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To those who grew up with a teen mother, the following exchange may sound familiar:

Person A: "Is that your sister?"

Person B: "Nope. That's my mom."


The dialogue above can be humorous to kids who have great relationships with their teen moms, while others may scoff at the very suggestion that their mothers are close enough in age to be siblings.

While this scenario seems atypical, kids with teen moms are not all that uncommon.

According to the CDC, "a total of 194,377 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 18.8 per 1,000 women in this age group" in 2017.

With the rate of U.S. teen pregnancies dropping 7% in 2017 from the previous year, it is still considered higher than in other "western industrialized nations."

Curious to hear from the child's perspective about growing up with a teen mother, Redditor eggyboi422 asked:

"Kids born to teen mom's, how different is your life compared to other kids?"

Wouldn't Change It For The World

"I was born to a teen mom, and a single one at that. I definitely had a lot more freedom and less supervision as a child since both of her parents (my grandparents obviously) passed away soon after I was born, so there weren't many options for babysitters. Since she worked two jobs I would often be on my own after school until about 8 or 9 at night, sometimes later."

"She definitely struggled to hold down jobs due to not having an education and the overall grind would eventually get to her. At one point she was walking 11 miles a day to and from work because we didn't have a vehicle. Eventually, we lost our home and we remained in and out of shelters until I was about 12."

"I learned ALOT about the world in those days. At the time I hated it and was jealous of other kids having normal lives. Now that I'm older, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It gave me every bit of motivation I have, it gave me better social skills (gotta learn to make friends quick when you move frequently), and most importantly it taught me to be humble and never view less fortunate people as beneath me.

"She was diagnosed with cancer when I was 13 and died when I was 15 which sucks, cuz IMO I grew up to be a good person and good father. Would love to have her around to see it."

KushKapn1991

Growing Up Fast

"I've noticed that I didn't have the same opportunities as other kids because being a teen mom can lead you down a road of struggle and poverty if you don't have help from family."

"I've always wanted to play sports, but she could never afford the equipment needed at school to be apart of it. Mentally, I've had to mature faster at a young age because she was still a kid herself. It's unnerving to think teachers would tell me I seemed older than my age at 10 years old."

Ainika

Couldn't Afford To Play Soccer

"My mom was 19 when she had me (she was from a third world country on top of it). There was a year i stopped playing soccer because there wasnt enough money. There was also the year i asked for a sega genesis from santa (a couple of years earlier) and didn't get it and my mom made up some excuse about how it came but it was missing a part. That was the year i realized a) santa wasn't real and b) anything i asked for from santa was coming out of her pocket."

"I was six that year, i tried to pretend i believed her but i think she knew i knew she was lying you know, me being six and all and not all that great at acting. I never really asked anything expensive of santa again and only got chocolate from Santa in the following years a tradition that continues whenever I'm home for christmas even now when I'm in my late 30s i still get a stocking full of chocolate from 'Santa.' It's a beautiful little silent tradition we don't talk about that's like a reminder for when times were tough."

"But i know my mom carries a lot of guilt about the things she couldn't give me as a kid that she was able to give my younger brother and sister because their financial situation got much better right around the time my younger sister was born."

"I try to tell her that she shouldn't, and highlight all the things i loved about my childhood, and the intangible things i was given because i was able to see how she was struggling and how hard she was trying, and then got to see how her trying paid off at a young age. Those were gifts my brother and sister didn't get to have, and they're much more valuable than a season of soccer, a sega genesis, or whatever else i could have asked for. I hope your daughter can see it that way too."

Teantis

Treated Like A Sister

"I was born in 1964 when my mother was 16. Grandparents adopted me so I'd have a 'name.' Father's family paid for the hospital bills and that was it because they didn't want to ruin his chances to go to VMI. Mother had three other kids from at least two other men and tried to treat me like a little sister although a girl in 3rd grade decided it was her duty to tell me I didn't really have a daddy."

"Three bedroom country farm with four kids, grandparents and mother was a constant fight complete with fists and screaming almost daily. At least we could go outside....Lost a brother to a gunshot when stepfather cheated on mother and left gun down while he was leaving, other brother accidentally shot him."

"Mother continued to treat me like a sister until she decided she wanted to be a mother. My grandmother was the one who raised me and the one I consider my true mother. When she died, she left me the land with her house on it and my mother tricked me into signing it over to her (I was very naive). She accused my straight-edge goth-y kids (in their 30s now) of being on drugs because they wore black and has held a remark I made about moving away when I was 16 against me to this day."

"My father sent me $50 when I graduated and $100 when I got married the first time. And I had no idea he was even my father until I was 23."

"I would have liked to have had a different childhood."

