Things I Wish I Knew

Me at work. My baby Lena took this picture. We all got a trophy and I used the opportunity to be goofy.

Last week, two friends came to me full of angst regarding being able to do all the things that we as mothers have to do, while still having time for ourselves. My advice was, “Get some help. It’s 2020.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to make money, and be an amazing mom at the same time. It is nearly impossible to cook nightly, fold all the clothes, keep a clean home, and look the way you want to, even if you don’t work. Definitely less realistic if you are trading eight hours a day for money. 

Here are some things I wish I knew before I became a mom:

It is okay to need/want help.

  • I remember folding about six loads of clothes one day and wanting to cry. I called my mom, and she urged me to “not kill myself.” She told me she had help when we were younger, and that there was nothing wrong with me hiring a person to do some of the household chores. I was stubborn, and also asking for help used to make me feel weak, so I did it alone. My self-concept, and self-esteem suffered greatly. I wore Harry Potter tee shirts for Levi’s first year of life. I wear wigs, and sometimes they would be so worn out and raggedy, that I would just try and remix them to make myself feel somewhat presentable. I felt bad about spending money on hair when I was wasn’t bringing any money in, even though my alopecia almost requires it. My ability to care for my child became my crown, and the pride I used to take in myself being a fun, bubbly person drifted away. Pretty much all I was was Levi’s mom. Which leads me to my next point…

You ARE the expert on your kid, but you are not the only one who can take care of him/her.

  • Now-as I type this, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite, because man, o man, did it take a lot for me to get to this point. This juncture I am at is a big deal, because it is rooted in some serious pain, and trust and revelation. I had to be forced into my current position, where I feel like while I am at work teaching my kids, or at home studying, or watching church, Levi is okay. He will eat without me, he will sleep without me, he will laugh without me. Despite the fact that I am his home. If you are a mom, and you are struggling with getting a job, or just getting out more, invest in yourself a little, and trust. There are people out there who do terrible things to children, but don’t allow that fear to trap you and cause you to become someone you aren’t. Fear kills. The kids are alright. I pray for my son several times a day. Trusting God has literally been my only hope for almost a year now. 

You are important too. So is your mate/partner/person.

  • One of my favorite people-mind you, I have never seen her in the flesh- is a woman named Kolbee. We started following each other on IG when I was a homemaker. She is a homemaker as well, and the mother of two beautiful girls. She cooks her man’s dinner, she cleans her home, she takes care of her kids, and she gets her nails DONE! Not just some wimpy manicure, so her cuticles don’t look like mine. Done. Long, sparkly, with beautiful polish. That’s her thing. She is naturally beautiful and effervescent, so it doesn’t take much for her to be on point, but sister gets those nails done. I am typing this and fighting the urge to go get mine done. Maybe Tuesday. I am going to make her hold me to it. From what I can tell, based on our DM conversations and her adorable stories, her and her man are in loveeeee! I haven’t asked her how they do this, maybe he is just the right person. Their two littles don’t stop them from kissing, watching football together, and being there for each other. For all the people going through the struggle that I once was, bear in mind that many marriages fail after a baby comes into the equation. Make time for each other. Seek to understand, not to be right. If you can make it past 18 months without talk of divorce, you are golden in my book. There are stats to support this. I kinda think it should be more like 36 months, especially if one parent stays at home.

Follow my girl Kolbee on IG. @thehomemakinghousewife

Get a job if you need one.

  • Levi was a preemie. Born at 25 weeks and one day. We had already decided I would be a stay at home mom for a year, before he jumped out of my uterus almost four months too soon, but that fact definitely changed things. One year turned into almost three, especially since the first time he went to school at 2 ½, he got the flu and ended up in the hospital. I cried about my situation at least once a week. Mostly when I was by myself. I felt like a failure, and that my life was at a stand still. Even though my heart was full each time the pediatrician said he was exceeding their expectations, there was a big question mark next to what I was doing for myself. I earned my Master’s degree online with a 4.0. I self-published my children’s book. That wasn’t enough. I couldn’t buy a candy bar without someone else’s money, and it made me incredibly sad. Sadness is an emotion I don’t allow myself to feel very easily. I knew I needed to get up every day, dress myself up, listen to music, and earn money for myself, and I didn’t do it. It cost me my relationship with myself. Did Levi need me? Absolutely? For almost three years? Maybe not. If I were to get pregnant in the near future, I would send the baby to a small, clean facility with loving people and cameras, and I would enjoy walking to food trucks. I would pump my breast milk in someone’s office. And I would love on my baby tremendously when I got home, like I do now. Nothing is better than his little face after a long day of teenagers.

Only you know what it takes to make you happy. And your happiness is just as important as everyone else’s.

My Harry Potter tee phase. Madly in love with my baby, hardly liked myself.

Published by latoyasamanthasmith

Hi! I'm Latoya Samantha Smith, a writer and English instructor based in Los Angeles, CA.

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