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.

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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.

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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.


Martin Luther King Jr. would be Disappointed

So today is MLK day. The day we remember the teachings and words that Dr. King’s legacy was supposed to enlighten us to do. Dr. King faced adversity and his message was clear that we change how we interact with others for the chance for us all to live a life of equality.

On paper it’s the best message that we ever could have. The problem with Dr. King’s message is that it with all of its national and worldwide playback the message can only go so far if we don’t just recite them on today. There will be people who recite it just for the moment but don’t apply his words and how he lived each and every day to their every day life.

Another issue that we have to talk about is racism. The ability to hate and show hate to a group of people who do not look like, nor do they align with your personal measurement of acceptance based on race. So yes even those who state they have a black friend how can they be racist, yes you too can be racist. Having acceptable Blacks but hating the other Blacks isn’t about preference. This is hatred and this is racism. That acceptable black person you have welcomed into your fold still has to deal with the same overt racist actions that others like them have to face. Black folks don’t get to claim they have an acceptable white friend and dodge racist reactions.

Dr. King didn’t want us to have the Travon Martins of our time. He simply wanted any child and adult to be judged on character and not color of skin first while their character was used to later justify the hate. He didn’t want our young black men or women to be assaulted before they could even be determined to have been a criminal first or not. You do realize no one has made signs that our black men or women can carry that identifies whether or not they are good or bad when approached by cops.

I think about my own son. He’s 6 years old and is taller than most kids his age. Hopefully he will make good choices, but even if he does the way the world is set, what makes him so different that he won’t face racism?! I was called a Nigger by a child in elementary school and was told that I wouldn’t be anything even though I had maintained a 4.0 from practically 2nd grade.

Dr. King’s message of acceptance and equality is necessary. We need to hear it and live it. We have come far but the way history shows itself it’s definitely repeating. That makes me scared. My great grandmother before she passed away was able to live to see a Black president. That is hope and dope at the same time. (Dope means awesome FYI!) However we need more hope in order to raise our kids and the kids that come behind them to do more then repeat Dr. King’s speech. We need the Dream to be our reality and we need it now. The increase in race based deaths and hate speech is no longer secluded events. They are no longer happening to a select few. It’s common place. As much as we don’t watch the news with our kids to control a little bit of what they take in, they still are getting the negative messages. We as parents are still having to have more adult conversation due to questions surrounding inequality.

If you’re reading this blog today, make a declaration to do better. Please treat yourself and others around you with dignity and respect. Respect the differences of those around you and embrace people’s uniqueness. Spread love but make each other respect one another. This is a unified message. If not the very pain that our ancestors was killed for and shed blood for will continue to spill today.

Dr. King didn’t just give you a day off. His message was greater then just an awesome African American lesson. This lesson is and should be the very spirit of our own lives. We are connected regardless of how much we want to fight it! Don’t let Dr. King be disappointed that he may if he was here think his fight was in vain. Don’t let his good work be taken advantage of. The times his wife and kids didn’t know if he would return home, or the times all of their lives was questioned for nothing! We are the Dr. Kings of our time! Let’s do our best to spread love! Lets also continue to call those out who spread hate. Why? The ones who hate but are undercover are more dangerous then the evil you know, acknowledge and are prepared for.

So do community service today and everyday. Get out and learn about others history. Get out and extend your services without discrimination to all regardless of race, sexual preference, etc.

Don’t snub your nose at people because you had one bad experience with one person. Allow a sea of different people into your neighborhood without them fearing retaliation on the back end. Let your children play with one another without fear. For those in high power jobs and responsibilities, do your job without these prejudices making your judgement a top priority over your oath of office.

Let’s remember Dr. King everyday!

I was therefore I am…own your …. edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If it ain’t funny, ain’t no LOL!!

So let’s dive right in. Sometimes you are stuck between being yourself which may include being vocal or direct and then when you’re working on yourself to be a better person you second guess yourself. Something so simple can make you think or watch that you’re doing more than you need. Balance is key but folks are going to deal with their stuff!

I saw a meme about putting lol on the end of your statements. It made me seriously think about it. LOL is supposed to be laugh out loud but I too have been guilty of using it after statements to come off less direct mostly due to not wanting to be perceived as having an attitude etc. The only time in life I feel that I watch my tone is when I’m at work or when I’m talking to my Mom or Dad. One they taught me to be direct but I know my place. Outside of that I don’t mince my words. So ever since I started seeing that meme as we got closer to the end of the year in 2017, I’ve taken notice to my LOL.

Let me help you out. If I’m online and I read a story about something instead of just making a statement I find myself using LOL to soften the blow. Why? That was the inner conversation I’ve been having with myself. So I’ve stopped that mess quick. I don’t use it as much in text unless something actually made me laugh. I’m checking my own passive aggressive behavior with it. LOL is a way to deflect. It’s not necessary!

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and they “tell you off” but to soften the blow they hit you with I was just playing but they meant that ish. That is the same type of reasoning I had to evaluate with my use of LOL. For instance I had a few packages that didn’t make it to me during the holidays. Some I’m sadly still dealing with. The one company I publicly let them have it. I didn’t think about their feelings, their online identity nothing. However I started to feel bad for the seller on Etsy who screwed me over. I gave a review that said she messed up but tried to be “nice” about it. I ended up going back and taking the LOL out of it and gave a real to the point review. Why am I less direct with the seller from Etsy then I was with the more well known company? I didn’t need to feel sorry for either one. Had it been me that messed up no F’s would have been given. So half review to spare her feelings. No mincing my words. No LOL girl you tried. If you make something it should be what you said it would be. If there is a delay I should be notified by you not me chasing you down. No I shouldn’t have to be nice to you to make you feel okay about yourself. No sis I’m not LOL, I meant what I said-deal with it!!

Although the meme may have meant to be funny the reality is that when it comes to life you have to tone it down when you have to but never tone it down so much that the essence of the message is watered down. If something that is being done or said is funny then LOL but if you are placing a LOL when someone owes you money and you’re asking for it back, just simply ask. What the person gon do? Get mad? They wasn’t mad when they asked for it nor was they mad when they was stunting on the Gram knowing they owed you with their new purchase either.

Check your LOL. Check if you are watering down your message to appease someone else’s ego. It’s no different then being in a relationship. The man or woman you’re with is being all kinds of disrespectful but in order to tone down your tone and your message you water yourself to save the relationship. You are supposed to be in a relationship with an adult and adults should be able to handle the truth both ways. This is not the green light to be ignorant and say mean things to cut. However you have to be true to yourself at all times.

So no more LOL for stuff that ain’t one bit funny. Say what you mean. Be clear when you say it. And know when you say it that whatever weight it needed to be said without it being disrespectful, you are more than capable of holding the weight of your words. They and you will be fine!! Save your LOL for real comedic relief instead of emotional relief for others!

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!!