Friday, November 25, 2016

Things I Learned in My Year as a Single Mother

First of all, I want to tell you about my relationship with my daughter. After almost one whole year, she has quite the personality. She loves music and dances every time it starts during a TV commerical. We don't have a tv at home though, so we spend lots of time hanging out playing with dinosaurs and blocks and stuff. She loves meeting new people and gets a kick out of trying to crawl away during diffiucult diaper changes. This post isn't necessarily about my daughter, but more about my experiences as a single parent for almost a year. So here goes nothing.

People love babies and a lot of people will go out of their way to help out. This holds especially true with newborns, When my daughter was a couple of weeks old, I went to wal-mart with her and had to actually carry her and well as a couple of bags of groceries. I had someone get my attention to ask if I needed any help just carrying the groceries into the car. It was a very sweet gesture. People understand kids are not always cooperative or easy to multi-task with. As a single mother, you learn to multi-task carrying baby as well as everything else really quickly. When you are struggling though, you'll often find someone willing to be a helpful hand,

As a single parent, you're far more likely to keep up with your childless friends than a couple with a baby. Couples stay home and gawk over their new baby next for like 6 months over a fireplace drinking hot coacoa or something. My little monster and I went on a hike together when she was like a week old and we've been an adventuring duo every since. Once they get mobile (crawling) it starts getting more difficult to bring them to non-baby proofed places, though.

You learn how to pack only the essentials. Carrying everything downstairs before you grab the baby is no bueno. Don't get my wrong, I stuff my diaper bag full, like...doesn't quite zip up full, but I also like to be prepared because I'm not home for days at a time sometimes, so I have to be prepared. I will manage to shove everything she may need in 2 days into a diaper bag because I live upstairs and I am not hauling her things down there then go back up for her when it's 20° outside. Having two sets of hands definitely makes things easier, but you gotta do what you gotta do, girl.

Every trip is more difficult and takes twice the amount of time it should (at least), I kid you not. I normally spend 30-60 minutes a day trying to get clothes picked out for Monster and I, get us dressed, and pray she doesn't try to eat the cat's food while I straighten my hair, I took a trip up to the city recently and we had no children with us, I was ready to walk out the door in five minutes or less.

No one tells you about trying to figure out when your baby should be moved up from newborn diapers.I felt really awkward asking one of my coworkers when I wasn't sure if I should move my daughter out of newborn size and up to ones. It's one of those things people never quite explain to you, you just know it's a thing that has to be done. For me, it was one of those first freakouts about my ability to parent.

Breastfeeding is hard. Props to you ladies that keep up with it. You go, girl! Some of you may have only been able to do it for a couple days or weeks. Kudos for trying. It's really tough work and timing can be difficult for any mom that has to work full time to bring home that bacon.

In that period when you're weining the kid off formula, getting them more into baby food, the. softer aldult food before that teeth really start coming in is a real struggle for single momma's because on our days off, we're constantly on the move. We've got errands to run, people to see, adventures to have. It's hard to feed little ones that make lots of mess even at a friend that doesn't have a high chair readily available. For us with poor dietary habits (because ramen is about all we can afford), Sharing our food doesn't give much nutritional value and it's a difficult fight when you're squeezing every penny.

You will be the most broke you have been in your entire life. You will work a lot to keep yourself afloat. Taking care of two is difficult. Sometimes you'll feel like the only time you see your kid is when s/he is sleeping. Unfortunately, you just have to keep in mind that everything you're doing is because its best for your little monster. Someday you won't have to work so much. It breaks your heart to miss out on these beginning years, but you're working hard to ensure you can provide better for them in the future so that those years can be exactly as you want them to be,

Keep a stash of Wal-Mart bags in your car. You're going to need them for literally, everything, Dirty diapers when you have to change your kid in the middle of nowhere because they exploded, odds and ends that will inevidibly end up in your backseat from diaper bags spilling onto the floor.

Buy baby wipes in bulk. They are literally the best for everything, Babies make a mess out of everything and they're actually super helpful for household stuff that you're too lazy/cheap to go out and buy the adult clorox version.

People totally lose their shit when you wear matching outfits with your little (in a good way). I really dig tyedying and I have, on multiple occasions, tyedyed shirts for the monster and I. Every time we go to the market at least one person comments on how adorable our matching threads are.

Everyday people are shy, but still ask about the kid's father. "Is he involved?" "Do you have full custody?" "How does he feel about *insert life decision*?" They always say in such a hush voice  because they know it can, in most circumstances, a touchy subject but still feel its necessary information to just casually chat about with the the general public. I don't know. It wigs me out. Doctors never hesistate. I never once went to a single OB/pediatric appointment with a man. I mean I know a lot of questions are medically related, but "Does she look like her dad?" is a question I get often. I mean, she sure as hell doesn't look like me. I'm still not 100% convinced they didn't switch her at the hospital.

Find another mom friend a kid that is close to the age of yours, preferably single. Find a mom friend with multiple children. These two will be very important to you. The mom with the kid close in age will be able to talk about their kids and how they're developing differently. Plus there's always "playdate" options where mama's get to drink wine while the kids fight over the same toy, but no one is getting their eye gouged out, so it's fine. Mom of multiples has a bit more experience under her belt. She's already been through this twice. She's got tips and tricks and she probably really loves babies if she has multiple, so she'll be ecstatic about a new baby and getting to watch your kids grow up together,

I could probably think of more, and I might add some later, but this is my list for now.
I never thought I'd have a child, but my litte monster has been the best thing to ever happen to me. Sometimes she's difficult and 2016 has just been kind of wild to us.

 I recently totalled my car and I've been struggling to keep afloat before all of this. I have a lot of legal fees I'm looking at paying as well as purchasing a new car whilst still paying on my old one. I've set up a gofundme account in hopes that anyone that can understand that life is difficult and we can't always be prepared could donate if you have any extra cash. Even $5 is so much help right now. I'm really reaching out trying to do the best I can for my little monster and me.

Here is the link to my GoFundMe. Any and any donation is deeply appreciated.

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