All Articles Tagged "parenthood"
President Obama recently signed the BABIES (Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation) Act— a new law that requires baby changing tables to be placed in men’s restrooms.
“The new bill requires male and female restrooms in a public building to be equipped with baby changing facilities that the General Services Administration determines are physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate,” according to Congress.gov.
The Huffington Post reports, Rhode Island’s Representative David Cicilline introduced the bill to Congress by noting, “Government needs to do more to ensure that public buildings are family-friendly. No mom or dad should ever have to worry about finding a safe, sanitary place to change their baby ― least of all in a federal building that’s paid for by taxpayers.”
Although the provision only affects public buildings, it introduces a dynamic change in thought regarding equality when it comes to parenting duties. It also allows gay couples to have the ability to change their children in a private space.
This new act comes as a reminder that as much as the 2016 Presidential Campaign makes us feel that the United States is going backwards, it is still a progressive nation.
“You got anything to eat in here?” she said as she opened my refrigerator door and began to poke around. Just a few minutes earlier, she’d casually walked in, picked up the remote without a word and started changing the TV channels.
No, this wasn’t my child enjoying her own house. It was a child visiting for a play date. Unfortunately, our tiny visitor was grossly abusing my offer to make herself at home. Although I was shocked at her behavior, I didn’t blame her – I blamed her parents.
Have you noticed that our children are sorely lacking the manners that use to be so basic? But at the same time, they’re having more and more play dates at other people’s homes. When we send our kids out with “no home training” as we say down South, we create a recipe for them to embarrass us and themselves.
Now don’t get me wrong, my little girl is nowhere close to being a graduate from the Emily Post Institute for Immaculate Manners, but we try to instill the basics in her. Like most eight year olds, she forgets to say “please” and “thank you” and she often chews with her mouth wide open. But we correct her whenever possible. And because we consistently emphasize manners, she is slowly (very slowly!) becoming conscious of her behavior and she’s starting to correct herself. However, I’ve noticed that some of her friends treat good manners like a foreign language that has never, ever been spoken at their house.
Let’s save ourselves the embarrassment of not having our children asked back for another playdate because of their bad manners. Let’s commit to teaching our children these five basics:
1. To wait before entering someone elses house – Most children barge right in as soon as the door is opened. They’re excited and eager to play and explore. We have to teach them to greet the person who opens the door and wait to be invited in.
2. How to introduce themselves to adults – Every child over the age of six should be able to confidently look an adult in the eye when being introduced. Our children should also be able to tell the adult they are being introduced to their name and some basics in an audible voice. For example, “Hello, Mr. Johnson. I am Janet and I’m 7 years old. I attend XYZ Elementary School.”
3. To say “please” and “thank you” – This should be a regular part of their routine at home, school or in public. The more they practice, the more these courtesies become second nature.
4. How to talk to adults respectfully – I grew up in a traditional southern household where phrases like “sir” and “ma’am” were as holy as anything in the Bible. Many grew up with a different standard and view these terms as archaic and unnecessary. That’s fine, as long as we teach our children that they can NOT talk to adults the way that they talk to their peers. A “yes, Mr. Johnson” will take them much further than a “Yeah, ok.”
5. How to act in another person’s home – While we want our children to feel comfortable in any setting, they need to be aware of how to act when they are in someone else’s home. A good rule of thumb is for them to ask before they act. They should ask before they help themselves to food and ask before using items that don’t belong to them.
Our babies are young, but not too young to understand that they are being judged by their manners or their lack of manners. What basic manners are you teaching your little ones?
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter at @YolandaDarville.
If it’s been awhile since you and your kids’ dad broke up, you may finally be ready to date around a bit, even though it was such a foreign concept at first. The thing is: once you’ve been with any one person for an extended amount of time, it’s tough to imagine vegging out on the couch with anyone else. Or hitting the movies with another guy. Still, that relationship is done and there are men that are interested in you, gorgeous — the same ones that you’ve been turning down while nursing a broken heart.
