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3 Tips for Teen and Young Single Moms

JD and I stopped at Walmart this morning to stock up on paper products and snacks. And apparently a $4 ambulance toy with a working siren. As we waited in line to pay I scanned the magazine racks and two covers jumped out at me. Both were celebrity weeklies (of course) and both had Teen Mom’s Amber on the cover. The headlines were disturbing…

“Losing Her Baby” and “Out-Of-Control Monster!” Ouch. I didn’t read the stories but the subtext under the titles mentioned late-night hookups with strange men, leaves baby home alone and crazy outbursts!

As a single mom I feel compelled to lend some advice to Amber and other teen/young single moms who may be struggling on their journey. I do realize I was 26, college-educated and employed when I discovered I was pregnant. That aside, here’s my thoughts:

Find Support

We never see Amber’s family on camera and this could simply mean they don’t want to be filmed and refused to sign a release. Every now and then, Amber’s cousin shows up and the two talk things out. But, from what MTV presents, Amber really has no one around—not even to help her, but to hang out with. Make a single mom friend, Amber. One of the best things I did for JD and myself was befriend a fellow single mom. Now, I know this is easier said than done (I mean, it took me two years to find one!), but all you really have to do is google your city/st location and the phrase “single parent support group.” You can also check listings in a local newspaper or parenting publication. I read The Parent Paper, which services North NJ. It lists all types of support groups from “Gay parenting” to “Single parenting.”

Put Dating On Hold

I’m Pro-choice, so if I offend anyone, I’m sorry. But face it, your life as a hard-partying teen or young adult is over. If you want to date and drink and have random midnight romps, then why did you have a baby? Why didn’t you have an abortion or put the child up for adoption? It took me a long time to even think about dating and when I do go on a date it pretty much means one glass of wine, maybe some food and some good conversation. The night ends with me paying my babysitter—usually before midnight. I’m not complaining about my dating life, because my life with JD is my priority. I mean one of the reasons I even went on this date, here, is because I successfully potty-trained JD. Does that sound silly? (YES!) Before that, my thought process was, who the heck am I to go on a date, when my kid (he was approaching 3) isn’t potty-trained? Who the heck are you, Amber, to go on a date when you don’t have a high school diploma? (Study for the GED instead of going on a date.) You just need to evaluate your situation and decide what’s more important. You need to think about who you let into your home and child’s life. Amber’s new boyfriend was mistaken for a child molester—thank goodness for that. But I still don’t think it’s safe and proper to have some new guy with no money or job, who just got out of jail live in your home, let alone be in your home around your kid. Leah is already witness to how fragile circumstances can be. Her parents are not together. I think about JD and I am afraid to even get close to someone because that means they’d have to get close to him. If that person were to leave, then JD would deal with that and HIS FATHER’S ABSENCE. It’s not fair. It’s something I’m dealing with or trying to make sense of. It’s not healthy to have this wall up, but it’s hard to pull it down. This is what I think about when it comes to dating--not what I'm going to wear.  

Enough with the "I'm so tired!" (ALL MOTHERS ARE TIRED.)

I get it. Single parenting is EXHAUSTING. But you can’t lie in bed and talk on the phone while your baby walks around babbling to herself. When I’m exhausted and JD won’t stop running around, I invite him to pick out some books and join me on the couch. My son loves to be read to, so this works out for me. We sit and I read and it really is a way for me to get off my feet and take a break, while JD is completely looked after and stimulated. I find myself taking a breather as I sit on the rug in the bathroom and JD plays in the tub. Sneak in Me-Time. Another tip, if there’s no one around to let you take a nap (because, yes, you can absolutely take a nap) and the baby/child is wide-awake, just get moving. MOVE IT! I know this sounds nuts, but I put JD in his stroller or keep him on foot and go for a long walk when I’m tired and need a break.

The fresh air wakes me up. I said “wakes me up!” Sorry, single moms, but if your child isn’t napping then you need to have some coffee, or mint gum (another trick of mine!) or do jumping jacks—it’s not about you, anymore. Harsh, but true. No one feels bad for you. Why would you want people to feel bad for you? Every now and then I see this random girl (a friend of a friend). She's really nice, but she always says, "How are you?" Touches my shoulder. Looks concerned. "You doing OK?" I'm fine. I'm blessed. Take control of your life. I did. Be strong. Show your child how strong you are.

I think it would be great for you all to leave a comment with some advice for single/young moms. We can bash Amber, or we can help her. Thanks!

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