ToiTime Celebrates Father’s Day

I love my dad.  There is no debate about that. I think that all dads should be celebrated. The issue with Father’s Day is that we don’t honor them. I know I am not blind to the fact that many dads don’t step up. I get it.  I get that some homes only have mothers and grandmothers and women taking care of what should be a two parent job. However, does that mean that as a woman who has an outstanding father I should diminish my love for great dads? The answer is HELL NO!

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I see the amounts of money spent on moms and I am like where is the respect for dads? Growing up I could be in the classroom where only a handful of us talked about having one. I felt bad for the ones who didn’t and I still do. However my dad is just a great man so you’re going to have to cry thug tears today if you don’t want to hear about it.  Let’s start with my grandfather. Hands down the hardest man I know. I could care less what anyone says, that man is the best.  He is over 80 years old and still does odd and end jobs to take care of my grandma. He gets up at like 4 in the morning to start his day. He is the last to go to bed sometimes.  He travels and sings and he is the one that feeds everyone and is super helpful.  There isn’t anyone in the family that can say a bad thing about him. I am sure he has flaws but as a grandfather he covers everyone married or not. He is there and is consistent.  So no wonder my dad is definitely a chip off the block.

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My dad is the type that I can call crying and he would stop the world to come to my rescue. Growing up he was hard on us but he definitely showed love.  He is THE BEST dad ever. Not just because it looks good to say but off social media and this blog he is there.  So when Father’s Day comes around I like to make sure that I give what I can to show him how much I love him and respect him.  He has seen me in my worst, still loves me.  He has yelled at me when I needed it, still loves me.  He has taken me out on our little dates together, still loves me.  This man has done it all.  He has worked hard at jobs he didn’t even like to support us all. He has stayed up late hours if we were sick and went to work like it has never bothered him.  He is the one that everyone knows and respects no matter what.  He is just a great dad.

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Then go from my dad to my husband. He is the best dad to our kids.  He plays with them. He does whatever is necessary.  He is the total opposite of what his dad was to him. That’s not a knock to his dad but it is facts.  He works hard to make sure that he isn’t giving our kids what he was given growing up.  People say that we are a product of our environment but that is a choice.  My husband is the dad that sneaks the kids stuff behind my back.  Like most dads he gets to play good cop for the most part.  The girls have him wrapped around his finger.  They give him them eyes and they get what they want.  My son is his twin and I swear he uses that to his advantage often. So they have a great dad.  I wanted them to have the same experience that I did growing up and I believe they do.  My husband is hands down the best dad the kids could have asked for.  I want to publicly let the world know how much of a great dad that my dad, my husband, my grandfather and my uncles are to their families respectfully. It is super empowering to know that these men have our families back.  I love you all!

So those who have great dads, please celebrate them. Give them the same love you would give your mom. It’s a dual job.  They are both equally important.  For the ones who experience pain during this holiday, I pray peace and calm.  It is hard not knowing what it is like to have your dad take you out as a daughter and show you how a man is supposed to treat you. To know that a man isn’t supposed to hurt you.  To know that when the world is crazy that your dad’s voice and actions are to be protecting.  If the world gets to crazy that your dad is supposed to raise hell.

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Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads in the world.  To the ones with secret super hero capes, you will never go unnoticed here at ToiTime.  Enjoy your day!!

 

 

When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

Ask Toi: How do I handle if a person highlights one child over another one of my children in public? 

I’m trying to understand. If you are talking about in the example of saying maybe how cute or how whatever one child is over another than there’s only one real way of handling it. Build your children up at home. Children only notice differences if they are blatantly outrageous like if someone says one child is cute and then makes a statement that the other(s) aren’t. I would speak up in that instance. However in general I don’t see an issue with strangers saying something about one child over another.  This is my personal stance on it.

I have 3 kids. People stop me to say things to them but generally speak to all of them. My kids are outspoken in that if and when someone speaks to one they make their own point to say hello back especially if they see me engage with a person. Not one time to my knowledge have my kids ever said or shown signs of being intimidated or less confident when interacting in public. They can hold their own. I believe in teaching them they will not be everyone’s cup of tea but that makes no bearing on what they bring to this world and who they are. We teach them to acknowledge how they feel but not to let it dampen their light. Someone saying how cute one child is doesn’t take away the beauty of my other 2 children. We stress how confidence, being true to themselves, and finding out who they are makes them the most beautiful even in a crowded room.

I would suggest the same. Strong people have feelings but they can only be broken by a stranger’s quick interaction if you the parent let it go too far. Take charge in how they are encouraged and loved on at home and they will be quick witted in public.

Ask Toi: How do I get my husband to step it up and help parent our kids?

