It's Not Cootie Shots and Recess Anymore

Today's guest post comes from Emily, the former teen mom behind Your Mom Goes to CollegeI'd love for her to start sharing her story as a young single mom, balancing school, motherhood, and her 20-something life (including dating):

As we get older, our concept of friendship grows and changes with us. In elementary school, friendship is giving each other cootie shots and spending recess running away from boys. As we grow up, our friendships become more meaningful, more important. Our friends become our support system. In the painful high school years, when everyone is trying to discover who they are and prove to everyone that they're adults, friendship is the key to keeping a person grounded.

In a way, I think friendship shows us that we are not alone in our struggles. We have friends for advice, for a shoulder to lean on. My biggest struggle as a teenage mother was finding and maintaining healthy friendships. If you really want to find out who your friends are, get pregnant your senior year of high school. It isn’t to say that I didn’t have good high school friends, but everything changed once I had my son.

Becoming a mother is an experience that you cannot even begin to fathom until you actually become one. It changes you, in the most beautiful, uninhibited way. You create another life and are then responsible for its well-being. Somebody depends on you to do better, be better. When I became a mother at the young age of 18, I felt this sense of obligation to be the best version of myself.

Suddenly, it became hard to relate to my high school friends who were going off to college. Even though our friendship had lasted through the turmoil of the teenage years, it seemed like it couldn’t survive teenage pregnancy. My priorities had changed. I was always a mother first, a teenager second. My interests didn’t involve frat parties or being reckless. The things that mattered to me, the things that were important, involved my child, because I was a mother.

How many 18 year olds can grasp something so complex without actually experiencing it? As I found out, not many. It became increasingly hard to find people close to my age who I could relate to on this deeper level. I felt alone in my struggles.

A big reason I started blogging was for this very reason. I relied on my keyboard for comfort and compassion, and I opened up my missteps for the entire Internet to see. Because I believed that if I felt alone in all of this, somebody somewhere felt exactly the way I did, and I wanted them to know that they are not alone at all.

Through the mom-blog circuit, I have discovered some of the most amazing young women. Many of whom I can understand without ever having a conversation with them. I read their blogs and I feel like I am reading my own words, my own story. They are able to instantly comprehend the little things that most girls my age couldn’t even fathom. They are thankful for jeggings and leggings for reasons that have nothing to do with fashion or flattery. They know what it means to be excited about the grossest things (i.e. poop) and gracious for the simplest things (i.e. an uninterrupted shower). They became mother’s younger than anticipated, but they are embracing it, loving it, enjoying it.

Just like I am.

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Thank you so much, Emily. And stay tuned for more guest posts while I'm out sailing the seas.