Teen mums spend their lives proving that that they are sensible and responsible – they have no choice. So when articles like this come out it’s natural that we are angry. But instead of proving how sensible we are, we need to fight the pressure that says we have to be sensible 24/7 to be valued!
I guess I was a sensible teen but I also wanted to have fun. I would skive if I knew 100% that we couldn’t get caught. I would play spin the bottle with kids from church who wouldn’t dare to expect more than a peck. I knew when I needed to work hard and when I didn’t so I could get good grades without being a ‘bof’! I was called frigid at school for not even kissing the first boy I went out with. Then at 15 I met a guy at a friend’s party who lied about his age to me. I didn’t have to worry about waiting to be kissed. It was intense from the start and I fought to keep up with my exams while he wanted my undivided attention. I got 100% attendance and the top GCSE results in the year, but was made to feel that he’d been neglected and I needed to be less selfish. By summer he insisted I moved in with him, and persuading him to let me go to college meant I had no fight left for anything else. I got pregnant and begged him to let me stay at college until my son was born. He would rip up my college text books and meet me at every break because he didn’t trust me. I often left the house in tears after he’d refused to let me sleep. After my son was born I went back to college part time after he wrote a contract up for me saying I wasn’t allowed to talk to my friends. He then applied to uni and last minute I applied too. He thought I was wasting my time because I was a mum now. I got married because it seems like a sensible thing to do when you had a baby. A year later I left the relationship.
I finished uni and got a job straight away. I’ve always been careful with money so my son would never notice that we started from a low base. At 22 I bought my first house on my own, and at 26 upgraded to the house on the corner of the road I grew up on. I hate wasting money and have always taken responsibility for savings and bills, living with my current boyfriend of 17 years, who has no concept of money or self control! (It’s ok – he’s good at stuff I’m not good at!)
I did a masters while working full time and was a manager at 28, then assistant director at 35. My career has been slow and steady – always in the right direction, never taking any risks!
My mum died when I was 31 and I started spending my weekends doing what she would do with my brother. We act silly together because it takes away the sense of responsibility.
My son has also been pretty sensible since he was born! He loved doing well at school, is just finishing his masters and starts his new job as a senior engineer. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Yet people still make judgments because I was teen mum – I must have been irresponsible and stupid. I wish! I spend my life desperately trying to fit in opportunities to be irresponsible and stupid because teen mums aren’t afforded that luxury! We can’t take risks that others can. It’s tiring.
So, I make the most of nights out because there was a time when I didn’t have that option. I have a laugh with work colleagues because it’s a waste not to. My fave tv programme is Made in Chelsea cos I dream of a life where all you need to worry about is who fancies who! I don’t care if people think I’m irresponsible or not sensible enough. I’m just trying to readdress the balance!