All Articles Tagged "growing up"
For me, growing up in a single parent household was not as bad as it may sound. Of course, I had my sad, frustrating moments but I also had great, happy times. Growing up with only one parent has it’s good and bad side, just as anything else does.
I grew up with one older and three younger brothers, raised by my mom in Germany. We moved around a lot and never had a really consistent place of living. That’s probably one of the things that made it a little hard for me. I was never truly able to build long-lasting friendships. On top of having only one parent present, moving so much made my life feel unstable.
Advice I have for single parents: Try to give your children as much stability and security as possible.
My mother is undeniably the strongest person I know. She has been through so much in her life and did an incredible job raising five children by herself. She did it all. When we bought furniture, she assembled it herself until we were old enough to help. When we had questions about our homework, we came to her. Any concerns or questions went to that one person. I can’t even imagine how much pressure that must have been for her trying to play both roles and trying to give each child everything, so that we didn’t feel like we were missing something.
I know for a fact that my mother had her times of total frustration. Children don’t really understand the dynamics going on at a young age, but that makes it even more important for the single parent to communicate. Tell the kids, gently, how you feel and what the situation is (keep it simple). Don’t be so tough on yourself or them.
My mother always answered my questions. That made living life easier on me. I stopped thinking it may have been mine, hers or his fault. Sometimes whomever you’re with at the moment just isn’t meant to be with you for life, and that is fine. I’m very glad we were always able to talk about everything. She never tried to keep the facts from me. That being said, she also never spoke negatively about my father. That is important. Please don’t let your frustration about the other parent out on your children. It’s still their father or mother. Give them the opportunity to build their own relationship with them. Negative feelings toward anyone aren’t good for the mind. Especially not when it’s someone so important.
Since my father and I never really had a close relationship, it was even more frustrating for me growing up without him as a father figure. I think that if I at least would’ve had him to lean on at times, it would’ve been easier for me. Growing up without the other half of your parents makes you wonder whose fault it may be, and by default most children start by blaming themselves. For both, single parent and child, the situation is challenging but it’s crucial to talk to your children.
The safety and happiness of your children comes first. Don’t stay with someone who mistreats you or physically abuses you, just so you don’t have to raise your children by yourself. At the end of the day, they’d be better off in a safe, happy home with someone who truly cares for them. There will be hard times but there will also be rewarding sunshine.
How familiar is the morning chaos of the first day back-to-school? It’s almost like a movie every year, you and the kids go through the same routines. Maybe you’re an early school shopper, maybe you’re a little late to the party. Nevertheless, just when you think you’ve got everything down pact and prepared for another academic year, all hell breaks loose at the sound of your alarm during those first days of school.
Those perfect lunches you packed the night before have come undone as your children pick apart your selections. Now, instead of effortlessly seeing your adorable babies off to school, you are negotiating and debating what will and won’t make it into their brand new lunchboxes.
This year, save yourself and the kids the frustration of your morning lunch auction by having them pack their own lunch! That’s right, let go, it’s ok, you don’t have to control everything. Give yourself one less thing to do, and start grooming your kids for responsibility, and sound decision making by charging them with the task of their own meal prep.
HOW!? I’m glad you asked. Yes, if it’s left totally up to them, kids are going to pack juice, fruit snacks, chips, and nothing even remotely sound for developing minds and growing bodies. That’s where you come in (see, you’ve still got some power), when you go grocery shopping here’s what you’ll need to grab:
Nifty Containers: Get some “cool” tupperware, and compartmented items like sandwich boxes, animated thermoses, and portion controlled snack holders. Items like these will make it easy for your children to navigate packing their lunch, and the bright, and animated lunch accessories will get them excited about their new chore.
Shop: Make a grocery list with your kids. Explain to them the importance of healthy eating, and balanced nutrition. Make the kitchen a central location for the family to gather, and collectively decide what the shopping list will entail. Not only will they feel empowered by inclusion, but you’ll be getting some quality time together as well. Introduce your children to alternatives to some of their usual favorite treats and snacks, that will be healthier for them, and easier for them to manage while packing. Some great options are nuts, trail mixes, berries, and fruit mixes you can make together at home.
