All Articles Tagged "parenthood"

I Was A Working “Mom” For A Few Days And It Tested All The Patience I Have

May 23rd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

Yesterday, during Sunday school, we had a conversation about the importance of having childlike faith. As a child is innocent, a sponge soaking up everything, we, as adults, should have humbled, open faith in God. Somehow, the conversation turned into what it’s like to raise children, and a guy in our class spoke about being an uncle to two young kids. He spoke about how he molds their minds, the contributions he makes to them, and how they always tell him that they wish their father was more like him. As a room full of older women who have children listened intently, the Sunday school teacher literally started laughing out loud.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But as a parent, I’m laughing because kids always love to be around their aunts and uncles and godparents. There aren’t rules. But when those same people have to be authoritative the kids say, ‘When did you become so mean?!'”

Boy, she wasn’t lying.

Just a week prior to class, I was enlisted with the task of watching my nephew while his mother went out of town to soak up some sun and fun. I just assumed that because he was always so happy to see me when I met up for brunch with him and his mother every Sunday, things were going to go smoothly.

Negative.

Don’t get me wrong, my nephew is an absolute sweetheart, but at the age of three, he likes to throw fits. Screaming fits where he also throws things. I had seen them briefly when he didn’t get his way at a few of those Sunday brunches, but they were something serious, and in full effect in the days I spent with him. If he wanted something that I couldn’t give him, he would repeat his “waaaaaaaaant” and “neeeeeeeed” of it. When that wasn’t enough, he would scream himself into tears and me into utter confusion. He would do this when it was time for him to go to bed. He would do this when it was time for a bath. He would do this when I threw away the ice cream cone that was dripping down his hand after wind blew dirt and leaves on it at the park. He also did this when I told him the DVD for his favorite children’s show wouldn’t play.

Then there were the accidents. Sure, he’s potty training, but during his night’s rest he would wear a Pull-Up trainer and man, would he make full use of it! Throughout the day, I would sit him on the toilet and he might urinate a little. But it was as though he was waiting until the wee hours of the morning to let loose. One morning I went to change him out of his Pull-Up and into his underwear and found a horrifying surprise that wound up getting all over my hands and in the tub. Yes, I’m talking about mounds of poop.

I would go out of my way to make his lunches fancy, just for him to say “No!” when I would place certain foods in front of him. He grabbed at my books, magazines, work computer and phone when I would turn my back. When I would take them from him he would shout that they were “MINE!”

He would try and strike me when he couldn’t get his way. I stepped on his Legos, as well as the rice he dropped on the floor and in the water he would spill after he would yell into the kitchen “I want water!” He would do this from the living room while watching Rihanna’s Home for the fifth time in three days. He would cry every time he spilled milk from his cereal on the table, which was every time he would take a scoop while watching Peppa Pig in the mornings. He did this as a signal for me to clean it up.

I was awoken at 7 a.m. even on the weekends to the sounds of him singing “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and “Old McDonald” from his room after an evening of listening to him kick his feet and bang his head on his pillow until he was ready to go to sleep. All this while also having to find time and money to go to the grocery store to fill the fridge and race to the New Jersey Transit in the morning to take the train into NYC for work. In no time flat, I was exhausted.

My nephew, in those few days I spent with him, was everything I had seen in movies like Parenthood, and watched on television. For all the sweet “Hey TT Vicky!” greetings I would get from him when I would see him once a week, in my short time as his guardian, I was treated like an enemy of the state. I was the adult telling him what he could and couldn’t do, and he was NOT happy, which, in turn, kept me stressed. I couldn’t get back to Brooklyn fast enough.

Granted, he wasn’t all bad. My nephew had his moments where he would climb on me because he just wanted some attention or affection. There were also times where he would say that he loved me after I helped escort him out of his timeout zone, and it was then that I would get glimpses of the cutie patootie I knew. But for the most part, he thought he was going to get his way, and that “TT,” the “TT” who had always given him gifts and hugged him and kissed his cheeks on Sundays, was going to comply.

