Camp is Over, Lessons were learned

Yay I do apologize for all of the parents who weren’t able to get your children into camp. This blog is not meant to stir up any ill feelings you had having to scramble for your little people.  I feel your pain in that would have led me into pure anxiety.  However I just want to do a dance that camp is over.  Trust and believe it’s not just that the start of school is literally around the corner, it has everything to do with what camp has meant for the Storr household.

My son was in another daycare and with that daycare they have a built-in camp.  He didn’t make it quite to his first full year.  The issue is simple, he was having issues adjusting. He was having issues with some of the kids and that’s all I will say to protect the innocent. However as a parent it was hard having to find alternatives for him.  I had to take him to counseling at some point which worked out since towards the end he was adjusting to life without his grandmother since her passing.  With all that was going on, I personally have to admit, I didn’t remove him in enough time.  Shocker I know. I battled taking him from the daycare because it was convenient for me to take him and his sibling to school and me to work.  The agony of having to start the process of locating another new school made my head hurt.  So I feel that my husband who took my lead and I just didn’t pull the trigger.  That is the one thing to date I regret.

Let me remind you that the very first daycare he was in since he was a baby discharged him and his siblings because they had contracted hand, foot and mouth virus which is a super common virus usually contracted in daycare go figure.  He never got over being in his mind thrown in the second daycare to be honest.  I don’t even ride past that old daycare anymore to avoid the why did she let us go questions.

In the turn of events, since not being enrolled in either daycare, my son has bounced back.  So in my mom heart, it has given me such a calm.  I went from getting calls daily because of my son’s responses to what was happening to none.  Not like a call but it wasn’t bad nope, to NONE.  Let me tell you how happy that has made me feel within itself.  He is back to enjoying going back to camp or as he calls it school since he starts kindergarten next week.  He smiles when you pick him up.  He is excited about all of the trips.  But it’s now coming to an end today.  It was great for him to have this positive experience before he starts school next week.

Let me say and make clear, I do not place blame at the previous daycare at all.  The first one I simply do not have anything positive to say on their behalf.  However the second one just wasn’t a good fit and if I be honest it wasn’t a good full fit for our family in the long run.  The reason is simple the second my son after a few months hadn’t adjusted I should have pulled him.  As a mom I should have set myself to the side on it and followed his cue.  It would have saved time and energy but we all live and learn.

Camp has done both he and his oldest sibling super well.  One its been a great peace not having to pay for field trips in addition to his tuition weekly.  Lawd, trying to keep straight who goes where and spending money for all is a lot in itself.  This camp provided all of that with the tuition and all the kids had the same things except if there was an allergy issue.  Do you know how much of a mom win that is?  A huge one.  So they won me over right from the start. Was it more money?  Absolutely.  But like my husband and I say you get what you pay for.  So we adjusted.  the kids had a blast.  Some of their trips I was kind of jelly over.  They really had a good time and not one provider did I have an issue with. That is a blessing.  Camps and daycare cost too much to deal with bad attitudes and bad vibes.  I tell people all the time, the ones who keep our children so we can work have hard jobs.  However this is something that you choose.  If you get to a point as a daycare worker or teacher and you heart isn’t in it, its time to renew your mind or find a new career.  This coming in and out snubbing parents, acting passive aggressive, or just altogether rude, will not cut in this field.  This goes for administrators too. You have to either love what you do, take a break, or keep it moving.  Nobody should have to come into your place of business and especially if they are paying for their kids to attend to deal with your nasty attitude either.

