All Articles Tagged "parenthood"
This article has been causing a buzz recently because it’s so relatable to parents, especially moms and dad who often turn down invites from friends. Patrice who writes the DJNDevin Blog allowed us to share her funny (and oh so true) list of reasons she and her husband probably won’t make it out the house to attend most events. Enjoy!
Over the past weekend, we unfortunately missed at least two pretty important celebrations of life events for some of our closest friends (and thankfully they are the type of people who understood the reasoning for our absence, and they’re ok…everybody isn’t though). These were occasions that we were actually invited to, RSVPd for, and expected to attend. Then a little thing called life happened, and our fun-filled weekend was replaced with a killer sinus headache, an exhausted Mommy, a sneezing/stuffy Daddy, trying to get a car battery replaced, a coloring book marathon with my four-year old, and a massive poop explosion from the 11-month old tyrant! So I decided to turn this experience into a special FYI for the world to be informed about. It is necessary and we’re probably not the only family that needs to share this heart-felt disclaimer.
Here it is! 6 Reasons My Husband and I Probably Won’t Make Your Event, And Why We Don’t Want You To Take It Personally…
- We Have Kids I know. I know. This one is too easy and a lot of people are tired of hearing it. However, I feel like most Need to! Especially those who do Not have kids. While we still love you, we also need you to know that you have noO idea the strange ish that randomly occurs in a household with children. A temperature that’s two degrees over the norm, or a baby whining because of a missed nap can dramatically curve Mommy and Daddy’s care about meeting up for drinks and chatter.
- We Are Tired Like, not normal tired. The type of unbearable exhaustion where you fall asleep on the toilet and sneakily nod off while your child is reading “Corduroy” to you for the 678,467th time today. Please understand that all of that great intention we had to make it to your housewarming just got flushed down the toilet as soon as we sat down in one spot.
- We Don’t Have A Babysitter Contrary to popular belief and practices, there are seriously only like two people in the Entire Universe, outside of ourselves, that we will allow to keep our children! Yes, we continuously crack jokes about how people can “come and get them” but ummmm, not so much. If those two individuals aren’t available, we will All stay at home! Period. There is NO outing serious enough to hound somebody to watch our children, or sacrifice their safety Just to say we attended the hottest night out of the year. Fail! That’s why we both went to college and had a whole lot of fun and got that all out of our systems! We don’t feel guilty or as if we’re missing out on anything. Sorry, but Not sorry.
- If One Of Us Can’t Attend, Nine Times Out Of 10, Neither Of Us Will Attend This is a hard one for people to understand, and we’ve lost friendships over the concept. We are married. We are not pals, boyfriend and girlfriend or side buddies. We are a union. A team. We make our appearances together in the situations that call for it. This isn’t really negotiable. If hubby is sick and shut in, so am I, and vice versa. Of course this doesn’t apply to the token Girl’s or Guy’s Night Out. We respect each other’s individualized socialization. I’m referring to the things we are both hoped to be in attendance for. This also applies to situations where one spouse may think/know that the crowd at a certain event is questionable. Again, nothing personal against you, but we choose not to put ourselves in awkward or obviously drama-filled situations when we don’t have to.
- We Actually Do Have A Financial Budget And Priorities Not to rain on the parade of your $100/meal dinner party, but this week’s automatic tuition debiting from the Chase account, and the Costco diaper/wipe stock-up will probably hold a higher level of importance for us. I can cook you a fabulous meal, serve you a wonderful glass of wine, play some classic jazz tunes, and indulge you in the ambiance of my own darn home. All for under $200. We still love you though.
- We Just Don’t Want To Go Yep, it sounds rude as hell, a bit pretentious, and will probably cause our invites to dwindle in the near future, but it’s honest. The very few times that we actually get to be alone, we just want to enjoy each other. We still do enjoy each other and we aren’t going to apologize for that. Sometimes we even just want to be left alone as a family with our boys and just relax.
Now all of this isn’t to say that we don’t like you, are trying to purposely be douche bags, or ‘unsupportive,’ but we are humans. We want people to overstand that. We love and appreciate all of friends and family, but guess what?? We come first and we don’t want you to take that personal.