It was through these experiences that I could not only understand what the teacher in my Sunday school was saying but most importantly, all that the women in my family have had on their plates all these years. That includes my mom, who used to tell me stories about racing home from work on the train to have enough time to cook dinner, play with us, help us with our homework and put us to bed, to which I wouldn’t think much of.

As I struggled to get in a nap during my days with him, instead thinking it a better idea to take a shower and get myself together while he rested so that he wouldn’t have to sit around by himself when he was up and moving, I could only feel for women like them, and working moms, in general. I couldn’t help but gain a new respect in such a short time for everything they do for employers, partners and children while eeking out brief moments to do things for themselves. And yet, my sister spends her free time trying to take my nephew to play soccer with his daycare friends or to the Crayola factory so that even moments of relaxation can actually be time for them to spend together. Hair appointments? No thanks. “I just feel like that’s time better spent at home with him,” she told be before. “I can do my own hair.”

While I’m often left wondering how she does it, when I see her dance with my nephew or smile at him, I understand that there is a deeper level of love there, a mother’s love for a child, that makes it all worth it.

Even though we’ve long passed Mother’s Day, I just have to applaud working mothers out there. I barely kept up the energy and enthusiasm to work while making sure to entertain, feed, clothe, clean and put my nephew to rest for a few days, and moms do this without a second thought every day. You ladies deserve a lot more than a kudos once in May, accompanied by some flowers or a reprieve for one day from your responsibilities. I can’t give you that, but I do want to give you your props.

Wombfire: That Moment When You Want Kids, But You Don’t

May 17th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

My family tends to get together for holidays and birthdays, and I’m always the odd one out with no children. So when everyone else is run down from the struggles of parenthood and just wants to relax (read: drink), I always find their children thrown into my company. I’m the one called upon to help keep them entertained, and therefore, quiet.

I’m 26. I’m not old, right? There’s no rush for me to go off and get married and start a family, right? I didn’t think so either. Now, can someone please pass the message on to my relatives? I mean, sure, when wedding season rolls around, I too wish that I were getting married. I want the big wedding with all its pomp and circumstance as well, but I’m just not there yet. But I will say, the starting a family part I do find myself thinking about more and more these days. On Mother’s Day, I found myself scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, ogling over all the mother-daughter, mother-son photos I could find. It caused a stirring in my ovaries that I’m just not ready to handle. Has anyone else been there? 

It’s like you want kids, you’re curious to see what you’ll produce, but at the same time, you don’t want any parts of parental responsibility any time soon. You take joy in knowing that after a few minutes of holding a baby or playing with some of your relative’s kids, you can always give them back to their parents and go home stress-free. However, somewhere deep down inside there’s a longing. There’s a desire to have a daughter who looks like me or a son who looks like his father. If you’ve ever seen one of those memes where the baby has a poop explosion that goes beyond the diaper and basically gets everywhere and your first instinct is to burn the room because you can’t stomach that disaster, chances are, you aren’t ready for motherhood either. But still, the ticking clock is sometimes too loud to ignore. I want the child that comes home with a macaroni necklace for Mother’s Day. I want the child I can style and profile with in our matching outfits. I want to do fun things and take day trips with a child. Or, at least, I think I do. But when I also think about the maintenance, the dependency, and around-the-clock care and attention needed, I just get so overwhelmed and feel like I’m in need of a power nap.

With that being said, there are plenty of things to consider before deciding on children, no matter how many flips your uterus does at the sight of a cute, chocolate, chunky baby. I think about all the plants I have killed in an attempt to develop a green thumb. I think about how much I like to sleep in on a Sunday morning or stay out late on a Friday or Saturday night. And I think about what I would do if the kids thrown into my care during family gathering were my own and I wasn’t able to give them back. I think about all sorts of things and realize that I need to go sit down somewhere because those warm and fuzzy feelings are often fleeting. But still, you can’t ignore the delight little ones bring–when they’re on their best behavior, of course.

Does anyone else hear their biological clock ticking louder and louder? Does it leave you wondering whether or not you’re really ready to be a parent? Does it set your womb on fire?

Today On The Real: Which Co-Host Is Freezing Eggs And Embryos?

