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!

Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

Keep it Together….

You never know who sees you or is watching you. Listen I am the one who can literally go off on anybody. I’m my own professional hype woman. However there are times when you have to be able to learn that not everything is worth a response.

Today was one of those days where I literally would have been in all my legal and mental rights to raise the stakes and really stick it to people. I usually look forward to these types of situations. I know I’m a work in progress. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that. I can tolerate the most but once I feel like you earned that back talk I’m more than willing to dish it out! However as I get older I find it much better to exercise restraint and remember that I am responsible for my actions regardless! So with that in mind, I have a way of mentally and emotionally, and some times physically deciding which road I am willing to take.

Here is me little list of knowing if I should engage or back down:

  • If I find myself making then deleting an email-this means my mind isn’t in sync and I may need to let it rest and consider coming back to an issue at another time
  • If I find myself so mad that I’m cursing it’s time to retreat. I try my best to watch my language but I’m not perfect. If I find that my mouth and word choice have gone left it’s time to disengage
  • If it’s going to mess up with my coins-Disengage. This includes online and offline. Be aware that our words have consequences so I’m not willing to jeopardize my money for any reason
  • If my kids are with me most times I am going to automatically disengage and if that doesn’t work it has to be something where their lives are in jeopardy before I allow myself to engage
  • If I feel that I will not be able to live with my decision later on to withhold I may speak up as long as the above reasons aren’t in jeopardy

People and things are constantly pulling on us. I think that it’s important to be able to be a bit quick witted or be able to quickly retreat to develop a plan. Some things that take place in our lives are well outside of our control. Remember the power we have stops at the top of your nose.

However how you react to things matter! It’s about using some form of restraint even in dark moments. A response is lasting so don’t give them away so freely!!

Monday Motivation: Count you blessings

Today is April 30th. That means that the end of the month is here and we are about to step into a new month.

Often times we judge ourselves on what others have done in comparison to what we have done. Learn to count your blessings! Invest in what you need and want to do!

I’ll start off the list and you feel empowered to write down the things you did this month that was a blessing to you or towards someone else. When you have it done be grateful for the opportunities. We haven’t arrived so you can once you’re done make a new list of things you want to do for May!!

April blessings:

  1. Celebrated my dad’s bday
  2. Met my new Niece
  3. Celebrated my Grandma’s bday
  4. Celebrated my Aunt’s bday
  5. Celebrated my Sister in Law’s bday
  6. Survived my kids’ changing schedules
  7. Had an amazing dental check up
  8. Completed my sleep study
  9. Maintained my weight
  10. Went on a solo vacation
  11. Consistent with the blog
  12. Offered and accepted a new job
  13. Supported friends
  14. Kept financial goals
  15. Attended all social events while maintaining my anxiety
  16. Ran into an old friend
  17. Reached out to a few friends via phone calls
  18. Mailed letters to 2 friends
  19. Went on date nights
  20. Practiced self-care

Again the point is to highlight at the end of the month the blessings in what you have achieved without bringing what others are doing to compare. Will you find a few things that you still have yet to achieve? Absolutely! However once you get used to writing down what you have done you will use that good energy to set your next month up! Shine your own light! Be your own kind of blessing! Crush your goals!

My Birthday/Mother’s Day Wish List

So as you should know especially if you are a follower of mine is that my birthday I call it Toibration.  First of all I love my name, hence the blog name.  Two I love to celebrate things and let me tell you why.  I used to be a bona-fide Debbie Downer.  I am talking about the kind of woman where you could say something so super simple and I would find a way to make it into a bad thing.  Who wants to me around that negative energy?  NOT ME! So I had to grow.  I had to change but I had to change not because of the people around me wanted me to but because I saw value in changing for myself

So now that I have adjusted my inner being, I find the good in a lot.  Let’s not get it twisted I still don’t like some stuff and am vocal when necessary but for the most part everyday is a real blessing and I try to focus on that. I am a twin which means I have a birthday partner for life.  However another thing about sharing is learning to also make space for yourself.  So with that being said Toibration was made when I turned 30.  Everyone makes it like this huge celebration for your 30s but by then I was on baby number 2, engaged, and just overwhelmed.  HOWEVER I realized how blessed I was to be one above ground, and two surrounded by so much love.

During Toibration I indulge in the things that make me happy.  It could be as simple as a few hours at a book store which sounds boring but for me it’s not.  I can get lost in my own world and prior to having my kids I would escape there often.  Now I do it but in way smaller doses.  It could be a trip to a local coffee shop.  I may indulge in a few treats well a lot of treats but I may have to curtail that until the latter part of the celebration as I am still training and getting ready for the Broad Street Run.

Also my birthday runs into Mother’s Day.  I was actually born on Mothers day in 1981 and ever so often it falls on it.  Yay but I do like separate items for each.  I do not like it pushed together.  Thankfully my husband has been super great since the time we met in 1999 not to forget that.

Here are a few of the things I would love or would like to have or do during Toibration/Mother’s Day:

  • Day to myself to do my own thing
  • Uninterrupted time at Target-those who shop there know what I mean
  • Go to the Movies
  • Good non dairy ice cream
  • Moscato-I love my wines usually white or sparkling of any kind will do
  • New wine glasses-I said I love my wines
  • Facial
  • Shopping at Sephora, Mac, or even just at the local mall to get whatever I want
  • Balloons-I think they are super fun
  • Flowers
  • In lieu of cake, a great fruit salad or a super decadent cupcake
  • A nap
  • A good meal at a restaurant
  • Gummi Bears-Haribo are my favorite brand judge me
  • Mani/Pedi
  • New Journal-you can never have two many I carry one on me at ALL times trust me
  • Statement t-shirts
  • Cards/Affirmations
  • Scents-whether candles, bubbles bath, soaps, etc

So as you can see my list is about things that either feed back into my spirit a lot of the items are already a part of my self-care regiment or things that make me smile to no end.  So I hope you have your own way of celebrating yourself.  I know that some people dread getting another year older but I will be 37 Lord’s will and I embrace it in the most fun and laid back way!