I’m a happy teen mom. I know, right?!?

Guest post by Beth Stone

Photo by Beth Stone.
Photo by Beth Stone.

In my little world of 19-year-old-ness I never knew what life was until I had my daughter. My life now has so much more meaning and purpose — her smile is the highlight of my day. Her cuddles are my favorite part of the morning. I want to show her the world, I want to give her the world, and I want to make the world a better place — because she is my world.

I now sing the ABCs at least 12 times a day, play instruments like the harmonica and xylophone, read books like Where the Wild Things Are, draw with sidewalk chalk, and jump on the bed. Sandwiches taste better when they are in the shape of a star and furniture looks much nicer when covered in crayon art. My alarm clock pulls my hair and asks me for a sippy cup and crackers. My evenings consist of story times and dance parties in the living room. My grocery trips now take three times longer than they used to, but I have the best little helper loading and unloading the cart for me.

Sound familiar? That’s probably because it is.

I’m one of the oddball teens who is happily married to a guy I’ve been with for five years, who moved across the country to re-locate to our dream city, has an adorable little apartment, and will be buying our first home next year. I’ve always been very proud of my “young mom” status and have tried writing about it numerous times. In all the times I’ve tried to talk about it though, the content has been either too defensive (don’t judge me!), too whiny (no one wants to play with me!), or too conceited (I won’t be dead by the time I have great-grandkids!). It took me a bit to come to the final conclusion that most mothers, regardless of age, just love being a mother. The rest is, well, whatever. There is no rulebook written by Mother Nature that specifies what age you can enjoy or flourish from all the fun little quirks and stresses of parenting.

I do believe some of my struggles directly deal with my age. I was a first-time mom at 17 and am on my way to having a second before I turn 20. Shit is sure to follow. I occasionally get eyeballed during toddler playgroups and sometimes blatantly questioned about my age by curious mothers. It really isn’t that big of a deal, though. The only time that ever bothers me is if it’s followed by sympathy or straight-up negativity — it just seems silly to me. Could you imagine asking a mother her age and then apologizing for it?

It’s also a bit difficult to make and keep “mommy friends.” It could be because of my age, but it could also be because I’m straight-up weird. Not everyone in the world is crazy, vegan, and highly energetic. The one time I considered going to a playgroup for tots of teen moms, it ended up being more like a support group… which is not what I was looking for.

However, these are just a couple measly struggles for me as an individual. No teen mom or otherwise will say the same thing when asked what they deal with. Everyone has struggles — that’s life. So really, the difference between a teen mom, a mother in her 20s, a mother in her 30s, and so on is: nada. And honestly, who cares? Age by no means affects your ability to be a mother.

Whoever you are, I bet you worry about your child more than you could’ve ever imagined you would. That your child’s pain hurts you more than it hurts them. I bet that you’d spend an hour cooing at them to see a smile, and that when their little hand wraps around your one finger you melt… just a wee bit.

That’s what is important.

Comments on I’m a happy teen mom. I know, right?!?

  1. I had my first at 19, my second at 20, and sometimes when I read articles like this, or see what other young moms put on their Facebook pages, etc, I think, “Really? You guys honest to god feel that way?”
    It just kind of blows my mind. I love my children, of course, but if I would have had the information that I have now at 22, I absolutely would have waited much longer to become a mother. If it’s a bad idea, generally speaking, to get married at a young age, because you haven’t figured out who you are and established your life yet, isn’t just as bad of an idea to bring a new life into the world when you don’t have yours started yet?
    I feel like if I would have waited, even if I had just waited until the age I am now at 22, I would have been able to provide much better living situations, food, clothing, and a much happier and more stable mother for them than I was able to do at age 19….and yes, I was married when both of my children were born.
    I mean, good for you if you’re able to do that at a young age, but I would make a different choice if given the opportunity now. And I’m not going to present having children at a young age as a good idea or positive thing to my children when they are teenagers either.