May 3rd, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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The Real

The Real

On Tuesday May 3rd, co-host Jeannie Mai admits she’s entertaining the possibility of freezing her eggs and is having second thoughts on not having children. Co-host Tamar Braxton, who’s had her own experience with infertility, announces she’s got a few embryos in the freezer ready to go.

Plus, The Real welcomes the stars of the new series previewing this summer, The Preachers who have gathered from across the country to come together to inspire, bring hope and add a fresh perspective on pop culture and everyday issues. Also, co-host Tamera Mowry-Housley reveals a hilarious encounter with her kids and the First Lady.

 

Here’s how the conversation goes  down:

Jeannie Mai: I’m 37. I know I’m not getting any younger and I know if I was going to have a kid, I should decide now, today, 5 minutes ago…

Tamar Braxton: Um hum.

Jeannie: So, I’ve decided I’m going to start thinking about freezing my eggs.

Tamar: Well, you should.

Jeannie: I just want to think about that.

[The Real audience claps.]

Tamar: Think about it?

Tamera Mowry-Housley: Oh, my god!

Jeannie: Yes.

Tamar: Or are you going to?

Jeannie: Here’s why I say think about it:

[The Real audience claps.]

Jeannie: I want to start having a conversation about what that means to freeze eggs.

Tamar: Um hum.

Jeannie: What do you go through individually, what do you go through mentally. What does it mean for Freddy and I, because I don’t want anybody’s hopes to get up. Freezing eggs just means giving me the option. It doesn’t mean anything’s guaranteed. So, that’s why I think for me, I just want to just start opening up the discussion. I want to be able to come by. I want you [to Tamera] to chaperone with permission, babysit Ariah, have biscuits with Logie. Talk to other women to understand what does it mean because I just…I want to know what it feels like to go through that.

Tamar: So, listen, I went through IVF and I will definitely hold your hand while you go through this process because, you know, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what’s happening with your body and there are some changes that’s going to happen with your body, but you just have to know that they’re not permanent changes, okay. These are changes that’s going to prepare you to carry your baby and let me tell you something…Um [clearing her throat]…When Vince and I went through IVF, we decided that I wouldn’t just freeze my eggs, but we would freeze our embryos and I don’t know if you all know that I have 4 “kids in the freezer” okay.

[The Real audience laughs.]

Adrienne Bailon: And Vince and Logan are waiting.

Tamar: I had infertility issues as well and, for me, you know, I just find that this is not just a conversation for you to have with your girlfriends; this is a conversation for you to go real deep with your husband.

Jeannie: Yes.

Tamar: Okay, because the only person that is really going to walk you through and I’ll be here to answer the questions that you need, is your husband, is your man. This is y’all’s journey together.

Jeannie: Yes.

Tamar: So I just want you to keep that in mind.

[The Real audience cheers and claps.]

Tamar: The only reason why I have embryos in the freezer waiting on me is because after I went through the IVF, um, cycle, I didn’t feel like I wanted to be pregnant. There was just so much going on with my body.

Loni Love: Right.

Tamar: But God decided he wanted me to be pregnant and so he made me pregnant .

[Loni laughs.]

Adrienne: That’s crazy.

Tamar: Out of the blue.

Adrienne: It’s like a freak accident.

Tamar: I didn’t have a popsicle Logan, I had the real one, like we went on the date, got drunk and what happened was ….that…..yeah!

Adrienne: Wow!

[The Real audience claps.]

The Real airs on Fox5 at 11:00 AM/4:00 PM weekdays.

Pop Mom: Is It Okay To Let Your Boyfriend Discipline Your Kid?

April 25th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Shutterstock

I’m heading out for drinks with my cousin when she turns to her man and says, “If he gets out of hand, go ahead and spank him.” She’s referring to her four-year-old son. I’m a little surprised because she’s been dating this guy less than a year. When I ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea to let him spank her kid she doesn’t see the problem.

“If I’m gone, my son needs to know that he’s got to listen or he’s going to get popped,” she says, a little defensively.

I leave it alone. But later, I’m definitely thinking about it.

