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.


Daily Women Crushers

As we continue to celebrate women’s history month, I want to shout out all women who are crushing their dreams.  Wednesdays are designated as #WCW or women crush Wednesday.  However daily women are failing, dusting themselves off and getting back out there and making it all happen.

Single women who are lonely and longing for relationship and finding ways to enjoy their single days and taking trips, starting businesses, becoming sound individuals without someone in their company. Those are daily women crushers.  They want to be with someone but aren’t allowing the lack thereof to stop them.  Until love finds them, they are out here making life happen for them under their own guidance, salute.

To the married woman who gives daily to her husband and attempting to be united, you are a daily woman crusher.  People think that marriage is a cure-all but it’s not.  It’s hard work to put someone else above your own.  It’s a union that actually makes you confront a lot of who you are or who you think you are.  Marriage is being there for someone and trying to keep the spark going regardless if that woman is tired or not, salute.  FYI the same should be done from her husband towards her.  If you find you are in a one way marriage, there are a few talks you and your husband need to have.

To the mother who is tired and feeling overwhelmed and still continues to get up before her house, getting things in order, and making it look effortless, you are a daily woman crusher.  To the days when those around you takes you for granted, and forget to say sorry or appreciate what you done, salute to you.  Salute to you when you lose yourself and literally have to pick yourself up before you can give again, salute to you.  Salute to you as you endure your body going through hell and back to deliver, salute to you.  Salute to you as you almost sometimes die on those tables waiting to hear that first cry, salute to you.  Salute to the women who have lost life many times and feel like their worth is tied to being a mother and can’t.  We salute you.  Just know that is a real pain. A real fear.  A real cry.  A real emptiness and I stand behind you and with you.

To the business woman who has to have her work checked twice just because she doesn’t have the same “member” as those on her team, salute to you.  Salute to the woman who is making moves after she was denied financing, salute to you.  Salute to the woman whose ideas failed many times before it took off, salute.  Salute to the woman who while accomplishing her goals, had the very folks who now want to stand with her after the fact and those same ones laughed, talked about, and ridiculed for that venture to pop, salute!

To the woman who has or is facing many demons and finding herself alone as she pushes towards getting her life together.  The ones that seem and feel like constant failures while others around her is flourishing.  The ones who say why not me too but they seem to be saying this only to themselves and there is no one around who understands you.  We salute you.  We get it.  We understand because as a woman regardless of what we have all accomplished we have all been public goals and secret failures.  Trust the process, understand that it will work out. Even in the dark, there will be light.  At the second you go to fail, you find a solution. At the moment you decide today is the day you will give up, light shines.  You are purpose and you were created for purpose.  The world has something that you have inside of you.  We salute the process of growing in the dark with limited water and resources.  The best flowers sometimes have thorns but are the prettiest in the end.  Don’t give up!

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:

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Erica M!

