Today I walked in my moms office to talk to her about some stuff. As soon as I opened the door I was hit with heavy air and cigarette smoke. Now this is not to speak badly about my mom shes an amazing person. The thing is I hate the smell of cigarettes and the way they make an enclosed room feel even smaller. However, If I had opened that door a year, year and a half ago, I wouldn’t of minded. Honestly I would have been happy because that means my mom wouldn’t smell the smoke off of me. I use to smoke almost two packs of Newport’s a day. How much I smoked really just depended on what was going on that day. If I was drinking I would smoke a lot, if I was at a club I would smoke a lot, if I was around people that smoked I would have one when they did. What I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t healthy. Ya I was a vegetarian and didn’t drink soda or anything; but I drank jager like it was water, I smoked cigarettes like they were healthy for you. I would eat out a lot, mostly pizza. I guess I was just being 21 in some ways. Then I got pregnant and that’s when everything changed. Not only did I stop smoking but I stopped being anywhere that there was smoke. I started walking 2 miles a day. My eating habits became way better, mostly veggies, and spinach and fruit smoothies. I removed myself from anything that was dysfunctional or negative. I found some coping mechanisms that not only entertained me but kept me going. It was difficult; mainly because I would miss certain things or feel chained down. The thing is I knew I wanted to be healthy so that my son could be healthy. I was his vessel; I was the only one that could make it healthy and safe for him. My biggest motivator to do all this was not wanting to repeat a cycle. Was not wanting to do to my son what my biological mother did to me. At the age of 21 I was just living life day to day, took it as it came. I was in school and working. I was just always up for the unexpected. Sometimes I felt like I was stuck though. Ya I was working, ya I was in school, but what else? Well when I got pregnant with my son Liam I saw what the “what else” was and I am not sure I would have ever of saw that if it was not for him. So from 21 to 22 I went from being the unhealthiest me to the healthiest me. Getting pregnant young definitely has its cons. However, for me it was life changing in a beautiful way. So I ask the next time you see a young parent please do not assume that their life is over and they have no future. Do not see what was taken from them, but rather what was given.
This one is a touchy subject for me. It took me a while to even share it within a small, trusted group, and it’s taken me quite some time to come to terms with it.
Sometimes you can feel trapped when parenting, especially when you’re a young parent.
Now, I’ve heard some people say it before, or ask me if I feel trapped or stuck, and I usually try and steer clear of the subject. The fact is, parents can feel a little trapped, and I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of. If you’re a parent, or have ever read any parenting blog or magazine, talked to parents at all…you know what I mean. The conversation goes something like this:
“Hey, wanna do something this weekend?”
“Yeah sure! What were you-oh wait I can’t actually, I have the little guy!”
“Oh..uhh ok well can’t you find a babysitter or something?”
“I mean I guess I could, but I kind of want to hang out with my kiddo…you wanna come to the park with us or something?”
“Umm no that’s ok, I’ll hit you up later.”
Unless you have a lot of great friends that also happen to be parents of young kids, you know how hard it is to find time to hang out with your friends. I think this goes for all parents. You might be more likely to have friends that have kids later on in life, but you’re still bound to have some peers without kids, and they just don’t really understand how valuable your time is now.
It can be tough to make all of your decisions around a new person. I’m not talking about being selfish, but on the other hand, being completely selfless isn’t a walk in the park. A parent’s life revolves around their child, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Parenting is a long, difficult journey. It’s extremely rewarding, but you also don’t really know what you’re signing up for when you start.
I think the hardest part of parenting for me, is the lack of freedom. And, until recently, I thought I was alone. I thought that maybe I just didn’t get it, or maybe I just wasn’t a great parent if I was thinking about myself too much, or even at all.
I had a conversation last week about this with some friends. I joked that someday I’m going to live out of a backpack and travel the world, it might just be when I’m 55 instead of when I’m 25. So maybe I wait until he’s on his own, or maybe I pick a closer destination, or a shorter trip, or maybe I even bring him with me! Don’t worry, I’ve already picked out a kid’s backpack and size 4 hiking boots if the little one wants to come along, I kind of hope he does! To my surprise, I found out I wasn’t crazy, and that many parents cope with similar feelings. It’s important to know that you’re not the only one out there.
I guess what I’m saying, is: never stop dreaming.
Parents lose sight of themselves sometimes. Parenting is a selfless act. If you’ve given your child a life full of love and support, what else do they need?
Well, I think they need parents that will be with them, spend time with them, and be present. A kid needs someone that can dream with them and then help them achieve their own dreams. A child needs a role model, not only in parenting, but also a role model when dealing with life’s challenges, staying positive, and sometimes reaching for the stars.