On one hand, I see what she means. It’s kinda old school in the sense that people used to take responsibility for other people’s kids. Family members had the right to pop you if they saw you getting out of hand, and even neighbors could snatch you up, and drag you home to mama. Teachers had, and in many places still do, have the right to take physical action. Corporal punishment is alive and well, especially in the South. Let’s face it, not everyone was mad when the Spring Valley High police officer flung the young female student to the ground last year. “Kids today have a problem with authority,” they say.

But the flip side of that is you’re putting a lot of trust in a person, in this case, a boyfriend. How long have you known him? Does he have a temper? What’s his experience with kids? And what if you break up and get a new man, is he going to be able to hit him too? Sadly, it doesn’t always end well. Tragic stories surface everyday about boyfriends who injure, and sometimes kill, a woman’s kid. Men can have a heavy hand, and when it’s not their child, they may lack patience or feel they have to over compensate to show that they have the upper hand. Kids are quick to scream, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my daddy!”

So what’s an acceptable way to discipline that won’t create bigger problems?

I call up Dr. Jane Fort, one of my go-to psychologists, to see what advice she may have because I want to make sure my cousin is doing the right thing.

She says, “The real question is what is being communicated to the child in a spanking no matter who does it?

Read the full article here.

Married With Children: How To Keep The Romance Poppin’

March 11th, 2016 - By Tomiko Fraser Hines
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Tomiko Fraser Hines

Tomiko Fraser Hines

Picture this.  A darkened room with only the flicker of a vanilla-scented candle to illuminate it.  The mood-enhancing sounds of The Weeknd play softly over the small speakers on the nightstand. Right next to the speakers are two glasses of red wine, Malbec to be exact, and a couple pieces of dark chocolate, all untouched.  As we pan across to the bed, we see two people, fully-clothed on top of the covers and they are both…

Fast asleep.

Once again, it is NOT going down for these two new parents.  As has been the norm over these last several months, Mommy and Daddy are too tired to even think about doing anything in bed except sleeping.

As a fairly-new mother myself, I will be the first to tell you, sex isn’t the priority it once was prior to having children.  That may be TMI for some of you, but if you know me or have read my previous articles, you already know that Momma keeps it really real up in this piece.  Having children definitely changes many aspects of your life and your sex life doesn’t escape unscathed.  And as it turns out, and much to my comfort, I am not the only mother whose sex drive is firmly placed in park.

One friend shared that since having her second baby a few months ago, she is surprised at how difficult it is to make time for sex.  She had no idea how much effort it would take to make lovemaking feel romantic and unrushed.  Another friend lamented about how her desire, post baby, is less than her husband’s and the idea of scheduling lovemaking seems forced and uncomfortable.

With everything that we mothers have to do in a day, it is no wonder that we are too fried to do what it takes to ramp up our lady parts.  One of my girlfriends shared that she asks her husband, whose sex drive is still intact post baby, for a few minutes to “fluff” herself when the mood strikes him.  She does things like take a hot shower while rubbing sweet-smelling lotions on her skin.  She also looks at her own reflection in the mirror to get herself going.  Go ‘head with yo bad self, you sexy Momma you!

Another friend confided in me that her baby daughter has “replaced” her husband as this Mom’s source of touch and intimacy.  She gets her fill from her child and not from her man.

I, too, can relate to this as I can’t cuddle my sons enough. My oxytocin levels are on high when it comes to my boys.  By the time my husband gets home from work, I’m all cuddled out.

Then there’s yet another friend who believes that her low sex drive is due to the fact that she is still breastfeeding her toddler.  When the time comes for this tired Momma to do the “do”, she sometimes has to “fake it til she makes it”.  Meaning she goes through the motions initially during lovemaking until her mind and body catch up.

Whew!  What are mothers (and I’m quite sure fathers as well) to do?  Well, first you should know that you are normal.  Ok, I can’t make that statement across the board about you, but when it comes to your diminished sex drive post baby, you, my friend, are indeed normal and not alone.  Read any Mommy blog and you’re bound to see a story about this very common thing.  So you can relax a bit if you’ve been feeling like the lone holdout.

