All Articles Tagged "parents"

The Gift Of Conversation: How Well Do You Know Your Mom?

May 5th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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How well do you know your mom? Most of us would say we know our moms pretty well. Maybe we know her favorite color, flower, dessert or music. We probably know who her friends are, what she likes to make for Thanksgiving dinner, whether she prefers high heels or flats. But what about her nickname when she was in grade school? Or the most important influence on her decision to become a doctor? Or the reason she was so dedicated to volunteering at the local meal program for so many years?

Kevin King of Big Bend, Wisconsin didn’t think about asking the “hard” questions until his mom had suffered a stroke and had memory loss and confusion, and those conversations were not really possible anymore. “I realized the time with my mom was precious and I didn’t know all the things I wanted to know about her,” said King. “She wasn’t one to talk about herself, she always turned the conversation back around to you, and with the memory issues, the conversation never quite got as deep as I hoped or would have liked,” he continued. King shared that when he and his four siblings had to put together her funeral service, “we struggled to create something meaningful and personal to her. We knew the little things but wondered if there was more we should have included. It was a beautiful service, but even today, we cannot help but wonder ‘was it what she would have wanted and did it reflect what mattered most to her?’ If only we had known more about her wishes, hopes and dreams.”

Like King, many of us don’t think about asking those kinds of questions until perhaps an illness or the end of life is imminent, or else we struggle to find that information while planning a funeral. Our moms are always there – taking care of everyone and doing what they’ve always done, year after year. As King said, “I wish we could have shared and enjoyed my mom’s stories, and laughed and cried about them together.”

This Mother’s Day is the perfect time to give the gift of your interest in your mom’s stories, memories or family lore. If you’re a mom or even a grandmother, you can prompt these discussions with your kids as well. However, you don’t have to figure out how to do it all by yourself. There is a national initiative to help people get conversations started called Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Have the Talk of a Lifetime (www.talkofalifetime.org) offers free guides and even a forum where other families have shared their experiences in having the talk.

So, how do you begin to Have the Talk of a Lifetime? Simply ask questions. Ask for stories. Things like:
•       What is your proudest achievement?
•       What was the one piece of advice you received from your parents or grandparents that you never forgot?
•       Tell me about the most memorable summer you had growing up.
•       Tell me about your favorite teacher. What did you learn from him or her?

While Mother’s Day is an ideal time to talk with mom or grandma, you can have the talk of a lifetime with anyone you hold dear — your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a spouse. It can happen anywhere you and your loved one are most comfortable — over a meal, at home, on a walk, while playing a game. The talk can be between you and your mom, or you could include others, such as family or friends. Yourconversation can take place at any time — not just at the end of life.

For more information or resources to get you started with the Talk of a Lifetime this Mother’s Day, visit www.talkofalifetime.org .

A School Dress Code For Parents? Yes, Please.

April 20th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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When I was in high school, I swore that the dress code existed for the sheer purpose of making my life miserable; that and gym class. How was I supposed to attract the senior boys without strapless shirts and short skirts? My glowing personality?!

As a parent I find myself defending the school’s policies — both the reasonable and the somewhat ridiculous– explaining to my child that they do have a purpose, and taking every opportunity to remind them that they go to school to learn, not for a fashion show; a line that’s completely lost on them.

However much of a nuisance dress codes may be to the students who have to abide by them and the administrators who have to enforce them,  they’ve long been an important part of both public and private educational systems. And we even heard of a school board member taking things to another level, pushing for a different kind of school dress code for parents, arguing, “If we’re going to train little boys and little girls to dress appropriately at school–no sagging pants, no hair curlers, no short shorts–parents should follow the same rules.”

To that I say: Thank you!

Not that I’m completely for the whole thing. A formal dress code for adults and parents may be going a bit too far, and realistically it would be pretty difficult to enforce, but I at least applaud someone for actually standing up and saying something about it.

Yes, teachers and administrators have a lot more to be concerned about when it comes to educating our children… I’d much rather have them mulling over ways to boost literacy rates and keep our schools safe than how to regulate what I’m wearing when I drop my kids off in the morning. But is this something that the school should even have to address? Shouldn’t we, as parents, already know better?

