Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Sara (back again!)

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been asked why I don't do the "Dear Sara" posts anymore. And truly? It's because of my laziness. Which sounds hysterical because I'm not a lazy person, but when it comes to this I am. I get questions emailed or messaged to me via Facebook quite often and normally I just reply back and never remember to get it up on here.

But I've been bugged by a certain friend about it and in the same day, I got TWO questions. It's kind of like a sign. Not one that says "buy a Powerball ticket" but one that says "just do it already". So here we go.

1. You should do a dear Sara. B/c my dear sara would consist of me ranting b/c my SIL is pregnant at 18. I have been very supportive. But it is killing. I have been in her life since she was 11. My in-laws were useless and never talked about sex and I was the one that pounded it home in her head over and over.. Take your BC pills, use protection. Don't take chances. I literally talk to her about that at least once a week b/c I figure someone HAS to educate her. But it ended up not mattering. I am super supportive. I ran interference with my in-laws today. Hell i told her she could live with us if she got kicked out. I talked with my FIL for over an hour about everything and got him to a good place. We pretty much hate each other, but I did it, because I love her. I just can't help but be upset. Her future will never be what it could have been. I struggled so much and all I ever wanted for her was to take advantage of her open/free/easy opportunity...

Aw yes, teen parents. Who doesn't love those? But I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I have someone close to me who got pregnant really young and it was upsetting to me. I could not understand why after the brutally honest conversations I had with her about how hard it was for me to be married young and then get pregnant right away and adjusting to that, then I had a career starting, and it's a LOT of changes happening all at once. At 23 I was not ready for any of that. But she went and did it anyways and I can't say that part of me hopes that something awful will happen just so I can say I told you so. Because that makes me sound petty and it is- it's really petty.

But it's also the truth.

Because I know that something could happen. I thought things were great and out of nowhere, Matt lost his job and I'm dealing with infidelity, bankruptcy, and I'm pregnant again. It can happen, no matter how much you love your spouse or how prepared you think you are.

The worst part is that this girl has no idea of the opportunities that just evaporated, which is really tragic. These are the girls who end up marrying some loser because they realize hey- it's hard being a single parent and gosh gee, I'm really lonely. I want to be a 20something kid again! And I really hate women who have children young and then think they can still be a parent and out clubbing. Because you can't. I don't care who you are, but if you are out dating because you're lonely and you're a parent? Irresponsible. There. I said it. I'm being judgmental and I don't care because that's what it is. When you decide to be a parent you give up a LOT.

But what can you do? First and foremost, making her feel terrible isn't going to help. It's the first instinct and it doesn't hurt to give her a good tongue lashing because that was irresponsible and stupid. The fact that she didn't think to protect herself is the first sign she wasn't mature enough to even be having sex in the first place, let alone raise a child. Second, you can give her the options. She doesn't have to keep the baby. I know everyone is like, "We'll help you!" and all of that, but let's face it- that help runs out eventually and if you give an irresponsible, immature child a baby, things could happen. Not always physically harmful ones, but ones that can harm a child just the same. I don't think any 18 year old has the emotionally capacity to be fully selfless towards another human being. They just don't and that's OK because they aren't fully developed. But now we have a baby in the mix. It's not all cute clothes and cuddles. It's work. It's hard. And sometimes? Sometimes all you can do is cry and wonder what the hell were you thinking? Been there, done it all.

Assuming adoption isn't the answer for her, and that's a difficult choice to make, she now has to accept the responsibility of raising this child. And I would be incredibly hard on her as far as being financially responsible. Make her continue to work full time, make her set money aside in preparation for the baby, make her pay all of her bills, make her get to the doctors on her own, make her manage her schedule, make her make all of the tough decisions and quite frankly? Don't let her go out and have fun. That has now ended. I think anytime a parent coddles their now pregnant child and helps them along? You aren't helping them, you're inhibiting their ability to process the consequences of their actions. If you're going to act like a grown up, you need to be a grown up. Tough love, baby.

But all you can do now is be there for her. She made a terrible decision, she has a life long consequence and her live isn't going to be the same. But she still needs support and she still needs guidance. Love her through it. She may not have followed your advice, but maybe she will from this point on now that she has actual consequences to work through.

2. My daughter has taken to putting "selfies" of her and her friends flicking off the camera so to speak. What is this? Is this the new thing now???

I don't know, but it's trashy. Yes, I might swear like a sailor, but you will never see me giving the camera the finger. It's vulgar, it's trashy, and it's not cute. I sometimes wonder if the feminist movement has gone a little too far in the sense that it no longer means anything to act like a lady. Again, I might swear like a sailor three sheets to the wind sometimes, but I know when to curb it. Then it kills me when I see grown ass women doing this. I know people who do this who are my age or older and I'm like, really? First off, act your age. It's not alright pretending you are some bad ass. Second, if you are a mother? Shame on you. Seriously. Shame on you, because what are you teaching your children? Your daughters? I am forever stressing the importance of behavior with my daughter, and son, but more so my daughter because I want her to know it's just never OK to wear a tube top shirt. It's never OK to be giving a camera the finger. It's never OK to act like a brat to her parents, her family, peers, or anyone older than her. It's just not. As parents, we need to do better. 
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SO. Do you have a question for me? Leave it in the comments, send me an email (sarastrand9438(at)hotmail(dot)com), or even a Facebook message. I don't publish names so nobody will know who you are. Swearsies. 

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