Category Archives: Education

Rap, Nudity and Women

I enjoy a good rap song. As a music lover it was bound to happen. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in the suburbs of Detroit, it was practically inevitable. I remember the dances in middle school and the jams from the skate rink. For my generation, rap is pop culture. I’ve always had a very particular taste and to be honest, once I got to college, I had outgrown most rap. I still love to hear a good rip, especially if there is a level of integrity behind what the song writer is trying to express.

Lately though, I have noticed a disturbing trend in the rap videos I watch on YouTube: blatant nudity using women. Now I know this has happened in the past, but now it is the norm. To get specific, large naked female butts draped across the images of a rapper’s lifestyle. All to the beat of the newest song being played in brainwashing repetition by your local radio station. Let me get straight to my point:

I am trying to encourage young mothers and women alike to get their secondary education. I am doing this because I understand the difference a college education can make in a single mom’s world. It is dog-eat-dog out there! Trust me ladies, you need all the advantage you can get in this life. Yet, my competition is rap music; a multi-million dollar industry that is now using the naked female body to portray success. How can I encourage young ladies to keep their clothes on and focus on their minds along with their attributes towards society? How can I convey to my nation that glorifying sexual nudity in public is satanic and downright trashy? Hopefully I just did.  #PleasingAbba

Working Moms vs Stay-at-home Moms

This is the battle, who is right and who is better? There is a range of emotion that follows this topic and it is no wonder why. Is there a more tender place in the heart of a woman then that space reserved for her own baby? I’ve known some pretty selfish people in my life and even they were moved to tears at the first time of having to leave their baby behind to return to work. I have had the privilege of living both situations, and because this is such an unrelenting topic, I would really like to address it for young mothers. Most young mothers are single moms because we know that 76% of teen pregnancy is unplanned. Since these teen moms are not married, a lot of the time they carry the financial burden of their child alone. It was like this for me. The father of my son was never involved, even during the pregnancy. I did have my parent’s support, but I felt obligated right away to earn some kind of money for myself and my son. I got a retail job at sixteen when my 1st was only a few months old. I went back to high school full-time 5 weeks after giving birth and on top of that I was working a part-time job at the mall. I woke up at 6 am 5 days a week and my son went with me to school. The majority of people have enough sense to agree that at this stage of my mothering experience, it was no good for me to be a stay- at-home mom. I never read the negative stats on teen moms, but I knew it would only make things worse on my son for his mother to be a drop out. NO WAY was I taking that crap from a society that had already betrayed me. I stayed in school and I kept working. My son was in daycare, a lot. I had my parents to help out with childcare in the evenings and weekends, but they both worked full-time and had lives of their own. It didn’t last long, they became fed up and insisted my son and I move out. There I was, 18, single, with a 2-year-old. Not too many would be confused why I was a working mother for those early years. Like many, I had no choice.

I did go on with my education and graduate college in five years. I worked as a waitress for consistent cash in my pocket and lived off of loans to get by with my books and bills. I got a good job right after graduating and within two years I was married and ready to focus on starting my family. Finally, I would get to be a stay-at-home mom! That is what I did and I dived into it with all my being! Those first years of getting pregnant with my next few children were precious, but there was a new element of hard, no money. No money of my own that is. I was to be submissive and embrace humility and service, all with a willing heart. I began to take on this attitude of feeling bad that I hadn’t been home with my oldest as a teen mom. Maybe, I thought, I was wrong to stay in school and focus on my education at the cost of those invaluable years with him? This was an emotional time filled with many unanswered questions about the role of mothers in modern society. I remember reading Titus chapter 2 for the first time and being enraged. THIS had never been taught to me as a young female. Today, when I question so-called experts in the church on woman’s issues, not one will answer me, all run for cover (cowards). Read it for yourself:

Titus 2:3-5 KJV

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Throughout bible, blaspheming the Word of God is only mentioned this one time. That if Christian women are not discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, the word of God can be blasphemed.

What!?

Why don’t they talk about this in church? I mean, seems like some strong words being used here and NO ONE, not one person in the church or in my family or community can explain this to me? Why? What does this mean?

