Friday, July 29, 2011

Awww pencils

So my daughter is going to be starting kindergarten this year and I am finding that I am having a difficult time dealing with it all.
I'm the type of person that worries all the time about anything, especially my daughter. If you haven't read my post about her first day at daycare you should so you can see how much of a nut case I really am, http://teenmomny.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-time-leaving-baby.html.

I remember freaking out about my daughter going to school when she turned four. I mean I was going through it, I cried and everything and everyone told me I was being ridiculous and I had a years time so not to worry. So here we are a year from then and every time I see school supplies or anything I get into my "awwww" stage and even my daughter tells me to stop.
The other day we had those small milks that you get at school and my daughter asked me what that was, because she had never seen one before, naturally being the sensible adult that I am I said: " Awwwww omg these are little school milks and you're going to be pouring them all by yourself soon and..." Before I could get another emotionally erratic statement out my daughter said: Just pour it mommy!
Even when we are at department stores and I see the back to school supplies I get into this trance and keep saying: aawwww, its all very strange and will get better as the first day of school date approaches... I hope...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Giving back money

Since moving back to New York City I have had a series of events/misfortunes happen to me financially.
I landed in New York City with little to no money and a heavy heart, two things that are very hard to have at the same time but can also serve as a very important learning tool. 
To sum it up quickly I had a large some of money coming my way through various sources, but for reasons that were out of my control , bank errors, dishonest people and life, things didn't come through as planned or needed. 

The other day my daughter and I were at the grocery store and the woman in front of us dropped a quarter. My daughter saw it and asked if she could pick it up. I told her yes and then she asked me if she should give it back. I was curious to see what decision she would make so I told her it was up to her. To my delighted surprise she choose to give the quarter back to then woman. The woman, like myself, was surprised she was giving the quarter back and told her she could keep it but my daughter told her "It's your money, you keep it." 
 I was so proud of my daughter :') and still am!
Later that day as I was getting back from a yoga class I  wanted to get a protein shake but decided not to because I literally have to watch ever penny I have and decide very carefully what I want to spend it on. Granted the shake is only $3 but I deiced it wasn't a necessity and didn't get it. I continued walking and saw a woman drop some cash as she was walking outside of the bodega, connivence store, I watched her as she walked away then I stopped her and told her in Spanish that she had dropped her money. Shocked, she turned back around and I picked up the money to hand it to her. When I had the money in my hand I realized it was a pretty impressive stack of $20 bills, probably about $200. I simply handed her back her money and kept walking. As I was walking I couldn't believe my luck. Here I was broke, in debt and handed back this woman a stack of cash that she was just going to walk away from. Why did I do it? Because it was the right thing to do and everything you put out into this world rather it be good or bad comes back to you, multiplied. 
As I was telling my sister the story she said "Yeah, you could've kept the cash but I know you. You would've went home and felt like crap because you took something that wasn't yours and because your daughter made a more moral decision then you."

Lead by example in all things you do in life:)
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First time leaving baby

I have a friend and fellow teen mom that has been at stay at home mother for about six years and is now getting into the work force. Like most mothers she is nervous about how the transition and the experience will be for her and her family.

This got me thinking about the first time I had to leave Leilani at a daycare or with a sitter.
I was 15 years old when I had Leilani, four days later I turned 16 and six days later I was going back to school. I was fortunate enough to have my sister take care of her so I don't really count that as leaving her with a sitter. My sister and I both lived in my mother's house therefore, I didn't have to worry about packing a diaper bag, car seats or the most important thing trusting my "sitter" with my child.

When I was at school I would think about her all the time and knew every time she hungry because my breast would be swollen from breast milk.

The next school year I was no longer living in my mother's house but with my own new family, the father of my child-my then boyfriend, my daughter, and myself.

My sister soon found a job and could no longer watch my child so I had to put her in daycare. Putting her in daycare meant several things, I had to get a job to pay for it, I had to attend after school classes to get it at a reduced rate and the fact that I would have to trust someone other than a family member with my daughter.
I began my search for the perfect daycare and of course the only one I wanted her to go to cost a small fortune and wasn't part of the government's reduced teen mom program. After going to several day cares and asking numerous questions I choose the one I liked the most. It also happened to be the closest one to my high school, which was very convenient since I now lived about 20-30 minutes away from my high school.