I still plan on living life fully, maybe just not in the traditional sequence. For now, I have to realize that the little guy comes first, and show him a life of fulfillment.
And how exactly do you expect to give your child a life full of love, if you’ve lost your love of life?
One of the obstacles I am trying to overcome while parenting is learning how to accept advice and learning how to speak up when it comes to disciplining my child. It is easy for me to get defensive and assume that people are criticizing my parenting. I am always open to advice, but finding the balance between advice and someone trying to tell me what to do with my daughter has been a challenge.
I love my 2 year old daughter Genesis to death but she can be a handful sometimes. At home she is always cooperative but once we go out she just wants to show off for the world to see. I get embarrassed a lot of times when she has her tantrums in public and people look at me like I don’t know how to deal with my child. I feel that people are staring but a lot of the times I think I am just hard on myself. It is difficult to discipline her in public when she is screaming her lungs out and causing a scene. So many times I wonder what people are thinking. Do they stare at me because I am young and they think I am doing something wrong?
Other times, the way I discipline her becomes a conflict is when we are around family. Genesis wants to show off, I understand that she is a child, but I feel I have to correct her now when she is doing something wrong to prevent future bad habits. Let’s say she goes to an aunt’s house and begins to open the refrigerator, I pull Genesis to the side and tell her that she should not do that. Here comes my aunt saying don’t worry about it it’s okay-but this is not okay. I don’t want people to go against what I say to her. I feel like they cause confusion and then my way of teaching and disciplining
her goes down the drain.
I want people to respect my judgment and that as long as I am not abusing my child, let me parent her the way I want to. I am constantly hearing put her jacket on, zip up her coat, put a hat on her, use this diaper cream, let her run around, don’t put the car seat on floor, don’t be so hard on her she’s just a kid! I am new at parenting and I am not going to be perfect but I think I am doing a pretty good job with my girls. I just want to feel more confident and not have people questioning my ability or my way of parenting her.
I recently went to the RMV to take my permit test. After waiting 3 hours I was told that I could not take the test because I had my son with me, who they do not allow in the testing room. They told me they assumed I had someone with me to watch him. They told me that if I was taking a test in school I would not be allowed to bring my son in with me.
If this had happened to me a few years ago I would have reacted a lot differently then I did. I kindly let them know it would be a courtesy to the customers to either put up a sign, put it on your website, or tell us at customer service. I kindly told them that if I had to take a test a school I could bring him. I kindly told them that I do not have someone I can just leave my son with.
When I was first told I could not take the test I was so angry and discouraged. After failing the test 6 years ago I was so afraid to go in and take it. I got past that fear and went and studied and was ready. I never needed my permit/license until I had my son; it would make life easier for both us. It would also free up space on the bus and train; my carriage is pretty big. I was embarrassed; I was ashamed, and so upset. Honestly, I just felt like I was being shut down; like a door was being shut in my face.
A part of me gets it. They do not want anyone to fail the test because they were disturbed. However, I feel like they need to accommodate their customers if they have children. Why are you turning down someone who is trying to better their life for themselves and child? I have a 4 month old son who breastfeeds every 2-3 hours so he needs to be with me. I should not be turned away because of this.
A big part of me does not even want to go and take the test now. I am more nervous then I was before. I am going to stress about how long it has been since I last breastfed him. I am going to worry about if I can get someone to watch him or come with me; will I have to pay them to watch him? All of these factors are going to affect me while I am taking the test. So what are my chances of passing now?
I guess the only thing I am positive about is that I will go back and take the permit test, I have to. I need this for me and my son. If I fail, then I fail and will be better prepared for next time. I will not let the way certain things are shut me down like they have before. After all it is no longer just about me. Hopefully society can learn to support young parents, learn to help us, and learn to not shut us down.
From the moment I found I was pregnant, I knew I was going to breastfeed. Formula is fine and all, but I wanted the absolute best for my baby. When it was time to start preparing for his arrival, people would ask me what kind of formula I planned on giving him. When I said that I planned on strictly breastfeeding, everyone had an opinion. I heard everything from your breast are going to sag to its not gonna be enough for him because he needs formula. I did not care because it was important to me. When my son was finally born his sugars were low, so he had to stay in the NICU. The nurses told me that he needed my milk to get his sugars up. I pumped my heart out and barely got a tablespoon of milk. She told me that if I did not produce enough, it would be best to give him some formula. I cried and cried when I finally decided to give him formula. It was so important to me that I breastfed and gave him the best and created that bond, so I did not give up. I fed him and pumped for a week before my milk finally came in and I could take him off of formula. There was no better feeling in the world than knowing that I was the only person in the world that could give him this one thing. I was the sole provided of his nutrients, and I took pride in that. When he was 3 months old, it was time for me to go back to school and again I had to face the heart wrenching decision of giving him formula. I felt like I was letting him down. I WAS DEDICATED. In the end, I decided it was best for both of us that I gave him both. He is now 7 months old and I am still at it. He has 4 teeth and he is a biter. I thought it was time to call it quits, but I can’t. It’s a special bond that we share and I am not ready to give it up.
