All Articles Tagged "Parenting"

Having A Second Child – Is It Too Early To Tell If I Should?

August 24th, 2014 - By Brooke Dean
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I was a month shy of my 41st birthday when I gave birth to my son. Being pregnant at 40 was nothing like I expected. It was magical, but it was scary…nerve racking yet miraculous. Meeting my son was the best day of my life, and its hard to imagine anything coming even remotely close to that moment.

Now that my son is 7 months old and I’m finding my rhythm as a mother, folks are beginning to ask that inevitable question – when are you having another one? I’m just now starting to average 4 (5 if I’m lucky) hours of sleep a night and I’m learning more about my son every day. The thought of having another baby hasn’t even had a chance to plant itself because I’m too busy trying to figure everything out with the baby I have. Yet I feel like I get that question from people at least once a week.

While my son is not an only child – he has siblings from my husband’s previous marriage – they are a lot older than he is. Growing up, I always said that I’d want to have at least two children who would grow up and be best friends like my sister and I are. Having one just never seemed like an option. But in that vision, I never saw myself as an older mother married to a man who already had children. Now that that is my reality, I think I’ve adjusted my thoughts on having more than one child.

Maybe if I were 31 instead of 41 this decision would be a no brainer. Now, just the thought of paying double for child care makes me cringe. Ideally, I’d be able to space them at least 3-4 years apart so that my husband and I could catch a financial breather, but the idea of being pregnant at 45 doesn’t necessarily appeal to me. All of that genetic testing I had to go through with my son was enough to drive me crazy. I feel blessed to have a perfect baby boy, so I don’t feel the need to make myself sick with worry a second time since I’d still be considered an even higher risk the older I get.

Then there’s this thing called sleep. Call me selfish, but as my son gets older and sleeps longer, adding another newborn to the mix would simply make me delirious. Waking up twice in the middle of the night now to nurse only takes 5-10 minutes tops…and then we’re both back to sleep. We’re getting there, and I just don’t see myself wanting to lose more sleep than I’m currently getting. Sure there is a case to be made for doing it now while I’m used to being sleep deprived…but I don’t want to consider that logic right now. At least not until after I grab a nap anyway.

Then there’s my husband. Right now, our household is cozy and functioning with the three of us. His other children don’t live with us, but visit often – and that works out well for our unit. When I want to take a nice long shower, I can hand the baby off to him so I can bathe in peace. When he wants to go work out for an hour, I got the baby. It’s a juggling act we’re getting the hang of, and adding another child to that act would probably throw us off-balance in a way that we may not anticipate. He’s already used to being a dad, while I’m still navigating being a mother. With another child, I think we’d both become just parents rather than husband and wife, and maintaining a marriage while looking after more than one child in the house might become a job that neither one of us has the energy and mentality to prioritize.

Lastly, there’s this silly idea I have that I might not love them equally. Yes, call me crazy - but as I sit and stare at my angelic child, I can’t imagine loving another child the way I love him. Everything with him represents my first – my first heartbeat, first ultrasound, first pregnancy, first birth, first love. I will never experience those “firsts” again, even though I’m sure having another child will be special and unique in its own way too. Logically, I know this…but part of me wonders if I can love another one the way I love him. I know I shouldn’t try to measure the two, but it’s hard to imagine my heart getting any bigger than it already is filled with the joy the little one has brought me.

And the converse of that is wondering if I’d be able to spread myself equally between the two. Will I ignore my oldest child because the younger one would require so much of my attention? Will he become jealous, or try to compete for my affection? If I have a girl, will I love her differently? These are probably all ridiculous things to ponder – but I do anyway…and it makes me wonder if I should stop at this one and just love him up with everything I have.

Loving him up is easy. But am I loving him selfishly by not giving him a close in age sibling to be his best friend? Who knows. Maybe I’m assuming too much. He might be close to his other siblings, even with the age difference. He might not want another sibling. And if he had one close in age to him, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d be best friends…even though that would be my hope for them. At the end of the day, I might be making much ado about nothing.

And maybe it’s still too soon to even be worrying about all of this. For the time being, I think I’m just going to enjoy being a new mother and growing with, learning from and nurturing my son. Time will tell if having another child is in the cards for us, and the next time someone asks me if I’m ready for the next one, I’ll just tell them to check back with me in a year while I pray on it – and buy myself some time.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: I Have A 1-Year-Old Should I Stay Out Of The Dating Game?

August 20th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Source: Shutterstock

Dear Damon,

I’m single, 25 and have a 1-year-old. Daughter. I’m currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree and have moved back in with my mother to focus on school instead of working full time. I’m holding off on dating because I feel like in my situation I’m unattractive to stand up guys or the type of men I find attractive. Even after I finish school and get back on my own I’m afraid being a mother is a big turn off. Am I being insecure or am I right to stay out of the dating game?

Signed,
Down About Dating

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Why Can’t Mothers Be Pro-Breastfeeding Without Being Anti-Formula?

