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?

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This Is NOT An Attack On Momma Bey

 

And I know this disclaimer won’t be enough for some of the Beyhive, but I need you to know, her IMAGE, her immediate look was simply the catalyst for this. NOT her personality, NOT her personal morals and values, NOT her assumed motherhood and/or womanhood.

I saw, I thought, I wrote. So let us begin.

The 2016 VMAs had a lot of ups and downs for us 80s babies. We saw too many people we don’t know, and we saw too many people we know cater to the demographic we kind of know. But what do we know?! Are we not doing the same thing our parents did when Juvenile took over for the nine-nine and the 2000 (you assumed the twerking stance, didn’t you?!)

But like many of all ages, I was holding out for a diva and a queen. And neither of them let me down. Beyonce took the stage in all of her glory. She brought a world tour caliber performance to basic cable (you remember the black box days).

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And I LOVED that. But what caught my attention was who was with her on the red carpet and the correlation of her performance.

Beyonce Knowles rolled in with Blue Ivy, both of them decked out in couture. When the lights went down and the smoked cleared, I was giddy with anticipation. Beyonce, beyonced all over that stage. Pyro, dancers, lights, using the entire space, it was a marvel! But then I saw something peculiar.

For more than 30 seconds, Beyonce used the camera to do this…

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I’m not saying this woman has not always embraced her sexuality, but the most we’ve seen her expose is this…

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After all was sung and done, I wondered, Wasn’t her daughter at the show? Was she watching this in the green room?

Yes, Beyonce is a performer. Yes, this was just a performance. Yes, it’s about costume and props. Yes, raunchier has been seen and done. And yes, Blue Ivy was probably whisked away with the nanny after paparazzi had their fill. But Beyonce sheds more as she gets older (which is usually hand and hand with wiser and maturer)? If not Blue, one of her friends can look up the Queen and say, “Hey, I know what your mom’s cheeks look like.”

My question; where does the buck stop? I am all for women, no matter what’s added to their title, being able to express who they are. But in the age of accessibility, most of us are in agreement for shielding our children from inappropriate content before they can comprehend it. So why throw ass cheeks in the camera that your daughter can see with a click of the mouse? And again, this is on the assumption that Blue Ivy could have been there watching this as opposed to an exclusive tour show where she would be no where near.

If your daughter wants to do the same at an too-early age, how are you going to combat that?

A mother can be sexy, but is there such a thing as being too sexy once you’re a mom? Does motherhood equal conservative/restriction? Does celebrity give a new definition to motherhood? Has social media affected the image of motherhood? At the end of the day, HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO VIEW YOU AS A MOM and what will you do to ensure that?

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.

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

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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:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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“Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (her children)…brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, ‘My baby, my baby,’ over and over again. ‘My baby, and oh, oh, at my breast, the little hands, the hunger, and that unspeakable agonizing pleasure! Till at last my baby sleeps, my baby sleeps with a bubble of white milk at the corner of his mouth. My little baby sleeps…'”