All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
By Jorian Seay
True story: I was having a day from hell. Truth is, for a couple of weeks I had been stressed to the max. The tough juggling act of being a single mom, dealing with personal issues and a demanding job were, quite frankly, killing me softly. So, one evening, after a long, trying day, I came home and tried to begin unwinding. I sat my then-10-month-old son in the middle of my living room floor with some of his favorite toys so he could entertain himself for a little while. Then, in attempt to relax, I threw off my shoes and kicked back on my couch.
This day was particularly burdensome, as I had to handle some pretty serious business. I had made mention of this to a few of my friends, one of whom e-mailed me just to see how my day had gone.
Her exact words, “So how’d everything go today?”
Innocent, right? Well, for some reason, those five words broke the levees to my emotions. Not even one second later, I burst into tears. And not just any kind of tears, oh no, these were big, huge crocodile tears!
And they kept flowing. And with time, their stream began to overtake my face. My cheeks were as red as a pepper. I was literally crying out, releasing all of the stress I had managed to bottle up for God knows how long. At this point, my son, who before then had never seen me cry, had a worried look on his face and crawled over to me. He snuggled up against me as if to let me know that everything would be ok. And, yep, you guessed it, this made me cry even harder. (Go figure!)
Normally, I am a fairly non-emotional being. I’m not a crier, I am a bottle-er, I house all of my feelings wherever they can fit inside. I don’t like to acknowledge how I am really feeling and tend to handle my business and the residual angst or stress off. But this day, my feelings caught up with me and for about 5 minutes, I let it all out.
Afterward, I felt such great relief. I let it all go and felt as if I could make it one more day. I really could juggle it all and be the best me for both my son and myself. The more I cried, the stronger I felt. And now, I am a believer in a good cry (in moderation, of course).
Crying is not a sign of weakness, as many of us ambitious, type-A women feel. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is an acknowledgment that you, like everyone else, have a breaking point and from time-to-time could use a nice break; a woo-sah moment, if you will.
Dr. Jane Bolton summed it up pretty well in a Psychology Today article titled, “Crying for Mental Health,” she says, “Crying may be the strongest act of self-healing and self-nurturing. Tears of grief nourish the seeds of growth. The direct opposite of self-pity, healthy crying is the natural method of self-renewal.”
I have to agree with Bolton. Acknowledging your feelings, be them good, bad or in-between, is an act of self-love. Confronting your fears, your trials and even your triumphs allow you to embrace each and every experience and allows for initiation of the growing, learning and maturing processes.
We’ve all had those end-of-the-road days. As women, mothers, working people, lovers and friends, it is important for us to take the time to deal with our mental spaces and allow moments of overwhelming stress and grief to take their course. So, if you feel like crying, go ahead, girl! Let it all out. Trust me, in the end, (while you may have to sleep with cucumbers on your eyes to combat the redness and puffiness), you’ll feel a million times better (and will have the best sleep of your life)!
Jorian L. Seay resides in Chicago with her fiesty baby boy. Twitter: @thatJORIANgirl
This is a battle that every mother has to face. Whether it’s the morning madness of getting your children ready for school, or if you’re trying to make it on time to an appointment. Let’s just also mention the fact that sometimes we just don’t want to waste a lot of time getting up and out of the door. It’s tedious enough trying to keep yourself on a set schedule. When you factor in small children (and even teenagers) into your equation, it creates a circus of things to juggle while trying to get everyone set and ready to go. As moms, we have enough on our plate, which is why it is always important to find a way to make things run as smooth as possible.
There’s nothing more rewarding to a mom than watching her well-prepared plan/routine unfold seamlessly. Ok, well maybe not seamlessly, but with the minimum amount of bumps in the road as possible. Adding a toddler to my family dynamic caused me to do some major renovations to my routine that I’d conquered over the years. It has now taken about a year for me to create a new system that works extremely well on getting my two boys and I out of the house in under an hour. Here are 7 mama’s life hacks that can help your process move a little faster and easier.
Create a designated area at home that caters to everyone’s devices. iPhone, tablets, wireless headphones, etc. should all be charged the night before so that everyone can grab their gadgets and go. This will cut down on the delay of trying to stay in the house/car longer to get a full charge.