Check out more from the DJ N Devin Blog here.
We parents always delight about our ‘little blessings’ to each other and how our lives would be so different without them, but we also know what a pain in the butt is it to be a mom. Honestly.
Word is, someone out there agrees and this study says parents are miserable.
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research wanted to figure out why some families decide to stop at having only one child. So they analyzed data from a German survey that covered more than 20,000 people across the country, and tracked their reported well-being from three years before having kids to at least two years after their first child was born.
According to the Washington Post, 30 percent of parents stayed at the same level of happiness. But on a 1 to 10 scale, 37 percent of parents had a one-unit drop in “happiness units,” while 19 percent had a two-unit drop and 17 percent had a three-unit drop.
To compare that to actual sad life events: Unemployment and the death of a partner usually lead to a one-unit drop in happiness, and divorce only causes a 0.6-unit drop. On average, parenthood leads to a whopping 1.4-unit fall in happiness.
But what does that say about people who only drop one-unit when their partner dies?
What was found in the study, published in the journal Demography, is that unhappiness stemmed from three main causes: health issues before and after birth, complications during the birth, and the generally exhausting and physically taxing task of raising a child.
The researchers also found that parents’ experiences and emotional states when they have their first child strongly impact whether or not they’ll go on to have more kids. If you stay happy more than a year after your first child is born, you’re more likely to have baby number 2. (Which makes sense: Why keep doing something that makes you unhappy?)
Older parents, and those with higher levels of education, were more likely to stop at one child if they had a bad experience.
That leads us to also wonder: why do people have kids in the first place? Is it pressure from families or society? Or are they trying to fill a void within themselves?
My oldest daughter slept with us until one week before her sister was born. She was 15-months-old at the time. I planned to let our youngest daughter stay in our bed until nine months, but the muscle I pulled in my back from improper sleeping positions instructed me otherwise. As an attached parent who breastfeeds, having our five-month-old in bed with us was easiest, but the aches over my body from accommodating her growth and mobility, plus our 18-month-old’s revolt against falling asleep alone, lead me to revisit the pros and cons of co-sleeping.
Per Dr. Sears, America’s pediatrician and an expert on attachment parenting, there are three important goals for beginning parents:
To know your child
To help your child feel right
To enjoy parenting.
Attachment parenting encourages skin-to-skin bonding after birth, responding on-demand to baby’s cries and cues, breastfeeding, baby wearing, and co-sleeping as methodologies to achieve these goals. For more on attachment parenting and Dr. Sears’ nationally recognized practice visit his website, Ask Dr. Sears.
For us, attachment parenting works! Our oldest daughter, Genesis, has a happy disposition I attribute to the bond we built from baby wearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. However, there are those moments where too much attachment needs to be addressed.
We allowed Genesis to sleep with us until she was 15 months. The courage to finally kick her out of our bed came with the birth of her baby sister. I learned my lesson with Genesis, and I made a vow to evict Joelle, the little sister, from our bed before she could walk.
I don’t know about you, but I was uncomfortable with the notion of my babies sleeping alone fresh out of the womb.
Why should my child go from living inside of me for ten-months to no sight, smell, or sound of me for 3 – 8 hour increments at night?
Co-sleeping, to me, supports a smoother transition period.
The pros to co-sleeping are regulated breathing assistance from mother-to-child, a sense of security for babies who may feel uneasy in their new habitat, and less sleep interference for breastfeeding mothers.
Our oldest daughter is not a great sleeper, so sharing our bed with her made our nights much easier. Our youngest daughter does not have these issues. She loves to relax and sleep anywhere anytime. Because we let our oldest daughter sleep with us much longer than needed, she now feels entitled to disrupt our sleep at anytime. This is definitely a con we are slowly working on re-engineering.
All babies endure periodic breathing episodes the first year of life and more so during the first six months. When babies sleep with their parents, the carbon dioxide from the mother or father’s proximity rouse’s the baby in instances where they may be struggling to wake-up on their own. Pro! For me, the highlight of co-sleeping is that no one wants to get out of the bed 2 – 3 times a night to attach herself to a hungry infant. Why walk when you can roll over?
