All Articles Tagged "Parenting"
I question my sanity almost every day. I also question the sanity of the rest of the world…every. single. day. Why? Because I am constantly bombarded by imagery that I cannot fathom for the life of me. My friend sent me this video of an infant girl listening and mimicking Young Thug. I didn’t even need to see it to know that I was going to ruin an otherwise great day!
So, I waited until 11:30 pm to look at the video, 13 hours after he sent it over. It was as ratchet as advertised. He said, “Cute but parents are teaching children to be ratchet for a laugh. And that’s a shame.”
Honestly, I don’t even think it’s that cute. Check it out.
We do it to ourselves, people.
I love the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but we are going to have to come from a more honest, inward place as if that is to truly became reality. Perhaps, I came here on a spaceship. Perhaps, I’m buggin’ out. Last time I checked, kids were supposed to be protected from adult content. This allows them to remain kids until they are old enough to process, right? Wrong.
I did a little social media analysis on the video and conclude that I indeed may be from another planet. The video had over 54,000 views with 1,102 likes at the time of this writing. Only 18 people gave it a “thumbs” down on YouTube. And then when you look at the comments you get things like, “Awwww I saw this on my moms Facebook …. Lol.” That’s a real comment from a female. Most of the comments included the word “cute,” but there were some that considered it a representation of America’s doomed future.
Another “viral video” going around is too disturbing to comment on. People really think this is funny. (Warning: language)
So, is the girl automatically going to be ______ by age 10? Not necessarily, but I don’t get a great feeling from the video when your supposed mother is guffawing in the drivers seat. Shoot, Young Thug’s own daughter was the subject of much controversy when she was cursing like a sailor on Instagram by the child’s mother. Sheesh.
What does it say about young mothers and fathers that they are proud to display their children doused in ignorance? I don’t know the answer. I’m from other universe, remember?
I suppose all is not lost.
This other little kid was posted by one Kimberly Harris and I realized the future is as bright as it dark. It all depends on what side your life happens to fall.
Oh, Serena eventually gave them tickets to the U.S. Open, to the family’s delight. That’s a blessing.
When you become a mom, everything is new. You have the pressure of “getting it right” (whatever that may mean), and it can all be very stressful and overwhelming.
In the beginning, I was consumed with how-to books and gabbing it up with my mama friends to get insight and outlooks. I’ve since let some of that go. I’ve found that it’s easy to get wrapped in the hustle and bustle of mommyhood – going through the motions. I keep reminding myself that my toddler will be a teen before I know it and I have to cherish all that comes with him and his energetic personality right now, at this very moment. And let’s not negate the fact that having a toddler is really like having a teen anyways, from the growth spurts to the random outbursts and moodiness. It starts to all look and feel the same.
We’ve all heard the warning that motherhood changes you, and indeed, it does. Those little people were purposely planted in our lives to teach us and mold us into who we’re destined to become, as we are to them. My son, Harlem, has not only taught me so much about myself but also how to see the world differently. Most importantly, so far, has taught me some life-changing things. Here are nine lessons learned from my toddler.
Take life as it comes. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Be here. Now. Right now.
It’s okay to cry. And cry hard. Cry it out for a couple of minutes but don’t dwell on it. And if feelings are still hurt, eat something sweet and forget all about it.
Walking slow is ok. Get distracted by the sway of the blades of grass or fallen sticks on the ground. Get lost in your surroundings. Take every bit of it in. You’ll get to your destination eventually.
When the beat drops, dance.
If you don’t like something, be vocal. Let somebody know. Don’t let it slide. Your feelings are important.
Tight, nail-clawing hugs and wet, sloppy kisses never hurt anybody. Be vulnerable. Be expressive regardless of how it may look to anyone else.
Smiling makes everything better no matter how many teeth you have. When you’re in the mood, and even when you’re not, smile.
Who needs roses when you have leaves? Take some time to jumping in a pile of fallen leaves. Go all out and jump all in.
Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Laugh a loud, shoulder-bopping, tear-rolling, stomach-cramping laugh.
Harlem, keeps me grounded. He keeps me in check, forcing me to stop, appreciate and enjoy the little things. He reminds me that life is special. Sometimes as moms we lose sight of the fun of motherhood. It was intended to be simpler than we make it.
