You might have seen her pouring up your favorite cocktail, rushing to accounting class or cheering on her son at swimming lessons. This triple life sounds like the undertaking of a superhero or skilled 007 agent, but for Sheryss Taylor, it is her life.
On May 26, 2012, Taylor came face to face with her new role as a mother. With fear, anxiety and faith, she confronted a world of new challenges. Her greatest challenge, however, was meeting everyone’s expectations — including her own. “When I got pregnant, there were talks among my family about me not finishing school. The biggest sacrifice was being able to live up to their expectations. Usually a 19-year-old would spend their free time going out with friends, I wouldn’t do that. I had to accept the fact that I was going to be a young mother and I am going do what’s best for my son now,” Taylor said.
Taylor admitted she did have the fleeting thought to quit school and instead dedicate all her energy to her son and work, but she knew in the long run this would be counterintuitive to her aspirations. “I had to work twice as hard to not fall into a statistic, but I was fortunate to have the support of my family,” she said. Everyone in her household accepted that sacrifices would have to be made to support Taylor. “For one, my mom switched rooms with me so I could have a larger space for my son (Jayce Barney) and I.”
While attending Baruch College in New York City in pursuit of an accounting degree, Taylor was often confronted with having to explain to her peers why she had a child. “I used to be scared to tell people I have a kid because I didn’t want anyone to judge me. Any time I would talk about my son, I would cry. Not because I was sad, but there was so much emotion that came with having to explain to everyone why I have a son.” Taylor said once she gained the strength to stop pitying herself for being so young, she eventually became confident in the fact that she is a mother.
With a strong support system at her back, Taylor unintentionally began knocking down stigmas about young mothers as well as the many reports that observed millennials to be self-entitled, lazy brats.
Being a millennial mom also presents unique motherhood challenges. “My son already knows how to use my iPhone," Taylor said. "He can turn it on, unlock it and play games.” As a mom in the digital age, Taylor pays extra attention to the images that are more easily available to Jayce. “I don’t let him watch SpongeBob,” she said with a laugh.
Taylor currently works as a server at 48 Lounge and has received a 2016 full-time offer from KPMG in auditing through an internship program she completed over the summer. “I one day hope to be successful at doing something I love and find peace in knowing that everyone around me is going to be okay.”
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(Photo: Courtesy of Sheryss Taylor)
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