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.
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.
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.
I have been sitting here staring at this screen on and off for the past hour trying to figure what I have to say about being a young parent. Clearly I have decided to start typing, but I still have no idea where to start. I know what I want to say. The problem is how do I tell my story without sounding like a crazy woman.
Here is my attempt…
Since becoming a young parent, I do not remember the last time I was not tired. Between work, school, and caring for my son, I feel like a chicken with its head cut off running around aimlessly. With that being said, I have never been happier in my life. I smile so hard that my face hurts more than my exhausted brain. The best part of my day used to be falling asleep to Netflix. Now, the best part of my day is when Caleb is asleep and his diaper is full. I pray that he doesn’t wake up while I am changing him because I have so much work to do, but by the time I’m done and I look up at him and he’s awake. My first thought is, “Just great!” Then he looks into my eyes and he smiles at me and I can’t help but smile back. I feel like giving up EVERY SINGLE DAY, but his smiles gives me the push that I need to keep going. I laugh when I should cry, I watch him sleep when I have a million other thing I should be doing, and while people thought becoming a young parent meant my life was over, but I have never felt more alive.
To all the other chickens with your heads cut off, I can’t tell you how things will work out for you because I am still trying to figure that out for myself. What I can say is that you are not alone. Stay strong and be #proudtoparent !
Being 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.
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.
I 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.
When 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!
I just recently found a quote that I fell in love with. If you follow me on twitter then you probably already know what quote I’m talking about because I always tweet it or use it for a photo caption. The quote is ” Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” I initially thought about myself when I heard this quote and I’m pretty sure many young moms can relate to it.
I can personally relate to this quote because when I announced my pregnancy, I was told my life would be over if i decided to go through with it. I was constantly reminded of all the negative things that were associated with being a teen parent. I literally thought my world was ending until I meet my little Christian.
After months of caring for him I couldn’t comprehend how I lived all my life without him! He brings so much happiness to me and my family’s life! I was just like the caterpillar who thought my world was going to end when I had him but it turned out that my world did not end! Instead I became like the butterfly, a whole new beautiful being! I want teen parents and young parents out there to know that having a child doesn’t ruin your life. If I could choose a quote that represents young parents to the world I would choose this one.