I consider myself a very good father. Still, there are times when I feel I am doing my daughter a disservice. We try and yet sometimes we still fail. We teach only to fail again! I encourage you – my fellow parents – to share your “sins” with us as well. Here are mine.
1. Energy Drinks
I do my best to practice what I preach. I know kids are sponges that absorb everything that we do. I also know they see better than the NSA! But, there is one thing I cannot seem to defeat – the energy drink. I know they are not good for me, and I tell my kid – don’t do it! Yet, I still have to take them from time to time, because of my crazy schedule – professional and parental. Since I am marathon training, I try to frame it around my need for an dramatic boost in energy. Secretly, I think she knows that I am overworked and stressed. Maybe depressed, depending on the day. Still, I extoll the glorious virtues of natural energy, despite my hypocritical ways!
I can’t help myself. When I reflect, I often wish my parents had pushed me harder. I never quite got to being great at anything, because I had some form of ADD that wouldn’t let me master anything. To this day, I am an art school drop out. Anyway, I will have none of it with my kid. She is going to operate at a high level, whether she likes it or not. I feel like the parents from the 1960’s or something. Muhammad Ali started boxing at the tender age of 12 and his reign continued for decades. Understand, these kids don’t always have the inmate desire to be great. I think you have to consistently remind them they are supposed to be great and obligated to do better than their parents. I know there are times when my daughter hates me for keeping her out of her comfort zone. I gotta do what I gotta do. Oh yeah – she can box too. And run 10 minutes miles.
3. Forcing Frivolous Values On The Child
There are several things that are important to me. The Philadelphia Eagles are important to me and thankfully my daughter is now a die-hard Eagle. She’s also into comic books even though after I gave her a Spiderman shirt, she asked if she could bedazzle it. Uh, yeah. Anyway, there are a few other frivolous things that I want my daughter to be into, even though they really have no real importance in the grand scheme of things. To me, the Eagles represent hard work and dedication despite insurmountable odds. Comic books have a plethora of benefits even though most people see them as mere fantasia. Sorry to disappoint…nothing reality TV related here.
4. Overruling The School Education
At some point, my daughter’s teachers are probably going to hate me. I came up in the 80’s and we questioned just about everything under the sun. We were not about that [President] Reagan life. We were not just accepting any authority. We realized the truth about everything that was enforced like, uh, Lincoln freeing slaves. My kid comes home one day talking about September 11, with a very basic worksheet. I felt the sheet was far too basic for such a complex topic. After listening to hear read the page, we ended up talking for hours about everything from September 11 to Hiroshima to how Bin Laden was once a CIA…well, nevermind. The point is, I seek to have a very well-educated kid. Not a well-programmed kid, but someone who seeks knowledge and wisdom instead of only good grades.
5. No Candy And Crap!
For years…for years…I would take my daughter’s evil Halloween candy and eat it for myself. I would tell her how horrible candy was and turn around and succumb to my own confectionary addictions. I have gotten myself off candy (like some get off crack), but now there are times when I feel guilty. A part of me thinks she should enjoy the candy she obtains. Nah. Nevertheless, there is a part of me that wants to succumb to the evils like fast food, which I consumed in my brokest, most formative years. If I can help it, my daughter will live to be 375.5 years old, because she has not eaten crappy food since age four.
We all have vices. Just do the best you can and when you come sort of perfection, know that the rights far outweigh the wrong.
At the end of the day, as a parent there’s nothing better than knowing that your child knows that all the hard work you do, all the late nights you work, is for them.
Emmy winner and How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis has a daughter who get’s it in little Miss Genesis.
Little Genesis “hacked” her mom’s Instagram account to post the most adorable congratulatory message ever.
The caption reads, “Hacking mommy’s instagram with the help of Team JuVee!!!”
In the video, Genesis says: “I love you mommy and I hope you win another Emmy. You’re my favorite girl and I love you.”
Davis shared another photo of her daughter rocking her Neil Lane jewels. “Don’t know where she got that pose from. My baby!!!” Davis says on Instagram.
In a cover story for Variety magazine, Davis reveals some post-Emmy feelings and the deeper meaning of her historical win.