Finally the day came when I had to drop off my daughter for her, and my, first day of daycare. I was an emotional mess.
My daughter was growing up, so was I, she was going to be away from me and any family for an extended period of time for the first time, these people didn't know her or me and I didn't know any of them. I walked into the daycare and her teacher wasn't there yet. This made me very uneasy because I never met the morning teacher just the afternoon one and here was this new face telling me that she would keep my daughter until the morning teacher comes in. I declined with a tad bit of too much attitude. I mean who was this women and why did she think I was just going to trust her with my child? Oh yeah, she was a daycare employee and that's what I was paying for, trust... in a complete stranger. When the morning teacher finally arrived I was already going to be late to class, but I didn't care English could wait I had a child to tend to and a stranger to size up in the few minutes that I didn't have to spare. After telling her everything about my daughter and her pretending that she really listened and cared, I had to leave, with my head up and trying to not cry in front of these women. My daughter on the other hand was already elbow deep into toys, books and everything else in the room and barely paid any attention when I left. This broke my heart even more.
As I walked away from her class, I looked back and couldn't believe I was leaving her, I didn't want to leave her and I felt like the worst mother in the world. I left my daughter and it wasn't even in the top of the line daycare that she deserved and I wanted, but in a government funded daycare, with teachers that were late and passive. When I walked out of the daycare doors the air outside felt thick and heavy, my stomach was in knots, my eyes were trying not to cry, and the growing lump in my throat was making it hard for me to breath, but the thing that hurt the most was my heart, it was destroyed.
I jumped in my truck turned the air conditioning on in hopes to get some type of air in my lungs. Then I picked up my cell phone with all strength I had left in me and called my boyfriend, her father.
"Hey baby. How'd it go?" he asked
I tried to give him my best, "everything went well, she was fine and I'm on my way to class" but instead I heard myself say "I ... left... her all by herself and she didn't even cry and..." before I could get another word out I was crying, horribly. My body shook and I could barely hear his consoling words on the other line over me gasping for air. My tears burned in my eyes as they rolled down my cheeks. "Get yourself together" I thought and I did.
"No no I'm okay I promise" I told him, "I know she'll be fine I just had a little moment but I'm okay now. I love you too"
I hung up. Turned my head lights on backed out of the parking spot and started driving.
HONK!!!!!
I heard the loud horn behind me after I swerved into the lane next to me. It was then that I realized I was crying again and that I couldn't see the road because of my blinding tears. I did the only sensible thing there was to do, I turned on my caution lights, parked the car in the middle turning lane and cried for a good five minutes.

I arrived to English class horribly late, with blood shot eyes and took my seat while everyone watched me. I mean this was the first time they had seen me since I had my daughter and here I was breathing heavy and red eyed.
During my school day I sneaked, because cell phones were not allowed on campus, and called the daycare several times. Every time I called they told me she was fine and not to worry.
At the last bell I literally ran to my car and picked up my daughter from daycare. She was fine, in one piece and smiling when she saw me.

Eventually it got easier and easier but nothing ever compared to the first time I left her.
I still feel very uneasy when I leave her with someone but I think that's just a part of being a mother.
Thank you for reading!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Confidence is killer

Many girls suffer from low confidence. Some teen moms even say that the combination of low confidence and low self esteem are some of the reasons that they became teen mothers.
I have had my own problems with my appearance and realized early on that low confidence and low self esteem can easily be passed on to my child. Therefore I began and still am taking necessary steps to work on myself so that the chances of my daughter learning and adopting poor self esteem issues and low confidence from me are low.

I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful young girl and her mother who is an attractive women as well. However, the mother suffered from low self esteem and a lack of true confidence and the daughter was picking up on it and projected the mother's "issues" on herself at the young age of 7!

The mother dislike to show her legs because she felt that her thighs were too big and looked strange when "exposed". I for one can say that there was nothing big about this women's thighs or anything big about her at all. The little girl expressed to me one day, while I was wearing shorts, that her mother told her, the daughter, she didn't like her own thighs and that's why she never wore shorts. In turn the little girl didn't like to wear shorts or anything that exposed her legs either.
It deeply saddened me that this was taking place and takes place all over the world.
Here was a mother and a daughter both beautiful girls that lacked a positive self imagine and the fact that the child was 7 and was already developing a poor self image opened my eyes greatly. As mother's it is our job and duty to build our children up and even though all of us do this we often forget that most behaviors are learned and that our children, from birth, are always watching and learning from us. 
The mother wasn't trying to put her poor self image on her daughter she was just expressing both vocally and non vocally, through her actions, her feelings. I began to reflect on what type of self issues I possibly put out that my daughter can pick up on. At this time my daughter was 2 going on 3 and I was starting to pile on the pounds. I went from being 115 pounds to 160 pounds.

I was devastated and started eating better and exercising regularly.
It boggled my mind that the little girl's mother, by the looks of it, was many pounds lighter then me and still didn't have the confidence to show her legs but here I was wearing shorts confidently.

Now my daughter is 5 years old and I am still working on myself.
I've taught myself to replace negative comments that I may have about my appearance and to watch what I say around my daughter even more.
If you have a child you are the center of their world. This is both a difficult job to have and an easy one to forget you have. Children and people alike learn by observing the world around them and being that you are the center of their world everything you put out they pick up on and will mimic.

For example my daughter has this new thing where instead of saying: I don't know. She'll go Mmm umm. I can't stand it. However, I realized the other day that she asked me a question and instead of saying I don't know I said mmm Umm just like her. At the moment I knew who was to blame, myself.

Now if every morning I get up and say I'm fat, or I hate my smile or vocalize any other insecurities she will pick up these negative comments and start to apply them to herself and the world around her.
 Fixing a low self esteem is not an easy over night task but if you take small steps to making yourself more confident and a better person then you are also helping you child in the long run.
Today's world is full of images of what a "type A" person should be so please don't feed into it especially while your child is watching or listening, which is always.

Working on your self confidence is just another way to help your child(ren).

