To the single parent

My daughter has been sick for the last few days, for what feels like the hundredth time in her short life (which makes me feel like I am failing as a mother, but thats a story for another blog haha). In the meantime she has also been cutting not one, but TWO molars.

In between all of this, my husband was here, and he helped so so much since I also started to get sick and cant take anything because I am pregnant. I find it so difficult to be a good mother when I am not in a good place myself, I manage to push it aside and try to just be there for her, but she still feels that I am not myself, and it is at that moment where I thank God that I have a husband who helps and can take over while I rest.

That being said, I know not all parents have a partner that helps, or have have lost a partner or have broken up with a partner. I have no idea how you do it, I know if you are a parent you have no choice to keep going and you just somehow find that strength somewhere to be the best parent you can possibly be. But that still does not make it easy or any less lonely.

Although I don’t know how it feels, I was raised by a single parent and saw the toll it took, you have so much less time for yourself, or well, basically anything! A sick or teething baby takes up ALL your time, whether you are a stay at home parent, or not, the time you have with them is difficult and exhausting. There is no time to unwind after a tough day at work, or to have a glass of wine with supper because you have to tend to a crying baby and get to bed as soon as possible because you have to get up early again the next day, and do it all over again.

I have so much respect for these parents , ones that still give their children the best they can, in-spite of their need for a personal life, well done !! 💪🏻

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Raising a strong willed daughter

I am a very strong willed person , I hate it when someone tells me what to do and I honestly struggle to take advice from people and always want to do it my own way, I am also very stubborn (can you tell? Lol).

I am much better now that I am more mature haha, I have learned to let people in and to be more flexible and well, less selfish. As luck would have it, it seems like my little baby girl is just like her mama.

on the one hand I sympathize with her because I know what it feels like to want to do things yourself, but on the other hand, well she is 1 haha. So she is going to have to learn to accept my help in some cases, but my parenting style has changed somewhat, she hates when you try to force her or help her to do anything. The moment you put her bottle down so she can take it herself, she calms down.

It is basically like this with everything she does, we are just going through a phase where she wants to do everything herself but she just cant yet and this frustrates the hell out of her. She is also still in bandages from her accident and that frustrates her even more. 🙈

This parenting thing throws me for a loop everyday, the one minute you are on top of the world and your baby is happy, sleeping and eating, and the next minute she hates everything and everyone and she is a different baby.

It really must be hard to be this small , no one can understand you, you have all these ideas and cant do anything by yourself, and everyone wants to make you sleep all the time. Patience is key when raising a toddler, taking into account all the emotions and frustrations they are having tends to make them quite temperamental and trying to get them to do something at that moment just results in chaos.

I have honestly learned to be more patient, with her, with myself and with my husband. Once you start a family things don’t seem to happen as quickly and as easily as they did before, before; I just grabbed my handbag and out the door I went. Now however, it takes a whole day of planning before we can go anywhere lol.

I am not going to lie, all of this takes some getting used to, and a few deep breaths daily, but its all worth it, and she will grow up and we will grow old, and we will all miss the days where she refused to eat and cried until you pick her up. Cherish these memories because they are fleeting.

What NOT To Do With Your Baby

So, although I cannot give you advice on exactly what to do, because I am still figuring things out myself, I can however tell you what NOT to do!

Your Home Life

Nothing in this world can prepare you for being a parent, I don’t care what anyone says, helping a sibling or a family member with their baby will maybe make you used to the idea of a baby and give you some helpful tips even, but in no way will it give you a taste of what it feels like when that little bundle is yours.

No book in the world will explain to you how YOUR baby is feeling and why, yes, it has been put together by experts, but it is the general rule, and not always specific to your baby, I have read so many things and then I think “what? Why is my baby not doing this?” – This is the biggest downfall for new parents, books tell you when what milestone should be reached and how much your baby should be eating, and most of the times this is right, but sometimes it just is not, and this immediately sends us into a state of panic.
Listening to how other people raise their children is also a “no no” , how people raise their children reflects their personalities, their home life and their values, therefore, doing what you see from other people will most probably not work for you, because, well, you are different, you are an individual and your personality and values might not be the same.

And Finally, the most important one; do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to other moms, this will most certainly drive you insane, and it most certainly has for me, the problem when looking at other moms is you see what they call the “highlight real”, you come over for dinner, and the whole family is on their best behavior, because let’s face it, that’s what we all do. What you don’t see, is that they also fight over who must do the dishes, the mom also locks herself in a closet to cry (a bit extreme but it happens) and the dad is not always the perfect husband you see at dinner.

Some people are just more open about their struggles, to me, these are the best kind of people, they make you feel like you are not alone, like you are not as crazy as you though, and not always overreacting as per your husband’s opinion.
Find these people and stick to them like glue, they are the mom friends that you want by your side on days that you feel you cannot cope, or you just had enough.

Google is the Enemy

Wow, where do we even start on this one?

If you haven’t yet googled “How to get my baby to sleep” stop reading because this post is not for you; the results on this is so confusing and contradicting that it would leave even the most confident mom second guessing herself.

Sleep deprivation is torture, it affects every aspect of your life, it’s just intense!
Google is helpful in the sense that you can find information online at any time of the day or night, there are thousands of “how to” videos, and I myself have watched a few videos on swaddling and latching that were quite helpful.

But overall, you see information and tips that just do not work for your baby, and then you are left overwhelmed once again, with no way out.

Motherly instinct is the best go to you can get, become confident mom! And trust your gut, 9 out of 10 times it is right, the other time your baby was most likely just not feeling well or just having an off day – which happens, if you think about it, your baby is also an individual, and just like we have off days, they do too, they just can tell you how they are feeling.

Most days you end up just winging it!

Fed is Best

This is such a sensitive topic, and I am almost scared to write about it, but here goes!
I personally tried to breastfeed, and did for 7 weeks, unfortunately due to circumstances, my supply dried up after trying everything under the sun, there could be a million reasons for why what when and where, but that’s just what happened, and I ended up giving my little girl formula.

This was so intense for me, as it felt like I failed her and that I am not doing what is best for my baby, but at the end of the day, do what is best for you, there are so many moms out there that will tell you that you are a bad mother for choosing to formula feed.
Don’t you dare listen to them, we place enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect mothers, we do not need added stress to any situation, it is your life, and you do what is best and what suits you guys better. You are still a good mother!

We need to stop mom shaming each other, what I don’t understand is that these women are also moms, they were even once first-time moms, and know how hard is to adjust and to get into a routine that suits your family and your lifestyle, adding to this is not only mean, but unnecessary.

To the moms out there that are struggling with all these things, hang in there, keep doing what you are doing, and it will all get easier soon.

This too shall pass.

Angelique