Here are a few things I want to highlight as we end camp and go into the school year:

  1. Know your money has power.  Although in daycare kids come and go, never forget that you are still paying for a service.  If you don’t like it, give notice and find somewhere else to go.  It’s simple.  You don’t have to argue.  Know your own money power and do what you have to do.
  2. Along with money power know the background and this is really for other camps and daycare.  A lot of camps have parents and families who run off of government assistance.  I am not knocking it, but never treat others better than or worst because of it.  Just because of a subsidy they have the same buying power.  Keep in mind that to the ones who pay cash can sometimes keep your daycare afloat if the government furloughs. Government has and will furlough again and if that happens it’s sometimes the cash paying clients are the ones that take the sting off behind the scenes.  How do I know this, my twin has been in the field since we were 18, we are now 36 I know a lot more than I let people believe.
  3. You can make a grievance with the daycare and if they don’t hear you, they are governed by laws that they have to uphold.  In Pa there is a star system and anything done that doesn’t align to that system that the daycare is on can be reported and you don’t have to simply take what they give you.  They can’t retaliate against you or withdraw your child.  Always check with the department of welfare or the state to see if the daycare has had any violations.  This is your duty as a parent and your right to do so.
  4. Find a daycare that has everything in writing especially for how they will handle instances of bullying or behavioral.  If you do not you will be battling air.  The reason is without these practices in writing daycare and camps can do as they please and you will only be able to complain or make static if they don’t abide by the laws.  Most daycares will abide by the law but not by a moral and human standard if they don’t feel as if things weren’t an issue.  Trust me.
  5. Never sign a non disclosure agreement if you leave.  Don’t sign it.  Get a copy if they ask you to and take it to an attorney.  I can’t even think why they would have one but trust and believe I keep an attorney on stand by and I will sign Donald Duck before I sign my name to some trash like that.  Daycares and camps run off a word of mouth for the most part.  Sorry not sorry.  We are talking about human lives. How the facility acts when things are less than stellar speaks about how they truly run.  I for one think others need to be cautious and asking those who was there if you have the ability to do so is key.
  6. If you are ever in a position where you don’t get along with administration even if its one or more of the persons in charge, made the decision if you are willing to stay with all things the same.  In other words, if the person (s) you do not get along can you deal with that for the sake of your child.  Sometimes you can and other times you can’t.  You should never feel like you are stuck.  IF you do, your child will pick up on that resentment.  If I am honest I know my kids have done so and looking at the situation I may or may not be sorry about that. I wrote about vibes and for me vibes matter.  I have had bad vibes with a person and how that person continues to act may suggest if I should correct the issue or let it go and move on.
  7. Do not allow your child to do something that you didn’t sign for.  For instance the Summer has been filled with drowning deaths.  One event comes to mine with the daycare from the South who was supposed to hike but then took the kids swimming and the child drowned and died.  This type of stuff infuriates me.  Do not send home a permission slip, get permission from the parent to do that activity and change without notifying and getting permission from the parent.  That was a free nugget for any daycare or camp.  This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Even more there is a family that is experiencing life without the life of a child who could still be here had they followed the laws and rules.
  8. Do not be afraid to find another camp, daycare or school.  Listen as we go into the school year, my kids have the privilege to go to private school, with that we literally mean business when it comes to their education, and how much we spend and what we expect.  We do over and beyond on all fundraisers, attend all meetings, engage all year without a parent teacher conference, attend all parties, come to all functions, and pay our fees during the year as asked I literally will put up with ZERO foolishness from administration.  We mean zero.  No one has to chase us to be involved with our kids lives and with that in mind I demand that the school hold up their end of the bargain at all times.  There is no pat on the back for what we do and neither will it be for those who teach them.  So we all have to be held accountable.

I want to shout out the second and last daycare/camp for the time they have had with my children.  As we transition into the next phase of our children’s journey, there is no hard feelings whatsoever but its time to continue down the path of excellence.  The kids have been super happy and that makes us super happy as parents.  This blog was not a means to air out any grievances.  This blog is to empower parents to never forget your power when dealing with daycare, daycare providers, camps, or schools.  Just because for those who work, and having someone to keep our kids is a must, doesn’t mean you have to take junk just to get through.  You were in control the minute you signed the contract and you are in control until you discontinue the relationship.  I hope that this blog gets you engaged on what some providers will do, what you don’t have to tolerate, and why you need to be on the lookout for in the future.  If you are fortunate to have someone who you trust keep your kids, do not let your guard down just because they are family or friends either.  Be vigilant in what you need, what importantly your kids needs, and realize that business is business and the business of healthy, happy, and engaged kids is most important.  Lastly trust your gut, and listen to your child.  Do not do what I did and air on caution for yourself.  Trust yourself.  Goodbye to Summer Camp but come through 2017/2018 school year!!