“I keep expecting to be that little girl who loses the contest,” Davis told Variety. “It’s a mixture of disbelief and joy and acceptance. It’s just beautiful.”
More than just an Emmy, Davis explains how this award speaks volumes beyond a Hollywood platform.
“What it meant for me to win the Emmy is I found it,” Davis explained. “It’s not just the award. It’s what it’s going to mean to young girls — young brown girls, especially. When they saw a physical manifestation of a dream, I felt like I had fulfilled a purpose.”
Just beautiful indeed.
Growing up, my mother spoke to me about “the birds and the bees” once my menstrual cycle began. Thereafter, she didn’t delve into how sexual experiences unfold or should be enjoyed. Throughout my teens, my thoughts about sexual pleasure came from the grown books my friends and I used to read like The Coldest Winter Ever and the classic, Friends And Lovers.
It wasn’t until I began college that my mother spoke to me about the different foreplay tactics men use to arouse women in order to get to third base. The conversation was awkward and a bit complex for me, being the late bloomer that I was, but I appreciated the conversations as I transitioned into womanhood. When young people are taught about pleasure, they are able to understand what their bodies like and how consent plays into their sexual desires. Last week, VICE writer Hayley Gleeson wrote about the orgasm gap between men and women. Her piece also focused on a controversial topic: sexual pleasure and why it should be taught in sex education classes. For most people sex isn’t just about reproduction, it’s also about pleasure, and if the basic factors of pleasure and consent were taught, it would go along way in helping teens and adolescents understand both the positive and negative consequences of engaging in sexual activity and the fact that consent is non-negotiable. This would not only be a progressive step toward self-discovery but also in dismantling rape culture in our society and doing so early on.
As Gleeson noted in her piece, many of us were only taught about the negative repercussions of sex. Many lesson plans are centered on how painful sexual intercourse can be for women or how it only leads to STDs or pregnancies. This causes students to develop negative perceptions about their natural sexual desires and subsequent choices. “We learned nothing about gender and sexual diversity, and only the basics of how to navigate consent, Gleeson wrote. “Past being proficient at putting a condom on a banana, I fumbled my way through adolescence feeling a deep sense of shame about my sexuality. Thank God I had Cosmopolitan magazine to tell me that all men really wanted was for women to eat donuts off their d-cks.”
When I asked people what they about this issue, one of my friends said he believes teaching pleasure is a slippery slope. He also noted it can be counter-intuitive to the way sex education is structured in this country. Most important, he feels teaching pleasure would lead to students learning about fetishes that shouldn’t be explored in school settings. Another friend who works in the sex education nonprofit sector countered that when sex ed is comprehensive, young people are able to make better decisions concerning their sex lives and health. Not teaching students about pleasure, gives way for unnecessary blunders or negative attitudes about sex. Women usually discuss the latter because of what Gleeson calls the orgasm gap, which mainly happens between heterosexual women and men. Research claims men orgasm two or three times during sex with women, whereas women greatly lag behind, causing them to feel they haven’t achieved their pleasure goals. The orgasm gap continues to be perpetuated when men are taught unrealistic sexual expectations through banter and pornography. By not having a healthy understanding about sex, some may even operate in ways that are deemed violent.
If sexual pleasure is not mandated in schools, there is no way to ensure young people know how to communicate consent or and the law operates around such sexual matters. If left up to parental discretion, there is no guarantee every young person will know how to navigate their needs without being harmful to prospective partners. What do you think is the better solution?
Child development specialists note that imitation, problem solving and imagination are good signs of a toddler’s intellectual advancement. However, as a mother, I wonder if my toddler’s revolt against commands and niche for exploring everything in our home, but the toys we buy, is smart or a mastermind plan to drive mommy insane.
From throwing half her dinner on the floor to share with the dog to decorating the house with poop as an announcement of its existence, is my 18-month toddler a genius or a jerk?
Over the last five months, I have watched the personality of my daughter spring forward like flowers in May. She went from being afraid to walk to climbing on my dining room table, refusing to sit down in the bathtub and throwing tantrums in the grocery store if she is not allowed to stand up and surf in the cart. I am quite happy about not having to carry an extra 20 pounds plus around all day, but the anxiety from having to worry about her safety and the maintenance of our home is also a bit much.
