Let me parent!

imagesOne 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.

The Breast and The Bottle

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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. Apart 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.

 

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.

Getting Your Body Back

Having a baby is tough. There’s no time for anything, going to the gym can be pricey, looking for a babysitter is the worst so I came up with a few ideas to getting your body back. I think the first thing we have to do is admit that we are beautiful – embracing our motherhood is key. There and three things that we can do to get our body back.

Number 1: Eating healthy making it a lifestyle, not a diet. Use your phone, laptop, whatever you may have look on Google. There are many healthy recipes choices. Remember to buy more fresh foods and less packaged. Shop more in the fruits and veggies aisle, rather than the snacks, walk around the supermarket and try to stay away from the middle sections. That’s where a lot the oils, sugars, and unhealthy choices are. You can also watch the movies “Fat Sick” and “Nearly Dead” for more exciting ideas on weight loss.

Number 2: Playing and having fun with your child is exercise. Exercising can feel boring, so why not go to the park with your baby and play, even if they are small. Take a family member a friend to help you hold your baby so you can run around. If your child is a toddler, well, you know how much energy they have. Play with them and have fun. You can also get a running stroller!

Number 3: Make time for yourself.  This is very important! If you’re stressed, your body feels it. You may begin to develop acne, lose hair, and even not be able to lose the baby weight – it becomes a vicious cycle. So take a bath, read or do anything you like to do to de-stress for a little while. You can nap with your baby.

Find ways to not spend money or have to look for daycare on your journey to a healthy body. Best thing you can do to de-stress is laugh and make your baby laugh. Laughter and happiness is the best de-stressors!

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My Natural Hair Journey

I love my natural hair but some days I wanna chop it all off! I always wanted to go natural but would always get a relaxer, I would even brush my relaxed hair to make it look like a fro. The last perm I got was in 2011 right before I found out I was pregnant. I ended up doing a short haircut because my hair was really damaged. I did braids my whole pregnancy and my hair what back to its usual length by the time I had the baby.

Natural hair is hard work especially when you’re a mom. Sometimes after a long day I don’t want to twist my hair before bed. And sometimes I don’t always feel that beautiful with my kinks, but I’m learning my hair and loving it along the way. 🙂

DymonMy daughter has a beautifully textured hair and I can’t wait to help her embrace it as she grows up. I don’t want her to think that long straight hair is going to make her beautiful. I will teach her that the person she is inside will be the person other people see. I love that I went natural and can now set a great example for my little princess to know who she is perfect just the way she was made!

Save the Date for our 3rd Annual Summit!

SaveTheDate

Parenting Young: Hard, but NOT Impossible

I often think back to myself at 19…scared, pregnant, and alone. How beautifully unaware I was, attempting to make sense of the complicated situation I was facing. I look back at the challenges I have faced parenting young and have no idea how the hell I made it through. I had no idea how to change a diaper, care for a colicy newborn, or how to deal with a temper tantrum in CVS with a newborn who throws herself on the ground while screaming at the top of her lungs. Am I the only one?

For a long time I was suffocating parenting young, letting the pressures and stress of raising a young child consume my spirit. I was trying so hard to fit myself and my situation in those that I would see, but it seemed the harder I tried the more I failed. It was so easy for me to identify my faults and imperfections than to embrace my individuality and strength in being a parent. I wasn’t good enough is what I told myself. And it was as if society was silently telling me this as well. That I would never fully bloom being a young parent. For a long time I felt like the world was against me. But I pressed on. In my head I had no other choice.

Fast forward to almost seven years later and I am here writing this post as my six year old daughter is snorely awfully loud next to me. Is life perfect? I threw out the idea of perfection a long time ago. Look at my daughter’s smile, listen to her laugh, watch her dance. She is everything I never knew I could help create. I can look back at my struggles working fulltime, being a single mom, and being a fulltime student, commuting with a two year old back and forth for an hour and a half every morning and evening for over six months. Walking home from a snowstorm holding a sleeping toddler. Head slung low as I walked into a food pantry because I couldn’t afford enough food for myself and my child. What I have gone through, the tears, the struggle, the doubt has all made me a better woman and mother.

While parenting young has presented its fair share of challenges, those aren’t what I dwell on. I focus on all the happiness and joy having a child young has provided me. I focus on the day in swimming class she is able to swim under water on her own. I focus on her in her winter play singing all the words to her classes song in Spanish. I focus on her reading a book all by herself. These memories, these memories are what parenting is all about for me. Every day I make a decision on how I want to parent my daughter. And every day I wake up wanting and willing to be the best Mother I can be, and my age has nothing to do with the love I have for my daughter.