Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

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So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

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Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

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Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.

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.

I Made it to One Week!

Well cue in the music I have survived my first week back to work.  I really love the fact that all things were back in normal shape.  Everyone hadn’t really changed as much so getting back into the routine was easy.

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Now the part I didn’t anticipate is how tired I have been.  Like the type of tired where you wake up and forget where you are tired.  I have been battling this all week. I have gone back to all of my vitamins that the doctor prescribed. I took a break until I knew how my body was healing.  My doctor approved this for me.  We wanted to get me at a base line to see where I was.  So I am not sure if it’s a combination of that, having to be up at 545 in the morning or just my body trying to adjust me to normal life.  Whatever it is I am totally over it.

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I had a great week if you take the tiredness out.  My job had a welcome back party for me and that was super nice and unexpected.  To be honest I was expecting nothing but long emails and work to get through.  So it was appreciated to feel missed.  It took me over 45 minutes to remember all of my passwords.  That was funny.  By lunch time on my first day I had it down and I even got all of my items that I normally done by then.  It was just weird.  Another issue is that I am mellowing out more than I ever have in life.  Like the type of mellow when your kids spell everything at the same time after you just mopped but you calmly just clean it up and walk away type of vibe.  I find myself looking at myself like girl who are you?!  I don’t recognize myself these days.  It’s a good thing.  It has to be the lower amount of hormones that I am experiencing.  Whatever it is I feel like I am always sipping coffee in a good mood type of women.

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Also I got braids in while I was off so a lot of people walked right past me and didn’t recognize me.  That was funny.  I gave it a day and then went to some of  my colleagues and was like hey girl I am back.  Hair can change you I suppose.  No matter what small obstacles have occurred all I can say is I am glad to be back to work and hoping that this exhaustion will soon go away.   I went to bed at almost 530 last night.  I mean like real sleep none of that watching tv stuff either.  Shout out to my boss who is super understanding during this transition.  Its week 7 so one more week until physically I should be okay.  It takes a year to get your body where you want it overall.

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So its back to the normal grind, anniversary is over and time to get my kids focused for back to school.  I am at least done with the back to school shopping so that is an A+ in my book.  Have a great weekend and be on the continued lookout as more blogs come your way.  August is going to be a great month.  Don’t forget to enjoy the last moments of Summer.  I have 2 more items to cross of my list but I am determined to be able to look back and say I had a good one.  I hope the same for you.

No Dads Allowed, If You Believe the BS!

So a few weeks ago I asked several followers who had kids under 10 to help me with today’s blog. I want to thank all of the women who responded. I needed women who were considered the main primary care giver to their children even with men, fathers, boyfriends, husbands, etc that are stand up men assisting.

So what I have found is that even with the most hands on men often times it is still being viewed as the “woman’s job.” Let’s que in today’s news story where a mom of 2 took her oldest child to his or her sporting event. While there she got a call from her boyfriend who was sitting with their 4 week old daughter. The boyfriend got frustrated with the baby and shook the baby. The baby was rushed to the hospital and after 2 days in the ICU, the baby passed away. Prayers go out to the family at this time!

In the comments sections was uploads of women who said the mom was responsible for allowing her 4 week old to be left with their dad. The mother was interviewed and didn’t have an idea that the child’s own father would cause harm. So my issue is two-fold. There are some men that shouldn’t be left with kids. However with my same thought process with it I feel a woman shouldn’t have a child with a man she doesn’t trust.  There are horrible people in general and becoming a parent won’t always change the evil in their heart if it’s there.A woman can be a primary care giver to her children. However in 2017 men are stepping up and out when it comes to being hands on with their kids.

No kids…What I wouldn’t do edition

So the part of child raising goes to mostly people who have no kids who make the comments of what they would allow or wouldn’t allow if and when they have kids. Their comments aren’t the issue as the delusion that they seem to have. I do believe that you can set up in your home where both mom and dad do for their kids. We have that in our home. It’s not on me to do it all. My husband willingly jumps into his role and does what is necessary. However the ones who have no children who say I wouldn’t allow my husband to not do…..

Listen, no one knows how things will pan out UNTIL you are in a situation. The things I even said I would or wouldn’t do or allow when I had kids has been tested.

