All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
Doesn’t it seem like we just got excited about the wonder of longer days and the taste of sweet summer corn? Now it’s time for the kids to go back to school. It’s a bittersweet time for most moms. We love our little ones to the moon and back, but once back-to-school time rolls around, we are about as ready as they are to get the school year started.
For me, this back-to-school season is one packed with excitement and emotion because my daughter is headed to the 5th grade! I’m so excited for her growth as a person and getting a great academic experience, and just an all-around incredible experience.
But now that I have purchased all the supplies, caught all the clothing sales, and bought her the coolest kicks I could find, I am just about ready to focus on my back-to-school list. Selfish? I don’t think so. I give my daughter my very best daily (okay, maybe some days I fall short), but I think it’s only right that I take the time to figure out what I need too. After all, my kid isn’t the only one dealing with the back-to-school transition.
So what’s on your mom back-to-school list? What do you want or need to make this season a lot sweeter?
Here are a few things I think every mom needs once the kids are back in school.
A spa visit. After that busy summer and those crazy road trips, you need some rest and relaxation. Summer vacation is rarely restful for moms. Even when you get some time on the beach, it’s beach time that requires you to dig for snacks, worry about waves, and reapply sunscreen. But did you know that Fall Spa Week is October 15-21? We’re about to book our service today.
If an official spa visit is not in the budget, buy a few DIY spa-worthy products like those from Belli Skincare.
Start with the Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash, a formula featuring lactic acid (an ingredient that occurs naturally in the body), green tea and cucumber to get skin pristinely clean without over drying. It’s rich in pore-cleansing ingredients that help lift away dirt and oil, while leaving the skin feeling pampered, clear and refined. ($22) This, like all Belli products, are safe to use while pregnant and while breastfeeding–all products are allergy-tested and free of paragons, BOA, phthalates and artificial dyes.
Follow up with Belli Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator, a light daily moisturizer that is rich in botanical humectants that refine and soften skin texture. It provides the antioxidant boost of vitamin C and grape seed oil for radiant, healthy-looking skin. It’s also rich with soothing chamomile to help neutralize skin irritants and has a refreshing citrus scent. ($32)
A new journal. I know it may seem cheesy to some, but stick with me. Taking the time to reflect on your day and focus on what you are grateful for is so very important. Get yourself a new notebook now and start (or continue) a great and beneficial habit. I think new seasons are a great reason for a new journal.
A mani and pedi. We are on top of our pedicures all summer long, but so many of us fall off once the weather cools down and the kids are back in school. Treat yourself to a back-to-school mani and pedi to keep yourself looking and feeling good.
A special tea treat. Whether you’re heading back-to-school yourself or getting ready for a morning meeting, DAVIDsTEA has you covered with their limited edition Back-to-Reality collection. With three brand new teas and an assortment of gifts and teamaking accessories, this collection has everything you need to get back to the daily grind in style. Our favorite of the Back To Reality collection is the pack that includes three teas: Mocha Latte, Get Smart and Super Charge, plus a pack of 10 filters and a Perfect Spoon. Each tea is packed in re-sealable bags to keep it fresh and it comes in a cool, lunch box-shaped case with a handle. ($25)
A new outfit. Just because you probably deserve it. A good-looking mom just gets through the day with a lot more ease.
A girls night out. During the summer months, you rarely get to chill with your girlfriends who also have kids. Everyone’s weekend is packed so the time just flies by. Now that school is back in session, you deserve a night out on the town so you can unwind and have some fun.
A good book. I had dreams of relaxing on the beach and reading a great new novel front to back this summer. And though I made it to the beach, the book reading never happened. Take advantage of all the great sales going on and grab a couple of books you really want to read so you can finally dig into them this fall.
What we’re into? A page-turner called “The Protector” by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Ellen Malpas (available September 6).
A great bottle of wine. Get your favorite bottle of wine, make some popcorn, pop in your favorite movie and just enjoy a quiet evening alone. I think you deserve to celebrate after making it through another super busy summer. Mommy needs to enjoy herself before she gears up for pumpkins and Halloween.
A cleanse. I don’t mean a dietary cleanse (although you may benefit from that too). I am talking about taking some time to cleanse your life and add some order. Get a whiteboard, buy a planner, download a few new apps and throw out all the crap you don’t need. What mommy needs most after a very busy summer is some clarity and peace of mind. Take the time to give yourself just that.
