Young moms raise some badass kids. Maybe I'm biased, but I don't believe young moms get the credit they deserve.
In fact, I'm still met with surprised faces every time I mention my mother's age and her success.
She had me at 18 years old, and with the age of women having children (if they even want children at all) being higher than ever, I'm not all that shocked by people's reactions.
Just a few years after me, my mother had three more kids. #BigFamiliesRock
Now, I'm only 22 (put the calculators away -- that means my mom is 40), but when I look back at my childhood and reflect on my relationship with my mom today, I wouldn't change a thing.
We got to learn and grow together. I can attribute a lot of my early life lessons to watching my mom grow up as I was growing up, such as:
1. Work Hard, Stay Fabulous
I credit my value for hard work, and drive to succeed, to my mother. She was pregnant with me during her first semester at college, had me (which deserves credit in and of itself because I was a fat baby at 10 lbs.), then went back to school, all while supporting her new family.
Throughout all of that busy work, she still fed me dinner, kissed me goodnight and spent time with me, even if I was bothering her while she studied. (Hey, I knew what a Scantron was before I went to kindergarten.)
Her work ethic is reflected in my life now. I take pride in it; this pride comes from knowing, to a degree, I'm following my mom's example. If she could do it with a kid, I damn sure can do it without one.
Her hard work paid off, too; she's now a tenured teacher and union representative at a local high school.
2. Laugh It Off, You Little Weirdo
"If I don't laugh, I'll cry" was and still is a motto in my household. Humor has helped my family throughout the years because for my mom, as you can imagine, raising a kid with a steady career is no stroll down candy lane, let alone being 18 with no job or degree.
My mom has always had a sense of humor about everything the family has gone through. We call it "emotional boot camp," and so far, we've all come through it with flying colors and only a slightly totally twisted sense of humor.
Fingers crossed for my younger siblings who have yet to reach adulthood.
3. #Blessed is Good Genetics
"Wow! You two could be sisters!" is a saying I expect to hear when I'm out with my mom. I still roll my eyes when I hear it, but I do appreciate it .
However, as an awkward, teenage lump of hormones, I despised it. My friends would remind me I had a MILF, which took a toll on my fragile former self. That is, until I realized my mom was struggling to accept her body, too, which meant I wasn't in the fight alone.
She was my partner in gaining confidence and telling beauty standards to shove it. Now that confidence and positive body image are covered, I can't lie; my mom does look good by any standard.
I have the same awesome, barely aging body with the same blessed genetics as my hot mom. SCORE!
4. Bad Relationships Happen: Get A Drink and Get Over It
My parents were together for a bit then divorced. I saw my mother go through the ups and downs of relationships just as I started wanting to go on dates myself.
Keep in mind, my mom was in her late 20s, early 30s during this time. She didn't have much experience since she was kind of busy with three kids and all.
So, her choices in men were similar to my choices now -- insanely scattered on the range of "amazing, perfectly cut boyfriend material" to "seriously, you're not a serial killer, are you?"
After seeing these latter examples, who thankfully didn't last, I learned a thing or two about dating. There was also a pattern after each relationship: take the time to recover, take the time to be single and most importantly, take the time to have lots of nights out with the girls.
This is a pattern I plan on following until "the one" shows up.
5. Know Your Body, Know Your Options
Once that pesky little time called puberty rocked my world, I was left with a ton of questions. My mom wasn't so far removed from it and was very open with me.
Whenever I had questions, she gave me real answers from books and articles, sometimes even from the classes she was taking. Most importantly, she let me know my options on what I can do about anything that could occur within my body.
At the end of the day, as much as she loves me and wouldn't change her decision to have me, she didn't want me to be a young mom, so protection from pregnancy was freely discussed.
She would give me the facts and let me decide on my own what to do with my body. She still does to this day. Seriously, she knows more about my sex life than most of my friends.
6. Haters Always Get Theirs
You know the fake friends who leave your life after the college years and tequila have faded away? Sometimes, it's just a phase-out; sometimes, it takes a full-blown fight that's been boiling for a while.
My mother has dealt with her fair share of haters and fake friends when transitioning through the phases of her life -- especially when her being a mother came before her being a friend.
I saw my mom become infuriated as a friend became just plain two-faced. Then, she chilled out and said something to the effect of, "Karma's a bitch, don't waste your energy on people like that."
Moms drop knowledge like that regardless of age, but seeing her go through it while I was nearing high school -- aka, cliquey girl hell — seemed like it added credibility to what she was saying.
7. Be The Smart Girl
I said this phrase once and only once because my mom flipped out. The phrase was, "I don't need to be too smart, I'm a girl!" My mom was still in school, as was my aunt (she's only a year older than my mom), who was summoned to deal with her niece.
They spoke to me about how important it is to be the smart girl, to read, to learn and that they were smart girls, too. Most importantly, my mom championed going to school.
She went to school, stayed in school against the odds, and she was not going to let her daughter believe she wasn't supposed to be smart. She called bullsh*t and still asks to see my grades. Now, I'm proud to be a smart girl, as well
8. Unconditional Love
Having a young mom is not easy. Sometimes, I felt like I needed someone with more experience; someone older who lived a different life.
Sometimes, fights got bad with low blows. We were both young, but I was willful, angry and hotheaded, so I said some nasty things. Over time, I came around and apologized for all those fights.
My mom accepted immediately and said, "I understand. I love you, I've always loved you even when you were a little sh*t."
I felt and still feel, at times, I didn't deserve her understanding, but she told me how she wasn't shown unconditional love when she was younger, so she was determined her children receive it.
9. Above All Else, Family Comes First
Throughout the relationship fails, hard work -- school or otherwise — and fights, we chose family.
The loyalty within my family is fierce. Most times, there was no one to fall back on but each other. We all grew, loved and fought for this family.
My mom chose to have a family young and is the best damn example of a mother I know, with 22 years of experience at the mere age of 40.
I'm well aware not just young moms teach their children these lessons, but sometimes, young moms do need more credit for being amazing moms and making it work.
Not to mention, I have an amazing example, so I'm biased, as well as extremely lucky. Bragging aside, I cannot imagine raising a child right now or even being pregnant and having to make a choice; so, cheers to the young moms out there.
You chicks kick some serious ass. As for the kids of young moms, she totally knows how to use Instagram to "check up on you" -- post with caution.