Take the Step out of Stepdad; Tribute to my Dad!!

Stepdads especially when they are great dads should be treated with the same respect as a regular father. Stepdads who take on the responsibility of a father are admiral. So today we salute the men who stepped in stepped up.

Stepdads from Hell

So before we get all gushy in our feelings let’s deal with the stepdads who only play their part to pretend for the women they marry that they are really there for the kids. This is awful. Many of these men can create more issues and make it hard for the marriage or relationship they entered. The kids are isolated. Many develop feelings of anger. Now if a mom is about her kids first she would get to the bottom of it. Sadly there are some who are concerned with keeping a man and won’t even on the surface look into the situation.

Stepdads who Step it Up

So I’m going to make it personal. My mom met my dad who is my step dad legally but my real dad in real life. I was around 5 or even younger so for me, my dad (I’ve yet to call him step anything) was and still is the only father I’ve ever known. There have been many things up and down that has occurred in our relationship but let me publicly say THANK YOU! My dad is an amazing man! He is active duty military, he has been to every function my sister and I have ever had, he helped us with our school work, took us on vacations, and has been an outstanding father and man!! He’s been in our lives so tight that some of my friends wouldn’t have ever known that he was my stepdad. The only time I talk about step is for things like this or if asked. It’s not a secret in anyway. He has just been a pillar in our life.

I can say that he set the bar high for any dad. His dad my grandfather is an amazing man and I’m not hyping them for the blog either, offline they are both amazing!! When I grew up I couldn’t use the I ain’t know my real dad as an excuse to act up, make a scene, or be less than I needed to be. My dad slipped in my life as if he had been there from our very existence. He was tough and it’s those tough moments that I’ve ever was really mad at him. Now with my kids I get it! He had to be stern. I was definitely the handful out of my siblings. I always appeared to be the one who didn’t give issues but it wasn’t true.

If you have a step dad make sure you make him feel that he is the most amazing father. Do your best to salute him the best way you can for Father’s Day. My real dad has never been in the picture and because of the love of my step dad the only thing I’ve ever have had was curiosity and never a lack of love. I never felt empty. I’ve never felt like as a daughter I needed anything. I think when I moved from my hometown to Philadelphia the only thing I’ve always remembered as I got older was my dad and I’s dates. It would be our time and it was the time he would let me pick his brain about men and relationships. Trust me it made for interesting conversations.

I’m sure as a daughter I have hurt him. I know I have. The time when I was younger and gave him an issue because I was a kid trying to figure it all out. I’m extremely head strong. He definitely pushed me to be vocal. That can be a blessing and a curse. I know that I’ve had moments where I’ve embarrassed him. For all of those moments I hope I have given you all of the apologies you were due!

My dad and I when we talk we never say goodbye we just say see you later. If he would say goodbye I would be like what’s going on? See you later leaves it up that we are just waiting for the next conversation or meet up. My dad makes me feel like the best daughter in the world.

I love you dad!! Happy Father’s Day!!

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Father’s Day Pain

As we approach Fathers Day we must talk about the pain of the day. There are a lot of amazing fathers that have passed away. It makes days about honoring a father hard just like it was for Mother’s Day. It’s unbearable feeling for many. The pain of the day has to be talked about because it’s unsettling and real.

Absentee Father

Unfortunately the way life is set up it makes it easier for men to be absentee fathers. Like the old folks would say mamas baby, fathers maybe! This is the time to note that not all men run from their responsibilities. There are some outstanding men who not only honor themselves and their children but some men who are stand up men and father and raise children who are not theirs biologically. Kudos to you wonderful men and we will be celebrating you all week. However there are children who regardless of having male influences in their lives or having a mother who attempts to play both roles still need and long for their fathers love, admiration, and respect.

I don’t know why a man would leave. I can’t answer for men in that regard but I can answer for the children who are stuck between this adult world and child life. Normally there is never an explanation. They have no choice to rely on what they are being told. Depends on their mother if they are told the real story without bias. I hear men saying well that child is being tainted by their mother. You are right to a point except often times when the father leaves it opens the door. Let’s not act like there are mothers who use their kids as pawns. You can open your local paper and read how some kids are even being murdered because the father won’t comply to the mother’s demands. We know it exists. However a child can’t understand and as that child gets older they will continue to see the absence of the father as something that is about them. The child thinks I’m not good enough! Kids need both parents!

Fathers raising other families

This could mean that the original set of parents have broken up, the father has left, etc and instead of that man keeping and maintaining a relationship with his kids, he leaves and starts a whole new family. This is the ultimate disrespect to a child. What was it about that new family that made it okay for you to leave and never look back. No calls on birthdays. No time spent on holidays. Nothing. But a new life with a new family and the father that your child longs for is now being done elsewhere. It’s heart breaking. Even grown kids feel a sense of pain.

