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Meet Starter Kit Mom:Juliet

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

"We spend our childhood thinking our mothers have it all figured out only to become one and realize that motherhood is sometimes about surrendering control."

When did you become a mother?

In July 2015. Doubled up on mom life in November 2018.

What are some of the challenges of being a mother?

Support is a big one. As a mom in general, we often suffer the burden of a ‘mental load’. We have a running to-do list and calendar buzzing in our brains around the clock. From work life management to family feeding, clothing, and school needs, and tracking wellness and development schedules along with general home care. Then of course you still need to date your spouse and somewhere in there find time for yourself. You find yourself wanting to devote your full self to each of these things and of course you can’t really do that. It can be A LOT to balance. Support and general acknowledgement goes a long way.

How many children do you have?

Two under the age of five (have mercy, Sweet Jesus). I have a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month old son.

What is the best thing about being a mother?

The warmth. Those moments when you know without a doubt that your kids just want you for you. Just be yourself, be present and they light up. It warms me right up.

Examples - my 6 month old likes just staring at/touching my face; my 3 year old loves to read and have tea parties and goes wild if I agree to simply sit with her in her play tent.

What did you learn about yourself after becoming a mother?

I definitely understood my own mother better. I found myself acting more like her in ways I never imagined I would.

As far as my understanding of myself, I don’t think I learned anything *new* new. Motherhood just solidified aspects of my personality. I sort of doubled down on what it means to be me.

What is something that you experienced during pregnancy or parenting that no one prepared you for?

I strongly believe there is this universal stigma around being honest about how HARD it is to be a mother. The physical changes and discomforts you go through are often minimized. There is this very brutal moment during pregnancy when you abruptly realize your body is no longer yours. You feel like you’ve lost control of something that you spent your whole life not even realizing you had full autonomy of. It’s jarring. Your instinct is to regain some sort of control either by arming yourself with knowledge so you know what to expect (that doesn’t really work), or telling yourself you *can* walk at the same speed (no, you really can’t), or that you drink enough water (no, drink more). It can be a really hard transition to the ‘surrender control’ phase of your pregnancy. But it really is best to try to free float through it. Let go and let your body do its thing. Women have been doing this for millennia. Sometimes our bodies know best.

You realize later that you were just being trained for delivery, life with a newborn, life with a toddler, etc. We spend our childhood thinking our mothers have it all figured out only to become one and realize that motherhood is sometimes about surrendering control. Things do not always roll out the way you want or expect them to.

What are some unconventional beliefs/practices that you have as a mother?

I believe in co-sleeping (for a time). I believe in ‘watering the baby’ (in MODERATION). I believe in teaching the use of correct words for any and everything. I believe that my children should be allowed their emotions and their space if they need time to take a break from social situations. These may not sound that drastic on paper but each of these things can and have been challenged by outside parties in my limited 4 year run as a mother. I imagine it’ll only get more interesting from here on out.

What are some self care practices that you do to feel like yourself again?

This is SO important. I feel like an individual person when I can shower, wash my hair, etc. alone (two kids under 5, ya’ll. this is a THING). I like to blast inappropriate music and sing along when I drive alone (windows down, naturally). After the kids go to bed or on my commute home from work, I like to binge watch cheesy shows, science fiction/fantasy, etc. I’ve started to revisit meditation as well. It doesn’t seem like much when I type it out but I feel like I’m in the heat of it at the moment. Both kids are very demanding. I have hopes and dreams that I’ll expand on my self care techniques when they get a little older. Or at least when the little one becomes more independent.

How did you find out that you were expecting?

Both times I felt it before I really knew it. I just felt ‘occupied’.

The first time I was on a fitness kick and all of a sudden could not do a single abdominal exercise. I felt like I was being stabbed with a butcher knife with each crunch. Then I was perpetually queasy so I took a test. The second time, I was physically drained for weeks. Again, I felt that ‘full’ feeling. Not like my stomach was full but that I, as a whole, was full. I felt *more*. Took a test and now we’re a family of four.

What scared you most as a first time mother?

The prospect of raising a daughter. I don’t know why but I swore my daughter was a boy in utero. But no, she is a firecracker of a girl and I love her spirit dearly. But when I found out we were expecting a girl I was terrified. This was pre-’me too’ but we all know how brutal this society can be to a little girl, and ultimately to a woman. I was scared. How will I prepare her? How do I teach her to face all the monsters and systems in place that will target her just for being a ‘her’? Not only female but a Black female.

I still have these fears but it’s not as scary as it was at 20 weeks pregnant that first time. My daughter is strong and fierce and outgoing and kind. Everyday I see her fire. I know it’ll take time but together, as a family, we’ll teach her how to harness that fire and face anything that the world throws at her.

If you could offer a pieces of advice to other Starter Kit Moms what would you say?

You are a goddess. You are a beast of perfect imperfection. You know your child(ren). Your babies are obsessed with you as you are. Be true to that to be the best for them.

Lastly, looking back what would you say to the expecting mom on how to prepare?

In many cases, immediately after delivery you are given the opportunity to either keep your newborn at your side or let them sleep in the nursery. For the love of all the sleepless nights you will soon face - let them keep the baby in the nursery. Sleep, mama. You will reminisce about this sweet post birth snooze for months and months to come. You worked hard through pregnancy, through labor, through delivery. You deserve to sleep. Not one nary a soul with judge you. And (here’s great practice for your new life as a mom) f*** the ones who would judge you for sleeping. As a mom, self-care makes you the best mom you can be. Plus the nurses will bring baby back for feedings and other vital moments.

Post-hospital:: If you have a partner or family support, remember they are allies. After weeks of sleepless nights, you may be tempted to start keeping score or calculating who gets more sleep or some other petty tally. Don’t do it. Be vocal. Ask for relief. Grandma/grandpa/auntie, etc. - they would LOVE to spend time with your little one. It doesn’t have to be all on you.

If you’re riding this thing out without family support, find your tribe. Whether it be a local group or online community. The worst thing you can do is try to ride out solo. You are not a machine. You need peers who understand, can commiserate, or offer solid advice or a different perspective.

Love and light to us all.

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