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.

Back to School 2017 Edition 

Now let me say that I think education is a beautiful thing. Hello I have my undergrad degree. So I would have had to like school lol. None the less these back to school commercials I know for a fact are setting parents anxiety levels and even more our teachers. 

Now I know some parents couldn’t get their kids into Summer camp so the awaited back to school commercials are a welcome. What I’m going to need you to do is start early next year and get the babies somewhere to go. I heard parents in the grocery store talking about they just dumped their kids off to their moms all Summer. I’m like how nice if momma is fun and can handle them. If not momma or big momma don’t want your kids either. I know we all got to work but lawd don’t do momma and big momma like that. 

So now it’s time to focus the coins and get our minds set on back to school. There are a few things you can do to help your school year be better than last year.

1. One month before start sending them babies big and small to bed like they were going to school. Try like 2 or 3 days a week. Then when the time gets closer make it everyday. This will take the dreaded back to school complaints because they will be used to taking their behinds to bed.

2. Take electronics out of their room.  I’m telling you if they don’t pay bills in your house they don’t need to surf a web nor text a soul at bedtime. All you are doing is stimulating their minds and they aren’t getting quality sleep. We kept our kids on the same school year schedule with their electronics. So no crying and dying going on. Plus they are going to bed charging these things trying to cause potential fires. Who got money for all of this? You don’t so don’t start these bad habits. 

3. If they haven’t read a book all Summer please get them a book. Have them present what they read to you. Most schools have a Summer reading list. It’s meant to keep their minds sharp. You aren’t helping them by ignoring the list. Get them reading. If they can whip and nae nae they can read. Guess what that will take? Energy on both you and them.  

4. Start early. Parents this is going to sound ignorant but I promise you it’s not meant to be. You know when school starts every year. Yet these kids go to school and got a long list of the ain’t gots. They ain’t got a pencil, ain’t got a piece of paper. Are you the parent? If you don’t teach them to be prepared how will they? Little Johnie going to be an adult that got the same list of the aint gots too. Put them coins away and get them ready. I swear I be ready to go ape on my kids’ school when they send that please have the right this and that during the school year. My answer to it is send this to the parents whose child isn’t complying. I know some parents don’t have it. I get it. But let me say I know some parents who push past that. The ones who complain they don’t have be the first one grabbing all the free backpacks up from the needy kids but have 100 Jordan sneaker but no pencil the first month of school. Do better plain and simple. I don’t have to mence my words for grown folks.

Along the lines of start early is to buy more of the supplies they are liable to be used the most during the school year. Always get more pencils, markers etc. Get them on sale. Start at the Dollar Store than outsource the rest. But do not wait until the last minute unless you had it last minute or just like the thrill of going to 3 stores the night before.

Also I’ve said it before but pack lunches, snacks, and bags the night before for them and you. You will appreciate it when you hit  that snooze button too many times. Kids are forgetful.

5. Get a calendar. Yes a planner is beautiful but also get one of those wipe away calendars too. It keeps the whole house right especially if your kids are beyond 1st grade. Visualization is a beautiful and stimulating thing. They can read. Place important dates and assignments on there. Also spend some time with the back to school papers they send home in the first weeks. Write things down or set alerts in your phone. I’ve been doing this since I was in grade school. Please ask any of my teachers I’ve never missed a paper or deadline. I apply the same with my kids too. The system of being prepared works. 

6. Breakfast. I am super grateful that many school districts are giving all kids meals. There are some who do not. Please make your child’s breakfast important. As an adult I will tune you out or be super angry if I haven’t eaten. How much more for a kid? Feed these babies. There are many discount stores that make it easier for parents to not have to choose food over bills. Time is hard but we have to invest in our kids. What they eat is important. I ain’t even gonna front like my kids haven’t had a pop tart a time or two but make better choices. I see kids eating chips and soda in the am and regardless of parenting styles none of these options are nutritious.  Keep good options in the house and see that they take it serious by you taking it serious too. 

