I became a mom early in life at 16 and I struggled. I expected to struggle being a high schooler with a baby and everything else that comes with having a baby. My days were spent going to school and going straight home to care for my baby. No more dances, sports games, sleepovers, or hanging out after school. My life changed. I was forced to grow up and be responsible not only for myself, but for my son who depended on me.
The one struggle I didn’t expect was to lose most of my friends. My life became drastically different from theirs and instantly we drifted apart. I understand now why, but back then I didn’t. I felt isolated and lonely. My life was turned upside down. I was young and I didn’t fit in with other high schoolers or other moms. Losing my friends was really hard. Who would want to hang out with the girl with the baby though? No one wanted me to do anything knowing my son would be tagging along. I quickly fell into a routine of focusing on school and my son. Don’t get me wrong a few stayed and they were amazing. Always accepting my son as part of the package and not caring that he was coming with.
Over the next few years I made a few new friends. Some we only hung out at school, some outside school, and some in school and outside school. Despite the amazing people I met and became friends with, I never felt like I fit in. I always felt like I was an outsider in every group I was in. I didn’t have a normal life. I accepted that right away because I didn’t have a choice, but also because it was my life. I had a child to take care of. I was still extremely lonely and I still felt extremely isolated. I wanted nothing more than to be ‘normal,’ but this was my normal. I was a high schooler, I was a mom.
After high school I still struggled to fit in. I wasn’t like other moms. I was young and people still looked at me with that look of disgrace. I felt even more isolated and lonely. My son didn’t have many playdates because I was a young mom. Other moms made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Like I could never be good enough because my age defined my parenting. Even some family members doubted me. That hurt. It hurt to feel like I wasn’t good enough or that I couldn’t be a good mom because I let other people’s opinions cause me to doubt myself.
Over the next 10 years I met some of the most amazing people. I wasn’t a young mom to them and the age I had my son didn’t matter. I made friends at jobs, at playgrounds, at my children’s schools. For the first time ever I was just a mom. For the first time ever I felt like I fit in with other moms. We could talk about our children, offer advice, get advice. I had finally found my ‘tribe’ of moms that are just like me. We are goofy. We love our children, but understand they drive us nuts. We don’t care that coming over means bringing our children. I was apart of something I needed, but didn’t realize I needed.
Being a mom is hard. It’s not something we can do alone as much as we’d like to. We need other moms to ask advice, complain to, give advice, and just overall relate to. It’s how we survive this crazy motherhood journey. To everyone that’s been there for me, accepted me for me, and helped me be the mom I am today, thank you. I couldn’t do this without you. You took a lost, isolated, lonely, mom and made her feel like she belongs. You made her feel like she is not alone in her struggles. And most importantly you made her stop doubting herself. I know thank you will never be enough, but I can never thank you for all you amazing people have done for me.