Parent and Dating #2; No Flowers, No Fluff

Describe your perfect date before kids
The way I was raised, I never thought about a perfect date. My mom was anti-mating and I had an oversexed older sister and that turned me off for years. In high school, I had a few crushes. A lot of my ideas of dating and men came from adult life and having children young, dealing with things before I had the maturity or guidance. I’m just figuring things out.

What would a perfect date look like now?
A perfect date now would be…no flowers no fluff. Just a strong man confident enough in his own ideas that he literally has a day planned.

[It] could be coming over making breakfast, having lunch in Central Park under a tree (I hate nature btw), then order pizza for a night of Netflix.

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“I’d rather action than material.”

Why no flowers and fluff?
Flowers die, memories last forever. I’d rather action rather than material. If he smokes, we can blaze. If not, that’s cool we can have a glass.

On a date, are your kids on the forefront of your mind? Do you talk about them immediately? What’s usually the guy’s reaction?
Because my kid(s) was the only good thing in my life at the time, yes. I would talk them [up] first. I knew who my kids were before I knew who I was so naturally they would be the topic.

But now I’m low key kinda feeling myself so I guess the convo would be different now. Nobody has recently come to court [me] so I never get that wrapped up in convo.

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“I knew who my kids were before I knew who I was….”

What’s the best thing about dating with kids?
Nothing, LOL!
But I like what you said about your oldest daughter deterring the lames.
Yes. Every time someone tries to talk to me, she gives me the “elder” look and says, “Mom, don’t let them talk sweet in your ear.” She calls the guys around here hoodlums.

I don’t really see myself getting serious again until my girls are grown. I’m about that money now.

The Elder

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Single and Santa

Don’t forget the Christ in Christmas. Saying Happy Holidays is PC at work and school. Why don’t more Black people celebrate Kwanzaa? How the hell do you spell Hanukkah (I’ve seen a C in there at one point).

Our holidays are riddled with tradition, folklore, and colorful characters that fuel a child’s imagination. It leaves our young ones with memories and stories they use to connect with future classmates, roomies, and significant others.

But the third biggest star of the holiday (a virgin who had a super baby definitely tops a beard) is that silver fox, big-boned rosy cheek man whose jolly ol’ belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly. You can’t talk about Xmas without talking about Santa Claus. Whether you pray to Buddha, Allah, Zeus, Krishna, God, or the stars you’ve heard of this fat cat who can defy all physical logic.

We use St. Nick as a tool to encourage our kids to be good between the months of leftovers running out and the tree getting put up. Parents who choose to let their kids believe go to great lengths in maintaining the legend of Santa. They keep purchased presents hidden, shop during their work breaks, wrap gifts in the dead of night, and sacrifice closet space in order to hide said gifts until the night before Christmas, when all through the house, none of their kids are stirring…(see what I did there).

But others take a more direct approach from the gate.

“I am Santa” is the strong declaration in some households. Hardworking parents who may sacrifice more than their fair share of adult time and hard earned money refuse to give Big Red any holiday credit. They may not flat out tell their doe-eyed six year old who’s been exchanging Santa theories with their peers all day that this man and his red nose reindeer is just not real; but they assure them that those bowed-up, meticulously wrapped stack of boxes under the pine (real, plastic, or white) comes from yours truly, Mom and Dad. They duck the gaze of their kids, they shop on their “me” time, they wrap in secrecy and attempt to make this holiday just as magical for their kids as well. But they make sure junior knows these gifts are earned across the board. You earn them through good behavior while mommy and daddy earn the money to buy what you’ve earned. Forget the fat man’s list, your name is on our heart.

Does Santa Claus exist in your household? Why/why not?

Does Santa steal the shine/hard work of single parents?

Is it wrong to tell a small child there is no Santa Claus?

Is saying there is no Santa simply keeping it real, or a ploy to have all the credit or glory?

Pregnancy Scare #15; Fearless Mom: FranShaun Harris

Franshaun Harris

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Age: 25
Year You Graduated High School: 2008
Year you found out you were Pregnant: 2014
Number of Children: 1

The Uh-Oh Moment: December 2014 I found out I was pregnant going in to get my yearly
physical and asthma checkup. Now a days, doctors give you all the test in the world. I simply went to the doctor to figure out what I could do to reduce my asthma symptoms. He went over my labs and came back in the room and said, “Congrats are in order, your test came back positive.” Mind you he never said what test he was talking about, he just had this huge smile on his face. I thought of every worst possible scenario, but then he said “Are you ready to be a Mom?” From that moment, my life changed.

The Mom Moment: Becoming a mom has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I
have looked after children since I was a child (at the age of 13). It was a joy to watch how they learned and how they explored the world with such innocence. At 21, I had my first God child, Iyana. She was a sweet baby and words could not even immense the feeling I had of being her God mom. Months later, her brother Elijah was born and he too became my God child. I kept them for weeks and sometimes months at a time. They saw me as a second mom when their birth mom, Ladonna, needed a mommy break. I adore them as if they are my own. In that moment I became a mom. Having these two God children of mine was a joy BUT having my own son was an indescribable feeling.

My moment when I realized that Nasir was mine is when I was sitting at my mom’s house and he was crying and crying and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I sat on the steps going crazy. I then went back in the room and picked him up and said, “Ok, what is that you want? You’re clean, you’re fed, and you have a nice little clean butt.” He just looked at me and smiled so big. That moment I was like ok Shaun you’re REALLY a mom now.

***Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a Dad***

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Father/Dad: By the time I was six months pregnant, everyone who I thought would want to have a family with me, left me. My best friend Tony is his father. He and I have an awesome friendship. Because of personal issues outside of him and me he can’t be around to see his son. However my other best friend Timara has stepped up and she has been dad. She lost custody of her first son, so I knew in the back of my mind she was nowhere near ready to start another family. But when I called Timara and all I could do was cry, she simply said, “Babe, no worries. Wipe your face, I’m here.” At that very time is when I knew no one else would love my son as much as her and I.

During surgery, I panicked and Timara sang to me to keep me calm. It was the Sponge Bob pizza song. I will never forget it. The doctors finally delivered my son, and Timara asked me his name (even though we had discussed it before) he then became OUR son. She has been a huge part of this Journey with no questions asked.

Them VS. You: I was raised by my mother and step-father. My mother was very strict and stern. Whatever she says was always a go. She never reasoned with me and my sisters and everything had to be done her way.

As I got older and began to express myself, my mother and I didn’t speak for months at a time because of my preference in dating. I was being raised by a “Christian” woman who thought homosexuality was the devil himself, so I hid it for a long time.

My dad on the other hand was more open and willing to see our side of things.

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Nasir will be raised by two moms, I will give him any information that he wants to know about same sex relationships. I’m sure that he will be curious as to why but I will let him know that no matter what he’s loved. I want him to know that love is love and he can be whoever he chooses to be. In the future he may not understand that he has two moms but I know that I’ll become an open book. I want to educate him on these type of relationships because not only are there more same sex couples out but that his mom is a part of that community and he will learn to have a level of respect for it.

In these times peers of his may already know things that he may not and I will definitely answer any questions and fill in his blanks.

In becoming a pre-school teacher, I have become a big disciplinarian but I have an open mind. I have learned patience and I’ve learned to be more lenient with how I do things. I’m also more creative so that when my son gets older, he’ll be able to come and talk to me about almost anything.

The Fearless Moment: I had been so overwhelmed and I fell into postpartum depression. My support was jacked up and Timara and I lived in two different states so it was a struggle parenting separately. Nasir had another crying spell and I called Timara on the phone and she played J.Cole through her speakers and Nas instantly knew who was on the line. Anytime he cried after that, I played J.Cole and everything was all good. He became a music baby and music has been our calm in the sleepless nights.

Support System: Nasir has a spirit so joyful. He has attracted so much love since the day he arrived. We finally moved to Delaware so that our family could all be in one place. My family has been supportive but the help and passion I get here couldn’t be greater. The Manson’s have taken us in as if we’ve always been a part of their family. Most times I barely have to lift a finger when we visit them. The love and support that we get from our families is amazing. Especially with her family.

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There is always a helping or a praying hand. I find so much strength in God first,
and faith. I am coming to understand why he has blessed me and I can’t thank him enough for my family. I stay grounded in my faith and with a higher power behind me, I can press forward. I never thought with all my doubts, that I’d have so many people who love him and want to help me raise him. He literally is a part of a village of 4 different families that have so much love to give him. I couldn’t imagine in all my years that the saying was true, “It takes a village to raise a
child.”

Final Thoughts: Being a Mom is one of the best things that happen to me. Even on my worst day when I feel like I’m alone, I’m reminded that I’m not. For those who feel like they are alone, pick up a phone, write an email because you never know who’s willing to be your shoulder to cry on. No one is ever alone in anything. Being a mom takes away that feeling and can erase any pain. The love I experience from him is nothing short of amazing and I couldn’t have asked God for anything better.

Nasir is teaching me so much about myself and also showing me how to evaluate those around me. If some ones spirit isn’t right, he’s not happy. He shows me true joy and happiness. He’s always smiling and being silly and it brings out the best in me.

Pregnancy Scare #14; Fearless Mom: Timara Manson

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Name: Timara Manson
Age: 25
Year you graduated high school: 2007
Year you found out you were pregnant: She found out she was pregnant in 2012
Number of children: 1

The Uh Oh Moment: We found out we were pregnant in 2012. I was with My ex-wife Camille. She carried our son.

I went in the bathroom and I guess she just peed on the stick and left it on the counter…and it was the plus signal. I was like, You pregnant. But I said it to myself in the bathroom like, She Pregnant. So I had to go back in there and be like, You pregnant. You was gonna wake me up and tell me you pregnant?! And she was like, “Babe I don’t know what you talking about; I just peed on the stick and put it on the counter.” So I told her to take another one because it could not be accurate because you’re not supposed to let them sit for too long.

So she peed on a stick again. I called my mom. I was so excited and so happy. I was floating around the house. It was great.

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The Mom Moment: I became a mom, to be exact, May 2013. My son was two weeks old and my wife had came downstairs, gave me a kiss on the forehead, and left out. I thought she was just going for a walk. I woke up the next morning and she still wasn’t home. I called her, her phone was off. I really thought something went wrong. And then I got an email.

An email basically saying she couldn’t do it, she couldn’t have this family, she couldn’t handle everything. She didn’t want to be a mom. She really did all this for me and she was going to go about her business.

I had to pack up my son from Philadelphia , call my mom and get a U-Haul. Tian, my best friend, came down with the U-Haul and we put him in the car seat. I was looking at him in the car seat. I had him bundled up. I kept saying to myself, How could you give birth to a child and just leave…just leave us…and all you gave me was an email. She disabled her email, her phone number, everything. She just let go of everything. This was my wife. And I just looked at him and said this is my son. He’s me. This is a reflection of me. This is my baby and I was gonna do everything I could for him.

Lyriq

***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

Father/Dad: Camille is a mother. She has always been a mother. Camille did not and does not want a child. She feels like our son is a responsibility and she [had the baby] for me. At the end of the day we are co-parenting; he is a responsibility to her and he is my child.

In the beginning, I thought everything was fine. She was my wife at the time. Camille cheated December 22nd, 2012. I packed my stuff Christmas Eve, and left my wife, and moved back to New York.

From that day forth, everything was a roller coaster. The pregnancy was fine. Us having the baby was fine because she was doing it naturally for me. But she was very unhappy. She thought the baby was going to be a healing for her bipolar, her PTSD, and her depression from her time in the military (while she was pregnant she didn’t take medication). But that wasn’t the purpose of having a child.

I told her to be positive but I just couldn’t make her happy. At this point Camille was still dealing with the dude she cheated on me with. She decided that she wanted to be with the both of us but I couldn’t accept the fact the she cheated on me while she was six months pregnant. We went through our ups and downs, but I was at every doctor’s appointment. Anything she needed to do we did it together because that was my baby, and she was my wife. I needed to make sure she was good regardless.

Them vs. You: I am my mom, my grandmother, and my godmother. I don’t tolerate the talk back, I don’t tolerate all that crying, we not about to go back and forth, I don’t want to even to hold your bottle when it comes down to it; I’m propping it up. I am my mother’s child down to the tee.

The only thing I would do different is I want to explain myself to my son. I need him to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, what’s the reasoning behind it, and this is the cause and effect for whatever’s happening. My mom listens to my sister and what she goes through. So I will be doing the same to my son. I want to hear his side of whatever he’s going through and not be judgmental. Like, really have an open mind. Yes he’s my son but he’s not an angel.

At the end of the day all I wanted was an explanation from my mom in order for me not to put my hand in the fire.