Schedule: Decide when would be best for you, and your children to prepare their lunch. Maybe the evenings after dinner, or maybe in the morning after breakfast. Be open to their ideas and suggestions, and find common ground that gives everyone ease about the latest change.
Don’t panic: So you’ve relinquished just one of the things you do for your children out of love. No worries! They aren’t growing to fast, and they won’t forget about you. They will still need you to wash their clothes, cook their dinner, and referee their sibling fall outs. You still get to help with school projects, and be on the classroom snack committee. This is just a small ripple in the large pond of who your children are growing to be. Wait until prom to freak out. Besides, they’re probably trading snack at the lunch table anyway.
There are a few things that you just can’t do once you’re in a committed relationship. Even the most relaxed, patient and open-minded partner wouldn’t want you doing these things. And, hey, you wouldn’t want your partner doing them, either! That being said, these single-women-only behaviors make you feel more alive than you ever thought possible. They’ll help you find your boundaries with others, and with yourself. They’ll help you learn what you’re capable of, and make you feel like you can survive anything. They’ll help you know what you need in a life-long partner, and what you can’t stand. They’ll show you that you can be ridiculously, astoundingly happy without a partner, which is crucial to gaining the confidence you need to attract the right partner. And, honestly, they’re just things that you’ll want to get out of your system at some point. So it’s better to do them now, than when they could ruin a relationship. Here are 15 wild things to get out of your system before settling down.
It’s true: times are changing. Today’s teenage girls aren’t getting geeked over soda pop flavored first-kisses and soph-hops; they’re asking for party buses to their Super Sweet Sixteens and choosing Nuva Rings over promise rings. But that doesn’t mean that mothers don’t have some obligation to preserve their children’s innocence as long as possible. I can’t tell you how much I cringe when I hear about kindergarten proms and toddler pamper parties. And by pamper I mean foot massages and manicures, not diaper cakes. When my job recently threw a Halloween party for kids, I took all of the kitten heels and put them in a bag marked “inappropriate”. Your daughter has her whole adult life to be uncomfortable for fashion’s sake, why start before she can even read?
Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days where kids looked and acted like kids and not little adults. Just because the media wants to convince us that it’s OK for our little girls to act grown doesn’t mean it actually is. Here are some signs that your little girl is growing up too fast.
By Dara Tafakari
The other night, I watched my daughter be free. She splashed in the water like a little duckling, feet kicking blithely. Before I could stop her, she dunked the back of her plaited head into her bubble bath and grinned up at me. I groaned. She was completely unbothered that her hair was now wet. Then I smiled back at her, because she is a little Black girl who is completely unbothered that her hair is wet.
And when she runs through the house giggling without a stitch of clothing on, I remind myself that she will not always be this unfettered. So I let her…for a moment. (Potty training is The Struggle, for real.)
At some point in our childhoods we leave behind that impulse to be naked to the world. Maybe we leave it crumpled on the floor in the bathroom one night and forget to pick it back up. The self that emerges is tremulous against the cold stares of society. Is my skin too dark? Am I good enough? Can anybody love me as I am? When I look at the woman I am now and the little girl I carried for 10 months, I hope she never knows shame like I have.
Shame disempowers rather than strengthens.
But I know she will. It is a rite of passage of sorts, especially for girls who will become women, to begin to fold yourself into unobtrusive flatness. We spend so much of our childhood unlearning the freedom that clothed us when we first arrived here. Then we spend our adulthood trying to get it back.
Before my exuberant Bean starts to diminish her own light to match the dim watts she sees, I desperately want her to inherit these lessons. I wish for her to wear them like armor against the capriciousness of the world that awaits her.
Always congratulate yourself on your accomplishments. Toddlers know no humility and it is refreshing. Whenever Bean achieves something–and I mean anything, be it small or monumental–she is immensely proud of herself. “I DID IT!” she shrieks. We applaud, we shower her with “yaaaaaaays” and “yaaaaaaassss,” we feed her desire to feel good about her capability. Before she is surrounded by a classroom where standing out in achievement means Difference and derision, I want her to always take pride in her abilities.Get your hair wet, baby girl. And I don’t mean that in the chastising sense where people fix their mouths to say Black girls and women don’t exercise. I mean that I want her to know the sheer joy of snorkeling in the ocean, curls plastered to her cheeks when she whips her head back to the sky. That feeling where she derives more fun from play than perfection? That.
