All Articles Tagged "family"

Mind Your Business: How To Keep Your Family Out Of Your Relationship

May 5th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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How To Keep Your Family Out Of Your Relationship

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You love your family. You love your spouse or partner. Sooner or later you must ask yourself why it is the two parties can’t just get along.

Hopefully, it’s an easy fix as no one wants to deal with drama from their own camp. Here are some pointers or establishing healthy boundaries between your family and your relationship.

Is It Okay For Your Family To Ask A Lot Of You Because You Earn More?

May 5th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Borrow money

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This is going to sound really bad but there’s a part of me that’s happy my family isn’t so close. Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to partake in those fun family reunions, but sometimes too many people in the mix can cause unnecessary drama.

For whatever reason, certain family members of mine think because I married an engineer we’re rolling in the dough. Granted we do very well for ourselves, especially as a young family. But that doesn’t mean we’re an ATM full of unlimited resources. And contrary to popular opinion, I am a work-from-home mother but do work hard for the things I have.

My husband is Black Latino and comes from a huge family. As much as I love our get-togethers, one event still has my mind blown. Some time ago we were invited to attend one of his family member’s weddings. You’re probably thinking this is no big deal, just get a gift, send your well wishes and be done right?

Wrong.

While we couldn’t attend, our in-laws did and made the trip halfway cross country by car. Upon their arrival, they received more than a welcome. The bride-to-be also happened to be the godchild of my in-law, and the mother of the bride had no issue asking for money to help pay for the wedding… the day before the big event.

Who the heck does that?

I don’t know how folks do things in other countries, but here in the United States, that’s extremely tacky and tasteless. Why does someone think it’s okay to hit up a family member for $5,000 the day before their child walks down the aisle? That’s not their responsibility in any way–and can quickly turn what should be a sentimental occasion into an awkward one.

In case you’re wondering, my in-laws didn’t give the money. They don’t have that kind of money just sitting around, and if they did, they would more than likely invest it.

I really do feel bad for them because many of their own brothers and sisters feel if they work and live in the United States they’ve made it. Yes my in-laws have a nice single-family home and rental property, but that didn’t just fall in their lap. In fact, they struggled for many years to be able to save and provide opportunities for all three of their children to attend college. It was also their money that helped sponsor many of their relatives to move to the United States, but we won’t go into that.

At the end of the day, we don’t know a person’s income or expenses. Just because things look all put together on the outside doesn’t mean there aren’t battles happening behind closed doors. As mentioned before, some of my closest family have tried to make me feel bad about not financially supporting them when they don’t do anything to handle their own business. I’m a wife, mother of a toddler and have another child on the way. How do you think it’s okay to have me fund your life when you’re older than me, finding every excuse in the book not to work hard yourself?

If there was ever a situation where someone I loved truly needed help (and they’ve done everything to help themselves), of course I would try to assist them. This doesn’t mean I don’t have my own bills to pay or will go into debt trying to make someone else’s life easier.

How do you handle family who tries to guilt you into borrowing money you know they won’t repay?

Zero Buns In The Oven: Why Not Having Kids Can Be The Best Decision

April 14th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Not planning on having kids? Join the club. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau stats, more women are realizing that not having kids is the best decision for them. Read on to find out why fewer women are having kids than ever before, and why many women are OK with it.

Wendy Williams Says “Marriage And Babies” Will Stunt Your Career Growth

April 13th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Wendy Williams Says "Marriage And Babies"

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In a recent sit down with Forbes Lifestyle, Wendy Williams opened up about how she relates to her fans and the challenges women face in their personal lives.

She revealed she is no longer interested in being friends or having the glamorous lifestyle many of the celebrities she interviews adhere to. Williams also shared how important it is for her to maintain normalcy in her day-to-day life. For example, after airing her talk show, Williams says she does her own grocery shopping and supports her teenage son Kevin at his track practices.

