Life Lessons from a Former Stay at Home Mom

Listen having a child is a Christmas miracle. It is not to be taken for granted. Every time I hear of a Mom who lost their life-giving birth it hurts my heart. Women and their bodies go through the most to bring forth children that you hope will be productive citizens.

As a former stay at home mom I got lost many days. Between food on my clothes and wipes in my hand I had no idea what days were what at times. I learned so much about myself that I thought I had mastered until I was home with tiny humans who needed me for everything and I STILL apply the lessons to this day.  Even if you don’t have kids these are all lessons we can gleam from:

1. Time outs are not just for kids

Yes it’s okay to take a mental time out. I found I got mine when the kids went down for a nap. Now that I am back to working full-time I find that I have to push to get a time out but they are super necessary. You need to sometimes unplug and catch your breath. Life throws curb balls and in order to be ready I need a clear mind. Take a break and catch your sanity.

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2. Keep yourself fabulous

This is hard in this age at times as body issues and time can sometimes not be on our side but the years I spent complaining about what I looked like I could have done better by getting my entire life together. Listen in my stay at home days I couldn’t afford nail and salon appointments so I had to get creative. There are alternatives but keeping yourself “up” isn’t about a spouse or the world. It’s about you. It’s also for the little people who are watching you and taking in what you say and more of what you do. Hard times don’t have to show up in our appearance. My mother and I lived in a shelter and everyday she spoke over us to not look like where we lived. Has anyone not known we didn’t even look displaced. That takes strength even with your strength is depleted. Thank you Mom for that lifetime jewel.

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3. Exercise your NO muscles

Do you know how many times you have to tell a child no? Too many to keep track. Why do you get as an adult and feel like you on a yes choir?! No is powerful and one of the first words we learn as a child but is sometimes the hardest to exercise.  Your no is valuable but you have to use it. NO you can’t get up and do for another able-bodied adult. NO you can’t be used today. NO you can’t be a punching bag physically or mentally. NO! Use it! It will save you time, stress, and heartache.

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4. Have a plan and work a back up plan

All moms know what I mean when you have a toddler with a soiled outfit but no extra outfit. In life you will need the same plan. Things fall but you don’t have to fall with it. Failure isn’t failure until you give up or in whichever you allow first. Get up and work!

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Life is life.  Its designed to change at a moment’s notice.  Do not waste your energy or time on things that you can’t change.  Unless you are a breastfeeding mom, don’t cry over spilled milk.  If you take the hurt and pain to channel that into positivity your day will be that much better.

There are times when life will be super rough. Like 3.36 in your account, Ramen noodle eating, marriage on the brink, need a vibrator, and deadlines at work type of tough.  It will seem to be closing in at any given moment. However it’s not what’s happening to you that is the issue it’s what you allow in your response that matters. Get up, get dressed, care about life, work your plan, back it up and if your back is against the world well stand and make something happen.

Our Engagement Story: October 16, 2010 (Sweetest Day)

So on October 15, 2010 my friend Colleen came to pick me up.  She had called me several times before about the birthday party I was supposed to attend for my boyfriend at the time’s uncle birthday.  I really want to downplay what I was going to wear. However Marques had already gotten me a dress that we picked out a few weeks ago and with the dress I figured let me get to the salon and get my hair done.She took me to one of her girls and she did my hair.  I got my nails done and proceeded with my normal day.

On Saturday October 16, 2010 I drove to Philly but I had to make a stop to pick Marques up from the train station.  He had went on a business trip.  We got to the house I talked with his mom and then we went to the mall because he said he had to get a gift for his uncle.  We left the mall with no gift.  He said he couldn’t find anything.  We managed to eat and then back home to get dressed.  On the way there he says that one of his cousins might try to be late and he had to call them.  He pulled over on the side of the road and asked if the cousin had arrived and then he had to fix his clothes.  In my normal what are you doing, I asked him if he could wait until we got to our destination to fix his clothes.

Well we pull up to Maggiano’s and I ran into a long time friend. I wasn’t paying any attention until we walked into the room and I saw his family than I looked over and saw my college girlfriends sitting at the table and I knew this couldn’t have been for his uncle birthday.  I looked back and saw my parents and family and best friend sitting at a table and I knew immediately but I didn’t want to play myself.