I get it– somewhat. Most mornings it’s hard enough to get my one kid together ( I could imagine if I had more than one), let alone make myself look at least halfway decent before stepping out the door. Have I been guilty of wearing my pajama pants stuffed into Uggs on the occasional drop-off when we’re running late? Umm…yes. But in my defense, I always throw a coat or long cardigan on over it so no one can see it. I try to keep it classy–as classy as you can be wearing sleepwear outdoors.

I’ve also seen some unique attire worn by other parents, sometimes downright offensive…yoga pants with no underwear, anyone?

I don’t do it because I’m trying to spare my child the embarrassment. (Some mornings I’m tempted to do just the opposite.) I do it because I respect myself and the institution enough to try to look like I give a damn when I’m there.

Is it really too much to ask that other parents do the same?

Pop Mom: Is It Ever Too Late To Heal Your Relationship With Your Mom?

March 28th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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A story my girlfriend shared with me the other day about a phone conversation with her mom…

“Tell me what you want from the house when I go.”

“Go where?” Bree said to her mom.

“You know, when I die.”

“Die!? What’s wrong?? Are you sick???” Bree panicked.

“No. I just want to be prepared.”

This was so weird.

“I can’t, ma, just write down whatever you think I’d like.”

“I don’t know what you’d like because I don’t know you like that.”

WTF…

“You don’t know me like that? Ma, are you serious? All the times I’ve tried to get to know you over the years and all you’ve ever done is shut me down. You only came to visit me once in 25 years and that was when I got married, and I had to beg you and pay for your plane ticket.

And then there’s the grandchild that you completely forgot. Now you wanna act like it’s my fault?”

“So it’s my fault?” Bree’s mom said. “Do you remember how you left?”

Whoa. She was bringing that up? They had never spoken about the way she left home. How she had just graduated from high school and had her heart set on becoming a singer- her mother wanted her to go to college. As a compromise, Bree applied to schools with music programs out-of-state, but her mother had her own plans and changed the applications to local colleges in Mississippi where they lived. Bree realized then that the only way she was going to be able to live her own life was by leaving. So one day she bounced, leaving nothing but a note telling her mom that she was heading to New York and would call her when she got settled. They did eventually talk, but the relationship never recovered.

Read the full article here.

“Are You Saved?” When Your Boyfriend’s Parents Are Devout Christians, But You’re Not

March 25th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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When it comes to meeting the parents of someone you’re dating, there is no such thing as being prepared. You can ask your significant other a million questions about family history, lifestyle, and essential facts, but you will never be prepared to actually meet and interact with them. All that you know is irrelevant. I was reminded of that when I met my boyfriend’s parents for a nice Saturday brunch in Baltimore on a cold and dreary day.

Think back to when you were a teen, and you had your first boyfriend or girlfriend and the first thing you had to do was tell your parents…unless you were sneaky. You had to endure the chaperoned dates, family ogling over you two sitting in the living room watching TV because you weren’t allowed to be in your room. Remember those days? Well, it’s just a little different as adults. You’re still ogled. But when you meet the parents, that’s when you know it’s serious. Therefore, the questions go beyond family history, lifestyle and essential facts. They get a bit deeper and are a lot more purposeful.

The day I met his parents, I was extremely nervous. I kept smiling and reassuring him that I was okay, telling him, “I’m usually good with parents.” The food was good, the ambiance was lively, but after some jokes and laughter and the cliche introductory “So, how did you two meet?” questions, they turned up the heat a bit. Make that a lot.

I knew that my boyfriend was strong in his faith, but he also has a lot of open-minded, laid-back qualities. His parents are another story. I wasn’t prepared for his parent’s traditional ways. They are devout Christians who attend Sunday services all day, put on their Sunday best, love Tyler Perry, and don’t play when it comes to their faith. In comparison, while I come from a similar type of family dynamic, I’ve since grown distant from the church. I wouldn’t consider myself a practicing Christian as I don’t attend services, and I haven’t touched a Bible in years. That’s why it was so awkward when his parents asked me repeatedly about my home church, who my pastor is, if my parents are saved, and if I’m saved. I couldn’t lie, but I felt exposed in a way. My boyfriend knows my struggles with the faith, struggles I didn’t necessarily want to share with his parents. But it brought me back to the idea that when you make a commitment to someone, you also are committing to their family in a way.

Soon after meeting mom and dad, I started getting offers to accompany his mother to church. I ended up at the mall in the MAC store getting the Sunday best makeup and in Nordstrom, LOFT, and Arden B holding piles of skirts, dresses and cardigans. It was all too overwhelming for me. Especially since I haven’t gotten to a place in my life where I want to spend my Sundays in a church again. I’ve adopted the rest and relaxation rituals that come with Sundays. I enjoy my face masks in bed while watching shows on the DVR as my hair is deep conditioning. I have my own schedule to follow and stance on the church to keep in mind, but I don’t want to make a bad impression.

So, while his parents seem to like me, I’m facing a dilemma: Should I oblige them by agreeing to go to church with them sometimes and take part in other traditional Christian things I no longer practice or enjoy?

Lawmaker Proposes Parents Get Paid Leave To Participate In Child’s School Activities

March 23rd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Parents Get Paid Leave To Participate In Child's School Activities

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If you’ve ever been a child, at an event, waiting for your parents to show up, you know how important it is for them to be there. It is with this fact in mind that California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles, proposed that employees get three, paid days off each year to attend their children’s school activities.

KTLA reports that in a news release from last week, Gatto said, “Being involved in your child’s education shouldn’t be limited by your family’s income, and it shouldn’t come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills.”

Currently, parents, grandparents and guardians can take up to five, unpaid days for school-related activities and emergencies without losing their job. Gatto’s legislation wants to compensate employees for those days.

When he announced the bill, Gatto cited a study that showed that children with involved parents perform better and have fewer disciplinary issues at school. Yet, less than a quarter of parents with an income below $30,000 were very involved with their children’s education. Most of these parents said that there was a lack of time due to work schedules.

Gatto said that instead of continuing to complain about the state of public schools, we should begin to work to fix them. He’s hoping that the legislation will give parents a chance to be more active in their child’s lives without worrying about not being able to feed them.

“You shouldn’t have to be a cast member of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ to be involved in your child’s education,” Gatto said.

What do you think about the legislation? Do you think other states should adopt the policy?

Why I Have A Serious Problem With Parents Feeding Their Kids Junk Food

February 28th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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“Give her some Doritos, too. Don’t be a hog,” a mother told her teenage son on the train, pointing to her daughter that couldn’t have been any older than six. “Pass her Doritos?” I thought to myself. “Naw, she definitely needs to chill on that.”

This dialogue happened nearly six months ago, and it’s still heavy on my mind. Why do parents feed their kids junk food? Seriously?

As a kid, my mother wasn’t strict about what I ate but everything I digested was of good quality. There was no dark soda  (just Sprite sparingly), no super-sugary treats drenched in high fructose corn syrup or pork allowed. Every now and then I would indulge in something sweet, but even well into December I’d have candy still left over from Halloween that would remain untouched and then ultimately thrown away. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I never was sugar crazy. Even today, the only candy I ever pick up when I’m craving something sweet is a pack of Sour Patch Kids.

As a kid I didn’t understand why exactly my mom didn’t allow me to eat certain things, but as I got older I started to understand importance of what I was putting in my body and how it directly affected my health. So, when I saw that mother willingly giving her child a bag of Doritos I couldn’t understand why she would start a deadly cycle of incorporating junk food into her child’s diet that can be addictive. Sure, the occasional treat is acceptable by all means, but if the young girl happens to be consuming them in large quantities or on a daily basis, there’s trouble on the horizon.

“Health experts say diets of children in the United States have deteriorated dramatically over the past two generations, leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which put children at risk for other diseases and shorter lives,” Live Science reports.

Eileen Kennedy, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, also chimed in on the topic of parents feeding kids junking, explaining that those that have poor eating habits early in life are usually attracted to those certain foods because they learned “at home and at school that they are OK to eat.”

In no way am I saying that parents are being bad caretakers by giving their children junk food, but with 17% of all kids and teens being obese, which is triple the rate of one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, something has to wake people up.

