All Articles Tagged "family"
We all wish we were SuperMom, but that goal seems so far beyond reach at times. We’re sharing one mom, Brandi of MamaKnowsItAll.com, story as she realized just how accessible the title of SuperMom could be.
This year has been incredibly hectic for me, both personally and professionally. First I got a new job, then I got engaged, and after that I got married. Of course, with all of that came lots of work, travel, wedding planning, and everything else that comes along with impending nuptials and a career advancement. The one constant in all of that was my Ayva. My little girl is seriously amazing. She is so flexible and open to new experiences, and even when I feel like I’m not being the best mom, she still thinks I’m the greatest.
It’s because of Ayva’s confidence in my mothering abilities that I made a commitment to being a better mom. I beat myself up pretty bad, y’all, over my parenting deficiencies. I wanted to be that mom that baked delicious treats, and always engaged my little one with crafts. The truth is, I’m always so exhausted, and the thought of being SuperMom seemed daunting. Ayva deserves a SuperMom, though, so I’ve been making a few adjustments that are helping me to be able to give her more attention, and create more meaningful interactions with her. Really, with just a few simple changes and intentional additions to our routine, I’m becoming a better mom every day in 20 minutes or less.
Make being a mom a priority.
So, what did I do? The main thing was to make being a mom a priority. It’s true, I have my shows that I like to veg out to. All of “The Real Housewives,” as well as anything reality based that I can indulge my voyeur tendencies on. Well, some of those had to go. I needed more rest in order to have more energy during the day when Ayva was awake and needed me. I also started saying no to non-essential travel that would take me away from her, and declining opportunities that would decrease the time we could spend together.
Be realistic about the time that being a better mom takes.
The greatest lesson I learned, though, was to to be realistic about the time that being a better mom actually took. For example, a few months ago, Ayva went to a friend’s house for a playdate. While she was there, the mom made muffins. Of course, the next day Ayva came home and asked for muffins. My first reaction was, “I don’t know if we have time, Ayva.” Then I pulled up a muffin recipe and realized that it’d take me about five minutes to mix everything up (eight minutes if Ayva was helping), and 12 minutes to bake. I had 17 minutes. So, I made the muffins. And Ayva and I have been baking at least once a week every since.
Learn how to listen better. If influence is something you think you may need in your arsenal once children are beyond the phase of simply being told what to do, consider learning how to really listen.
Get up earlier.
Get up half hour earlier than the kids to get yourself together & have alone time so you can be refreshed & mentally available for the kids.
Reading together is awesome. Even when you have a teen.
Look at your child.
Look into your child’s eyes when you talk to them. Be focused on them and them alone when you are engaging with them. This lets them know you value them and are not distracted by life not to look them in the eye when you are talking.
Just put away the screens. Telephone, computers…put them away.
Schedule time for your child.
When working from home with a little one, take a 20 minute break to read a story, color a picture or work on puzzle. I think of it as a person working outside of the home would: when you have a scheduled break you aren’t doing any work…same goes for your scheduled break with the kid. No work, no phone calls, no quick emails. You are off the clock!
How are you becoming a better mom?
(As relayed by Lauren R.D. Fox based on a culmination of experiences)
Once my siblings and I graduated college, our parents began to plan annual vacations. Although I enjoy spending time with my family, there have been major changes in my life within the past six months.
My long-term boyfriend proposed to me and I moved to his hometown of Philadelphia. Since my move, we began wedding planning and even paid off some of our vendors. Although they’re excited for me, my parents want me to have a long engagement so my wedding will not interfere with the family trips they pre-scheduled. I told them several times I will not put my life on hold for them, especially since these pre-scheduled vacations are always planned at inconvenient times with no regard to my own schedule.
Our next family trip is scheduled for June but I told my parents I will not be going because I have to pay my bills and take care of wedding expenses. Since I ignored their request to hold off my wedding, my parents want me to pay back the money they spent on my portion of the trip. I don’t think I should have to pay since they didn’t consult with me before booking the trip.
Am I tripping or should I pay them?
I typically don’t cry when I watch an episode of the daytime talk show The Real because, well, it’s The Real. But this revelation really spoke to my heart. I recently came across a clip of co-host Jeannie Mai sharing a touching story about her upbringing and the fear she had of not being able to provide for her family.
Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in hopes of providing better opportunities for their children. With limited funds, her father took a meeting at Jeannie’s school in order to land a janitorial position. The only catch is he wanted to work at night so his children wouldn’t see him. Throughout the week he would treat his family to take-out and would watch them eat. Whenever Jeannie asked him why he wasn’t hungry, he simply answered because he already ate. One night, she found him digging in the trash eating their family’s scraps. Telling this story brought tears to her co-host’s eyes, and mine.
Talk about sacrifice.
There’s something about becoming a mother that has opened my eyes even more to my limits and how far I would go to provide for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but he can take care of himself at the end of the day. I’m so thankful we’re financially stable, but I know–without a doubt–he would take any and every job he could to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. His parents did the same for he and his sisters in Panama, lighting the path for them to attend college and pursue their dreams. Heck, my own father worked overtime as a police officer to make sure he could help pay for my higher education. Because of his line of work, I didn’t see him all the time, but knew he was out risking his life to make sure I had a better one.
As much as I’d like to think folks would do what’s necessary to provide for their family, I honestly don’t see it as a reality many could handle. If it came down to you having to work a blue-collar job you thought was “beneath you” to pay your bills, would you do it? Could you set your pride aside to ensure your household wouldn’t have a care you couldn’t provide for? The recession really opened my eyes to the reality of people’s financial situations and who was willing to do what it takes to keep their family afloat. I knew some people who would work nights and part-time at CVS or Burger King while others would turn their noses to such a thought because it didn’t utilize their master’s degree. Rather than work an “in the meantime and between time” hustle until they landed a better job, they would kick back until their next interview and collect their unemployment check.
And what about the other end of the spectrum, that is, those who bend over backwards all the time for their family? Is there such a thing as doing too much? While I agree with Jeannie Mai about wanting to provide for my family, I also need to keep it “real” with myself when it comes to who and how. To keep it real, unfortunately, not everyone in my immediate clan is financially savvy. They would definitely misuse any funds I provide, or make excuses as to why they no longer need to work. One close family member in particular has borrowed money from me here and there since I was 18-years-old… and never paid back a cent. I had to learn to love without attaching my wallet because my “bailouts” seemed to create more financial trouble and never taught them to do things on their own.
It’s important to set some realistic guidelines when it comes to providing for your family and just how far you’d go. You have to ask yourself if the sacrifices you’re making to bring in money helps or hinders their general well-being. If someone is bad with money, should you look for financial alternatives, like an IRA that will provide for them down the road? Cut them off entirely?
What would you do to provide for your family?
Once upon a time, not too long ago, we thought we knew it all. Our parents were always around telling us what to do, and we all thought we could do it all by ourselves — until we moved out on our own. When we’re no longer under the same roof as our mothers, we realize that maybe we’re not quite as grown as we thought.
We may feel grown, but when it comes to mom, we’re never too old to get a little advice. Whether you’re 25 or 55, there are still some questions that only your mom has the right answer to. And thank goodness for Skype, cell phones, text messages, instant messenger and just showing up from time to time. Because we still have a million things we need to learn, and we need some advice, to touch base, and to know how long to cook this chicken because sometimes, our mothers do know best.
What should I take for this? Is this normal? If I eat this expired chicken will I die? She’s not still kissing boo-boos, but she’s still doctor mom.
When it comes to meeting the parents of someone you’re dating, there is no such thing as being prepared. You can ask your significant other a million questions about family history, lifestyle, and essential facts, but you will never be prepared to actually meet and interact with them. All that you know is irrelevant. I was reminded of that when I met my boyfriend’s parents for a nice Saturday brunch in Baltimore on a cold and dreary day.
Think back to when you were a teen, and you had your first boyfriend or girlfriend and the first thing you had to do was tell your parents…unless you were sneaky. You had to endure the chaperoned dates, family ogling over you two sitting in the living room watching TV because you weren’t allowed to be in your room. Remember those days? Well, it’s just a little different as adults. You’re still ogled. But when you meet the parents, that’s when you know it’s serious. Therefore, the questions go beyond family history, lifestyle and essential facts. They get a bit deeper and are a lot more purposeful.