He came in the room turned on the most beautiful photo spread and video and asked for my hand in marriage.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe it. All the things I had in my mind I could barely say much but yes!!  His family was clowning him I do remember that asking what would he have done if I said no, but Marques knew I wouldn’t have said no.

The back story is that my college girlfriends had arrived Friday and were staying at the house.  When I got there they had left and basically it was arranged for them to get dressed and not be in the house so I wouldn’t see them.  But we had crossed paths and  I had no clue.  He had my parents and family there and the only times I remember them interacting was for the sake of our daughter.  It was a really beautiful time. Oh and there was no business trip.  It was a way to divert me from going to house.

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He put a lot of effort into this day.  I totally appreciated it all.  The other part to the proposal is the ring.  The ring was incredibly beautiful.  When he and I were dating back in the day, I would get my Essence magazines and read them.  In the magazine were always Tacori ring advertisements.  I fell in love with them.  They are super expensive sets.  Trust me. However he would ask me questions as to why I liked those rings.  My answer is simple, I loved how the band had diamonds all around it.  I like the princess cut and halo rings.  I liked how it looked different from other rings to me.  He never forgot that conversation. I later found out not how much he spent but trust me he wanted my social security number like Martin did Pam in the Martin comedy series but the effort.  It was the fact that he went and literally put this ring together.  He got the center stone from one place, got a setting and had it put together to my specifications like a Tacori ring.  So for that this ring means the world to me because of him listening to me, and knowing my style.  He could have gotten any ring and I would have loved it but the ring was made for me and it makes it that much more special.  Oh and my favorite food is Italian.  My favorite color is red he incorporated it all into the day.  We went to Maggiano’s at our first anniversary and the flood of emotions still gets me.  Marques has always been great with large gestures, the proposal was an extension of that.  To this day we celebrate Sweetest Day even when others don’t.  It’s our own special Valentine’s Day.

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I asked him why he proposed, and it was simple, he loved me and it was time.  Also he told me that I was by his side throughout the years he wanted to give me the ring that I loved and he did!!!

 

Shout out to all of our family and friends who helped in the background to pull that day off!!

 

Beach Day aka Peace

So yesterday I had my annual beach day. What a great time. It was everything I needed and more. I went to Belmar Beach in Jersey. It’s super nice and not too crowded.

Let’s talk about the things that was different from last year. One I didn’t get to the beach until like noon. That is like beach no no. Normally I like to get there by 9 so I can get settled before the swarm of people come. Getting there at noon meant no umbrellas was available to rent. So I settled with the beach chair. Another issue with getting there later than normal is parking. I was super far and it felt like I parked in Philly and walked to the beach. None the less I got snuggled into my spot and got to my me day.  I sat there super proud yet again. 2 years in a row and I didn’t let even my surgery stop me from having this time to renew. 

I let those who I needed to know I was safe and the first agenda, a nap. I don’t know if it was that yesterday was national nap day but I got one. Armed with my beach hat to shield me from the sun I got some good sleep. There actually was a breeze and clouds so it wasn’t at all bad weather wise. However after my nap the sun came and stayed so I ended up having some awesome fries and a smoothie from Cruz Bay Cafe. These fries was so good. I was determined not to eat anything too heavy especially with the heat.

After that I read a book, got in the water, stayed off of social media for the most part and wrote in my journal in between some great snacking.  As my time came to a close I decided to walk the board walk. During that time I met a young woman who was traveling solo. We ended up having an acai bowl at Playa Bowls. If you ever had a bowl from there you know just how good they are for you and to you.  We talked about everything. She’s in the middle of a divorce and having to figure her new life out. I just encouraged her to find out who she is now. What she wants from her new relationship with her soon to be ex husband and how to keep her wits about her. She said she doesn’t have a lot of friends and I explained to her how I felt during my move to Philly. I encouraged her to get out and get into some new activities. 

