We love our fans, many of whom do amazing work in the world while also being dedicated and thoughtful parents.
This is a guest post from Alexis Hall of SingleParent. She introduced herself to us as “a proud single mom to three kids [who has] been single since Julian, my youngest child, was born five years ago and I love it.” Our kind of woman, in other words, making her life on her own terms with her children's wellbeing front-of-mind. She expressed a desire to speak with joy to single mothers-to-be, and even to possibly “inspire mothers-to-be who aren’t single :)”
We love what Alexis has to say and hope you do, too! Take it away, Alexis!
Image via Pixabay
Post by Alexis Hall
Soon-to-be mothers everywhere are lucky to have countless online resources telling them what essentials to invest in for their babies, but there’s more to prepping besides creating a shopping list and to-do list, especially if you’re a single mother.
Another search for single mom resources reveals tons of articles with words like “disadvantages” and “pros and cons,” but single mothers are a growing population. According to Single Mother Guide, “Single motherhood has grown so common in America that today 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by single mothers.”
Being a parent, in general, is an experience that inspires personal growth, and being a single mother heightens this growth. Here are some tips to prepare for parenthood as a single mom, one of the most rewarding times of your life, while turning those “disadvantages” on their heads.
Single mothers have a grasp on self-sufficiency that other women rarely fathom, and this trait is passed on to children of single moms. A lot of responsibility that’s traditionally divided amongst a couple will be thrust upon your shoulders alone. Instead of feeling doubt or loneliness about it, consider the sort of efficiency, sensibility, and competence that you’ll gain from taking it on.
Your time-management skills will skyrocket, and you will be an amazing role model for your child. “Children of single moms watch their mothers’ tireless dedication and come to appreciate their struggles...[and] her child sees the connection between Mom’s sacrifice and her success,” according to WorkingMother.com.
Take comfort in the fact that you and your child both will benefit from this situation. As you make your home baby-friendly and get the nursery ready for your little one, don’t dwell on doing it alone. Think of all the one-on-one time you’ll have with your baby, the bond you’ll form, and how you’ll be calling all the shots as far as parenting styles go. Spend your time on other things that truly matter, and know that when the baby is in your arms, everything will fall into place.
Get Your Bucks in a Row
One of the biggest hurdles for many single moms is working a job while balancing family time. The average cost of raising a child is about $233,610. That’s a lot of money to spend from a single income over the course of about 17 years, but it is possible with a budget.
Even If you already have a budget in place, revisiting your current budget and planning your future budget is a constructive use of time. Depending on the type of childcare you plan on using, you’ll possibly be spending thousands of dollars annually. If you live near family, this cost can be cut down — but it’s important to be realistic about it.
Get in touch with your employer’s human resources department to get your maternity leave figured out, and find out how much paid time off you have remaining. Call your insurance providers to see what is covered, and ask about discounts while on the phone.
Auto insurance companies often provide discounts for all sorts of situations, so call them and see if you’re part of any qualifying groups. Perhaps a discount is available for safe drivers or drivers under a certain mileage? Are you a teacher or military veteran who could get coverage via a group discount? You need to be covered in case of any accidents, but with a little homework, you could find a lower rate. In fact, if your child takes driver education courses or maintains a certain grade point average, you could benefit from it. Unfortunately, most companies do not provide discounts for single parents.
Sit down, find ways to save, strategize how you’ll provide for your family now and allow yourself to relax, even slightly, later on down the road. You’re going to need that bit of downtime, too.
MAKE TIME FOR...
Before and after the baby comes, you need to practice self-care. For writer Jaime R. Herndon (via Today’s Parent), that means staying up later to read, even when she’s exhausted. You have to make time for yourself for your own “self-preservation.”
There are going to be times that you need a community of women going through the same thing as a single mom. A community can give you support and a shoulder to lean on during those tough times that are sure to happen.
You have to be organized when raising a child on your own, but don’t feel like you constantly have to be preparing for the next day or week — at least not at the detriment of your baby. Enjoy spending time with your baby; what’s the point of all your hard work if it’s not to feel a sense of calm when you can be together?
There’s a lot to do when preparing for your child, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the list of things to do. Parenthood will bring challenges you never imagined, but you’ll get through it with preparation, knowing you will be better for your baby because of it.
You're looking at this page and most likely everything looks...as it should be. I look at this page and get chills (yes, chills!) that there is now a Shop Ceres Chill tab along the top!
For the first time ever, people can order the product that I have brought to life over the past year just as easily as they can order any other product. I'm humbled by all the help I have been given to get to this point, and beside myself with happiness that this product can make new-mom days better for so many people.
I can't help but reminisce for just a sec.
