I have to admit I am a sucker for “reality” TV. I get excited for Bachelor Pad on Mondays, have seen way too many episodes of Jersey Shore, and recently caught an episode of Teen Mom .
I have mentioned that my sister is pregnant. She is 19, works part-time at a grocery store, is not attending college, and her boyfriend just got his first paycheck, ever. I have confidence that she will make it work, in some capacity, because she absolutely adores children and will have help, but it will by no means be easy. So I was quite annoyed when she was watching MTV ’s Teen Mom, and insisting that these lives of the females on the show are similar to hers.
No! Absolutely not. I haven’t watched a full episode so maybe it does get more realistic at some point, but in the 10 minutes I saw, the one girl, Farrah I believe her name was, was talking about getting her boobs done. She was currently in school, had a child, had legal issues with her mother, but was going to take out a loan to get her breasts augmented.
Are you freakin kidding me?! She was going to pay thousands of dollars to have plastic surgery when she had just been talking about her lack of income, not a few sentences before. Does this make any sense to you?!
I am not saying Farrah is a bad person, or bashing her capabilities at being a mother. What I am saying is MTV is painting a picture of teen pregnancy that is so not true. I feel as if they are making it seem like a new car, time to go to culinary school, and nights out with friends, are normal, even with a challenge such as a new child in your life.
I am trying to prepare my sister now…THIS IS NOT WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE. On her salary (she makes just over minimum wage) and the fact that she only works about 25 hours a week, there will not be much wiggle room in the budget for extras. To me this means not going bowling or to the movies every weekend, trips to Ruby Tuesdays and Dairy Queen will be limited, new Nike kicks aren’t happening just because you want them…money will be tight!
We went to the grocery store to use my sister’s WIC checks (which you can read about in an earlier post!) and the $10 she gets for fruits and vegetables does not get her a ton of produce! Anyone who does any form of food shopping will know this. I was pleased with what she got and feel that the program is certainly an excellent way to meet the nutritional needs of mother and child, but honestly, if that is the money she gets to feed her, the baby and Tyler, and they don’t intend on spending any more than their voucher allotment, they will be hungry! At least I know I would be!
So with six months until the official due date I really want her prioritize her life, learn to budget, COOK (yup, she doesn’t know how to do this) and accept the changes that will occur…perhaps even STOP watching Teen Mom and all its ridiculously inaccurate portrayals of life with a baby.
And at the same time I need to work on me, as far as learning anything I can about pregnancy, and caring for an infant. So it’s not like I am asking her to go at this alone. I will be there when I can, but at the same time, I have always been the epitome of an enabler for her. She doesn’t know how to prepare meals because I have always had dinner waiting when she got home. She doesn’t understand how much things cost at the grocery store because I do the shopping. So I need to let her grow up, because soon she will need to be a big girl, a mom, and a role model. I’m not thrilled about her declaration that she is moving out as soon as the child is born, but it is her life, and I am NOT in control, meaning I need to stop acting or thinking I am. All I can do is help and be there when she has these wacky cravings, morning sickness, and goes to pick up a caffeinated soda (BIG NO NO!) but I cannot force her to do anything.
The only person I have the ability to change is myself, but this is a difficult part of my journey. I don’t easily let go, or believe the mentality that some things are just out of my hands. But in actuality they are, and if I can learn to accept that, life might just get a little easier, and hopefully I won’t be as stressed.
So can I control that MTV has a show (well multiple shows!) that demonstrates a life atypical for most people? No, I can’t. But I can do my part to help my sister prepare for the reality of taking care of another life. And I can work on accepting my inability to dictate everything that occurs, and learn a few things about babies. Sounds like I have a pretty eventful few months ahead of me!
What do you think about shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom?