Motherhood

Happy 10th Birthday Bella — 10 Things Being Her Mother Taught Me

My first born — Isabella is turning 10 today!! 10‼ 

I can’t believe how fast time flies (tear tear). I miss being able to rock her to sleep, dress her up in the cutest dresses, and put her hair in two pig tails. Now I have a little lady to raise. A bright, beautiful, young girl who loves reading, playing lacrosse, riding horses, cooking and never seizes to amaze me in everything she does. 

‍Little Isabella Then (circa: 2010)

Young Lady Isabella Today- This picture was taken at her 10th birthday party this summer.

From the moment, we found out we were having a baby to today; Isabella has always been my gift from God. I was only 23 when I got pregnant and my father had just passed away a month prior. I was also set to graduate from VCU that May and was thinking of grad schools and full-time jobs when we got the news. 

To say we were shocked is an understatement! 
We had no idea of what parenting would be like, had no money and were scared out our minds on how we would tell our families since we were so young and not yet officially married.

Isabella and her Grandma- Etete. She was cutting home made traditional Ethiopian bread that her grandma baked for her birthday

I knew she was going to be special though; I felt this was God’s way of replacing some joy back into my life after taking my father- kind of like a fair trade, yet it still didn’t seem fair. But who was I to argue with God? He had his own plan for us, and I had to accept that his will, will be done. Being pregnant saved me in so many ways, I was depressed and felt so lost after Dad died but the second I found out that this little person was growing inside of me, all that changed. It brought back life into my soul and meaning into my daily existence.

‍Isabella's First Birthday Party in Asmara, Eritrea (circa:2008)

Here are 10 things being Isabella’s Mother taught me over the years. Hope it helps all the new moms out there:

1. I do NOT have to be perfect at being a mother

In fact, I will never be perfect, none of us are and guess what… It’s okay. Our children love us unconditionally. So stop stressing about the minor stuff.

2. Live in the Moment

Time goes by incredibly fast. So enjoy every moment with your children. Pretty soon they will be all grown up and won’t want the special attention from Mom anymore. Isabella used to call me every 5 minutes whenever I left her at home and now the tables have turned. I’m the one calling and checking up on her when I leave because I miss her.

3. It’s okay if they love Daddy more

In our house, Bini is everyone’s favorite person (except my Lorenzo). The man can do no harm in both his daughters eyes. It used to drive me nuts because I was the one at home with Isabella and yet she would go crazy and want her dad every time she saw him walk in a room. I had to learn the hard way that Bini will always be her everything and I will always be Mom.

4. I am stronger than I think and can thrive in anything I do

Being a mother definitely, brings out a side you never knew you had. You become stronger and more protective of those you love. You learn to manage your time better because your life no longer belongs to only you.

5. When I need help, I have to ask for it

No one knows what’s going on in your life but YOU. If you are feeling overwhelmed and tired like I was after Isabella was born, you have got to ask for help. I tried to do everything alone and ended up hurting myself even more. This lesson took years to learn (in fact I am still learning it).

6. Only I know what is truly Best for my children

Because I was such a young mother, everyone felt the need to give me advice on parenting; it was so nerve-racking. I would write everything down (because I am a note taker) and then someone else would come and give me entirely different advice. I learned to just follow my heart and trust my instincts because listening to everyone’s advice did not work for me.

7. Kids have to grow up with discipline

 At one point, I saw myself losing the discipline battle with Isabella; she would not listen to us and refused to say hello nicely to people… Always had her face buried in a book. She didn’t really watch much T.V. and did not like going outside, so her time-out usually involved us taking books away from her. I know, I know… WHAT KIND OF MOTHER TAKES AWAY BOOKS… But that was the only way I could get her to listen.

Also, there has to be some structure in the home. The kids have to understand that they need to work and earn their rewards or they will grow up to be spoiled. As she got older, her behavior changed for the better THANK GOD

8. They always need to hear that I love them

I always tell my kids I LOVE THEM…they actually say I over tell them, but I don’t care. I want them to know that their mom is their #1 fan. I highly believe that it has made Isabella a stronger girl because she knows she comes from a family that loves and supports her. We talk about everything and she is free to tell me anything she wants knowing that I will always have her back and will protect her.

9. I am not alone in my motherhood problems

There are so many women like me who struggled and were confused about life, marriage, and parenting after the birth of their children. I felt so alone, and I am sure they did too. If I had an outlet like Luwame.com back then, it would have saved me from so many tears and mixed emotions. That’s why we built this platform... for all those women who simply need to be heard. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

10. Live your life at your pace… Not everyone else’s

Stop comparing your life and your children to those you see on social media or with your friends. Trust me… they have their own problems just like you do. When you try to “keep up with the Joneses” you end up hurting yourself, your marriage and your family. Love your life... it’s the only one you have.

Isabella B. Tesfaye is my first born… My angel, my friend, my baby, and has taught me so much more than I have to her. She gave me purpose when my world was dark. 

It’s funny actually, as I was giving her life, I realized she was actually giving me life. 

I did not understand pure unconditional love until the moment I held her in my arms and from that moment, I promised I would always love and protect her. 

Happy Birthday Bella! 

Always,