Reprinted with permission from Mom As Muse.
Whether you’re a single mom, a married mom, a mom of one or a mom of many, everyone’s perspective of motherhood has similarities and vast differences. We interviewed a single mother who has an adorable son, Carter. Her motto: “Whatever challenges life gives you, it’s important to always stay strong and believe in yourself.”
Mommynoire: Tell us about yourself.
Mia Payne: I’m Mia, a 28-year-old working single mom, living in the DMV. I have a six-year-old son and spend my days juggling parenting, work and a social life. I have to say, it’s exhausting! When I do have free time, I love to explore the city whether it’s drinks with friends or visiting museums with my son. I also love to cook, shop and read magazines.
Is single mom life harder than you expected?
MP: That’s a yes and no question for me. There are moments that I didn’t expect, for example when my son asks me why his father doesn’t live with us; that’s hard and I find myself struggling to find an appropriate answer. But then other times I reflect back on my pregnancy and on how far I’ve come; moments like that make me feel invincible. Fact is that no matter how many times you think about what life as a single mom may look like, you can never fully be prepared for the various obstacles that pop up. It can be scary and frustrating but it’s also very rewarding to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished.
How do you manage career and single mom life?
MP: Gladly, I have an excellent support system; my family is awesome. When I got interviewed for my current job, I decided to be upfront with my now employer and let them know that although I am a single mom and committed to my son. At the same time, I’m super driven to succeed within the company. They recognized that and are very understanding whenever anything arises regarding my responsibilities to my child.
What are some of the challenges you face?
MP: I’m raising a man whilst having no clue how to even be a man. That’s tough. But I try and just install good values and open communication. At the same time I’m still the average woman who wants to date, and enjoy nights with friends. It’s tricky at times.
How is dating as a single mother; any tips?
MP: Dating can be complicated and I’m still in the process of figuring it out. If a man understands my role as a mother first and is willing to work with my schedule then he scores major points! My mom is very supportive of me being able to date and helps out if need be with babysitting so I’m super blessed.
What are some of the things that keep you going?
MP: Surround yourself with positive people who empower you to be a strong single mother. Accept help where needed and please don’t feel like you’re burdening anyone if you do need an extra hand. Everyone does sometimes, that doesn’t mean you can’t handle it whatsoever. It’s important to get a break and relax for a minute. Also, remind yourself daily that you are doing an awesome job. Sometimes you just have to be your own cheerleader. No matter how hard it get’s sometimes, know that you can do it.
During an interview with People magazine, “Glee” star Naya Rivera discusses her latest work, a memoir “Sorry Not Sorry.” In the interview the actress discusses her decision to have an abortion about six years ago. At the time, Naya had learned she was expecting while she was dating actor Ryan Dorsey, who is now her husband. The couple had just split because she wanted to focus on her career, and it would be her career that would drive her next choice. The decision to terminate the pregnancy would be made by Naya alone, and she would go on to make her appointment, and have her procedure alone as well.
Now that she and Ryan are married with an 11-month-old son, Naya told People, “It’s not something a lot of people talk about, but I think they should. I know some people might read it and say, ‘What the hell?’ But I hope someone out there gets something out of it.”
Though it is rarely spoken of, this is not an unfamiliar tale. Countless women have chosen their career over motherhood. Some women feel they can’t be successful in their careers, and as mothers. Maybe they were on the brink of a promotion, and felt they couldn’t risk slowing down. Maybe their position required a lot of travel, and there would be no way they could leave their munchkin behind.
Whatever the reason, it’s ok.
It’s ok that the choice to advance your career and accomplish all your professional goals trumped your desire for a family.
It’s ok if you want to see all the world has to offer before you are hopping flights with more than a trendy bag as a carry on.
More often than not, women are shamed for not rushing into motherhood. You know what I’m talking about. You show up to the family reunion and everyone is asking when you’re going to settle down. Everytime you go back home to visit, despite being single your grandmother keeps asking when your going to have a baby. Whatever your reply, it is countered with, “You don’t have much time,” “you need a man,” “your career won’t keep you warm at night” etc.
