Guest Blogger #3: Mae Burke. The voice behind Mother, Mae I? If you ask her fellow Rockport-Fulton Fightin’ Pirates about her, they’ll tell you she’s the overly opinionated girl who they’re surprised can see out through all of the eyeliner and bangs. If you ask her fellow D-F Dubbers, they’ll tell you she’s the overly opinionated woman carrying around the half naked toddler who they’re surprised can see out of the poop covered cloth diapers and cook books. Come by her blog to say hi sometime and see how she got from point a to point b.
Hello Mommypotamus…readers! (“Mommypoty-ites” didn’t sound right and neither did “Mommymaniacs”)
When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” had finally been kicked off the Billboard Charts, but for her, it would be a platinum hit forever. The year was 1988. She was 15 years old.
“The worst part of my Sophomore year is that every time I walked down the hallway, no one ever looked at me in the eyes,” she said. “They looked straight at my belly.”
Yep, she called me SOBBING after watching the scene in Juno where Ellen Paige’s character has the same experience.
After hearing this [when I called her this evening, she began to tell that story and before she got to “Sophomore year” I had finished it for her ;] and other, much more horrifying stories, I decided I was never going to have sex…Well, I decided I was going to wait until I got married. This was not something my family did-or does. My mother’s sisters were the same age [some younger!] when they had children, her mother was a teenager, as was her mother. The list seemed never-ending.
After fighting endlessly with our marriage counselors about not wanting to take the pill, it was hard to convince them [or anyone else for that matter] that we weren’t going to get pregnant on our honeymoon. After all, that’s the worst thing an 18 and 20 year old could do, right? I was going to stay in college, we were going to get our respective teaching and music degrees, travel the world, have tons of inconsequential sex, and not have kids til our late twenties.
A little more than three months after we got married, the Lord told me to quit school so I could take care of kids. That same week a friend asked me if I could help her with her two girls a few times a week.
For a good hot minute, I thought God was telling me I was gonna be a mom!!! Does He not know my plan?!?! SHEESH! Get it together Big Guy!
Two weeks later, we got a positive pregnancy test.
When I broke the news to my family and friends, I was ecstatic, bouncing off the walls with joy and fulfillment and purpose!
Now, while I didn’t think our situation was as dramatic as my mom’s, nor that it was Glee worthy, most of my family and friends did. I was met with a slap on the wrist, a hung head, a wagging finger, and more often than not “I told you this would happen.”
From that point on it has been two years of “WOW, you’re SO young…” I thought with number two on the way [I am now 21, 10 weeks pregnant] that this time would be different. Nope, not at all. I even got a “Wait, why do you want number two already?” from a man some of you have come to know quite well before we found out we were pregnant again. ;]
So what is this about people?
Why is it that a 27 year old, single woman can get more support and approval on her pregnancy and child rearing than a married, Christian woman? [Not that the don’t deserve it! That’s not my point.] Where did this stigma come from? Post feminism maybe? A decline in the appreciation or desire for a “traditional” family? A growing national desire to be financially and socially successful before “giving up your life”?
I can’t even make this up- as I’m editing this my upstairs neighbor [eye roll…you’ll have to follow my blog to learn more about that ;] comes down to tell me about “An exciting business opportunity for you and your loved ones” [Garden State, anyone?] I tell her I can’t because I’m pregnant again and she tells me to stick out my hand so she can slap it. True story.
Tonight, I finally called my mom.
I knew I wanted to explore this, and I knew that I couldn’t REALLY say what the pros and cons were because my journey has just begun. My mom had me at 15, Kayla at 18, Allison at 19, and Hannah at 23. She has been there, done that-and all before most people finish college. Here’s what the wise ol’ gal had to say:
- She was young enough to keep up with us. She was able to run after 3 toddlers in the prime of her youth! I mean, *I* was like the easiest, most helpful, never a hassle child you can imagine [ASK HER! She will back me up on this!] but I know some moms would give up a pinky toe if they could just have that extra year or two sitting on their butts watching the Bachelor taken off.
- She remembered what it’s like to be a kid. Sometimes it’s hard to remember 30 years ago [says the 21 year old…I seriously have memories from when I’m two…] my mom only has to remember 20 [or 15 in my case!] years back in order to relate to her kids.
- She’s a young grandma so she has more time for grand babies! I KNOW all of you grandma’s out there would trade some of your own child rearing days for some of the grandbaby loving days IN A HEARTBEAT! My mom-though she might still want to- doesn’t have to!
- Now, she didn’t add this as a pro, but I will- my mom will be 40, yes FOR-TY!!!! years old when her nest is empty.
- She admits, she wasn’t mature enough to know when she was being selfish “doing what i wanted to do instead of what I should have done” when it came to raising us those first few years.
- She says that with age she as learned a lot of tough life lessons that she just hadn’t encountered when she was 15.
- Now she is more financially stable. She said that this DOES NOT mean she’s making more money, but that she understands money more now and probably wouldn’t have made the mistakes that she did when starting out.
- She said the worst was the judgment. “Parents, kids…I wasn’t safe from anyone.” I grew up never knowing the wiser, my mom dealt with it with such grace…something I pray I can learn to do.
Aren’t all of those “cons” what every mother out there has to say? This list could have easily been written by a 45 year old woman about her starting her family at 30. I didn’t realize this until after I started typing it all out. My mother’s “regrets” were only partially due to her age.
So then I asked her the burning question “What, if anything would you change?” I could hear her think sincerely about it. Her only change would be the choice of [deadbeat douchebag jerk-face] partner she had me with. That was it. She was adamant that her age was very important in having us and she would NEVER change it. It kinda blew me away…
What about me? I’m a product of this, right?
While yes, it’s annoying to hear *spit take* “WAIT, you’re mom’s HOW old?!? You mean, we’re the same age?!?” In every gathering of women I’ve ever been in, and yes, I think it’s super weird that she’ll be 75 when I’m 60, and yes…truthfully, sometimes I felt she was more of a sister [in both the good and the bad ways] at times growing up. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So here’s to breaking down stereotypes all of you young moms out there! Here’s to raising beautiful, intelligent, sometimes weird children. Here’s to a society of confident women. Here’s to raising our children to follow God’s plan, even when it doesn’t match up to our own.
Here’s to you, “Grandma Viducic,” you 37 year-old grandma, you.
Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Thanks for letting me share, Mommypotamus!