Fearful Moment: May 9th 2014. That’s his birthday. I was [in New York]. I woke up like regular. I was supposed to be driving down to Philly to see him. We were doing his birthday that Saturday. [Camille] wouldn’t answer her phone, she wouldn’t answer her text messages. I didn’t hear from her all day. I went through every emotion imaginable. I was angry. Then I was confused. Then I was…just sad. Then I was just trying to figure out what was happening. Finally, she wrote me a message saying, “You’re never gonna see your son again.” I wanted to go to Philly but I just didn’t know what to do.

Coming to the close of the day, I just broke down. I was hurt. My heart was broken. I just wanted to hold my son. I just wanted to hug him, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday. It was funny because I kept saying all day, I’m sleep. I’m gonna wake up, I’m gonna start the day, and everything is going to be fine. That’s it. I just wanted to be there. I just wanted to see him smile and play some Beyoncé for him.

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Fearless Moment: I used to play Beyonce CD 24/7; non-stop! [Aram] knew that song, any time…what’s the name of that song?! All night! We be all night. Drunk In Love! I played that album everywhere I went. You play that song and that baby be jumping and popping. He’ll pause and the beat drops, and he’ll jump on the couch. He watch for his boo. On T.V., on the phone, on the computer, Beyonce was his boo. He would go to sleep to that album. Everything was good.

Support System: My mom didn’t know [I was trying to get pregnant]. I just called her and told her.  I called her at 4:30 in the morning. I sent her the picture, she was happy.

[Camille’s] family…they were happy, but they wanted her to be with a man. They didn’t understand why she thought she could raise a baby, a son, a child, a SON with another woman. They said you NEED a man. You need a male figure in his life…he was going to be too soft.

She defended [us] at that time. She wouldn’t let her family disrespect me regardless. They could feel however they wanted to feel, she didn’t let them do it.

Shannise [Timara’s friend] was excited. She was GREAT. She was there through every step. [Shannise] has my back 100%.

Question: Does she encourage you to reach out to the mom or…

She let’s me handle it. Whatever I want to do, however I want to do, she let’s me.

Final Thoughts: You will always be a reflection on who raised you and the five closest people in your life. The five closest adults in your life.

There’s a whole lot of mothers out there trying to be mischievous and go after their baby dad for money or time. But you have great men out there that all they want to do is spend time with their child. And you won’t allow that; you want to take them to court and you want to fight them. Then they don’t want to be around you anymore.

For a mother who is going through things with her child’s father, you need to forgive. Period. It doesn’t matter what you guys been through, that child did not ask to be here. There’s no reason for you guys to be going back and forth, there’s no reason to be bitter. You need to forgive him, let go, so that he can be a better father for his child. Period. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but there’s no reason to go around the boat when you can forgive, let go, and let God do what he do.

For a father who hasn’t seen their child, it gets better overtime. If it’s meant for you to be there, it will happen. It hurts but it’s just something you gotta experience.

I find my strength in helping other people. Now I have the testimony and the knowledge to tell a father, an absent mother, or even another lesbian couple that this is what it is, this is what it feels like and no, it’s not easy. But you can get through this.

Those eyes have a story already!
Those eyes have a story already!

Continue reading “Pregnancy Scare #14; Fearless Mom: Timara Manson”

Her Responsibilty; MY Son.

Lyriq

Everybody is going to sit and tell you, “It’s okay. Baby you’ll get through this. It’s alright” But you do not know that pain.  It’s like my son is dead to me. You have to lose a child in order to know the pain I experienced. I couldn’t even sit on the train and hear a child cry. I would cry. Like that good, hiccup cry, I couldn’t even hear it. I would bust out in tears. I didn’t have faith in anything.

[But] when I rebuilt myself back up,  I got myself together, I said no. God got me. Everything happens for a reason. If I aint never been through the things I’ve been through, I would not be sitting here today.

FULL STORY COMING SOON!

What is your biggest fear for your child?

From Julia Olatunji, PSFM 5

My biggest fear is Trinity growing up in general. She will bump into major obstacles.

First thing is the opposite sex. I don’t want her to fill a space in her heart that her father left there in the opposite sex. I want her to be fully confident in the woman I’m raising her to be.

Second is her gender. I feel as though females are preyed upon. We are seen as sexual objects. The way this generation is going it seems as though it’s getting worse. I want her to feel empowered by who she is as a person, not by the way people see her physically.

Third is her race. As we all know the African American race is preyed upon and belittled. Even our own race is turning our backs on each other.

Lastly is education. The school system is not set up to prepare one for the real world. Yes we get our general education but they leave out what is most important to learn to live and sustain in this life. Learning financial responsibilities can be an elective; sex-ed can be an elective. Do they still teach home economics and shop class?

I know that in general I can lead her down the correct path in all of those points. The truth is, as a parent, eventually a child will stray. It is my responsibility to make sure she lives well in this life, but I would love for her to learn productivity with and from her peers.

Fresh to Diapers

“Don’t be goin’ outside lookin’ any ol’ way.”

When I had sense enough to dress myself, this was the constant warning I heard from my Grandmother. I mean, it was said to me every time I walked out of the house. She wouldn’t even take the time to see what I had on. I would shout to her from the door, “Okay Grandma, I’m leaving,” and she would loudly prompt, “Make sure you aint walkin’ out this house lookin’ any ol’ way!”

So I got brave enough to ask her why these were my explicit instructions before exiting my home. Surprisingly, without swinging on me, she clarified, “Because people know I raised you. And I don’t want them thinking I don’t take care of you.”

***MIND BLOWN***

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It made so much sense. This woman takes damn good care of me and it should show. But she raised me practically. We were by no means living like royalty, yet I wasn’t shopping out of the discount bin either.

Parents of today…I’m not judging. I am simply curious. Why does your infant-toddler have to be fresh to def from the womb? What is the purpose of J’s on a baby when they feet are not touching the floor for at least two years? Why go high-end in fashion when your child has no clue what these clothes are valued at? Is it because they are a fashion extension of you? Did you not have dolls to dress up when you were younger and this living being is your substitute?

Now if you have the mean$, I can understand. If you’re used to that lifestyle, then of course you would give nothing less to your offspring. But if YOU KNOW THE STRUGGLE, and you are living pay check to pay check, what is the benefit of sending your kindergartener to school looking like Diddy? Does it better their grades? Do they get an extra juice box from the little cutie in class? Does your daughter’s True Religions  help her sit still and get more out of her lessons?

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And you know when it’s ridiculous. The total price of a CHILD’s assemble should not be the same as a GROWN ADULT’S WITH A JOB…or maybe it should be. Please give me your two cents.

Pregnancy Scare #13; Fearless Mom: Shamirah

Shamirah

PSFM13

Age: 28
Year you graduated high school: 2005
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2009 and 2012
Number of children: 2

The Uh Oh Moment: I was working overnight maintenance at Walmart when I found out I was pregnant; I took a pregnancy test right off the shelf (shh, don’t tell anyone, lol), went in the bathroom, and to my surprise, it was positive. I told my really good friend whom I met while working there. She was way more excited than I was.

I did not want to be pregnant but the worst part is I did not want to be pregnant by my partner at the time; he was supposed to be a Mr. Right Now, not a Mr. Forever. Besides, we were only together for only 7 months when we conceived.

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My mom was so excited that she was telling people I was pregnant before I confirmed it. I got pregnant in February and my dad turned 60 in April. She told my whole family! I was upset because I wanted to get an abortion. How could I have gotten one at this point if she told everyone?! So I guess my mom saved my son’s life and I am now glad she did because my son is literally the best thing that happened to me.

The Mom Moment: To be honest, I was not going to keep the baby, I was thinking about getting an abortion. There was not a maternal bone in me; I was not ready to become a mom just yet. But November 25, 2009 was not waiting. The tears of joy filled my cheeks upon my first sight of him, a feeling that I have never felt before, a feeling that I seem to can’t find any other place.

***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad ***

Father/Dad: When we found out I was pregnant, my children’s dad and I had a good relationship. We went out often, rarely had arguments, and he knew my family. The only disagreement we had was the fact that he would not tell his children’s mother about me. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, it was confirmed that there was no sexual relations between them; what a relief!

He was not excited about the baby. He was nonchalant, pretending as though I was not prego. It took about 3-4 months for me to decide that I was going to keep the baby and he was trying to convince me that I was not ready for a baby. He was not telling me to get an abortion; however, he was not telling me to keep it.

When our son was first born, he was supportive and very hands-on. He ensured that Shakim had everything. He woke up in the middle of the night to feed him, would give him to me to nurse, and he made sure I had my pain meds (I had a C-section). He was a great dad and father…but the worse boyfriend ever!

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I thought our only problem was that he had not introduced me to his family, (he claimed that he told them about me…not good enough). It was a hot August day when my world came crashing down and I was outside with the girls from my block. They were so eager to tell me that my man was cheating with a girl from the projects; apparently she was going around bragging about having my man. So since that day, the relationship was strained. I was celibate my last 3 months of pregnancy, I was depressed and crying every day.  He was not supportive at all; it was the worse feeling in the world! And he kept cheating and lying.

