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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Parent and Dating #1

Me & Mine + Them = X(?)

Describe your perfect date: A perfect date would be simple. Dinner, movie, a few drinks. Enough to relax and enjoy myself. I just want an adult conversation and laughs.

I’ve learned one of the hardest things to do while your children are young is dating. I’m a single mother of 3 boys, ages 7, 5, and 4. They are my life!

The Three Stooges

I work full time, come home to do homework with them, cook, clean, and make sure they are showered all before bed. In between that I gotta spend quality of time with each of them. I’m exhausted by the time they get in bed so having to fit dating in there is difficult. All the late night calls/texts get harder when you are tired.

What are some of the red flags that says, “Don’t bring him around my kids”: If he never has his kids or never talks about them.

What if he doesn’t have kids: If he’s aggressive or gets mad/annoyed easily he won’t be able to tolerate kids. I need someone who’s patient, who’s going to be willing to show my boys new things especially how to treat a woman, be a positive influence in their lives, and just be willing to spend quality time with them.

On your days off you have to find a sitter just so you could have a date (while at the same time feeling guilty for not spending time with your children). Sometimes I feel it’s just easier to forget dating and just focus on your kids. But at the same time when they go to sleep, you are all alone, no one to talk to about your day, no one to hold you when you’re having a bad day and no one to be there just for you.

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“I need someone who’s patient, who’s going to be willing to show my boys new things, especially how to treat a woman….”

So do you take a leap of faith and try and trust someone again? Do you take those extra steps to make time for someone else? All that goes through my head when I decide to talk to someone. Always questioning if they are going to understand how hard it is for [me] daily. That plans could be ruined at any time for a sick child or no babysitter.

I don’t want all the extra stress. I already have enough being a single mother. I just want someone there for me. To love me the way I deserve. To be the missing piece to my little family.

Will I ever find that piece?

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.

Savage(s)!

Hurt. Disgusted. Sickened. Baffled. Ashamed. Appalled. Hurt. On the brink of tears.

I woke up and turned on the news. Bad mistake. Two cops shot in Ferguson, one cop shot in NYC. So I turned and took to social media for some morning humor.

Came across a NY Daily News headline for March 12, 2015.

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SAVAGE! A picture of young African American girls with the longest headline in history and the most eye-catching word is SAVAGE!. They labeled these girls’ (actions) savage.

Quick back story. High school girls have beef. It escalated and exploded in a McDonald’s in Brooklyn. But, because we are in Generation Punk-Ass, they did not shoot a fair one. It was one girl against five and she held her own for as long as possible. She was taken down and badly injured after. Once it was clear she was down, she was still kicked and berated. And the other students…filming until they have enough footage to get likes and hits. Only one adult stepped in when it was too late. Cops were called twice within six minutes but showed up after the fight was over.

Fuck you New York Daily News. There is plenty of blood on cops hands. Men and women fatally shot because a trained individual was scared. In the aforementioned news reports, they did not release the name of the cops as the investigation is ongoing. They’re handling it very delicately. That blue line must be a blessing. Cops associated with unjust killings get to RESIGN with benefits or are suspended with pay. YET LET’S PASTE THESE GIRLS ON THE FRONT OF A CITY-WIDE NEWSPAPER AND LABEL THEM SAVAGES.

Grant it, the story’s goal is to point out that we live in an age where people would rather film than help. That’s disgusting. And I know they did not DIRECTLY call the girls savage, but instead was highlighting their violence and the audience’s indulgence/encouragement; but the juxtaposition is painfully obvious. Law enforcement, those who have the tag line of, “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect“, are the POSTER CHILDREN for corruption. They wrote the book on how to get away with murder. Rural kids riot over pumpkins. Yet we are savage.

NYPD slogan

Those girls should not have been fighting. Their parents should be held accountable. The (lack of) action of the bystanders is incredibly insulting to the credibility of the human race. But many other adjectives could have been used on this front page story. Tragic. Unfortunate. Sad. Horrible. But you choose “Savage”. You choose a word which has been used to insult people of color by many generations. You choose to use a word that equates us to wild animals. Please believe, there is a long history of savagery and it doesn’t start with us; but almost always ends with us losing….

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Just My Two Cents

Jane Smith, PSFM #7 asks

Views on abortion; do you think it is okay in any or certain circumstances (ex: rape or incest or extreme physical harm/danger to a mother)? Why do you think this? 

