails to include actually putting the puzzle together you are hindering yourself more than you’re helping yourself. And we all know what the elders say: God helps those who help themselves.

5. Stop Arguing with Your Sisters

You’ve only got them and they’ve only got you.  I’ve seen my mom and her sister go through their fair share of ups and downs.  At the end of the day though, they always come together and do the right thing.  Bottom-line at the end of the day all you’ve got is family.  Plus, a dysfunctional relationship with sane siblings is often a sign of inability to handle relationships period.  I’m the oldest of my siblings.  My mother taught that it’s my job to set the example and be a peacemaker.  She taught me that by doing it herself.

So there you haveit.  Please, let’s stop all the chatter around teen moms not having the ability to be #goodmamas. Effective mothering is all about dedication, routine and creating a space where you allow yourself to make mistakes and still get up the next day.  It has nothing to do with your age, socio-economic status or where you live.  A mother can be just as effective in the ghetto, at 17 and with no husband as she can be in a mansion, with a million dollars and at 42.  Especially when you consider that the value of a person has nothing to do with their bank account and everything to do with their ability to listen to their heart.


Cynthia Mendoza

Hello. Welcome to BrownMamas.com a blog for Black moms looking to thrive while raising kids in this hectic world and the headquarters for Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a Pittsburgh support group for Black moms. Here I write about raising my three boys, living in and loving Pittsburgh, dating my husband, gardening and all kinds of other stuff. Thanks for visiting. Stay long & come often!

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