Single moms as fathers

I will say this and I know a small amount of folks will get mad. Kudos to the single moms doing all the work. You are not mom and dad you are mom doing it alone. Your child may respect the hustle but they still want their father. You can give a child everything but it will never erase the void of that father. The child can even live a settled life but hear me clearly my sister, your child will still want their dad. It’s hard. The pain of trying to make sure that child doesn’t miss a beat only to think your child is not affected by the absence of that father is setting yourself up.

Salute to my single mothers. You get a bad rap! There are a million reasons why you are single and raising a child or children alone. You have the world on your shoulder and you’re doing the best you can! My hat off to you but do understand your child needs their dad. You might try all you can to get the father to participate and he won’t. You can’t make him! Love on your child but do understand how your child feels. I heard a mom tell her child “you don’t need that fake ass father of yours. I’m all you got.” I understood the pain. I get it! That’s how you feel when that father makes promises and leaves you with the pain from that child and the pain you feel everyday with no help! That child even if he or she understand will still want their dad. It’s natural. Thus the pain on the day!

What can fathers who have placed pain do?

Attempt to be there! Apologize and show up. I would rather know my dad cane and tried and was stopped than to think he just knew I existed and just kept living a life as if I was never apart of it. If you have a child then do right by that child. Do not tell me that the mother of your child makes it hard so you stopped only at her. Yes the courts do make it easier for women then men but if you stop at that you are to blame. Does it cost? Yes! But stop at nothing to be apart of that child’s life. There are organizations that assist men in being in their kids life. If you can google the little dumb stuff that we all google, google information to assist in being involved. Any reasons you try to give me will never be acceptable not to me but to your child. End of the day that child is the one losing.

As we continue to celebrate Father’s Day we will talk about all of the pain associated around the day. We will hit it strong and make sure we balance the pain along with the joys of being a father. I know how being loved on by your father and how that love pushes you through relationships or even with your own kids.

Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!

Teach the Babies-You’re Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

So this week the recurring theme has been forgiveness.  This is a tough lesson for many adults let alone my own son. This week for both of my older kids the trying to teach them to understand that its okay to have a disagreement with a person, work things out or decide to work things out but be cordial and not be friends.

My son who is 6 is having the hardest time which is to be expected.  I do not expect him to understand adult like themes and to me forgiveness will come to him as he grows and matures.  So the issue is allowing my kids to find out whom feels safe to them.  I even teach my kids even those closest to them can give bad vibes, you have the right to retreat.  I do not make them give hugs or be around ANYONE who makes them uncomfortable.  This means that if you come to my child and my child rejects you for whatever reason, there’s no make them give into your insecurity of showing you love they don’t feel is genuine to give. We stress to kids to be aware but then judge them for feeling ill feelings.  My husband and I don’t.  We try to help them work through these feelings.

Image result for safety with kids

For my daughter she has been going to the same school for years and most of the kids she has known since Kindergarten.  At this point she is well aware of certain people’s triggers, how they act, and what they do when the teachers and principals aren’t watching.  I am not one  of those parents that push my kids into certain friendships.  If there are mean girls in her school and she identifies that is who they are, I trust that I have raised her well to this point to know who they are and if she chooses not to embrace them outside of a school setting that is fine. We really can’t push the all the kids are angels routine.  I am all for her or my son working it out but its one thing to work it out and it’s another thing to have a blind eye to a problematic child and act as if that child isn’t an issue.

So this week my son has been having an issue with one child in particular.  He has tried being nice.  He has tried having meetings with the kid etc. However to no avail.  This kid is problematic.  My advice to my son was be cordial.  Work together when you have to in the classroom because in life you can’t always disengage with someone just because you don’t care for them.  However at recess is your time to play.  You shouldn’t have to spend your time in recess trying to push back negativity from one child.  Some days he gets the message other days he doesn’t.  The days he doesn’t its a hard conversation to have.

Yes we are all for kids getting along.  Yes we are well aware that at this age kids go back and forth and are learning how to socialize. The same rules that apply to me with other adults do NOT work for kids.  However let’s also keep it real and stop acting like some of these kids already come in the door with whatever they have at home and spew the most hate, the most vile words on other kids and in the name of letting kids be kids we give these kids many chances in hopes they will fare better.  They don’t always fair well.  So we can’t just act like it’s not the case.  As a parent I would love to tell my kids that the world is awesome all the time and that they won’t have issues with other kids or other people but that is not the case.

