All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
The alarm goes off at 5 a.m. sharp. My busy day is about to begin. Shower, breakfast, meditation, and then I dart out the door to embark on an 18-hour day filled with an unpredictable morning commute, lesson plans, and deadlines to meet. And that’s just the first eight to 10 hours of the day. Then suddenly I look up, the sun begins to set, and yet another productive day of work has come and gone.
Once upon a time this was my daily routine. This was my so-called life. Everything was about work and making my mark in the world as a single, successful woman. While I saw nothing wrong with my life at the time, I felt that something was missing. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
It was my period. One day I had my routine doctor’s visit and found out that I was going to be a mother. Life as I knew it would change forever.
Giving birth to my son was a humbling experience, and watching him grow throughout the years has been heartwarming and one unpredictable adventure after the next. Seeing him take his first steps, listening to him mumble his first word, which was “Da-da” by the way, brought about feelings in me I had never felt. And then it hit me. I discovered what was really missing from my life. It wasn’t necessarily motherhood or the things that it brings. It was something much deeper that I often overlooked.
As I’ve watched my son develop I realize that he’s taught me how to appreciate the little things in life, which have turned out not to be so little after all. Have you ever been to a spontaneous concert? I have. It’s a private concert that has one or two singers who only know the chorus to a particular song and sing the lyrics as loud as they possibly can as if no one is listening. My child and I have these random jam sessions now and then just because. I can say that I have yet to go to a musical performance that’s better than the ones I have with my baby. Before I had my son, I would never do anything like this, not even in the car alone because I didn’t want to feel or look silly. But now I realize that there’s no harm in being a little silly from time to time. In fact, it’s quite healthy and freeing.
I also have come to appreciate a welcoming smile after a long day at work. Who wouldn’t appreciate this? Every day when I walk through the door my child runs to me with open arms, a huge grin on his face and yells out my new favorite words: “Hey mommy! I missed you today!” In an instant, my day starts anew. Before he came along, no one greeted me with a genuine smile. I missed the importance of a warm grin. I believe if he weren’t here I wouldn’t understand and appreciate how this small gesture can make a good day great and a bad one much better.
Being a parent has taught me so much about living life to its fullest by taking the time to treasure priceless moments and things that can easily pass you by and be overlooked. My son’s carefree attitude has helped me to live in a new way that has been refreshing to my spirit. I’m grateful for the privilege of caring for one of the most precious gifts anyone can have, but I’m even more thankful for how my child has taught me to live. People always say that big things come in small packages. I must agree because I’ve learned that the small things in life bring about the greatest lessons and the most joy.
Take some time each day to stop and smell the roses before you’re covered in them. Laugh as if you’re the only one who understands a joke being told. Smile at someone at least once a day and stare at the beauty of a flower just because you can. Look at each day as the gift that it is.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? a speaker and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
You would think that the United States, the land of the American Dream, would be a haven for women to have their bundles of joys — but it’s not. Not even close. According to RT, the U.S. is the absolute worst place to be a mother in the developed world.
State of the World’s Mothers 2015, a comprehensive report published by Save the Children, rated the United States dead last in maternal health among developed countries, 33rd place overall. America dropped two spots from last year’s 31st ranking.
An American woman is 10 times more likely to die from childbirth-related causes in comparison to an Austrian, Polish, or Belarusian woman.
Women in the U.S. also face a 1 in 1,800 risk of pregnancy-related death. This is the worst performance of any developed country in the world.
“Other countries are passing us by,” said Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children.
Save the Children also zoomed in on 25 capital cities of wealthy countries and found that in the United States, Washington D.C. had the highest infant mortality rate with 6.6 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013. “This rate is a historic low for the District of Columbia,” RT wrote, “but it is still three times the rate in Tokyo and Stockholm.”
In 2012, D.C. had an infant mortality rate of 7.9 deaths per 1,000 births. Yikes.
The study, unsurprisingly, found a notable disparity between the richest and poorest nations. In Norway, for example, the odds of a child dying before his or her fifth birthday is just 0.3 percent. In Somalia, on the other hand, that figure jumps to 15 percent. “Somali children who survive will get fewer than 2.5 years of formal education, while Norwegian children will get 17.5 years of formal education,” CNN said.
