Ask Toi: How do I tell Others to Back up on the baby talk?

This question is coming from a newlywed so here is my answer:


Simply thank them for their concern and let them know that when the time is right you will have or not have a child.  The decision is between you and your husband. It has to be irritating for people to question another person about someone else’s uterus.  Let’s end this now. Unless you want to carry a baby for them, raise it and pay for them you have no right to ask another person that you are or aren’t close to on when or not they plan to have a child.  That goes for mommas too.  We love you momma but you don’t get a hand in the decision to bring life into the world for your child. Ask your child aka your grown child if they plan on it, but then back up and respect their answer.  The pressure alone can be devastating to a new couple or even seasoned couples.  You don’t know if that couple has been trying and miscarried, or knew going into it they couldn’t have any and didn’t feel the need to inform you.  These are personal questions that unless someone comes to you and talks about it should be off limits!

Too many times we place this pressure for newlyweds to have babies but we have to be realistic:

  1. Not everyone wants to be parents-accept it.  Kids are a lot of responsibility. Not everyone is built to handle that dynamic. Marriage is not just for baby making.  You actually might like someone’s companionship and don’t want to have children.
  2. Support systems-having children and having no system of support is a real issue. I have 3 and we are JUST getting a 5 second support systems. It takes a village to raise children.  Not everyone has what they need to raise kids.  Don’t feed me the excuse that single moms and dads are doing it.  A lot of them are and are not balanced while doing it.  They are often times lonely, cry often, suffer depression etc and this can be had even within a marriage.  Marriage is not a cure-all for any of this!
  3. Many folks aren’t financially sound to have children.  There are some people who want to get this goal crushed before they have children.

Worry about yourself.  Spend time in your own than worrying if a couple who you may think would be the best parents, become one. Let newlyweds enjoy walking around their house naked if they want.  Let them enjoy date nights, and having their new life centered before adding diaper changes and baby feedings in. Let folks live.


Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:

How to Handle Love Week When you and your Love are Beefing

Valentine’s Day is this week and it would be nice if all couples were in an a sea of love and like. That is ideal but it’s not always real.

These man-made holidays don’t always have timing on point. Remember just like no two people are the same; no two couples are the same as well. There is no way that couples can be in the right head space when Valentine’s Day comes.

So how do you manage when you really don’t want to show love to your mate?! You show it anyway. You do not do for someone based on merit. The same way you feel about them they could and probably have had the same feeling towards you. Marriage and relationships aren’t perfect in any way. We have to let go of this ideology that couples marry and ride off into this happily ever after. That happens in television and movies. The real happens after the vows are said.

Now with that same proclamation there is always a disclaimer. No flowers or candy will change the issues that took place regardless of a holiday or not. I think about my first marriage anniversary. In my head weeks leading up to it I expected the day to be filled with little surprises all day, little text messages of how much love we had for one another and ending the night with amazing sex. The reality was days before and even the day of we were arguing. I had one of my postpartum fits and our dinner had more silence then a good flow of conversation. I don’t remember if the night ended in sex or if it was filled with the reality that we had kids to take care of and stress was at an all time high.

There’s a difference of expectation that can be damaging to a relationship if realism isn’t at the forefront. This is why candy and flowers shouldn’t be the basis of how one apologizes. Give whatever gift you had intended but work more on your actual issues without having to have Hallmark attached. Working through the moments when you dislike your mate will make the gifts that much more sweeter trust me.

If I could go back to that first anniversary dinner I would have laid the charges down because the mere fact that I can’t tell you why we’re reacting proves that in the long run it didn’t matter. So ask yourself is the issues are really worth ruining any time that you have with your loved one?! Most likely not. Take some time to work through. The off days and the days of dislike are going to come. Trust me live a little they will. But if you’re friends first and have a strong foundation you can work through anything. Don’t ruin any day. Ask the widow or widower how they feel and I’m sure they would love one more day to be in the arms of the one they love. Each moment is fleeting. Don’t spend the little moments we have wrapped up in things that won’t build a strong relationship.