Second, talk to your partner.  And I mean really talk.  Share with each other what you’re feeling, how it’s affecting you and devise a plan to reignite the spark that works for the both of you.  Maybe you’re the type that scheduling a sex night would work for.  Or perhaps you both can carve out 15 minutes of cuddling time.  And please don’t forget about date nights.  A night out on the town can sometimes work wonders for a tired mother’s libido.  Throw in her favorite drink and a sensual massage and that bed will be rocking in no time.

Ultimately, your not wanting sex post baby is not the end of the world.  Your desire will return, but it might need some time and some help from you.  Don’t give up on yourself or your partner.  You’ve made it this far with all of the ups and downs that new parenting can bring and with the right mindset, you will continue to thrive.

Tonight, why don’t you treat yourself to a hot shower while rubbing sweet-smelling lotions on yourself?  Invite your partner to join you.  What happens after that might be just the spark you both need to keep the romance poppin’.

Tomiko Fraser Hines is a mother, wife, model, actress, writer, and motivational speaker. When faced with infertility, Tomiko chose to share her story openly and honestly with the public. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she currently resides in Los Angeles—where she plays her most passionate role yet—mother to twins Kaden and Bryce and wife to her husband Chris. Follow Tomiko at TomikoFraserHines.com.

 

Signs You’re Not Ready To Be A Mom. At All.

February 24th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Shutterstock

Some women think that having a baby would strengthen their relationship; other women think that having a baby would mean never being without an adorable accessory. Some women think pushing a stroller around and playing the single mom card is a good way to meet men; other women think nine months of maternity leave is worth 18 years of parenthood.

All of those women are wrong, nuts and irresponsible, and I pray somebody is checking them. But even if you don’t fall under one of those glaringly bad categories, you might still not be ready to be a mom. The signs could just be more subtle. If you’re sweet, caring, maternal and love children, you might think, “What’s the worst that could happen?!” A lot. So much. Wherever your brain just went—yeah, that can happen. Here are 15 signs you’re not ready to be a mom, like at all.

Would You Ever Name A Child After Your Ex?

February 5th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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Shutterstock

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”-William Shakespeare

When it comes to matters of the heart, even the most mild-mannered, forward-thinking, calculated planners, and thinking-four-steps-ahead-looking into the future people forgo all logic and live in the moment. It’s science. The parts of our brains that are associated with reason and emotions are literally two different systems. The latter of the two isn’t even a part of the cerebral cortex–the image that is commonly thought of as the brain; it’s inside.

I bring this up because most would lose both parts of their mind if their significant other wanted to name the child they’re expecting after an ex. In an advice column on Slate, a woman sought insight on whether or not she and her husband should name their unborn daughter the same name as his ex-girlfriend.

The mother-to-be explains that before she and her partner met, he was in a long-term relationship. The ex and her beau no longer speak. However, when the inquirer got pregnant, he proposed naming the child his ex’s name. Both parties like the name because it’s nice and it’s not very common, but she’s wary of feeling weirded out by the name because of its origins. The columnist, right off the bat, said that this is unacceptable.

I disagree.

If one were to say the word “dog” repeatedly for a minute straight without any pausing, at first one would probably be thinking about or picturing a dog as they say it. Very shortly into this exercise, you would stop picturing a four-legged animal. Eventually, you wouldn’t be thinking about just word, how silly it sounds, and quit after about 30 seconds because you sound ridiculous saying the word “dog” over and over again. This process is called habituation: the diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus. The same thing happens when you’re at a concert and the loudness seems unbearable at first and within minutes you get used to it.

The initial hesitance to name your child after your partner’s ex is understandable, but it’s strictly emotional because of the association with the name. However, think about how many times you say your child’s name. How many times do you have to tell them to stop doing something they shouldn’t be doing or referring to them in conversation? You probably do so hundreds of times within a week.

I’ll use my life as an example. My sister named her son after herself. When she announced this, I hated it because we’re siblings, so I didn’t want to associate this child I’d love dearly with someone who spent a healthy portion of my life getting on my nerves. Shortly after he was born, I don’t think of her at all if I am referring to my nephew. My daughter’s name is Cydney. While I liked the name, I wanted to spell it with an s. Seeing “Sydney” literally looks incorrect to me because I am used to how my daughter’s name is spelled, and it’s so uncommon that spell check puts a red squiggly line under Cydney.

