Archive for the ‘Mother’ Category

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Family Time at the State Fair of Texas

October 19, 2011

It is that time of year–FAIR TIME!!!  The State Fair of Texas is up and running until Sunday, October 23 and my family made our annual trek to partake in the festivities last weekend.  Since I have moved to Texas, this has been an annual event for our family.  We round-up as many discount tickets as we can get our hands on; load up the Tahoe with as many kids as will fit, empty the bank account (LITERALLY!); and eat and ride until we run out of money or fall out from exhaustion; whichever comes first!

This year we went with our neighbor’s family and had a great time!  The adults ate until we almost burst and the kids rode a million rides and spent enough money on games to purchase a Mercedes…nonetheless, when we all piled back into our car, content with our State Fair experience!

 

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Family time is a VERY important to fostering a loving environment in which to raise children.  The SO & myself never discussed what traditions we wanted to establish with our family unit, but this was the first one to evolve.  Every year, it becomes more important to me that we do this; because as the children grow older and choose to spend less time with us, we have to commit to doing certain activities as a family unit in order to impress upon them the importance of family.  What family traditions do you have and what do they represent for your unit?  Leave a comment below! 
 
 
 
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The Non-Traditional Parent (A Journey in Step-Parenting)

October 7, 2011

I have been told that “being a parent is more than just a notion”. That statement has been so true in parenting my biological child (theGirl). Since becoming engaged to a man who is the father of 3 (theBabyBoy, theMiddleChild, and theTeenager); I have amended that statement in the following manner:

“Being a parent is more than just a notion; being a step-parent is all about devotion”

So, I know you are scratching your head (what the heck does that mean???). Well here it is:

Parenting your biological child offers you a lot of room for experimentation and failure. Experimentation; because your child is a blank slate onto which you inscribe the morals, values, and other necessary life information (i.e. no instruction manual included!). Failures; because the only other person you may have to answer to is the father. When parenting a step-child experimentation and failure room is extremely limited. This child comes to you already instilled with these characteristics and philosophies (some of which you may or may not agree with!) AND you are accountable for your actions to both their father and their mother (the instruction manual comes with this child!).

So how do you parent a child, who comes into your life bringing a bag full of “we don’t do it this way at my mama’s house” and a side of “you ain’t my mama”? Through a firm devotion to patience (for the child and the mother) and consistency (with the child). We would all wish that step-parenting was as easy as Jada, Will and Sheree (Wife, Husband and Ex/Mother) make it look but the reality of the matter is, that MOST of us deal with the exact opposite situation (Wife, Husband and Ex/Baby Mama) And there is a difference between a “Mother” and “Baby Mama” (that is a whole other article!!!)

Over the past 2.5 years that I have been in the lives of my SO’s sons, my step parenting went something like this:

OK (initial meeting) to…

GOOD (honeymoon period; everybody getting to know each other) to…

BAD (the kids began testing their boundaries with me and me not wanting to discipline because I didn’t want to seem like a b#tch—Ex interjects personal issues into the parenting equation) to…

HORRIBLE (me and the kids are now consistently battling with the SO in the middle to choose sides—constant tension in the household) to…

WORST (me and SO debating whether this relationship will work because of the strained relationship with the boys—personal issues have now come to a head with myself, the SO and the Ex) to…

BETTER (me realizing that I need to stop trying to change/erase what they have already learned and had instilled in them; and instead start ADDING to that knowledge base) to…

CONTINUALLY IMPROVING (the tension between myself and the boys is pretty much non-existent and I make it my business to spend more time learning about THEM; I have completely disengaged myself from the Ex as I realize that any engagement with her will always be about personal issues and not the kids and I am about the KIDS)

I had to realize that:

  • I cannot expect my step-children to instantly adapt to me, my morals and values, and my expectations because they have not been with me since birth.
  • I should not judge or try to change the way they were raised—just appreciate that it is different from my parenting.
  • I cannot FORCE myself and my way of life on them (although I think my way is 99.99% the right way!!!). Although they are little and still developing, they have definite opinions about certain things and you must respect that if you want them to respect you and your opinions.

Step-parenting has been and continues to be a journey for me and there is no one way to navigate through it. However, one thing is for sure, if you are devoted to building a positive relationship with those kids; being consistent in your actions and words and being patient in waiting for results are the keys to smoothing out some of those rough patches of the journey!

Are you a step-parent…do you have any tips to share with us “newbies”? Share them in the comments section below!

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Going Natural in Midlife—Now That’s a Crisis!

September 23, 2011

I chose to go natural in July of 2008 in preparation for my move to Dallas, Texas.  At the time I was sporting a cute short haircut with relaxed hair.   At the time, in Cleveland, Ohio; natural hair WAS NOT the move and anyone with natural hair was an oddity!  Additionally, I was becoming disenchanted with the whole “getting your hair done” routine (for a multitude of reasons!) and I decided that when I moved to Texas I was just going to cut my hair off and wear it “short & curly”.  I was “over” the following circumstances that come with getting your hair done:

Summer 2008

    paying the stylist ($75 w/o the tip!!) to allow me to sit in the shop from 8a-5p; while I watch/wait for 7 other people get their hair done

  • paying the stylist to quadruple book the first appointment slot with me and 3 other ladies and for the stylist to arrive 2 hours late
  • having to add-on an extra $20 to my bill for the babysitter I must have in order for me to sit in the shop ALL DAY
  • having 2 inches of hair, yet it takes the stylist 4-5 hours to wash, condition, wrap, and curl my hair

the stylist looking for a tip after all that!