I also did a LOT of people watching. I saw a guy who was on clear house arrest but he was out splashing around. My thought is he must have a window of time to be out but he was definitely out there enjoying himself. I have to say that’s a first that I’ve seen someone on house arrest out at the beach but hey he’s minding his business so I simply observed and kept it moving. 

The best part is always that it’s my time. I don’t take any of my family with me since the kids are unpredictable with the beach and my husband hates sand between his toes. It’s a win for me to indulge in the peace of watching the waves, hearing the sound of the water, enjoying the sand in my toes and literally getting quiet. I love this time. It’s all mine. Not to mention I had some great snacks that I didn’t have to share with little hands. That’s always a plus. 

I got some clarity and I can’t wait to implement them. I got some fresh ideas for the blog and some series to do as well.  So be on the look out for them as I release them in the coming months.  

As always I encourage everyone to take some time out for themselves. Nothing like peace that is priceless. No excuse to making sure that you are the priority. I look forward to getting ready to go back to work soon. I think anyway. But until then I will be focusing on my next appointments, and crossing off my summer wish list.  I’m more determined to get things done even if that means going solo. 

The Art of Stress Less Packing

I love to travel. I can’t say I travel as much as I would like but when the opportunity comes I definitely take full advantage of it. Here are a few of my own personal tips that helps regardless if you’re single, married, or have kids.


1. Don’t wait until the last minute 

Sometimes this is easier said and done. We all have busy lives. However taking the time to pack ahead of time cuts down on having to detour your trip to the store to replace something you already have but forgot and not to mention saving on coins. 

2. Pack the necessary things first

If you are traveling via an aircraft this is the best advice. Pack what you know without a doubt you will need first. Not all airlines allow you to travel with your bags for free so making executive decisions on what you have to have and packing that first helps. After that you can decide if the extras are really worth it or not. Do you know how many people have to unpack and readjust their items to avoid that fee?! 

3. Roll and pack

Rolling your items can help you pack more of the things you want and need. Often times where you are going will have an iron of some sort. 

4. Make a master traveling list 

I do this even for all seasons. This will help you to cross off the things you have packed, the things you need to purchase and pack or the things that you have yet to pack. This is key even with kids. During our recent quickcation I left nothing behind using this method. It felt good to have more than we needed. Checking the list off instead of just grabbing things was way more organized and saved on the stress later.

5. Pack light 

There’s usually smaller versions of the things you need. Get those items instead of the home size as I call it. This is especially for hair care and hygiene. Everyone knows there are travel sections in most stores. They have made it possible even to travel with laundry detergent these days. Grab those items first. They are key in opening room for the other items you need. 

6. You can’t take it all

As much as you would like to bring it all it’s not going to happen. Think about the method of your traveling. Are you going via car? Will you be with others via car? You will need to keep things to one bag to ensure room for others to store things in the trunk. Is this a family trip? Can multiple people pack in one bag? I packed the kids in on suitcase for a 3-4 day trip and it worked. Are you traveling via aircraft? You will have to limit. Think about having to push or carry these items too. The lighter the bag the less stress you allot for yourself or travel companions. 

7. Pack for the events 

Sometimes we just get clothes but don’t count the events you are going for. Focus on the events and pack around it. For our quickcation I packed around the pool and beach. This made it easier to make sure I had what I needed. Going for a wedding, pack around that. People have gone away for these types of events and completely forget the major needs for why they are traveling. Stay focused. 

8. Be prepared

Have copies of your travel documents and identification on you. The worst thing you can do is forget these items. Bring a first aid kit. Emergencies can happen at any time. Have others who are not traveling to have copies of your travel documents that can get them to you via email. Not only that having someone be able to reach you in case of emergency is key. 


9. Emergency fund 

I know in some cases traveling with just enough is what happens, however having emergency money on hand is key. You never know what can take place. You need to be prepared for anything to happen. A blown tire, lost luggage, a wardrobe malfunction. These are very real events and having to depend on someone to get you through doesn’t always work. I traveled to a wedding with my daughter one time and the hotel we originally booked was horrible. I ended up having to rebook somewhere else during the holiday weekend. 