First off, and we know this isn’t something you need to be told, but be sure to be completely honest about your children. Of course, you don’t want to introduce them yet, not before finding out whether or not this dude is a complete loser (or winner!). But if you want to start dating with kids, the guy has to be fine with the fact that you answer to the needs of your children first and foremost. As a matter of fact, that’s the quickest way to weed the selfish ones out. Once you exchange numbers and start talking pretty regularly, he should be asking about your kids on occasion. Not specifically in detail, but if you’ve mentioned that the little one is in soccer, he could ask about their season’s record here and there. Or a simple ‘Hey, how are they doing?’ every once in a while will suffice. But if they don’t ask about the kids at all? And are only concerned about the next time you’re available to swing by? Cut ’em off — quick.
By the way, dating — like, actually being taken out — is at an all-time low. Or if you are being taken out, many times, the assumption is that men will receive their ROI (‘return on investment,’ as spelled out to me by a couple male friends) that evening after dinner. If you’re comfortable enough with the guy, who are we to judge? But if you’re not at all cool with that unspoken arrangement, make it plain to your date and go straight home after doing so.
Some guys, particularly the ones that are well-off, have a way of expecting exactly what they want at all times. These same ones tend to be the most outlandish with their requests which actually come off moreso like demands. They don’t like to be challenged but view every potential challenge as something money can thrown at. Think about it: you know the man that may be having a customer service issue and obnoxiously reminds the staff that he spends ‘a lot of money’ with the company. That guy.
These wealthy ones are a dangerous bunch, especially if they seem to take an interest in your kids and don’t mind buying gifts. Still, unless he’s willing to give emotionally — if that’s what you’re looking for, anyway — you may have to drop this guy. No one likes to be bought and after a while it’ll get old. Plus, you don’t want the little ones to think that ‘new things’ make a relationship.
There are a million jerk types to look out for, but once in a blue moon, there’s one that will make the room disappear. He’ll touch your hand on a walk and your heart will flutter like a high-schooler. He’s not fearful of the fact that you have children. You guys share interests and opinions. You talk all the time. Things may seem perfect but be careful not to rush into anything — not even with him. Protect your heart and your children’s — keep past situations –learning lessons–in mind, but be sure to enjoy the present too.
As I get older and wiser and step more into the woman I want to be, I am faced with the challenge of creating boundaries and protecting my emotional space. This is something I’m working on with friends and acquaintances – and even more personal, with my mother.
Mothers will always be mothers. They will worry. They will advise you. And even as a grown woman, they will still find a way to scold you when they feel it necessary. But what happens when your mother becomes your friend?
Growing up in a typical Nigerian home, the dynamic between my mother and I was incredibly different from most. Some even thought it was inappropriate. We talked about almost everything. She was the involved mom, always asking what we were into,what boys I may have liked. She was the mom who gave me the nitty gritty on sex and the lowdown on the lies little boys would tell me. She knew enough about what music I was into and could recite lyrics to Jay Z songs. As a teenager, the foundation was set for her to be both my mother and my friend.
Lately though, I feel a big shift in our dynamic. As I get older, I’m a bit more set in my ways and not the impressionable young girl I used to be. I’ve formed my own opinions, likes and dislikes, many of which give my mother some cause for concern and have been at the center of many an argument between us recently. Some things I want her to know about, and other things I want her to stay out of. Sometimes I want her advice, and other times, I just want her to be a supportive mom. It’s tough. And to make matters all the more complicated, I am Nigerian, so telling your mom to “stop” is not the easiest thing.
Mother-daughter relationships are a lot more complex than regular relationships. With your friend, you’re an equal, and worst-case scenario, if things don’t work out, you’re always free to part ways. With mothers, there’s a hierarchy there that somewhat negates the fickle nature of friendships. For better or worse, your mother is always going to be your mother. If you all fall out, she’s still your mom. There will never be a relationship quite like it. And let’s be real: Your friend will never hold the exhausting pregnancy and difficult labor you put them through over your head.