This Year the theme is the Year of the Woman.  This is not a theme that I made up but is the theme of Woman’s Month all around the world.  We have celebrity women who are speaking up and this is so awesome to have.  Now I feel like I need to give the voice of the everyday woman.  The single mother trying to make ends meet, the married woman trying to balance it all, the career woman trying to make it up the ladder without having to drop her panties along the way, and all of the women in between. Women are beautiful and strong beings.  Like Beyoncé says, we have the kids and get back to business.  Women can do it all, have it all, and this year and beyond are looking out for the next generation so our daughters and granddaughters don’t have to say #METOO!
In addition to that we have to showcase regular women because we have a voice and power too.  We are women who have been married, some divorce, some single, some moms who are all making their marks in this world.  They are giving back to their communities, keeping families together, raising families with and sometimes on their own, completing college, making their and other people around them better.
Erica the oldest of 3 siblings, a single mom of two daughters ages 16 and 13, raising their 19-year-old sister which she considers her my own (oh yes the headaches :).  She currently works for a financial institution going on 23 years and attends college a few months shy of earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in hospitality. Erica is a social bean and loves to spend time with family, friends and herself. Yes she enjoys time with herself including scheduling days off to do some of the things she enjoys.
Some times as we get wiser we often think back on the times of our younger days.  We wonder what lessons could we go back and tell our younger selves.  I asked Erica what her lesson would be to a young Erica back in her day:
I would tell my younger self not to rush through life, marriage and family. All these things will come in perfect timing. Enjoy your childhood go play in the park instead of worrying why your parents are fighting. Enjoy being a teenager and do teenager things like hang out with your friends, focus in school and don’t worry about adult things and in your young adult years explore and venture out don’t worry about putting your life on hold for others. 
Being a mom myself I often ask myself during times when I am with them what lessons I want them to get.  My daughters are young so of course I try to keep it in perspective but I asked Erica what she wanted her daughters to know in life, love and career.
Life – It flies by very quickly and has many stages so take hold of the present and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
Love – Don’t rush, force or look for it because it can lead to failure. Love is natural and will happen when you least expect it. 
Career – Let your heart and passion lead you to career of choice not money. Go hard to be the best in that field regardless of what it is.  
So what has Erica accomplished so far:
  • Purchased her home at the age of 19
  • When back to school during a separation with my then husband
  • Bouncing back from having to file for bankruptcy
  • Having the means to support my daughters alone
  • Working for the same company for 23 years and I am only 40 years old
  • Instilling in my daughters the meaning of faith
  • Working my way up to a Co-lead for a team at church
  • Stayed focused on my weight loss. About a little over a year ago I was a size 24 (extremely tight) and now I am wearing a 18 -20.
First of all congrats on all of your accomplishments Erica! Let me just add from this list, there was failure. You have had to made bad credit decisions to have to file for bankruptcy but…..she now owns a home.  She now can financially support her girls on her own. Did you catch that?  Sometimes we fail but if we KEEP on going, we will come out of top.  So if you are a woman who is struggling with any failed relationship, bad credit or anything that you DEEM negative, the only way it stays that way is if you allow it.  Kudos to you Erica!!
 Even with all of the great accomplishments that Erica has already done, I wanted to know where she sees herself in 5 years:
This is always a difficult question to answer because our vision changes over time but as of right now. I want to see myself in 5 years living for me and not others, in a position of choice with work and not must, and enjoying life with my girls, family, friends and maybe with a new-found love.
Now the #METOO movement is something that didn’t start on the internet.  It started from women getting tired of being sexually abused, harassed or assaulted.  The Internet made it easier for women to band together.  Women have been seen as accessories in times past.  This is why often times they are not believed or if they are to be believed they are seen as the one who agitated their aggressor.  I do NOT want myself or other women and God help me, my daughters to have to say METOO!
I asked Erica what the #METOO movement meant to her:
 The Me Too movement is a great organization that helps those that were or are being sexually assault or harassed. They provide support, ways to speak up and remind you that you are not alone. Finally and hopefully people can start feeling more comfortable in speaking up because they are not alone. I plan on using this movement to reassure my daughters that if they are ever made to feel uncomfortable to please speak up. It is not their fault of someone else’s actions.  
Finally I wanted to know about what the future holds for Erica:
Things that are on my heart that I look forward to crushing is
  • Continue losing weight and getting fit for myself. There are things that I want to do but have weight restrictions. I don’t want to be restricted of nothing I want to do.
  • Work on my bucket list which would lead to enjoying my life
  • Be in a position in my career were there is still passion and have it not be just work
  • Utilizing my event planning skills to plan family trips as family time is so important to me
 Anyone who has been reading my blogs knows I am a huge pusher of self-care.  I want everyone especially my ladies to work from a full cup instead of this notion that they must work until there’s no working in them left.  To keep giving from empty cups and stop caring of what others think about them taking time for themselves.  So Erica, what do you do for self-care:
  • I read a lot of inspirational books such as a Woman’s daily prayer, Too blessed to be stressed, and a moment for your soul. There are many days that I feel down and out, wondering why me, or when will my prince charming come. These books remind me of my purpose now and to remain focus on today.
  • I have a journal that I am writing to my future self. In the book I write things that I want to do but afraid to do, mistakes I did today that may affect tomorrow or areas that I want to change that will benefit the future me, Honestly it helps me stay focus on doing things for me today because I don’t want to let down the future me.
  • I try to exercise daily and make conscious decisions when eating because the more weight I lose the more I feel good about myself.

Thank you to Erica for pushing through when life knocked you down many times, raising your daughters with respect and love, and making sure that while you are there for others that you keep yourself your priority.  Good luck on your continued blessed journey!



Women’s Month Preview

I enjoy women’s month! It’s one of the biggest traffic months. A lot of people have asked me why do I do the posts for the full month?! Simple, why not give a regular women a month to shine? March is women’s history month and women are changing history on all fronts all the time. These are women who might not have shared their story openly before and are ready to let you know that they survived the very things that was designed to take them out!

Think about it in this light, women need to know that as much division that is created among us, we are all connected. Think about a topic that women alone goes through. Bring that topic up and women who don’t know each other can relate and will openly share. This is why we need to tell our stories more often. We need to talk about the times we succeeded and the times we failed. We need to highlight our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There is a woman somewhere struggling alone when she doesn’t have to. She is somewhere feeling defeated because she doesn’t think what she has done, gotten herself into, or is nervous about, some other woman has been in those trenches, but we have been there and made it out in one way or another.

Ladies it’s our day everyday. It’s our month every month. It’s our year every year but when we get to shine a little brighter, then shine! As a woman I am proud of those who have come before me. I am proud that we as women have failed along the way but still keep on going regardless of what has been thrown our way. I’m proud that women are learning how to embrace what they have and not make excuses or try to water it down. We are owning our place in this world, choosing the life we want, being sexually aware and unashamed and most importantly stepping away from the status quo to achieve any goal we want!

We are scooping up the younger generation and showing by example how it’s done. We are not restricting ourselves to make men feel comfortable. We are walking in lanes that were not always paved for us. We are learning to practice self-care and saying no when we need to. We don’t have to carry it all! We can take breaks! We can travel this world alone! We can work across the aisles! We can make our dreams come true!

I salute all women from every walk in life. From the women who feels as if her past has knocked her out of the running to the women who made every right decision and are benefiting from it! To the college graduate who is the first in her family to the drug addicted mother who cleaned her life up! I salute you all!!

Get ready for some amazing women with some amazing stories to share. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable. It takes a lot to put yourself out there! It takes a lot to know that when you put your story out there knowing there will be some folks who think you aren’t worthy! This blog was made from those whispers and guess what just like you I haven’t stopped! Let’s have some fun, learn some lessons and get inspired to live our best life NOW!

We’re going to hear from business women, community leaders, wives whose husband have left them and they picked up and kept on building, single moms, college graduates, those working with offenders, all kinds of women.  So be on the lookout the month-long celebration will kick off tomorrow and end March 31, 2018!

From the Heart of a Parent

I spoke about it briefly but I want it to be super clear that as a parent I can’t imagine sending my kids off to school and someone coming into the school and taking my children’s lives.  I can’t! It hurts that parents are having to deal with this.  After the Parkland shooting it has left me numb.  I felt numb after all of these rash of shootings to be honest. I am tired of being numb.  I wished that no child had to fear for their lives.  If you watched the videos that arose after the Parkland shooting, hearing the gun go off, hearing those babies cry and scream in terror, it hurts all of us.