Women who are single, successful and childless are not to be pitied. They are living the lives they have thoughtfully chosen for themselves. Naya is an example of the sacrifices that come with the pursuit of a dream. I can only assume, but I’m sure the decision wasn’t easy. I absolutely think she should have clued her then boyfriend, now husband, in on her plans. Although the decision ultimately rests in a woman, as a man whom may or may not become a father, being informed is important.
What would you do in this situation? Have you had to make a huge sacrifice for your career? Comment below and tell us all about it!
Some women in their twenties and thirties genuinely do not know if they want to have children. It’s not uncommon to find plenty of happy moms, with several children, who tell you that ten years ago, they never thought they’d be parents. And here they are with a child attached to every appendage. Your own parents (who desperately want to be grandparents) will reference those women when you tell them that you don’t want children. “That’s what they all say,” they’ll insist. But nah—you know. It’s not a matter of being cut out for it, of being responsible enough for it, or nurturing enough. It has nothing to do with your ability to love and care for another human. You have plenty of loving relationships. But some women just don’t want children, and they mean it (okay, doubters?) Here are 15 signs kids just aren’t for you.
A mother’s job is never done – especially when raising bright, ambitious super kids.
Moms, I’m sure you agree – looking into the eyes and souls of our children is nothing short of amazing. We make sacrifices daily to increase their quality of life and overall well-being. In fact, we invest so much into our kid’s dreams that we pray for a positive return as they enter into young adulthood.
In celebration of wonder kids with big ideas, who are raised by super moms like you and me, Madamenoire and African Pride Dream Kids present their first ever ‘Be the Boss’ editorial series, which highlights super moms and their passionate journey of raising vivid leaders.
Meet Neffi Walker – entrepreneur and mother to 4 beautiful children. During her ‘Be the Boss’ interview, she discusses her wise 5 year-old daughter Nile and the importance of her name.
Madamenoire: In school or just socially, did your daughter Nile exhibit any behavioral challenges that made you realize that her defiance may be more tied to her independent nature?
Neffi Walker: My daughter can be fire – some call it bossy – she gets it from me- but she speaks her mind in a very respectful way. If she doesn’t want to do something someone is trying to get her to do and she feels uncomfortable – she will not hesitate to let you know. I encourage that behavior because we need more woman who understand their power and are not silenced in this world.
Madamenoire: What is an amazing trait that Nile holds?
Neffi Walker: My daughter Nile surprises me with her brilliance all day, but recently she has been obsessed with the status of our government’s political climate. She seemed to be devastated when Bernie Sanders no longer appeared to be the presumptive Democratic nominee and said she will vote for Hillary because Trump is not an option. She’s only 5 years-old.
Madamenoire: We see your daughter Nile all over social media. How did you come up with such a strong name?
Neffi Walker: Nile’s father always had this idea way before us meeting that he would name his child, male or female Nile, after the Nile River. His explanation was that this river sustained life for the people who surrounded it, as well as transported Kings and Queens. The funny part is that my name is Nefertidi- who is also called Queen of the Nile – the name was fate and fitting.
Madamenoire: Where do you see Nile in the future?
Neffi Walker: I feel in my soul, with the combination of my creativity, dance and boldness and her father’s intelligence and love for music that she is destined to do something creative. She has been singing tunes since 1 years-old and is always dancing around. I don’t know what she will choose to be – but whatever she does I know it will be fierce!
Madamenoire: What makes Nile a super-kid in your eyes?
Neffi Walker: I noticed she was different by her word comprehension from a young age. In nursery, she read on a 3rd grade level. She also has an ability to understand how people feel and approach them with compassion – that is a gift at such an early age.
Check out our Be The Boss Kids episode of Marley Dias discussing her viral #1000blackgirlbooks campaign.
When you become a mother, your time becomes limited and divided. Very divided. There’s no way around it. Responsibilities increase while the hours in the day remain the same, catapulting you into a world whose proper functioning depends solely upon you mastering the skill of carving out one-on-one time.
You have to carve out time for your spouse, your child, your family, your friends, your career…oh yeah, and yourself.
Now multiply that one child by 3, 4, 5 or, in my case, 8. Being divided doesn’t even begin to describe how torn moms of big families feel.