After sharing her career journey, Williams gave some debatable advice on what women should expect in marriage and parenthood in her Forbes interview. She told interviewer Moira Forbes that marriage and children stunt a woman’s career development and women lose out in marriage. After noting she, herself, has been married for 17 years, Williams said:

“We can debate this all day. Every woman has a different view and there are some women who have an opinion and are scared to voice it. But I’m not afraid to voice mine— don’t throw tomatoes! I do feel it is difficult for men to accept really successful career women. Whether it be that we out-earn them or on the marquee, our names are brighter than their own. I also feel like marriage and babies stunt a woman’s growth career wise and people don’t understand once you get married and once you have kids, you cannot do all the things that you used to do while  maintaining this important precious thing you’ve built as a family. So my suggestion to women, always, is to use your entire twenties working your behind off in your career and get some ground footing, then think about meeting that guy. Even if you’ve met him at twenty-seven, don’t get engaged and don’t move to where he lives. This is about you and your career. Because we are the ones that lose in marriage. Not men!”

Do you agree with Williams’ career and dating advice?

How Far Are You Willing To Go To Ensure Your Family Is Financially Stable?

April 6th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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I typically don’t cry when I watch an episode of The Real because, well, it’s The Real. But this revelation really spoke to my heart. Co-host Jeannie Mai shared a touching story about her upbringing and fear 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 takeout 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 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 never saw 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. 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?

Palliative Care And Prolonging Life: Have You Thought About Your Final Wishes?

April 1st, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

This is going to sound weird but for some reason I really love those Colonial Penn-type life insurance commercials that feature parents talking to their kids about insurance policies and death and end-of-life wishes because they’re so real. I especially like the one with the Black girl who has the curly TWA and keeps telling her mom, “I don’t want to talk about this” as she tries to explain her plans for making sure her death isn’t a burden on the family when the time comes. Eventually, there’s a breakthrough and the daughter realizes the conversation is just precautionary planing rather than foreshadowing and I always think, if only more mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, husbands, and wives would have these talks.

This past weekend I found myself in the unfortunate situation of watching my grandfather and my dad and his three brothers attempt to decide the fate of my grandmother’s life. The Saturday before last she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest and, due to a lack of oxygen, now has very little brain activity outside of basic reflexes to pain stimuli and gagging on a ventilator. By the time I got in town, seven days had passed and her status hadn’t changed, which wasn’t necessarily good or bad. But be that as it may, it was time to make a decision. And though everyone had an opinion on what they would want for themselves and what they thought my grandmother would want, no one really knew because no one ever asked or had a conversation.

“She talked about wanting to go home” was all my grandmother’s brother had to offer in terms of last wishes and we all knew that meant she wanted to be buried back down south. That really didn’t answer the question that was trying to be decided in the moment which was, do we do everything we can to prolong her life — despite the dismal prognosis and the expectation of an even lower quality of life — or do we usher her on to rest in peace?

We had the medical opinion which told us that the likelihood of recovery after three days in a coma was slim, but that was juxtaposed with guilt over the fact that my grandmother was in this position to begin with and mounting grief over the thought that the last time each of us had with her pre-ICU would in fact be our last time together. And so, opinions continued to sway back and forth for days.

“Guess we’ll just have to wait and see” was the decision my grandfather announced when the doctor hesitantly told us it was possible — though not likely — my grandmother could wake up one day. And so the doctors moved forward with a tracheostomy to remove the ventilator that’s breathing for her and inserted a feeding tube to give her nutrients while my dad and I toured long-term acute care facilities for her to reside in after her procedure for the next three weeks to a month. Though the plan we’re currently operating under is at least some form of action, it likely doesn’t change the fact that a month from now we’ll all probably be in the same place: Deciding life or death for someone who should’ve decided for herself.

When I came back to my mom’s house and updated her on what’s going on, she told me in no uncertain terms she wouldn’t want to be in that condition, which gave me the answer that I need if, God forbid, I find myself in this same position with her. Hypocrite that I am, I didn’t share my wishes, mostly because despite all that I’ve witnessed I’m not totally certain what they are. At my age, I think I’d want my family to fight for me. But if my quality of life — namely my independence — would be strongly diminished, I’d lean more toward letting me go. Of course, all of these things are easier said than done but they are certainly worth some thought at any age or stage of life and, most importantly, absolutely worth sharing with those who will be faced with seeing to your care should the time come.

10 Affordable Ways To Celebrate The Holidays With Your Family

December 12th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Black family holiday/Christmas

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The holidays have become such a consumer-driven time of year that it makes it easy to lose focus on the things that matter. Do pricey gifts matter that much—or the memories you create with loved ones? Here are some fun things you can do to celebrate the holidays with your family.

