Ask Toi: How do I tell Others to Back up on the baby talk?

This question is coming from a newlywed so here is my answer:

 

Simply thank them for their concern and let them know that when the time is right you will have or not have a child.  The decision is between you and your husband. It has to be irritating for people to question another person about someone else’s uterus.  Let’s end this now. Unless you want to carry a baby for them, raise it and pay for them you have no right to ask another person that you are or aren’t close to on when or not they plan to have a child.  That goes for mommas too.  We love you momma but you don’t get a hand in the decision to bring life into the world for your child. Ask your child aka your grown child if they plan on it, but then back up and respect their answer.  The pressure alone can be devastating to a new couple or even seasoned couples.  You don’t know if that couple has been trying and miscarried, or knew going into it they couldn’t have any and didn’t feel the need to inform you.  These are personal questions that unless someone comes to you and talks about it should be off limits!

Too many times we place this pressure for newlyweds to have babies but we have to be realistic:

  1. Not everyone wants to be parents-accept it.  Kids are a lot of responsibility. Not everyone is built to handle that dynamic. Marriage is not just for baby making.  You actually might like someone’s companionship and don’t want to have children.
  2. Support systems-having children and having no system of support is a real issue. I have 3 and we are JUST getting a 5 second support systems. It takes a village to raise children.  Not everyone has what they need to raise kids.  Don’t feed me the excuse that single moms and dads are doing it.  A lot of them are and are not balanced while doing it.  They are often times lonely, cry often, suffer depression etc and this can be had even within a marriage.  Marriage is not a cure-all for any of this!
  3. Many folks aren’t financially sound to have children.  There are some people who want to get this goal crushed before they have children.

Worry about yourself.  Spend time in your own than worrying if a couple who you may think would be the best parents, become one. Let newlyweds enjoy walking around their house naked if they want.  Let them enjoy date nights, and having their new life centered before adding diaper changes and baby feedings in. Let folks live.

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Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:

Ask Toi: My fiancé wants to invite a “friend” that she friend zoned in her past, how do I tell her no without looking jealous?

For those who don’t understand the concept of friend zone that is when someone male or female has pretty much politely rejected any advances that you give off. This is the polite way to keep the buddy and the booty separate so that lines don’t get crossed.

One tell her that if the shoe was on the other foot that would not be okay. I don’t know too many women who would want a friend zoned “friend” to be on deck when their saying their vows for their soon to be husband. If we want equal rights and disclosures then the answer is simple, the “friend” is a no go! It’s not a jealousy issue it’s a respect issue. To have been friend zoned often times there is an attraction and that friend has let you know it’s a no go. Other times you’re not attracted to your friend and that makes it easy to friend zone. For my readers this particular “friend” has professed his feelings for the fiancé and she classily rejected him.

This isn’t about being jealous. It’s about having those who share in your love and want the best for you two as a unit to be a witness. Not a man who may have jumped at the chance to be with your fiancé and got rejected, to witness. Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome men who are the most respectful and then there are some who if the mix was right would stir the juice and sip! And if your fiancé’s friend was honest he would understand.

This is something that can be made simple. Your new life together will encounter these bumps in the wedding planning phase. Have the conversation when both of you are relaxed and not super stressing or even take a night or two off from planning and come back to it. Weddings and stress seem to go hand and hand. I hope though you invest in some form of premarital counseling. It’s not a total fix of an impending marriage but it definitely will help to clarify the hard hitting questions that sometimes those lovey dovey feelings can miss.

Also FYI above the wedding this “friend” isn’t really a friend and not only should he not be invited to the wedding I would be questioning why he has such an active role in your fiancé’s life that she had to bring him up and add him to the list to begin with. Unless you had an all expense paid wedding and money was no object there has to be a real friend who doesn’t want the booty and the girl that she can add?!

This isn’t someone who she was good friends with that she’s had in her life for years! This is a man she has met in passing in the last 2 years before she met you who tried to push up and she said no. This man isn’t worth making an issue for a soon to be husband in my book! He also hasn’t been active in her life since she met the fiancé or has interacted with the bride and the groom as a unit. Focus on who matters. Just you and her! Everyone is negotiable and only those who really matter should even be considered!

