It is always interesting when my mother and I go out together. Looking at the two of us, it is undeniable that we are related. It's very obvious. But what makes our outings so interesting is that most people mistake us as sisters. I have had guys ask me for my "sister's" number and catcall us. Most people are shocked to discover that the person I am walking with is the same person who carried me in her womb for nine months then raised for 18 long years.
They are also surprised to find that we are only about 15 years apart in age.
Yes. My mother was young when she gave birth to me. She was still in grade school. It was an amazing feat she managed to pull off. Something that I have realized throughout the years, however, is that many people have a negative attitude towards women who have kids at such a young age, and that blows my mind.
My mother was not the model parent that everyone strives to be, but I cannot think of a single perfect parent. We ate out a lot and my mother couldn't help me with much of my homework past the second grade. All parents mess up and get stressed and most struggle with their kids' homework (thanks, Common Core). So why do people judge the younger parents?
In the past, women were expected to have kids as soon as they could. I believe many people believe that younger people are too immature to properly raise a child. But my mother always tried to be the best parent she could be. And it really irritates me when people say that her shortcomings are due to the fact that she was so young. My mother did something amazing. She had a child, went to school and graduated on time. She worked her ass off to provide for me. On top of that, she managed to raise not only me, but also my three sisters — and we all turned out fine. Anything that turned out 'wrong' about me is not her fault. I have made dumb choices and that was on me. Now, I'm not saying she did it by herself because she didn't. My father and grandparents helped a lot. But it takes guts to have a kid before you are 20 (or anytime, really) and it takes even more to step up and raise that child.
I am proud of my mom for what she has done. Not many people could do what she has, myself included. Sure, I'm going to be stuck with her longer than most of my classmates will have to deal with theirs. And sure our relationship is not your typical mother-daughter relationship (we fight like sisters and there are some odd quirks that accompany the age difference) but it is ours. And I would not change it. Sometimes, I think the younger parents are the best parents.