Real Mama: Christina S.

Christina is one of my best friends and she’s an awesome mama to her two and a half year old little boy, Trenton. She became pregnant and had Trenton while we were still in college and she worked her butt off to finish her degree, while raising her son AND planning her wedding. She’s pretty incredible, very admirable, and she has some great advice to share about accomplishing her goals.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m from the St. Louis area in Missouri and went to Mizzou to major in nursing. I joined Phi Mu sorority in my sophomore year, where I met some of my best friends.

I love reading and doing pretty much anything outdoors. I also love adrenaline rushes and will try anything at least once. I love to travel and hope to make it all around the world before I die.

I’m very fast-paced, which is why I love my medsurg job at Boone Hospital Center. No day is the same and you never know what’s going to happen until it actually happens.

I love Italian food and my son Trenton is my whole world.

Where is home?

Home is where my boys are. Currently, we’re living in Columbia, Missouri and plan to stay here for a while. Hopefully we will either make it back to the St. Louis area or we have even considered moving out of state, possibly to Colorado.

How did you balance your life as a mama and a student? What are your secrets now to balancing your life as a working mama?

Balancing my life as a mama and a student was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

You’re trying to study, but you don’t want to miss those precious firsts with your baby. You’re doing homework when all you want to do is sit on the floor and play with your child. You’re sitting in class trying to take notes and the only thing you can think about is what you might be missing that day— what new thing will he be able to do by the time I get back home?

It’s difficult, and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it hadn’t been for the love and support from my fiancé and my family.

My secret? The secret to it all is to have a solid support system and to only think about things one day at a time.

How are you able to plan a wedding while working full time and being a full-time mama?

As far as wedding planning goes, I think working 12-hour shifts makes it easier because having some days off in the middle of the week allows me more time to meet with vendors and sit and search for things online and completely map things out. If I need more quiet time, I can always send Trent to the sitter, but mostly he’s at an age now where he can play on his own while I make a phone call so it really hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be.

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, that you’ve given as a mama?

I talked earlier about having a solid support system and taking one day at a time— that is the best advice I was given throughout my pregnancy and the best advice I could give now. If you try to think about everything at once and the future and what needs to happen, you will sink.

Take life one day at a time. Tell yourself constantly, “I made it through today, so I can make it through tomorrow.” Soon enough, you will eventually reach your finish line.

Make a goal and stick to it. Tell yourself you can do it and mentally commit to it. It’s your will power that keeps you fighting. You cannot allow any negativity into your mind. If there is someone telling you that you can’t do it, then stop talking to that person. That’s what I had to do to make it through.

Surround yourself with love and don’t give up till you make it.

If you want a better life for your baby, then you can make it happen. Utilize the resources available to you in your family and in your community. If you need help, you have to ask. Talk to your professors, counselors and friends. Don’t try to take it all on by yourself.

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

Yes and no. I thought after school I would be one of those Pinterest-perfect moms who would do arts and crafts every day with my son and constantly be attentive to him throughout the day. But that is honestly not practical at all. I work 12-hour shifts so on my days off during the week, I’m trying to catch up on housework, cleaning, dishes, laundry, shopping, etc. I’m lucky if I get a spare second in between to breath, but somehow I make it work. Knowing that other people are going through the same things I am helps the most.

I keep my house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. Spending time with my son is what I care about the most. I won’t let these early years slip away— it’s just not worth it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have no idea where I will be in ten years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Was your birth experience all that you hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

My birth experience was nothing like what I had imagined or hoped. It was terrible, but it was what I needed at that point in my life. I needed a serious wake-up call and a major change to happen in my life and my baby was what God intended for me. I fully believe that this happened for a reason, and I would never take it back or change anything.

My pregnancy stopped all my bad habits instantly and forced me to take a step back and analyze where my life was headed and what I needed to do about it. I had several panic attacks and failed a class.

My water broke four weeks early and I went through an emergency cesarean section to save my baby when I was not even ready for him to come into the world yet. But somehow, everything came together the moment I laid eyes on him. Everything suddenly made sense and I knew I would do anything to make that baby’s life perfect. Some things don’t make sense in life, but you have to believe that in spite of everything, it’ll be alright in the end.

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

My mothering has evolved in a lot of ways. When you’ve never been a mother before, you worry about every little thing. Every cough and sniffle, every bloody lip can be the cause of concern. After a while, you begin to realize that your baby is not as breakable as you think and there is no way you can prevent every scrape and illness. After you come to that realization, everything becomes easier.

Now if my baby spikes a temp, runs to me crying or bleeding, or throws a temper tantrum, I know exactly what to do. It’s just a mother’s instinct, I suppose. Some things you can only develop over time.

You have to learn to only listen to advice you want and ignore all the rest because everyone’s child is different and there is no right or wrong way to raise them.

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