Oftentimes, we have the tendency to clump the kids together. Why? Because it’s easier! It’s easy to spend quality time with the kids all at once.
But the kids aren’t clumps.
They’re little people, individuals with unique personalities, likes and interests. Additionally, the mother-child relationship is just that…a relationship. It must be cultivated beyond homework help, Family Movie Nights and yells instructing them to clean their rooms. As a mom of 8, it’s hard finding time for myself. Carving out one-on-one time to spend with each of them is like an episode of Mission Impossible.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have not done a great job in this area. It’s hard to do. Sometimes, it’s hit or miss, here and there, and long overdue. But with a little planning and dedication, it can be done.
Here are a few tips based on my personal experience that I know will help you develop more intimate relationships with each of your kids.
Children are said to be a gift from God, but everyone isn’t apt to handle this gift. I have no problem saying that I am one of those people. I work as a psychotherapist where children constitute a little over half of my caseload of 35 plus, and they are a pleasure to work with but they can also be a handful. Their mental health is flourishing which also makes it fragile. The way they express themselves and sometimes try to get their parent’s attention can be mind boggling. They have to be handled with loads of understanding, attention, patience and affection. Before entering the social work field, the idea of having children excited me and for some reason I had hoped to birth three of my own. Now that I encounter them on a daily basis I have changed my mind.
One issue among children that makes me apprehensive about motherhood is bullying. It’s not just name calling. Besides getting degraded by their peers, children are being spit on, attacked and antagonized online. It breaks my heart to see kids feel so small as a result and sometimes alienate themselves from their peers just to feel safe. Children take the word of their peers first, so when they are told they are ugly, stupid and overall undesirable they often believe it. I work with them on building their self-esteem and assertiveness to their bullies of course, but it takes time for the pain and depression to subside. It makes me think about what my future son or daughter would be subjected to once I send them to school and how infuriating it would be for me to hear someone is hurting them. Though I hear the experiences from my clients, it’s different when the parent hears it from their child. Parents experience a more intense type of empathy along with anger. I was also bullied so the thought of my kid going through the same thing terrifies me. Plus, it can be emotionally exhausting to be aware of my child’s despair and only being able to do but so much about it. Dealing with school officials who can’t do much and parents who may not be willing to address the situation turns me off even more. So, I’ll pass.
Another thing is that children not only consume your time, but your wallets! According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, it can cost $245,340 to raise a child from birth to 18 year’s old for middle-income families. That comes out to over $1,300 a month. For low-income families, it is estimated to cost $176,550 over 18 years, which equals over $9,800 a month. These numbers include costs of housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, clothing and other miscellaneous things. It’s hard to witness families not be able to provide much for their children or worry about how much of their next check they can contribute to their child’s needs. Their struggle makes me think about the one I would have if I had a baby. Though I am not in the same economic class as them, my student loans come first. Since I have three college degrees, the monthly payment is hefty and adding a kid to my list of financial responsibilities will land me in the poor house. I have to keep Sallie Mae and the federal government off my back, plus take care of myself. So there is no room for paying expenses that come with having a child.
Also, parents have to always be on their P’s and Q’s because everything that parent does influences the child. I always tell the parents of my clients that they are the most influential person in their child’s life. The way their parenting style as well as their lifestyle is set up is extremely important because the child is watching closely. The parent is the child’s first role model, and I am not sure if I want to take on that responsibility. Parents have to (or should) consider how everything they do affects their children. Their language, social life, their job, everything! I am pretty drained after helping people through their traumas and depression by the end of the day. I don’t think I will have the mental or physical energy once I clock out to handle my own baby. Many therapists do it and I admire that. It’s just not for me.
Don’t get me wrong, my clients bring me a lot of joy. Despite whatever their presenting problems are, they are funny, intelligent, resilient and talented. I feel privileged to have met them and to be able to help them with their mental health. Still, my ovaries will remain unbothered.
Stretch marks, diastis recti (stretched stomach muscles), weight gain, and cellulite are things that most women experience after pregnancy. This is definitely my story. When I was 22 I could just think about losing weight and it would fall off and now at 34 after a twin pregnancy I have to work extra hard and do military style workouts just to lose a pound or two.
I’m making small strides to having a body I love but it’s hard work.