Things I did to help replace my self directed negative comments.
  • Instead of saying I'm fat or I look fat I say I need to exercise.
    • This way I'm promoting exercise, which people of all ages need, and doing something to better myself
  • I hate my smile
    • I think I have a nice smile but my teeth are one of my biggest insecurities. I no longer say I hate my smile and smile as often as possible because I have some many things to smile about and because my daughter is always watching
Ways to help build and maintain your child's confidence (at any age)
  • Tell and show them they are beautiful
  • Express to them how nice they look each an everyday and especially when they are going through a "transitional" period or wearing something they don't think they can "pull off"
Remember confidence isn't just about physical appearance but also about the inside.
  • If your child is trying something new give them positive feedback
    • this way they will be more excited when starting a new venture
  • Remind and show them how intelligent they are
    • This one I have to do all the time with my daughter. Whenever we are learning a new lesson she gets anxiety, says she can't do it and shuts down.
    • Instead of letting her get all in a funk I tell her to relax, that she does know it (even if she doesn't) because she is an intelligent little girl. Once she understands the lesson she feel a lot better about herself and feels more confident when faced with it again.
Thank you for reading and remember that you are the one that teaches your child confidence, so get confident own it and that way your child will pick up on your confidence and not your insecurities.
Now I want some cookies with milk :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

College ORIENTATION!!

I am so glad that I made major life altering decisions because they are paying off in leaps and bounds so far!
I went to my Baruch College orientation and left pumped, inspired and ready to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities that are coming my way. Upon arriving at the orientation I was a bit overwhelmed and intimidated I think that sometimes I feel like I'm not "supposed to be" in places that many young adults let alone a teen parent never reach in life. However, I literally have to talk to myself (in my head of course) and say that my thoughts are nonsense and that I earned the right to be "here" and where I am in life. After my silent much needed pep talk I had some danishes and coffee they offered and found a seat. This was the first college orientation I had ever attended and really didn't know what to expect. After the presidents of a few clubs spoke the Dean of the School of Public Affairs, the school I ant to go to, took the stage and this guy inspired the crap out of me..lol I know not the best choice of words but... :)
If I graduate speaking like him I can end up ruling the world. (Which I have zero intention to lol but it would be nice to speak like him) He had me ready to sign up for classes and be on time and just fully take advantage of all that Baruch college has to offer.
After one more speaker, who's title slips my mind, we were off to the most important part in a transfer orientation. The credit transfer evaluation! This is the part when you see what credits transfer to the new school you are going to attend.
I was worried about how many credits would transfer especially since the two people next to me weren't too happy when they saw how many of their's transferred. However!!!! When I got mine I saw that 51 credits transferred and I got credit for a business course that I took ! I was PUMPED I mean here I was thinking I was going to have to start all over but now I only need 69-73 credits to graduate!
After asking aboutt a million questions and signing up for classes, I went over to the Baruch Health Center and got one of my mandatory shots needed to attend. Then I was off to get Leilani, my daughter, from the sitter.
On the subway back home I was on cloud nine!
Here I am a single teenage mom, from a family of immigrants, lived moved from tiny town of Apopka, Florida going to one of the best business colleges in the city/ country. The mayor, governor and several CEO's of top companies frequent the college and hire students from the college all the time! I'm like in heaven!
I think that ONE thing that stops teen parents from making life changing decisions is fear. I was terrified of moving back to a state(New York) that I had lived in before. To be honest I asked everyone and anyone for advice because I was so paralyzed by fear but like I said before the best guidance you have in life is the tiny voice of intuition. I followed my intuition and man has it paid off!
Don't let fear or the stress of hard work stop you!
Think of it as an investment. Education is one of the investments in this world that WILL give you a good Return On Investment.
The big picture is college is only 4 years of your life. If you give YOURSELF four years you and your family will be better off for DECADES to come. I understand wanting to be around your child every moment of their lives. I cried and almost got into an accident because of the blinding tears wen I dropped my child off for the first time at daycare but it was NECESSARY so I could graduate high school for us and it didn't stop there after school I would come home kiss her and go to my part time job at Taco Bell. If you have graduated from high school then you are already half way to a brighter and better future. Some trade schools only require 18 months!
What I am trying to get across in a short/ long winded post is: If you are thinking about going back to school stop thinking I MIGHT and think I WILL!
If you have a reliable and responsible person that can watch your child take advantage of it!
If you don't look for one its important to. Make arrangements and try to even fit one or two classes into your schedule.
If you have questions don't hesitate to email me at: gmalone410@gmail.com
Thank you for reading and remember being a mom is one of the most demanding jobs in the world and being a teen mom is a lot more difficult. Being a teen mom already makes you fighter! So FIGHT for your future and the future of your child(ren).
A few years of "roughing" it will ensure that you and your family will not have to "rough" it anymore.
One of my goals in life is to not have my daughter watch me struggle as I watched my parents struggle.
Okay I need to get ready to go to the aquarium with Leilani and one of my best friends! :)
Thank you for reading!
Don't forget my other blog: http://myfirstyearnyc.blogspot.com/ where I try something for the First time everyday. :)