For better or for worse, I’m more than a little obsessed with “Teen Mom 2.” After years of watching the series, I feel like I know (and root for!) these young women personally. Watching Kailyn, Leah, and Chelsea adjust to being parents and make questionable choices is always interesting and occasionally infuriating. But nobody has the ability to traumatize my blood pressure levels quite like Jenelle Evans.
Jenelle may be a mom, but most of the time, I find myself wishing I could just swoop in and parent her. Jenelle has been in and out of jail, hopping from one toxic relationship to the next and had yet to regain custody of her son Jace when she decided to get pregnant with a second child after dating the father for what seemed like only a few weeks.
Look, nobody is perfect, but this girl needs some Deepak Chopra 101 or something. I mostly just want to scream at Jenelle, but on the show’s “Unseen Moments” special last week, she told Dr. Drew that mean internet stories about her make her cry on the daily ‚ so I’ll take a kinder approach. Here are some gentle reminders that I would not-so-subtly share with Jenelle if I were to sit down face-to-face with her and play pseudo-shrink. Jenelle, I say these things with love:
1. A man can’t be your crutch. This is never going to work for you. Haven’t you noticed how this tactic has failed you, like, three times already? I know making every aspect of your life revolve around a guy is an easy distraction from the deeper problems, but all it does is prolong your unhappiness. Trust.
2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When a guy wants to have a baby with you after knowing you for like 10 seconds, TAKE NOTE. Girl, that’s what we call a red flag.
3. Play with your kid. You know, instead of sitting there texting when he’s talking to you.
4. Stop bailing on leases on short notice, making your bad credit even worse, and then laughing about it. The worse you let that credit get, the less independence you’re going to have – from deadbeat dudes and from your mom.
5. Think things through a little more. “I’m about ready to go back to school so I decided it would be a good time to have a baby” is not a line of reasoning! Like, at all.
6. Stay in treatment and go to recovery meetings! You haven’t been sober very long, but you talk about your heroin use as if it was decades ago. Obviously, we only know the part of your life that MTV chooses to show us, but it doesn’t seem like you’re seeking any support to make sure you stay sober. Starting a new relationship and moving to a new state are kind of worth avoiding when you’ve just kicked a drug habit and are trying to avoid stressful situations.
7. Also, maybe consider therapy? Young parenthood, plus a drug addiction, plus time in jail, are a lot to handle. Therapy gives us tools to handle what’s in front of us.
8. Stay out of trouble. When you have your lawyer on speed dial and seemingly talk to him more than your mom, kid and boyfriend combined, you know you’ve got a problem.
9. Stop arguing in front of Jace. He didn’t learn to say “fuck” out of thin air, and shouting at him for it doesn’t change the fact that kids learn by example. How scary would it be as a four-year-old to see the grown-ups you trust hitting each other and screaming all day?
10. Conflict resolution. It’s a thing. It doesn’t involve hitting.
11. Get a job, or at least find something to do all day that gives you some purpose. The reason you are so obsessed with stirring up drama is because you’re bored.
12. Ask your sex partners to wear a condom. Look, I know that conservatives try their damnedest to make birth control hard for women to access. It’s not easy. I hope the guys you sleep with could afford to buy condoms, though. Not only will you be able to plan your pregnancies better, but you’ll protect yourself from STDs and STIs.
13. Let your mom actually talk before screaming at her. I don’t care if she annoys you, she’s doing you the biggest favor in the world by raising your kid.
14. Make some female friends. “I don’t really have any friends, who else would I talk to if I didn’t have a boyfriend?” is the actual worst reason to get a boyfriend.
15. Get real about relationships. “We hardly ever fight now so I don’t know what we would ever fight about in the future” might make sense two weeks into a relationship but that’s the most laughable reason ever to assume you’ll be fine as a couple for the next like, 50 years and three kids later. As in, I literally laughed out loud when you said that. It is so not a reason to decide to have a baby with a guy you just met.
16. Stop looking for validation in the wrong places. You are running from yourself, and until you stop doing that, your life will keep feeling like a train wreck. Who you really are inside isn’t actually so scary, you just have to be willing to face it. You’re worthy of love! Yes, you, Jenelle.