The day I met his parents, I was extremely nervous. I kept smiling and reassuring him that I was okay, telling him, “I’m usually good with parents.” The food was good, the ambiance was lively, but after some jokes and laughter and the cliche introductory “So, how did you two meet?” questions, they turned up the heat a bit. Make that a lot.
I knew that my boyfriend was strong in his faith, but he also has a lot of open-minded, laid-back qualities. His parents are another story. I wasn’t prepared for his parent’s traditional ways. They are devout Christians who attend Sunday services all day, put on their Sunday best, love Tyler Perry, and don’t play when it comes to their faith. In comparison, while I come from a similar type of family dynamic, I’ve since grown distant from the church. I wouldn’t consider myself a practicing Christian as I don’t attend services, and I haven’t touched a Bible in years. That’s why it was so awkward when his parents asked me repeatedly about my home church, who my pastor is, if my parents are saved, and if I’m saved. I couldn’t lie, but I felt exposed in a way. My boyfriend knows my struggles with the faith, struggles I didn’t necessarily want to share with his parents. But it brought me back to the idea that when you make a commitment to someone, you also are committing to their family in a way.
Soon after meeting mom and dad, I started getting offers to accompany his mother to church. I ended up at the mall in the MAC store getting the Sunday best makeup and in Nordstrom, LOFT, and Arden B holding piles of skirts, dresses and cardigans. It was all too overwhelming for me. Especially since I haven’t gotten to a place in my life where I want to spend my Sundays in a church again. I’ve adopted the rest and relaxation rituals that come with Sundays. I enjoy my face masks in bed while watching shows on the DVR as my hair is deep conditioning. I have my own schedule to follow and stance on the church to keep in mind, but I don’t want to make a bad impression.
So, while his parents seem to like me, I’m facing a dilemma: Should I oblige them by agreeing to go to church with them sometimes and take part in other traditional Christian things I no longer practice or enjoy?
(As Relayed To Lauren R.D. Fox)
Last year, my cousin Anais sent out the save-the-dates for her wedding. Aside from detailing the time and date of the wedding, it also noted that she and her fiancé’s were to be wed in Medellin, Colombia.
I, along, with our cousins were excited to celebrate the next stage of her life and immediately started planning our travel accommodations. As months inched towards her wedding date, we created a travel itinerary for ourselves so we could explore the Colombian city a few days before the wedding festivities began.
When we arrived in Colombia, I received a WhatsApp message from Tracy, a first, but distant, cousin of Anais and I. Although Tracy is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, she’s a bit flighty and known to not be reliable. In her message, Tracy told me she’s been backpacking throughout South America and made it to Medellin just in time to celebrate Anais’ wedding.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have a place to stay and wanted to know if she could stay with me. Tracy was also honest enough to tell me that she didn’t have any money to contribute towards my hotel room. To earn money she sells jewelry and she’d spent the majority of her income traveling to the wedding.
Although I had more than enough room and Tracy is family, I didn’t want her in my space. Tracy can be extremely disorganized and if she didn’t have money for a hotel room, I knew I would (most likely) also have to pay for her to participate in our family tours, and maybe even eat. I don’t want to leave my cousin stranded but I also don’t think it’s fair she put me in this situation?
Should I allow Tracy to stay with me or leave her stranded in Medellin?
Years ago, my now ex-boyfriend’s sister reached out to me and told me that he had been cheating on me with a couple of other girls. She didn’t really tell me anything that blew my mind, but she did confirm my suspicions while giving me the kick in the butt I needed to kick his butt to the curb.
A woman, who we’ll call “Rachel,” recently found herself in a similar predicament and turned to Reddit for advice. Rachel spotted her sister, Eleanor, in a coffee shop with a gentleman who was not Eleanor’s husband of four years, John. The two were behaving quite inappropriately. This is particularly devastating to Rachel who was always felt that John and Eleanor were the “perfect couple,” and now she’s ready to drop dime to her brother-in-law.
Well, today I was out for an early stroll around town with my boyfriend. We stayed out for maybe 3 hours or so, before walking back to the parking lot. On the way back, I couldn’t help noticing that my sister was sitting in the window of a coffee shop along the main street. I stopped us and I asked my boyfriend if we could sneak in to surprise her, since we hadn’t seen her for a few weeks. He said yes, but then suddenly grabbed my hand just before I went to go to the door.
