We love Olivia of Simply Liv & Co. and always count on her for refreshing candid thoughts regarding slow living, ethical consumerism, and thoughtful parenting. Today she shares her experience transitioning into motherhood at a young age…
The transition from “college kid” to “adult” wasn’t a smooth or slow one for me. One March day, my sophomore year of college, I took my fifth pregnancy test, still in disbelief of the plus sign that unmistakably graced each and every one. I was 19 at the time, and barely 20 when I gave birth to my first little girl.
At that age, I was hardly able to filter through the judgment and, conversely, love; the teenage phase and, conversely, the depth of responsibility of motherhood; the confusion I felt and, conversely the pride and genuine life-altering love I had for this little one.
It’s an understatement to say that I’m still “recovering” from those blurry years. I’m still figuring out what it means to be a young mom, even five years (and one more daughter) later.
This year, however, has been the first year in a long time that I’ve felt like myself. I’ve learned how to create the space to care for myself, how to have hard conversations to make my needs heard, and how to balance caring for my family with pursuing my dreams. Of course, I’m far from the perfect example of balance – I mess up daily (hourly even). But finally realizing that young motherhood wasn’t the death of my future, but rather, the birth of an entirely different and more fulfilled one was one of the most beautiful realizations of my motherhood journey.
No one is ever truly prepared for what motherhood means, for the self-sacrifice, sleeplessness, and slowing down. No one is ever prepared for the love and the joy and the happiness either. But there are a few things I’ve learned – my Lessons as a Young Mom, if you will – that have helped me along the way and just maybe, if you’re a soon-to-be mom, or a young mom already trying to navigate the ever-changing waters of motherhood, these “Lessons” will help you too.
LEARN TO SLOW DOWN EARLY ON
Soon after I had my first daughter, I turned to minimalism to help me weed through the unnecessary and find some “stability” in a season that felt very unstable and unpredictable. I started paring down my closet, creating capsule wardrobes, decorating with intention, and getting rid of possessions that didn’t “bring me joy” (in true Marie Kondo form). Although it can seem inconsequential, the amount of “stuff” I owned and what I chose to bring into my life/closet felt like an aspect of my life that I could control during the craze of sleep regressions and teething sessions.
Although your method of “slowing down” doesn’t have to look just like mine did, embracing motherhood slowly and giving yourself the grace to learn what’s important to you through it all will help you stave off the pressure to be perfect.
HAVE AN OUTLET
For me, my blog, and the many directions it’s taken over the years, was an essential outlet for me to stay sane. Whether you’re a writer, an athlete, an artist, a musician, or anything else, carve out time for things that remind you you’re not “just a mom”.
SELFCARE IS FAMILY CARE
New motherhood is exhausting and I wish that someone would have told me sooner that taking time for myself – be it a bubble bath, a few hours alone with a good book, a trip to a coffee shop, or something else that refreshed me – wasn’t selfish. In fact, I learned later that taking time to make sure my “tank” was full helped me be a better mom to my girls because I wasn’t running on empty at all times.
Selfcare doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. It can be simple, free, and can happen without even leaving the house. But it should happen regularly if you want to avoid burnout, exhaustion and, ultimately, resentment.
ASKING FOR HELP ISN’T WEAKNESS
Most people aren’t great at asking for help. It makes us feel weak and underprepared. But for the mom who hopes to keep her sanity intact, it’s a must. Ask for advice. Ask for a babysitter. Ask for alone time. It’s not weakness – it helps you focus on your strengths, builds community, and relieves the pressure of being “super mom”.
These tips, of course, aren’t exclusive to “young” moms. Moms of every age, lifestyle, and journey will find them helpful. However, they’re essential for those of us who are still learning who we are, baby in tow.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, if you would like to step into the Sseko community, we would love to chat with you!
As a Sseko Fellow, you’ll be part of an incredibly supportive group of women, you’ll get to style and sell stunning fashionable products that make a difference in the lives of women across the globe, and you’ll earn an income for yourself and your family.