10. Have options

This is key to have options for what you wear but also for what you will do. This is a digital age so you should have files designated for when you travel for what you want to do. This is key before you set out to travel. This is important even if you are meeting up with others. Nothing is worse than you not doing enough research before you travel. You should have weather alerts set up for your place of travel and with the alerts you should be prepared for a dip in weather, rain, snow, etc. 
The more prepared you are ahead of time the better the over all trip will be.

Also travel with empty store bags, traveling mesh bag, etc 

You can use the bags to place dirty or soiled clothes. Once you return you can take the bags to the laundry room and keep them separated from the clean ones. 

Also take empty sandwich bags or storage bags to bring things home too. You will be surprised of how they can be used. 

Extra tips:

1. Take or get Lysol especially if you’re going to be staying at a hotel. If you can also get a room disinfectant and a cleaner to wipes things down. This may be extreme to some but I never travel without it. 

2. Pack hand sanitizer and you’re own towels and wash clothes if you can. Some even buy a cheap towel and wash cloth set to throw out at the end of their trip. 

3. Pillow. It always good if you can bring your own. If not get a towel to lay over the one you will be using. 

Ask Toi: What should I do if someone from my past or new love interest knocks and I’m already connected?!

If you’re already connected and the interested person doesn’t know you need to tell them. If they know but still pushing up than know they just like the chase and want to see if you will take the bait.

As an adult it’s your choice who you are with period. This means even if you just want a one night or one time physical relationship as an adult it’s up to you. Not everyone wants a commitment but be true to yourself. Don’t say you don’t want a commitment in hopes that you can later change a person’s mind. 

If you are already connected either by dating or marriage than you know that the answer is a no for now. With that being said it’s best to thank the person for the interest and move along. In a dating situation boundaries need to be made. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend and you don’t have anything to entertain another person.  If you’re married the boundary was made on your wedding day and you end it. 

The past is the past. It can be a beautiful reminder of what was but it takes a lot to dig the past up, revive it and make it work. Ask anyone including me how much work it takes to date someone from your past.  It’s not super easy.  It’s never a good idea to open the door to a past or new interest because if you do it says more about you than the person knocking. People don’t realize that a person who will cheat or entertain someone else but expect loyalty from the person they were originally connected to shows they have NO loyalty at all. You want what you can’t or won’t give. This goes for men and women. So if you’re connected say thanks, nice talking to you, and seal the door of communication. 

Let me guess you can handle it right? Wrong. You start catching up. Then you exchange emails at first, then phone numbers, than social media and now you can’t get this person off your mind.  You absolutely not giving the person you were connected to any of your valuable time because your sharing space with someone else. Now if your just dating and no commitment with anyone than that’s your right. However don’t mess over another individual while taking space with another while connected or committed to a person. You might lose on both relationships. 

Weekly Recap: June 2, 2017

Happy national donut day!! I had one and I mean only one donut and couldn’t really eat much of anything else.  I forced myself to have a healthy lunch because that donut was definitely a lot of empty carbs.  Well I hope you all had a good week.  We are coming off a 4 day weekend some of us anyway from Memorial Day.  I hope you had a great holiday weekend.  We celebrated my daughter’s birthday and had a really good weekend.  No complaints.  So as far as this short week it has definitely been filled with a lot of ups and downs.  So let’s get into it.

Personal Highs/Personal Lows

This week I am going to put these two categories together.  There is a lot going on and I told you lovelies I would update you.  One we had a great time celebrating my now 8-year-old.  Time is flying when you’re having fun right?  We are also gearing up for my son’s preschool graduation. I know some people make a big deal that these types of graduations are pointless but it just gives the little people something to look forward to. I personally feel like celebrations are what makes life great.  Those who know me know I will make his day special.  That’s what I do.  I feel like life is about making memories that they can look back on.  It’s better than buying a bunch of material things.

