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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obstacles.

I was speaking to my mother the other day about a class she recently began teaching at a local university. Her students were introducing themselves to the rest of the class, and several of them made reference to the fact that they are continuing their education, "in spite of" having one or two kids. Their mindset, I'm assuming, is that they are setting themselves apart from young single mothers who quit school after having children.

This isn't the first time I have heard about and/or witnessed women my age testify about "fighting against the odds," and it is another one of my pet peeves. I try not to judge anyone who got "caught up" back in high school and had a baby or two or three, or four, but I get pissed off when these same women turn around and act as if they are supposed to receive a gold star for a decision THEY made. They moan and groan about how hard it is to juggle having kids, working full-time, AND going to school, as if someone put a gun to their heads and made them pop those babies out.

The point I made when talking to my mother is that I don't understand people who talk about having kids, as if the kids are an obstacle they have had to overcome. When I think of an obstacle, I think of something that you had no control over, something that came into your life unexpectedly. Overcoming an obstacle would be someone that was hit by a drunk driver and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives, yet they went on to win a gold medal in the Special Olympics. Unless you were raped and got pregnant, you consciously made the decision to conceive that child, and you made the decision to carry that child for nine months and bring it into the world. In other words, it's no one's fault other than your own that you have to get up at 6am every day to get Lil' Ray Ray ready for daycare.

Maybe I sound bitter.....and that's because I am. Fuck it. I just don't see why the baby mamas of the world feel they should get more kudos than those that have not had children yet. It's like they've taken over, to the point where people look at me strange because I DON'T have any kids. I've had friends and family tell me I should be proud that I don't fit into the crowd of young women with kids. I don't know why though. Once upon a time, having kids in high school was something frowned upon; nowadays it seems to be glorified. It's almost as if society wants young girls to have kids, so Hollywood producers can make biopics about how these girls "beat the odds." Take Fantasia, for example. Do you think America would have been as fascinated with her, had she not been a young single mother/high school dropout? Would the movie "Precious" have been as popular if the lead character had not been an illiterate young woman with two small children? When was the last time you saw a documentary about a woman going to school and trying to make ends meet, without the extra load of having a child?

Bottom line: To the young mothers out there, you do NOT deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for changing diapers during the day, and studying College Algebra at night. If this offended anyone, you're welcome.

13 comments:

Yakitori said...

Co-sign. I couldn't agree with this more. Like what, you want a cookie for being grown and handling your business like you're supposed to? Same for "fathers" who want kudos for sticking around and helping to raise the kid they helped conceive. You don't get elevated status for doing the right thing. Just dumb.

I'm Alee. said...

*rolls eyes*

I always wondered the same thing. What's even worse is that I've gotten the side eye from women with kids (on the job, at school, etc) as if it's my fault...
That's a good question about why they stay glorifying young women who get knocked up early in life and have to "overcome."

khaki la'docker said...

Im ambivalent about this...
On one side- i dont think people - man or woman- should be pat on the back for taking care of their children because that's what their supposed to do.

HOWEVER, what may be a challenge or an obstacle for someone else may not necessarily be a challenge or obstacle for you. Just because a woman decides to carry a child- that may or may not have been planned- doesnt mean that having a child and continuing an education is not an obstacle or challenge. Take a woman that was in a long term relationship for 5-6 years, engaged while in college and the last year of college the condom breaks and she gets pregnant. Her fiancee calls off the wedding thats 3 months away and leaves her with a kid to raise on her own.
As someone with an education or thats in school now, can you imagine how hard it would be to raise a child on your own and study for your last year of school? Is that not a challenge? I would say that it is and I have to commend the young mothers out there continues thier education despite the challenge of raising a young child on their own.

Yes, you sound a little upset about it but why?

I dont think society/media makes it seem OK to have a child at a young age but thats the world we live in.

UglyCleanBroke87 said...

@Khaki, I had a feeling you were going to comment on this one....and I agree that everyone doesn't face the same challenges in life. I don't have children, so I'm sure that raising a child while finishing college would be hard.

Your example about the woman in a long-term relationship who gets dumped before the wedding is an unfortunate situation, and I'm sure that would be tough for her. However, she still made the decision to do what it took to have a baby BEFORE she finished college. So it was still her choice.

The reason I get annoyed is because more often than not, women my age who have children have the attitude of "Well, you don't understand what it's like to go to school AND have kids." And I don't. But that's no reason for them to point the finger as if they played no part in the decisions they made. I feel they should do what they have to do without seeking recognition or approval.

I believe the media DOES make it seem all right to have a child at a young age. Look no further than the Teen Mom show on MTV. It gives the subliminal message of: "Yeah, you can get pregnant at 16, but you just might get on MTV because of it!" I guess it's supposed to be educational, but it could be taken the wrong way by young kids.