I also understand that a lot of this has to do convenience, money and lack of meal planning. So, sometimes a quick stop to McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit may seem harmful but the long-term effects if such behavior is continued can be life threatening.

What are your thoughts? Do you allow your kids to eat junk food on a regular basis? If so, why?

Cut The “Little Friend” Crap: Getting Your Family To Take Your Relationship Seriously

February 19th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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I didn’t date much as a teen, but when I did, my overly conservative parents always made sure they had their hand in the pot. Having a guy over as my company meant sitting in the living room watching TV, and getting dropped off and picked up from each other’s homes, as well as to and from the movies, the mall, restaurants, wherever. There was never a moment without adult supervision. And whoever the guy was, no matter how serious I may have taken him at the time, he was just my “little friend” to my parents. My parents didn’t take my teenage puppy love seriously. Truth be told, I now understand why: everything had its infatuation period, followed by the devastating breakup and the immediate crush on someone else soon after. That was the way “love” went when you were a teen growing up in the early ‘00s.

Flash forward to my college days. I entered my first real relationship, which lasted for six years. Even when it clearly wasn’t some puppy love phase, to my parents, my long-term boyfriend was still my “little friend.”

Seriously, how old am I? 12?

Attending family functions and gatherings together didn’t matter to my mom, because she would introduce him as my “little friend.” In public. Not my boyfriend, not my man…he was my “little friend” as if she had scheduled some sort of play date for us.

And no matter how old I get, it’s like my family just doesn’t seem to take my relationships seriously. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is and always will be “your little friend.” But the good news is that I have learned how to establish an adult relationship with my parents that has encouraged them to respect my current partner and acknowledge him as an important part of my life. He is not my “little friend.” These sorts of strides are important when you’re almost 30, and your parents are still creating awkward situations for you at family gatherings…

Here are some ways to let your family know your love life is not a game and how you can assist them in being respectful of your relationships.

Go Public

For the most part, mature relationships tend to have some degree of privacy. However, the person you are dating shouldn’t be a secret, especially to your family. If they are important to you, they shouldn’t have to remain a mystery. Because when they’re hidden, it becomes even harder for your clan to care, let alone take them seriously. 

Sit Them Down For “The Talk”

If your family is anything like mine, you are often hounded about when you’re going to settle down, get married and have kids. Which is why it makes no sense that when I finally meet someone worth spending my life with, they see him as my “little friend.” Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and let them know you’re a grown woman in a relationship with a grown man, and as far as you currently know, they aren’t going anywhere.

Establish A Different Dating Pattern

Meeting the family is a big step, so if you feel you are ready to make a serious commitment to the person you’re dating, meeting the parents is the final piece to putting together that puzzle. If you’re used to bringing different men or women around the family often, then it’s not a far-fetched idea that your folks won’t take this new person seriously. It might be time for you to switch up such habits. Incorporate your partner into family functions and create opportunities for them to bond with relatives in a safe and comfortable space. Let your family see that this person is here to stay.  

If All Else Fails…To Hell With Them

It’s your relationship, not theirs. If they don’t agree with it, or they don’t take it seriously, they will still have to accept it and at least, be respectful of the person you’re with.

3 Ways To Stay Connected With Your Partner When Life Is Hectic

February 9th, 2016 - By Dani Faust
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Staying connected with your partner is a task that requires constant effort even in the least stressful times. But here we are, just off of the holidays, and in recovery mode before Valentine’s Day and winter break for school-aged children. Between getting back into our normal schedules, working on our personal resolutions, getting kids back in the swing of things, it’s easy to let the connection slip. Whether you are married and live with your spouse, are living separately or are in a long-distance relationship, it is imperative to stay connected when life gets hectic.

Life gets busy sometimes. It’s a fact. It happens…and it’s going to happen again. We all have busy seasons at work, midterm or finals time in school and other periods and events that just clog up our schedules and make connecting with your partner harder than before.

These three tips can help you stay connected with your partner even during your busiest times:

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Create a Daily Check-in Ritual

What is your usual mode of communication during the day? Whether you’re married and cohabitating, or even doing a long-distance relationship, there is a “norm” when it comes to communication. Determine your relationship’s style, and add in a daily ritual that compliments it.