Now there are cons to co-sleeping as well. It is not recommended that parents co-sleep on couches. There have been many cases of suffocation where children are trapped by sleeping adults in compromising positions. I would be remised not to mention the presence of alcohol and drugs in most cases.
SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, is not a risk of co-sleeping. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome happens when doctors are unable to determine a cause of death. However, research shows that crib-sleeping infants suffer from SIDS at a higher rate than infants who share beds with their parents.
The con of co-sleeping for me is the three feet of space it puts between the parents for the comfort of our child. I am also a stomach sleeper, but co-sleeping forces me to sleep on my side, which causes me all types of muscle pains. When the babies are smaller, I can get away with sleeping on my stomach, but cheeks, as we like to call our 5-month old, is not a newborn anymore. She is a tossing, turning, demanding to snuggle up baby.
As my husband said, “It’s time for her to go. I want to sleep next to my wife again.” And he has his rights, so we kicked our baby out of the bed. I feel so bad. Funny enough, I seem to care more than she does. In all of his talk about attachment parenting, Dr. Sears makes a point to highlight setting boundaries and prioritizing your infant’s needs on demand not wants.
With cheeks now sleeping through the night and her breathing pattern more regulated, she does not need to latch onto her mother immediately every three hours anymore. I may want her in my bed, but my back and my husband say no.
Last week, many children found themselves back in school and parents everywhere rejoiced on social media. Whether it was a cute selfie or full-length shot of their children, parents captioned photos with inspirational quotes, declaring the school year will be a success for their offspring. Although the cute explosion on our social media timelines had many of our ovaries screaming and repeatedly saying “Aw,” there were some of us who shamed these parents. Case in point, the elite Black travel community; you know, the people who repeatedly tell you how many times their passports have been stamped. Juxtaposed next to kids in uniforms were memes by the travel elite who wanted every parent to know: “While you look over your child’s homework, I’ll be horseback riding in the Andes,” “While you potty train your kids, I’ll be sipping champagne in Paris” and “While you deal with temper tantrums, I’ll be floating on water in Bali.”
Now, I love to travel and think it’s vital to one’s growth as a person. However, I can’t stand shaming another person’s life choices to make you feel better about your own. I get it, people like to make women feel some type of way for choosing not to have kids and these memes are like a middle finger to societal norms. But sometimes this behavior is also a cry for attention, possibly due to the deep-rooted desire for the thing these travelers seem to be rallying against: having families of their own. Sure, you can plan a trip with friends or siblings but there is a different level of intimacy traveling with a significant other (and the family you’ve both created).
Unfortunately, the latter life goals tend to make others feel defensive about their personal lives. For example, I had a friend who would repeatedly post this meme:
After she uploaded it to Instagram for the umpteenth time, I noticed a pattern. Whenever our group of friends spoke about marriage or building families, the above meme would appear on our timelines with a callous caption. Interestingly enough, this particular friend wanted to achieve similar family goals, but she masked them with subliminal posts like this, which reveals an even bigger issue: competitiveness.
Psychology Today reports the problem with competitive people is, “when they are doing well, they feel great and even superior to others, whereas when they encounter setbacks, they tend to feel shame and self-doubt. This results in anxiety and vigilance around social status and performance. They have to keep comparing themselves to others to make sure they are measuring up and haven’t fallen behind.” In a social media driven society, it’s normal to feel like you’re lagging behind in certain areas of your life. Though when you combine the fear of missing out with competition, scholar Alfie Kohn says, “feelings of self-worth become dependent on external sources of evaluation as a result of competition: Your value is defined by what you’ve done. Worse — you’re a good person in proportion to the number of people you’ve beaten.”
When the traveling elite shame those who are married or parents, they feel victorious because they still have financial or social liberties. Their “victories” help distract them from not feeling like “failures” for not having things society tells them they should when they should feel confident in their decisions regardless. But until then, I guess the memes will just keep on coming.
Have you shamed others for having children or getting married while you sip Bellinis in Tuscany? Come clean in the comments section.