My boyfriend said “Wait… she’s in there with a guy.”
I was confused, and she hadn’t noticed us so I just walked back around the corner, and then peered through the window again. Sure enough, she was seated opposite a man that was determinately not John. He had dark hair and he kept winking at her, holding her hand and bringing it up to his mouth to kiss it.
I was distraught. My boyfriend asked if I wanted to do anything, but I certainly wasn’t going to march in there and make a scene in front of all the other customers, so we just left.
Rachel seems to be hoping that there’s some sort of explanation for her sister’s behavior. But no matter how you slice it, a married woman being smooched up by any man other than her husband is suspect as hell. She definitely wants to say something, but is wondering if she should give her sister a chance to explain herself before going to John.
Now, I’m wondering who to bring this up with first. I was thinking I should bring this up with Eleanor first and tell her I saw them, but I’m risking her either 1.) denying everything (most likely) or 2.) admitting everything and then telling me not to tell John. If she did that, I’d tell him anyway, because f-ck no am I keeping infidelity from a loving husband, but she’d most likely completely hate me for telling him and cut me out of her life.
Unlike my situation, Rachel’s sister is married with a child, and clearly has a lot more to lose. When my ex’s sister rang the alarm, I was able to make a clean break; however, this news could potentially break up a family. Rachel has found herself in quite the pickle.
Would you tell on a cheating sibling?
I didn’t date much as a teen, but when I did, my overly conservative parents always made sure they had their hand in the pot. Having a guy over as my company meant sitting in the living room watching TV, and getting dropped off and picked up from each other’s homes, as well as to and from the movies, the mall, restaurants, wherever. There was never a moment without adult supervision. And whoever the guy was, no matter how serious I may have taken him at the time, he was just my “little friend” to my parents. My parents didn’t take my teenage puppy love seriously. Truth be told, I now understand why: everything had its infatuation period, followed by the devastating breakup and the immediate crush on someone else soon after. That was the way “love” went when you were a teen growing up in the early ‘00s.
Flash forward to my college days. I entered my first real relationship, which lasted for six years. Even when it clearly wasn’t some puppy love phase, to my parents, my long-term boyfriend was still my “little friend.”
Seriously, how old am I? 12?
Attending family functions and gatherings together didn’t matter to my mom, because she would introduce him as my “little friend.” In public. Not my boyfriend, not my man…he was my “little friend” as if she had scheduled some sort of play date for us.
And no matter how old I get, it’s like my family just doesn’t seem to take my relationships seriously. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is and always will be “your little friend.” But the good news is that I have learned how to establish an adult relationship with my parents that has encouraged them to respect my current partner and acknowledge him as an important part of my life. He is not my “little friend.” These sorts of strides are important when you’re almost 30, and your parents are still creating awkward situations for you at family gatherings…
Here are some ways to let your family know your love life is not a game and how you can assist them in being respectful of your relationships.
For the most part, mature relationships tend to have some degree of privacy. However, the person you are dating shouldn’t be a secret, especially to your family. If they are important to you, they shouldn’t have to remain a mystery. Because when they’re hidden, it becomes even harder for your clan to care, let alone take them seriously.
Sit Them Down For “The Talk”
If your family is anything like mine, you are often hounded about when you’re going to settle down, get married and have kids. Which is why it makes no sense that when I finally meet someone worth spending my life with, they see him as my “little friend.” Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and let them know you’re a grown woman in a relationship with a grown man, and as far as you currently know, they aren’t going anywhere.
Establish A Different Dating Pattern
Meeting the family is a big step, so if you feel you are ready to make a serious commitment to the person you’re dating, meeting the parents is the final piece to putting together that puzzle. If you’re used to bringing different men or women around the family often, then it’s not a far-fetched idea that your folks won’t take this new person seriously. It might be time for you to switch up such habits. Incorporate your partner into family functions and create opportunities for them to bond with relatives in a safe and comfortable space. Let your family see that this person is here to stay.
If All Else Fails…To Hell With Them
It’s your relationship, not theirs. If they don’t agree with it, or they don’t take it seriously, they will still have to accept it and at least, be respectful of the person you’re with.
