When Taylor Dungjen was 26, she had a girl’s night with a couple of friends. Almost straight out of a movie, Dungjen planned to watch TV, eat junk food, and laugh about the results of her at-home pregnancy test– which she assumed would be negative, despite a sneaking suspicion. Months later, her son, Milan, was born.
“[When I got the results] I cried. A lot,” confessed Dungjen. “I had no idea if I was ready to be a mom yet. It wasn’t the right time [for me to be pregnant], he wasn’t the right guy. But [my mom] was so calm, or sounded so calm. She told me that whatever I decided, [they] would support me. She said if I was waiting for enough money or the right time, I’d be waiting forever.”
Dungjen told the other party responsible in her pregnancy that she planned to keep the child. “After that conversation, I realized was going at parenthood alone, which I had expected,” said Dungjen. “One of the things I like most about myself is my ability to get stuff done. It’s that blue-collar rust-belt attitude. I looked at pregnancy and parenthood the same way: I have a job to do, so I’m going to do it the best I can.”
Pride over prejudice
As a single parent, Dungjen is no stranger to people quick to make judgements— but overall she gets support.
“I was surprised [by people’s] judgments. I know I was called names and talked about— Toledo is small,” said Dungjen. “…. But more than 99 percent of the people I’ve encountered have been extremely supportive. People babysit for free, I had a lot of dinners dropped off at the house while I was on maternity leave, people offer emotional support. Some just drop off diapers randomly. I never realized how many people had my back before I became a single mom.”
Reporting for parenthood
Taylor, a past crime reporter in the past, now works as a general-assignment reporter for the Toledo Blade. Coming from a family of reporters (her father, grandfather, and her aunt), Dungjen is the third generation in the profession. Reporter by day, mommy by night, Dungjen sometimes manages to mix the two jobs by taking her son with her on assignment.
“Reporting and parenting have taught me patience and compassion, which I think are essential to doing a good job at both,” said Dungjen.
“Both have also taught me a great deal about myself.”
Despite juggling a full-time job and single-parenthood, Dungjen has found a way to make it work best for Milan and herself: “My parenting style is pretty laid back. I parent by loving my kid, playing with him, and not being afraid to act like a doofus to make him laugh.”
TAYLOR’S FAVORITE THINGS
Favorite Park: This is tough. I might love Pearson Park best.
Favorite Restaurant: Balance Grille.
Your Child’s Favorite Activity: Eating. Definitely eating.
Favorite Way to Relax as a Family: Taking a walk
Favorite Holiday: National Food Days (Donut Day, Pizza Day, more snack holidays Pending…)
Favorite View in Toledo: I really like looking out over the river from Walbridge Park; I also love the view of downtown from International Park. I also like the view of my house from the street, because it’s mine.
What did you name your son, and why: Milan Dungjen; he’s named after my grandfather who was an absolute badass. He was strong, brave, funny, kind, and smart. If my son can be the same kind of man Opa was, we will be in tremendous shape.