All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
Motherhood is the ultimate gift from the universe. The cycle of giving and nurturing life: having babies, loving babies, teaching babies and having them ultimately go off to school, get a job and move out. But what if the unthinkable happens? You realize that you are no longer an empty nester. Your eggs are still cooking and you are about to become a mom (again) in your 40s?
Meet Berenice Mabrey-Ojo, CEO of Precise Management, a Baltimore agency specializing in strategic marketing and sponsorship campaigns for corporate brands. Mabrey-Ojo looks like a supermodel: tall, beautiful and stylish, with an intoxicating smile. She has been married for 19 years (second marriage) with a couple of grown kids (ages 24 and 33) and is finally embracing motherhood the second time around. “Having a child in my 40s was unexpected. I can laugh now and say it was gift to my hubby. I love my baby. However, the newness of being a ‘seasoned’ mom wore off real fast. I had to accept that. I truly was in love with my old life and that was challenging to accept at first,” says Mabrey-Ojo.
Real Talk: How many of us can honestly say that motherhood is everything you thought it would be, especially when your career/brand is put on hold after having a child in your 40s the second time around?
Recently, I chatted with Mabrey-Ojo about getting back on track mentally, spiritually and professionally.
MadameNoire: How are you doing?
Berenice Mabrey-Ojo: I am doing much better. I am almost 50, my daughter is in the first grade and the anxiety is being kept at bay. In the beginning, I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t breathe. My heart was constantly racing and I felt that I had lost control of my life.
MN: How did you press RESET?
BMO: I had to press stop. Stop beating up on myself, stop hiding my feelings and start communicating with my hubby that this was a challenging period and I needed all hands on deck.
MN: What are some of the lessons you learned to help get back on track?
BMO: This might sound corny but everything gets better with time. I love my baby, now little girl. She is a blessing but when the unexpected happens, you simply gotta put your trust and faith in God and ask for help.
MN: How did your business outlook change during the early stages of raising your daughter?
BMO: Great question. Taking the time off to raise my daughter the first few years allowed me to gain clarity, redefine my business model, research child-friendly brands and rewrite my personal goals. Prior to having Leila, I was traveling often, always rushing to an appointment, but now I utilize technology to interface with clients and work smarter to spend quality time with the family.
Berenice Mabrey-Ojo Tips To #RESET After A Surprise Pregnancy:
1) Take routine walks with the baby and breathe. Exercise and yoga will save you and reduce stress.
2) Daycare or a nanny is imperative, even if it’s just for two to three hours. Do something exclusively for you once a week.
3) Sleep every chance you get.
4) Make love to your husband and channel that inner sexy.
5) Join a support group, ‘cause you are not alone.
6) Wine. That’s good mommy medicine after the kids have gone to bed. No drinking and driving.
7) Pray and pray.
8)Enjoy your gift. Many people try to conceive each day.
Reset: Mothers are not perfect. We are all a work in progress, especially us career moms on hiatus. Just be honest with yourself and know that all will be okay.
Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.
Life always has a funny way of presenting opportunities when you least expect them.
Last year was quite the memorable one in my household considering I had my first child in January, my husband and I moved our family cross country in May, and we found out we were expecting baby number two (coming in early June). I guess you can say we were very busy in 2014!
Life has since slowed down a bit with all of us falling into a groove. Things have been very great considering my husband and I both work from home and we’re able to balance work demands (I work for myself and he telecommutes) and parenthood. We have our health, our loving family and the financial capability to plan and invest for our future. Hey, you don’t have to be the Huxtables to make moves.
So what’s missing?
I have felt like a broken record these last few years because I have been dying to go to graduate school. You would think the timing would be better before popping out babies, but it actually wasn’t. There were too many things up in the air. I kinda gave up on my “dream” once my son was born because I knew I would be too focused on parenting to dedicate any time to school. Part of me also thought it was a bit selfish.
Well folks, it seems like an opportunity has presented itself that actually seems to fit in my puzzle of a life. Our new home is not too far from a major university that offers some of the most affordable in-state tuition prices I have seen. In doing the math, I would be able to take a graduate course once a semester and finish in three years — provided I also take a class during winter and summer sessions. The campus also happens to be close to an accredited learning center that has a Spanish immersion program that’s perfect for our sons (my husband and I are are about the bilingual life). It will be especially good for our toddler to spend time with other children twice a week as he’s home with us all the time. Thankfully this location caters to the needs of matriculating parents; they appear to work with different schedules so we don’t need full-time care.
In the grand scheme of things, this does sound crazy… but not impossible. I actually know of other mothers who were able to start a business and go back to school sometimes without the help of a spouse or partner. There will always be something that will scare you into a reason why you shouldn’t pursue your dreams. Sure it’s important to weigh all your options, but don’t wait for that “perfect” time. There’s no such thing.