This verse became the spark of an unquenchable fire. The emotions of money and babies and my own mother leaving me at daycare to pursue her financial stability were all-consuming. What would I do with my life? Like most mothers that are madly in love with their babies and husband, I really wanted to get this right. I read the verses over and over. I looked into the past. In my grandmother’s day most women lived the Titus 2 life. I studied feminism and I thought I had found my answer. Angry bitter women must have been to blame. It was them that stole the housewives of America and pushed women to abandon their God ordained position! Now I was angry. Angry for being lied to by my teachers who had brainwashed my mind from my earliest of memories,

What are you going to be when you grow up?” and “A woman can do ANY job a man can do.”

Their voices stern with authority standing over my 5-year-old mind. Career day was serious and expectations were laid out.  “Keeper at home” was never an option for myself or the millions of other girls in my time. Had I ever said stay-at-home mom for what I wanted to be, that would have been unacceptable and I knew it.

So there I was. Privileged with the ability to not serve another master apart for my lord and husband. Safe, blooming in motherhood, and confused as can be. After all I did complete my education. I had been conditioned my whole life to compete with my male peers as an equal, but now in my christian married life the rules were much different. My life completely changed. I had baby after baby. I shopped the clearance racks and clipped coupons. I gave up so much of the life I had been used to and I did it willingly. I was reduced to it and it was not easy to transition out of who I was made to be, but I did it because I believed in it. I took the scorning looks and words from family and friends. I took the sleepless nights and the never getting a break. The more babies I had the worse the criticism and isolation became. Now the mom support I use to receive turned into bitter jealousy from peers. My family, friends, community and society, all looked down on me and the respect I once held as an educated working woman just disappeared. I was now not myself. I was defined by my choice, Stay-At-Home Mom. Not worthy of a break or a friend or help. People I needed just mocked my choice to have children and they wanted me to pay. Eventually it was too much and I wanted out.  Now you can think I am exaggerating, but walk a mile in my shoes. Go through 8 pregnancies & care for babies with no income (earned for your labor) for over ten years and then we will talk.

may i

I can only relate what my experience has been and while I will never regret staying home to invest in my husband and children, I can also tell you trying to raise a family in poverty is a nightmare. With the recession our country has recently faced, making enough money is a challenge for most Americans. The best part of my struggle is my journey has eliminated my anger and hate towards other moms. I no longer blame feminism or my government education and brainwashing that molded my “I can do any job a man can do” core programming.

I have made peace with who I am.

I currently work from home as a writer. I  juggle the childcare and homeschooling with my husband. We are making plans to hire help to come into our home so I can work more hours and make more money. My husband and I have battled it out and we are finding what works for us, to care for our large family. I do not want to think about what life would be had I dropped out all those years ago. I am so glad I followed my gut! Otherwise, I’d really be in trouble.

Titus chapter 2 is still my pillar. It is still that grounding I need to remind me the importance God places on the woman’s role in the home. Ultimately, my God and my man come first. My first place of concern has to be my husband and children. If that is not right, the money won’t create the full life I deserve. I have learned to trust my heart. I have learned that people are cruel and are not going to carry your responsibilities for you, even when you really need that support, so why listen to them? Everyone told me not to have more babies, EVERYONE. But guess what, my children love me more than anyone ever has. My children bless me non-stop! They have educated and enlightened my life and soul!

What’s right for you won’t be right for another mom, so what’s this war between us moms really about? Competition? Our own past hurts? Jealousy? Time to drop it ladies. Let’s just love our God and men and children like crazy. Let us just be so driven to love our own families. And if your eye happens to catch a glimpse of another mom’s life, and you feel that awkward cringe of judgment for be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, smile inside and think of me! I give you permission to be you! #TEENMOMSUCCESS

 

