As an expecting mom, you can do all of this research to figure out what to do to provide the best care for your children. However, it’s one thing to research and prepare, but it’s another thing to actually be responsible for a new life. You still need to understand the real, unfiltered, unglamorous life of being a new mom. Ultimately you learn this by being in the trenches. However, before you jump into the trenches as a new mom, I want to prepare you as best as possible. Therefore, I’m going to be doing a few series to give you the real, based on my experience as a new, single mom of twins. This is the first one. Scroll down to the bottom for a cool survival guide infographic!
Practice patience with yourself. This is a new experience. Things have always come easy to me, and I expected that being a mom would be the same. However, being pregnant is not the same as being a mom. There is nothing really that can prepare you to be a mom. Trust me. I tried. I read the books, searched the web, attended workshops, and parenting classes to prepare for motherhood. However, once it was here I had to trust my instincts and jump in. It’s a new experience so I had to be as patient with myself and as nice to myself as I would be to my children. It’s critical to watch the words that you say to yourself. I needed to be my biggest cheerleader so I could show up and be the best mom that I could be to my children.
You will need to forgive yourself. This journey as a mom is hard, but don’t make it harder by holding onto unforgiveness or beating yourself up for making mistakes. Forgive yourself for the failed relationship or choosing the wrong partner. If you need to forgive yourself for additional things, then do it. You will never be perfect, so don’t expect it, and forgive yourself for not achieving that perfection. Your job is to love your child(ren) with all of your heart and to do the best that you can.
Your checklists, must dos, etc. will get thrown out the window. As an expecting mom, we do so much research on what type of mom we will be and what we will and won’t do. That research is great because it will help you prepare, but things change once you are in the game. I planned to exclusively breastfeed, cloth diaper, have a vaginal birth, not let my twins watch TV until they are 2 years old, and the list goes on. However, things changed. I had to have a C-section, had difficulty breastfeeding, I didn’t start off with cloth diapers, and my twins watched TV. I felt awful that I wasn’t able to do everything on my wish list. I was stressed that I had to supplement my twins with formula and I wasn’t cloth diapering. However, my doula gave me the best advice. She told me that it doesn’t matter how my twins got here, just be grateful that they are here and they are healthy. She also advised me to focus on breastfeeding and come back to cloth diapering. She reminded me that just because I can’t do everything on my list at once, it doesn’t mean that I can’t get back to it if it is important to me. Once I increased my supply, was able to exclusively breastfeed, and got settled as a mom then I started cloth diapering. However, I abandoned the no TV rule. I’ve never watched so much HGTV and Food Network in my life!
You’re stronger than you think. When I found out I was going to be a mom of twins and then other parent walked out, I thought God chose the wrong person. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to recover emotionally, find happiness, and be successful as a mom. All I could see was what was right in front of me, and things looked bleak. However, I stayed in prayer and constant dependence on God and He provided. He gave me the strength to recover, find joy, be a great mom, and also help others on their journey. Remember these Bible verses to help you:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1: 2 – 4
Breastfeeding is way harder than the classes make it out to be. When I went to breastfeeding class, the instructors made it seem so gloriously easy. That wasn’t the case for me. It took two months for my supply to fully come in and one of my twins had trouble latching. It really wore on me emotionally because I thought something was wrong with me. If it is easy for you, then be grateful. If it isn’t, just do the best you can, keep trying, maintain a great attitude, and love yourself. If it doesn’t work at all, just know that as long as you love and care for your child(ren), then you are doing what you can and you are still a great mom.
You may be a superwoman but you can’t do it alone. I’m so type A, and I thought that I could do everything. I heard but didn’t really hear all of the moms tell me to build a support network. I knew that I had juggled a ton of things before and had been successful. I figured that being a single mom would be no different. However once I gave birth, I understood all of the moms that I spoke to said that their number one piece of advice is to build a great support system. No matter how good you are, you will need help and that is ok. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman. It makes you stronger.
It’s ok to cry. You will have a roller coaster of emotions. Your body will be readjusting from pregnancy and labor, and being a mom is a total life adjustment. Crying doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t mean that you don’t love your children. It just means that you are human. Crying allows you to process your emotions, release them and move on.
Accept help even if you don’t think you need it. People love new babies so let them come over to help. This will allow you to have a break. Imagine how much easier it is to have a trusted friend or family member entertain your child(ren) while you do laundry, wash bottles, cook dinner, or rest. Alternatively, if they offer to do any of those things, then say yes! If someone asks you how can they help, but you are unsure of what you should assign them, then give them something to do based upon their talents and your needs. For example, I had a friend who loved to cook so she made meals that I could store in my freezer. I had another friend who knew how to organize and helped me to declutter my home. Another friend helped me to design and prepare my nursery, and the list goes on. Trust me. You will need help and lots of it!
Set boundaries. A lot of people will want to help which is amazing, however, there is an adjustment phase as you recover from pregnancy. You will need to heal and have space to develop a relationship with your new child(ren). It’s ok to limit visitors for a few days if you need the space. If your parents or someone is staying with you to help, make sure they understand and respect your parenting style and won’t drive you nuts.
Pay attention to your body. Labor and delivery is difficult on your body and afterwards your hormones will be all over the place as your body gets back to normal. It’s ok to rest, and your body will demand it. If you wear yourself down then you can’t be present for your baby, and your baby needs you. Besides, if you end up needing a C-section, that recovery is no joke. If you want to heal properly you will need to rest, limit activity, and follow the doctor’s orders.
I hope that this list will give you the confidence to let you know that it is possible to make this transition successfully. Just remember to build your support network and to just forgive yourself daily. If you need to talk to someone about what you are feeling then do it. There is no shame in asking for help. If you want to join a supportive community of other phenomenal single moms, then join the Phenomenal Moms Facebook Group. Click HERE to join.
Leave a comment below to let me know how this helps you!
If you know a single, savvy, millennial mom, then pass this on to her and invite her to the group.
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE and Jet Magazine. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms transform their finances, enjoy life, and stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!
Reduce Your Grocery Spending
Enter your email address to get my proven, action steps to reduce your grocery bill and still eat healthy.