I had Corbin when I was 20. Two days after I turned 20 to be exact. I had no earthly idea what I was doing; how was a child going to raise a child? Come to find out I was a lot stronger than I thought that I was. L​et’s be real though — no one wants to read a story about “how I overcame social stereotypes and beat the odds”. We want to read a story that relates to real life. Here is my real-life story of the ups and downs, and what it actually takes to be a mom.

Corbin Michael Sullivan — 2 days old — flippin’ me the big one

You have to s​tart with the basic formula: feed them, bathe them and make sure they do not put small parts to toys in their noses. Talk to them non-stop and none of that goo-goo baby voice garbage. All it does is makes you look silly and actually hurts more than helps. They need to be spoken to like a person, not a baby doll. Give them all the love you have to give and do not be afraid that you are giving them too much love. There is no such thing. The more love and compassion you show them when they are young the more that they will show you and show to others when they are older. I could be wrong here and I probably am by some child psychology standard, but that is what I did with Corbin, and he is one of the most compassionate children I have ever met.

Corbin Michael Sullivan — 1 year old — side smile that will slay the ladies

T​he first year is going to go by so fast. Before you know it they will be sitting up by themselves and then saying their first words. Then eating real people food. Yes, REAL people food. Baby food is the stepping stone that they need to make the transition but boy is it gross and it smells so bad. Babies don’t even like it — why do we continue to feed that to our babies when they spit it out every time?! They have no idea what good food is supposed to even taste like, and they know that baby food is shit and spit it out. Then after the real food comes the real poop. You thought baby poop was bad — HAHAHA!! Wait for when you feed them real food and then tell me about baby poop.

Once you get past that you will get to the stage of them walking and talking. This is when their personalities actually come out and get ready for whatever you get. You cannot change how your child’s personality is going to be by the way. If you try they will resent you later in life when they are caught between trying to please you and trying to make themselves happy. Do yourself a favor and let their personality SHINE. Do not be a helicopter parent either; helicopter parents are so fun to watch at the store though. Try it — you will NOT be disappointed.

Once they start to get their personality rounded out, they will start the life long process of annoying you every waking moment of your life. Mom? Mommmmmm? MOOOOOOMMMMM?? WHAT, Corbin, what do you need? Oh, nothing, love you. That is daily…..oh and this is also the time that they will forever be in motion. You will find them in cabinets, falling down the stairs, running towards the street, and all the dangerous stuff that will make you pee a little. OH YEA — you will now dribble pee for the rest of your life when you laugh too hard, sneeze, get scared, even when you are standing in line at the store. It’s great, embrace it and get some dark pants. You will be fine.

Corbin Michael Sullivan — 3 years old — This is the dangerous stuff I told you about….

Jumping forward in time a bit here — ages 2 through 5. The terrible 2’s are real and it follows them all the way until they are around 4 to 4 and a half. There is really nothing fun that happens during this time either. They smell bad, they are always sick, and they will not listen to anything you say. However, this is the time when you can really sharpen your manipulation skills against them. For example: when Corbin was around 3–4 years old he did not want to take a bath every day as he had been for his WHOLE LIFE so far. So I told him that if he did not take a bath every night that his sheets would get so dirty that they would turn into a dust monster. Needless to say, he took a bath every night. Now some people might think this is wrong or mean to do as a parent. I say that it is another tool that I used to get a child to do something without giving them a reward. There are too many people who immediately jump to giving their kids crap when they do not want to do something they are supposed to do. WE DO NOT — repeat this with me — WE DO NOT GIVE IN TO A TODDLER. They will not love you less or hate you. They will respect you when they are older for teaching them the skills they needed to take care of themselves in the future.

