Contrary to popular belief, all is not lost the day you become a teenage mom.
You can have a productive and successful like with your children after having a baby at a young age. My life is a living testament to that, and so is my mother’s. Many of the moms I engage with through Pittsburgh Brown Mamas 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. Their is hope in being a teenage mom, you just have to tap into it. Here are five lessons I learned from my teen mom.
1. A Promise is a Promise
My mom kept her promise. She might not have had all the time, all the money or all the resources she needed, but she kept her promise to provide for us, love us and give us the best she could give. 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 teen moms call it when you’re just trying your best to pay all of your bills without the necessary cash flow. 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 teenage 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 who’s 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-to-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 Muffy 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 her 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 me that it’s my job to set the example and be a peacemaker. She taught me that by doing it herself.
So there you have it. Please, let’s stop all the chatter around teen moms not having the ability to be good moms. 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 teenage mom 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.
Wanna hear stories from other teen moms? Click here to read stories from our #GoodMama campaign.