As difficult as things get, I do believe in having a friendship with your mother. The older you get, the closer you are to somewhat meeting in the middle with similar life experiences, be it through work accomplishments, getting married, and even motherhood itself. However, working towards and maintaining clear and respectful boundaries with your mother is something that is paramount, especially for me. Recently, we’ve had a lot of disagreements on account of the fact that in times when I needed to talk to the “friend” in my mom, I literally got the “mom” in the form of unsolicited advice and unwarranted disapproval. It’s impacted the comfort and confidence I had in going to my mom to share my true feelings on just about everything, and it’s made our relationship a lot less friendly.
The truth is, as long as there is a hierarchy with one person being the parent, and the other a child (I’m in my early 30s and yet she insists on treating me like a child when she disapproves of my decisions), there will always be an imbalance of sorts. But I believe that being straightforward about what I need from my mother, as a parent and a friend, is a helpful way to set boundaries and maintain both kinds of relationships with the same very important person.
How do you guys feel? Is your mother only supposed to be your mother or can she be your friend as well? If she is both, how do you set boundaries?
A 28-year-old dad wrote into the Dear Prudence column recently, contemplating what he had gotten himself into by settling down and choosing to raise a child with his partner, versus living the “good life” like his childless friends:
All of my co-workers are young and I’ve made a few good friends, but I often have to decline invitations to events I’d really like to attend because of my family obligations, or because I can’t afford it. I’m the only one with a full plate of adult responsibilities, including supporting my partner, who is an artist and doesn’t bring home a paycheck every week. So I have to say no to joining them on road trips or at exclusive restaurants, because my weekend consists of toddler birthday parties and visits to the playground. It’s making me rueful that I’ve missed my 20’s and worried I will wind up bitter no matter how much I love my family.
I understand where he’s coming from. I had my first child at 20, followed close behind by my second child at 22. It was a difficult adjustment to say the least—I was struggling with learning how to breastfeed while my peers were bar-hopping until 4:00 in the morning. I struggled with how quickly I had to transition from a carefree college student to a responsible mother of two.
My advice to any young parents out there? Stop looking at everyone else and focus on your own life. Of course you might feel like you’re missing out if you constantly compare your life to others.
But paying attention to your own life allows you to answer the following question: Are you happy? The question isn’t “Are you happy in relation to what your life could be like?” But rather, it’s a simple question that forces you to think about your true happiness. And this has nothing to do with other people. Focusing inward will show you if you are truly happy.
If you aren’t happy, work within your power to change that. If you feel like all you do is change diapers and burp babies, you might need more adult interaction and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re more likely to be spotted buying Pampers than some new pumps, go ahead and find some room in the budget to treat yourself every now and then. Do the work to improve your life!
If there’s anything I’ve learned as I adjusted to life as a 22-year-old mommy of two, it’s that we have the power to change our perspective. You can either second-guess your choices and wonder “What if?” or you can move forward, fully invested as a young parent, with the knowledge that this season of your life is what you make it. In due time, your kids will be grown and out of your house and your childless friends will be at home with tweens. Then who will be jealous of who?
With all of the daily worries and concerns that we have as parents, it’s fairly easy to forget that our kids have their own set of issues. And the person they look to on how to handle said issues? Their mom and dad of course. Your reaction to tough situations is a direct influence on your children, whether you notice it or not. But beyond being a good example for them in your attitude, there are still a few tools that they can use from day-to-day. After all, you can’t be right next to them all day long, wiping tears of frustration away. Teach your little ones how to shrug off disappointments and get back on the horse. Here are 15 tips on how to keep your kids positive-minded.
15 Ways to Keep Your Kids Positive
Some women in their twenties and thirties genuinely do not know if they want to have children. It’s not uncommon to find plenty of happy moms, with several children, who tell you that ten years ago, they never thought they’d be parents. And here they are with a child attached to every appendage. Your own parents (who desperately want to be grandparents) will reference those women when you tell them that you don’t want children. “That’s what they all say,” they’ll insist. But nah—you know. It’s not a matter of being cut out for it, of being responsible enough for it, or nurturing enough. It has nothing to do with your ability to love and care for another human. You have plenty of loving relationships. But some women just don’t want children, and they mean it (okay, doubters?) Here are 15 signs kids just aren’t for you.
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.
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.
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?