Hard working single mom’s

denise imageBeing a single mom is very hard, stressful, and depressing. Being a single mom and working is even more stressful and depressing. Work causes stress, and being a mom also causes stress so you feel so stressed out and don’t know what to do or where to go. You get so desperate that you feel like you are all alone and don’t have anyone to help you or cheer you up. You feel like your not a good parent because you have to work enough hours to get enough money to pay bills and take care of your child. I am here to tell you that you’re doing a GREAT job and keep up the good work!!

I know exactly how you feel because I am going through it myself. I am a young single hard working mom. I am my daughters mother and father. Alot of times I get out of work so tired that I just want to lay down and sleep my life away, but then reality hits me that I am not able to do that because I have to take care of my daughter first and put her to sleep before I can get some rest. Most of the times I feel like I’m stuck in between these four walls and can’t get out. But then I think of all the help I get from my family and how lucky I am to have that help.

Never feel alone. There’s always someone out there willing to hear you and give you advice. Never feel like you are not good enough, because you are. Keep working hard even if you feel like giving up because “Hard work pays off”. Give all the love you can to your child because they need to feel it. Never give up, strive to do better in life for you and your child because in the future that child will thank you for never giving up on them.

How can I be a Leader when I’m not Even Ready to Parent?

Cam PhotoLeadership

Leadership is kind of a funny word.  Oxford describes it as “The action of leading a group of people or an organization.”  Well, that doesn’t sound so hard right?

Except for the bit about leading (what is leading anyway?)…oh and finding a group of people that believes in you…oh and the bit about actually being able to lead them, having the time to do it, being able to speak so that those people will listen to you, and even getting people to realize that you could be a leader.

So, other than all that, I could be a leader, or you could be, right?

Exactly!  From the moment your child is born, you’re a leader.  Parents are leaders.  Think about it, this is probably one of the only times in most of our lives that someone depends almost entirely on us…for everything.  Our kids literally couldn’t survive without us (No pressure, right??).  So if we’re leaders for our kiddos, why does it stop there?

Being a Young Parent Leader

Being a young parent provides an amazing opportunity to become a leader.  Parenthood teaches people a lot about themselves and about others.  Even though ‘leading’ a 3 year old kid in his day-to-day life might be a bit different from coaching a team or managing a department, I bet there’s more similarities than you think.  I mean, those little eyes look up to you whenever they need guidance, and they probably will for most of your life.  People always need guidance, but with kids, it’s especially important to provide guidance.  Sometimes people think parenthood defines a parent, without realizing that every parent defines their own path of parenthood.

Especially when you’re a ‘young’ parent, people seem to think the doors to your future start closing.  Some people think “young parent” and “successful” are totally incompatible things.  Personally I look for every single opportunity to prove those people wrong.  Hey, I may not be perfect, but I can sure be a decent dad and a successful guy.  I refuse to let someone else label my parenthood is a limiting factor in my life.  All other parts being equal, for some reason, when you’re a “young” parent, some people tend to forget about the good things parenthood does.  Why is it when we see young parents, the “Congratulations!” go out the window, and in comes the questions:

“Are you sure you’re ready?”

“Will you be able to finish school?”

“Do you have enough money for to raise a child?”

I’m not even sure if people expect answers, they just love to point out that parenthood is going to be difficult.  Thanks for the heads up random stranger on the street, I had no idea I looked “too young” to have a kid.  Is it hard?  Sure it is, but parenthood isn’t exactly easy, whether you’ve got a fresh high school diploma or you have a social security check in your hand.  But, if everything in life was easy, how would we grow?  How would we ever rise to the occasion?  Being a young parent sure is hard, but it can also be an amazing step toward a life that we, as individuals and parents, can be proud of.

So really, being a young parent is an amazing way to become a leader.  There is no single force in my life as strong as my son.  Through him, I have grown stronger, learned and accomplished more, and reached new highs in my life.  Stop worrying about all the doors people say get shut, and start looking for the open window.  Think outside the box.  I’ve had more opportunities to help people since becoming a father than I can count, and I’m very proud of what fatherhood has done for me.  Looking into my son’s eyes, I have found motivation, responsibility, determination, confidence, inspiration, and so much more.

I dare you to ask someone about some traits leaders have.

And I bet you $5 they’ll say one of those traits.

-Cam

Being a leader to my children.

melissa photoI believe that a leader is someone that people look up to. I feel like I am somewhat a silent leader. I’d like to think that sometime in the future I will be seen as a leader for others but for right now I am focused on being a leader for my daughters. Life changes when you have children as many people have experienced. There have been many challenges I have faced since becoming a mother, but I feel so blessed to have my children in my life. They are my inspiration to work harder, reach higher, and become a better person-possibly a known leader.

When I became a mother I realized that everything was no longer about me. Everything I do now is for my daughters and their future. I want to be the person they look up to and want to be like. I aim to have a great relationship with them and love them unconditionally. I want to give them all the things I never had as a child. I am their mother and their leader.

I have learned that even though the roads aren’t always plain and smooth, life teaches us things we can learn in the future. I am proud to parent because I feel like this experience gives me a chance at leadership. These experiences become part of us and we may touch others in our lives by sharing these experiences. Being a young parent I want to encourage others that are in the same situation and motivate them to push forward no matter what. Leaders aren’t always well known but when you do take that time to reach out to someone and be that voice for them-even if it is to that one person, you are a leader.