Pornography and Why It Changes Us

I must have been 5 or younger, I don’t know for sure. I know my parents divorced when I was 5 and we moved out of the trailer park only a year or so after that. It was a new park, to give credit, and I lived there with my mom, dad and older brother from the time I was 2 until not long after my parents separated. It was a huge neighborhood, to me. Our dad owned his own landscaping business which happened to have a contract with a local bicycle shop. One of my clear memories from when my parents were still married is our father pulling up with his trailer behind his work truck and two brand new bikes for my brother and I. Mine was pink with a white-flowered plastic weaved basket. We would ride our bikes all over that park. It was a labyrinth of paved road with trailers lining each side, a few parks and a clubhouse with a laundry mat and an outdoor pool. There was plenty of room for us to ride our bikes and roam free. It shocks me to think no one watched us. We just roamed about. Of course there where many children in this neighborhood besides us. My brother and I stuck mostly together. We met other kids at the bus stop and some we met just ridding around and exploring.

One day my brother and I were out with a kid we had hung around quite a bit. I remember he acted really tough when he talked, but he was never unkind to us. He was a leader type, the kids just naturally looked up to him. It must have been a weekend morning before too many people were up and about. It was summertime. I remember the weather was sunny and pleasant. He took us around the corner and down a street not too far from our home. He had made a discovery and wanted to show us. We rode up to a trailer that had recently been burned in a fire; It was like a scorched shell. Most of the trailer was still intact but the doors had been knocked out. We parked our bikes in the yard next store and climbed in through the back side door. The boys went in first and pulled me in by my hands. The smell was strong of burnt paper and smoke. Stacks of magazines lined the narrow hallway we entered which led to the bedrooms.  The piles seemed to fill the entire trailer. As I looked around me, our friend pointed out his find. All the stacks and stacks of magazines were pornography. Piles and piles. We picked them up, some partially burnt but still intact. I glanced at the images. Naked ladies and naked breast. Countless images of nude women differing in size. Sizes I had never seen before. Posing and in many positions, the women/girls were smiling. All were smiling but I couldn’t focus on their faces. So many images I had never seen before.

dark.jpeg

The atmosphere of this trailer, the vibe, there was something evil about it all. Something felt scary. Something felt like we shouldn’t be there, like I was in some kind of danger. A breeze blew through the open doors and the smell of fresh air mixed with fire filled my nose. The stillness of the day was present. People where sleeping in, but I was aware of them all around us. The boys were uneasy. No one wanted to get caught. We were sneaking around somewhere we weren’t supposed to be. The boys chatted nervously as we looked at the endless stacks of dated pornography. I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but I knew It made me feel different.  The three of us could stand the atmosphere for only so long. We made our way out the way we came in, through the back door. We jumped out onto the grass and grabbed our bikes. We never told our parents about what we found. That trailer sat there like that for days. Now when I look back I cannot help but wonder, how many other kids explored there?

When I looked at the pornographic images that day as a child, it changed me. I couldn’t forget what I saw. It was burned in my mind. I still can remember that experience in great detail. You see when I saw those images, in my mind, I thought “this makes men happy”. All the women looked happy on their faces, but from the neck down what I saw made me feel uncomfortable. I was being exposed to something that is a normal part of life, nudity. I had questions I really didn’t know how to ask. I thought in my young mind that it must be something good. Why would my brother and our friend think it was a cool find if it was all bad? Why were there so many of these magazines in this home? Why is there a horde of them and why was it interesting?

It must be what makes men happy. It must be good because men and boys like porn so much.