A couple of months ago I asked my Facebook friends how they were managing their infant’s intellectual development and it was recommended that I read the book “Brain Rules for Babies” by John Medina. In the book, Medina notes that contrary to what most parents think, “The brain is not interested in learning. The brain is interested in surviving… We do not survive so that we can learn, we learn so that we can survive.”
I found this to be highly interesting when I thought about the behaviors of my toddler. She has revolted against playing with many of the toys we bought her. She cares not about the hundreds of dollars we’ve spent to engage her short attention span. She’d rather play with the TV remote control, switch the channels, take the batteries out and throw it across the room.
We put bubbles in the bathtub, but she still refuses to sit down even though she has slipped several times. Every day we put her clothes on and then she takes them off only to try to put them back on by herself. Now this is great, however, redressing her five minutes after we were suppose to walk out the door is not the ideal scenario for parents on their way to doctors appointments, business meetings and engagements where I’d like to show up fashionably late, not just before the event is over.
I think you get where I am going with this. From removing her diaper and frolicking through the house naked armed with urine to rubbing ketchup all over her face with French fries as if it were lipstick, my toddler is not trying to drive me insane, she is actually trying to engage with life like she observes mommy and daddy exhibit.
We do not take baths. We take showers. We do not wear diapers, or much clothes in the house, admittedly. We are not strapped into carts at the grocery store. We walk freely as we please. We do not play with toys, rather, we have cell phones, laptops, computers, books and television. Mommy wears makeup when she gets dressed and mommy puts on her own clothes.
Every single thing I do, my child desires to do as well. She has seen me perform on a number of stages over the course of her young life and now she has decided that our dining room table is her stage.
As much as I want to be frustrated by having to keep a very close eye on her more often than not, it is quite fascinating to watch her grow up in this regard. The playpen, her toys, her high chair and her car seat, in her mind, these apparatuses serve no use, rather they disconnect her from engaging with us.
The most endearing act to prove my toddler’s genius status occurred just last week. I spend my mornings working in our home office. I have breakfast with the family, but the remainder of the morning I am secluded. I exit my office frequently to breastfeed our youngest daughter and survey the happenings of our home.
One particular morning, I entered the living room to find our toddler sitting at the dining room table coloring. When I sat down on the couch to feed her younger sister, I noticed her move quickly. She picked up her doll baby and placed it in her sister’s activity chair. Then, she left the living room abruptly to enter my office. When I approached the office, I saw her sitting at the desk pressing buttons on my computer. At that moment, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. It was the cutest response to life I had ever seen. She was taking care of her baby and doing her work. Wow, now that is a level of genius I’ll support everyday.
For a mother in Canada, 8 years old seemed right for her son to be left unsupervised for two hours in the afternoon each day, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. But she’s since learned that a court doesn’t agree with her.
According to CBC News, the boy’s father (who is no longer with the mother) and a social worker objected to the arrangement, with the social worker claiming that children under 10 lack the ability to self-supervise and avoid risks.
A judge agreed.
According to a Today Show survey that asks: What’s the youngest age a child should be able to stay home alone?
For Mommynoire writer Keya Kay, her 10-year-old was ready to stay home alone while she made a quick grocery store run, but she wouldn’t allow it. The next time the subject came up, a surprise happened.
There’s really no one-size-fits-all to this subject, but always err on the side of caution.
“There are 9-year-old kids that I would trust alone in my house, and 19-year-old’s that I would never trust alone in my house,” a Mommynoire reader said. “It’s a parent’s right to decide whether or not her particular child is old enough and mature enough to handle those decisions on his own.”
What age do you feel is right to stay home alone?
The other day you came across a Buzzfeed video titled, “Children From Black Families Reveal Sacrifices Their Parents Made.” Now adults, they talk compassionately about the things their parents did to put them first. One guy’s dad never missed his sports games, one girl’s mom apparently gave up her dream of becoming a dancer to raise her, and another mom didn’t pursue love because she wanted to give her children 110 percent.
It made you think of your own mom who as a single parent sacrificed so much. She talks of wearing boots with soles so worn in winter that they had to be taped so that you and your brother wouldn’t have to go without. “It’s what good parents do,” she would say, “they sacrifice.”
