Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

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How practicing Self-Loves makes me a Better Woman…

One of the greatest loves you will experience is that of being a mother. However this notion that unless you’re a mother you can’t ever attain to a pinnacle of love has to stop! Before being a mother or a wife I am a woman. A woman who has to be whole and healthy for any task that I may complete in life. Practicing self love is the catalyst for any success. Success is up to every person to obtain in their own right!

Often times you hear people talk about self-love and tell you that getting your nails and hair done is an example in how you practice it. It can be but there are plenty of women with bomb ass nails and hairstyles to envy, that simply are walking around hating their lives, their contributions to life, and how they express their love to themselves. So let’s be clear although the outward is a manifestation in how you feel it’s not the only indicator.

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I was taught to keep myself together. However it didn’t matter when I was struggling with depression not only postpartum but other points of my life, I was drowning. Back to the motherhood plug. I finally realized selfless love being a mom. It was great. However when I lost myself who was there to help me?  As a woman the only way I can be the best me is loving me. Taking time to get my life together has been the best thing that has helped me reach my greatest potential.  I can’t maneuver in this world hating myself. I can’t maneuver in this world, not filling my personal cup. Love of self motivates me to look at the mirror and embrace my flaws. It wakes me up everyday to crush my goals. It gets me to work. It makes me to take care of me. It allows me to work out and to make better food choices. It pushes me to love my mate as myself on days when I question him due to being irritated. It pulls me from self loathe when I am not my best.

As a mom I’ve had to learn that loving me makes me a better mom! Although they have changed my life in ways I would never understand they are my life but not the only part of it. This is why women can be fulfilled because having children is a choice it’s not the ONLY choice and therefore this rhetoric of women only being women through childbirth has to stop! It’s an experience and one that not everyone has to have or wants to have. Ladies I would hope to encourage self love that makes you whatever your best is!!!

We celebrate so many loves this month. Do stop to celebrate you. Celebrate the love that you have within you that carries you everyday.  As much as loving my kids have taught me and triggered me, the love for myself pushes me to my greatest sense of self!! Love yourself!

Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!

Save the Drama for your Momma

You ever hear that when you were a kid?  Absolutely you have.  That was the cry when you wanted someone know from the gate you wasn’t here for their crap.  This was before it became popular to say “you tried it” or “boy bye.” A few years ago I got caught in some drama with some family members and decided they or anyone else would never get the chance again to try me.

Now I can admit that my mouth is pretty blunt. I pull no punches. I don’t say to someone  behind their back what I won’t say to their face.  If I said it, I own it.  My mom has raised me on that premise.  As much as folks can say what they want about her, they know what you see is what you get.  So when you’re a young girl you have to walk real close and not say what you want.  However when you become a woman and a real adult, you speak and say what has to be said period.  Do you know how many times I was super respectful in school but I would be the one to school a teacher and have my parents back me?  I had learned to reserve that go off when it was appropriate.  My parents definitely taught me to hold my tongue when I had to but when it was warranted, don’t have them looking crazy but make it a good one.

Well today before someone could even try to drag me I had to hit them with the save the drama for your momma pose.  I am not here for it.  I am not the one. I do not want to hear no issues because I have learned that people love to dice up a story and add stuff that ain;t happen and for me, if you gon quote me, quote me right.  I had to shut down the young lady and let her know from the gate, that I do not subscribe to banter so if that is what she came for keep it moving. She was mad trying to justify why I should listen but mid sentence I walked away. Just like that no questions asked, no let me go, just simply walked away.

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In my mind, I don’t care what you wanted to add, it becomes a choice if I sit there and listen and I definitely knew better.  A few years ago I allowed another person to make me mad enough that the anger was so super explosive I had to retreat for an entire day.  I had to count up the cost if that foolery was even worth it. It wasn’t.  So from that point on I make it my business to live in peace with the 4 other folks aka my immediate family ie, my husband and kids and live our lives without drama.  No drama in the home, so none to go out.  This has caused a rift with others but it works for me and my household.  Outside of getting blamed recently out of association since I had to be explained as to why I was in the last drama fest, I live quite a quiet life.

People are funny that way.  They can’t get to you in another way so they tag you with who you associate with. Let’s keep it real, they don’t like the person and it is what it is.  They didn’t hear me say, they didn’t see me do anything, but they have to add me in.  It’s quite laughable. But I laughed at the little mini altercation this morning as the person was just trying everything to get me upset. My are you done yet face still in tact as she reminded me of a tantrum that a child throws.  It was cute but not cute enough for me to attach any emotions to it and give her what she wanted which was attention.