So many impressions hit me that day and my mind was too innocent to understand the evil of it all. I knew it was bad, but I also thought it was desirable to men to be like the ladies in the pictures I saw. I confess as an adult I still struggle with these thoughts and ideas that surround sex and men and women. As an adult, I understand sex and intimacy better. I understand all the pieces of the puzzle that must be in place for us as human beings to have our deep physical and sexual needs met. It takes trust and safety, marriage and purpose, time and energy. Sex is beautifully complex. Sex creates life! Get that deep into your soul. Sex makes babies. When I look at my children, I am still in awe of it. From a strong attraction I felt towards my husband since the moment we met, and through all the battles and joy, our coming together produces a child. Our child! A beautiful and so very complex life of its own, with purpose and good works to be completed, all steaming from sex. This is why we need the structure of marriage for sex, because of the outcome it naturally produces. It is the challenge and joy of our lives to experience intimacy. It makes us feel so amazing. Endless songs have been written about intimacy. Books, poems, movies – all express the happiness and consummation, pain and sorrow, which originate from our need to fill this desire. It is a big deal. Once you dive into sexuality and you experience it for yourself, you realize intimacy is a never-ending need. You will continue to need other people to meet your needs in relationships. It requires so much to be a healthy adult, it takes work and dedication. Pornography is a cheap and quick fix. It will quickly get a result that will leave the user still unfulfilled. The porn user will get accustomed to easy outcomes that require little effort or work. Pornography addicts may altogether forget or lose the ability to develop and obtain true intimacy and satisfaction.

Pornography exposes us to an unrealistic dose of sexuality. If we accept it and rely on it, porn will weaken our ability to meet our natural needs. It (Porn) will change us.

So much of what I want to convey to young women and men can all be summed up in this: A good life requires hard work. Don’t settle for the cheap & quick! You are amazing and worth the effort. You can be fulfilled and find satisfaction in sex, but only within the guidelines of marriage. Prepare for it, plan for it, dream about it, and work hard for your relationships and worth. You will not be sorry that you set a high price on yourself. Men want sex, but the same rules apply for us all – fast and free will never satisfy. They will find themselves lacking. I guess that is why there were so many endless piles of porn in that trailer we found as kids. Sad but true. Scary but real. Don’t believe the hype! Porn changes us for evil. Noting good will come from exposing yourself to images. #pleasingabba

In Case You Missed It – May 22, 2015 – Racial double standard in Waco coverage, suicide increases in Black children

I am a supporter of the decriminalization of all recreational drugs. The science coming out of Columbia University unwaveringly supports the need for drug law reform. Please take a moment to view this brief lecture by Carl Hart, it is priceless to the American people.

Psychology Benefits Society

In Case You Missed It header

In this week’s In Case You Missed It (a roundup of articles related to psychology, health, mental health and social justice collated from multiple news and commentary websites) we cover the racial double standard in media coverage of the Waco shooting compared with Baltimore, launching of a new Police Data Initiative, the sharp increase in suicide rates among Black children and more.

Make sure to also check out these APA publications:

Waco coverage shows double standard on race – CNN.com

What could be an iconic photo in the making drew some sharp contrasts between law enforcement treatment of perpetrators in Waco (potentially guilty of the murder of 9 people) and treatment of individuals in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, contributing to conversations in news outlets, blogs, and social…

View original post 992 more words

Date Rape & The Top 5 Ways To Avoid It

Victim unaware of plan, predator has a plan

    I was so unaware I was being set up. I was so ignorant to the gossip of the young men at my high school. I had no idea how entering high school would expose me to more people than I had ever managed before in my social life. I was unaware that the popular crowd of guys actually planned and boasted about which girls they wanted to have sex with; that they had a bet going on who could get to me first. I was a virgin. I was 14 years old. I had no way of understanding or competing with the mindset of my male counterparts. I was innocent to all this. I was an adolescent, still a child when in came to sexuality and what that even meant. This is normal. The real issue is that I was being exposed to sex and I had no real understanding of it.  Middle school was my first introduction. It was a limited word I had heard from my peers, but it was still happening around me. Entering into High School in a new town only increased my level of contact with peers who were sexually active.

I was alone, without the company of a trusted guide to help me navigate something I did not understand but I was facing daily. My parents had abandoned the time they would’ve spent with me, preparing me to face this world of peer pressure. I, in turn, abandoned them and the so-called respect & honor I was supposed to give their rules. I threw myself into school and my social life. I enjoyed most of what school had to offer apart from sitting at a desk for long periods of time. It had been made pretty clear to me that school and good grades were very important. Building my college resume was pretty much the pinnacle of my existence for high school. No one told me I was one of a kind, created for good works. No one explained to me I was more than a body with a soul, but that I was a Spirit destined for eternity. The repeated lecture that I was simply to remain a virgin until marriage, just because it was wrong not to, wasn’t enough information for me to stand my ground against multiple predators. And once they realized I was an open target, lacking a protective hedge of a watchful guardian, it was over for me. My fate had been sealed, their game had begun.

