Monday, October 3, 2016

MOMMIEKNOWSFRESH: THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL...


It's tough being a parent.  You're torn between wanting to hold on to your children for dear life, and knowing deep down inside that you have to let them go.  And while I don't consider myself to be a helicopter parent, I might have a little problem giving my kid the space she needs to grow.  Maybe I'm like a Ninja parent, I give my kid space, but I'm in the shadows ready with that can of “Whup Ass” if necessary.  So when it was time for her to start school let’s just say I wasn't ready, okay I was nervous as hell.  Like full on panic attack mode burst into tears at any moment nervous.  I had to give myself a pep talk like "c’mon son, you grew up in Harlem, in the 80's, during the crack era, you are tougher than this!!!" 

It's crazy what the love of a child does to your heart.  It fills it so much you think it's going to burst, It's like a full on Fred Sanford clutching your chest heart attack every damn day,  but it's also the most wonderful experience you will ever have, and yes I know how crazy that sounds, but it's the truth.

I blame time. Yes, the actual minutes, hours, seconds of our lives, because they go from crawling, to walking, to talking, and running and running and runn...you get what I mean, in a blink.  It's so fast, and yes I know it's a necessary part of life, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it…

So as we walked up to her school, me holding my tears, her holding my hand, I was reminded of all the times I was nervous about her doing something for the first time.  The first time she rode her bike, the first time she went swimming, and do you know what I realized? It always works out.  I'm over here about to go into a full on wall side in her school hallway, and she's playing patty cake with her new classmates.  She’ll be okay, and I will be too.


Right?



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Friday, June 17, 2016

MOMMIEKNOWSFRESH: Why I stopped celebrating my Mother on Father's Day


I used to be one of those people who celebrated their mother on Father's Day.  I had convinced myself that she was both mother and father, a role that deserved two holidays.  Sometimes I got her flowers or if I got lucky a card that said "Happy Father's Day Mom", you see even Hallmark was cashing in on absentee dads. 

My single mother story is the same one you've heard before with just a different cast of characters.  And with my dad not being around bitterness grew in my spirit, which translated to anger in a child too young to understand their emotions.  For years I was pissed at my dad for not being there.  His halfhearted attempts at reconciliation during my teenage years just added fuel to an already large fire, and I told myself that I was done.

Because you see in my mother I had everything that I needed, a strict disciplinarian well versed in the school of " I don't play that" and a loving matriarch who stressed the importance of family.  What I was missing in a father, I had in a mother.  I grew up strong, loved, and complete.
And as I got older the anger I felt for my father dissipated.  I realized that though I missed having him in my life, I didn't miss out on life.  And my mother well she is just everything, she is strong, kind, loving, thoughtful, in my eyes she is larger than life, my angel here on earth, but the one thing she is not is my father.  Eventually I forgave him because we often forget that our parents are human beings who while guiding our way are also finding theirs.

So I stopped celebrating my mother on Father's Day.  Not because I felt she wasn't deserving of the accolades (because she is), but because in celebrating my mom on a day meant for dads I was celebrating a bitterness that I didn't feel anymore.  She doesn't have to be both my mother and father, as my mother she is more than enough.

When I finally reconciled with my dad we were inseparable, almost as if time had made him the father that I always wanted, an encourager, a supporter, an awesome dad.  When he passed away suddenly a few years ago those Father's Days that we did have together meant so much more.

So on Mother's Day I shout it from the rooftops "Ain't nobody better than my mama" her sacrifice, her love, I would write it in the sky if I could.  And I'll save Father's Day for all the amazing dads out there, and the memory of my own.





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Thursday, May 12, 2016

MOMMIEKNOWSFRESH: AND THEN THERE WAS 4...



Dear Heart,

Every year on your birthday I write my promises to you for the upcoming year.  I can't believe that you're four years old now!  In my mind you were just born, yet you show me every day just how much of a "Big girl" you're  becoming.  You inspire me so much my sweet daughter, and this year is no different.  Well I'm fibbing (remember what I said about fibbing....all the nopes) instead of writing my promises to you, I wanted to share four things I like about you instead.  Let me explain:  I LOVE EVERYTHING SINGLE THING ABOUT YOU, but I also LIKE so many things about you too.  Those things are so important because as your personality grows you show me glimpses of the women you will become, and she's awesome.  Though you can tell by my teary eyed reaction to every milestone,  I'm in no rush to meet her just yet (slow down please, ugh)   And though my list is a mile long, Here's four things I like about you on your fourth birthday:

You're really funny

When you're grown and pursuing one of your many talents in the world I will be taking full credit for your sense of humor, because you are really funny.  There have been times when I'm trying to be serious mommy and I can't keep a straight face.  You continuously crack me up with your silly dance moves and infectious laughter, which can only be described as a cross between a giggly kid and a witch’s cackle. Never change.