All bags at the door the night before. Your purse, work bags, diaper bags and bookbags should all be lined up at the door…ready to grab and go. The only thing that you’ll need to add to the bags in the morning are cold snacks, sippy cups/bottles and juice boxes.
Meals On The Go
Another great grab and go method is to take your meals on the road. A smoothie prepared the night before, a fruit cup/bowl or even mini toaster waffles. Whatever can be consumed with a minimum amount of mess is ideal for this technique. A hot home cooked meal for dinner will make up for this quick morning fix.
Mom is the captain of her ship and the kids are her little soldiers. Anyone that is old enough to walk and talk, should have some form of responsibility. No matter how big or small, every little bit helps to make this cycle a success. Explain responsibilities the night before to be sure that everyone is on the same page when it’s time to head out.
Remember laying your new clothes out on the bed for the first day of school? All you had to do was wake up and roll out. Use that same method for both you and your children. Nothing delays my day more than trying to figure out what I’m going to wear. Preparing ahead saves on so much time and energy.
Get A Head Start
Waking up early or just getting a head start before everyone else, gives you the advantage to keep everything on track. Any distractions that may come your way can be addressed without throwing you off schedule. Get a good night’s sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day.
With all of these key factors to keep in control, be sure to prioritize to keep a method within the madness. Prioritize the details of your routine by giving 10-15 minute time limits for every task. This will help keep everyone on the same page, in the car and on time.
I never fully understood what people meant when they said that their children made them better people until I had my daughter. Three years ago, I can accurately say that everything about my life BB (Before Baby) changed after I gave birth. Sure, I read books (lots of them) and sought advice from friends (most of whom kept it real), but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.
I believe the proper term to describe my state of mind for the first few in in life AB (After Baby) is “shell shock.” I missed my old life, but at the same time, I had a beautiful new baby girl. Once I got past the sleep deprivation, my focus shifted from trying to fit my her into my previous life as I knew it to creating a new model based on what would work best for her. The fact that my life was never going to be the same was a blessing that I embraced.
While this list will never be complete, here are five beautiful ways that motherhood has changed my life for the better:
- I get up earlier. I was never an early bird, so this was a major gamechanger for me. Even though my daughter sleeps through the night, I get up at least two hours earlier than she does (around 5:00 a.m.) to meditate, plan out my day, catch up on my shows and even a little work before the craziness begins.
- I’m a better planner and organizer. Although I used to be a complete “go with the flow” type, these days, I need a plan and an organizational system in place. I don’t have to follow everything to a “T,” but I find that our whole household runs and looks better when Mommy has it together (or at least gives the appearance that she does).
- I’m more motivated than ever. I started BambiniWare while I was on maternity leave. At the time, I had no idea at the time that it would grow into what it’s become. It was my daughter, and the example that I wanted to set for her, that motivated me to go for it. I’m a better person because of who she is and who she inspires me to be. Every morning, she pushes me to make each day better than the last.
- I’m more efficient with my time. Since I already know that I’m working with limited time, I’m much more efficient with managing my calendar and saying “no” in the process. These days, I live by a saying that I once read, “If it doesn’t make me happy, make me better or make me money, I don’t have time for it.” #liberated
- I take better care of myself. It didn’t take me long to figure out that if I didn’t take care of myself that I would be no good for my daughter. In order to maintain my sanity, I started discovering fun ways to sneak in a little “me” time during the course of my daily routine, something I didn’t do nearly enough of in my BB life. Now, no matter what goes on in my day, I’m taking care of myself too.
Riche Holmes Grant is the designer behind the BambiniWare line of smart + stylish baby gear designed to make life easier for the modern mom. When she’s not busy taking orders from her toddler boss, she’s blogging about Life in the Mommy Lane, contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler creations in her BambiniWare Apronini. Riche lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and daughter, Riley, via @BambiniWare!
For whatever reason, some people who work traditional 9-to-5 jobs think those of us who collect a check from home are kicking back as if we have a day off and nothing to do. In the words of Maury Povich, the lie detector determined… that was a lie.
Working from home seems like a piece of cake, I get it. There are certain perks that come with being a stay-at-home entrepreneur or telecommuter. For starters, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear and whether or not traffic will be a mother heading into the office. I for one was never a heels type of gal and enjoy walking into my office on the daily with leggings and a casual shirt.