Not just about me

ashley photoWhen I knew I was going to have my son, Liam, everything changed. I stopped smoking and drinking – I made a commitment to eat really healthy. I also began to research everything I could find about pregnancy; pintrest became my best friend. However, I knew I also needed to change the environment I was around. This choice was the most difficult. Choosing to remove myself from dysfunction also meant loosing someone I love. He didn’t agree with what I wanted for our son. I wanted safety, I wanted love, I wanted happiness, I wanted a calm enviorment, I wanted to give my son the beginning I never had. I changed so quickly when I knew I was going to be a mom, I had no choice. I guess I shocked him, I can understand. I couldn’t wait though I needed to do what I had to.

I want to be the best me I can for Liam. With that comes giving up a lot of things I did before I had him. It also means walking away from whatever is unsafe and unhealthy. Its difficult sometimes when my friends ask me to come out and hang with them. Or ask me when I won’t be breastfeeding anymore so I can drink. My son is only 2 months old so me not being around is not really an option. I also do not have anyone that can really watch him at this point, he is always with me. With this however, I get to see him explore the world in a different way everyday. I have not missed one of his smiles. I love this, it will definitely be a struggle when I go back to work in a month.

Being a young mom, doing this pretty much on my own is so difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I have cried. I also cannot tell you how many times I have smiled. At this point I have also really started to look at my goals and priorities. Ones which I need to do not just for my son but also me. Looking at everything that I need to do can be really overwhelming, but it helps when I remind myself that I can accomplish them, and that it doesn’t have to happen over night.

My world is no longer about just me. It’s no longer about just living in the moment and doing whatever I want. My world is now about making my son’s world safe, healthy and beautiful. Everyday I probably do something wrong, but I also probably do something right!

Contribute to the 2015 Young Parent Anthology!

Anthology

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Apply to our Young Parent Ambassador Program!

What: The Young Parent Ambassador Program is an employment and leadership program that empowers Boston’s young parents and helps them reach their goals.

Who: Young parents 25 years or younger (must currently be an expectant or parenting young adult).

When: Participants must be able to commit to 2 – 5 hours of work per week, November 2014-August 2015

Where: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston MA

Contact Ariel for more information: 617-582-0187/alchilds@partners.org

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY OCTOBER 31ST AT 5:00 PM

Download the application here: YPA 2014-2015 Application

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10 Free Things to Do in Boston with Your Kids!

  1. Free Fun Fridays: Enjoy 60 museums and cultural venues open for free on Fridays all summer long including the Franklin Park Zoo, Cape Cod Maritime Museum, MIT Museum, and more! Click here for a full schedule.
  2. Star Gazing at the Observatory: The Public Open Night at the Observatory is a chance for young people to observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. Gaining hands on astronomy knowledge. Wed nights, 8:30-9:30pm. Coit Observatory, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Ave.
  3. ZUMIX’s Summer Concert Series: Join ZUMIX for a FREE concerts this summer! Sundays through Sep 7, except for Aug 17, 6-8pm. Piers Park, 95 Marginal Street, East Boston (next to Maverick Station). Matt, 617-568-9777 x123,
  4. Magic 106.7 Family Film Festival: Enjoy FREE entertainment, games and gift card giveaways beginning at 6pm followed by the featured movie starting at sundown. The first 20 guests to arrive each night will receive a free picnic blanket. Every Sat in August. Prudential Center Shops, South Garden.
  5. BPL Concerts in the Courtyard: The Boston Public Library courtyard will host free music concerts that range from jazz to classical and from folk to funk. Through Aug 29, Fridays, 12:30pm and Wednesdays, 6pm. Central Library in Copley Square.
  6. The Boston Arts Festival: This free festival showcases visual artists who exhibit and sell one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and more. Aug 30-31, 12-6pm. Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, North End. 617-635-3911
  7. Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series: This fitness series will bring FREE classes to parks across Boston through Aug! Click here for a full schedule. 617-961-3015
  8. Summer Evening Yoga at the Frog Pond: Join us on the lawn adjacent to the carousel for FREE outdoor yoga classes at the Frog Pond. All levels of experience are welcome. A limited number of mats and blocks will be available; recommended you bring your own. Thursdays, 6-7:15pm, weather permitting. http://www.bostonfrogpond.com
  9. Mayor Walsh’s Movie Night: Mayor Walsh is hosting free movie nights all across Boston. All ages are welcome to join the fun. Free popcorn! Bring your blankets and chairs and make yourself comfortable as you enjoy these family favorites in the outdoors. Full schedule here.
  10. Roxbury Revival: Legacy Project is hosting a FREE family cookout. Residents of Roxbury and neighboring communities are welcome to join. Free food, raffles, activities for all ages, live music and much more. Aug 16, 1-5pm, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury. 617-480-8675

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Ten Young Women

Ten young women, diverse races, backgrounds, qualities, personalities, traditions, and experiences. Ten young women, diverse opinions, advice, perspectives, wants, and needs. Ten females, diverse goals, hopes, and dreams. Ten young women, one room, one space to share, one space to confide. Just one space for ten females.

Take ten young women and put them all in one room, it can be everything you ever wanted, but maybe even your worst nightmare. The 16 month long ambassador program had its ups and downs, but it is an experience that I will never forget or regret!

We started off as strangers, soon becoming acquaintances, shortly exchanging numbers and becoming friends. And did you think we would just become friends? Of course not! We were freaking YMBFFL’s (young mom best friends for life).

But wait, everything was changing. We were exchanging texts every now and then, a hi and bye conversation. We definitely didn’t go back to being strangers again, but we weren’t as close as before. Life lessons learned in the ambassador program. Completely grateful. Not only life lessons, but skills developed, things learned, and meeting wonderful young women!

I once read a quote: “It’s not about the destination; it’s about the ride there.” Future ambassadors: don’t try to paint the final picture, let the art happen in the process and see what the final picture becomes. Take from it, learn from it, remember it, and reflect on it. Have fun and enjoy the ride!