I was a young mom. If you want to get technical I was a teen mom, but I really hate saying that. There are so many stereotypes associated with teen moms that I just don't want any part of. I am not an after school special. I am not a Jerry Springer episode waiting to happen. I am just me, and I am just like any other mom...only younger than a lot of people.
There's a lot of fascination with teen moms now days. The teenage pregnancy rate is on the rise for the first time in a decade and it's all over the media. Movies like Juno and TV shows like MTV's 16 and Pregnant series pique people's interest in the subject and I've gotten asked in the grocery store by complete strangers if I was a teen mom. I also get asked, again by complete strangers mind you, if all of my children have the same father. I kid you not-I have been asked that multiple times as if just because I'm young I must have several baby-daddies. Right.
Well my story is not nearly so dramatic as that-it's just a story like anybody else's.
When I was 16 I was living with my best friend at the time in an apartment and working. I really wasn't doing much else-I have always been, by nature, a homebody. My roommate however, was not. She loved to go out and one night she decided to drag me along with her and her boss to go karaoke. Well you know me-I love to sing-so with enough convincing I figured hey, I had two days off in a row, and the place they were going was a family place so there wasn't any drinking and I didn't have to worry about having to carry a loaded roommate home, why not go and have fun?
Of course, that's where I met Hubby. I'll tell you more about that later but for now let's just say it was love at first sight. We were immediately inseparable, and from that first night forward we saw each other literally every day. A few days before I turned 17 Hubby and I started sleeping together. I don't regret it to this day-I knew he would be my one and only and that I would spend the rest of my life with him. Still, even knowing that, I also knew enough to be responsible. The first time that we were together I was already on the pill and we were using condoms. To this day I am the only person I have ever met that had completely protected sex their first time-I wasn't an idiot. I was too busy, I was too broke, and I my life was too chaotic to purposefully bring a child into the world, even with the man I loved.
When we had been dating for three months, Hubby proposed to me for the first time. I was barely 17, but there was absolutely no doubt in my mind from the moment I saw him that he was The One. Of course I happily accepted and couldn't wait until I turned 18 and could marry him. We had the normal challenges of any other young, new couple with the additional stress of my struggle as an independent minor on top of it of course, but we struggled through good times and through bad. I had to work 40 hours a week and commute 30 hours a week (3 hours each way five days a week) to have a job that paid decently and so that I could take care of myself and get ready for Monkey. I moved into my own apartment, and I worked until I was two weeks over due and my doctor told me that I had to stay home. Monkey was born a week later, and 12 days after I went back to work 45 hours a week. Shortly after that Hubby and I moved in together and we both worked. Hard. For years. When monkey was about three Hubby got a job that paid well enough for me to stay home, so I did.
The rest is pretty much history. We got married, we got pregnant with Baby Bug, we moved, we got pregnant with The Bean, and here we are ten months later happily married and with a good sized family. Our children are happy and healthy. I love being a homeschooling mom of three and I never for one second wish I could be a "normal" twenty four year old because I think my life is better than the life I would have had right now had life not been the way it was. I personally think I would be terribly lonely without Hubby and the kids. I am a responsible, hard working, loving young mother-I am not a "teen mom".
A lot of young moms aren't. Now if only I could convince the strangers in the grocery store.