Most little girls, especially down here in the South, dream of and have a picture perfect plan of going to college, getting married right after college, and having babies shortly after marriage. I was never that girl! All I ever wanted to do was become a physician. I ended up being quite a phenomenal mother. So, looking back, I don’t even know that girl. There are still glimpses of her in aspects such as my incessant attention to detail and order, my love of learning, and my need and want to help everyone. Life without my boys….that I can’t imagine! For me, becoming a mother certainly wasn’t wrapped up in the beautiful little bow 🎀 that most girls envision. I was 20 years old, single, had disappointed everyone I loved, and was scared to death. I was presented with many options and choices about what would be best for me and what would be best for the child. It was overwhelming, and no one should have to face these decisions! People do though, every single day! It’s heart wrenching!😭😭😭 After the indescribable love and grace my parents showed me, I decided to keep the little 7lb. 1oz. little boy I gave birth to naturally at 5:31am on July 28, 2002.Mathis Banks Nichols changed my life! He was the one thing I had in my life that I was determined not to screw up! I made more mistakes than I can count, and some I pray that he never remembers. I was a child raising a child. The days were filled with me working and going to school. He spent more time at daycare and with the babysitter than he did with me, but as a single mom, you take on the responsibility of not only meeting the basic needs of a child but also of providing a life for your child. There were many nights that I would cry myself to sleep wondering how in the world we were going to make it. There were many meals I went hungry so that he could eat. There was a time when I didn’t have a vehicle and we had to walk where we needed to go or call a cab (if I had the money). Those first 8 1/2 years of life just being the two of us were beyond hard! That’s what being a mother is all about though….it’s not about you! It’s about sacrifice, the hard, the good, the sweet, the bond, THE LOVE!💕While some days still aren’t easy, that little baby boy that changed my life has now grown into a truly good, handsome, intelligent, and kind MAN! While I know I am a phenomenal mother, some days (like today) I cry tears of thanksgiving and humility for all that God has done and is going to do through Banks. He’s had a plan for him since the day He formed him in my womb. He knew that selfish, weak girl needed to know that it wasn’t all about her and she was stronger than strong and that life was going to be hard, but it would be oh so worth it! God had all kinds of amazing blessings in store for Banks and me.After God sent me a husband and Banks a dad, I got to become a mom for the second time. Although this baby was entering the world with that pretty little bow of a husband, good jobs, and a family, it still wasn’t easy. Travis Weston Nichols entered the world at 12:18am October 16, 2012. I had been on 8 weeks of complete bed rest, 6 weeks in the hospital. My body was in panic mode, yet there was no time to heal my own body and take care of myself, because in case you didn’t know, being a mother is full-time work! Unlike any work you will ever do! This little boy changed my life again. It was a different hard than doing it all alone as I did with Banks. It was more of a physical hard. That pregnancy wreaked havoc on my body, and I wasn’t healthy and couldn’t take the time to get healthy so there was definitely a lot of depression, further weight gain, outbursts of anger, and sheer exhaustion. Hence, here I am 5 years later working my booty off (literally) to be the healthiest version of myself. Thankfully, Weston is so smiley, happy, and loving that just at the time I’m heading to the bathroom to have a good cry, he’s there with those sweet lips puckered ready to give a hug and kiss.😘 Again, life-changing! Raising men is no joke, and I feel so blessed to have been chosen to raise these two wonderful men. The future is bright for these two!😎I don’t believe that anyone who gives birth is automatically a good mother. It takes inspiration and determination to be a good mother. Maybe some draw it from their childhood or grandparents or special friends, but me, I learned how to be the mother that I am from my mom. She’s phenomenal! I didn’t always agree with her or even understand why she made me do a certain thing at a certain time, but now, looking back as a mother myself, I know it was to help build character, work ethic, and mold me into the woman I am today. If I could only put into words the love and grace she has shown me time after time after time….maybe then you would know just how magnificent she is. She taught me to be tough when I’m hurt. She taught me tough love. She taught me that being a mother to my children is more important than being their friend. She taught me to believe in myself. She taught me put God first, husband second, and children third. She taught me to give and do all I can to help my children. She taught me to value myself and my health. She stood beside me and held my hand as I birthed both of my boys. When I had Banks, she assured me I could do it, but it wouldn’t be easy. She let me know that she and my dad would ALWAYS be there for me and my siblings, and they have been. She’s never coddled us, but that’s certainly why we are all able to stand strong after walking the paths we have. She taught me to LOVE and LOVE BIG! 💕 She’s taught me that while “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy,” it’s oh so worth it! Pam Leverette, words will never be enough to tell you just how loved and adored you are! You inspire me!😘
So, if you’re a single mom reading this, I’ve been where you are. I know you’re sad, scared, and exhausted. Here’s my advice…put on your big girl panties, finish school (there’s millions of grant dollars to put single moms through school), quit leaving your kids with your parents (they’ve already raised you. This isn’t their job), get a job (multiple jobs if that’s what it takes), respect yourself enough to know your worth (one poor decision doesn’t have to define you), spend more time being an amazing mother than looking for a baby daddy (pray for the right man and God will send him in time. I prayed for 8 years!), and lastly find a source of inspiration, you have a LIFE that is counting on you!
To the new mother that is suffering from Postpartum depression and health issues, I’ve been there too. My advice to you also begins with put on your big girl panties, it’s your hormones and health (it’s fixable), make time for your health. You’ll be a better wife, mom, and friend if you’re healthy. You’re worth it!
To my mom and every mom out there, Happy Mother’s Day! We were all CHOSEN for this journey called motherhood. We are freakin superheroes!💪🏻