F: My name is Fallon Smith and I live in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I am a student intern at the Food and Drug Administration. I am also a full time student; graduating senior, public relations major at Howard University.
Are you a single mommy? A married mommy?
F: I would not call myself a single mommy. My boyfriend and I have been together for 6 years and we are both very much in my son’s life. We do not live in the same household, which makes things a little difficult but we make enough time with our busy schedules for our baby. As long as he’s happy that’s all that matters.
Tell us about your son.
F: I am a new mommy to a very adventurous little 7 month old named Mason Alexander. He is at the stage where he wants to taste, touch, and explore everything. He’s such a happy baby and he has brought a new found joy to my life. I call him Boogie because he is constantly moving, dancing, and smiling.
How was your birth?
F: My pregnancy was awesome up until my 8th month. I got hospitalized for a week and put on bed rest. I blew up like a balloon. Fast forward to January 16 I started having contractions around 10 am. I called my doctor and she told me not to come in until they were exactly 1 to 2 minutes about. These contractions were painful but the time between them varied so my boyfriend took me home and I ate a bowl of cereal thinking I was just having severe Braxton Hicks contractions. Wrong. I was in pain for almost 3 hours with contractions varying between 3 to 5 mins a part. I waddled to the bathroom and found out I was bleeding so we rushed to the hospital. I learned I was 4 cm dilated. We got to the hospital around 2 pm. They broke my water and we played the waiting game. Mason wasn’t trying to come out. I pushed for a whole hour but finally he was born at 2:37 am January 17, 2013. =)
Do you breastfeed?
F: Mason took to the bottle well but I still wanted to breastfeed as long as I could. 7 months later and we are still doing it. I have a constant battle with myself about when I should wean him off. I really do want my boobies back but I am doing the best thing for my son and he’s just not ready to let them go yet. I am hoping that eventually one day he will just not care for my boobies anymore… Wishful thinking…
How do you balance work, school and motherhood? How do you carve out time for yourself?
F: It’s funny because a lot of my colleagues at school and work ask me this question and I don’t really have an answer. All I know is that it has to be done. I have no room to slack in any department. I have to work to provide for my son; I have to finish college to continue making a better life for us; I must give my son 110% of me. I don’t know how I do it sometimes, but if that means going without sleep some nights or missing out on some parties then so be it. I know that in the long run my goals will be met and one day my son can look back and be proud of the woman that raised him. It helps a bunch that his dad, my boyfriend, supports and backs me 100% with everything. He’s really a great dad and we make a great team.
What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
F: My son was born with a defect called Polydactyly. He was born with extra nail beds on each of his pinkies. At first I was shocked because I had never seen anything like this before. Then I was angry, asking why my son had to through this. Finally came acceptance. Mason is AWESOME, extra pinkies and all. It has not stunted his growth, it has not stopped him from hitting every birth milestone way before target, it has not held him back. The surgery to remove them will be a tough but I will cross that bridge when we get there. For now I just educate everyone that asks ‘What’s wrong with his pinkies?’ about Polydactyly and that my son is not handicapped. He just has a extra places for me to kiss all over.
Who is your child-rearing support group?
F: My mom has definitely been one of my biggest supporters with raising my son. She is my go-to person for everything. I literally call her about 10 times a day asking for her advice, and though we may not agree on everything I appreciate her and everything that she has given me so far. Along with my mom I have a bunch of aunts and uncles who give me sound parenting advice.
I like to think of my boyfriend as Super Dad. From day one he has been interested in everything about Mason. We never argue about who has to change diapers or whose turn is it to wake up in the middle of the night to comfort Mase. He just does it. Anything Mason needs, Sam is on a mission to get it. I literally had to tell him “Hey, let me do some things too” when Mason was first born. It has been amazing watching him grow from the young man I met when I was 16 to this wonderful, caring, and protecting father that I see now. I fall in love with him more and more each day.
How do you determine that your kids are happy and well-adjusted?
F: Mason is the happiest baby. He doesn’t cry much, he laughs and smiles at everything, and he is very loving. I judge his happiness based off of the amount of love around him and Mason is surrounded by people who genuinely love him.
What is the most important value, ideal or philosophy that you want to impart to your son?
F: I would like my son to know that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to as long as you are determined to work for it. I didn’t know how I was going to take care of a baby being only 21, working part-time, and being a full time student. I was so scared because I had no idea how I would make ends meet. But I set my mind to having him and I decided I wasn’t going to sacrifice my dreams and still be a great mom to my son and doors started opening. My job has been very supportive of me and even offering me a full time position once I graduate. My professors allowed me to work from home through my maternity leave and allowed me to make up work that I missed. Doors just continue to open for us and I WILL NOT let anyone down.
What advice would you give to a new mom?
F: Ask a bunch of questions. If you are unsure ask a boat load of questions. Don’t feel ashamed because you don’t know something. We do not have to have all of the answers. You will make mistakes, you will mess up, but learn from them. And Google. I swear I Google everything. You would be surprised how many moms are going through the same exact thing as you.