When feelings come into play, people tend to think about the right now. In the moment, no one would be thinking about this and could care less about habituation. Everyone has different motivations for why they want to give their offspring certain names and unless you’re a single parent, all names and reasons for them should be discussed. Usually, the names parents throw out in month one of the pregnancy are long-forgotten anyway.

All that being said, would you name your child after your partner’s ex?

My Mommy Standards: 12 Things I’ll Never Do As A Mom

January 29th, 2016 - By Tasha Brown
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Shutterstock

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Wear a scarf/bonnet or pajamas to his school. I represent him as he represents me. We will not go out like that. Ever.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Let a day pass without telling, and showing, him that I love him. May he never doubt my love for him.

What Kids Learn From Our Relationships

January 6th, 2016 - By Martine Foreman
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I have a pretty good marriage. It’s not perfect, but what we have works. However, I have to admit that there are moments when I am so pissed at my husband, I don’t even feel like talking to him. The thing is, though, even when those moments strike, I still talk to him. Why? Because we have two kids and I don’t want to teach them that ignoring someone is the way to deal with their emotions.

When children are brought into this world, ideally, both parents should be in the picture. Both parents should be an active part of their lives. Sometimes that is the case and despite differences and disputes, both parties parent the children effectively, whether they are in a committed relationship or not. But sometimes, things don’t go so well. Sometimes mom and dad are not together and it’s obvious to everyone, including the child, that they just can’t stand each other. Even worse is when the parents are together, and they exist in an unhealthy relationship.

Our children learn how to function in relationships by watching our relationships. We are the ones who treat them how to be kind, patient, trustworthy, supportive, encouraging, and loving. When a child sees his or her parents being critical, rude, impatient, frustrated, angry, and bitter with one another, it sends them a clear message. It shows them that it’s okay to let your emotions get the best of you and behave in any manner you want, regardless of the potential consequences.

Recently my husband and I were having a friendly argument. It was about a television show – nothing important, really. But while we engaged in our debate, our three-year-old son interjected and said, “Guys, guys–one at a time, please.” I started to giggle and we both toned things down (we are from New York City, so we can get pretty intense). In that moment, I realized how much he pays attention to how we interact with each other. I realized that he is watching us–closely. How we treat each other matters to him. Even when I am my angriest with my husband, I save the attitude for later. The kids really don’t need to see that.

It’s inevitable that problems will occur in a relationship. Maybe it’s a small-scale dispute between a happily married couple, or maybe it’s a full-blown fight between a two parents who can’t bear to be in the same space. Whatever the case may be, it really is in everyone’s best interest (especially the children) if the adults in their lives can learn how to be civil with one another. Civility shouldn’t be optional.

Regardless of what the situation is between you and your ex, make a commitment to be kind in your child’s presence. If your ex is making it hard for you, limit your time around him (not the child’s time around him). Greet him when you are in their presence. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t say nasty things. Don’t let another person control your being.

If we make an effort to always remember that our kids are watching our every move, not only do we influence what they learn about relationships, we influence what they learn about kindness and about always having control over their behavior – no matter the circumstance.

Relationships are far more complicated than children can understand, but observing how we interact is simple for them. Remember, they don’t know the history behind your behaviors. Children live in the moment. And without context, they can end up picking up some bad habits from the people they are supposed to admire most on this earth. I have no intentions of raising people who can’t be kind, even when it’s difficult. After all, the world could use more kindness.

Martine Foreman is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, speaker and coach. To follow her journey as a busy mom, wife and honest chick from Brooklyn, NY (now living in the burbs), check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

A Mom’s Guide To Boys And Puberty

December 22nd, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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by C.C. Mendoza

Everything in my world came to a screeching halt last week when my son walked in the kitchen as I was stewing chicken and said “So, Mom, I kind of just don’t understand what this sex thing is all about. Do you think we could watch a video about it?”  I didn’t let my jaw drop.  After a few stutters, I started out with some questions like “Well, what do you know about sex so far?” and “Who have you talked to about this?”  Obviously, I have three children, so I know all about sex, but I wasn’t sure where he was coming from with his questions and if I had any doubt in my mind that he was going through puberty they were officially erased.  I’d long been suspicious of his “extended stays” in the bathroom and hair that was seemed to be growing everywhere.  So, rather than wing this one (he is my first kid) I made an appointment with his pediatrician and decided to find out everything I needed to know about his pubescent youth before having “the talk” with him.  Through that conversation with Dr. Alejandro Hoberman here is a mom’s guide to boys and puberty.