Ask Toi: My fiancé wants to invite a “friend” that she friend zoned in her past, how do I tell her no without looking jealous?

For those who don’t understand the concept of friend zone that is when someone male or female has pretty much politely rejected any advances that you give off. This is the polite way to keep the buddy and the booty separate so that lines don’t get crossed.

One tell her that if the shoe was on the other foot that would not be okay. I don’t know too many women who would want a friend zoned “friend” to be on deck when their saying their vows for their soon to be husband. If we want equal rights and disclosures then the answer is simple, the “friend” is a no go! It’s not a jealousy issue it’s a respect issue. To have been friend zoned often times there is an attraction and that friend has let you know it’s a no go. Other times you’re not attracted to your friend and that makes it easy to friend zone. For my readers this particular “friend” has professed his feelings for the fiancé and she classily rejected him.

This isn’t about being jealous. It’s about having those who share in your love and want the best for you two as a unit to be a witness. Not a man who may have jumped at the chance to be with your fiancé and got rejected, to witness. Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome men who are the most respectful and then there are some who if the mix was right would stir the juice and sip! And if your fiancé’s friend was honest he would understand.

This is something that can be made simple. Your new life together will encounter these bumps in the wedding planning phase. Have the conversation when both of you are relaxed and not super stressing or even take a night or two off from planning and come back to it. Weddings and stress seem to go hand and hand. I hope though you invest in some form of premarital counseling. It’s not a total fix of an impending marriage but it definitely will help to clarify the hard hitting questions that sometimes those lovey dovey feelings can miss.

Also FYI above the wedding this “friend” isn’t really a friend and not only should he not be invited to the wedding I would be questioning why he has such an active role in your fiancé’s life that she had to bring him up and add him to the list to begin with. Unless you had an all expense paid wedding and money was no object there has to be a real friend who doesn’t want the booty and the girl that she can add?!

This isn’t someone who she was good friends with that she’s had in her life for years! This is a man she has met in passing in the last 2 years before she met you who tried to push up and she said no. This man isn’t worth making an issue for a soon to be husband in my book! He also hasn’t been active in her life since she met the fiancé or has interacted with the bride and the groom as a unit. Focus on who matters. Just you and her! Everyone is negotiable and only those who really matter should even be considered!

Ask Toi: How do you deal with someone who Deflects all the time?

Consistency and straightforwardness.  There is no other way.  You will have to find a way not to be like the person you are dealing with.  Be clear and concise.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  People who deflect are often not the type of person who opens up to faults.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  For example, the friend that complains that the utility company is always giving them a hard time but doesn’t ever want to admit that they make a thousand payment arrangements that they may not honor, or just simply doesn’t have a good payment history to begin with.

If you are in a romantic relationship this can be hard.  You address a situation with them. They make a billion excuses and you are left frustrated.  Look at the level of relationship. Are you dating?  Maybe this is a deal breaker for you.  You try to work with it unless its continual dishonesty and then you decide that this person doesn’t meet your standard.  Is it in a marriage?  Try finding ways to approach them. If none of these thing work, get a 3rd party to help.  If you, and the 3rd party can’t get them to see the error of their ways, you may want to consider some soul-searching.  It’s 2018 and I am not for breaking up families at all.  Let me say that for the folks in the back, breaking up families is not the will.  However what else isn’t the will is doing the work for two people.  This is not how relationships are supposed to work romantic or not.  So be wiser this year, work on you.  Be clear when you deal with a deflector and attempt to make some things work.  However if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have exhausted ALL of your means, find ways to either let nature do its thing with the relationship or hit it on the head and roll.

What do I mean about nature taking its course?

