Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Parenting young

Today I turned on my computer and found a headline article about unconventional ways to save money and one of the suggestions was to have less kids. This may be true, but I found it offensive. THEN I flipped on the TV to "The View" where an actress was claiming that she was a much better mother because she waited a long time to have children. The women of "The View" were agreeing with her emphatically and praising her. The youngest one, even commented that you can just freeze your eggs nowadays anyway. THIS was offensive too.

So in a situation like this, I take out my anger by blogging. So I just want to say that I was no better and no worse a mother at 18 than I am now. Yes, I have a lot more experience now, which helps; but that comes with practice, not age.

I have clear memories of mothering Brandon at that young age. I was a very good mother; full of love. He had my fully devoted attention for the first tender years of his life. I breastfed him. I read him psalms over lunch. I walked him to the park and pushed him on the swing. I slept with him (as I think all mothers should) and rarely handed him over to another caretaker.

This actress on TV was saying that she was better now because of all the psychology books out now that she reads, that weren't out before. That's really funny. There's a heck of a lot more to parenting than reading psychology books. Now that Brandon is 8 years old and I'm facing the challenges of an 8 year old, I can assure you that my status as a 26 year old has not affected my parenting abilities. I stepped up to the plate and successfully homeschooled him when he was faltering in the public school. I advocated for him to get his tonsils out, against the wishes of his physician, which has saved him from recurrent strep infections and sleep apnea. I teach him to love Jesus and obey his elders.

For an even more extreme example, my sister in law had an arranged marriage at 16 which has been a successful happy marriage. Soon after getting married she got pregnant and had a baby girl. I'll admit, there was a period of a few months in which the mom seemed a little distant to her baby, but the baby was fine, due to the love and attention she got from her Grandma. (They all live together). I can't say if that was caused by the maternal age, or just the maternal personality. Nevertheless, she is a wonderful mother of two now.

I don't think that one age is better than another for raising children. I think God already determined the proper age range... something between the ages of 13 and 45. (The ages of menstruation) I'm sure most people would disagree with a 13 year old having a baby. And yes, I'll admit that it is unhealthy, physically speaking (on both ends of the spectrum). I'll also admit, that our society has changed. We no longer have the close family bonds that support a young mother. Also, to provide properly financially in this society, it takes many years to get on your feet. But if the proper support system is there - a husband, an extended family - AS IT SHOULD BE - then age makes absolutely no difference in parenting.

In response to the article about saving money... Yeah, it's tough, it's real tough. BUT, my kids will be adults when I'm still in the prime of life. Also, I am sure they will care for me like I intend to care for my parents as they age - lessoning my necessity for extensive retirement savings. Also, we bought our house at a younger age than we would have without kids - which is a good investment for our money. And as for college, I'm working my way through it without help from my parents. I don't have to put my kids through college at an exorbitant expense. That's a myth.

I do my best and I have to say it's not too shabby. So enough stereotyping young mothers!!! As my parents like to say "There's no teen pregnancy crisis. There is an UNMARRIED pregnancy crisis".


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