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If you ever want to make someone mad, don’t pay them any attention.  Don’t subscribe to anything they dish.  Do not talk, don’t break bread, do not entertain that. That doesn’t mean from a far you can’t show love but until some things are worked out on both parties it’s a no for me sis.  As I watched this tantrum from this wayward adult unfold, I thought bless your heart, you just need some friends, some D, a nap, a drink, a vacation, anything but what you won’t get is a high-five on your mess.  She couldn’t do anything but stop talking to herself.  I was a mere distance from her, and her hollering had to stop at some point right?  Right.  Kill folks with a look, ignore them, walk away, but protect your spirit at all cost.  Every time something jumps off I remind myself of that promise I made a few years back, folks ain’t worth my time, energy, my bail money, or my life.  Focus on what matters, and keep it pushing folks, keep it pushing.

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Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine

I am still reading this but have you ever had a moment of pause? I just had mine today. I am almost done with the book and I had to take a pause. There are a thousand and one things in this book that made me jump, cry, or just sit and pause but today’s pause I have to share.

In her chapter, “On mean women and good dogs, Gabrielle describes a boxing session she had with her trainer and life coach.  The coach asked her what 10 things made her happy.  She couldn’t think of 10 things.  The coach reminded her if she couldn’t find 10 things to make her happy what made her so sure she should have gotten married. Pause. This was my pause. I have been in this dark place.  I cried thinking of how I cried in marriage counseling with my husband snotting and having an entire fit over what he was doing, what he wasn’t doing, and why I was ready to leave him. Pause.  I was ready to leave my college sweetheart for a few reasons.  One we have an extremely long and interesting history.  It spans over 10 years almost 20 to be exact off  and on.  This alone was not a recipe to be married.  Two, I got married because I loved him but I also loved what I thought he was when we were together in college.  Pause.  This is not marital love.  This is not one of those things that you rush down the aisle for. I was miserable in my own skin.  I loved my husband, I knew we had been through HELL and back but I didn’t know who I was.  I was a 30/31-year-old women who had put all of my eggs in one basket and with this basket he was supposed to come in and do all the work.  He was supposed to make me smile with gifts. He was supposed to initiate sex while I went with the flow. He was supposed to be my happiness.  How did that work out? Not good if you can imagine. He did it for a while. He opened my life even when we met in college to the finest of things. If things was what I wanted, he got it. His love language is gifts.  He did it well. I can’t even remember what I could have wanted that he wouldn’t have worked his entire behind to get me.  However after the gifts, what did I have to give. Not a damn thing. He was supposed to do the work while I sat pretty.  I was more like pretty damn miserable and it was causing a wedge in our marriage and relationship.

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Ladies this is not how marriage starts off.  This is how marriage will end.  Had I not taken a chance to go to martial counseling the divorce would have been finalized.  Ladies, had I not gone to counseling on my own after that, I would be a miserable rut. NO man or woman is your source.  Let me repeat that for the folks way, way in the back-they are not your source.   You have to come with more than some thighs or checking account to make things work.  You have to be able to be whole before you can unite.  We had done it backwards or at least I did. I take full responsiblity for my part. I came in looking for a dream.  College sweethearts unite, marry and build a family. It sounded cliché and enough until it wasn’t.  Gabrielle is spilling the tea that every woman and man better get with as your progress through life. If Gabrielle or you or me can’t find things that make you happy, that gives you purpose how in God’s green Earth are you to survive?

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Take a point in this book and the tea I am spilling on what I did or didn’t do to get secure.  So many women and men want marriage but have done zero work on themselves.  You haven’t pulled one credit report to fix your own junk.  You realize that when you get married they marry that junk.  You can’t just let it pile up and hope it goes away because it won’t.  You work a job instead of finding a career.  You have never been out of the country or traveled with friends or even by yourself but you’re ready for marriage or just life.  Remember not everyone wants to be married. Marriage is not the end all.  So to my married friends stop selling these fast dreams.  You walk around with your piece of rock and feel and act as if you have made it.  You are the main ones like me (I was) out here stunting on your single friends like you got some badge of honor.  Your husband ain’t seen a genuine smile out of you in years.  You are miserable and you making his life just as miserable. Just stop.  Your husband or wife ain’t seen the real you since Jesus was a baby.  You hide with the lights off and you fake like everything is everything-just stop!

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Get clear.  Self love is important. You should be able to name more than 10 things that make you happy.  These are not to be thought of things that make you temporary smile.  I mean 10 genuine things that make you happy.  The things that makes you smile about yourself.  If you can’t say that, work on that before you connect with another person. Do that while you are with another person. I had to be real with myself during the months it took.  I was frustrated with the fact that I had to go to counseling but I was serious that even if he and I went our separate ways, at least I could walk out whole and happy even if that meant I had to revert to my maiden name.  Ladies and gentleman the time for this soul-searching is ever-present.  Get there and get clear.  To say it lightly, I need a glass of wine just bringing up these old emotions. Well played Gabrielle, well-played.