sad

Date Rape is real and I am going to say it happens a lot more than we know. I experienced date rape when I was only 14, the summer before my freshman year. I never talked about it. I never told anyone. For over a decade I believed it was my fault. That simply because I said yes to a date with a graduating senior, that somehow what had happened was my doing. So I sank into silence. I hid what happened down deep in a dark place in my heart. I was ashamed. It made me feel awful. I had simply been used and victimized by a guy from my high school. I saw myself as unworthy of respect from young men, simply because of the way this one person treated me. I needed counsel and help, yet I really didn’t feel I had any adult I could confide in. My mother had tried to shame me into not having sex. I love my mom and I get why she did it. I believe she really did want me to remain pure and abstinent, but the shame theory proved more lethal in this regard then at all helpful.

When I really need unconditional love and open arms, I felt sure I would receive anger and shame

Even from my own parents who were responsible to teach and train me. To be fair, there really wasnt this type of adult at my high school or church setting either. I needed to be told I could be a target. I needed to be told that some guys would ask me out just to try to have sex with me and that was the only reason they were asking me out. This fact was alone not enough, I then needed a plan on how to respond. I needed an adult helping me to decide which dates I should say yes to and which ones I should say no to. It’s too much for a new teen to manage. I needed counsel.

The really sad part of date rape for young ladies like myself, is that if somehow I could have told a responsible adult, the outcome of the next decade of my life could have been much better. If a caring person could have heard what happened to me that night, they would have helped me understand it was in no way my fault and in no way OK. I accepted being raped and it in turn affected how I allowed men to treat me for years afterwards. I do not want this to happen to anyone else.  Always know that no matter what has happened to you, bringing it into the light will cause healing. In telling your story you are yourself saying what happened is unacceptable and wrong. This is the first step. This is why I am telling my story and choosing to combat date rape.

 Top Five Tips for preventing Date Rape:

1. Stay in a group

 If this person is a total stranger or you are new to knowing someone, only agree to go out with a group of people – the more the merrier! Even if this is the most well-known individual in your high school and you have known each other for years, I still recommend Group Dating until you are of legal age. We all act differently in public and staying accountable should be a top priority if you want to achieve success.

2. Stay in populated areas

Busy restaurants, venues, movie theatres; think crowds. If date rape is the intention, your date will be trying to get you alone and seclude you from others.

3. Avoid alcohol and using recreational drugs

You are going out to meet another person and get to know them. This is definitely worthy of you keeping a sober mind. According to the University of Sciences: “74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol (Koss 1988)” Keep this in mind when you’re dating.

4. Always tell a trusted friend who you are going out with and where you are going.

Even in a world of GPS and technology, nothing compares to having a reliable friend or family member hear from you what your plans are and when you will be back. This person can be a safety friend that you can call in case of an emergency during the date, one that is willing to come and pick you up. So many times if I had only take this step, I would have had an immediate out for bad situations. Always tell someone where you are going and who you are going with.

5. Have a trusted mentor you can confide in about dating and turn to incase of rape.

I hate to say expect the worst and that is not what I am promoting, only that you have someone you can talk to. Never keep silent if you are the victim of rape. If your believe that you are mature enough to date you need to be mature enough to be accountable to the people who value and love you. Parents, teachers, mentors: They are doing what they do because they care. Find someone you can trust and open up to – this may not be your parents because you feel too intimated.

 

Facts about date rape:

From National Studies Of College Women

* 84% of women who were raped knew their assailants.

* 57% of rapes occurred on a date.

* 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women

asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back

to the man’s room after the date.

* 33% of males surveyed said they would commit rape if they definitely could

escape detection.

* 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition

of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape.

* 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape

had been drinking or using drugs.

* Only a quarter to a third of women whose sexual assaults met the legal

definition of rape considered themselves rape victims.