Image result for safety with kids

My conversation with my son is about helping him weed out those he thinks are bad news for him and show him how to make healthy relationships with those who want the same in return.  He needs to be cordial meaning just because there is friction, school work still needs to be done.  If his teacher assigns him to the student that he is having issues with then he needs to buckle down and get things done.

Parenting is hard and I am sure there will be someone who disagrees with my conversation but the beautiful thing about parenting is that it is an individual pathway per parent and its a collective pathways for the parents involved.  My only hope is that my kids get to the point where they don’t waste energy on those who don’t mean them well.  They learn to keep their peace with them and not get entangled with those kids who have ill intentions.  That’s my hope for adults too.  Stop giving your energy to the bad person in your life regardless of relationship.  If it doesn’t serve you, leaves you feeling less about yourself, etc then the point is moot, leave them alone and allow the right folks to come in your life. These are life lessons.  They should be taught early.  I want my kids to grow into confident human beings that know what they want, who they want, and to go where they are celebrated not where they are tolerated.  These lessons aren’t to wait to be learned.  These lessons are taught early on.

Christmas with Elmo at Sesame Place

The holidays brings on so many options in how families and friends choose to celebrate. This is the first year that we have been able to take our kids to a winter outside celebration of any sort that wasn’t indoors. The reason is that two of my children have asthma and in the winter we spend more time in and out of the hospital. The last two years we have been able to things and have a bit more fun.

This year since I am a member of Mocha Moms Philadelphia chapter we decided attend the Christmas with Elmo. It was a great gathering for the moms and their families. Being I am the biggest kid this was a no brainer!! I’ve been looking forward to this since they announced it!

We met at the Elmo’s musical which was a Christmas musical. I love Elmo but it’s like can you not?! Every kid has seen Elmo in some form since birth. Every year we used to get one of the Elmo dancing toys. Luckily our oldest are getting older and my youngest isn’t as into Elmo at this point. However when his voice start going, kids and adults alike can’t help but be happy!!

During the show one of my favorites Grover came out and I almost lost my mind. If I didn’t have kids I would still be at these type of shows. I love kid activities sometimes more than adult only ones. Well when I saw Grover it was a thing for me, I was louder than my own kids!! Screaming and waving!! Love you Grover!!

The show itself was super cute with Elmo asking the audience to find out what the holidays were about which weren’t about presents but being with friends and family!

All of us went to Cookie Monsters Cafe. Shout out to one of the moms who has season passes so we were able to use that 30% discount. It’s not cheap at these type of places. Although we got in for discount you could easily spend more money in food then you do in getting in and for a family of 5 my husband and I only heard dollars signs!! Yes dollars signs makes sound when you have to spend them. Trust me when you have a wife like me that wants to do everything and kids who want to do the same, my couponing all year long pays off!!

Then it was the time we all were waiting on and that’s the parade! You see all of the characters dancing and singing! Some of them coming into the crowd! I’m always aware of holes in crowds. These holes are the best place to catch a glimpse of everyone’s favorites! My son lost it cause the characters came and shook his hand.

Overall the experience and fun was well worth it cold and all. I would suggest that if you are attending any outside event to dress accordingly! We had layers, hand warmers, and practical shoes. I had to remind my 8 year old that we need to be warm not cute. I hope our family attends this and makes it a yearly event. I’m grateful for healthy kids that were able to attend. I don’t take their health for granted!!

Christmas with Elmo is a solid good time and the fact that it snowed the day before added another level of holidays that were nothing but magical!

My Snapchat is booming with fun!!

Oh with all the walking, two out of the 3 kids were knocked out cold! For a Mom moment that is a win!!

Sunday Message: Adults First

So all over the news lately are children taking their lines because they are being bullied. What is a child doing with this much pressure and disappointment in people that they feel the need to take their life? This saddens me however we talk so much about what to tell kids to do we forget one aspect and that is the adults play a huge part.

Now it’s not my place to judge the parents of those kids who took their life but I can encourage parents and adults now to do better. We show kids how to hate and then expect a different response. Let me use myself as an example. There are a handful of folks I don’t care for. I try my best not to speak ill of them but in addition I just don’t be bothered with folks. I know that out of sight will never take away anything that transpired but self preservation is healthy. We can’t tell kids to not engage when all we do is engage and go back and forth, argue and for what? After all of the back and forth you accomplish nothing.