He should just know….

The kids become the primary focus. If your husband is hands on but not as hands on enough will you allow your kids to go without to prove a point? I would hope not. Would you continue in an argumentative state and have the home filled with hate and yelling just because for example the man in the home won’t put a load of laundry in not because you asked but because he “should have just known” to do it but didn’t.  The “my husband or boyfriend would know better” is a lie. Explain to me how new parents who are new to the parent game can play mind games are supposed to also know what to do? Women who are supposed to have natural instincts to take care of kids need help and learn as they go. But not your knowing man he just knows. Raising kids take patience and is one of the biggest learning curves that a human will ever experience.

I can speak as a woman who is a mother and wife and say that often times even from most of the women who I interviewed is that women don’t speak up and say exactly what they need. No man is a mind reader. If you’re the main care giver does that mean that you can’t ask your mate or child’s father for specific help? No you can and you must.

The women who beat that mother up about the child’s father killing the baby are displaced. A man can be with their child. It is the actions of that horrible man who killed the child. Unless the women who were in the comment sections have PROOF that the mother had known he was a killer or had these tendencies to harm than it goes to show you how women are programmed to belief that men should only procreate leaving women alone to raise their kids. This is BS. Raising a family takes the same two people who laid down to make sure their needs are met. If one or both of them do something right or wrong it’s a team effort.

So how about we monitor who we first have kids with. Be the best parents we can be to our children. If you’re a mom who is drowning with children and you have their dad in their life, speak up. Ask specifically for what you need and ultimately about what your child needs.  Your child deserves to be raised by a mom who isn’t always super stressed. Sometimes by not asking puts you and your kids more at risk for more stressors. Ask the single mom with no help.  She is under pressure. A married mom or a mom with help that doesn’t ask, is acting under the same guise.

Being a mom is hard work. I personally can go to work all day and come home and think man work was a piece of work in comparison.  Then even as a stay at home mom which I did for 3 years, no job combined was more than being a mom.

Ladies with men helping allow these men to help. Ask for what you need and the bigger issue is do not nit pick how it was done. Our men won’t have the same instinct or know how like we may have but if you want to foster a give and take relationship than ask for what you need. You aren’t less than a mom to do so. It wasn’t meant to be your shoulders alone. Women can raise these babies by themselves but a good man won’t allow you to. However they also don’t want to be killed by your rolled eyes, deep sighs, and berating either.

Mommy wars…mind your uterus

Ladies single or not if you’re a mom stop these mommy wars. We are all trying to figure it out. When you hear a woman who makes claims that you have already tested and no won’t work just smile, you know when their time comes that life will hit the most organized, well put together woman and child-birth is the testing grounds should they WANT to do so. Also for my moms stop asking women with no kids when and if they are going to have a baby. Some women don’t want any. Guess what?! They don’t have to either.

Let’s mind our own uterus and get our men to help us more. Ask for help. Don’t do it all and still look for help where you won’t allow that man to help by simply asking and letting him do it.

Lastly to the men, it’s simply not enough to have your presence in the home. You work and your wife or girlfriend did too whether in the home or not. If you see toys that needs picked up. Do it. If you see your lady needs help you can ask or do a few things to assist her. You can send her for some time alone while you help with the kids you both made. The little things add up!

However raising kids should be a joint ever when it can be and if you are a man you have the same need to be hands on not just a financer for your children. Kids need to be supported and it’s not just a woman’s job it’s the parents job to raise them!!

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: How do I tell my mom that she can’t smoke in my house when she visits?

You just have to take a deep breath and tell her. You don’t ever have to be disrespectful in telling her. The flip is that you don’t have to feel that by telling her means you are being disrespectful towards her.

Often times parents establish respect from the gate as they should. However when you become an adult you sometimes you go back to the child like mindset in thinking that speaking up means disrespect. It’s not true. Your house your rules. You have to know that in telling your mom she either has to accept that rule and still visit, she can get a hotel of her own and still visit or she can choose not to visit at all. 