Enjoy your culture. Let the beat drop on her favorite Yo Gabba Gabba tune, and Bean lets out a timely, “AYYYYYYYYE!” She doesn’t know that’s a cultural marker. She just knows that when you feel the beat, you make it known. She will dance to anything with a djembe or an 808 or a break beat or a foot stomp. Africa lives in her steps.
Your womanhood is softness and it is strength. Nakedness is the one thing we cannot escape about ourselves, yet so many of us hate our naked bodies. This shame. Who taught us this relentless apology for curves and pubic hair and stretch marks and the audacity of our breasts to obey gravity as we age? I cannot even dislodge the word vagina from my mouth without blushing. This is no way to be a woman, to have parts unspeakable–I was not crafted to be malediction in the mouths of men. I pray that my daughter learns herself deeply, loves herself thoroughly, and revels in the parts that make her a woman.
For the full list head over to TrulyTafakari.com
For more from wife, mama and word ninja Dara Tafakari, check out trulytafakari.com where you can find Dara’s writing on the crazy collisions of life, race, popular culture, and the occasional nerd activity–with an offbeat dose of humor and clarity.
Every woman has these moments in her life that either make her realize she’s totally gained her confidence, she’s lost all sense of shame (in a great, great way) or she just doesn’t put up with BS anymore. Here are 15 funny and true moments of becoming a woman.
Do you remember these hang out spots from back in the day? Whether you’re from the east coast, west coast, or third coast, these are the places where you really grew up.
Believe it or not, people aren’t as impressed as you might think they are that you’re still wearing the same jeans that you wore in high school. Same size…perhaps. Same jeans? Certainly not. Even the same style of jeans isn’t necessarily impressive. Baggy and loose-fitting; boundless bell bottoms; low-rise hip huggers–they’re all styles that we reminisce about, but aren’t styles that we need to revisit. That said, some of my favorite clothes have been with me since George Bush was in office…and don’t even ask which one.
Mass media demands eternal youth, particularly from women. The obsession to wind back the hands of time has launched countless beauty care campaigns, employed a cumbersome amount of plastic surgeons, and encouraged the development of incalculable weight loss products and regimens. Worse yet, the desire to be perpetually young has caused an unwavering immaturity in some. It has convinced many women that they should dress like their 15-year-old little sisters, and it has prompted men to wear ill-fitting jogging pants and gym shorts on the daily.
Dressing like an adult is a right…nay, an obligation. That doesn’t mean that you have to retire all of your young adult gear, but Rainbow store-grade crop tops went out with Yung Joc and his motorcycle dance from the “It’s Going Down” video.
Perhaps you’re 40 and you dress like you’re Rihanna, or you’re 25 and you’re dressed like Hannah Montana. The issue at hand isn’t that you can’t dress as young as you feel, but that you need to represent yourself in a way that earns you respect from not only your peers, but from people younger than you. You shouldn’t be surprised that you’re the main attraction when you saunter past the local high school if you’re still wearing glitter butterfly clips, bandanas, and slogan T-shirts that read, “My haters are my biggest fans” and “YOLO.”
Again, none of this suggests that you’re resigned to wearing sweater vests, button-ups, knee-length skirts and penny loafers. This simply means that you need to wear clothes that fit your lifestyle and fit you, even if that means admitting that you’re a size or two larger than the stuff you put on when you leave the house. It also means replacing your shoes when the soles have worn out before they’re just frames around your foot. Learn to hone a mature personal style that embodies your personality and a sense of comfort, and is well-assembled. Simple dresses with fun prints go a long way; well-fitting plain shirts can be sexy; jackets that gently hit the hip but fit around the waist and/or bust are everything; and, great sandals and boots can ignite any outfit. Keep the tights for wearing around the house, store the fringe tops and burn anything that makes you look half your age–and not in a good way.
You can’t help but smile at a bubbly 20 year old, wanting to be seen and heard and liked and drunk. They’re like a bright light in a dark room. A really, really, bright, florescent light that you can’t keep out of your face! Luckily, as we get older, we realize that less is more in almost every area of life. We slow down, we quiet down; we look down instead of having to chat up every single person we pass. Here are 14 ways we realize less is more as we age.