Jason said...

I don't know about this one homie! I love your posts and the way you organize your thoughts but this one comes off a little insensitive and near sighted.

I don't know any women that mention they have children just for recognition and accolades. I think they mention it because it's true and regardless if they made the decision to have them, it is still an obstacle to raise a child properly and be totally focused on class work and god knows what else.

Futhermore, I applaud anybody that overcomes societal scrutiny to keep on pushing toward their dreams. It's easy to sit around and collect a check and go from one bad situation to another but it seems that doing the right thing is an after thought nowadays.

They should be propped up for breaking those stereotypes. Single mothers aren't a monolithic group. The women doing the good work deserve encouragement and kind words. Healthy nuturing is good for them emotionally and mentally and can only benefit the child(ren).

Bless

khaki la'docker said...

@UglyCleanBroke- wa'minute! Why did you have a feeling I would comment?!?!? LOL

Moving on- I totally get that having a child out of wedlock, more often than not, is a choice. However, that does not mean that being a parent at a young age can not be an obstacle. You mentioned what you thought an "obstacle" was and used someone getting in an accident as an example. Had that person been jaywalking and hit by a drunk driver, would that make him winning the special olympics less of an achievement because he made the choice to jaywalk? I would think not.

Although you can think/say/and do as you damn well see fit, I don’t think its fair to tell someone their struggle isnt really a struggle because they made the choice- esp since you aren’t a parent. I applaud everyone that finishes their education and more so the people that do it with obstacles- whether it be poverty, parenthood, mental and physical issues etc. If your argument is those that look for kudos because of what their doing, that’s something different. I perceived your argument to be obstacle vs non-obstacle, no?

The show teen mom is an inside look at everyday life. I don’t look at that show and think “wow, that shit looks easy. I should’ve had a kid at 15”. Its exactly the opposite. I actually think that MTV does a great job at showing what having a child at a young age is like without the stereotypes that are often associated with being a teen parent.

Even if I didn’t have a child at 22 and finished law school, I’d feel the same way. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one girly
:)

Poppy said...

I feel like I should send you a video of me applauding to this post! I feel the SAME EXACT WAY!!!

You dont deserve any special recognition because you have kids & you're going to school & work & blah balh blah. Yeah its hard but unless it was a TRUE accident, condom breaks, rape,etc. I dont feel sorry for you, I wish you them the best but thats it.
We all make mistakes & I couldve gotten pregnant before but I wouldnt expect people to give me special treatment for it.

And the media does praise teen pregnancy & single moms...it really bothers me. I only have about 10 friends that dont have kids. And the ones that do 75% of them are single moms, never been engaged. Its like girls want to get pregnant now & like being a baby's mamma. Its the cool thing to do now I guess.

Sorry if I offended anyone but thats how I feel.

Poppy said...

Also, along with my last comment. I've been a young girl so blinded by a man that I wouldnt have cared if I had his child but I still knew better & I knew the consequences...so that is not an excuse either. We have to do better & parents need to start raising stronger women so this wouldnt happen as much. Thats all. lol.

tha unpretentious narcissist© said...

i agree with you, but at the same time i'm with khaki la'docker. i think they should be held accountable for their own decisions. but it does take a toll on you, raising a child...kids. don't think they should get a nobel peace prize, but i do feel like a child host a lot of issues that a woman without them doesn't have to deal with. it's hard..i'm grown. even tho i'm not with my son's mother we co-parent. and it's still hard. so when i think of woman/girl in her teens/early 20's trying to do this..most times themselves, trying to work, go to school & take care of a child..i can kinda see where they are coming from.

but at the same time. you are completely entitled to feel the way you do. because you have to be accountable for your choices. and if you choose to lay down knowing you can have a child...that's your bad. i don't think you come off insensitive at all. just think it's one of those things where if you have kids..you think this way. and if you don't..it can get annoying that you're "doing it right" and it's not being recognized as high as the person who did it the "unconventional" way. almost like.."shit why didn't i focus on my shit and NOT get pregnant if everyone acts like she's doing so much doing the same shit i am with a child".

i see where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

One commenter at the Not All Baltimore Chicks are Stupid blog wrote this.
"I found out I was pregnant the same week I started receiving college acceptance letters. It sucked."

It's not like you were hit by a stray bullet while sitting on your couch. This difficult situation did not randomly befall to you. You chose it.

You chose to conceive.
You chose to carry the child to term.
You chose to raise the kid alone.

You had plenty of options: condoms, abortion, abstinence, birth control pills & patches, plan B & morning after pill & RU487, becoming a single mom, adoption, etc.

You chose to forego NYU.