7. Clothes. I used to think that uniforms were a dumb idea but in general they are a good idea because you don’t have the drama of figuring out clothes even if you pick at night. FYI, just like with lunches and bags packed, having clothes ironed and ready to go either the night before or for the week is another time saver.  If your child didn’t earn descent grades last year please invest the same thoughts into their cloth choices and sneakers. As much as I personally wouldn’t buy my kids expensive shoes, if you have a good child and you want to use your coin for them than so be it. Let them earn it. Why are you buying Johnie a pair of Jordans and he repeating the same grade from last year? Trust me his recycled teacher has seen it. Kids feet grow too fast to be making that type of investment. Don’t invest in super fly clothes for these non deserving kids. 

8. Bullying. This to me is an at home issue way before it comes to the school. As I have always been on my kids asking questions, being involved and present please do the same. Kids are afraid. Take a stand to be sure you aren’t sending bullies from your home. I will say I’m not tolerating one excuse from any administrator about “sensitive” kids. I’m not tolerating making one set of kids go through hoops meanwhile the aggressive child sit untouched. I rather be the biggest pain in the ass to my kid’s school before I sit back and loose my kids to a bully. We are not living in my time when kids could nit pick and just move on. Maybe kids should be stronger. I teach mine to be strong. I teach them to speak up but words hurt. I will not hesitate to do pop ups on schools. You know your child and if you know your child is a problem handle them at home. This past school year in Philly a 10 year old took his own life. A child decided that somebody’s unruly child was talking to them, hitting them too much and he had no one to help him and ended his life. Potential gone. His gift to the world unimagined. I personally will blow the whistle on any school, daycare, or teaching facility who dusts under the rug a bully and I truly mean it. 

The school year is coming super fast. August is literally a few weeks away and that is when the dash to get our kids ready will take flight. Please get their minds right while you get their clothing and shoes right. School is important so if you make it a priority so will your kids. I wish all the children a successful and stress less and protected school year.  My hope is that no child is taken by gun violence and that each child will be super successful!! I can’t wait to see all of the back to school pictures. Until then get them reading and enjoying their Summer. 

Surgery update 

So today is Tuesday June 20, 2017 and it’s 4 days post hysterectomy surgery. How I am doing is mixed with a lot of emotions.

For one, I have gotten an infection from the surgery. Ugh. Like my mom would say anything that can happen would happen to me. It’s true. I had high fevers the day after the surgery. Now my surgery was done laparoscopic so I have several smaller cuts going across the upper part of my belly instead of one large cut on my belly. This is to be less invasive and because I have had 3 c-sections, gall bladder and an appendix removed. With all of these surgeries the goal was to go in without having to open me all the way up.

So first day post same day surgery I was a total mess. I went in super positive and laughing with every person who had contact with me.  By the time it was over, I felt like the step sister and I wasn’t as cheerful. I even forgot where I was and why I was there but I’m going to blame that on the power of anesthesia. Once my husband and I reunited I had to sit a lot longer to allow the effects of the anesthesia to get out of my system. Finally it’s time to go. I’m mad at this point because the pain has set in and I realize that I will have to walk.

I slept the whole ride home and into bed I went. Thankful for my husband who did everything to keep me comfortable. Day 2 was hard. I had to get out and after a full night of sleep off and on I was in pain and sore. But I managed.  Between my kids who were kept feet away from me and Snapchat I got through it.  I kept having high fevers since day 2 and by day 3 was put on antibiotics. 

Now to day 4 things are going a little smoother except for the fevers and on my left side is super red and sore which is letting me know the infection isn’t clearing up. I am allergic to penicillin so my choices are limited. I will be seeing the doctors in the morning and I want to avoid hospitalization but at this point if iv meds will work sign me up. 

Here are the things that have happened that some I was prepared and some I wasn’t:

1. Pain. I feel like it’s almost like my c-section minus the left side that is red that hurts the worst. I have switched from narcotics to extra strength Tylenol. Personally I like to wean myself down.  I hate the way they make me feel. As of today I did break down and take the stronger med just because the pain was intense. 