“We need to do more to make sure that all mothers and babies have a fair chance of survival and a happy, healthy life — no matter where they live,” Miles said in a press release.
The “State of the World’s Mothers 2015″ report investigated 179 countries and looked at five indicators of maternal death: educational status, children’s well-being, economic status, gross national income, and political status, CNN said.
Norway ranked first; Somalia ranked last.
Elisha Wilson Beach, wife of actor Michael Beach, who many of you may remember for his role as Miles, Terry’s husband who slept with Cousin Faith in Soul Food, recently posted a picture of herself that’s attracting quite a bit of attention on the internet.
In the picture, Wilson Beach is using the restroom, toiletries strewn across the bathroom floor, and she’s also breastfeeding her young daughter.
You already know the deal. Any type of image of a woman breastfeeding elicits a variety of responses. So people see it as something natural and beautiful. Others view the images as everything from TMI to completely tasteless.
When Elisha posted the picture, she wanted to illustrate the often unseen realities of motherhood.
As you know when someone exposes something that once was private, people, inevitably, have a lot to say.
According to Clutch Magazine, one Twitter user tweeted: “So disgusting, see photo of a mother breastfeeding her child while using the toilet.”
Another person on Facebook wrote, “I would never breastfeed my child in the bathroom. It’s unsanitary regardless.”
Other women could absolutely relate.
“This pretty much sums up mommyhood,” one Facebook user wrote.
Another responded to the issue of cleanliness.
“To the people calling this unsanitary or gross, most people brush their teeth in the bathroom and leave their toothbrushes in the bathroom. How is this gross and not that? Breasts are way more sanitary in the bathroom than your toothbrushes.”
Some of us might need to reevaluate our bathroom habits.
Still, there are quite a few points of contention with this photo. Pictures on the commode are normally in bad taste, regardless of what you may be doing on the side.
And breastfeeding photos are almost always received with criticism and backlash. So it’s a double whammy here.
After the photo started being shared more and more and people started suggesting or stating outright that Elisha was a bad mother, Michael stepped out to define his wife, and mother of the youngest of his six children.
My wife called me into the bathroom a few days ago & asked me to take this pic. She was laughing & thought it was a classic shot about some of the things she deals with as a mom. Not meant to be a huge statement or movement just a humorous moment captured on "film". Isn't that one of the great things about Instagram? Now it's all over the Internet! Many people got/get that but quite a few others have felt the need to chime in on her horrible, unsafe parenting skills. I get that some may see this pic & disagree with it or not like it BUT to make drastic judgements about her/our parenting skills or character based on one pic??? WHAT??? I have 6 kids & have been a parent for almost 30yrs (4kids from 1st marriage) & all my children are healthy, kind & well liked people. My wife is an AWESOME mom, a very intelligent woman and, most of the time 😜, the best part of my life! We know, as much as anyone does, what we are doing. Our kids are safe, happy, respectful & are being well trained/prepared for adulthood. We are VERY happy after 14yrs together (8yrs of marriage). So why am I posting this? To support my love @mylifeisabeach ! And If any of you find someone as amazing as her than YOU are also ahead of the game! 😎 "This is motherhood and it ain't always pretty. What's your #momtruth?"
Many even believe that these breastfeeding pictures are mainly about attention-seeking tactics. But hell, the only reason we post any picture on the internet is about some level of attention. Do you think this image would have been better for the personal baby book rather than the internet; or, is it time we start being honest about motherhood.
Fertility is increasingly becoming a concern for women of all ages, and though Black women aren’t absent from the conversation altogether, we tend to be late to the party, notes “Married to Medicine’s” Dr. Jackie Walters. We recently spoke with the OBYGN and asked her to give us five things we need to understand about Black women and fertility and she broke it all the way down for us, from our tendency to have fertility issues due to our weight and lack of an active lifestyle, to our hesitancy to follow through with doctor’s appointments. Check out the video above and get educated.
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