* Many women do not report or characterize their victimization as a crime for reasons

such as embarrassment, because they do not want to define someone who assaulted

them as a rapist, or because they do not know the legal definition of rape.

Many women blame themselves.

* Nearly 5% of college women are victimized in any given year, meaning over 4 years

one-fifth to one-quarter of a cohort of women may be assaulted. Similar numbers

experienced attempted rape.

* The majority of rapes occur in living quarters–60% in victim’s residence, 10 %

in a fraternity, 31 % in other living quarters. Off campus victimizations also took

place in bars, dance clubs and work settings.

* 50% of high school boys and 42% of girls said there were times it was

acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to

engage in intercourse.

September 2005

References

http://www.usciences.edu/shac/counseling/daterape.shtml

http://www.k-state.edu/media/webzine/Didyouhearyes/daterapefacts.html

Public Education in America: Raising a Nation Without Morality

Martin Luther stirred the world with his bold stand against the Pope and the known leaders of his time. With one letter, the reformation had begun. Christian against Christian – the war was bloody, brutal and long. Most people know and understand that this was the beginnings of migration to America. Europeans were in search of a land that offered a chance to worship and live as one saw right in their own heart, instead of the experience of religion dominated by government. Fast forward to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Religion was such a touchy, personally discerned topic among the many colonists, that our forefathers’ knew they could not give any one church authority over education. Education was not even mentioned in our first governmental documents. The revolutionary war had left the newborn United States $75 million in debt. It would be the 1830’s and the industrial revolution that would spark a mass movement towards free public education for every American child.

State copied state and one by one communities with public schools emerged. Laws were written and taxes were assigned. From the beginning, and for over one hundred years after, the Bible was a part of the curriculum taught across the country.

school

Today we have come so far as to ban the Bible and most religion from public education. This is all done in the name of “separation of church and state”. Interesting that we as Americans fall for that one.

—Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

A simple read on the first Amendment to the Constitution will again show my earlier point, the goal of the document’s authors was to eliminate any one church from having power over the state, not to completely do away with the tolerance of religion in daily life. This was to assure all citizens the freedom of Faith.

Not without consequences do we bring up generations of children in a system that is forbidden to teach and debate morality and spirituality. I can’t help but think of the large numbers of school shootings and terrorist attacks on home soil we have seen in the past ten years; have we forgotten to mention the value of human life to our young people? Have we missed this important lesson, are we not making it clear in public education? I propose that children survive what is forced upon them to the best of their ability. I purpose that we are failing to prepare our youth if we cannot train them to have a moral compass. Because I myself grew up in this system. I was exposed to my peers becoming sexually active when I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. I was exposed to drinking and drugs, simply because I took the bus to school like I was told. Then when I became pregnant at 15, everyone turned on me like I had really blew it. When I became involved with the use of alcohol and drug as a part of my high school social scene, my best possible future was compromised. Statistics of failure were attached to me everywhere I went. It’s wrong and I’m telling you it’s wrong. Those who possess the authority must also take up the responsibility. We must be willing to help our children through peer pressure and bullying by offering them an understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. The youth of America need a solid sense that choosing good pays off. I am not against public education, by no means. I am asking for parents and educators to take a good look at what children are facing. What I’m calling for is better education. An education that treats the whole child: body, soul and spirit. We have advocates for proper nutrition and parents would shudder at the thought of sending their children to public school without some type of planned source for physical nutrients – Yet no measures are in place for their spiritual needs? With all of our modern technology, resources and the progression of our understanding, how can we not advance? America, how can we not respond to the call for help from our youth? #pleasingabba

“About 77 percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned. In other words, they are unwanted or occurred “too soon,” according to a national survey of adolescents.[6] In 2010, the majority of pregnancies to adolescent females ages 15-19 in the United States—an estimated 60 percent—ended in a live birth; 15 percent ended in a miscarriage; and 30 percent ended in an abortion.”

