Truth be told

I never saw myself having daughters 👀

I know…

My prayer was always for a son. When I found out my 1st born was a boy I was elated and felt complete. About a year later, after being surrounded by multiple siblings in my community who were close in age and best friends, we decided we wanted him to have a sibling close in age.

My Girl 🤯

 

I was Team Green the entire pregnancy. I decided not to find out the gender of my baby before he or she arrived and I enjoyed not being in control, even though I was convinced it was a boy.  My VBAC baby came into the world after 2 pushes,  Emma Jolie did all of the work.

2nd Fiddle Caught in the Middle

Two weeks after she was born, I had to get Early Intervention for my son 5 days a week. I had various specialists in and out of my home, all while I adjusted to being a mom of 2 and enduring a stressful marriage.

Emma Jolie 5 months old with Grandma.

As if that wasn’t enough, five months after her birth my mother died in a car accident, two weeks later I found out my husband was cheating, didn’t want to be married anymore and was moving out. The next couple of months were honestly a blur as I jumped back into work, hired new babysitters, experienced constant car trouble, didn’t give myself time to really mourn, then abruptly weaned my daughter at 9 months.  I was just surviving and putting my all into getting Eli all the support he needed. When I look back I wish I could have given my daughter much more intentional parenting during that season.

Four years later, add to the mix another baby girl,  tackling Single Motherhood…. and

You know that kid you hear screaming in the toy aisle, or screaming at the park or crying at drop off for her purple tutu. Yea I’m the mom attached to “that kid”

And I was at a loss at how to repair the damage.  Very early on I knew some of her behaviors were triggered by her need for extra attention and feeling abandoned. So often it feels like I have to make up for the lost time in interaction and quite honestly it can be exhausting for me. Nonetheless, as a fellow middle child, I know the struggle.  After some deep thinking,  lots of prayers and a chat with my therapist I came up with a few ways to help my daughter become self-sufficient emotionally while also squeezing in much-needed Mommy daughter time.

1. Parent each child differently

Every child has their own personal needs. With so many advances in psychology and daily reminders of the importance of mental health, we are now acutely aware that damaged, toxic adults were once children.  So of course mental health support should start early.

If you have more than one child make the effort to learn how to individually love and discipline each child. Needs differ for each child, one child may respond to words of affirmation very well , while another responds to earning time on their tablet.  With Emma, I’m learning to intentionally assess her needs and fill in the gaps where I can.

As adults, we’ve  heard of learning what our love language is and that of our partner. I’m realizing more and more the importance of deciphering the same with children and parenting based on that and your families values and morals.

 

2. Create one-on-one time

Be intentional about one-on-one time. This allows her to have her special attention, which little girls need. For example one of my Mommi friends allows her daughter to stay up an extra 30 minutes after her younger siblings are in bed and they enjoy ice cream and their favorite shows. I found this to be a great starter for carving out one on one time with Emma. She typically is my last child awake and earliest to rise. In the morning she loves to help me make breakfast by grabbing the eggs from the fridge and mixing them up. She also enjoys helping me with the dishes. Win-Win in my eyes!

As a single mom, it’s hard for me to take each child out for one on dates as fellow Mommi Trese mentioned in her blog My husband & I date other people! but they are very creatives ways to give them each a little mommy time in the interim.

3. Allow her to have her own “Thing”

Emma loves to dance and do karate!  I’ve noticed there are two awesome benefits from these activities. She gets to be the star and have her moments while all of us support her.  It also enable her to make friends in that space and build healthy new relationship with her peers.

I must admit I’ve also loved seeing her develop her talents and capabilities. She’s also discovering more about herself. She is beginning to build a stronger self-confidence which will contribute to her self-sufficiency.

4. Be your best self as a mom/women

How hypocritical would it be for me to push my daughter towards excellence when I’m not living at my best. As mothers when we are our best and exude confidence, our children and family benefit greatly. We are in a better mood and able to truly enjoy being around our family.

As I journey to becoming my best self, I began to see a therapist, I decided to go back to school to complete my Bachelor’s degree, I’m on the hunt for a new church home and this month committing back to a healthier lifestyle to drop 35 lbs to not only upgrade my physical health but to also love the person I see in the mirror inside and out. It’s also perfect timing as the mommies at MommiNation just launched the #FitMommiChallenge, you should join us. I’ve become very mindful of evaluating my friendships and removing toxicity as much as possible. Having healthy friendships and connections to set great examples for my daughter.

5. Community

This was probably the biggest game changer for me. It’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers because we really DON’T  and that’s okay. That’s why we should go to God with our questions and seek guidance. He knows the inner parts of our being and our children as well. He’s able to guide us and give us a road map on how to inspire our daughters and teach them to be their true selves.

We also have access to our family members, girlfriends, fellow dance moms who have gone through or are going through the same ordeal. Why not lean on each other, share tips and advice.  It wasn’t until I opened up to my community that I realized how common of an issue this truly was and that I was not a bad parent but had to implement strategic ways to support my daughter’s needs.

How do you help your daughter build and maintain her self love?

Feel free to share below in the comments

Until next time, your Special Mommi Mentor

Mommi Jeany