Them vs. You: I parent somewhere in between how my parents raised me and my brother. My parents were total opposites.

My mom was mean as hell and my dad was an angel.

My dad did not yell, scream, or hit us. [He] made my mom stop beating us, except for if we fought each other, which was the rule.

My mom had a little wooden bat that she wrapped in black tape that she used to tear us up with. I remember my mom used to come up to the school with her bat to tear me up. Thank God she never had to use it. See I told the truth before we even got there so the teacher could get in trouble. Oh yes, my mom did not play that. The teachers got cursed out for not having discipline in place and were told not to call her because I was on their time

My children are 2 and 5, so they’re not even beating age, however I pop them when they get out of hand. I put them on time out most of the time though. My parents valued ensuring that we had a fun childhood and tried to shield us from the real world to a degree.

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Fearful Moment: The scariest moment as a parent was when my children’s father was incarcerated. I was in college and he was supporting us financially. I mean this man bought everything for the kids and he looked out for me too. I could have saved my money and spent his money on myself, but I chose not take advantage as he has other children to care for as well. Choosing to continue earning my degree with 3 semesters left over quitting school to find a job to support my minies was a tough decision. I chose to stay in school and allow public assistance to help me. It was so frustrating because they’re not supportive of individuals earning a bachelor’s degree; I had to do extra work to continue getting my benefits.FB_IMG_1434464505368

We never stop to think about how the choices we make will affect others, so this taught me to take every little decision as a big one because one never knows what’s going to happen. I had to make another decision on what I was going to tell my kids about the absence of their dad. I decided to tell the truth. I dreaded taking my children to see him in jail. My daughter does not even know him; she thinks my dad is her dad, although she calls him grandpa. My son misses him so much. Nothing helps me feeling bad that my children have to experience this. This is worse than all the cheating and lying he did to me. I just hope he sees now that everything he does affects the children. Hopefully he comes home and gets himself together, if not for himself, for his children. He’ll be home from doing 3 years in January 2016. I wonder what that will look like…I feel anxious and nervous about that.

Fearless Moment: Now that it is over, it was worth it because now I have a degree and a job that pays decent salary and great benefits. My children have everything they need and want. I had to depend more on my family for support with the kids and that caused friction in my home.

Support System: When I got pregnant, I had no friends, and that was why I was hanging out with the girls from my block.  My family on the other hand was excited, except my dad. My dad was happy that I was having a baby; however he was disappointed that I did not choose a better guy. My children’s father was what they call a ‘hood buggar’ lol. He hung out on the corners and knew everybody; he was not your typical family man.

Final thoughts: I want my kids to look back on their childhood and be able to say that their childhood ROCKED!! Now that I am a parent I learned that you can do something simple for your kids and it means the world to them. I say that to say, my parents made my childhood fun on a budget. I want upward mobility so I could take my children to places my parents could never afford to take me; like Disney World!! My parents have prepared me for parenthood.

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Like I said, there was not a maternal bone in my body until November 25, 2009. My IMG_20150322_143922maternal instinct kicked in spontaneously. I still don’t know where it came from. I am traditional and family oriented and I will carry those values on to my children. I will teach them honesty, loyalty, the value of an education, a righteous way of living, and eating the right foods. I will pass down those family values that were passed to me and continue being the great mom that I know I am.

Spare or Spoil?

It’s been a while beautiful people. Work has been crazy, and I’m cheating a little because I am prepping this very piece while on the clock. But our 13th story is in the works and a timeless subject has been brought up.

DISCIPLINE.

In the age of video phones and instant uploads making everything a must-capture moment, we need not do much accept type “bad” in YouTube’s search bar and be flooded with cursing tots, sagging teens, and the reckless transit antics of our youth.

The question I pose; how do we stop it at home? Parents cannot control their child’s EVERY action and influence, but they can instill and reinforce how they expect them to behave and conduct themselves outside of the home.

I received pops and beatings as a child. I’m not anymore prone to violence than the next educated, law-abiding citizen. Growing up, I learned there were consequences to my actions. If I didn’t want to get popped, I wouldn’t do the action I got popped for.