Breast is Best!
You’re not in a relationship.
…and it’s still complicated.
I can hear the collective sigh of frustration. I know. I get it. Coparenting is tough. But it’s also so very important for your kids! The other day, I found myself clicking through random articles on the web. I came across one about the “Best Arrangement for Kids of Divorced Parents.” Being ever so curious, I opened it. The article just said what we’ve all heard a hundred times before: it’s important to have both parents in the picture.
Well of course it is! That’s easy to say for a researcher with no kids, or for a parent in the perfect relationship. But what about the rest of us?
The article conveniently left out the fact that coparenting is difficult. It’s hard to deal with the other parent sometimes. It’s hard to be flexible, to be understanding. It’s tough to agree on the same rules and the same schedule. Every time you drop him off or pick him up, it’s important to make sure you both know the child is the most important part of the relationship.
I’ve been pretty lucky, both of us are in the picture, and we both get a long pretty well, for my son’s sake. It can still be difficult though, especially when you two don’t agree on something. Try to remember that the little human in the carseat is still the most important thing to your world. If you truly want what’s best for them, it’s important to try and make it work with both parents.
You may not think the other parent is amazing, but your kid probably still loves them, and they’re very lucky to have both parents in the picture. Every time you drop them off, you’re teaching your child that family is important, even if you don’t get along. You’re teaching your child respect and love.
If you have trouble (like me) try some of these tips for coparenting!
- Try and have some consistency with rules, schedules, etc.
- Focus on the kids, not on your feelings or frustrations.
- Always treat the other parent with respect. Never say anything bad about them in front of the kids.
- Try to commit to honest, frequent conversation with the other parent.
- Be flexible with your time. If you want a few extra hours with the little one this week, make sure to return the favor.
- Remember what’s most important, you kiddo!
Being a mother and suffering from depression can be the hardest. Now being a young single mother and suffering from depression can be even more hard for you. I know from experience. There are times where you feel like being in a dark place where nobody bothers you at all. There are times when you don’t want to see or speak to anyone. Sometimes you may even feel like your world is ending and that nobody cares/loves you when in reality you have alot of people who do.
Depression is something you cannot control no matter how hard you try. All you can do is stare at your beautiful child and start asking yourself questions like “what have I done so wrong? Why can’t I be the best mother I can be?” when in reality you are the best mother you can be. No matter what you are going through please NEVER give up. We have to be strong for our kids and they need us. When you are feeling down Play with your child and look at their smile, that’s what’s going to motivate you even more to keep pushing forward.
Never let anyone say you can’t make it because you could. Never let your mistakes tell who you are. We are all human and will make mistakes our entire lives. Our children needs us more than anyone. There’s no pure love like a mother’s love❤💞.
I knew as soon as I found out that I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed my son. I went and did as much research as I could. WIC provided some great resources and my midwife gave me a lot of suport. Some of my family was very supportive and some just told me not to get my hopes up- that it’s very difficult. For me I paid them no mind honestly, I knew what I wanted to do.
However, skipping ahead to my labor and birth; nothing went as planned. I ended up having a c-section. My son was born with low blood sugar so had to be taken to the NICU. I gave birth to my son at 6:55am and did not hold him till 3:30 that afternoon. He was given a bottle and a pacifier, and no one told me that I should have pumped. I was nervous and very upset that I would not be able to breastfeed my son. In the hospital I would breastfeed him then give him a bottle then I would go and pump. The process took awhile, it was a lot of work; I honestly didn’t know how long I could keep up with it.
I did this continuously for about two weeks before my milk supply was enough for him. I was so excited to be able to just feed him off of my breasts. I experienced my first cluster feed with only feeding him off of my breast. It was pretty scary at first I felt like I didn’t have enough milk, and it felt like all I was doing was feeding him. I mean sleep? I barley experienced that in my first two months with my son. But cluster feeding is a topic for another day.