If it is a friend that is always deflecting you might find that you spend less time with them. They will begin to wonder what is going on.  Have a talk and say I brought up a few issues and you dismissed them with your actions. Be clear in how they were dismissive and let them know that this is unacceptable.  If it is someone you are romantic with, if they aren’t self indulged they may notice that things aren’t what they once was.  Bring that up and remind them how their actions continue to be dismissive.  Have a plan if its someone you are romantically with.  Sometimes we sit around knowing that things should end but because we don’t want to hurt their feelings, we wait and pray and hope they will end it. Put your big girl/boy drawls on and face the music.  If is marriage you can’t be in a one-sided marriage.  I know a lot of miserable people who are in these marriages and literally cry or sad all the time.  This can’t be at this point. It’s one thing to say someone else is doing ABC, but it’s another to stay rooted just for the sake of saying you didn’t give up.  You not giving up should be in your actions.  Working all the time to be the change you want to see. Making sure you meet your partner full way to what they need and if you can say yes I have done that but…. you haven’t done all you can.  Let’s knock this I do for them but they….. If there is a they you have to own that something you have allowed may be the cause for the set up in how they treat you.  Did you let a few things slide?  Has things always been a certain way, and now you are growing and changing? There is nothing wrong with growth and change at ALL. You will need to bring up the change to your partner and if they love you they will do their work to be a better version of themselves to you.  No need for dead weight in 2018!  Don’t be the weight to your partner but don’t take deflecting excuses this year either.

I was therefore I am…own your …. edition

So we are in the New Year and so many of us are trying to be positive and make change. With that in mind we have to be honest about what we have done or do that contribute to some of the bad things in our own lives.

This isn’t the blog to make sure you slide this into the one who hurt you email. No this is a self-reflection blog to own your own crap. As much as others have been disrespectful I too have shown disrespect. Did you hear that? So not for nothing on some we all have mess either. I mean times when the things that I have done have contributed to mess at various points in my life. We like to talk about the glow up but don’t talk about the drama that had to unfold before we became the version of who we are.

I’ll use myself as an example since I’m best at talking about me. My mouth is sharp. I try to lay low but if stirred I can be a beast. It took a long time of learning how to speak up instead of holding things in. This holding things in have caused me to leash out and cut off various people. Now the verdict is still out on whether some of those relationships will be fixed or stay the way they are now but honestly I was a cause of the death of them or at least played a part in it. I won’t dismiss what was done to take all of the blame but will I will say is I was in control or not in control of myself and my responses.

I talked openly about a friend I had who called me one New Year’s Eve hollering at me about how much better I was and how she wanted my life. First of all I have a good life but nothing to be envious about. After her hollering phase oh which was so loud I had to place the phone down on my bed to even hear, I let her have it. And it’s like why give that energy?! End of day I saw things beforehand and never checked it. I could have ended things amicably. I could have hung up and not answer her and let it die naturally. I had to own that my personality struggles with having the last word. Once stirred I won’t back down.

Going into a new year one thing you have to acknowledge is if you were bad with money and planning then yes the reason you’re displaced has to do with that issue. We can’t keep blaming others for our issues. Sis, just say you are bad with finances and find ways to fix it. If you and your husband aren’t putting in the work to make a marriage that is healthy, full of life, good sex, and strong then don’t blame others when it goes flat. Own your part like you want him to own his part. If you date the same type of man don’t get mad at the man, own your crap on what you attract.

Owning your crap will make you solid. It will even if you can’t use damage control over the past will make you better for the future. Owning your crap is hard work. It hurts. Sometimes it’s lonely. I’ve been the bad friend who wanted to change and then got mad when others needed to see change longer to accept me. Yes if you’re owning your stuff not everyone will believe you. You will still be the messy chick (or man), liar, cheater etc that they think you are to them. You can’t say oh well I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Is your change for them? Maybe your relationships needed vamping. In the midst of that good came from that season.

You have to own it instead of pointing fingers out. Point in. Trust me when you do and after time when others still point it out just shake your head like you’re right that WAS me. I don’t believe that I have a right to say how long it will take others to “believe me,” but I won’t sit around waiting on the blessing of approval. Plain and simple you can be better and walk away.

So this year don’t cut people off to get them to approve your life. Cut them off cause the relationship no longer is positive. Be open for conversation. I think and believe that there will be dialogue this year. I’ve already had one person reach out and I have chosen to let them know I wish them peace but that doesn’t mean I will be open to a relationship. Being cordial costs me nothing but restoring it back to what it once was can’t happen because I’m no longer that person.