With regards to my situation, finances are thankfully in order where we’re paying bills, saving for a house and investing in our children’s college future. Moving from the New York City area and to a location with a lower cost of living definitely helps. The degree I eventually obtain will come in handy as I would like to head back into an office once the kiddos start school and need an advanced degree to couple with my experience.
Have you ever considered doing something, but were too afraid the timing wasn’t right?
I always knew I wanted to have children close together, but didn’t think it would happen this quickly. This time last year, my husband and I were making last minute plans in anticipation of our son. The heavens must have opened because I had a very easy pregnancy with a healthy weight gain (just under 20 pounds), minimal nausea, the ability to continue with my workouts and a natural (med-free) childbirth. I jokingly told myself if pregnancy would be like this every time I would happily carry a child every year.
Well here I am a year later with a 10-month-old and a child on the way. I promise I’m not crazy!
If you speak to my husband, he would have liked to wait two years before going for the second child. But once our son started transitioning into the beginning stages of being a toddler, he didn’t think he would have the energy to push the reset button down the road. Thus, he was cool with waiting just a year.
Every parent knows a child takes work and energy. Our son reached milestones earlier than expected (began eating solids at three months and started walking at eight months) which was a “sign” to my mother another child would be in the cards. “He’s getting out of the way for the next one,” she said. Who believes old wives’ tales?
When reality set in I was pregnant again (our son was eight months old at the time), there were mixed emotions. The first was obviously joy. Children are a blessing. I love being a mother and am so thankful for the opportunity to be one.
Then the thought, “Holy crap we’re going to have two kids in diapers” began to settle in. Even though we both work from home (definitely great to save on daycare), could we handle a 16 month old and a newborn? Would it be too much? There was obviously no turning back. Our little bean is here to stay. The good news is we made a big move months ago to an area with a lower cost of living that will surely help our money stretch. Diapers are no joke!
I then started to think about all the positives of having children closer together in age. For starters, we have just about all of the items we need. Sure we’ll have to purchase new clothes if we have a girl, but we have many leftover goodies from our son we can put to good use. We started a 529 college savings plan for our son and will do the same for our baby on the way so their money can grow over the years. As much as handling a toddler and a newborn seems impossible, it is very doable.
While I can only imagine the craziness that will come with two little children running around my house, I know the bond they will develop is going to be worth it. I adore my little sister, but I wish we didn’t have 10 years between us. I have seen families with siblings close in age who later grow up to have their children (also close in age) play together.
In the end, the age difference between children will be up to the parents. There’s certainly nothing wrong with waiting several years before you pop out another one. For my husband and I, we wanted to strike while the iron was hot–and our bones less achy.
A couple of days ago I came across Jezebel’s article: “What Former Sl*ts Tell Their Daughters About Sex.” Not only did the title intrigue me but it made me think about the type of language we use to describe women who are sexually liberated. It also made me reminisce on a conversation I had with my Caribbean mother, as I inquired about her sex life. Of course she shut that down promptly and told me women do not kiss and tell — words I live by in my own dating life.
In their article, Jezebel investigates a Reddit Thread titled: Mothers who were promiscuous in your younger days- Did your values change once you had a daughter? Because of the word choice, the Jezebel article’s author, Tracy Moore, questioned:
“Why daughters? Why mothers? And why would dads never be asked this question about themselves or their sons? But we know why — because men still aren’t called sluts, and are often not even called promiscuous, which is just a coded word for slut and is typically used only to refer to women.”
Moore’s point moved me because as inquisitive as I am, I usually find myself asking my mother or aunts about their sex lives back in the day rather than my father or uncles. Reason being, the latter party has biologically shown me they had what appears to be a great time based on the number of siblings or cousins I have. Also, my father and uncles are more open about their sexual exploits (minus inappropriately awkward details I don’t want or need to know) because they were raised among men who freely traded stories about their sexual relations. Using my own family as an example, I understand the importance of the Reddit thread, which doesn’t necessarily focus on the juicy details of parents’ sex lives, but offers communication about how a person uses and treats their own sexuality based on personal or cultural measuring sticks. Two Reddit users responded to the question of their values changing by stating:
Yes and no, while I cringe at the thought of her being a sexual being, I understand that it is inevitable. I try to teach her the anatomical names of her body parts and that they are normal. I try to teach her what real love is like and to be a good example of what a woman is….other than what I’ve mentioned, I plan on being honest and thorough in all aspects of her education including sex. – Azzkerraznack
Why does the gender of the child matter?
I want the same thing for my sons and my daughters. Healthy sexual relationships with people who treat them well and are treated well in return.