I ended up getting mastitis, an infection of the breast, when my son was almost two months old. This infection was horrible; flu like symptoms, 104 fever, and having to take care of my son on top of that. I remember there was a point at where I made a bed on the floor and put the heater on my back, because I had the chills that bad and breastfed him like that. As a result of this infection I lost my milk supply. I was back to square one. I was so discouraged. I was so upset. A part of me felt like I was failing my son. I did everything to get my milk supply back up, but I am still only making 3-4oz for him when he needs 5-6oz per feeding. So as of now I am breastfeeding and bottle feeding my son. At first I was self-conscious to feed my son a bottle after I breastfed him. Other times I was self-conscious to breastfeed him. I was worried about what people thought, was worried that they would judge me for the way I choose to feed my son. It’s something…getting nervous about what other people think about how I feed my son.
My son has always gotten excited when it is time to breastfeed, but now I see him get excited when I make a bottle. So what is my son truly excited about? That he is being fed, that I am taking care of him and nourishing him. I think as women there is so much judgment about breast or bottle, bottle or breast. Whatever choice you make; breast or bottle (or both) your baby will be thankful. However, I feel as women, we need to encourage and support each other no matter how we feed our baby. We do not know everyone’s story of why they choose to feed their baby the way they do. So as women lets empower each other.
The number one thing people tell you about parenting?
Kids come first.
End of story. No discussion, no questions.
Now, I don’t disagree with this advice, but there’s a fine distinction between the “kids come first”, and the “I have to do what’s best for my kids” approach. The moment you do something for yourself, there are plenty of people ready to write you off as a selfish parent. Don’t listen to them. Listen to you kids. Ask your kiddo, “Do you like it better when mom and dad are stressed out, or when we’re happy.” Gee, I wonder what they’ll say.
Thankfully, people are starting to realize that if you want to raise happy, healthy kids, you have to be healthy and happy too! This is important to remember, and I noticed it the most in this Proud to Parent program. Every meeting, we go through a few questions at the beginning. Guess which question is the hardest to answer….
“What have you done for yourself this week?”
This might seem like a strange question to ask, especially coming from the “drop everything for the kids” approach to parenting. But it makes a lot of sense, and I think people need to remember that. Any parent, no matter what age, will tell you that parenting is exhausting at times. Parenting is a tough job, no doubt about it. But it’s also so incredibly rewarding, and in order to get the most out of parenting, you have to be able to take a step back and reflect on it.
If you’re like me, it’s always hard to take time for yourself. Between work, school, kids, and every other obligation I’m signed up for, “me-time” isn’t exactly a top priority. You feel guilty, you can’t stop thinking about work tomorrow, or that exam coming up, you miss your kids. But I’ve also started to see how important it is. Trust me, if I’ve had time to hang out with a friend or relax and read a book, I have way more fun with my son. Sleeping too; man does getting enough sleep help…
So don’t be afraid to help yourself help your kids. If you need a break, that’s ok. If you need a night out or time to yourself, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not entitled to that. Parenting is a full time job, and full time jobs have vacation time for a reason. Everybody needs a vacation, even if it’s just one night. Trust me, taking a day to recharge, catch up with an old friend, do some yoga, take a nap, whatever, will pay back tenfold. If taking a night to yourself lets you be able to relax and have fun with the kids all weekend, it’s totally worth it!
So let me ask, what have you done for yourself this week?
I feel that due to all of the expenses and obligations in daily life a
lot of parents are not able to spend all of the time they would like
with their children. Having a child is a life-changing experience, and
supporting them is too. I have struggled daily with thoughts that I do
not spend enough time with my girls. Many times I feel ashamed of the
little time I spend with my daughters. Juggling work, school,
financial obligations, and just life in general has made it hard for
me to be with them at all times. Sometimes I feel like I am a bad
parent and I get emotional because I feel like I am missing so much
while at work. One of my fears was that they would forget about me, or
get closer to someone else and not want me. The most emotional thing
for me was that I did not get to see Genesis take her first steps when
she began walking. I wanted so bad to be there for that moment but it
wasn’t possible. I was very hard on myself about missing her “firsts”
but from that I have learned to better appreciate the time I can spend
with my girls.
I want Genesis and Samyrah to know that everything I do in my life is
for them and that I really do want to be a great mother to them. After
work I fly home and hug them tight. I miss them every day. I keep
pictures at my desk and it helps miss them a little less on some days.
Thinking negatively about me as a mother was not going to change the
time I spent with them, what I missed, or how they felt about me .I
may not be the perfect mother, but I strive to be the best mother I
can. Working and getting my college education is something I am hoping
they appreciate when they are old enough to understand. It is my way
of building a foundation for our future life.