2. Bathroom-healing also means you have to move. Not moving will cause stiffness and more pain. As much as I want to install one of those wheelchairs to get me around the house I know I have to move. So although my bathroom is near my room I now have a hate/love relationship. Oh and not to be too TMI, going to the bathroom is like c-sections where it’s painful because of using your abdominal muscles. 

3. Hot flashes-they are not a myth. I had a full hysterectomy so with that my body was slammed into menopause. I have woken up in hot sweats almost nightly. Thankfully I have had my mini misting fan. It has been my saving grace. I have about 5 flashes a day during the day.  It’s an awful feeling. 

4.Mood Swings-I haven’t noticed any. I’ve been in too much pain to tap into my emotions to be honest. I’m hoping that stays the same. My doctor wants to put me on hormone replacement and I’m looking into holistic methods too.  Either way it would be nice to stay leveled out. 

5. Eating has been moderate. I’m still aware of my Weight Watchers plan. I did have Taco Bell but could barely get through all of it and I didn’t. I enjoyed it and left it at that. For me being so fresh into the plan has made my bad eating habits almost non existent. So I’m grateful for that.

6. Sleep, that’s all I do. I haven’t really gotten into my survival kit too much. The second I say that I am I just end up falling asleep. I got my new Essence magazine and all I have seen of it was the front cover. I’ll get there. I still have some time to heal.  
Overall the pain and fevers is the one thing I was aware could happen but now that I’m in it, I can’t wait for that to be in my past. Once I manage that I can get to the things that make me happy during this new change. I had a bad nightmare the first night home of a lot of guilty feelings I was feeling about no longer being able to have kids. Then I thought even in the dream about how my tubes were already tied and I woke up. I don’t know why that became an issue but talking to other women this is a part of the process!! 

Continue to say prayers and eventually I’ll get better. It hasn’t been a full week so I’m making great progress so far.

Mother’s Day Gift Giving Guide

Mother’s Day is around the corner literally and the struggle to get mom the perfect gift is on.  I have a few suggestions to help you along the way, but first let’s think what would mom want.  The gift that you give should be about making mom smile.  No amount of gifts will ever pay your mom or even can contribute to the amount of love that your mom gives to you and has given to you.  But be creative and think about HER.  This is the time to make her smile.  Do not get your mom anything related to health unless she has requested it.  I am a fit mom or trying to be it would not offend me because I am actively on that journey.  However showing up with a fitbit for a mom who is not ready for that or hasn’t expressed it could send mom into a whirlwind.  She may need it but the day is for things SHE wants.  Tread light on gifts that could be offensive.  Moms are still women and women and their body image is an issue.  Let mom get to a point than support her but Mother’s Day may not be the time.

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  1. Flowers-even if your mom gives you the whole I don’t want or need anything nothing says thanks than a flowers.  They are a simple but thoughtful gesture that makes everyone’s day.  There are flower stands all over the place even some along the road.  Don’t go to moms without any.
  2. Hand written notes even in cares are still appreciated.  Moms want to know what’s on your heart.  Cards are beautiful and a lot of moms save them but your words are best.
  3. Gift cards-If you get them and they can be gotten just about anywhere at least make sure they are stores she likes.  Please do not get her something that you want.  That is not cool. Let mom do her thing and shop and get what she wants.
  4. Macaroni Pictures-these are okay if your child is in elementary school, however if you are grown and you are making her something let it be from the heart and not something you scribbled down last-minute.  She is worth energy in your creativity.
  5. Upgrades-if you plan on getting mom a tablet or new phone do try to program it and spend some time helping her operate it.
  6. Church-moms love seeing their kids in church.  So go if you can.  Expect the parking lots to be full between Mothers day, Easter and Christmas these are high church times.
  7. Food-get upgraded favorites.  This is the time where mom can indulge in a few tasty treats.  Chocolate is good so make it a good purchase for her.  She would appreciate it.
  8. If you have small children and even if you’re co-parenting, she may not be your mom but you can help your child or children get her something nice. Kids don’t have jobs but they do understand getting mom something.  Don’t disappoint your child trying to “stick” it to your child’s mother.  You may not like her but you laid down and had a baby honor her for the work she puts in when you don’t have the responsibility of having to do most of the care for your child.
  9. Give mom a break-do you know that allowing her to go out WITHOUT the kids for a few hours is a gift in itself.  How about a nap?  How about dinner cooked if you don’t want to brave the restaurants?  Anything that takes the load off of her would be super appreciated.
  10. Pampering-if your mom loves a little manicure or pedicure or maybe she’s so busy handling it all that she doesn’t have the time, a certificate to get these things done is great, or make her appointment and take her there.  Relaxation is always a great idea.