For some reason, when I think about the idea of putting myself and my man before my children, I can’t help but remember a quote from Baby Boy. Jody is in his mother’s garden questioning her loyalty to him. His mother, Juanita, snaps back at Jody with one line that pretty much sums up my stance on parenting at the moment: “…mama gotta have a life too.” When I first saw that movie, I was a childless teenager, and I remember feeling like Juanita was being a deadbeat. A decade or so later, now that I’ve become a mother, I realize how wrong I was. Juanita had some wisdom on her that only firsthand experience could teach.
I struggled with writing this article because, I know exactly how it sounds. It sounds like I’m ready to trade in my yoga pants and food-stained mom attire for a little black dress and some time to myself. You wouldn’t be entirely incorrect to come to such a conclusion, but there is more to it than that. My current interpretation of the “mama gotta have a life too” quote is that even though we are mothers, we are human. We have the right to lead individual lives, on our terms–outside of raising children.
When I gave birth to my first child at 21, it’s possible that afterward, I was doing my damnedest to distance myself from the tainted “young mother” stereotype. But in doing so, I inadvertently began to sacrifice parts of my individuality. That includes my friendships, intimacy with my children’s father, and my social life. At the time, the problem for me had been my twisted view on what I thought would make me a “good mother.” Back then, in my mind, “bad” moms spend time with their kids while the “good” ones stay at home, disheveled and masking their misery like they ought to. But I now know that this is the furthest thing from the truth.
If you spend most, if not all of your time with your children, focusing on their every want and exceeding all of their needs, they aren’t receiving the best possible version of you. In my experience, neglecting myself and my relationship created an autopilot version of myself. A going through the motions, get me through the day version of a mother I tried very hard not to become. That version sometimes forgets that children require plenty of patience. She sometimes becomes overwhelmed with all that is required of her and can lose her cool. That’s not the type of mother I want to be.
Five years later, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to put the needs of my partner and myself before my children. Because while the kids were busy enjoying family outings on the weekends and rooms stocked full of toys, mommy and daddy were in their bedroom fighting over mundane sh*t because the connection was beginning to fade. We didn’t start having connection issues until our relationship began to revolve wholly around our children. If all of the experiences we share together as a couple are only about our kids, what happens to the relationship when the kids are finally off leading their own lives? That is a scary thought, but a very real reality for many married couples when their kids are always involved and are always thought of first.
It’s become clear to me that for the sake of my children, I need to prioritize some time away from them. As of late, I am determined to have experiences on my own. I feel blessed to be a mother, and my sons are sources of great happiness. But when it’s feasible, I’m hitting the beach with the girls and getting my Netflix and chill on with my fiancé. The little bit of time that I’ve managed to carve out for myself so far has allowed me to come back to my family invigorated, full of life–chatty even. I’m excited to chase after my 2-year-old, and I’m down for endless rounds of their favorite games. But first, I need a few hours to take care of myself.
I urge all mothers to strive for that happy medium between responsible mom and pursuing personal interests. My previous logic would have you thinking that all good mothers are confined to the house, but the truth is, the best moms are the ones who take the time to take care of themselves. The really good moms are the kind of mothers who try to give 100 percent to their children but still know exactly when “mama gotta have a life too.”
A few month’s ago, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case. Last Thursday, after a fresh hair wash, and slightly running behind I decided against my better judgment to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her schools playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself, “wtf?.” Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.” I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.
After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.
While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.
What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?
Once you reach a certain age, parents can get a little out of hand with the “Where are my grandbabies?” questions, and friends and family start talking about “expanding your family.” Lucky for you, these childless celebrities have the perfect comeback for such pesky questions.
No matter if you’re engaged, married, or simply in a long-term partnership, there comes a time when it seems like everyone wants to know extremely personal details about your relationship. And that period of time when you’re quite serious with your sweetheart but not yet parents seems to trigger seriously wacky, sometimes thoroughly clueless remarks and inquiries.
Whether you’re an uber-curious future grandparent or simply the BFF of DINKs (AKA Dual Income, No Kids), here are 10 things you may want to avoid saying to your favorite child-free couple.
10 Things You Should Never Say to A Couple Without Kids
1. “Have you started trying yet?”
2. “You’re so lucky you get to sleep in/travel/spend your money on irresponsible things!”
3. “You’ll see when you have kids!”
4. “Oh wow, you must’ve partied HARD last night, right?! Gosh, I miss those days!”