Regardless of what you think or heard, working from home isn’t always a walk in the park. Sure it does give you freedom from office drama and a boss breathing down your neck, but my oh my does it come with its own can of worms.
While it might look like I’m living the glamorous life to friends and family, those who are in my inner circle know it comes with a cost. For starters, my hours tend to be longer than most people I know who work in a traditional office. Some of my girlfriends stare at the clock to leave for the day while I’m trying to remember if I made dinner so I can put in a few extra hours. Weekend tasks are an unfortunate but sometimes necessary reality as you might need to do a little more in order to get ahead. Since I run my own show, if something doesn’t get done, it falls on my shoulders to do it. You can’t “milk the clock” and still collect a check. If you don’t deliver, you don’t get paid.
And let’s not even talk about vacations or maternity leave. Those who are business owners or in the freelance world typically have to work on the double in order to cover the days they plan to miss. With five weeks to go in my second pregnancy and plans for celebrating my wedding anniversary out of town, I can’t tell you how many nights I had to burn the midnight oil in order to make sure things will be on auto-pilot. Some of my gal pals who recently had children are fortunate enough to work for jobs that have paid maternity leave. With my first child, I “took off” two weeks. This time around I hope to be able to have at least a month since I’ll have two children under two.
Speaking of children, if you’re a work-from-home mommy, there’s really not much of a break you get. Yes I truly count my blessings when it comes to not paying childcare, but good gracious work days tend to double when you throw a little one into the mix. I actually know a few stay-at-home moms who made the decision to go back to work so they could get a little more peace during the day to concentrate on their jobs.
I’ll never complain about my ability to work from home. I’m living a dream. That doesn’t mean the dream doesn’t come without a cost, or affords me additional hours in the day to kick back and be lazy.
Can anyone else relate?
By Michelle No
To her 240,000+ international social media followers, Alex Elle (as Alexandra Smith is more commonly known) is the face of pure bliss. On any given day her Instagram feed showcases her six-year-old daughter Charleigh’s (pronounced Charlie) toothy smile, while a tweet proclaims a truism from her bestselling book, “Words From a Wanderer.” (“If you are unsure of who you are, you will easily get lost in others.”) Collectively her digital output encourages self-love and resilience and regularly doles out positive affirmations.
“I try my best to only spread words and images that will incite happiness, positivity, love, and peace among people,” Alex Elle explains. “It’s part of my personality.”
Despite the cheer of her online persona, the self-published poet and author endured dark formative years which bear little resemblance to her current circumstances. An early high school graduate who enrolled in community college when she was 17, Alex Elle grew up an old soul. But she soon found herself in the most adult of circumstances—unexpectedly pregnant.
“I was kind of [a] statistic: young, African-American woman pregnant by age 18, you know what I mean?” Alex Elle says now. “I was depressed and lost a lot of weight even during my pregnancy. During what she calls “probably my worst point,” her mother suggested she get a late-term abortion. (“I’m pro-choice, but I said no because that is really, really not a good thing,” she says.)
She describes her second book, Love in My Language, as “longer, more personal, and more transparent” than her first. Equipped with 124 pages of self-discovery, Alex shares with you some of her deepest and darkest moments that are intertwined with faith, hope and finding her light. This body of work explores Alex’s journey of being a young mother with baggage and daddy issues, all the while trying to find her way and purpose in life
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mother?
My teen years were really difficult for me: being 17 and pregnant, 18 giving birth, and 19 trying to figure out what I was doing. I graduated at age 16 because I hated high school and [I was] in a rush to be grown and be out in the world. I get to college at age 17 and it completely was not the right choice for me to make. I wasn’t focused, I wasn’t really into it, and I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work for myself. But being impressionable, I was like, “You know what, I’m gonna go to school and find my footing there.” Trying to come into the woman I am today, it took a lot. It took a lot of wasted money, wasted energy, wasted time, and a whole bunch of failures, before things really started to look up for me.
For the full interview, go to mater mea.
All my life, I’ve been the “good girl.” That’s not to say I’m perfect or I’ve never done anything foul in my life. Being a good girl has more to do with the conventions you follow and the perceptions you fulfill. And after playing this role almost my entire life, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not something I want to model for my daughter. I’ve decided I don’t want to teach her to be a good girl.