The idea is taking some time to love on mom.  Don’t make it about you.  Make it about her.  Give her a break. Show up with flowers.  There are so many that wish they could give flowers to their mom and instead will have to give flowers on a grave.  While you still have her, shower her with love and gifts.  She deserves them!! Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies that put in that hard work when appreciation is far and few!!!

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The wind has been taken out of our sail….

So as mother’s day comes I always have been in mind of those who do not have their mom.  It is a hard thing. It doesn’t matter if the relationship between you and your mom was the worst on the planet, everybody needs their mom. Outside of Christmas, this time of the year is one of the most hardest times for people.  This year to our surprise we are dealing with the same.  My mother in law passed this past November and it seemed as if life has most definitely changed.

My husband is going to experience his first mother’s day without his mom.  Today I need to put my thoughts to paper and honor her at the same time.  When she passed it happened so fast. There was no moments to breath.  She got sick just about a few days after her birthday in July and never really returned home outside of maybe a day or two. During this time the kids were in the middle, too young to understand but wanting to know why they couldn’t see their mom mom when they wanted to.  Regardless of past times when our relationship was rocky I prided myself on always keeping an open door with her concerning the kids.  If her and the kids requested to see her we made it happen.  This was in addition to regular visits and daily phone calls.  We lived together for quite some time.  As with any mother in law and daughter in law relationship the struggle to be in charge was there.  Its hard in my opinion for two women to live under one room.  Our common ground was always the kids.  If she wanted to do something for the kids as long as it didn’t go against their diet as far as their allergies I was okay with it. She always forgot what they could an couldn’t eat.  She wanted to be able to give them anything and everything she had.  Sometimes it was my need to assert that I was there mom in the way.  Other times it was the “you live here” that got in the way.

Her love for her son was unmatched.  Often times the thin line between separating the relationship of him as a son and him as a father and husband seemed to be the issue if ever there was.  However she loved her son and he loved her.  He is an only child.  We meaning my friends and I and his friends always made fun of him because of it.  He would be the poster boy for the picture perfect momma’s boy.  He hated the term.  He in his mind wanted to be the boy who loved his momma instead.  He was there for her.  She had been sick for quite some time off and on and thus it prevented him in ways from moving away after he graduated college.  She needed him.  So as someone who was fully aware of their relationship before marriage I knew what to expect.  There were conversations between he and I about what I expected in a relationship.  It was never a thing for me to interfere with theirs.  They had their own challenges.  Often times even she wanted my opinion on why he wasn’t as close to her at times.  I remained the same, staying out of it. You know things go, if I speak up on something I would become the bad person and I had went through that once.  I am a quick learner so I quickly hit stage left in the middle of their arguments.  She and I had our trying times.  When we moved out it got much better. It took me some time to visit.  I needed space and I needed it to be on my terms.  I needed time to restore the peace and I wanted it to be because I wanted to come not because I felt obligated.  She felt like I should have just come just because she requested and she was right in some regards. However I needed it to come from a good place and not forced.  I do not and still do not feel that relationships with people should come from title alone.  Love and respect have tobe mutal and sometimes respect earned from both parties to make it work.  You can’t love someone you don’t respect.