It's crazy how far we've come since October 2018 when I was lugging coolers to keep up with pumping at work, all the way to July 2019 when we launched on Indiegogo, up to today just two days after a smashing, wildly successful campaign. We can't wait to ship to our amazing backers this month!
And now...we have a business to run! Wow! I'm so pleased to be able to look forward to running this show with new moms like myself and the new moms I have talked to in mind every day. Moms who can now move around with an elegant and compact breastmilk storage solution that makes their lives easier and helps them meet their breastfeeding goals in this busy and challenging world.
It's a big day, launching this shop!
Thank you for being part of it.
unhelpful old wives' tales
You'd think that in this modern age where we can test, measure and analyze the tiniest cells and bits of bacteria, we'd provide mothers and babies with the data they need for health and happiness. Unfortunately, as we have worked to bring Ceres Chill to the world, we have uncovered tedious and unsupported breastmilk "rules" that complicate an already challenging process for pumping mothers.
Most recently we have looked to science to tell us whether there is any support for the widespread belief that moms cannot add warm, freshly expressed milk to chilled milk.
Every time I encountered this rule, I thought, Why not? What happens if they add it? No-one could ever answer this question for me and there were never any research citations available. That really nagged at me as a pumping mom with a ton of work and barriers to breastfeeding already on my plate. I had friends throwing away ½ to 2 ounces at a time because they felt the amounts were too small to go through the process to pump, save, chill and then combine.
THE TRUTH ABOUT COMBINING WARM AND CHILLED MILK
I am happy to report that real research by doctors in this field tells moms something great: not only can you add warm milk to chilled, doing so has health benefits for your baby!
Enter Lisa Stellwagen, MD, a newborn specialist and board-certified pediatrician. Dr. Stellwagen has been a pediatrician for 30 years, both in community and hospital settings, and is the medical director of the Newborn Service at UC San Diego Health. Her clinical expertise includes infant nutrition, breastmilk feeding, and medical care of newborns. According to Dr. Stellwagen and her colleagues:
What a relief and help to so many pumping moms!
Now comes the hard work of spreading the word and making sure we stamp out all of the useless rules holding us back and replace it with the truth about breastmilk. It is not frail. It is powerful! And we will now conveniently save every last warm ounce painstaking created for our children.
The suspense has been killing me as we work to refine the profile of the Chiller while also taking all steps to ensure it is durable and practical.
Who wants a pretty Chiller that can't hold enough breastmilk to get through an epic work day or some gorgeous thing that can't fit in a backpack water bottle pocket/car cup holder? Not this mom!
I typically only have one arm/hand to use at a time because the other one is clearly busy keeping one of the children out of trouble/traffic/the ocean/a giant puddle. I don't need clunky coolers with a bunch of parts. I need a super sweet, easy, compact Chiller to hold breastmilk!
So, here we are: I will have this beauty in my hand(s) within days if not hours... CANNOT WAIT!
I will of course keep you posted as we run it through all of the tests and build to our crowdfunding campaign.
While taking a hard look at the Ceres Chill message and the game-changing features in order of importance according to moms enduring breastfeeding struggles, I came across an article by Harpers Bazaar published one hour before my son was born on July 17, 2018. The article is perfectly titled "Why Women Really Quit Breastfeeding: Pumping is a private struggle endured by millions of new mothers as they face a society unprepared—and often unwilling—to accommodate them."
This article struck a huge chord with me and has 100% renewed my determination to bring Ceres Chill to market as soon as possible. I don't claim this Chiller solves all problems but moms who are trying to do right by themselves and their children should have choices, should feel empowered rather than singled out, embarrassed or ashamed.
I write to you pinned beneath a sleeping six month old. I am still smiling after seeing the most amazing Ceres Chill creative promotional social media post by my great friend, Abigail Hamilton, who designed/built the Ceres Chill website during the time she somehow found when she wasn’t working, raising her kids, being an amazing friend, paying her bills and just generally living the life of a real contributor to society.
This whole Ceres Chill process has been incredible because of the talents and generosity I have found all around me that I would have never otherwise enjoyed. I am someone that does not like to impose or test friendships. I realize now that I look at it, this really comes from my insecurity. If I don't ask for anything, then I never have a friend or acquaintance telling me they would really rather not be there for me.
Some of you may wonder what the heck Ceres Chill means and what I was thinking. Maybe you don't wonder that at all. Just in case you were curious, I wanted to provide a bit of an explanation...
We wanted this product to be cool and needed a name that would convey that. So Milk Jug, The Bottle, Lactaid, BreastBottle, etc. did not get us there. We briefly flirted with Liquid Gold as a concept but I feel that gave us a bit too much of a Vegas, current inhabitant of the White House, blingy kind of feel.