Kids or no kids? This is a question that every bride and groom will have to make at some point in the wedding planning process. While one or two children probably wouldn’t make much of a difference, those of us with large families know that too many children can quickly turn your well-planned ceremony into a circus. Unfortunately, opting to have a child-free wedding will typically ruffle a few feathers and sometimes, things can get downright ugly. Recently, a bride-to-be, whose wedding is next month, shared a post on Reddit because her future in-laws have threatened not to attend her wedding if kids aren’t invited. The bride explains:
My fiancé and I have been together for 7 years. We just got engaged last year and couldn’t be happier together. We’re set to be married this March. During the wedding planning, we decided we did not wish to have children at the ceremony/reception. Both our families are heavy drinkers and the venue is entirely outdoors with a large pond in the middle. There is no protective railing of any kind, the water is not illuminated by any surrounding light source, and our wedding is set at night. Maybe it’s just because I’m paranoid but I feel that is a recipe for disaster with children present, and on my wedding day, I don’t want to feel like I have to keep fearing for these kids and worrying.
The other reason we are choosing limit kids from attending is because I’ve been to two weddings where babies crying drowned out everything in the vows. It’s incredibly frustrating especially when parents don’t take the hint to excuse themselves and just sit there. I’ve already been contacted by one of my own family members about this in regards to wanting to bring their 2-year-old. I tried to be as polite, but as firm as possible in my wishes. They said they understood, and have since made arrangements for a babysitter.
Then the same thing happened with my fiancé’s parents, and this is where the sh-t hits the fan. My fiancé has a cousin who had a baby a year ago. Now my [mother-in-law] and [father-in-law] are demanding we allow her to bring the baby. She’s already purchased her ticket but claims not to have known about our “no children” request. The request was on our wedding invites. My [father-in-law] began to yell at us, and threatened us with an ultimatum: We let the baby attend the ceremony or my soon to be in-laws refuse to attend our wedding.
I understand that this is a sensitive subject for so many people, but I really can’t understand what makes people think they can dictate what goes down at an event that someone else is paying for.
How would you handle a situation like this?
I was doing research on my family the other night, which led me to a series of photo albums and a spot on the carpet in my grandmother’s living room. She and I laughed and reminisced over how similar I am to my mom. I dress like her, and at some point in my growth, I was her identical twin. In my 20s I find myself blasting ’70s and ’80s classic rock, mixing prints and patterns. I find myself nagging and complaining about household things and I was even told by a guy I dated that I act just like my mother…and his. It wasn’t something shared in an endearing way.
I think one of the biggest fears of a woman is to hear how much we’re like our mothers, especially from the mouths of men. But the older I get, the more of my mom I realize that I’ve become in physical features, as well as mannerisms. There are some moments where I’ll stop in the middle of what I’m doing and laugh because I’ve found myself saying something that sounds just like her. To be so similar to her now is funny considering that we bumped heads so much growing up.
I reflect on my angsty teenage years and how the thought of becoming her was a total nightmare. The nagging, the complaining, the prying, the overprotective antics, I prayed that when I got married and started my own family, I would do things a little bit differently than her. I would nag my husband less and would allow my children to do more, as long as they did the right thing. But no matter how much we try to avoid it when we stop and reflect, I think we all appreciate the lessons and the tough love and realize that we are more like our mothers than we think. Science says so.
New research suggests that some traits are more readily passed down from moms to daughters than to sons. The research concludes that there is something gender-specific about the brain circuit activity of women. The experiment, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, consisted of 30 mothers, 29 fathers, 19 daughters, and 20 sons. The researchers also gave the parents questionnaires that asked about their kids’ behavior, including things like aggression, depression, anxiety, and social skills. The findings showed that there were similarities between mom and daughter, and father and son.
The older I get, the less of a negative connotation being like my mother has. And the more I think about it, I am her, quirky characteristics and all. I spend hours surfing the web for recipes that I never get around to trying, but they’re good to have just in case. I sit through hours of Good Times, Sanford and Son and The Golden Girls, chuckling as if I was of that era. I have started my own tea cabinet similar to hers. I sit and worry about everything even though I know worrying doesn’t help, just like her. Her influence has been stronger than I thought.
I’ve become a woman who loves the company of my mother sometimes and hates it at other times. But with each laugh that we share, each disagreement we may have, and the moments we share together, I realize that we are one in the same. She is #MomGoals.