To the single mom with a newborn

You, you there in spit-up stained sweatpants, bloody chapped nipples and tears streaming down your face. Yes, you, the single mom with a newborn. I promise it gets better. I have been where you are. I have gone days without sleep, and not figuratively speaking, I mean actual sunsets and sunrises with my eyes open. I have gone days without eating and much much longer than I care to admit without showering. I have bargained cars and ice cream for dinner to a screaming 2 week old who knew not what I was saying, nor why I was yelling. I have covered my ears and squeezed my eyes shut while chanting, “LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALA,” over and over again like a 4 year old throwing a tantrum as my innocent infant cried on the bed next to me. So believe me when I tell you that it gets better, it actually does.

dear single mom

I understand that right now you feel like you have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into. That you feel as though you are sinking in quicksand and there’s no one to pull you out. I understand why you are pushing away help, because, you naively think that you “have to be able to do it by yourself.” I know that the guilt of being a single mom compounds daily and you question your worth, your sanity, and your ability to be the amazing mom you always dreamt of being. Right now you feel like a failure despite each and every person you encounter calling you “Super Mom.”

Super Mom

Newsflash, mama, you are Super Mom. The newborn months are hard on every family and you are doing it by yourself. You are surviving the hardest part, and you’re doing so with only the resources you’ve developed on your own. You cackle when people offer the tired and repetitive advice such as “nap when the baby naps” or “the laundry can wait.” If you nap when the baby naps, you’ll never eat and you’ll run out of clothes and dishes for everyone. You have no one to do laundry, even if only a load for your baby’s stuff. You know they just don’t understand what it’s like to have to raise a baby alone. How could they?

Well I know because I’ve been there. About 3 days after I had been with my newborn on my own, I videochatted my mom at 11:30 p.m. while my son was screaming in a baby carrier strapped to my chest. As I swayed back and forth begging my baby to sleep, my mom was more concerned with me. My eyes and cheeks were sunken in, she could tell I was on the verge of tears myself and said to me calmly, “it’s ok you can let it out.” At which point I bowed my head and let the tears stream. I thought I was holding it together, but apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone. She got on the next flight out and came to help me. Not help me care for the baby but help me care for me because that’s what I wasn’t doing, and it’s probably not what you’re doing either.

new mom

I can tell you to take time for you, but I know the reality is that you can’t right now. What I can tell you is that this is temporary. The hardest parts are right this second and the good news about that is that it gets easier. It gets better and you’ll look back on these tired moments and wonder how in the world you made it through, but you will make it through.

Hold on tight to the good moments and dream about baby giggles and tiny smiles. Sneak a protein bar when you have a chance and get outside. The sunlight will do you, your mood and your child some good. Take all the usies you can squeeze in, and, a hygiene hack, bring your baby in the shower with you. They will enjoy the warm water and steam and you won’t feel disgusting for the next 24 hours. Remember that this is only temporary and it’s hard because it’s new, but it gets better.

selfie usie mommy my way

I’m always here for you if you need to chat or vent or cry or hear how awesome you are.

With all the love and understanding you need,
A fellow single mama

 

35 thoughts on “To the single mom with a newborn

  1. Really good advice! I remember how crazy it was adjusting to having a newborn. Although I tried to be as active as I could I never seemed to be as awesome as my sons super mom. Without her superpowers I don’t think I could have done it. You are right. It is very hard at first but it will get better. Before you know it you will look back and realize just how amazing you are!

  2. My mom was a single mother for many years and seeing her be a strong, independent, fierce, woman really helped shape who I am today. It made me WANT to be the kind of person who can handle things on my own. I’m not saying it’s the best way, but it’s certainly better than finding yourself unable to take care of yourself and your family! You’re teaching that beautiful baby more than you realize I’m sure!

  3. My mom was a single mom and she did her best and I lived a great life. She never let me see her sweat and I know she did now that I look back but as a child she kept it together.

  4. What a wonderful gesture your mom made by coming out to make sure YOU were taken care of in those early days. Even with a spouse, the newborn stage could be very challenging. I don’t think I would have survived my last son’s birth with the emergency cesarean if I had to care for him on my own. It took my husband and my 12 year old helping for me to keep some sanity and allow my body to heal.

  5. I love this! I think a lot more moms need to be open and supportive of one another. It really does take a village. Parenting is hard! I wish they had a class on THAT during my school years. I think it is wonderful that you are sharing your life openly!