Own your crap. Own your bad decisions. Own that you got work to do. In addition to owning it, keep working even when you get no apology. Keep working even on days you’re lonely and feel isolated. Keep working on you even when it sees you are being punished. Heal. Healing is one of those things that no one can take from you. When you see them and nothing moves you. Healing when you see them and you’re not defensive. Healing when the past isn’t the only conversation you have. What still has you, you talk often on. Don’t give others that power. Shift that power and be better.

Also be okay with silence. Be okay with the deadness when relationships shift. I think that’s hard we all want to be connected. I found that I had to see connections differently. In this last year I’ve grown some amazing relationships. Often times they didn’t mirror what I initially had in my mind it would look like.

Also while owning your crap, drop the charges. This doesn’t mean don’t remember them. It just means in comparison to the world around leave it be. Walk away if you choose to and be solid in your decision.

Own your crap this year, do the work to be better, stop giving negative people your energy, find ways to fix the underlying problem, and be solid as you transition from the old you to the new you!

Lastly make this year your best year! You are in control and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want and you don’t need approval. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Send peace even to relationships that may never mend. Keep pushing even when you feel alone or isolated or punished. Own your stuff!!

How many days for Your Yes?

So I wanted to get this blog all ready for motivational Monday but life is funny. Between the kids being out of school for all but one day last week, they ended up with a half a day yesterday. This left me time to get to work to get some crucial items accomplished and then back home in preparation for the icy conditions that was on the way. Now I’ve been sick lately with some type of cold or mini flu like symptoms. Depending on how severe the symptoms it can be a cross better that and SARS.

Yes I work with medical professionals and I am aware I don’t really have SARS but I call any coughing, sneezing etc SARS.

I was reflecting and looking back on my 2017 fitness planner. I have several planners I’m sort of a planner junkie. In my planner I kept track of all the days I worked out and which ones I didn’t. The ones I didn’t thankfully didn’t outweigh the ones I did but any fitness goal that wasn’t completed could be found in my no workout days. I’m not talking about the rest day. I’m talking about the days I set out to workout and didn’t. It could be I was too tired, the kids, whatever but they were days I didn’t honor my own dedication. Those are the days where I didn’t put me first. Those were the days where I have no excuses!

How many of those days do you have? You can say I’m just too tired but let’s keep it 100, you didn’t go to bed on those supposed tired days. You were up watching television or scrolling on your phone or device. It wasn’t the kids because eventually they went to sleep. It wasn’t sickness because even in sickness unless you’re in the bed for real you’re doing things that are contrary to your condition. So why so many no days? Is it laziness? Is it that your goal is in the back of your mind but not in the front? When it’s in the front you’re always actively doing something that contributes to that goal? If you were getting married in 6 months you would be daily, weekly, and monthly about your business. You wouldn’t just sit and then wedding day wake up crying about what’s not done knowing you put no energy to getting it done.

What about finding a new job? Looking for a new job is a full time event. How much are you really working towards that goal? How about travel? How much have you saved? Are you searching flights? Set alarms for flights? Researching how much it will cost once you reach your destination? Letting go frivolous spending to offset your cost? What about finances? Are you pulling or subscribing to getting your scores monthly? Are you paying bills off accordingly! Are you leaving your credit card at home and only using it for emergencies? Are you saving towards an emergency fund?

Each question asked is about you. You set the tone in how your body responds to you. If you have diabetes you can’t eat and drink what you want and then wonder why you can’t get off of insulin. You set the tone for health complications. You set the tone for a rise or decline in your credit score. You set the tone in how others treat you. Change the tone. Even if you have fall off days if you set the tone it won’t outweigh the on point days!

How much is your goal worth? Will you be happy or disappointed in each month or quarter of this year? Some may still be walking in the disappointment of last years failed goals! Shake that off and make daily choices to step into the right goals!

It’s true you have the same 24 hours as the next person. What you do with them sets you apart!!