Having a baby is life-changing and because of that, when other women share their stories of struggles and overcoming obstacles it can make the journey a little easier. In a recent article in NY Mag women shared their post baby body stories.
The Woman Who Had a Tummy Tuck-Mother of twins, 39: I hate my body after birth. I lost 40 pounds and paid $12,000 cash for a tummy tuck and I still hate my body — only now I have an abdominal scar to hate, too. I still have 15 pounds to lose, but I’m too tired to exercise after getting up at least twice a night for the past 15 months. My bladder fell, so I have to pee constantly, and I get pelvic pressure that lasts for several days whenever I try to jog or walk long distances. And my joints ache, too. Look at pics of me before and after the birth of twins and it’s like I aged ten years. If I’d known all of this, I would have adopted.
The Woman Whose Skin Went Haywire-Mother of two, 32: I have a 2-year-old, so I thought I knew the drill with my second, but the labor was shorter and more intense, the baby was three pounds heavier, and he came out with his arm over his face. The whole pregnancy I couldn’t wait to get back to working out, but a month later I’m still limping a bit. I wonder if it’s because I’m older, albeit just two years. And then there’s the acne: My skin was smooth and gorgeous until the end of my pregnancy and then my hormones went crazy. It took about a year to go back to normal last time, so I’m expecting to look like a stressed-out teenager till next spring. My mother broke out with my brother, and her hormones never regulated. She still has breakouts in her mid-50s.
The Woman Who Loves Her Scars-Mother of three, 29: I had twins in November. I’m actually lucky because I’ve been a little heavier most of my life. I was 175 at my wedding and I’m 180 now, so the weight gain wasn’t hard for me. I was up to 220 at the end of both of my pregnancies. Having babies has actually made me happier about my body because it gave me my daughters. I had major abdominal surgery after my first C-section and have big scars on my lower belly, but I love them all. They feel like evidence of the battle I fought to birth three beautiful girls. It makes a big difference that my husband is so supportive and loving. He loves me, saggy boobs and all.
Here are some tips to help with your post baby body mindset:
#1 Focus on the body parts you love-If you don’t know what body part it is already, then find some aspect about your body that you like. Is it your feet, legs, arms, hands? The point is to start thinkingbody positive in small ways.
#2 Embrace your shape-try to find clothing in your closet that complements whatever shape you are currently so that you feel good in what you wear. You can even look at tips online from professional style experts on matching up your body type with certain clothing.
#3 Set Simple Healthy Habits
Do things like take the stairs instead of the escalator. Incorporate your little ones in home workouts videos if you don’t have someone to watch them. Take a 15 minute daily walk. Try to stay active in small ways throughout the day because it helps create long lasting healthy habits.
What’s your story? Are you still struggling with post baby weight? Have you accepted your body for what it is? Let us know…
There’s something about her…Alicia Keys has always been in touch with her human side. She has the ability to touch the lives of all she encounters in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s a song, a speech, or just her presence…people can feel the positivity of her energy. She has been a constant fixture for issues that matter by donating her personal time to help others. After a short hiatus due to the birth of baby boy Genesis, she jumped back into the spotlight this summer for her #NoMakeup campaign. She’s decided to proudly go without makeup, stop covering up, and embrace her natural beauty. She’s since been on a serious roll using her stardom as a platform to speak on a myriad of issues affecting the public. Here’s some of our favorite quotes from her recent interview with Citizens of Humanity.
Alicia Keys talks human rights issues:
Alicia is no stranger to helping others. Between organizations like Keep A Child Alive and We Are Here, she is well aware of the social injustices that people face worldwide. Whether it’s the Global fight to help people with AIDS to speaking on the police shootings plaguing the Black Community, she is on point with it all.
“Keep a Child Alive provides medicine for children and families who have AIDS who can’t afford it. We also provide surrounding care around that as well. There are just not a lot of places you can go and get treated or get tested or get food even, and you can’t take AIDS medicine and not have eaten. It’s important; at this point we’ve helped almost 2.5 million people.”
“With the We Are Here movement I was just personally angry—angered by turning on the TV and every second seeing this constant disrespect or inequality, and that’s really what the main focus of We Are Here is about; it’s really about inequality and justice all over the world. So We Are Here focuses on different organizations that focus on issues that I believe, when we look at them all together, will really be part of what will change the world for the better in so many ways.”