The more you give the better you are. Hmmm?
Is good parenting about sacrifice, or is that a lie we tell ourselves?
You think about the girl in the video who talks about her mom giving up her dream to become a dancer. Did she give it up to be a good parent or did she just give up her dream? Anyone who has ever pursued a dream knows that it’s hard. Like climbing Mount Olympus, hard. Throw a baby in there and you’ve just made it damn near impossible. Most humans give up, and it’s convenient to blame it on that bundle of joy because no one is going to chastise a mom for choosing to be home on breastfeeding and cuddling duty. If anything, the soon-to-quit-people applaud the decision because they know they are on their way to quitting too. Come on, following dreams is for kids not parents!
Even Jada Pinkett Smith made headlines a few years ago in a Redbook interview entitled, ‘What Jada Pinkett Smith Gave Up for Her Family.’ She talked about turning down an opportunity for her rock band to open for Guns & Roses so that she could be there for son Jaden while he pursued his acting endeavors. But really, though, wasn’t it just a choice? Sounds fishy. Just sayin.’
And besides, is Madonna or Beyonce or any of the moms who tour or go and shoot movies any less of a mother?
Some moms even tell their kids that their droopy boobs are the sacrifice they made so that they could be breastfed over cow fed. Really? Surely, the kids would have taken the cow’s milk had they known they would have to pay for it via mom’s guilt trip for the rest of their lives.
Now to the father who never missed any of his son’s games? Well, maybe he should have because Victor Oladipo’s dad never went to any of his son’s games and he made it all the way to the NBA.
So what do we get out of all this parental sacrifice?
We get to feel good, look good to others, and be the apple of our kid’s eye. It also gives us something to hold over our kid’s head when we want them to appreciate what we do. We say things like, “I work like a dog so that you can wear those fancy tennis shoes and go to that expensive school!”
The flip side is we’re creating a limited vision in our kid’s mind that you can’t be a parent and have your dream. As a result, they just might choose the dream and grandkids will be out of the question.
If anything, we should thank our kids.
For the sense of purpose and the priceless joy they bring to our lives.
I still look at some old pictures with envy. And I have to admit that there are moments when I think what if when I find myself thinking how life could be different if I was not a mother. Then my baby girl comes and wraps me up in her love and realize this is exactly where I need to be. I am blessed to have a solid group of friends who support me, lift me up, and who love my daughter to pieces, but there are instances when it can be hard balancing motherhood and friendships.
Being the only mother can put a damper on plans and make it hard to maintain a social calendar. I must admit it is definitely easier now than it was five years ago but the truth is, there is something about my world my friends just can’t understand right now. I don’t fault them, I harbor no anger because they are generally understanding and patient, these tugs on my heart are personal battles. It starts as soon as you have your baby, everyone wants to come by and then suddenly the newness dwindles away and they are back to regular life while you are now up to your neck in dirty diapers, breast milk, and covered in spit up. You’re pacing the floor at 2:00 a.m. because your bundle of joy is up again and your friends are resting peacefully or rolling in from a night on the town.
In those moments plenty of mothers think to themselves, “is this what I signed up for?” Allow me to speak for myself and lift the veil, I did ask myself that question, and honestly, there are times when I still do. When my friends are hanging out on a Tuesday evening for tacos and drinks made with tequila or when their pictures from Friday night’s bar hop show up in my Instagram feed there is a twinge of longing. The moment doesn’t linger on enough for me to turn into a runaway mother but it does make me wish there was someone else in my circle who I could call and vent about it to…someone who understood the day in and day out of motherhood.
Sure, your friends will do their best to understand and even hear some of your woes but the reality is, they can’t wholly understand or relate. There must be a balance that comes with being a mother and friend. You have to be able to go from having chats about what happened on the playground to laughing it up about what occurred at the bar. It can be tough, but I believe that there are some sure fire ways to achieve success at both.
One thing I try to always do is minimize conversations about my daughter until my friends ask. It lets me know they genuinely want to know what’s going on and enjoy hearing about her. That small gesture makes me feel valued as a mother among them and I hope it let’s them know that I am still the friend I always was underneath the cloak of motherhood.