Also this week I have been vigilant with my doctors to get me an answer.  I have been suffering with migraines for quite some time.  I am also anemic.  However with the new diet my doctor made sure I had all of the supplements that one would need and I increased all of the iron enriched foods so you would think I was good right?  Wrong.  I am not.  My doctors and I have decided that it was time to get a hysterectomy.  I know for some they get it done when they have fibroids.  I do not have them.  I am losing too much blood.  My blood volumes and levels are one step to more transfusions.  For some they would say, why not start a pill that would decrease your period. However the thing is that I have already done that.  I have been on pills off and on.  I got my tubes tied when I had my 3rd and last child.  I know some would say why put this out there?  One its MY BODY and my page.  Secondly being a woman going through women issues is not a place of shame and I refuse to hide like I did something wrong.  That is pure craziness.  Why would I keep it hush-hush when there are millions of women like me going through the same thing.

I am no wonder. I won’t be the first or the last.  Ladies my decision was about what was best for me.  I have to do what I need to do for ME.  Was my husband there? Absolutely.  I know my decision will have an affect temporarily on my home but I had to do what was best for me.  No need to lose this weight, do all of this work and still be underlying unhealthy.  That is sheer madness.  I know what I need to do and I know what can happen if I don’t.  I love me and I need to be here as well as I have little people who need to have a healthy mom.  So with that in mind in the next week that is what I will be doing.  Have I researched all of the options?  Absolutely. This has been an ongoing back and forth thing.  I am prepared for the steps after.  I do NOT claim to know it all. However I am fully aware that the steps towards self-love will help me through the down side of this procedure.  So with MY family’s support we will be fine.  I have learned to tune out some of the naysayers.  They will say don’t let them take nothing out. Meanwhile I can’t count on them to watch my kids when I am somewhere bleeding out.  I can’t slide them a bill when I am off of work and missing time off.  I can’t count on them to pick up a phone call to say how is it going.  You see that was a free nugget right?  I refuse to give folks who show you they are more concerned with their bottom line than mine make my health decisions.  Got to keep pushing towards what will work for me and the ones that have to live through all of this.

So with that in mind you may see an increase in blogs.  I will have more down time. Whenever I have downtime, I write and I read so be on the look out. I plan to blog the hell out of this situation.  Not to get sympathy. I am one strong cookie.  But to raise awareness.  My heart goes out to the women who are medically forced to make this decision and desire to have children and can’t.  I have 3 kids and already put in place the parimeters not to have more already.  There is no child birth loss for me.  So for the ladies with this loss, it is a loss.  I researched this and I find comfort in reading other blogs of women who have gone through this.  And with life we are all connected.  Keep me in prayer and stay logged on twitter (toitiemblog) and facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/) as I will update.

News

  1. Kathy Griffin out here with a replica of Donald Trump being beheaded and it has set off this major storm on insensitivity.  I think for me and this is where MY opinion comes off.  It was a bit much.  However if the same ones were upset when the nooses was being shown with imagery of Obama was shown and not because he is Black alone but on the principle of right and wrong than okay.  If not than you just being extra.  What people don’t get is that your argument is more valid when it’s based on principle.  Meaning you would extend the same sympathy to another like you want it done for your favorite than you have merit.
  2. Ireland will have its first openly gay prime minister after Leo Varadkar was elected into the office.
  3. Withdraw of Paris climate agreement.
  4. Continuation of the Russian influence of the election.  Continue to stand by for breaking news of this ongoing legal battle.

So I pray you all enjoy your weekend.  There are some good movies. I saw Wonder Woman and as I thought without giving things away, I walked away feeling great about being a woman.  I may see it again if you’re looking for a quick should you go or not-there you go.  I am taking the kids to see Captain Underpants tonight.  Summer movies are really heating up.  I plan on some me time and I have to work.  So find an activity that you enjoy and make yourself feel like the beautiful gem that you are.

 

Weekly Recap: May 26, 2017

Happy Friday to you all! Who is ready for the weekend?  I surely am.  Let me just make a world-wide declaration to my beautiful daughter, Naila-happy 8th birthday.  My daughter and I am rightfully biased is one of the sweetest, amazing little girls to date. She loves everyone and is such a jewel to be around.  We plan to celebrate her all weekend long.  I pray continued love, strength and peace to her life always.

