Once Upon a Time… I was a Teen Mom

Once upon a time… I was a teen mom.

And not the MTV kind of teen mom. There were no cameras… in fact, I didn’t even have enough money to buy a camera before my baby was born.

I was 18 years young when, after 36hours of labour (and brutal ageist discrimination by medical personnel- something I will discuss in a later post), I delivered my baby girl… That was over 12 years ago now.

I once had a college professor who proclaimed “there is no such thing as a teen mom. Once a woman becomes a mother she is no longer a teenager.” I believed this wholeheartedly.

At age 20 I entered college as a mature student. I never got the chance to finish highschool, but managed to excel and graduate at the top of my class from my diploma program, giving me entrance to a bachelors degree program, which I also completed at the top of my class.

I spent almost 5 years in college and university – I graduated with an early childhoood education diploma, and a bachelors degree in child development. I fought for 5 years for teen mothers. I stood up to every professor who included “teenage parents” in the list of red flags for children. And I was convincing. More than once I had professors who had been teaching the same thing for 20years change their mind, and decide that being born to a teenage parent was not a risk factor; I personally convinced them that age was no factor. That a woman at 18, and a woman at 38 both are equally unaware of what motherhood truly is, what it takes to be a good mother, until she gives birth to her first child.

You see, as far as teen parents are concerned, I was as good as they come. I got pregnant by my highschool boyfriend. He didn’t leave. We got our own apartment, we supported ourselves and our baby independently with hard work a perseverance. We did not use the welfare system or any other government assistance, except for help with childcare costs. Something that I only received because I personally wrote a letter to our local government explaining who we were – and explaining that my only hope in the world was to do better for our daughter- I wanted to work full time until I was old enough to go to post secondary as a mature student. And I did just that.

When our daughter was 3, we were married, and when our daughter was 5 we had moved up enough in the world that we we no longer qualified for student loans, or childcare subsidy, and we had enough savings to purchase our first home.

I stood by my beliefs that age was no matter when it came to being decent parents. Rather, it was the choice of the individuals… and then, at age 27 I gave birth to our second child.

That’s when my thought process completely changed.

In raising our next two children I started recognizing the massive differences in being a mother in my late twenties/thirties and being a mother as a teenager.

What it comes down to, is that no matter how great a teen mother is doing, there is no denying the fact that she missed a massive part of her life. Her brain skipped an entire portion of development. She missed learning lessons. She missed taking risks.I learned more from my daughter in those early years than I think she will ever learn from me.

A woman who becomes a mother before she became an adult missed determining who she is as an Individual, and what her personal goals, desires and future prospects would be. This is fine for the first few years of motherhood, but eventually this will cause a mother to go one of two ways: 1) to get stuck in a job/town/relationship which she can do much better than, or, 2) she will get a several years into motherhood and become so determined to figure out what she needs as a person that she is overwhelmed, lost, and feels so far behind that it hurts.

A good teen mother dives into motherhood with every ounce of her being, and becomes “mom” before she ever gets the chance to become anything else. Without realizing it, she raises a child who views mothers as only mothers.

I was judged so harshly. Both by people who knew me, and by complete strangers who had the nerve to question me and my abilities as a mother. I refused to leave the house unless my daughter was dressed impeccably well… and always ensured that I was not dressed as well as her, because I wanted to make sure that all those staring and gawking full grown adults would be able to tell that I always put her needs above mine. Without even realizing it, I was teaching my child that appearance is everything. That we cared a lot about what everyone else thought about us. I taught her to be anxious and worried about other people’s opinions.

Being a teen mom meant that I was constantly on a mission to do one thing: figure out how to give my child the best life. This is an obvious thing for any parent to do, but when you’re a teen parent, you are being told by individuals, and society as a whole, that you can’t do a good job, and so it turns into a mission to prove to everyone else that not only can you do it, but that you can do it better than anyone could imagine. This meant that no matter what we had, I always needed more. No matter what I accomplished, it wasn’t enough. Without realizing it I taught my daughter to be unappreciative of what we had. I taught her that more was never enough, and I taught her that everything was a competition.

Being on such a constant kick to prove that I could do better also caused me to begin to develop extreme anxiety. Which became a normal emotion, a normal presence to my daughter, who also now has anxiety.

I was obsessed with ensuring that my child would not go without. And I couldn’t find a perfect medium, instead I worked my butt off to ensure that I could give her anything she asked for. I spoiled her with material things. Creating a child who thinks she is entitled, and should be able to have whatever she wants regardless of surrounding circumstances.

When you welcome your first child into your life before you are established in your life, you are constantly on the go to further yourself. You are rarely relaxing or taking in those precious moments. You are also so young that you don’t truly realize yet how fast life goes, and how precious those moments truly are. Forgetting to teach the child the value of treasuring the little things and moments, and failing to teach the child the true importance of relaxation, and being calm.

… and I was a “good teen mom”… I was that teen mom who beat all the teen mom statistics…

No matter how great of a teen mom a child has… there are definitely “risk factors”, simply because of the age of the mother. It’s truly hard to say who is at more risk in some regards; the mother, or the child…

At 12 years my child is doing incredibly well. She has a bright future undeterred by some personal setbacks, as well as the setbacks that came from me being her teen mother.

In reality though, she is doing so well despite what I have done for and provided her with thus far into life … but then again, maybe that’s the case with all children, regardless of the age of their mothers…?…

📸: Maranda Daubert

Sentimental Hoarding ; Decluttering my house for my sanity

Although it doesn’t look like it outside, Spring has officially started, and with it came something I usually hate: Spring Cleaning!

You see, over the years I have semi-unknowingly become what I like to call a sentimental hoarder.

I have a closet full of clothes; 90% of them are there because I used to love them, because they might fit again, or come back in style…

I have a stockpile of toiletries; they were gifts, they were on sale, I love the packaging, maybe we will have guests who would like to use them… but generally speaking we use sensitive skin, natural, unscented products.

Our front closet overflows with shoes, coats and reusable bags- but between the 5 of us we use maybe 10 pair of footwear & 5 jackets.

Baby stuff. Oh my gosh the baby stuff. How can I let go of the bins upon bins of baby stuff… all the “just incase” baby equipment. But almost a year ago we decided we wouldn’t try for any more babies…

When we bought this house we hired movers. We sold and were moving out of our first home; a 3 Bedroom, 2 story brick house… the movers said they had never seen a family AT ALL with so much stuff.

The moving company predicts how much truck space they will need for your move based on how many bedrooms, how many people and the square footage of your house. They needed nearly double the average for our family and Home size!

That alone should have been a big eye opener. But we had so much to do in this new house that we didn’t even have time to think about it. We were moving into a certain portion of the house and beginning top to bottom renovations with one child and a baby (and I got pregnant again within a couple months) so unpacking anything at all wasn’t even on our list of to-dos.

Fast forward two years, and the house is livable. We have sooo much to do still but we have come such a far way, including taking truckloads and truckloads of stuff to the dump and to donation warehouses.

But I still have tons of stuff that I just can’t let go of.

Until now.

Something I have come to recognize so quickly in this selfcare journey is that clutter makes me crazy! I don’t want extra stuff!

I have been reading up on minimalism and if it weren’t for the family of five factor I would definitely become a minimalist. The simplicity of the lifestyle is so attractive. So stress-free.

So for now, at the very least, I have started a massive declutter! A huge and way overdue purge of all things we just do not need in the house.

One room a week is my goal. This week I am focussed on my own bedroom, and loving every second of it. It feels sooo good to let go!

I will soon post more details, outlining which rooms I will focus on each upcoming week, and will be sure to share photos of my progress!

Are you a sentimental hoarder? A minimalist? Have you found a great way to declutter and organize your home?

Please share more!!