Along with that, I also do my best to make time to spend with my girls without my daughter; this is not only for them but for me as well. There are times when, as a mom, you just need a break. Taking a moment to enjoy some quality girl time is just the rejuvenation I need. My friends, being the great aunties they are, do ask for my little girl to tag along at times but I’m certain they value the moments we get to spend just being together. It has always been important to me to retain the friendships that I had before being a mom but honestly, I also couldn’t wait until some of them started to have babies!
I do hope that by being the first one among my girls to become a mother that I have been a good example that motherhood can be fun, it can change your life but not for the worst. I am looking forward to play dates and birthday parties and watching them become the ones with a baby on their hips, I know motherhood will look good on them.
All in all, being a mother and friend is a juggling act many of us will need to master at some point. I have learned over the course of six years that I won’t be able to make every excursion, I will probably miss some good times, but I also have the privilege of rearing a child. I have the responsibility to teach someone else what it means to be a friend. So while I’m taking care of my duties as mommy, I will still maintain my role as bestie because both jobs are important and you know what they say, mothers are the superheroes among us – we can do it all.
Many women go through life waiting for the right time to settle down–find a mate, get married and start a family. While life doesn’t pan out the same for all of us, finding love and happiness is important, but so is having a career and being successful. Our biological clocks are ticking, we’re always told, and if we wait too long we’ll run out of time.
We’re not really thinking about this when we’re in our 20’s, but in our 30’s we’re so aware that as we get older the chances of conceiving a child becomes slimmer. We all know someone, or know within ourselves, those feelings of guilt and regret that start to weigh heavy on women who chose to live their lives and build careers before having children.
But are older women shamed for choosing their careers as they are trying to conceive later in life?
Gabrielle Union, 42, recently revealed in the October issue of Redbook that she was still having trouble getting pregnant with husband Dwyane Wade, 33.
“So far, it has not happened for us. A lot of my friends deal with this,” she explains. “There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger. The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.”
Being an older woman married to a younger man, starting a family needs to happen quickly. While age is just a number, their almost ten-year age difference plays a huge part in their attempts to start a family. It hasn’t happened the old fashioned way so they have turned to IVF treatment for help. A lot of women, Union included, feel that there are consequences for choosing a career over family. The increased difficulty in trying to conceive and a lot of shame from other people are just a few of them.
Union’s decision to work and build her success now has her facing the possibility of never starting a family of her own. During the interview, she mentions that having a family and trying to keep up a career is difficult for women because they become discriminated against in the workplace. It is a harsh truth that women who become mothers take a career hit once they have children and sometimes they never recover.
My first job out of college was on Wall Street in New York City as a budget analyst. I became pregnant with my son two years later which changed my whole career path. It all started with my maternity leave request and it snowballed from there. My boss timed my promotion to happen at the end of my six week maternity leave they wanted me to take to make sure I didn’t go for the three months I had originally requested. All of this was so their budget numbers could stay in order. Workplace discrimination against pregnant women and working mothers is real and despite the fact that things have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.
Marrying a younger man adds to the pressure of trying to conceive and start a family. While older women have the tick-tock of the biological clock, younger men have a lot more time to start families. My husband and I have the same age difference as Union and Wade. We managed to have three children before I turned 40, having conceived my last child at 38. The pressure to get it done was mounting and luckily for us, it happened. I knew waiting too long could possibly result in us not having any children. I had to make a decision–chose motherhood over career–and my career took a major hit as I stayed home for almost six years with our kids.
Going back to work is just now becoming a reality. My youngest child is in school and I can schedule a full work day. This doesn’t account for possible sick days and other things that pop up when working women have children. Even though companies are giving more time for sick/maternity/paid leave and becoming more compassionate to family matters, it’s still an issue.
Deciding to wait to start a family is a tough choice, especially if a woman wants to have children. I have friends who waited. Some of them waited too late and now, it will never happen. Marrying a younger man can make it even harder to deal with conceiving difficulties because his friends will be having children, your families may be putting the pressure on you two, and it can emotionally take its toll if it’s not happening for you.
Most younger men want to have families and as wives, we are obligated to make that happen (unless otherwise discussed). Hopefully IVF treatments will work for the Wades and they can start their family together. If not, Gabby Union joins the ranks of many women who decided to choose their career over family and lost the race with her biological clock.