Simple you ask him.  You also let him step in.  He is grown.  Those kids were not made alone.  If you are saying he needs to step it up that means to me that he does do something but not all that you want.  Have you voiced this?  Not just said you don’t do a,b,or c.  Often times we really don’t express what we want from our mate especially when it comes to parenting.  What do you want him to do?  What will parenting together look like not just from your view but his too?  Are you willing to let him step in fully?  Will you support him as he is to support you?  Yes these are questions to ask yourself.

If you always take over, he may be reluctant to help.  Recognize if that is something that you are doing and step back.  The way men and women parent is different.  Often times as a mother you are expecting it to look like your way and it won’t and vice versa.  Step back. Once you do and you are still not getting a result and this is after you have told him your concerns, than you need to know that you are dealing with someone who is checking out. It could be that he doesn’t know, however that excuse will only take him but so far. Women are expected to know and do while men if they are in the physical home are praised.  Simply coming home at night is not enough.  We are not the generation of our parents and grandparents.  Men can and are vital parts of the home.  Simply just being is only half of what is needed.  We need men to engage even in the things that naturally they wouldn’t for our sons and our daughters.  Parenting is a full-time job.  It requires both sets of parents to be engaged.  Yes your husband may not know what fatherhood looks like, but if you have and start a family, its your responsibility to go after the skills that don’t come naturally to you.  There are way too many parenting classes, resources for the I don’t know excuse.  So find out what it is and make it happen TOGETHER.  One of the greatest challenges a married couple will have is when you have children.  This is why it’s important to really know a person, their background, how they were raised, and what they believe when it comes to raising children BEFORE you marry.  Even if you never met your mate’s entire family please believe me when you have children you will.  Your child/children are a mix of both of you and therefore it is not uncommon for children to bring out the best in you and the worst in you as well.

Work together.  It’s hard as a woman when you naturally are more nurturing to let go. Parenting isn’t easier but there’s something in us that makes us step up in ways that only if you allow will allow a man to not have to take his rightful place.  Your husband and you should always have a united front as you work out things in your parenting styles. Remember you are bringing in two different experiences into your unique home.  That in itself takes a lot of finesse.  Talk to your husband and LISTEN and not just hear.  This isn’t a point the finger time, but a time to establish some goals, create a space of healing, and unite to make your children great and productive citizens in this world.  Your children deserve to have both of you in their lives.  Make sure both of your ideals are heard.  Also make sure to never hit below the belt.  You don’t need to signal every negative thing about each other’s upbringing, parents, etc to make a point.  You can communicate better than that and still get things done.

Rewind

Yes its a late night.  I finally got the toddler in her own bed.  I have been doing bedtime boot camp so we can get some sleep around here. So I had a few seconds to go through my old journals.  Let me say to anyone who writes in multiple journals as I do, be prepared for a flow of emotion.  You should also have anything around you that evokes happiness because often times takin that walk back can cause such an array of emotions.  For me I immediately go to music.  For me music is all over the place.  So I made a quick playlist to get through.

So while looking back I found a few things that are recurring themes.  I am a very episodic person so when things hit the fan it reminds me of another similar situation. That can be dangerous if you’re not a solid person.  I through counseling etc. have found the ability to go back without staying there.  For some others the mind will allow you to stay stuck.  Now back to the rewind, so I am in my journal and I come across a few entries that made me laugh.  I thought to myself I am glad that whatever day that came into question I am super glad that all I had was paper and pen.  Life is like that sometimes.  It’s not perfect and wrapped up for show.  Life sucks.  Life is hard, but there’s always at least one thing to make you see the good in the world.

So if you’re struggling to see the good in life, it’s time to take a time out.  It’s okay I promise to think of what YOU need.  A big picture in that is to know who you are.  As humans we change.  We can be who we want.  So if you don’t like something its okay to figure that out.  So back to my journal, I curse in it, I can tell and feel the pain of my words.  There are good days in there too.  I love it all.  I love seeing sides of myself that are real, raw and unedited.  They are some of the best parts of me.  It’s the struggle of my life that has produced some of the very best of me.  The new feat for me is allowing others to see the happier side of me.  That’s the craziest and most vulnerable part.  Some people are super happy and cheerful naturally.  I am more reserved and calculating.  So unless I am in a truly comfortable place you see the closed off version of me.

This is the message of today.  Maybe its just for me but I highly doubt it because when I get tried the most I know it’s for someone else.  I know that telling on me and being open to whispers and talks that its super important not to erase the blog.  That would be super easy.  So as you start your week and you are looking for this great motivation from someone who appears to have it altogether please take the time to look in that mirror.  The person in the mirror knows you more than anyone.  The person in the mirror has a story that hasn’t been written yet.  The person in the mirror has ALL that they need on the inside to make the life they want.  No one on the outside of that mirror can stop the potential inside.  So take a deep breath, wipe your tears, and stop letting fear stop you.  The key is taking one step and not letting your emotions and head play with you.  Your head plays with you way past when you allowed others to pull on you.  So what is it that you want to see inside of you change?  We all have desires on the outside that we want but there are a few things on the inside that have to take place to make room for the good.  Take note of those inward changes first.  If you are a miserable person, deal with that first.  There is a source that although may look like is someone else’s fault shows where YOU have to do better.