My hopes is she will visit regardless if she stays. I know plenty of others who have that as a rule and most times it’s understood. Smoking is a personal choice. Just because she’s your mom doesn’t mean her personal choice has to go over your rules. You’re an adult and being an adult means you have to be able to handle difficult situations. I know plenty of parents who taught that if you live in their house you play by their rules well the time has come to flip it to your mom honoring your rules in your home. And no it can’t be on the notion that her visit is only temporary so you can enforce the rules once she leaves. Even if a person who smokes outside will still bring the smell of smoke inside of the home. For a non smoker that smell can be too much. I know for me there is no smoking in our home nor around my kids.

I respect all who choose to smoke I just won’t even allow it around me and mine. Your mom is adult she can handle not smoking in your home. You just need to realize that you need to speak up without feeling like she is going to disown you for it. If she does it really reveals bigger issues that I’m sure you have been dealing with all along. 
Good luck!

Quickcation 

So I just updated my status about how I am doing during week 3. Going into week 4 I was able to enjoy some family time. 

So let me start out with the issues that took place before I spin it to the positive side. For one my family took a quickcation to Wildwood, New Jersey. Yes living in Philly that’s about less than 2 hours away but hey it sure beats sitting at home. So we took this quickcation and I probably had the best time not being able to enjoy any of the rides or the attractions like I normally have in the past. 

I was able to be my family’s photographer. What else was I to do? I couldn’t get on rides. I did get on the Ferris Wheel and a train that even in my healing state I could have skipped past it faster than it was going but that was it. No roller coasters and no thrill rides allowed. I was just there for the fried foods and watching my family have a great time. 

Day 1, was a test. I have been spending days and nights at home in mostly a reclining chair or bed. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much else. Wildwood is a great place but the blocks of walking was really not for me. So the struggle was real.  My kids all under 9 years old didn’t leave until they were put out so I’m talking way after 1230 midnight. I had to sit down and catch my breath many times. I was even angry because my husband insisted the kids were done and then I would turn around and they were in line at yet another ride. I didn’t want the kids to feel bad for wanting to do the things I would have normally enjoyed so I walked off MANY times. I sat and collected my thoughts or contemplated going back to the hotel. However in the end I just stayed and observed. Oh and rode the Tram car.

Snapchat which I have grown to love are my favs. I literally used my time making videos. On a normal day my 3 year old occupies my Snapchat but this weekend I used it to highlight the fun that was being had. Now I wasn’t some miserable person walking around angry. I was quite the opposite. I just had to focus on the importance of making memories instead of being in my feelings. I had fun. I ate well and I enjoyed the change of scenery. 

The one thing I didn’t do was go to the beach. My family doesn’t like the beach like I do. Thus like I did last year I will set off on my own personal beach adventure. So that was the pit. However overall it was a fun time. 

Highlights
1.One of the highlights was watching my oldest overcome her fear of roller coasters. She was able to get on them and ride as if she had been riding her whole life. Although I didn’t ride with her I was able to film it and see her happy face every time she got off. 

2. Food and drinks 

I had the best food. Going to Wildwood is such a highlight in that all the fair type food you can want is literally everywhere. I enjoyed great icecream, fried Twix, as well as the “adult juice” I could handle. To say I don’t want any junk food for awhile is an understatement especially after not indulging for weeks to months at a time. I am happy to report that I have maintained my weight loss so as I heal I look forward to the gym when I am ready.  

3. Body, body

I’ve never been so happy to be in my bathing suit as I was this year. Now let’s not get it twisted I wasn’t out here rocking a skinny 2 piece but I wasn’t in a choir robe either. It felt good to be out and looking good. It felt good to have confidence to be in my own skin which I have to say was doing its thing working its tan lines.

4.   Sun

You can’t always predict the weather. However I couldn’t have planned better weather.  It was a high 80 and the sun was on overload. I loved it. The sun on my chocolate skin was all that I could ask and more. We all came home shades darker. 

So again the quickcation that we had was well worth it.  I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the quick get away and I look forward to more. Again I keep saying that at the end of the day Summer is here and I refuse to limit myself to not doing anything at all even if I have to work around my condition. I hope you are all enjoying your Summer.  I will continue to highlight my Summer adventures as they unfold.