It’s also Memorial Day weekend.  So this means that there are going to be a few activities that will be taking place in a city near you.  If you live in or around Philadelphia there are a lot of FREE events taking place.  We ALL can afford free right?  The point is to get out and enjoy yourself.  Don’t go back to work on Tuesday with the boring didn’t do anything unless that is what you wanted to actually do-NOTHING.  Rest, relax, organize, plan for the rest of the Summer time.  Memorial Day is the unofficial start to Summer so get out and get busy.

Personal Highs

This has been a really interesting week for me. I am still coming down on my weight.  I am about to shift from just losing weight to maintaining for the month of June.  I am looking to get to my goal so I can purchase this Boho style swimsuit.  I haven’t bought a swimsuit in 5 years.  Also I was in a lot of control when it came to dealing with the things that life through just this week.  I almost had a little mental break down but some encouragement came and helped me along the way.  I had such an amazing time with my husband this past weekend and some much-needed me time as well.

News

  1. Prayers to those in Manchester.  A bomber decided to bomb the Ariana Grande concert that was being attended by mostly teenager and young children.  My heart goes out to those who lost their lives as well as those injured from the deadly blast. I can’t understand why there is so much evil in this world but there is.
  2. Trump’s administration is supposedly under the microscope.  Even with getting into all of the politics of it all I do believe that Trump believes that he has the power to do as he pleases.  I do not believe he under the concepts of checks or balances.  So we shall keep watching to see what comes of all of this.
  3. Greg Gianfonte is out here body slamming reporters-allegedly.  It’s sad when offices used to be respected therefore they carried themselves to a higher standard.  Pretty soon they going to be pulling even more stunts but what do I know.
  4. Chris Cornell died of an apparent suicide.  His wife is saying medication he was on is what led to his death and he would have not killed himself otherwise. I pray peace during this difficult time.

Personal Lows

  1. I spoke last week about awaiting for test results well I got them back. It doesn’t look good.  I have to be seen this week for some blood related issues and so when I have a treatment plan in place than I will blog openly about what is going on.  I have no problems sharing anything in my life and especially about health due to the fact there is always going to be someonelse who will go through it too.  I will inform you all of any changes especially any changes that distributes the blog.  If you aren’t already following me on Facebook please do as many of the changes will be announced there, https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/

Blogs

  1. Ask Toi-about family or friends who come over uninvited and especially as parents who have small kids and have a sitter.  It’s always good to call first.  You don’t know what is going on with people and it shows a respect for other people’s time. If you come over unannounced than don’t expect to have access to someone’s home no matter how close you are if who you are visiting has a sitter.  If that sitter isn’t aware of you stopping by its going to be a closed-door that greets you.
  2. Ask Toi-taking a sex break while married.  You have a right and a choice to engage or disengage but I would suggest that you work out the issue that is causing you to want to take a sex break than to go to you mate and not have a clear definition of what that means.  Do NOT expect your mate to be okay with it but you have the right to your body and to be vocal in what your intentions are.
  3. Annoying co-workers anyone?  Yes we ALL have them. Simple things to keep in mind as you go through the work day.
  4. Mirage screens-we put too much stock in what others are doing, what they are portraying, what they show us, etc.  Worry more on your own life and less on celebrities or couples or individuals you admire.

As we end this week and dive into the long weekend a few reminders:

  1. Sunscreen should be worn all year round not just in the Summer months.  However since pools and beaches will be swarmed this weekend and beyond, don’t forget it. I use a SPF in my makeup as well.
  2. Keep your kids close.  Do NOT get comfortable and get caught up in celebrating that you forget about them.  There are sick people everywhere and the last thing you need is a child to be unaccounted for.
  3. Drink but be safe.  I like a beverage or two but if you think DUI check points aren’t real you are sadly mistaken.  Be careful.  If you are tipsy call a Uber, etc.
  4. Violence unfortunately especially in some cities that are already plagued with violence more will break out.  Watch the company you keep and be vigilant in having peaceful get togethers.  If you are having a fault with someone and can’t be mature than don’t even attempt to resolve it at that time.  I pray that all innocent bystanders will be protected as well.  You can be at the right place at the wrong time, do nothing and still end up hurt or dead.  Prayers to all my ToiTime readers and followers.

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