We Don’t Talk About That: Stars With Dark Family Secrets

November 26th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Every family has a few skeletons in it’s closet, but you’ll flip when you read about these stars with dark family secrets. Suddenly Aunt Kim’s gambling problem doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Woody Harrelson

We’re glad this apple fell far from the tree. Woody Harrelson’s father was a professional hit man who was arrested in 1979 for taking out a hit on a federal judge.

Brad Pitt & Barack Obama?: Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Related

November 25th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Brad Pitt and Barack Obama aren’t the only celebrities you didn’t know were related. We have no idea how these celebrity cousins flew under the radar for so long.

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Al Roker & Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz’s mother (Helen Willis from The Jeffersons) and Al Roker’s mother were first cousins. We’d love to sit at this star-studded Thanksgiving table.

So…My Grandfather Thinks My Sister Is The Reason I’m Still Single

September 16th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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My Sister Is The Reason I'm Still Single

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You know they say that parents and grandparents aren’t supposed to have favorites. But my sister and I are clearly my grandfather’s favorites. And that’s no shade to my cousins. I’m sure he’d like some of them more than us if we’d all spent equal amounts of time with him. It just so happens that we’re the ones who’ve been around him the most. He calls us his darlings. Which makes me smile with my heart.

But with all that love and affection comes worry and agitation. And at times, that’s been annoying. Like the time he saw my senior pictures and told me I needed to dress more conservatively, like my friend. Or right before I went off to college and he told me I needed to straighten my hair and take the ring out of my nose if I ever wanted to get a job.

I think I’ve successfully proven that showing a little skin, nappy hair and a nose ring won’t hold me back. But now, he’s directed his attention to making sure that my sister and I find husbands.

I think my grandfather has finally learned not to come to me with any more criticisms because I learned of his worry through my mother.

“You know your Big Daddy is really concerned about you and Vanessa getting married. He said that when sisters are as close as you two are, it’s hard for them to find love.”

Dang.

I knew my Big Daddy was probably comparing us to one set of sisters in particular. The Odd* Sisters, who as far as I knew, were in their seventies, dressed like twins, attended church faithfully every Sabbath and had never been married.

At first, I dismissed my grandfather’s concern; but several months and several signs later, I realize he might not have been so far off base.

The other day I watched a BuzzFeed video about weird things all couple’s argue about. And I could relate to quite a few of those scenarios because they reminded me of me and my sister. The laughter is real hearty and the reality slightly unsettling when you realize you and sister sometimes carry on like an old married couple.

Recently, my sister and I started re-watching old “Will and Grace” episodes. And there’s one episode where Grace realizes that she’s lost her zeal for dating and men because she’s so close to her roommate and best friend Will. And while I can say with absolute certainty that I would love to go out on a date with a decent guy, I can completely understand not wanting to introduce yourself to a new man, doing the work and research to find out if said man is crazy, misogynistic or dishonest when you literally have someone at home who you know, love, trust and can have an incredible time with.

Even if there’s no making out at the end of the night, dancing around the living room, laughing until we cry and watching nostalgic tv with my sister is quite awesome. So awesome in fact, it would be no small feat for a man, first meeting me, to top that.

So I do get where my grandfather was coming from. And I sincerely hope the very special relationship I share with my sister doesn’t turn into something dysfunctional, where we rely on each other for our every happiness.

But I don’t think it will. We both know what we want out of life. And anything we’ve wanted, really wanted, we’ve worked to get.

First, I know we both want to go on dates with charming, cute and quality men who are respectful and have full lips. We want fulfilling careers. We want to help people. Be women we can both be proud of. And we want marriage and babies.

I’ll be the first to tell anyone while I would never choose to raise a child by myself, at the end of the day, when I think  about my life as a whole, my legacy as a mother will be more important than my legacy as a wife.

And I believe it will happen. I don’t know how I’ll get there or when it will be but I see it for myself. And unlike Grace in that episode, I won’t attempt to cut my best friend off just to make sure I’m “putting myself out there” like I should. I don’t believe in forcing any type of relationship. They should be organic, happening when and as they’re supposed to. I don’t believe in strategically planting myself at any particular place or dressing a particular way  to find a man, will me get married and able to give my mother the grandbabies she wants.

So if my grandfather were to bring this worry to me personally, I would tell him he’s right. No man could ever even hope to break through the impenetrable bond my sister and I have formed. But if he’s right, and that’s the key, he won’t have to. We’ll just make room for him.