What could be so bad about being a “good girl?” It’s got the word “good” in it, right? I liken it to the nice guy syndrome. Most guys will firmly agree “nice guys finish last” and bad boys get all the girls. When I have asked some nice guys I know who are happily married, with children, whether they believe they finished last, they can never tell me. It’s complicated, they say.
I agree, it is complicated.
I sometimes wonder what my adolescence would have been like if I didn’t have the classification of “good girl” to live up to. Girls learn early how to classify themselves, so boys and men will know which ones of us are “okay” to abuse. Much of our early education on being a proper “lady” started with, “Good girls don’t…”
But half the time, good girls actually do: have sex and enjoy it. Good girls do have children out of wedlock. Good girls do have tattoos and become mothers and ride Harleys. Good girls do let a cuss word slip, hallelujah. Good girls do make the same “mistakes” as bad girls and are no less valuable. The line of demarcation is not as straight as we would think.
Without the threat of the bad girl, “good girls” have no leverage. There has to be That girl you consider yourself better than because she does X and you don’t do that (because you’re a “good girl.”) We rattle off all the consequences bad girls will reap. You wear short clothes, so you deserve to get raped / catcalled / knocked up 50-leven times / beaten up by your lover. We are taught that “bad girls” deserve/earn mistreatment. And that conditioning follows us through adulthood. I hear it when grown women talk about “them h**s” as if “hoes” are a third gender class.
And there is also the resentful “these h**s stay winning” saying to affirm that belief.
Underlying the designation of “good girl” is the expectation “good” things will come to you. We believe we’ll be spared heartbreak because we are “good girls.” That’s not how it works. But “good girls” do get taken advantage of by men. There is no magic separation between “good” and “bad” that saves you from scumbags. And that whole setup, the promise that if we are good enough girls, we’ll find that one guy to treat us right because we aren’t bad… isn’t a surefire formula.
In this way, it’s similar to the belief being a nice guy will get automatically get you a nice girl. When that doesn’t exactly happen, people are confused, bitter. I can cook. I can clean. I keep myself nice. I have a job. I’m smart. I’m attractive. I don’t sleep around. Why isn’t anyone noticing me? When we add up our qualifications like a bill, we expect someone to pay us the reward for our obedience to social norms.
I don’t want to teach my daughter to buy into this behavior-reward system rife with disappointments and misconceptions.
However, I can truthfully say making good decisions in my life has gotten me a lot farther than being a “good girl” has. They are not the same thing. I had to stop holding myself up against other people and believing I deserved better in life than them. I just had to believe I deserved good in life, period, not because I followed all the rules.
I want to teach my daughter to be good regardless of the people around her, because that’s who she wants to be, who God wants her to be. She will never have the silent insult of “bad girl” hanging over her head from me like an anvil. She will have enough labels to navigate anyway.
Originally published at 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.
I am a Black woman and I am infertile. I am not alone. There are many others like me, Black women, who are in the throes of their infertility journey. They are my sisters. They feel the way I felt…scared, hopeless, sad and alone. They don’t know where to turn and they are giving up hope that they will ever realize their dreams of becoming mothers.
There’s a stance for some in the African-American community that looks down upon the “airing of one’s dirty laundry”, which basically means we don’t share intimate details of our lives with others. We don’t put our business on blast. We are told to keep quiet, straighten our backs and keep it moving. We’re supposed to be strong black women, right?
Well where does that leave the Black woman who is challenged with infertility? Is she weak because she cries herself to sleep every night because of her inability to get pregnant? Is she strong because she suffers in silence and doesn’t share her pain with her loved ones?
I was faced with those very questions during my infertility crisis and I didn’t know where to turn. And forget about finding a plethora of online places of support for women who looked like me…black women. They were few and far between. I was so thankful for sites like fertilityforcoloredgirls and thebrokenbrownegg. They offered me a mirror. I saw women, black women, who like me, were doing their best to work through the murky waters that infertility can be.
Because I knew, firsthand, the depths of despair that a diagnosis of infertility can take you, I wanted to do something. I wanted to reach out to my sisters and let them know that they were not alone. I needed them to know that it was ok for them to feel scared and unsure. It was imperative to me that they knew that they could and should speak up about their infertility. Because by doing so, they could set themselves free from its grasp. Forget about this “airing of dirty laundry” business. There is nothing dirty about infertility and I was determined to change that.
