Friday, 17 January 2014

Why Teen Mom makes me want to have another baby

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I was watching Teen Mom the other night, because after cancelling some of our cable channels we somehow magically got MTV back--and I'm certainly not questioning it or complaining. These high quality reality shows are my secret guilty pleasure, so I was only a little bit thrilled.

But...as I was watching this show I started feeling uncomfortable after only a few minutes. Uncomfortable since I wanted to shout at my TV "This is NOT how it really is!".

Stop implying that having a baby when you're 16 (or even 30) is as easy as they make it look. I think, honestly, that it can be dangerous.

I watched, for example, as one of the teen moms welcomed her girlfriend into her house and said to her twin one-year old daughters "Okay, time for nap", telling her girlfriend that she would be right back.

She then proceeded to pick up her girls from where they were playing, walked into their bedroom, put them in their cribs, kissed them goodnight and walked out...as they (apparently) fell fast asleep without even a fuss. Then the mom walked back into the living room and had a great time hanging out with her girlfriend, with nothing but peace and quiet.

WHAAAAAT??!!

This is NOT reality, people.

Sure, there might be a handful of babies in this world who are able to be pulled at any random time throughout the day from their play and be simply placed in a crib and magically fall asleep without any help...but most of them don't.

Then I watched as another teen mom met up with some friends for dinner with her one year old son and sat him on her lap as she chatted, laughed, ate and hung out (for what seemed like a very long time) as her son sat there perfectly, not even moving.

This again just killed me.

You want to bring my one year old son to a restaurant? Well you better be prepared to follow him around every inch of that restaurant as he explores and touches everything that he can get his hands on... because there is no way that he would just sit there and let me have hours of uninterrupted social time.

Then I watched as another mom called up her girlfriend to meet her for a coffee and she all of a sudden was at the coffee shop, without her baby, having a great coffee break with her girlfriend. Wouldn't that be LOVELY??

They didn't show how she had to arrange for child care. They didn't show how she had to plan the visit with her friend around nap times. They didn't show how she had to bundle her baby up, get him into his car seat, remember the bottle and soother and diapers and wipes and get him to his caregiver on time. They just showed her magically showing up with endless amounts of time to still have a roaring social life, sans baby.

As a mom, I watched this and knew that they obviously edited these scenes like crazy. So when it appeared that those twin babies fell asleep so easily so that the mom could still have the same uninterrupted visits from friends as she used to (before having kids)...I knew that surely at least one of those babies started crying and needed to be tended to. And when it appeared that that baby sat so quietly and still at the dinner table for hours as all of the girlfriends hung out, I'm sure that at some point that baby wanted down or got impatient. But why don't they show that??

Do you think that it's helpful to young girls to show them that it's really this easy to have a baby? Do you think that it's helpful to NEVER show these babies screaming when they don't want to go to sleep? And why do they never show the girls in the middle of the night waking up with their crying babies?..and then early morning wake ups, where the girls are struggling to even get time to get in the shower without their one year olds climbing up on chairs or getting into things?

THIS is reality. For most, at least.

I have enough mom friends who are honest about their realities...which I love and appreciate. So I know that most people with very young children are experiencing a lot of the same realities as the next mom out there. I would love to have my hair perfectly curled and styled the way that these teen moms always do each day. But to be honest, I'm lucky to get in the shower in the morning--and it's a luxury that I have to plan for to be able to blow dry my hair and actually straighten it before work (and you know that this is always done with a one year old climbing up my leg and a three year old asking me for a snack).

I just think that a show like this needs to be careful. Careful because there are young girls watching this, not seeing the true reality of what it takes to have a baby. Yes, I appreciate that they show the struggles that these girls have in terms of their relationships with their boyfriends...but what about all of the other struggles that new moms go through? What about the times when those twin babies are both crying at the same time and that young mom is left alone to try to figure out how to soothe them both at the same time? What about the times when these girls feel like they are loosing touch with friends because the needs of their babies are so much? What about the times when they get woken up a million times in the middle of the night and feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted?

I realize that this is just one little reality show and their job is not to try to prevent teen pregnancies...it's instead to entertain us (which you do--thank you very much!). But seriously, I think in some ways it glorifies having a baby and how easy it can be...which just makes me uncomfortable.

And as I write about all of these realities of having kids...the messy, the hard, the exhausting...they're all true. So very true.


But the good parts? Well, they override any of the hard stuff that comes your way. The love, the hugs, the proud moments, the sweet moments and the magical moments of parenthood are what make it so darn good.  If it was easy and great all of the time I don't think that we would appreciate those magical and sweet moments as much as we do. I'll take all of the hard parts, because that's what parenthood is all about--the good and the bad, the hard and the easy, the clean and the messy. I love it all. I just love it all, and wouldn't change it for the world.

But MTV? All of the realities that your show doesn't actually show are REAL. They exist in the majority of households out there. I just want you to show a bit more real please.




And MTV, you make me want to have another baby if it's as easy as that.

Seriously.

...well, actually...to be honest, I want another baby even without the influence of such a high quality reality television show...but wouldn't it be nice if it really was that easy??

I still love you though Teen Mom. Thanks for always entertaining me.

Love to all of the moms and dads out there,

Love Erica xo



   











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