In spite of it all, the time apart paid off.  I found we texted more often.  She called more often.  She asked me to come over usually to do stuff but in that she opened up more. It was a relationship forming.  As she got sicker and had to be in and out of the hospital I stepped up as a daughter in law making sure the doctors were doing what they said.  I even almost came to blows with one doctor.  My thing was making sure she had the same treatment as my own mother.  No one wants to be mistreated in hospitals and nursing homes.  During this transition I did what I always did in the background, let marques be a son.  It was his season to do so.  He needed to be there for her.  His job and his family became secondary.  I would have it no other way.  As I look back it was the best thing. Had I put pressure on him he would regret me.  He is already dealing with enough my antics wasn’t needed and I gave him none.  She needed him and in those moments I just watched.  I tried not to ask too many questions.  Just not stressing him was what he needed.  On the faithful day that she took her last breath, I had gotten to the room and had some alone time with her before others arrived.  She and I just talked a week before alone.  She planned to make my favorite meal, pepper steak when she got home.  She wanted me to get the kids Christmas gifts too.  She wanted me to plan a trip to Disney World.  She laid it out there. However at this one on one moment she no longer could tell me what she wanted.  I sat quiet because I had no idea what I was supposed to say.  I just kept telling her that I would look over her son and grandkids.  I told her that I loved her. I was glad that she and I had a really long talk the week before and said love you to each other.  She told me that I wasn’t the issue.  She just wanted to be included and felt like she wouldn’t be and that she and I can talk about what boundaries she would agree on. That was her way of saying let’s make it better.  I took notes, but sadly I watched scared to death as she took her last breath holding my husbands hands that got weak.  I am afraid of death.  I don’t even go to funerals like I probably should.  But I was there.  I still see images of the whole thing unfolding.  However it was peaceful even though it was hard.

At the funeral the part that broke me was that my son who is and was super close to her had been out-of-pocket all morning.  When they wheeled her out of the church he screams somebody get me my mom mom.  I broke.  I was trying to be strong for the house but in that moment reality set in.  The woman who wanted to be there for everything was gone.  My world was changing.  I felt guilty too.  My mom was at the funeral sitting what felt like forever away from me and I wanted and needed her.  I couldn’t calm my son.  He was besides himself and rightfully so.  I ran to my own mother. I just needed to hold her.  I felt bad and still do for my husband.  He is doing as well as he can be these days.  This year I plan on going to my moms the day before so I can be there for him all day Sunday.  I pray that although his lost is great that he will find comfort in knowing that he did all he could for her.  He was there for her.  He loved her and she loved him.  I pray peace and love in his heart this year.

My family and when I say that I mean my immediate family the ones I live with have been hurting since she left.  We know she’s in our hearts but there are times when thing happen and we remember that she would have loved to be there.  We remember she would have had something to say about whatever was going on.  I haven’t taken her number and name out of my phone. Sometimes it comes up when I go to call my own mom.  Her influence in my life will never go away.  I have shared tears, arguments, food, and living space with someone.  I love her and I miss her.

 

Here are the lessons I learned from my mother in law,

  1. Bills-Pay them on time and keep accurate records.  When I tell you as we went through the things that were left behind she kept her bills from the 90s.  She was always calling making sure she watched every coin that left her account.  She made sure her money was together.
  2. Love-she loved her son and when she passed it was like she passed the torch to me. She showed me what it was really like.  When I leave my kids daily I am more careful of the interactions I have with them. I go above to make sure I say I love them and give hugs and kisses.  I want that if I should not return for their last memories of me to be that of a loving mother, not a mother who was too busy.  My husband’s mom worked for 40 years at Social Security and as a single mom, she still made time and everyone around her knew her son was her pride and joy.
  3. She was strong-although she may have been wrong she was strong in her convictions.  If she believed it was so, she made sure that others knew it too.  I doubt there was anyone in the family who didn’t know where she stood.  Even the ones who may have to say hey that don’t make sense, they knew she wasn’t changing her mind that easily.
  4. Family-she believed in it. This one is a struggle for me.  She knew when people were using her, or if and when others wouldn’t drop everything for her when she needed it but she still was there.  She talked often about doing for her family and how she just wanted everyone to get together more.  She loved family.  I admired that about her.  I had a hard time opening up and letting others in.  It’s usually had to do with once I do and then they do something to hurt me I would push them away so I wouldn’t feel that way again.  She always put herself out there regardless.
  5. Worry-she was one that worried a lot.  Watching her having all kinds of desires that she wanted to happen let me know now to stop putting things off until another day. She wanted to get a new car, travel, and she was retired.  A large part was her health that held her back.  Sometimes it was just thinking if she did for herself in one area it would cause another issue in another area.  She always told me not to do that.

