Our first #MOMBOSS is the lovely Erica Bohannon. I have personally watched from afar as she accomplished goal after goal in spite of her status as a young mother! She has beat the odds and accomplished exactly what she wanted in life. Let her interview be the first of many examples that you CAN and WILL be whatever you want to be in life no matter your situation. Keep reading as she answers our #MOMBOSS interview questions!
- How old were you when you had your first child?
I became pregnant at the age of 18, four months after I graduated high school. My son’s father and I were together at the time and he was very supportive throughout my entire pregnancy. At the time I had my first apartment and was kind of struggling to make ends meet. Being pregnant straight out of high school, changed everything
2. Where did you go graduate from? (Include High School & College)
I attended Northridge for a year and a half then transferred to Trotwood in the middle of my freshman year. I struggled my 9th and 10th-grade year. My grades were failing and I just didn’t feel like I was thriving at the time. So, my 11th-grade year, I made a life-changing decision to the Miami Valley Career Technology Center for early childhood education. It was a huge decision because my family didn’t have the money to afford it, as well as me leaving close friends behind at Trotwood. I thought that they would think that I was a “Sell Out” due to the cultural climate of the school. Needless to say, I stepped out on faith and graduated from MVCTC and Trotwood-Madison as well. (With everything paid for!)
I graduated from Sinclair Community College with an A.A.S. in early childhood education and then continued to my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a license to teach pre k-3rd grade from Central State University. I also ended with a 3.8 GPA and only $10,000 of student loan debt. (I accomplished this because I was awarded a 3-year scholarship based on my GPA from Sinclair). I believe I received both of my degrees to fulfill my God given purpose
3.What was your journey as a young/single mother like?
Being a single mother has been challenging yet fruitful. It has forced me to become more selfless; to look at every decision I made because with each calculated step my son would either benefit or suffer from it. I learned quickly that my schedule revolves around what worked for our home life. My son has helped me peel back layers of hurt that I never wanted to face by showing his gentle spirit consistently.
My son’s father and I split up when he was about 2 or 3. In the beginning, it was extremely difficult for us to get on common ground because we were both young and wanted to live life. But responsibility kept us consistently in line. Eventually, we both put our selfish desires aside and have learned to successfully co-parent with one another. He is consistent with providing Chase with love, protection, and security. We have learned to balance our personal lives and our son to where we all benefit. I’m really blessed to have him choose daily to be a father to my son.
4.What were your biggest obstacles? How did you overcome them? How long did it take?
One of my biggest obstacles was finishing college. I had to find childcare and because I made too much I almost couldn’t afford it. My son’s preschool teacher helped me out tremendously. She kept him all the way up through my first year of my bachelor’s degree. My family and friends are the main reasons I successfully completed my degrees. They kept a firm foundation for me and did a whole lot by just keeping Chase when I needed. I also had to to make decisions on changing my work schedule to fit the needs and demands of school and my son. God is so amazing! He ended up working it out for me just because I placed my faith in him and believed in the purpose he placed over my life. I am a firm believer in this.
I believe my success is true because I followed the path God laid out for me. Believing in God and building my spiritual self up through those tough nights are what kept me.
It took many years of practicing new habits and really getting in tune with God to help overcome challenges
5.What are you grateful for?
Honestly, I am really grateful that God chose me. He chose me to be a mother to a young man even though I never had an example of how to parent one due to my father’s absence in my life. God knew that my son would help me see men in a different light due to my son’s character and his father being a strong influence in his life, I’m grateful that God chose me in the midst of my promiscuity and healed me to help heal other ladies by transforming my life into a walking testimony. I Can only credit God because I don’t think I would be anywhere if I didn’t stop and listen to his voice.
6. What are your long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to obtain my masters in early childhood leadership and advocacy with a focus on leadership. I would like to open a high-quality preschool in the inner city. I would also like to be a prominent figure in our community and advocate for high-quality education for struggling children and families at an affordable cost. I truly have a love for early childhood education!
7.What advice can you give to other teen/young/single mothers?
My advice to single mothers is to learn to become selfless, give back to your community in any way you can. Learn to sow good fruit in your environment so you can reap good fruit. Establish your faith and spend time with God daily. Find a great group of girlfriends and help hold each other accountable to help each other become successful. Learn to control your tongue and attitude, especially in the workplace. Alway…always go out of your home presentable because you are your own advocate. Lastly, forgive…. forgive from your whole heart your purpose and peace depend on it!!