References

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

https://archive.org/details/publiceducationi00cubbuoft

http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/teen-pregnancy/trends.html

Juggling Education with Teen Motherhood

You are a teen and you are having a baby. What about your education? I had my 1st child in the summer time in between 10th and 11th grade. My mother had done some research and found an alternative high school which catered to young mothers. (Even if you gave birth during the school year, moms were allowed 2-3 weeks of absence.) A teen mom program at a high school location provided on-site day care for our children with the opportunity to continue our education and complete our high school diploma. This was an opportunity I was willing to embrace because not becoming a drop out was very important to me. I truly believed with all my heart the best thing I could do for my son and myself was obtain an education. I knew how harsh the world was. I really didn’t want to lend any help to our defeat. I would get a diploma, not a GED, because it really meant something to me.

I realize not everyone will feel the same about staying in school. To be honest, once I became older and started a family I questioned if I had made the right choice to pursue my education instead of taking time off to just be a mom. (So) What are the important things to consider? Will you be solely responsible for the provision of yourself and child? Even if you have help from a partner or family, as you get older you likely will need to earn a living. Maybe you will only need part-time employment. Most young mothers have to consider providing at some point. Focusing on your education while you are young will be a great investment for more $$$ sooner. I think it motivating to stay in school with peers of your own age. It helps to feel you are on time and on schedule. With online schools available, it really is easier than ever to get a basic education while you are still a teen and earn a diploma. This is a point you will hear me repeat often:

Once you complete your education, no one can take it from you.

Its yours! What you invest in yourself and mind will always be there within you. So even though it may be hard work, I believe it is worth the effort while you are still young. Life will move on. You will too. This is the time to focus on your education. There are so many resources available with the internet! Local libraries will allow you to use their computers, printers and scanners for free. When you have access to YouTube, Skype, Google hangouts and online classes – there really isn’t a reason to skip educating yourself. I had a hard time staying at my high school after I became pregnant. My friends and peers were not dealing with the same things I was. I understand walking away from your current situation for mental stability, and to get some space from bullying and gossip. Yet I would still encourage you to go forward as planned with completing your basic education; Then considering more formal job training afterward. Trade, skill, craft, business all have mentors and internships. Maybe a formal classroom setting won’t work best for you and your new baby. I’ve found that when I put myself out in the world looking for options, I tend to get a lead. If you are a young mom interested in being educated and responsible, that is bound to open up doors. I want you to see yourself able to be both a young mother and financially secure. When you have that sense of stability, it creates the best environment to parent in.

juggling

I cannot talk about continuing your education without discussing the care of your baby. In order for you to work on your skill sets and ability to earn money for living, you will need to place your child in the care of others. This is the most important aspect of your new life as a mom. No one can look out for your baby and love them the way you can. I think mom and baby staying together as much as possible is the best. But because most young moms will need to earn money to support their child, even if only for a season, you need to take special care for their safety and well-being while you are away. Look for options. Be willing to think outside “normal”. You can manage most of your education and you can access a world of opportunity from the comfort of home. When you begin looking for childcare look for a safe place that has checks and balances. Are there video cameras on site? Are they always functional? Do other adults come and go throughout the day? Is there more than one adult available to keep an eye out for your child’s safety? I used several different styles of care. The place I felt best about was a teaching facility with large tinted windows available in every class room for parent viewing. This school also had and used cameras in the classroom as well as on the playground. I felt that at any point during the day I could show up and I was welcomed to see my child. Because I was a young student/mother, I also qualified for financial aid which paid most of my son’s tuition. Do not be intimidated by the cost of good child care! Simply ask about grants and aid for every place you research. Again, now that you are a parent you must juggle multiple responsibilities that cannot be compromised. You need to make money, and you need to get your education, but the care of your baby must come first. When I was going through this, I got caught up in being young. I was running around for my social life, my education and part-time job. Almost twenty years later, I do not see or hang with ANY of my friends or peers from that time frame of my past – Yet my son is still my son and one of the most important people in my world. Learn from my experience and spend as much time as possible investing in your relationship with your baby. Make your education a priority, but always keep your child first. Aim high, young mommies, you have what it takes to succeed!