Regardless of where you fit in all of this, the fact still remains that 17 families had to feel yet another impact of gun violence.  I could debate either way on the scale but none of that will bring back those lives that were taken.  They were taken.  Young people who had bright futures ahead of them are gone. As a parent it makes me re-evaluate what I do with my kids.  I stopped worrying less about if the house was super tidy in the morning over telling my kids I love them and making sure they are secure. I wasn’t worried if everything was perfect. In our  home we strive to love on them instead of worrying about a few meltdowns.  We stopped worrying about if everything ran according to schedule and focused on who mattered.

Today my family and I was interviewed about how we feel about all Parkland and school safety. I don’t feel like my kids are super safe regardless of the extra additives in place.  People are dangerous period.  So now I spend my time making my mornings and my time with them in general is solid.  Making sure I can always say that as a husband and wife team we make sure we treat each morning as if it was their last.  Nothing else outside of that matters.

The experience of even being interviewed has pulled on my heart-strings.  I spoke to Anna twice and I remember the first time having tears in my eyes.  This isn’t just about getting a story out.  I practice what I say everyday.  We huddle as a family in the mornings.  We do our best not to be in such a rush…….

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Here is a look at the article written by Philadelphia Inquirer, Anna Orso

Philadelphia Inquirer

The Gift of Friendship

When I was deep in my postpartum depression I would cut off my friends.  Right after the birth of my son after moving from Lancaster to Philadelphia I felt isolated.  I was isolated because in my mind I had told myself that this move was only less than 2 hours away and that it wouldnt’ change anything. I was wrong.  I was blinded by having my family under one roof that I didn’t consider a few things.

One of the biggest things was the lack of support. I had my immediate family and one of my best cousins and my friend that I didn’t think that would change. I thought I have a car I and I could get in it and see them anytime I wanted.  My oldest was super easy in how I traveled with her that I never took into account how much more harder it would be to travel with 2 kids would be.  For a day trip it took me the day before prep and an hour just to get them into the car with everything that was needed that often times I elected not to travel.  That in itself also made it hard on me because then I would be upset that I couldn’t travel as often.  So after getting past that blow I would get the kids together and go. Trust me the come back was harder.  I felt comfortable being in Lancaster and I would take a day or two to adjust to the pressures that I was under and having these little people who needed me.

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The other issue is that I didn’t have a network of my own friends in Philadelphia.  I love my husband’s friends but they were his not mine. I didn’t want to have them as my friends on the strength of them being nice to me because of him. He and his friends had history that I didn’t have.  I didn’t want to be the wife of his and they extend some type of olive branch because we were together. I am the type of person who has friends on mutual respect, great closeness and I no longer felt that way since my access to my network had changed. I pushed the long distance ones away too because it didn’t feel the same.  I learned through this season that this was the wrong way to approach things.  Not only that so was sitting in the house day in and day out wasn’t the best way to meet anyone. So I was stuck and miserable for years like this.

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Thank goodness my friends were forgiving and understanding as only one ever knew what was happening.  Only one of them had the sense to address me on it and call me out. I appreciate that.  That isn’t a dig to anyone so don’t take it as such.  Not many of them saw me when I would have outbursts. I did well in open environments and to this day this is one of the reason why I do NOT like pop ups.  I need to prepare for visits.  It’s not personal it’s that I know what I need and I make others respect it even if they don’t like it. I am not ashamed of that.

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I learned how to love myself, how to show love and most importantly how to let others in.  I learned that I didn’t have to carry everything alone and that support looks different when you don’t hold on to the ideologies of what its supposed to be.  Change is hard but in change you find that the ones who have your back won’t change.

Cherish your friendship.  As you progress through various stages of life, some friend will drop off.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  Show love and support no matter how far and near your friends are who have been in your corner through it all.  Know that disagreements and bumps in the road are to be expected.  Remain respectful at all times. If a friendship does end make sure you try to work it out.  Don’t throw a whole friendship over an emotional off the bat without calming down, talking it out, and attempting to make peace.

To all of my girlfriends who have nurtured me and have stood the test of time, I salute you!!!!! Thank you for being amazing women to me during these years.  I pray I can continue to sprinkle the same love your way for the years to come!

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