For example. My husband and I text intermittently throughout the day while he’s at work and I’m working from home with the kids, but lately he’s added a quick call to check in during his lunch break when he’s heading to the gym. It’s a quick call, not even five minutes usually, but it let’s me know he’s thinking about me and the children and helps us stay connected. Do you speak to each other during the day? If not, a quick text to check in can go a long way. Figure out the daily ritual that suits your relationship best and try it today.

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Plan a Date Night (or a few)

Keeping connection high during busy or stressful times is even better with face to face communication. Pamela Swear-King, co-founder of Still Dating My Spouse, says “It’s imperative that couples schedule time to connect, communicate, and have fun with their spouse. Date night allows couples to escape the “normal” day to day routines, but it also affords the couples the opportunity to focus on each other and their marriage.” With the busy social calendars, and work related events date nights can get pushed aside. Don’t let them!  Plan date nights, well in advance, and schedule them into your calendar or your planner and treat them as you would an important business meeting.

"Man texting pf"

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Use All The Technology

Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, Google Hangouts, Text, Twitter, Phone, Facetime, email…what am I missing? (probably several) These social networks are everywhere. Choose your favorites and make use of them with your partner. A married friend of mine uses Instagram’s direct messaging to send short videos to her husband while they’re both at work.

Combining schedules using Google calendar or a similar tool is another way technology can help you and your partner stay connected. You don’t have to do the same activities at the same time, but you’ll be able to know what your partner’s week looks like before you suggest an activity. Being able to view each other’s pockets of free time enables you to better plan that date night, squeeze in some unplanned together time, or just meet up for a quick lunch.

How do you stay connected with your partner during busy times?

Danielle Faust is the founder of FitNoire.com, a wellness site by and for Black women. She is also the voice behind the lifestyle blog OKDani.com and Cohost of the Moms & Biz Show. The married mom of two is a certified life coach helping busy women redesign their lifestyles to live healthier and happier.

Care.com Survey Says: Parents Need Date Night

February 2nd, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Wouldn’t it be great to book a sitter, buy tickets for a movie and make dinner reservations all in just minutes?

Try Care.com’s Date Night app.

Family time is hugely important, but for parents so is a date night alone to reconnect and focus on each other only. In fact, 30 percent of parents say it’s been six months or longer since their last date, according to a national Care.com survey. Now that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, it’s time parents rectify that!

According to Katie Bugbee, Senior Managing Editor at Care.com, below are the top reasons couples need to get out for an official date night this Valentine’s Day:

Parents are regular people, too

And regular people like date nights. 80 percent of parents say their attitudes about dating changed after having children. Perhaps that’s due to the premium they now place on things like sleep, but 85 percent of parents want to go out on more dates. So on the biggest date night of the year, you must.

Date Nights Are Sexy

While more then 2/3 of parents have no complaints, 29 percent of parents wouldn’t mind a little more electricity in their relationship. An evening out dressed up in something other than sweats or stained tees can provide that spark. Whether it’s seeing your partner take unusual care in his/her appearance or simply having them focus on you solely for an evening, 88 percent admitted to feeling more attracted to their partner after a date.  

Taking initiative is a sexy trait 

Do you feel like you always make the plans? According to Care.com, 66 percent of parents in a relationship wish their partner would plan more dates. But lets be honest, coordination is not many people’s forte – and again, takes time away from that new favorite past time, sleep. With the Care.com Date Night app, you can book a sitter, buy tickets for a movie and make dinner reservations all in just minutes. So in just a few minutes, even dad could look like an agenda-planning superhero! Now you all may resume sleep time.

A little extra cash is allowed to be used on YOU

Dig into that savings jar: 55% of couples spend between $50 and $99 on date nights. While we can all find debts to pay down or other practical purposes for that cash, spending money on an experience together will make you both feel fulfilled and satisfied.

 

 

Her Name Is Lincoln: Why You Should Consider A Gender-Neutral Name For Your Baby

January 21st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Want to give your baby a head start? You might want to consider a gender-neutral name. Studies show that kids with one are more successful in competitive fields like law. Plus, they’ll have something in common with all the other babies with these gender-neutral names that have been seriously trending over the last few years.