On Valentines Day 2013, I sat on my ex’s bathroom floor awaiting a three-minute test to see if I’d be a mama. I was 19, scared and lonely, and I barely knew my at-the-time boyfriend. I just wanted to be loved. My phone dinged, I grabbed the test, and to my horror, it was positive. I wish I could say I was happy, but I wasn’t. I didn’t know how to take care of myself, and now, here I sat with a human growing inside of me.
A couple of weeks after my initial test, my boyfriend checked out completely. He wanted me to do what my mom wanted which was to have an abortion. I was young and a part of me secretly wanted out of what I thought was the worst decision of my life. I watched YouTube videos on abortion and decided that night I could not do that. It wasn’t for me.
At 13 weeks, I heard my baby’s heartbeat. Now, up until this point, I really didn’t connect with my child. I was in survival mode and just going through the motions, but let me just say, it was the most incredible sound I have ever heard. I knew then, at that moment, watching the screen as her little body fluttered across, I was going to do everything in my power to be the mom that baby surely deserved. At 23 weeks, I found out the sweet little baby I was carrying was a healthy, beautiful girl. I started getting things ready and anticipating her arrival. I was still scared, but I was thrilled to give her the life I never had.
On November 19th, 2013, I birthed the most incredible human. The next day, I went home and officially started my life as a single mother with no help from her father. I rocked her, loved her, fed her, and made sure she had all the things she needed, and as she got older, what she wanted too. Life was so hard at times trying to juggle work, Kaylee, and school, but I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted her to know that when there was no way, mama made a way.
Kaylee came into my life when I needed a mama myself. I had to learn to be a mother with no mama, no husband, and no one to show me how to parent. Oh, what a journey it has been. Being a mama, especially a single mama, has taught me I have guts, a voice, and more love than I ever dreamt for the little baby I never knew I needed, so I have five tips for anyone going through motherhood, especially my single mamas.
1. Be nice to you
I have so much mom guilt over the silliest and littlest things. You know I ask Kaylee every night before bed what was the worst and best part of her day? Her answers are never the things I fixate over. Know that no mom is perfect. We are all just winging it 90% of the time, I promise. The fact that you woke up today and chose your kids is everything. Be kind, patient, and understanding with your kids and yourself. This will get you through the very days you think there is no way to get through.
2. Be respectful of the other parent
My daughters’ father hasn’t seen her whatsoever yet she still loves him. He’s a part of her. You can have whatever opinions you want on the other party, but don’t give that burden to your children. I promise they will grow up one day and realize who was there and who wasn’t, but for right now, they get to be a kid. They don’t need to worry about what their father did or didn’t do. There is a lot I’ll probably never tell Kaylee for the simple fact that he is her father, and she gets a chance to choose how their relationship will play out the older she gets.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps
I mean this is important no matter how old your baby is. The chores can wait. Everything can wait. Sleep so you can be the best you for your little. Sleep is very important in motherhood especially when you’re doing all the things by yourself. Rest is needed, mama.
4. Be realistic
You’re one person doing the work of two. Some things will not get finished on time or look the same way if it were two people doing it. Some nights for dinner, you’ll make a really good meal, and other nights, you might throw a frozen pizza in the oven or pour cereal. I mean, they’re eating, right? Some days are not going to be picture-perfect, and that’s okay. Your brain has about 122 tabs open. It’s okay to be a little all over the place.
5. It takes $0 to make your baby happy
I get on social media and look at people going on lavish vacations or to really expensive places and sometimes I really wish I could do all those things but you know what? Some of the best times I’ve ever had with my daughter are when I spent $0. Some of the best times have been chasing her around the house during hide and seek or painting for hours, watching her ride her bike, or going to the park and eating tuna sandwiches at the very top of the playground. There may not be thousands of dollars lying in my checking account, but I have a happy daughter who loves being with her mama no matter what we’re doing. Comparison is simply the thief of what you have right in front of you.
Kaylee is going to be 8 this week, and all I can think about is what sitting on that floor felt like and how far we have come. Kaylee has been the very best part of my life. She is my angel from above. Becoming her mama was truly what I was meant to do in this life. Thankful is an understatement, I am blessed by her. I hope if you’re a single mama, you find hope and love in everyday things. Life can be suffocating, but it can be the best thing you’ve ever done. Giving life is the most beautiful thing and choosing to do life over and over because of that life is commendable. You’re doing the things, and I see you. If no one has told you lately, you’re pretty amazing!
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