"Edit: Y'all are some wonderful people. Thank you to those who had kind and healing words, hugs to those in need of a little extra."

shallow_not_pedantic

Growing Up With Live And Well Great Grandparents

"One of my friends has a teen mom, she doesnt talk about it too much but she says that its nice how all family members (great grandparents) are still alive."

VViard

"That threw me off so much. My parents had me at 40 and their parents had them around 30 so by the time I was born I already was one grandparent down and it only took a few years for the next to go. Now at the age of 22 I have none. Meanwhile my bf whose family all have had children around 18 and his great great grandparents are still alive and he goes on trips with his grandparents."

eneuendo

Not My Sister

"When friends would come over for the first time growing up, I'd get a lot of, 'I didn't know you had an older sister!'

"I don't. That's my mother."

"Also: since my Mom and I are only 16 years apart, we ended up liking a lot of the same music. Which made going to concerts a lot easier, because we'd often wanna go to the same shows. So, I've definitely seen a lot more bands than friends."

500Republica

Growing Up With Music Festivals

"My mom was 16 and my dad 19 when they had me. They took me to a lot of concerts music festivals growing up. Starting around age 9, their go-to birthday present for me was concerts. The first couple years it was stuff they liked. After I started developing my own tween/teen tastes, they'd give me 3 tickets so I could take a friend and my uncle as chaperone."

"Edit to address something that has come up multiple times in the responses below."

jinantonyx

Cool Aunt And Uncle

"My mom was 18. So my aunt and uncle are only 10 years older than me (my uncle is 6 years) so I got to do all kinda of rad stuff with my aunt and uncle like skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding."

"They were and are more like a brother and sister."

"Real dad is a pos. My mom fell in love at 20 with a 40 year old. They are still together 38 years later. Raised me like his own.

"He had 5 other kids. So I had all kinds of brothers and sisters and tbh a better life than if my real dad stuck around."

WetPigeonPoo

Emo Mamma

"I'm an early 2000s baby, my mom really liked emo music when I was little, so I considered myself 'emo' at 6. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom's 4Runner and listening to Mindless Self Indulgence, MCR, Blink-182, American Football, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and all the late 90s-early 2000s emo music. I got to watch a lot of 90s cartoons along with 2000s stuff because it was what my mom watched, and we always had fun sitting on the couch watching TV. I had a really good childhood, me and my mom were always friends, she is great mom, and I always look up to her for being a bada** young single mom who raised me alone."

StarrAtlasAI

She Was A Pregnant Pre-Teen

"my mom wasn't a teen when she had me but she started having children when she was 14 and was basically pregnant every other year... I was her 6th child at 25 and she had 11 children in total. She doesn't remember or know exactly who my biological father is lol so yeah..."

les_beau

"It Is The Person That Makes A Difference"

"My teen mom - less money, less patience, dated more men, has been divorced several times."

"My SOs teen mom: lots of money, lots of patience, dated two men, only divorced once."

"I think it is more the person than the age that makes a difference."

"Edit: the reason my MIL had more money is because: she had a good personality and was able to get good jobs, she was able to advance her career, was financial responsible with spending, worked very hard to get her college degree, and this was 40+ years ago so the cost of living and wage were more comparable."

"The reason my mother didn't have more money: she is hard to get along with and struggled to get a good job, when she did get a good job she was not financial responsible, the divorces caused her to lose most/all of her gained sums because she choose to walk away rather than split assets. My mother also got a college degree and STILL struggles with jobs because she argues so much."

"Lastly, none of the were strippers/escorts. They are very close in age. Both had little/no parental support (my MIL having moved to the US away from the Philippines and my mother was kicked out). Thank you and good night!"

The_Thugmuffin

The 5-Year-Old Chef

"I was growing up at the same time my mom and all of my aunts and uncles were."

"On a more obvious day-to-day note, I was at home on my own making stove top spaghettios at 5 years old... So I would probably say I have needed to be more mature, independent, and more okay with a majority of things not going my way than a lot of the people I know. I don't really get along with people my age because of that."

hiimdull

"My Childhood SUCKED"

"My mom is 15 years older than me and has banged 7 of my friends throughout my life... 4 when I was still in high-school...."

"Other than that i think I was became mature than her when I was 12..."

"I took care of my 3 siblings, did the cooking, cleaning... got them to school... hell I started working 40 hours/week at 14 so my siblings could have some sort of a normal childhood (get clothes, school supplies, i even took them go-karting on each of their birthdays... those are some of my favorite memories)"

"Over all I think that my childhood SUCKED, I never got to be a kid... I don't think ANYONE should have kids before they are mature enough to handle one... and teen mom's should have a lot if over-sight by cps."

"Edit: giving more context... this was in a small town in the 80's... my siblings and I are doing pretty well nowadays."

dylan_lowe

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

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Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

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Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!


What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."

- OAKRAIDER64

"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Victoria_Borodinova/Pixaba

As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

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