When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

Protect your Babies-Step it up!

I was watching a video of a judge that was reprimanding a couple.  The mother of the child that was brutally beat and killed was held responsible too for the heinous death as she should be.  However the part that stuck out to me is the fact that while the mother was working the man was home not working.  Now do not confuse this with men being stay at home dads because the wife has a higher paying job. I understand that.  I was a full-time stay at home mom for many years.  The cost of daycare can be a person’s whole salary or very close to it.  Sometimes it’s not cost-effective to have two people working if the income coming in will not put a dent to anything.  If the man is the one making the less money it makes sense to have him stay at home and keep his kids no different from it is for a woman.  I do not think it makes him any less than a man to do so.  I would rather somebody be financially responsible than struggle any day when you don’t have to.

My issues aren’t with the stay at home dads but the fake stay at home dads we have in the society is who I am coming for.  You are not a stay at home dad because you don’t want to work and are comfortable with your woman taking care of you.  I don’t know where we strayed with the next generation but if there was ever an epic fail like it is today, men are missing it.  This is not a hate men blog.  No this is hey get it together blog. There is no need for any man sitting at home waiting on his woman to bring home a check while he does nothing.  You not even selling lemons on the highway?  Not flipping a burger?  My husband has worked 2 jobs to make things work.  Not because he wanted to but because he had to. You won’t be able to convince a real woman to a man not working is a good thing.  I have a wonderful father who barely took 5 days off of work since I was a preteen.  That speaks volumes.  My grandfather is in his 80s and he is “retired” but still works and does odd jobs like busting concrete and ground work.  For lazy men let me school you that means the government says you have earned your keep you can relax and he says naw son let me get out here so my wife can relax and make sure she good. His kids are grown.  He is still out here doing what needs to do to make sure there is steady money coming into his home.  I spoke to him last week and told him he really could give a few young cats a lesson on what hard work looks like. So from where I sit I am not here for no non working, sitting on his ass, don’t want to work but would rather play video game man.

The toddler was mostly in this do nothing man’s care as she endured over 50 injuries and most of the injuries were brutal even for an adult.  So this man didn’t work was a monster and decided to beat the hell out of a child.  Too much idle time on his hand.  A job would have not given him that much access to that child.  Would he still be a monster?  Most likely but damn he literally day in and day out over a short period of time beat a child.  I can’t even fathom that baby’s last moments.  I look at my kid and they frustrate me like no one can. To think I would lose control and inflict pain is unimaginable.  I barely beat their behinds let alone abuse them.  We have to step it up. Both the mom and dad was wrong if that was her dad.  The amount of men who are beating and killing our kids don’t even be the dads.  It’s usually a no account boyfriend that we freely turn over our kids to so they can rape and hurt them.  Let me school you like my momma would school you, there ain’t that good of the D to allow me to put my kids in harm’s way.  I will not turn a blind eye to my child over a man.  These babies are defenseless and we are the ones leading them to the foolishness.  We already have to wonder if a stranger is going to manipulate and mess with our children however its the monster you know.  Let me say I can’t tell you as a woman how long you should date a man before you allow them around your child.  I do say you need to spend some seasons with him before you leave them unattended.  Watch how he looks at your child.  Watch and see what he does when he gets angry.  Listen to your child.  Check your children.  Be prayerful.  Stop getting a new man and being so head over heels that you leave caution to the wind.

What can you say if you aren’t mindful of your child when something happens.  Yes its the monster who did wrong but if you didn’t pay attention you bare the responsibility. The mom knew that the child had at least one serious head injury.  This man with blunt force hit this baby so hard that she had at least 10 dents in her skull.  Think about that for a moment.  She was hit that hard and no one noticed negative signs from that?  Or it was noticed but the care level wasn’t there.  I shutter sometimes when I read these headlines about abuse and death of children.  Everytime one of these precious babies die it only shows the potential the world loses for these beautiful lights to have given something back to it.  We need our babies but the only way to guarantee that is to do better and screen who we allow them to be around.  Let me also tell you that you got to watch friends or family.  There is not one member of my family or set of friends that I would put anything past.  That doesn’t mean I have them pegged as anything that simply means that I will never allow my relationship with them cloud my judgement. If my child said something happens I got their back first and foremost.  I will never take anyone else other them as they were given to me to protect.  I won’t even allow them around folks who I have tested myself and see they don’t add up.  I do not make one apology for that.  I could care less about your spoiled adult feelings on that.  They are mine and my husband and there are no do overs.