I’d rather my kid have a fun ONS with an interesting, respectful stranger than spend 15 years ‘in love’ with someone who uses her and makes her miserable.- Whatim
When I brought this topic to two friends of mine who are also MadameNoire readers they responded with this insight:
I don’t consider myself to be promiscuous however, I would explain to my children when they come of age that sex is a powerful thing. It can bring a lot of pleasure and also a lot of pain. If you don’t have intentions on pursuing this particular person don’t lay with them because people’s feelings get involved and crazy things can happen. Sex can be good if done properly (I.e. birth control condoms and regular check ups) I would also tell them to be safe and take care of themselves.- M.R.
My second(and last) partner last taught me a valuable lesson:You can’t use sex to erase the heartbreak of the previous relationship and that’s what I did which is why I’ve had such a tough experience but you live and you learn which is why I’ve chosen to remain celibate for a while at least until I get my sense of self back.- L.A.
Although we can trade lessons about our sexual experiences with our peers or children, it’s also important for us to understand promiscuity does not have a concrete definition. For some, three sexual partners may be extreme whereas, 10 (or more) may seem normal. With that in mind, what sex lessons would you share with your daughters?
Ring? Check. Career? Check. Baby? Not so fast. Having a baby is a huge commitment, and definitely not one to be taken lightly. It is important that you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to parenting styles and that you as a woman are ready to shift into motherhood mode.
Before the baby bump, now is the time to go on that exotic vacation, drive that sports car and drink as much wine as possible.
Make sure that bucket list gets a few more checks before your life becomes all about that little bundle of joy, and enjoy your partner as much as possible while it’s still just the two of you. Check out our checklist of 20 things to do before having a baby.
Read more life before motherhood at StyleBlazer.com
People always question whether or not it’s possible to love unconditionally, but actress Tia Mowry says that’s exactly what becoming a mother taught her how to do.
“I really learned what unconditional love is and really was,” Tia told The Jasmine Brand. “If my husband was cooking and he had a raw egg in his hand and it fell on the floor, I would be like ‘What the hell?!’ but if my son did that, I would be like, ‘Aww baby that’s okay, that’s alright honey we’ll pick it up’. So you learn how to love unconditionally and I’ve been applying that to my everyday life so that’s what I’ve learned.”
Speaking of love, the former “Game” actress also said that losing love is one of her biggest fears.
“One of my biggest fears would have to be to not be loved,” Tia revealed. “I think love, when you’re in love, when you are loved, it’s definitely a piece of heaven and when that’s taken away from you it’s really not a good thing.
So, I fear that the world would lose love, stop learning how to love unconditionally, stop learning how to love all races, all socio-economical statuses, all sexual preferences, that’s my fear—that this world will turn into a world full of hate because love is amazing and it’s beautiful.”
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
In 2011, The United States Breastfeeding Committee (yes, this is a real group) made August National Breastfeeding Month. As a mom who has breastfed two children, I am excited about the month-long celebration of breastfeeding. And though online activism is one of the best ways to share information and be an active advocate, when I explore some social media sites and online forums, I notice that there are breastfeeding moms who shame formula feeding moms and call them “selfish” and “ignorant.” This unfortunate name-calling undermines the importance of promoting breastfeeding. Advocating for the benefits of breast milk can and should be done without bashing other mothers in the process.
It is not okay to attack formula feeding moms because some women have no choice but to use formula for various reasons. Some women use formula to some degree due to serious illness, medications, or unsolvable lactation issues. Other moms cut nursing short or supplement with formula because they are returning to a work environment that is not conducive to pumping milk. Assuming that everyone who uses formula is lazy and a failure makes advocates look uninformed. Breastfeeding supporters should spend time exploring reasons some moms can’t breastfeed. Becoming educated about barriers to breastfeeding can help advocates share information in a tactful way. Once an advocate is cognizant of other women’s struggles, blanket statements about formula usage should be replaced with compassionate language towards other mom’s struggles. Showing compassion to moms who were unable to fulfill their desire to breastfeed is an extension of the unconditional love and support that motherhood represents.
Conversely, there are women who do have a choice, but don’t know which choice to make. Many misinformed and undecided moms-to-be may need advice from mothers with breastfeeding experience. Or, an inexperienced nursing mom may need seasoned veterans to help with cluster-feeding issues and milk supply woes. When mommy experts waste time engaging in battles with “anti-breastfeeding” Internet trolls and lambaste women who are even considering formula, they can’t offer the help other women desperately need. Incessant online wars and nasty attitudes don’t belong in a space intended for camaraderie. If advocates want to draft new moms onto “Team Mommy’s Milk,” then they have to dedicate time toward reaching out to women with solid information.