August 15th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Why Can't Mothers Be Pro-Breastfeeding Without Being Anti-Formula?

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In 2011, The United States Breastfeeding Committee (yes, this is a real group) made August National Breastfeeding Month. As a mom who has breastfed two children, I am excited about the month-long celebration of breastfeeding. And though online activism is one of the best ways to share information and be an active advocate, when I explore some social media sites and online forums, I notice that there are breastfeeding moms who shame formula feeding moms and call them “selfish” and “ignorant.” This unfortunate name-calling undermines the importance of promoting breastfeeding. Advocating for the benefits of breast milk can and should be done without bashing other mothers in the process.

It is not okay to attack formula feeding moms because some women have no choice but to use formula for various reasons. Some women use formula to some degree due to serious illness, medications, or unsolvable lactation issues. Other moms cut nursing short or supplement with formula because they are returning to a work environment that is not conducive to pumping milk. Assuming that everyone who uses formula is lazy and a failure makes advocates look uninformed. Breastfeeding supporters should spend time exploring reasons some moms can’t breastfeed. Becoming educated about barriers to breastfeeding can help advocates share information in a tactful way. Once an advocate is cognizant of other women’s struggles, blanket statements about formula usage should be replaced with compassionate language towards other mom’s struggles. Showing compassion to moms who were unable to fulfill their desire to breastfeed is an extension of the unconditional love and support that motherhood represents.

Conversely, there are women who do have a choice, but don’t know which choice to make. Many misinformed and undecided moms-to-be may need advice from mothers with breastfeeding experience. Or, an inexperienced nursing mom may need seasoned veterans to help with cluster-feeding issues and milk supply woes. When mommy experts waste time engaging in battles with “anti-breastfeeding” Internet trolls and lambaste women who are even considering formula, they can’t offer the help other women desperately need. Incessant online wars and nasty attitudes don’t belong in a space intended for camaraderie. If advocates want to draft new moms onto “Team Mommy’s Milk,” then they have to dedicate time toward reaching out to women with solid information.

Having an arsenal of great information is a powerful tool to help other moms. But, if a nursing activist has quality facts to share with another mommy, it won’t be well-received if the information is mixed in with callous statements about formula feeding moms. Think about how most people perceive PETA and their wayward campaigning. Although PETA often provides valuable information, they are more known for their inflammatory statements than their facts. Likewise, if a breastfeeding aficionado pushes an anti-formula agenda, then focus ends up being taken off of the pro-breastfeeding agenda and, the ultimate message (“Breastfeeding is awesome”) is lost. Pro-breastfeeding ladies should also avoid taking the “I nursed my kids, so I am a better mom than you” approach. Throwing in pretentious statements among information is not the way to encourage others to forgo formula. Instead, an advocate should stick to promoting the benefits of breast milk for both mommy and baby.

As August flies by and National Breastfeeding Month is recognized across the country, people who support the breast milk movement should focus on the many Twitter “hashtag” activities, chats, and events taking place. There will be detractors and skeptics, but this month is not about their agenda. It is about the pro-breastfeeding agenda! Providing advice, offering encouragement, answering questions with tact, and focusing on the beauty of nursing an infant are the best ways to champion for a wonderful cause without hurting others.

National Breastfeeding Month: Celebrity Moms Who Breastfeed

August 12th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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While some women choose not to breastfeed or even be unable to, these celebrity moms who breastfeed are proponents of nursing the good old fashion way and in honor of National Breastfeeding month this August, we’re shouting them out.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Yaya DaCosta

After NFL player Phillip Wheeler’s girlfriend was criticized for posting a pic of her breastfeeding online, actress Yaya DaCosta was outraged and posted a copy cat pic in solidarity to #NormalizeNursing. Yaya gave birth to her first child, son Sakara, with husband Josh Alafia September 12.

Black Celebrity Single Mothers Doing It All

August 12th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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An astonishing 72% of Black children are raised by single mothers, but not all of those single parent households represent dismal circumstances. As society in general moves more toward single parenthood, we pay homage to the Black celebrity single mothers who are balancing their grueling work schedules with raising stellar children.

For more on single motherhood in the Black community, check out Moguldom Studios’ latest documentary “72%,” available on iTunes and Google Play.

Celebrity Single Mothers

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Nia Long

We fell in love with Nia Long decades ago after she starred in“Boyz N The Hood” and “Love Jones.” More than 20 years later, the Brooklyn native hardly looks like she’s aged a bit. Her two sons, 13-year-old Massai and 2-year-old Kez, must keep her young because Long is proud to do it all. “I’m not a movie star mom who’s got a private chef, a nanny and a driver,” she said to “Essence” magazine. “My mantra is, ‘You created this, you can handle it.’”

15 Signs You Might Be A Bad Parent

August 5th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Parenting is the hardest job that any of us will ever have. But we still have to do better than this. If you identify with any of the parents on this list, you might just be bad at your job.

You Chose This Name

Just in case you didn’t catch it, that’s Knowledge MarLexus Townsend.