As this Mother’s Day comes along, the memory of Deborah Ann Wilson-Storr shines bright.  For that I honor her!!  Happy Mother’s Day in heaven and thank you for leaving love here on Earth in Marques and your grandkids!!

Single Moms Survival Kit

So life of a single mom has usually a few things tied to it, stress and time.  There isn’t anyone that can help lighten their load.  They play the role of both parents which is almost nearly impossible.  They have to do it all and smile as if it doesn’t bother them. Let me say that is foolishness.  Single moms are not happy about their state of singlehood.  I haven’t found one however not being happy in singlehood doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things to change your personal perception.

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I was born to a single mom.  My dad well he had the ability to check out like so many other men who make that choice.  The children are caught in the middle of it all.  Every child needs both parents.  However when life serves up the craziness, you have to find ways around it and make it work regardless.  So it was a little later on that my mom would find real love and my dad aka my step dad although I never call him that entered our lives.  What was life-like before that?  Full of adventures.  No two days were alike. Sometimes my mom look effortless and other days you can see the struggle in her eye.  I have said it once and I will say it again no mother is perfect but my mom got us through displacement, homelessness, and struggle and she doesn’t even appear to look like what she came through.  No mom ever wants this life.  However let me tell you what lessons I learned from the best to do it:

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  1. Don’t look like what you are going through.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t have bad days but my mom not only told us this she showed us too.  We lived in a shelter and our clothes were always pressed and clean.  She made sure every time we stepped out the door we looked right meaning hair done too.  She made sure she had her make up done too.  Did that mean we were to the 9s all the time?  No but definitely most times.  It was about looking good and feeling good past the craziness behind the scenes.  No mother wants to have children in a shelter its a sign of not being able to provide. However my mom told us it was temporary and that in life you have to be able to go high even when things got low-trust me this was before Michelle Obama.
  2. Things work out when you work hard.  In life things get hard.  There will be times when you want to pull your hair out.  The kids will not make it easy either, however you can do your best and make moves instead of excuses.  You have 24 hours to cry and die like my mom would say but when you are done, wipe your face and handle it.  Keep searching even if you get a NO, keep going.
  3. Get help-if you have one person willing to help don’t cut them off.  Do not try to do it all yourself.  It takes a village.  Someone is ready and willing to assist let them.  It doesn’t make you less of a super mom to get the help you need and that means in all forms.
  4. Smile- yes your heart hurts.  You may have watched the sadness in your child face over a disappointment of the lack of the other parent, but your smile let’s them know that things aren’t perfect but they will make it. I know for a fact that watching my mom do the same in her life, when life gets hard she won’t one sugar coat life for me and she definitely taught me to smile through it all.
  5. Journal it out-everything ain’t for everybody.  You have to be able to have an outlet.  Single moms don’t always have time for hobbies and meeting up with friends but you have to be able to get it out.  Keeping things in will do more harm than help.
  6. Never let anyone come between you and your kid.  Listen to them because kids see and know more than you think.  Don’t let them dictate your life but don’t want a “life” so bad that you throw caution to the wind.
  7. Take care of your children.  Stop the dropping them off to momma and nem so you can be at the club working on your next kid. A break is a break it’s not forever.  It’s not weekly.  It’s a break-a brief moment.  The concept of dropping responsibility is not going to work.  You had them, you raise them.  Help is one thing, damn near walking away and visiting your kid is another. Its one thing if you can’t take care of them but if you are in the picture than be in the picture.  Give your kid 100% instead of them not already having one parent and then only having 10% of you because you are fed up with the life you created.  No you didn’t create it yourself but at some point the focus needs to be off of you and more on the children who didn’t ask to come here.