Choking the Chicken

Moms, don’t freak out.  My pediatrician’s first piece of advice was that if his father is around, the subjects of masturbations and wet dream should be left to his father or a male role model.  Boys don’t like to talk to their moms about masturbation.  Nonetheless, some of us are single mamas and don’t have a choice. Dr. Hoberman said a wet dream is just a sign your son has developed sperm adequate enough to make a baby. The day dreams that often accompany the morning sticky icky are usually what causes them to start masturbating.  Signs your son is masturbating or may have had his first wet dream include constant underwear and sheet changes, spending or asking for more time alone, “extended stays” in the bathroom, constantly asking for more lotion or other moisturizing creams and daydreaming.  Some words of advice for mothers of tween boys: stop barging into his room or the bathroom when he is showering.  You will likely get an eye full.

What is that Smell?

It is seriously dangerous to walk in my son’s room sometimes.  His body odor has taken over our third floor.  Dr. Hoberman says the increased odor emanating from my son’s underarms and feet are a result of his adult sweat glands forming and his inability to address them.  One of the things I did for my son was to buy him a shower caddy.  He takes a shower twice a day (in the morning and after school), and he uses his caddy to reinforce his  shower routine.  Also, moms, no more deodorant.  If you song is a member of what we call the boff club (code word for stinky) he officially needs antiperspirant.  It’s probably time to start making your son a clean kit.  The kit should include cologne (or oils which come in roll format and stop your son from depleting the ozone layer with Axe spray), deodorant soap (Dove will not work for him anymore), lotion and facial cleanser.

Pizza Face

Everybody goes through it. The zit monster visits all young boys at night and voila! They wake up with a pizza face.  Dr. Hoberman says signs your kids acne is out of control are extreme redness or pain in the vicinity of pimples, bumps that entirely cover a certain area of your boy’s face and failure to see any progress after use of over-the-counter products.  But, if you think your son’s acne is caused by puberty, make sure they have a regular face cleansing routine that does not include using a wash rag or sponge.  These cleaning accessories carry germs that are often too sensitive for facial skin.

The Eating Dilemma

Puberty takes up about $75 of my grocery bill every month. Dr. Hoberman says during puberty boys will eat and sleep more than they ever have.  This is mostly due to a huge period of brain and body growth.  He says it is not unusual for pubescent boys to eat massive amounts in one sitting and to complain of hunger constantly. (He warns that if this eating is accompanied by an excessive exercise or long stays in the bathroom your child could be suffering from bulimia.)  Your tween boy may also begin to gain some weight in the breast area this is usually associated with the growth of their breast muscles and glands. Dr. Hoberman says helping your son stay active is the best way to ensure that their bodies are able to cope with their new eating and sleeping routines.  So, this is a great time to put him on the basketball team.

Is he crazy or is it me?

From peer pressure to strange requests and arguments with your boy, puberty will drive a mom crazy.  Dr. Hoberman says during puberty most boys are looking for two things: acceptance and purpose.  That’s why teen boys will often respond to challenges with “Well, everyone’s doing it,” and why they give in to peer pressure so easily.  In their minds the only way to gain acceptance and purpose is by doing what they believes everyone else is doing.  The doc assured me that it is normal for tweens to make unreasonable requests and basically act like crazy fools during puberty.  Dr. Hoberman encouraged me to be very comfortable saying no and began talking to my son about saying no to his friends.  One piece of advice he gave me is to make sure my son knows it is okay to lie to his friends.  For example, if one of his friends are going to have a drinking party and they ask him if he wants to come he can say “I can’t, I have to watch my brothers this weekend.”  A little white lie may be the barrier between your son and real danger.

How did you survive your son’s changing body and mind?