Take  that junk you are carrying and give it a name.  Know what you have inside of you trust me others know that’s why they feel the need to call you out on it.  Some people mean well but it’s always super easy to call someone to the rug but turn it around and call your own junk to the table and sort it.  As you challenge yourself to deal with it, be sure to replace it with better.  Replace it with the things that you need like joy, patience.  This is not a cookie cutter plan.  You will feel pain.  You will feel like you are walking alone.  You are.  How many are assigned to the same pain?  Not many.  So if you’re waiting for your misery train to pull up they will but they usually come with some other bags that you and I know you can’t afford to travel with.

Wrap yourself with a better security blanket than the bad habits that no longer serve you.  Love on yourself. That starts by speaking well of yourself. Not the whole I look a hot mess and then put pressure on a mate or a friend to hold you in higher regards that you won’t hold for yourself.  Begin to watch what you say.  Begin to care about what you put on, eat, drink, etc.  Take some mental timeouts.  There are times when I know I am being ambushed and I need a moment to gather my thoughts but because we live in a fast pace society I just keep on pushing.  Pushes are good until you are being pushed into something you haven’t cleared in your heart.

Mommy Loves You Notes

So I get it when your child goes off to the land of education there are far more things to be worried about other than their education.  In this day and age you have to make sure you tell and teach your children what to do in case of a crisis.  You have to worry about if their being bullied.  You have to worry if they are in a position where another child or even teacher isn’t breaking them down mentally to where they aren’t attempting to harm themselves or others.  Whew.  It’s too much.  These are some of the things that when I was in school, I just didn’t have to worry to much about.  So with that being said, let’s fast forward to my daughter.  I am making her after school snack, and as usual I write mommy loves you on the front.  No big deal right?  Absolutely. I try to write this note on every last after school bag.  Sometimes if she makes her snacks herself, I add a little treat that she finds with a note. I’ve been doing this since Kindergarten.

My daughter says mommy can you sign your name on the bag?! I signed it not thinking of it. I finally asked her why.  So when she told me that the kids in her class think she is writing her own notes and that there’s no way her mom could love her, I got mad.  I know my response should have been off the cuff in a loving manner and deal with my daughter and I did after my first 5 second reaction which was pissed.  How dare some child think that as sweet as my child is that her mother wouldn’t love her enough to say I love you to her daily.  Then as I went into parent mode to love on her, I reminder her that she is too lovable for me not to write I love you everyday.  She smiled.  I felt like I had won.  However I further explained to my daughter that some parents may forget to give these little reminders to their kids. I told her that some households have a lot going on but in our households above making sure they have what they need, the most important need is showing love.

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Now let me be clear before the pitch forks of parents start rolling into my inbox, my letters to my child or the notes on her snack bag doesn’t mean I love mine any more than yours. It means that is MY way to be able to show her love and she looks forward to my messages. The message I needed to make clear with my child is that she is loved in this way and there are some homes who don’t take the time to show love. That is a fact.  You don’t have to like my fact but if you are bothered by it, than step up and do what’s best in your home. Far too many times we exchange gifts and electronics as means of love when reality is some kids are dying for a hug, a kiss, or just a few minutes of your time.  I am no where a perfect parent but it doesn’t matter if I will be late to spend a few minutes in prayer with my kids.  I make sure that above all that before they leave me that any issues had our squashed.  You know why?  How many children have to leave their home and never return where parents say I wish I had said I love you.  Now that my daughter is of school age, my stress is always up every time she goes to school.  I need her to know that I love her, I am here for her and her siblings, and that if anything should go down that her last impression of me is love.  It doesn’t matter if there will be times when she doesn’t like me, I love her and she will know it.

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Listen every mother has a birth story for every last child, but my life has literally been on the line for my children and I have gotten every dramatic life altering thing possible during my pregnancies.  I loved them before I even met them.  I want them to know that above any thing I ever do or give them.  I don’t know what the future holds for my children, but they have to know that there is someone in this world that loves them unconditionally.  I and her father will be that to them.  Now for other parents, aunts, grandparents, friends, etc. reading this blog. Let’s do better.  As much as I want to say that the child or children who made the comment are off as 2 left shoes, the real issue is that the child or children are growing up in homes where this seems abnormal.  Even if it’s not in cute notes, please make sure that the people who you raise, help raise or influence KNOW that they are loved.  They should see the manifestation of that love in more than your responsibility to them.  Yes you have to work, sometimes under paid and deal with the most ugliest of adults in how their spirit and mouths are towards others, but it cost nothing to give an extra hug. Please show kindness so our children can see this around them.  I am reading too many stories of kids killing themselves and they aren’t even out of elementary school.  We aren’t doing enough to surround our kids with affirmations.  I know we are busy.  I am busy.  I however pledge to make a difference in the lives of the 3 that call me mom. I would rather what I want to take a back seat so that they aren’t on some couch of a therapist over some stuff I did or didn’t do for them.  I want them to be sound individuals who know what love loves like and what it feels like.