Anxiety vs. Exercise

Let’s talk about anxiety; postpartum anxiety, mom anxiety, generalized anxiety…

Yesterday I spoke to my Dr (who’s the bestttt) about getting my recently increasing anxiety under control. Unfortunately for me, just like more than 50% of people who suffer with anxiety disorders, the thought of taking a daily drug for anxiety causes even more anxiety.

So yesterday we started talking very seriously about my options. .

1) Meds

2) Specified therapy

3) Exercise .

Dr’s words were as follows:

if I put 100 people with anxiety on the meds, 75 of them would get better to some extent… if I put 100 people with anxiety into therapy, 75 of them would get better to some extent… if I made 100 people with anxiety exercise for one hour every single day, 100 of them would get better to some extent.

100. 100% of people will see some kind of healing. Just from taking the time to exercise each day. That’s it!

Needless to say my husband and I quickly and obviously came to the agreement that my getting one hour every day no matter what is top priority right now. 3 kids and Puppy will not be my responsibility for 1 hour everyday while I focus on me (which is crazy & amazing in itself!). .

I’m a little disappointed, though not at all shocked, that the dr had to prescribe me exercise before it truly became priority.

Don’t be like me guys! Regular consistent exercise is an obvious solution to so so much. Jump on board with me and let’s reep the benefits together!

. 📷: @tjtindale .

Overnight Oats

There has been a lot of hype on my IG account (@morethanmommmy) about overnight oats, and for good reason! Here’s everything you need to know…

Overnight oats have become a staple in my weekly meals. Overnight oats are the perfect pre-prepped meal for breakfast or lunch. They are quick, easy, portable, and PACKED with protein and super foods!

The flavour combinations to be created are endless, so experiment with your own personal favourite fruits and flavours!

Below I will outline the recipe needed for the base of overnight oats. I will also give you the recipes for 3 of my favourite flavours so far.

Remember! Overnight oats are a personal preference- change things up to your own liking!

The most important thing to figure out is your “base”. For me that is:

•1/2 cup oats

•1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

•1 tablespoon Greek yogurt .

Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats!

aprox 330 calories and over 40grams protein

Additional ingredients: (on top of base)

•1 scoop chocolate Diesel New Zealand Whey Isolate (or your choice of chocolate protein powder)

•0.5-1 cup frozen cherries

•{optional} Skinny Girl sweetener

•{optional} cocoa powder

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Additional ingredients:

•1 scoop Vanilla or Peanut Butter Protein Powder

•Fresh banana (as much as you like. For me that’s about 2/3 of a medium sized banana)

•1-2 tablespoons of PB2 (high protein powdered peanut butter) AND/OR 1-2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

•1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

Strawberry Overnight Oats: (so simple, but my favorite)

• 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

•1/2 cup sliced strawberries

•2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

And don’t forget to add all of your favourite super foods! Some of my staples are:

hemp hearts

•chia seeds

•Salba seeds

•flax seed/flax seed oil

Once you’ve added all of your ingredients to your mason jar, put the lid on and shake it up well (some recipes require a little stirring)

Place your overnight oats in the fridge overnight, and enjoy in the morning! I personally love to heat them up and add a touch of maple syrup… (my husband likes it straight from the fridge)

PREPARE TO BE OBSESSED!

The Start of a Journey

At just 18 years young I became “Mommy”.

Somehow, that was 12 years ago now.

In those 12 years, I have married, and gave birth to two more babies. In those 12 years I have truly learned the meaning of this thing called life. I have loved bigger than I ever imagined possible. I have learned lessons I never knew I needed. I have appreciated and enjoyed every precious moment.

But there’s something that happens when you become a Mother at such a young age. There is a huge part of life that you miss. And, while I have zero regrets, and would not change a thing, now, in my 30s, I have recognized something.

I have realized that I lost myself in motherhood. I have forgotten about myself as an individual.

Being “Mommy” will forever and always be my biggest accomplishment, my biggest pride and joy, my first and foremost priority… But today, I am ready to be MORE than Mommy.

I am ready to indulge.

I am ready to do things for myself.

I am ready to practice selfcare, and self love.

I am ready to search within myself to find out who I am… Other than “Mommy”.