I had decided that I would not search for a new stylist in Texas because I thought it would be a waste of money to get my hair done in the Texas heat; I did not feel like trying to find a reputable, reasonable and professional stylist, and I liked my “short & curly” look. So right before I moved, I went to the Barber Shop and requested that he shave me down to brush waves (CHILL—I was nearly bald-headed already with my short relaxed haircut!) and thus started my natural hair journey (however, at the time I was clueless about the “natural hair community”!!!)

Fall 2008

After moving to Texas, I discovered the natural hair community on YouTube with my initial encounter being meganjerae’s natural hair journey.  Then I saw that soooo many women in the DFW area were natural.  I am talkin’ big-afro-bantu-knotted-twisted-out-‘til-you-shout NATURAL!  That made me buy the farm on continuing on my hair natural hair journey and started my goal of growing long natural hair.

December 2008

All of my female relatives have voiced their desire to “go natural in their older years”, but none of them have made the leap.  When they first saw me with my teeny weeny afro (TWA) their reaction was less than endearing, but as my hair has progressed, they are warming up to beauty of hair in its natural state.  Even my mother, who swears by a relaxer and flat-iron, likes my 2-strand twist (go figure???)

Summer 2009

So I share this story to say that my reasons for going natural where strictly out of laziness, frustration and quite frankly by accident.  I am not a vegan or “save the world” type chick, nor do I confine myself strictly to the usage of “natural” products.  However, I am beginning to understand the importance of using “natural” products for purposes of retaining hair length.  Would I advise women to go natural in Midlife?  ABSOLUTELY!  During this time of your life is when most women will see a decrease or halt in monthly hair growth or may even begin to lose hair.  I believe African-American hair is the healthiest in its natural state.  Hair growth is faster and more consistent; if you take proper care of your hair you will have little to no damage (i.e. no split ends or ends clipping required!); and believe or not; there are a lot of styling options. 

Summer 2011

Taking care of natural hair is time-consuming, but no more time-consuming than the amount of time you spend doing “charity work” (i.e. going to pick up your stylist’s lunch and kids!!!) at the hair salon!!!  At the end of the day hair styling is a personal choice and do what makes YOU happy because I am definitely doing what makes me happy…MY NATURAL HAIR!!!!

Are you a natural Middy?  Share your story and comments here….

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Operation PTA: 8 Reasons To Accept This Mission

September 13, 2011

Mission Background

As parents we scream how we want the best education possible for our children.  Yet when we get the opportunity, we allow our children to violate the dress code (heck, we show up at the school in headwraps, PJ’s and slippers; so why should the school be surprised by our child’s attire!)  We send them to school lacking basic manners; and with no concept of respect or fear of authority. We refused to make our presence known at our child’s school until he or she gets in trouble.  Then we go to the school to turn it out on behalf of our unruly (and dead wrong) child.  We fail to foster a relationship with our child’s teacher; we fail to support/enforce identified disciplinary concerns; and we fail to support our children by assisting them with and checking their homework daily (then you want to go up there, act surprised and raise sand about your child failing???)  How can we request the best yet we are unwilling to do the work to support the high standards; when our child gets the opportunity to attend a good school?  

So you say….what is she talking about? (wait for it…)Your mission, if you should choose to accept it: Join the PTA!

The Mission: #1 Operation PTA

LIFE IS A GAME.  In order to rise to the top; you MUST play the game. We as black people try so hard to NOT play, try to change the rules of the game to accommodate our laziness or ineptness , or try to create our own game…newsflash…it’s not your game to change or reinvent—LEARN TO PLAY THIS GAME!  Here are 8 benefits of accepting this mission

1. Say My Name, Say My Name: The school faculty and staff will know who (insert your child’s name here) mama is.  Your child immediately goes to the top of the list in their heads when opportunities reveal themselves

2. The Village Will Do Its Part: Faculty and staff will always make sure your child is behaving appropriately and if not, may go the extra mile to stave off trouble, because they know you and can depend on you to come up there and inject a dose of “act right”

3. Connections Now = Opportunities Later: This gives you an opportunity to network with other concerned (opportunity seeking) parents who will gladly share their connections as long as you are “in the circle”

4. Benefits of Reconnaissance: Gives you the chance to do some “information gathering” on the happenings (gossip) at the school.  Because it is a parent-teacher organization, the teachers attend and participate.  This gives you an opportunity to network and get the good, bad and ugly on teachers and classroom performance (important parent information for next school year).

5. Don’t Make Me Call Your Mama: Your presence will be felt by your child.  Everyone knows who (insert your child’s name here) mama is, so your child KNOWS everyone knows their name and they know if they get out of line, someone will call you!

6. Learn a Life Lesson: PTA is like life.  You must be in the know, you must know who to know, and you must be able to use what you know. Being involved in PTA is not about being “phony” or acting “proper”.  It is about getting the best bang for your buck (tax or tuition dollars!) for your child from this experience.    

7. One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Whole Bunch: You will get to know the parents and their kids.  Remember the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  You will better equipped to determine whether your child should be hanging out with certain “elements”.  Teachers and other parents know which kids have “reputations that precede them” (eyebrow raised and lips twisted all the way up!!!!)

8.  Lead by Example: Volunteerism by us working folks is severely lacking in the African American community.  We say we are too busy taking care of ourselves & our families.   What better reason to volunteer than knowing your child will directly receive the benefits of your efforts?  Not to mention you are setting an example of the importance of giving back, to your child.  

I challenge everyone reading this article to make it your business to just pay the membership fee and vote this year, then maybe next year volunteer to assist on a project, then the following year, Chair a Committee…baby steps!  If Nothing else motivates you, look at your child’s face and know that they will not make it in this world if they are not educate and their successful education depends on you.  Will you be doing your part next school year…let me know!  

My Pride, Joy & Motivation

My Pride, Joy & Motivation