My older two children are 2 years, 2 weeks and 2 days apart. I never planned on being a single mother, but life happens. My mother came to stay with me when my second was born and I was terrified for her to leave. God bless her, she stayed until he was 4 months old. When she finally did leave me, I struggled to find time to take care of myself. I felt guilty if their every need wasn’t met as soon as they needed it. Until a simple conversation change the way I was thinking.
I had all these visions of what kind of mother I wanted to be. When I only had one baby I was really good at being that mother. My whole world revolved around him. When my second was born, I didn’t know how to spread myself between the two. I wasn’t just a single mother, I was a single mother working long hours at minimum wage. Life was hard for me. I lived in an old house with just the necessities. I didn’t even have a cell phone or house phone.
The first day my mom left me with the boys was scary. There was a family emergency and she had to leave. I thought , it’s now or never, so I curled up on the couch with my two boys to watch cartoons and survive the night. I’m hypoglycemic and my blood sugar dropped to 40. I can always tell when it’s low because my stomach feels like it’s in knots and I get really sleepy. I was scared I would pass out and the babies would be alone. So I fixed myself something to eat that would bring my sugar up and tried to keep myself awake. I made it through that first night, and many more nights after that. However, I was running myself ragged trying to meet all their needs and putting my selfcare last.
One day I was talking to another woman that had two children about the same age as mine. She said something to me that was a game changer. I was talking about getting up at 4 a.m. for work, many of those days were double shifts. I had also been staying up late trying to clean house and catch a shower after I put the kids to bed. I felt like I couldn’t get myself organized!
This is what she told me, LET THEM CRY. She said feed them, change their diapers, put them in a safe place and get in the shower. If they’re crying, you know they’re breathing. As simple as that sounded I needed to hear it. If you’re struggling as a mom you need to hear it too. This is why I needed to hear those words. I felt guilty about everything! I felt guilty that they didn’t have a dad. I wanted to give them everything else in the world. All mothers want their kids to have every available opportunity and the best of everything.
I know there are so many parenting debates, and I’m not telling you to use the “cry it out” method. I’m saying that it’s okay for your baby to cry for a few minutes. When this woman, who seemed to have everything going for her, told me to let them cry it was like I didn’t have to push myself so hard anymore. My kids were healthy and their needs, and most wants, were met. I wasn’t going to ruin their lives if one of them cried for a few minutes before I finished my shower. The reason I wanted to share that story with you was because as a new mom, whether you’re a single mother or not, you need to know that it’s okay to take care of yourself. You don’t have to be perfect and your kids will be okay if they cry occasionally.