First and foremost, I have always taken the stance of, it’s a woman’s body; she chooses what she wants to do with it.

I love the Lord. I believe in God, I believe in life. But there are unforeseen circumstances. Who am I to tell a rape victim that she HAS to have this baby because it’s a LIFE she did not agree to conceive? Who am I to tell a woman, no matter how promiscuous she may be, she HAS to have this child, even if she is not financially, emotionally, nor mentally stable enough to nurture a completely dependent human being? Why would I tell another human being that they are OBLIGATED to prematurely sacrifice their body and complicate their health because it’s the “proper” or “righteous” thing to do.

We are taught from day 1 that there are consequences to our actions. And then we learn that some actions against us are out of our control (including condoms popping). But I truly believe one of our greatest gifts is choice! Choose what’s right for you! The minute we force or guilt anyone into a decision, we are creating a hostile environment, which in the case of raising children, will only begin or perpetuate a dangerous cycle.

Why not adoption though? One can still birth the baby but not have to raise it?

True indeed. But I would encourage that only if the woman is willing to go through the 9 months of pregnancy. Some women may not be ready to see their bodies drastically change. Some may not be ready for the hormonal swings that come with it. Some may not be able afford the medical expenses of the check ups. I’ve also heard that some women get attached to the baby after a while, decide to keep it based off of emotions, and then regret it later.
But if they can mentally, physically, and financially carry the baby, I would encourage adoption.

It Takes A Village

My sister’s father (God rest his soul) told me a long time ago that he has eyes everywhere and people know who I am in relation to him. I shrugged it off. Surely enough, days later, he was able to tell me what park I was in, around what time, and which direction I went when I left. TRUE STORY.

I don’t just hold young, naive, ignorant parents accountable; I don’t just put the weight on the single parent who refuses to mature and realize the gravity of raising a child;

but it’s on the family as well. I watch the young, dumb uncle around the children and the discovered independence of the young aunt. I understand, it was your sibling’s choice to have a child and you do not have DIRECT responsibility for them. But if you have to/ choose to be around them, you need to watch your actions. A child between the ages of 3 and 9 should not

  • know the words to IDFWU
  • know how to use the N word
  • should not know how to gyrate a damn thing
  • scream Worldstar when anything ratchet happens
  • should not be aware of what ratchet happenings are
  • should not be able to curse around you, but not AT you,

and the list goes on.

I know it is common for children to grow up in imperfect households, but it is common sense not to bring adult habits around young children. If Big Sis needs you to watch Jr. while she is out providing, your weed head friends cannot come over that day. Aunt J shouldn’t be watching fight videos or twerk tutorials with Little Missy in her lap while Dad is doing a double. It’s all cute and viral until you have an open ACS/CPS case because your child’s teacher has been cursed at all week and all you can do is say, “I know. He does the same thing at home. That’s just him.” No. It’s just YOU, doing just enough, to just get by.

Poverty, absent parents, lack of resources; these are just some of the things that cause some of our youth to grow up too fast. But filters are not just for coffee and Instagram. Teaching starts in the home. We need to teach our children age appropriate behavior so they know when to avoid something that will mar their character before they have the chance to create it themselves. We can’t protect them from the world, but we can still put a shield in their hand. And every person of influence in the child’s life should be on the same page on how that child is to be raised.

If I hear your 2nd grader talking about popping bottles, or popping off on someone, I just might pop them in their mouth. We need children to be children for as long as possible. And it still takes a village to raise a child.

P.S. #10; Kimberly Fobbs

I was nervous during both pregnancies. Both times I was nervous because this is another life that solely depends on you. These little people are the only people to hear your heart beat from the inside and love you unconditionally; no matter your flaws or how others feel about you, you will always be your child’s hero as long as you do what you’re supposed to do.

Kimberly

FULL STORY COMING SOON!

No Mirror

I can’t tell if I’m repeating the sins of my father because I’ve never seen his sins in person. I wonder how differently I would have turned out with his influence? Do I have the will in me to leave something I care about behind? Is abandonment embedded in my DNA? Is it a dormant beast waiting to be unleashed? Or have I already beaten these sane-less urges. Twenty-seven years in and I haven’t left too many shattered hearts behind. And those I might have, I know for a fact have mended. 

Would he have held me back from my potential if he was around? Or is he holding me back by not being here? I usually take his absence as encouragement to be better than the thing that was never there. I’m essentially working with a clean slate; a blank sheet for my own blueprint. But still, a slight muse would have been amusing.

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