  6. Nikki. What a sweet and thoughtful post. Being a new parent is tough, being a new single parent is even more demanding. And here you are cheering everyone one too! Bless you.

  7. This is amazing Nikki! You are so strong. I thought it was hard and I had help. I can’t imagine what it was like for you those first few HARD months. Sharing on my personal page. I feel like every single mom could benefit from your blog!

  8. Oh how I miss my babies being small again. There is so much joy in motherhood even for those who are doing it alone. What en encouraging share for moms in general because we all have those moments where we feel lost and exhausted.

  9. This. Just this! What an amazingly brilliantly written post. I want to write it up in calligraphy and send it to every new Mum out there. It should be included in the Bounty pack. Well done! Have shared.

  10. what a beautiful post, I tip my hat to single moms. I was lucky enough to have a partner through it all. Your post was so inspiring and wrote from the heart. Thanks for sharing

  11. What a nice post to put out there! I don’t have a clue what it feels like to be a single mom or a mom at all really…I’m a stepmom but haven’t experienced one-tenth of all the things I read about from fellow bloggers. One thing I do know, it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you can best take care of your loved ones and lil’ ones.

  12. You are awesome – I’ll just start by saying that! Your perspective is great! I was raised by a single mom, so let me tell you, your child will know and see the strength, commitment and love you have for him. I saw my mom and how hard she worked….it’s not something I’ll ever forget. You offer great tips for both single mammas and all moms! I love your tips as they are real and true!

  13. What a touching post! I know so many single moms that need this kind of support and encouragement. The most important thing to remember about being a single mom is that that child chose you to be their mom and that is the biggest blessing that there is!

  14. Great post! Even though I’m not a single Mom, I can relate! It’s so hard in the beginning when you are basically all that can do any care of the baby. You offer great advice for Moms everywhere!

  15. What do you tell the single mom who’s life doesn’t get better? The 23 year old mom who just had her third child as a single mom and the oldest is barely 4. The woman who grew up not knowing her own daddy and now is not totally sure who the daddy of each of hers is….likely all different. She doesn’t want to be where she is…government housing, little if any education…maybe a high school diploma…maybe, but she didn’t have direction at age 18 and younger. But here she is…with three crying babies and not seeing any hope of “better”.

    1. Life is hard in different ways for different people, but the beauty of being a mother is that the “better” comes with your child growing and developing a personality and learning new things. My life is hard, every day is hard, but the newborn toughness gets easier. What I would tell that beautiful, smart and amazing mama of three is that she’s not alone even if she feels that way. There are people to help her however she needs and I would be so honored to be the one to show her those possibilities. A bad situation does not equal a bad life and a bad situation is never permanent. I hope that my post can help her see the beauty and joy within her children.

  16. I’m a single mom, but my son is almost a year old now. I’m blessed because I live with my mom and even tho she works full time she helped as much as she could. Countless nights I’d tip toe into her room at 3am and beg her to hold my son and try to get him to sleep so I could sleep just for a couple hours. She was a godsend as were my friends who’d come over at the drop of a hat on weekends so I could take a shower or nap. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

    1. That is so amazing that you have a great support system. I moved to a new city for my son’s father about a year before I got pregnant. But because the relationship was very rocky and controlling, I wasn’t able to meet any friends. So after he moved out when I was 6 months pregnant, I felt completely lost. My mom came came into town as often as she could to help, but I was friendless and so incredibly stressed. I’ve built my support system since then, and they are honestly a godsend. I wouldn’t survive without them!

  17. I love this post. Couldn’t be more spot on. I have a four month old and the first couple months were really tough doing it alone. It’s always good to hear others feeling the same way and
    I am not just crazy! Working and taking care of a baby is a tough job to do alone. I’m coming to realize to let the small things go and enjoy this time with my baby because they will only be young once.

  18. I just cried through your whole post.
    I’m 21 years old, a single mom to a three week old baby. Living far from family and friends and looking for some support to get me through this.
    I found myself in every word , you couldn’t have said it better.
    So encouraging.
    Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! I live far from my family and friends too so I can relate 100%. That three week old baby of yours, whom you love tremendously, will grow out of this newborn stage. There are different kinds of hard as they get older, but THIS hard, THIS hard you feel right now, goes away. I promise <3

  19. God will bless you with the child/children that he desires for you to nurture and care for. I’m a single parent of three and if He made a way for me, He will do the exact same thing for you. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will only see one set of footprints but that’s when Jesus Himself is carrying you.

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