Carla said...

I'm almost at a loss for words after reading this entry. I generally like your blogs and I've been an avid reader but I'm not sure if I'd be interested in reading any more posts.
I'm a SENIOR Computer Science major; I'm a full-time/overtime employee; and I'm a full-time/overtime mother. I can personally attest that it is not easy doing all that I do but never have I or will expect that someone give me any type of recognition in regards to what I do. But to say that doing all of this is not an obstacle is pretty offensive. (But, I should thank you, right?)

I knew the consequences of having sex. Everyone does. But, I didn't expect the fathers to be unsupportive and just leave me to do their half as well. And yes, I have complained about it because it is a stressful situation, but I have learned to deal. I'm not owed anything and I do not harbor the thought that I should receive any type of award to do what I do. Needless to say, I’m managing pretty well for a 23-year-old who lives alone and has been since I had my first child. I manage to survive off a $24,000 salary minus the $800 for my townhouse, car insurance, daycare premiums, insurance premiums, etc. With all of that, I still don’t want a cookie. I’m not too keen on sweets.

So regardless of the choices that I’ve made, the obstacle lies in accepting and dealing with the consequences, taking responsibility for my actions while managing to still make my dreams come true while also maintaining the well-being of my family. What is my goal/dream you ask? Well, that is to graduate college that my academic scholarships have paid for. In case you were wondering, I'm about two semesters away from attaining that goal.

Recognition is not required. But sometimes a little understanding can make it easier for those who are trying to "beat the odds" instead of submitting themselves to every statistic there is.

I wish you could look at it from another view. Maybe then you could understand. You have a right to your opinions but being open to others won't hurt. You never know what someone is going through or has to deal with. Lend them a ear and you may just make life a little bit easier for them.

HersheyKissez said...

I agree with your post... I have been in classes when some women make it a known fact that they stayed in school after having a baby. OR in some cases, women are praised for staying in/going back to school. But I don't see why the 'special attention' is needed. Many times those young parents who don't finish school right away go back 20+ years later!! I've seen that all over my college campus and not too many of those older women get special recognition.

I think the main reason any young parent likes to let others know that they are returning to school after having a child is because many parents don't. Some live off State/Government funding and the "back-to-schoolers" really want to seperate themselves from that particular group.

But the part I do disagree with is that obstacle part. Life in general is an obstacle based on every choice we make. Rather being a young parent or working full time to pay for college, everything we do in life is some sort of challenge.

theemrsgordon said...

(Forgive the length in advance lol)Wow... this one was a doozy. Im pretty late responding but... who cares, right? lol

I definitely relate to this post... not because I agree but because I am a mother/student/employee with "obstacles". I graduated top of my class from highschool as a VIRGIN with a 4.5 GPA unweighted. I recieved numerous scholarships and accolades. That was in 2004. Six years later, I am a wife (to my highschool sweetie) and proud mother of 2 (4 year old daughter and 3 year old son). Although I hold those titles, one thing I cannot proudly state is that I am a college graduate. Because I am not. I am currently a Fulltime student and I should have my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in education in 3 years. Being a mother has not been my MAIN obstacle but it has been a slight hurdle on my road to success.
Although I CHOSE to carry my children full term and I CHOSE to have sex unprotected, I didnt choose the health problems that arose as a result of my pregnancies. I didnt choose to be laid off as a result of those health issues. I didnt choose to end up evicted and homeless. I definitely didnt choose to have my family turn their backs on me during these moments.
Life has a way of throwing you curve balls... I do not seek any special consideration at ANY time due to my struggles but I do expect for my struggle to be acknowledged... when the situation requires. I believe there are amazing people who come from terrible backgrounds that succeed... and their struggles deserve recognition as well. Everyone has a story... and just because I CHOSE not to get an abortion and I CHOOSE to carry the title of fulltime mother/student/employee does not mean my obstacles are my fault. Having kids is not an obstacle you have to overcome but it is definitely an obstacle to become successful while trying to raise successful, morally competent, respectful, honest individuals. If more parents took the time to fcus on that specific "obstacle", their children's lives may end up being less of a circus act.
I do deserve a big freakin' kudos for successfully completing everything my daily routine entails. Even though I am married, it is still a doozy and I can only imagine the struggles single parents face. Cooking hot meals, cleaning, washing, bathing, feeding, doing hair, playing, nurturing, taking time to listen and answer the 1 million and one "Why" questions aimed at me, being a good wife, putting down in the bedroom (my favorite part) PLUS maintain a 3.5 GPA in school. Come on... even you have to admit that is pretty darn magnificent. lol
Shout out to all the MOTHERS and FATHERS doing what everyone else does WITH the addition of taking care of your little humans. ♥