I do believe in teaching moments, but simply taking away a material object or a privilege doesn’t seem to work in this day and age. Kids just get their rocks of somewhere else. “I got caught cursing out my teacher, so my dad cut off my 4G. I’ll just make a video cursing the same teacher out over wi-fi so my friends KNOW it’s real in these streets.”

I ask you parents and caregivers, how should we discipline our kids to prevent Tom Foolery such as this:

Pregnancy Scare #12; Fearless Mom: Melissa Canselo

Name: Melissa Canselo (Mellocan)

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Age: 25
Year you graduated high school: 2009
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2010
Number of children: 1

The Uh Oh Moment: I will never forget this day! It was a spring morning, May 20 something. My son’s father & I had a strong suspicion I was pregnant, but obviously the test confirmed it all. I traveled all the way from Harlem to his house in Brooklyn to take the test. I wanted us to share that moment together; we were excited.

During the pregnancy we argued a lot! It was a tough time because we didn’t know each other as well as we should, so we bumped heads a little on certain views on parenting and what not. And it was a stressful situation because I was going to school full time and neither of us were employed.

The Mom Moment: For me it was all in the decision making. In other words when my mind was made the rest was a given to love and taking care of my baby. But if you want a more specific instance where I felt like a mom for the first time, it was probably when I started “nesting”. At 8 months pregnant, me and my family painted the room, put together the crib and baby changer, and arranged the stuffed animals… [we] just had everything for when the baby came home. I felt so ready for his arrival.

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***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad ***

Father/Dad: My son’s father & I have a healthy relationship. I would say in comparison to most young adults in our age group with children we do a great job at co-parenting, but that didn’t come easy at all! I had high expectations for Antonio as a father only because he showed a side of himself that convinced me he would be a good dad.

When my son got sick his father and I didn’t leave the hospital for a week. He risked losing his job with the police department. He was there every step of the way. He takes my son every weekend and I have him during the week. He picks him up and takes him to doctor appointments if necessary. He gives me money in hand and anything my son needs he gets it so we’ve been pretty successful in that way.

Overall he is a very good dad. He does his best to be fully involved and consistent. I feel that as a man he actually enjoys being a dad.

Them vs. You: I was raised by mom who is a Jehovah’s Witness so I try my best to stick closely to the moral values I received from the Bible as a child. I feel like spirituality is very important to give to your children and I am privileged to be able to pass that on to my son. He loves God.

It hurt my feelings when my mom would always nag me. It made feel like she didn’t see me as independent and responsible. It took a while for her to learn certain boundaries and to respect me as my own woman. But then it’s kind of difficult to do that when I live under her roof.

Surprisingly my father began to gravitate towards me once he found out I was having a baby. But before then he was usually nowhere to be found. You know, very in and out.

Fearful Moment: In April of 2014 my son suffered from these severe seizures. I thought I was going to lose him. It was very hard for me to cope with his illness. All praises to God he isn’t sick anymore! I learned a lot from that trying experience. I learned how strong children are and how much of a fighter my son is. I learned that God won’t give you something that you can’t handle; and with his help I handled it.

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Fearless Moment: My son is literally the tiny male version of me!! It astounds me sometimes. He is four and he already finishes my sentences. My favorite first was him standing up in the crib, using the potty, and first day of school.

It just made me cherish and appreciate all the blessings that come with being a parent. There are no perfect situations, and there will be hard times, but giving it your all and seeing those little smiles and hearing those little laughs makes it all worth it.

I had to realize that every time my son tells me he loves me, kisses me, hugs me, I must be doing something right.

Support System: Well my closest friend moved away to DR last year. We were trying to keep in touch via email; I would write and send pics from time to time. I haven’t spoken to her in months though….She was very concerned and worried, and she had every reason to be. However her concerns and worries didn’t get in the way of her showing me love and support.

My mom always tells me that I do a better job with my son than she did with me and my siblings. But I don’t agree with that, I wish I was half the mom my mother was.

Final thoughts: At times I felt like the worse mother on earth. I find my strength in God and my mother and all the other mothers who struggle and do their best to provide for their children.

My son saved my life.
MY SON SAVED MY LIFE.

I was young and carefree, living life recklessly, going down a destructive path. When I brought a life into this world, it was no longer about me. That forced me to start thinking ahead and wanting better for myself; to be a better ME in general so that I could be the best mom for my son. I just hope that when he is 25 years old he can look back and say that his mommy was a great mommy. Nothing would make me happier!