Mother Did Not Know Son Died Until She Smelled His Decaying Body

August 4th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From EurWeb

The mother of an 8-year-old special needs boy whose decomposing body was found on the third floor of their home said Saturday she didn’t know he had died until noticing the smell.

The reason given by Kimberly Tutko, the mother, is that her husband was the primary caretaker of their mentally disabled son, and he waited several days to tell her the boy had died, according to Pennlive.com.

Police were called to the home Friday and found the boy’s body. They charged the father,  Jarrod Tutko, 38, with child endangerment for concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse.There is no attorney listed for the family in court records.

Harrisburg police said in a statement that Tutko informed his wife about the death of their son, Jarrod Tutko Jr., “when the odor of decomposition became too strong.”

Read more about this case at EurWeb.com 

 

 

14 Revelations That Come From Being a Parent

July 23rd, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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14 Revelations That Come From Being a Parent

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Whatever you think you know about life and the world is challenged the moment you introduce a new variable.  For most parents, it’s the birth of your first child that let’s you know that the way you viewed the world might not have been as clear as you thought it was.  Things you know about life, your parents, society and yourself will begin to become clear.

So to all of you parent readers, potential parents, and others who are slightly curious, here are 14 (kind of harsh) revelations that come the moment the doctor hands you your bundle.

How Selfish Is Your Advice?

July 21st, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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As a little girl growing up I had a severe stuttering problem.  It’s really weird to talk about it now, because it’s pretty much nonexistent, but it was very evident as a child.  Because no one really wanted to hold a long conversation with me while I struggled to get words out, I just held everything in.  My speech therapy kicked in when I was in first grade and I felt more comfortable talking to people.  But I was told by my classmates that I sounded like the preacher from Coming to America.   Which is funny now, but was devastating as a child.  What little girl wants to hear that she sounds like a grown man?

As much as I love my family, their advice to me was to just “let it roll off your back, like water off of a duck’s feathers.”  It wasn’t until an argument happened that one of them blurted out:  “I don’t feel like listening to you go on and on!”

That’s when everything clicked.  I always felt as a child that the “just let it go” advice was always self-serving for the person giving it to me.  They didn’t have to listen to me, and I continued to carry on the baggage in ways that I was hurt.  They were happy that they didn’t have that deal with it.  Those words of truthful anger was my confirmation of everything that I suspected.

I vowed that once I had my own child I wouldn’t do that to her.  Until a few weeks ago when the last thing I wanted to hear was screaming and that was all that daughter was offering.  I pulled her to me and said:  “Baby, I need you to stop screaming, okay?  Please play with your toys.”  At that moment, right when I was about to gently push her in the direction of her toy pile I saw that flash of hurt in her eyes.  That feeling of being cast aside because I didn’t even try to really figure out what was wrong with her.  I just gave her a quick solution so I could go about my day.  Realizing that, I felt horrible, but at the same time forgiving to everyone who I felt had done me in the same manner.

Let’s be honest here, sometimes we don’t feel like being bothered.  It can be extremely upsetting, and overwhelming when your friend is constantly going through the same struggles, and you’re tired of hearing about it.  I understand.  So you might give him/her some advice, not necessarily because you think that it’s the right thing to do, you’re just trying to give him/her a quick fix so they can stop bothering you about it.

I feel as though we’ve all been there at some point of time.  But let’s get this first thing straight though:  that doesn’t make you necessarily a malicious person.  Yeah, your intentions might have been self-serving, but you are just a person at the end of the day who is fighting their own battles and struggles.  Sometimes it’s hard taking on the baggage of others, and sometimes you shouldn’t have to.

With that being said, if you are in a position to give advice, try to give it in a spirit of wanting to help, not just shut the person up.  If you have a friend that is going through emotional struggles at home, and he/she keeps on venting to you about it, don’t give them some second rate fortune cookie advice.  Suggest something that can help, like seeking counseling.

Because the only thing that selfish advice usually leads to is resentment.  It’s understandable that  you might not be able to handle what your loved one is throwing at you, but try to help them aim for help in the best way that you can.

Kendra Koger did find out why her daughter was crying (she broke her crayon), find out about the saga on twitter @kkoger.  …(Not really, I don’t tweet about stuff like that.)

I’ll Pass: Celebs Who Don’t Want Children

July 9th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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To be a parent or not to be a parent. That is not the question for these celebrities. While children can be a blessing to many, these stars have decided to forego being called “Mommy” or “Daddy” and have opted for a kid-free lifestyle.

Celebs Who Don't Want Children

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Cameron Diaz

In her upcoming movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” Cameron Diaz plays a mom, but in real life the 41-year-old has gotten a lot of flack for being single and never becoming a mom. She has been vocal in the past about not having children and has admitted that she made a choice to focus on her career instead. “It’s so much more work to have children,” Diaz told “Esquire” magazine. “To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for — I didn’t take that on. That did make things easier for me. A baby — that’s all day, every day for eighteen years. Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision.