Hey MWC Mommas,
I'm so happy! Why am I happy, you ask? Well, you ladies have been showing up and showing out for the #cancelsnapbackculture movement and I'm so proud of all of you. This next in the MWC Mommas Interview Series is ShonTe. I MET her via Instagram and her honesty and left such an impression on me. She's beautiful, honest, and SO kind. I'm so excited to introduce you all to her. MWC Mommas, meet ShonTe.
We love an entrepreneurial momma!
Hey Mamas, my name is ShonTe, I am a preschool teacher but quarantine turned me into a stay at home mom” :)
I recently started my own company Baby Steps Boutique LLC. We are an online baby clothes bank in which we receive donated baby clothes and put them in the hands of moms in need. Our goal is to build a community of moms who share resources but most importantly to help moms in need of baby clothes. Check us out at Babystepsboutique.com If you are interested in donating or receiving a donation from us.
How old are your kids?
My son Malcolm is 9 months
Are you a single momma, do you have a partner, a co-parent, do friends or family help, a mix of all of these, or other? Please explain.
I have a partner who is the epitome of a father. From the moment Malcolm was a line on a pregnancy test my partner was supportive, loving, and active. He never missed a doctor's visit, craving, or the opportunity to make me feel protected and secure. In addition to his love, he comes with a HUGE family and a host of friends who are there to help and provide whatever Malcolm needs in that moment. In addition to my family and friends, I am blessed to say that I have a great support system.
Before you had kids, what ideas did you have about how you would be as a mother?
I thought I would be perfect. I feel like the Kardashians, housewives series and the IG influencer moms put the image in my head that I would have a Range Rover truck, Louis Vuitton baby duffle, free product endorsements and I would be a flat tummy tea ambassador of some sort. It would either be that, or I would be the “cool auntie”. I never imagined I would have a baby when I did, how I did. I remember being pregnant and taking the bus home from my part time job at the mall. I would think to myself like “It was not supposed to be like this, but I’m going to make it right”.
What do you think is the most difficult part about being a mom?
The hardest part about being a mom to me is knowing I have two people I can not simply walk away from; Malcolm and his father. Usually in relationships when you don’t like certain things about a person you can leave. I always thought dating was like trying on clothes-if you do not like it, leave it there. But having a child with someone you love is learning how to communicate, compromise, listen and being open to change some of your ways. If my partner and I have a disagreement I can not just leave and go stay with a friend for the night. As a mom, I am obligated to stay put, work it out and continue being a mom even when in that moment I may not want to.
What is the best part about being a mom?
It’s funny because as a preschool teacher I have been “Miss ShonTe” for so long. I have been loved by so many little ones for years. Now I have my own little one who will call me Mommy and not Miss ShonTe and the lessons I will end up teaching him are endless. Our bond does not stop when it's time for Pre-K or Kindergarten, it's for a lifetime. Being a mom to me is like having a life time student...who needs money (lol). So not only do I get to provide education for the betterment of this life and survival in this new world we enter, but I get the endless motivation to be my best self to do so. What gets better than that ! :)
What are some hacks and tips that you use to make daily mom life easier?
I honestly do not know. 9 months in and I am still winging it. And I have learned to be careful giving “advice and “tips’ because what works for me may not work for another mom because circumstances vary. However, what I will say is- do what works for you ! Every mom can't breastfeed, every baby reacts differently to Johnson & Johnson, some of us need a moms night out or have to return to work immediately after birth or a pandemic in today's case! DO NOT let anyone guilt you into believing you have to do things according to their advice or cultural traditions.For example, in my community breastfeeding is very important- It did not work for me, therefore I did not. Doing what works for YOU opposed to taking the advice and suggestion from others will provide so much happiness and a sense of control over your parenting.
What are the most annoying daily tasks that you just wish you could make easier? How do you currently handle them?
Maintaining a clean house is a challenge right now. Specifically, THE DISHES ! I feel like it's always a bottle, bowl, spoon, something in the sink to be washed. I can not keep up. I learned in these 8 months that if there is a task that will inconvenience my emotional state I am not doing it, no excuses no explanations. I can not overwhelm myself to keep everything perfect all the time. As long as I am not leaving treats out for bugs, if the kitchen is not clean but I am tired or Malcolm is fussy; I am going to bed. Dishes will be there in the morning. Simple solution. But I know I have to come up with a better method lol.
What things do you wish you knew before becoming a mom?
That my body will be forever changed, I will do my best to not go on a typing spree for this response but this is something I wish I had known. From your body odors, to your metabolism the list goes on... It’s funny because while I was pregnant my doula said to me “ Be prepared to look like you're still pregnant for at least a year after your birth” And I remember laughing with my partner like “Yeah right, not me, I’m snapping back” HA ! I wish I had known that she was dead serious and accurate ! I am learning to love me for who I am but it is HARD and I wish I had prepared for myself for the body shaming aspect of postpartum depression.
How have the moms in your life shaped you and how you are as a mother?
There has been sooo much “mommy love” from apps, to facebook groups, IG pages, even blogs such as this. Even if you are alone there are opportunities to be social and find other mothers who are in a similar space. This has shaped me as a mother because I knew even when I was “alone” or depressed there was someone who was feeling my same feeling, even if I did not know them personally. I met my best mom friend on “What to expect App” we found out we lived in the same area and we texted everyday for months. Our sons were the same age so the milestones and emotions were the same. I needed her conversation on so many days and having her there gave me so much confidence and reassurance.
If there is a mom out there reading this that is struggling, what would you like to tell her?
I’m struggling too sis ! We are all in this together. One day I am the perfect mom, my son is on a schedule, has his fruits and veggies and sleeps in his crib and the very next day I am an emotional wreck who laughs at memes all day, drinks wine and needs my son to sleep with me because I can’t take life ! I get it !
But on a serious note, I would tell you/her “ Do not be so hard on yourself. You are an amazing mother and the more you tell yourself that, the more you will believe it and exuberate that energy onto your children. We can not pour from an empty glass, when we lack patience, are irritable, and stressed we transfer that energy to our children. “Lighten your load through laughter”. The more we do not take life, and our “ daily task” so seriously, the more we can be free spirited and have with our babies :)