Now that we have officially lost all our friends, social life, and our weekends — we can give our last ounce of sanity to our growing child. We are now out of being a toddler stage and moving into the “big kid” stage. This stage is where we, as parents, can open up a little and have more fun with our kids. They are big enough where the activities that they want to do are not lame and babyish. We can actually take part and not look crazy. Give yourself time to breathe though — you do not have to fill their days with constant activity. Make them do something on their own, make them be independent, kick them outside in the back yard for an hour, and let them use their imagination. Again — we are not going to be a helicopter parent. They do not need you to micromanage them as your boss does to you! Remember that you need time away from them like they need time away from you. This does not make you a bad parent, this makes you smart!

Corbin Michael Sullivan — 5 years old — 1st Day of Kindergarten

Still want a kid? What you have read so far makes it seem like this whole having a kid thing cannot be all that bad. That is true — yet, it gets harder and harder. Once they start school they will bring home “the sickness” that every other kid has in their class, and you will be sick at least once a month with something you probably did not even know existed. Seriously — invest in some good vitamins and get enough sleep. Oh, sleep, you say? I forgot that moms do not sleep anymore. We lay down, close our eyes, and think about all the worst-case scenarios in the world that have to do with our kids and BOOM!! ALARM CLOCK. Welcome to the “dark circle under the eyes” club. You will get art projects and Mother’s Day cards from school that you can hang on the fridge. When you look upon these you will be reminded of the times that they have made you smile; that they are the best thing that has ever happened in your life and the little things like this will make the bad times melt away. Oh, make their bedtime as early as you can get it too — this will help with your fight against the “dark circle under the eyes” club!

Corbin Michael Sullivan and me — 6 years old — salt mines, Hutchinson, KS.

I have never once had a regret when it comes to Corbin. Not the fact that I was 19 when I got pregnant, not that it was a one night stand, and not even the thousands of dollars I spent in court with his father. Corbin would not be the same kid he is now if those things were any different. Do not let the little things get to you either — take time to calm down before you punish or threaten a punishment. It will pay off in the long run, trust me. Do not take it personally when your child tells you they hate you for the 1st time either. I believe Corbin was 5 or 6. This was also the first time that he was going to “run away”. I did not have someone to tell me to not take it personally and I went off the deep end, y’all. Do not do this — it will just show them that when they are being an asshole that they will get what they want anyway. Just stand your ground. A trick that I used to take some stress away was this: when they turn around after telling you something mean or nasty just flip them off. DO NOT let them see you do this, but do it when they are walking away. It will make you feel better. Try it.

Corbin is a young man — he is officially 12 years old as of a week ago. I could not tell you where the time went, or where it is going to continue to go. Things have just begun to hit the proverbial fan for me with this new stage of life — preteen. We are ushering in the new age of back-talking, staying up WAY too late, having a girlfriend, and just being defiant because why the hell not? I have learned now that staying calm and not reacting is the best thing to do. It is reverse psychology really. They are expecting you to blow up but when you do not it almost tricks them into doing what you wanted them to do in the first place. There are times when I think about my life before Corbin and I always catch myself feeling lost. I would not know what to do without my son. I would not know what to do if something happened to him either.

Corbin Michael Sullivan — 12 years old — Just being himself

Now that Corbin is older there are more things that I can share with him and more things that he understands. I have severe anxiety that he calls “my bad brain chemicals” and when I feel like I am going to have a bad day, he goes above and beyond to help me out. Now he still complains the whole time about doing the work but does it nonetheless. Kids can feel when something is wrong with their parents as well. They know when you are sad, upset, happy, or scared. They will use this against you sometimes to get what they want, but I have found the more you share with them on how their actions make you feel the more they understand why we do what we do as parents. I have cried a lot, alone, in my room because of things that Corbin has said or done. Not that I am weak or cannot handle this newfound attitude; because being a mom is fucking hard, y’all.

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I love my kids, my dogs, my husband and my family. I enjoy writing as a way to spend some of my extra time!

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Bailey Carter

Bailey Carter

I love my kids, my dogs, my husband and my family. I enjoy writing as a way to spend some of my extra time!

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