You're determined

Oh my strong willed, sometimes stubborn, never take no for an answer child.  You have taught me another level of patience, lol.  I admire your persistence (just not at bedtime) and I know that whatever you want to accomplish in life you will. Know what else I know?  That your dad and I will be right by your side every step of the way.


You're sweet

Even at this young age you are so in tune with your emotions and the emotions of others.  Always asking how I’m feeling, hugging me when I’m under the weather, or just to show you care, these are the moments that make the best memories.  Like when I yell “cuddle time” and you jump into my arms, or when you pause your playing to tell me “I love you”, it always seems to come just when I need it.   Never forget that kindness is not weakness, it’s the way we show the important people in our lives that we love them.


You're brave

Now this is a tricky one to explain, how is a four year old brave?  Well as your mommy it's my job to observe you, and I see you do things that I know take you away from your comfort zone. Though you can be shy at times, you don't let that stop you from making friends, having fun, or trying something new.  Mommy is waaaay older than four and sometimes even I don't always do that.  Though you are still small, I want you to live fearless (safe, but fearless), continue to step out of that comfort zone, because that’s where you’ll find greatness.

I LOVE YOU

Mom


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

MOMMIEKNOWSFRESH: WHERE'S THE LOVE?






January 1st is a day notoriously filled with optimism.  People everywhere are waking up with declarations to be better versions of themselves, myself included.  One of the ways I do this is by making a vision board, which is basically a collage of images and words that reflect my personal goals.  I like to think of it as my visual plan for the upcoming year, but this time around I just couldn't get into it.  I had the board, optimistic clippings, and self-sticking tape. I was all set and ready to go.  Then something hit me, the reason I couldn't get into it was because these things represented what I wanted, not what I needed.  Let me explain.

A long time ago I had made it up in my mind that I needed to be some sort of "super mom" who juggled work and family while making Pinterest worthy meals every night with not a hair out of place.  Needless to say this was exhausting to keep up. This "super mom" ideal was taking a toll on my spirit, but I didn't know it yet.  I was sluggish, irritable, and emotional.  I thought I was just tired from trying to juggle all the balls in my life.  But I was dropping the most important ball of all, the one that belonged to me.

Somewhere along the line I forgot about caring for myself.  It's almost like I traded love of self for the love of my daughter, and I was miserable.  You read so many things that tell you that parenting is all about being selfless, but at what cost? I had become the haggard tired mother that I always joked about and I only had myself to blame.  My toddler never asked me to focus only on her, the only things she asks me for is cupcakes and to buy her more songs on iTunes.

The one question I get asked the most is “What’s it like being a parent?”  Let’s see…it’s like your sleeping and someone splashes ice cold water on you.  It’s a jarring splash of reality, a rebirth in a sense.  You are instantly aware of everything, and the love you have for this teeny tiny human being is enormous.  So enormous that you may inadvertently put yourself "on hold" so to speak, to become the type of parent you think they need.  You know the kind of parent they need? One who not only loves them unconditionally, but also loves themselves the same way. I was completely immersed in every aspect of motherhood and don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully bright, but this newfound role came with a rollercoaster of emotions.

I was blessed but I was also stressed, and as the popular quote says the two cannot coexist. Then it came to me, in order to be a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, I had to take care of myself first.  So I stopped complaining about not having any time and I made time: to meditate, to read a book, to basically do whatever the hell I wanted and you know what? It felt good. 

We hear the term "Self-Care" so often, but how many of us are really taking care of ourselves the way that we should?  It's so easy to get caught up; I've got a stack of unread magazines that prove this point whole heartedly, but I find that even taking a little time, ten minutes even, makes a big difference in my overall wellness.

Being a parent is the most AMAZING thing that has ever happened to me, it's also a tough ass job that requires me to be the best version of myself, to love myself first.  So when I revisited my vision board I included only one word: Love.  Because when you love yourself, everything else just falls into place.




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