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Please increase love and how you show love in your homes.  Our children are hungry for the affirmation.

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Broke and Blessed

So the holidays have always reminded me of just how hard working my parents were and are. It reminds me of how blessed I really am.  It’s no secret that at one point my family and I lived in a shelter. I look at my children and they will never understand what that looks like or feels like. My mom didn’t allow me to feel ashamed or embarrassed. She let me know that I didn’t have to look like what I was going through. As I became a parent I like most wanted to go back to my childhood when I didn’t have bills.  As much as I wanted to be “grown” even in struggle it was easier than having to make the financial decisions to get a family through. Where are the days when my mom said, my only job was to get good grades? I sure would sign up to be in Ms. Dickinson’s class again with no cares. 

My mom worked hard.  She took a bus to get us to the sitter and then often times would walk to work.  She then walked to pick us up and on the bus we went home. When my parents married it was both of them working hard regardless of being sick, tired, or frustrated.  I remember my mom even taking a 3rd shift job working in a cookie factory.  She and my dad did what it took to keep the roof over our head and food in our bellies.  My parents probably had days like I have had when tears filled my eyes because I was either not working or working just to bring in an income. Either way if they could get through with grace then when I’m tired and frustrated so could I.

So as the holiday comes with shopping and giving I never forget where I came from. I am an extreme couponer. I’m no where like some of the others I know but for what I save for my family I’m doing well.  Better yet it has caused me to keep my family humble. I do not take for granted that some families don’t even have the ability to tap into gift giving for being in survival mode. For that reason I make sure that my kids understand that and give to others all year round.

Today I was humbled by someone giving to my family. The last time I saw that type of generosity was when I lived in the shelter. Organizations would always donate gifts and toys. But when you have so much going on and someone stops and blesses you it’s mind blowing. I explained to my oldest today that the things we have doesn’t just appear. It comes from hare work and the heart of others giving. We are as a family in the process of paying it forward.  We do it all year round but we especially find a way to do it around the holidays. I can’t remember one holiday when I didn’t get anything. My parents made sure. Even if that meant standing in line at places like Salvation Army for assistance.  

In the shelter I didn’t even know how broke and blessed I was until I became a parent. I remembered having my oldest and saving and buying while pregnant to avoid not having diapers and wipes.  I remember moving money around to cover unexpected expenses. I often think what my life would have looked like had my parents hadn’t shown me what struggle looked like.  I know as an adult that times will get hard. Although I don’t have to stress as much as my parents did,  I do have my own sense of knowledge that hard times produce strong people. 

The holidays when my dad was getting gifts out of the locked shed (he didn’t know we found his hiding spot) doing the Santa Claus laugh, I wonder now what was going on in his mind.  Was he like me at times making sure bills were paid and getting gifts even when things may have been tight? Was he over worked and tired as he picked up toys from layaway? Again as a parent you “understand” like my grandma would say. 

To all of the parents that are struggling and even at times getting gifts with hours to spare because you only had one check after bills were paid, I salute you. 

This will not be your story forever.  Your kids will grow up to do like I pray mine will, to understand that being broke and happy is a possibility. To know that you may not have all that you want but you have what you need.  To be grateful for their portion. To grow up and work hard not just to buy gifts but have a heart to bless others. I would admonish every reader to find someone to be a blessing to.  I know times are hard but trust me there is someone who will be blessed in more ways than one.  Even something small can be something great.

To my parents thank you.  I know you told me I would get it but like a typical child I just said it was crazy talk, but I get it now.  You both have taught me a great lesson and I want you both to know every holiday since becoming a parent and even after college I’ve seen life in a different light.  I know no matter the struggle, making good choices and doing what has to be done first will always leave the door for blessings to come my way.

To my husband who works hard to make sure that the things I need and want are there, I salute you. You and my dad come from 2 different backgrounds but I’ve seen the same push to do whatever hard work could produce for our family.

Please don’t spend so much time shopping for small moments that you one neglect your responsibilities. My parents provided and we had good Christmas memories but we were able to enjoy them with the lights still on.  Stay grounded and give to others.  You don’t have to make a spectacle but you can be a blessing.