“Shouldn’t Julie have a baby so she can be on Teen Mom?” a student asked me a few weeks ago. Wordlessly I picked up the pieces of my shattered jaw from the ground and tried to wrap my brain around what he had just said. I stood in front of the class, looking from this young man to Julie, and then back again.
“She should have a baby so she can be on tv and be famous!” this seventeen year old exclaimed to me. Julie laughed and I felt relief that she had enough sense to realize that was funny and not a good idea. Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the first time MTV’s Teen Mom show has been the topic of discussion in my Spanish classroom.
I’ve seen a few threads on here following the show and I can’t help but think about how we’d all feel if cameras were following us around and allowing the outside world to so precisely judge our parenting. In real life we can’t rewind and pause to see if we strapped our children in their carseats perfectly everytime, and we aren’t able to replay the audio to hear an ocassional adult vocabulary slip up or what our actions look like in through the eyes of others. You couldn’t pay me enough to followed around by cameras like these ladies are.
I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to be a teen mom and have all the worries of a mother on top of the desires of a teenager. Each time I sit down to grade papers and my son is fussy or there are bottles to be washed, or any other chore, I think about how hard it must be for teen moms to been exactly what they are – teens AND moms. How does homework get done if I can’t get my papers graded at home? I have a whole new appreciation of multitasking mothers now that I am a working one; to go to school and parent must be so incredibly difficult.
Though Teen Mom may not always be an accurate depiction of life as a mother or even life as a teenage mother, I appreciate the insight and reflection it gives me. And I hope that it will show other teens how difficult of a life it can be to balance motherhood and the teenage years and think twice before engaging in activities that could lead them down the same path.