They see you as a parent pop off so how can you tell them not to. I am a pop off type of person when warranted so because of that I tend to walk away. I can take a lot of digs but after awhile if I don’t walk away I would be 200% in and it’s bound to go left. I recognize in my kids that they have pieces of that. It’s my job through action to show them how to interact. I was in a store one time and this woman cut me off in line because “she was running late.” With my kids there I spoke up and of course she took it to the next level. Flames fuming in my eyes and mind I said what I needed to say and let that woman have the spot. I would have been justified if I had dug in her behind but it wouldn’t be easy to show my kids.

My kids and I had a long conversation. It wasn’t worth my kids getting scared or to be in that environment even though my mouth can be a professional roaster. Anyone who I have ever gone back and forth are usually taken back that I can hang with the best of them. I do not play. It’s important to understand that there are times to speak up, time to walk away, and a time to seek help.

If you want kids to mirror good behavior you have to mirror it with each other. You can’t always be the pull your hair in a ponytail, grab sneakers out the car parent all the time. You actually may have to find ways to end conflict instead of taking jabs to prove you aren’t a punk. When the time comes to take it to whatever level, be prepared to do all you can.

Also be careful with your internet handlings. Sometimes we tear folks down online and what have you accomplished. I’ve had one bad interaction with a family member that was a Godsend. It helped me in how I deal with everyone online. I refuse to go back and forth if the argument isn’t paying my bills, adding to my financial portfolio, or making me a better mother or wife. I refuse to engage in online banter and hand the time that’s all it ends in, banter. You haven’t changed someone’s mind, changed their life by speaking your mind. You and I both need all the mind we have and there is none to give. So save the online drama it’s fruitless. My online rule whether it be a stranger, family, or friends is that kids are ALWAYS off limits. You can speak bodily about not liking me I have thick skin but kids will today and forever remain off limits.

We need to speak more to our kids and respect them enough to ask what is going on. We got to do more listening then hearing. Just because you can repeat what your child said but didn’t hear what they said needs to be the goal. Be an active listener. When my kids say something happened, listen and then follow up. Some of these kids and what they do behind teacher and principals back can be damaging. My son told me of a situation and was so super detailed. I showed up spoke up and nothing happened. Then I walked up on the very thing that my son said and sure enough it was exactly how he described.

It wasn’t anything the teacher could say. I secured my son in the car which was semi in front of where the teacher and I was and let her know non politely how wrong she was. She was all the way wrong and it was at that moment where I learned that I too had to listen to my kids. I made sure that I went above and beyond to be in my child’s corner even more. He saw me there for him, he could trust that I was in his corner, the teacher knew I knew and from that moment I started documenting events. I still even though he’s not there have my notes and do I plan on using them? Most likely. Teachers and principals and administrators have a duty to protect. I know back in the say kids could say and do and it wasn’t nothing major but this ain’t the same day. You can’t have a closed mind with bullying and you have to be proactive. Lawsuits are real but more importantly kids are taking their lives and so the intolerance can’t and won’t continue. Any school or administrator I’ve worked with, that has a piss poor attitude regarding bullying, I’ve marked. I wouldn’t go on an active campaign against them but if asked I’ll forever give an honest recommendation.

We adults have to be there for these kids. I get so tired of older adults giving excuses of it “happened to me these kids will be okay,” “boys will be boys,” “they are alright,” or “they need to learn on their own” when it comes to bad behavior. If the climate for bad behavior will change it starts with the adults first. We must say the old way wasn’t benefiting and we must do what we can to change it. Do what you need to do to mirror good behavior. If your child is the aggressor acknowledge that too and actively work on it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t protect their bad behavior-deal with it!

We adults are all in total fault for how our own kids treat others kids. You can try that I didn’t teach them that but if you’re honest you know you do in how you talk, and interact with those around you. Kids do what you do not what you say not do!!!! Let’s step it up! Let’s make sure each classroom is a safe space. Let’s go into the classroom as parents and sit kids down and work out issues. Let’s work as a team.

Yearly Breakfast with Santa

One of my favorite things to do is to do the breakfast with Santa. It is such a great time. We have been doing it for the past 5 years and I love looking back and seeing the growth of the children in the pics.

This year as we always try to do is match. Outside of Easter what is the another time to dress alike? I personally take all dressing alike to another level. I live for these moments. Also I’m grateful for a husband who just goes with the flow. I used to only dress me and the kids but of late I’ve been making it a family affair. Anyone who knows me knows I like any personalized item.

We go to the Greater Plymouth Community Center and we have breakfast to start. At some point the Chick Fil-A cow comes in dressed in Santa gear. They have a room of activities and crafts and of course Santa Claus himself.

The kids and the parents have a blast and it always includes bingo. This year all 3 kids won prizes!!

So here’s to another year of having breakfast with Santa!!