Alicia talks her new album:
Aside from being a multi-talented artist, she is a wife and mother who takes all of her roles very seriously. Her new album, due out this fall, is already making waves around the world. She tells Citizen of Humanity, “The music for this album was created so fast — the fastest I’ve ever created music before. It was like raining down every night, like storms of music was just coming out. … We did probably 30 songs in like 10 days.” She found out she was pregnant in the midst of trying to put the album together so that forced her to put things on hold. Her unplanned hiatus forced her to put things into perspective.
Motherhood changes people in many ways. Alicia is real when it comes to motherhood. She admits that when it comes to parenting:
“I’m still figuring it out; I can’t say I’ve mastered it or anything but letting go, letting your kids have their own path. They are going to discover and they have their own journey, their own way they’re going to figure out how to express themselves in the world and who they’re going to be, and I think a lot of times as parents we project our thoughts or fears or images on them, and we have to let them be a little bit. We can’t always answer every question; you don’t have to tell them how to do it. They can figure it out, and we should give them the space to figure it out.”
This right here is such an important piece to the parenting puzzle. A lot of parents will never admit the above and say they are still learning. People think they know it all or need to know it all and they definitely don’t. Parenting ain’t easy and if someone tells you that it is then they’re doing it wrong. If you are not still willing to “learn” as a parent then you already lost the struggle.
Alicia talks relationship success:
Alicia and her husband Swizz Beatz recently celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary. Their relationship is very public but they keep it private at the same time. They work at making it work just like everybody else and their secret to relationship success is simple…presence and communication.
“I think the most important thing in any relationship is presence—being present and really choosing to make the time and take the time for the people that you love … not letting a part of your job be more important or a part of your career be more important, you know? And communication—really talking about who you are, because we grow, and we should be growing together … So you’re both growing and both evolving and learning more about yourself and learning more about each other, and I think when you give each other the opportunity to continue to know each other, that really strengthens it. Me and my husband, we have this thing, we’ll call it Keep It Real Tuesdays if it’s Tuesday, if it’s Friday we’re like Keep It Real Fridays, and we just have to be honest, whatever it might be.”
Success means different things to everybody. Alicia measures success by measuring happiness…”Success to me mostly is happiness, and when I say happiness I don’t mean that in a generic way. I mean if I’m going through a day and I’m feeling good, I’m feeling that I’m on my path, I’m feeling invigorated, I’m feeling inspired, I’m feeling at the end of the night that it was a good day. To me that’s success, because there is so much in the world that wants to take you out of your happiness, you know, and to figure out a way to maintain that and to maintain inspiration and to maintain excitement, vigor for life and the next thing for yourself—whatever that is, to me that’s success. So happiness to me is success. Honoring myself and honoring my family and making sure that those things feel like they’re in the right order and balance, it can be difficult but it’s possible. But to me, that’s success.”
Alicia continues to make awesome power moves and ground herself at the same time. She is a role model for young women everywhere and very much still #OnFire. You can check out the full Citizens of Humanity interview here and look out for her new album to drop early this fall.
When growing up, I saw my mother as a superhero. She fed me, bathed me, washed my clothing and tucked me into bed with a kiss on the forehead and God’s blessing. She made me feel loved, protected and safe. Mami killed roaches that crawled on the walls of our NYC apartment, swatted away mosquitoes when we visited the Dominican Republic, and tended to my physical and emotional cuts and bruises.
Yes, my mother was my Supergirl. My Shera. My Wonder Woman. To this day, I look up to her and the sacrifices that she made for her children as a single mother. I hope I can be half the mom that she is when I have my own children.
Being a mom doesn’t come easy; it tests your will, your patience, and your capacity to love. It also strengthens women. Motherhood may be the best cure for a broken heart and spirit. But don’t take it from me. Listen to the wise words of the following moms who share the 12 ways that being a mom makes them stronger.
You Have No Choice But To Be Strong
When women have children, they have to be strong no matter what. Mothers are the first line of defense. They are their to protect and serve, even when they’ve had a terrible day. In those moments when a mother wants to throw in the towel, she eyes her children and realizes she can’t. So she sucks it up. She is strong because she has to be.