  2. I get those reactions double. My STEP SONS (aka i didnt birth them) are only 15 years younger than me. So now that theyre 7 and i’m only 22, people assume weird things. I get looks all the time at Parent Night at school because i look like a KinderMom. I guess the fact that i have an 8mth old doesnt help either. It sucks so bad being silently judged by people who dont know the whole story. I’d like to ask them if they think they’re somehow a superior mother because they’re older yet I’M the one who gets my kids on time everyday. I’m the one who gave up a job to take care of my kiddos. I dont leave them in day care all day…but i’m not a good mom because i’m young. Its such bullshit. Now, i try to be really open minded when i see a “nontraditional” mom/kid combo. Because really, its not my business.

  3. Thanks for this piece! I work with lots of teen moms and it was wonderful to read something written by one who is flourishing!

  4. It’s so interesting to hear all these different perspectives! My mom had my oldest brother when she was 19. She was a great mom to all of us, but she’s admitted to me (after I was an adult) that as much as she loved being a mom there were times that she felt like she missed out on a lot of things because of starting so early.

    I’m almost 28, and we’re planning to wait another couple of years before we start trying for babies… and I do feel like I’ve experienced a lot of things I wouldn’t have if I’d started having kids early (never mind the fact that I was in a really horrible relationship when I was 19). But we’re also behind my original “perfectly planned” ideal for parenthood. It will be really interesting to see how I feel about it five or ten years from now…

    Thanks for the perspective! This was a really interesting, well-expressed viewpoint.

  5. Having worked in Gloucester, MA during the whole ‘pregnancy pact’ saga, I have to say that your post is amazing.

    You may find yourself feeling different from the other moms around you because YOU ARE. It take most women decades to develop the level of self-awareness that you seem to have. Enjoy it and keep sharing what you know.

  6. I had my son the same month I turned 20 with my high school sweetheart…so I quess that would be considered a young mom. I now have 2 kids (a son and daughter) and my only regret is that I didn’t have my second a little closer in age to my son! Being a younger mom is the way to go in my opinion..people assume I am young cause I look really young so I get the looks and whatnot ALL the time..just shrug that shit off and keep doing what your doing…and don’t worry..you will find other mommy friends like when your first starts school etc.

  7. I’ve met teen moms that where very mature and women who didn’t have their first until 38 who needed to GROW UP. And I have things I wish I’d gotten done before having my favorite little oopsie, but if I had waited for the “perfect” time, I’d have been about 30 years too old to have children.

    I think the way people look at young moms can be similar to the way that people look at couples that have big age differences. But people need to realize that it is all about PERSONALITY and maturity level, not calendar age!

    In maturity, I am “older” than my own dad because he has emotional issues and there are a whole host of other issues which can leave some people behind in maturity or make people mature earlier as well. (Although I will note that my mother has emotional issues and is much more mature than me. Probably because she had a baby when she was young!)

  8. Oh YES! I thought I was the only one! I’m a little older (20) and already married with the first on the way. I always blush and get defensive when people ask why I “rushed” into marriage and parenthood. No rush, just the right time for ME and my best friend, who is also my husband. You are such an inspiration to me. I loved your article and rest assured I will be frequenting your blog! Go younger-than-the-“norm” Moms who want to be just that!

  9. This article is amazing and the end brought me to tears. I’m 20 and I have a beautiful almost 2 yearold boy and he is my entire world, I to get those dirty and strange looks and all I can say is I got to meet the love of my life at 18, not 30 or 40 and now I get to spend the rest of my life with him and his daddy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  10. Okay so I am coming a little late to this comment party but I originally read this article when I was pregnant with my daughter.. now she is 7 months and I am 22. Life is so wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that I wish more people my age were raising children. I am also a single mumma, so my situation is different, but I feel stuck in between my 20 something friends who are out doing their party thing and the late thirties ladies I meet in mama groups who are married and totally settled down (with no disrespect to that). Spotting another young mama where I’m from feels like spotting a unicorn!

    Anyway, it is so refreshing to see an “early mama” blog that is on the offbeat hippie farmy homesteady side of things. Thanks Elisabeth!

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