5. “Being around kids must be like birth control for you!”
6. “Yeah, definitely have sex/enjoy your marriage now, because after kids, nothing is the same!”
7. “You think you’re tired now? Just wait ’til you have kids!”
8. “You’re so lucky it’s just you two!”
9. “You just don’t understand what love is until you have kids!”
10. “So. When ARE you finally gonna have kids??”
So…have you said any of these?
They say never say never but there are just some things I cannot and will not do. But let’s face it – in life there’s always something we won’t do. So mommyhood is no different. So there’s nothing wrong with having some non-negotiables. As a mom, you’re in a new league of high regard and expectation, and I intend to carry the title well. And trust me – I’ve given this list a lot of thought, and it’s all out of respect for my son and my own desire to keep life simple without the extra chaos.
So here’s my list of things I’ll never do as a mom:
- Breastfeed past 12 months. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting down the days that my boobs return to me (They’ve been my son’s for the past 11 months). I’m so ready to get my body (and boobs) back. Don’t get me wrong, a nursing mom and her child share a special bond and I’m forever grateful for it but let’s be honest – your body changes. So my goal was always to nurse for a year, and nothing more. Besides, doctors agree that there’s no true benefit to breastfeeding past a year. And I won’t EVEN mention the fact that my son has two teeth with two more on the way.
- Use baby talk. In my household, there’s no use of “baba” or “binkie.” Honestly, hearing baby talk makes me cringe. It’s so unnecessary.
- Dress my son in any outfits with monkeys. Call me an extremist when it comes to being Pro-Black, but I cringe when I see little Black babies wearing clothes with monkeys in the same way I cringe when I see Black men shine shoes at the airport. It bothers me.
- Tell my son to stop crying. Adults do this – tell kids not to cry – not realizing the damage their potentially causing. I’m a strong believer in the power of words. So if you tell a child enough times to disregard his/her emotional expression, his/her emotional issue will eventually become psychological, which will ultimately impact his adulthood, stunting his/her emotional growth.
- Deem him as “bad” when he gets rambunctious. Again, it’s all in the power of words. So I’m not a fan of the “B-word.” Kids will be kids. Speak light into them.
- Allow him to be pushed in a stroller past age three. C’mon, let’s be real. This has more to do with the parent, and less to do with the child who doesn’t want to walk.
- Put him on a leash, literally or figuratively. “The Leash” is all about boundaries, or the lack thereof. So apparently, the literal device was intended for parents to keep an eye (and hold) on their child in public places. For me the device is just as irrelevant as “time out” – just not my thing. Besides, it looks really weird (and humiliating for the child). Figuratively, I will not put him on a leash. Instead, I’ll encourage boundless possibilities. I want him to be his own person, and create his own norm. Everything else is already taken, and boring.
- Avoid the sex talk. It’s one of those things I’ll just have to do. The day I have the talk with him will be the day that confirms my baby is growing up. There will be more than one “talk” and more than “one day,” but he’ll know it’s all coming from a trusted place.
- Wear a scarf/bonnet or pajamas to his school. I represent him as he represents me. We will not go out like that. Ever.
- Give money for every A he gets on his report card. I never grew up like that. Despite graduating with honors (and on honor roll as a child), my parents never gave money for A’s as reimbursement. Their logic: You go to school to get good grades. Why “pay” you for something you’re already expected to do? This logic also applied to chores. Their response was why pay you to do certain tasks in the house when you should want to live in a clean, well-kept home. Granted, I was indirectly rewarded in other ways, yet monetary was never the expectation.
- Let his girlfriend spend the night. Seriously! Do I really need to explain this one?! Trust – I will be/am one cool mama, but I’ll never be that cool. I will always be his mother first, and friend second. And because of that, he’ll know better and won’t even dare ask.
- Let a day pass without telling, and showing, him that I love him. May he never doubt my love for him.
Having a baby should be a time of bonding and immense joy—and it can be! However, if you go into parenthood expecting it only to strengthen your relationship with no bumps along the way, you’re confused. In fact, having a baby could have an adverse effect on your relationship with your partner. Here are surprising ways having a baby can hurt your marriage, and how to prevent it from happening.