Perspectives on Teen Mom 2

OK I’ll admit it.  I’ve watched Teen Mom 2.

On one hand, this show gives a clearer picture of teen pregnancy than what my generation ever received.  A girl got pregnant in high school.  No one ever really talked about it.  Of course, she had to make a decision.  Give it up or keep it?  The 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom series show the complexity of both decision and how much life changes…pretty drastically.  For myself, it has been somewhat of an education.

While giving your baby for adoption is a responsible thing to do, there is a long grieving process that never fully goes away.  It is not just the birth mother who feels this pain–the father, the grandparents, and friends carry this burden.  Yet keeping your baby–how can you take care of a child when you are trying to finish school, hold down a job and make “adult” decisions?  Watching these young girls is exhausting.

On the other hand, this show is entertainment.  My concern is our young people are tuning in week after week to be entertained by other people’s life drama. This is not just a soap opera with actors and actresses. Do we really want these teen couples to be our children’s role models? Our young people will look up to them even if we as adults do not.  It is after all, a TV show.  There is editing, scenes are set up, and there is a story line.  We are not fully getting the whole picture, but sometimes our young people do not realize that.

In an interview with one of the stars (and I find it disturbing they are now “stars”) she said she wanted her baby son to watch the show someday to see what his mom went through.  Why should she want her child to see with his own eyes how badly she screwed up?  It is these babies who have no choice.  Mom was chasing stardom while they were potty training on camera for all America to see.  I guess that’s the biggest part that makes me a bit uneasy.

Teen Mom does promote “a safe sex” agenda and speaks out about problems with teen violence and drug use. It’s hard to argue with the fact MTV is preaching a sensible message.  MTV in my day was skanky videos and lots of angry 90’s music.  Watching this show has made we realize we have a very important responsibility as moms to talk to our children about sex.  The church as well has a responsibility to guide its young people and share about God’s design for sex.  MTV will speak out and talk about it.  I guess the question is: will we as parents and youth leaders talk about it too?

Weekend Shout Outs

It is a holiday weekend.  Since we have had full weekends in August, I am enjoying some much-needed down time!  I had a wonderful evening last night shopping BY MYSELF and then spending tonight with my family at one of our favorite parks.  And my soon to be 1st grader is learning to ride her bike training wheels free!

Here’s some great posts from the week…

Rebecca shares Why I Don’t Use Homemade Cleaners over at Dear Lissy.  There is such a trend to use “green” and “natural” home cleaners, but there are drawbacks as well…and they are not always safe.  This post was very helpful in getting to the root of the issue.

I love the Frugal Friday posts at Life As A Mom.  Keeping up with the Joneses which was this week’s post really resonated with me.  Even those of us who live on tight budgets get stuck in this “stuffitis” temptation.

Missy from It’s Almost Naptime shares how The Magic Is Gone.  I have several friends going or who have gone through the international adoption process and it really is an up and down roller coaster with twists and turns.  You girls are in my prayers!

Weekend Shout Outs

On the weekends I would love to give some shout outs to some other fellow bloggers.  Have a fabulous weekend wherever you are…hopefully enjoying some sunshine and the fresh fruits of summer.  Here’s some great posts from the week…

Zucchini is ready for harvest in most parts of the country.  My friend shares Heathly Treats a great recipe for zucchini carrot bread (or muffins) over at somethingaboutschloemers

This was a very tear jerking post: Why Every Moment Matters When You’re A Mom (Don’t Let Them Slip Away) from Raising Homemakers

Currently the people living in the countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are experiencing one of the worst droughts and famines in decades.  My husband and I are not parents of adopted children, but we are friends with a few families who have adopted from Ethiopia specifically and we have supported them in various ways. Several adopted families have teamed up together to raise money for famine relief and you can donate right on the website.

I’m a mom…and we are a transracial family

I'm a mom and...

I was in Costco last week and a saw a fair skinned mom pushing her twin boys through the toilet paper aisle.  The two pudgy toddlers were dark skinned with black tufts of hair.  They were giggling as they ran their toy trucks along the edge of the cart.  I am
the kind of person will talk to anyone in public especially if I am in desperate need of adult conversation.  I wanted to ask her more about her sons, but I did not want to make her uncomfortable.  So I simply smiled and walked on.  When you see a mom with children of different races, does your mind assume that these kids were adopted?  Before you start talking to the mom about where the child was adopted from, remember that it is more common now than ever before for children to have parents of different races.  That child may be biologically hers.

Jodi is a single mom to two biracial girls that are biologically her own (and from my previous post “I’m a mom…and I’m single).  “One time when I was at a funeral a woman started talking to me about my youngest daughter who was just a few months old at the time. She said ‘Oh my gosh she is such a beautiful color! I have a daughter that is the same color! Where did you get yours?’…It was almost as if we were talking about a handbag from Macy’s or something!”

While most us would never make racial remarks, even lighthearted comments can make moms uncomfortable.   Jodi explains how friends and family members (who were mostly white skinned) “would call her [daughter] their little brown girl, and make comments about the color of her skin very often. It took me a couple of years to try and get them to understand that that is not acceptable. I began to give examples that they would say, but put “white” in instead of “brown” and then their comments sounded a bit more strange to them.”

Beth (who also in the post, “I’m a mom and I’m single) is fair skinned and of Dutch descent.  She adopted two children from Ethiopia—both were from different families.  At places like the mall, grocery store, and park, she shares that her family naturally
attracts attention.  Most comments are made out of interest, curiosity, or other people considering adoption.  Beth comments, “The ones that almost immediately shut me down are, ‘Are they your own children?’ or ‘Are they real brother and sister?’ Although I know they are talking about biology, my kids are listening, and my son certainly understands what people say to us. “

As moms, how can we take an interest in other moms like Beth and Jodi?  Is it wrong to ask them to share “their story” or find out more about their children?  When I’m in a store, I get the comments about my children’s big blue eyes, and most people want to know their ages.  I often get the “You have your hands full comment” which I ever know how to respond to, but that’s a whole other post.  I don’t get those extra comments or questions because my children look like me and my husband.

I will close with what Beth recommends. We need to consider the child’s feeling first and foremost:

“If you are beginning a conversation with a transracial family, approach them as you would any family. Say a simple ‘hi’ to the children, ask them how old they are. Say something positive about the children. If the kids are three or older, remember that they are listening and understanding much or most of what you are asking. Use words that include ‘biological’ or ‘adopted’ instead of ‘real’ or ‘your own’. Take joy in the family. Even just a simply smile or a friendly wave is nice. As I talk with others
about my children, I always put their feelings first. If others approach transracial families with the children’s feelings in mind, the conversation that follows will probably be positive for everyone.”