Having an arsenal of great information is a powerful tool to help other moms. But, if a nursing activist has quality facts to share with another mommy, it won’t be well-received if the information is mixed in with callous statements about formula feeding moms. Think about how most people perceive PETA and their wayward campaigning. Although PETA often provides valuable information, they are more known for their inflammatory statements than their facts. Likewise, if a breastfeeding aficionado pushes an anti-formula agenda, then focus ends up being taken off of the pro-breastfeeding agenda and, the ultimate message (“Breastfeeding is awesome”) is lost. Pro-breastfeeding ladies should also avoid taking the “I nursed my kids, so I am a better mom than you” approach. Throwing in pretentious statements among information is not the way to encourage others to forgo formula. Instead, an advocate should stick to promoting the benefits of breast milk for both mommy and baby.
As August flies by and National Breastfeeding Month is recognized across the country, people who support the breast milk movement should focus on the many Twitter “hashtag” activities, chats, and events taking place. There will be detractors and skeptics, but this month is not about their agenda. It is about the pro-breastfeeding agenda! Providing advice, offering encouragement, answering questions with tact, and focusing on the beauty of nursing an infant are the best ways to champion for a wonderful cause without hurting others.
While some women choose not to breastfeed or even be unable to, these celebrity moms who breastfeed are proponents of nursing the good old fashion way and in honor of National Breastfeeding month this August, we’re shouting them out.
After NFL player Phillip Wheeler’s girlfriend was criticized for posting a pic of her breastfeeding online, actress Yaya DaCosta was outraged and posted a copy cat pic in solidarity to #NormalizeNursing. Yaya gave birth to her first child, son Sakara, with husband Josh Alafia September 12.
Whatever you think you know about life and the world is challenged the moment you introduce a new variable. For most parents, it’s the birth of your first child that let’s you know that the way you viewed the world might not have been as clear as you thought it was. Things you know about life, your parents, society and yourself will begin to become clear.
So to all of you parent readers, potential parents, and others who are slightly curious, here are 14 (kind of harsh) revelations that come the moment the doctor hands you your bundle.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my pregnancy experience it’s that everyone has their own journey. It’s great to get pointers from other mothers on what to expect and how things will go, but in the end your body is going to do what your body will do. It’s been five months since I had my first child, a son, and, thankfully, I was able to remain active on the exercise front throughout the entire pregnancy, and give birth without meds after being in the hospital for seven hours.
The pregnancy and birthing experience was similar to what some of my girlfriends told me I could expect, but one area that didn’t pan out quite how I thought was my desire for sex. Now let me preface this by saying I don’t have the sex drive and sadly — for my husband at least — did not experience the increased libido I’ve heard other pregnant ladies brag about. My husband and I had sex throughout the entire pregnancy but we weren’t hanging from chandeliers or anything — not that I could. What’s funny is how many sexual dreams I began to have after my pregnancy that made me feel like a teenager. “Why on Earth was I thinking about bumpin’ and grindin’ when I have a child?” I thought. “I just gave birth!”
Even though I was back in the gym within a few weeks of giving birth, I made the decision to wait the full six to eight weeks before I could open up my stairway to heaven below. Regardless of your pregnancy experience, if you delivered vaginally then you know how sore your lady part gets – and how long it feels sore. God bless my husband for being patient (what else could he do), but I surely did play double dutch with my emotions. One day I was ready to give sex a try only to take it back out of fear.
I’m not gonna lie, the first time after giving birth felt like the first time ever. I was awkward and very fearful that I was going to rip something – even though my stitches had already dissolved. After the second time I felt a bit silly. “What am I doing?” I said to myself. “No man part is going to break my sweet Nancy.” And then it dawned on me, I just gave birth, got my snatch back within three weeks and proudly joined the mother’s club. What do I have to be fearful of? If men think there’s something sexy about a pregnant woman then us ladies need to think there’s something even hotter about a mother who gave birth. Our bodies change, we get more curves, and we are now in charge of this little blessing of life.
From then on I started to think about myself in a new light – one with self-confidence and awareness. Damnit I looked good for being someone’s mother and didn’t need to wear a MILF t-shirt to show it. It was this confidence that made love making with my husband all the more special. I switched up my intimate apparel, made sure to stay fresh and ready by way of Vagisil’s Moisturizing Wash, and became this new woman around my husband. He was shocked when I would prance around him and give him a peep show once our son was sleep. Granted I didn’t do it all the time because we were both tired from waking up at night, but there was this vixen I felt needed to get out.
We had midday meetings where we didn’t make it to the bedroom and took each other in the hallway. If I heard a sensual song I would save it on my phone and add it to my “lovemaking soundtrack.” Child I even invented characters like Keisha from the South (random I know) who would twerk and ride if you know what I mean.
I reclaimed my sexual empowerment not because my husband was a good man and stuck it out, but because I deserved loving too. Our love life since the birth of our son has been wilder, more random and freakier than before. I see why Beyoncé made a grown woman’s album!
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