And I am doing just that.
In 2015, I partnered with Resolve: The National Infertility Association as an Ambassador. My role was to educate, support and encourage those faced with the challenge of infertility. It continues to be a cause dear to my heart. My main focus is on the African-American community as I personally feel we need more of a voice and a presence when it comes to this disease. Not just in our country, but in our families and inner circles. Too many of us are suffering in silence, unaware that there is help and options out there for us. Resolve was a beacon of light for me during my infertility journey and I hope that, together, we can be that beacon of light for other African-American women who may be suffering with infertility.
I realized my dream of motherhood in 2013 after suffering for six long years with infertility. My husband and I powerfully chose to build our family with the use of anonymous egg donor. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was and is the best choice we’ve ever made. Our twins sons are the loves of our lives and we are thrilled that we get to be their parents. Though my journey was fraught was so many emotions, I wouldn’t change a thing about it because it brought me to my sons. It is my honor to share our story with other African-American women and couples dealing with a similar path.
April 24-30 2016 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Help spread the message with #StartAsking.
For additional support, please visit www.resolve.org.
Do you know any black women with infertility?
Tomiko Fraser Hines is a mother, wife, model, actress, and motivational speaker. When faced with infertility, Tomiko chose to share her story openly and honestly with the public. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she currently resides in Los Angeles—where she plays her most passionate role yet—mother to twins Kaden and Bryce and wife to her husband Chris.
When it comes to fertility myths, there are a lot of stories out there. Girlfriends, grandmothers, and well-meaning co-workers all seem to have something to say when it comes to the subject of pregnancy. They tried it, they think you should try it, and they believe that you should try it much sooner than later. You know, before it’s allegedly too late.
And sometimes, pregnancy myths stick around for so long that even doctors think that they’re true. So how are you supposed to separate the fact from the fiction? Oh, the struggle.
We’ve rounded up some of the most common fertility myths out there and gotten down to the truth of the matter. And even baby experts might be surprised at the pregnancy facts that we all thought were true but turned out not to be — at least not according to all of the research and findings on the subject.
All moms can agree, parenting stress is inevitable, but the last thing you want is for your baby, toddler, kid, or teen to feel is the impact of your stress. Author and founder of Stress Free Kids Lori Lite says “the constant juggling act between work and home can take a toll on your personal health, and chip away at your family unity. Stress depletes your mental and physical energy-key elements needed to maintain a productive work level and cohesive family.” To avoid the depletion of your mental and physical energy, Lite suggests in her latest five-star parent’s guide a few small things that moms can do during the day to take care of themselves.
Get out of the kitchen!
You don’t always have to grab lunch at home. Lite suggests stepping out and grabbing a bite to eat with a friend “meet other working moms for lunch or attend networking events. By speaking with others, you get out of your own head.”
Surround yourself with dreamkeepers
While you are out, make sure you’re in good company. A great way to nurture yourself during the day is to focus on your goals as well. Lite says “spend your time and share your ideas with friends and relatives who believe in you. A positive attitude supported by positive people will help manifest positive results.”
Outsource and hire help
When time permits, get help mommy. Search the web and hire help. Lite says “realize you cannot be an expert in every area. Hire help on an as-needed basis, or consider what tasks you can delegate at work. Even one hour a week of offloading or outsourcing can free up precious time you can use to revitalize your soul.”
Take a moment to read an inspirational passage
Renewing your mind with inspirational passages is a great way to block out negative thoughts. Take time out to review and mediate on an inspirational passage that is sure to motivate you.
Avoid stress by staying as prepared as possible. “When you have an important deadline or task at work, carve the necessary time out of your day to be prepared,” says Lite. Preparation reduces worrying and mistakes.
Dress for success
If you are a work-at-home-mom or a stay-at-home-mom, don’t stay in your PJs, get dressed, it will help with your mood. Lite says “when you look successful and pulled together, you will feel more positive and upbeat.”
Speak from the heart
Always use your voice and speak up. Always speaking from your heart can avoid miscommunications. Lite says “when you are truly heard, miscommunication is far less likely to occur–decreasing the potential for the stress caused by misunderstandings or untruths.”
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?