Kevin Hart: The Pull Up Chronicles

Every woman is different.  What one woman will put up with doesn’t apply to all.  You never know what you will do until you are in it.  Let me explain why I would be ready to do a pull up edition on Kevin Hart.

The cheating or the act of having sex outside your marriage isn’t the full issue for me. Maybe it should be, but it’s not.  My issue is that Kevin wanted to prove so much to the world that he was the poster boy for changed behavior and KNEW he had been slipping and tipping around with another woman.  For me that is cause for a pull up.  I would be ready to get him on that alone.  He wanted to act as if this new wife was so much better than his last.  He wanted us all to believe he had changed his mind-set so much yet in reality he was doing the cheating in plain view.  Cheating in plain view is when you have a conversation with your mate and denounce people who would do the same. They stay visible.  They are on social media talking about you being the light of their world.  Then without warning the light must have dimmed because they get caught with another person.  Nothing irks a woman more than being embarrassed.  I can say the same for men too.  It’s the type of hurt that won’t go away with flowers and jewelry.  It’s the type of hurt that burns your soul.  You go all out telling others how wonderful your mate is and then you are blindsided.

Listen what Kevin doesn’t understand is his kids are older.  When he cheated his kids may have been unable to read or know what is going on.  However they are in private school.  One thing about private schools is they are usually smaller in attendance and everyone knows everything about each other.  They have to walk around where other kids ask them if its true.  They may feel the need to defend their dad even in his wrong doing.  Once you involve kids in your messy affairs that’s when the gloves comes off as a mother for me. I feel bad for Eniko that she is being embarrassed.  I feel bad that she thought the same way you got em, wasn’t going to be the same way she would lose him. That is a principle in life that doesn’t care about your economic status.

So to Eniko who is pregnant and doesn’t need this stress, have your baby and work in your own mind what you want to do.  We all have opinions but YOU have to live with his cheating and that will always overshadow your relationship.  To other women who are going through this or will, know that cheating is horrible but make your next steps a decision you can live with daily.  Don’t do what others think you should do as they will forget the cheating you can’t!

Our Engagement Story: October 16, 2010 (Sweetest Day)

So on October 15, 2010 my friend Colleen came to pick me up.  She had called me several times before about the birthday party I was supposed to attend for my boyfriend at the time’s uncle birthday.  I really want to downplay what I was going to wear. However Marques had already gotten me a dress that we picked out a few weeks ago and with the dress I figured let me get to the salon and get my hair done.She took me to one of her girls and she did my hair.  I got my nails done and proceeded with my normal day.

On Saturday October 16, 2010 I drove to Philly but I had to make a stop to pick Marques up from the train station.  He had went on a business trip.  We got to the house I talked with his mom and then we went to the mall because he said he had to get a gift for his uncle.  We left the mall with no gift.  He said he couldn’t find anything.  We managed to eat and then back home to get dressed.  On the way there he says that one of his cousins might try to be late and he had to call them.  He pulled over on the side of the road and asked if the cousin had arrived and then he had to fix his clothes.  In my normal what are you doing, I asked him if he could wait until we got to our destination to fix his clothes.

Well we pull up to Maggiano’s and I ran into a long time friend. I wasn’t paying any attention until we walked into the room and I saw his family than I looked over and saw my college girlfriends sitting at the table and I knew this couldn’t have been for his uncle birthday.  I looked back and saw my parents and family and best friend sitting at a table and I knew immediately but I didn’t want to play myself.

He came in the room turned on the most beautiful photo spread and video and asked for my hand in marriage.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe it. All the things I had in my mind I could barely say much but yes!!  His family was clowning him I do remember that asking what would he have done if I said no, but Marques knew I wouldn’t have said no.

The back story is that my college girlfriends had arrived Friday and were staying at the house.  When I got there they had left and basically it was arranged for them to get dressed and not be in the house so I wouldn’t see them.  But we had crossed paths and  I had no clue.  He had my parents and family there and the only times I remember them interacting was for the sake of our daughter.  It was a really beautiful time. Oh and there was no business trip.  It was a way to divert me from going to house.

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He put a lot of effort into this day.  I totally appreciated it all.  The other part to the proposal is the ring.  The ring was incredibly beautiful.  When he and I were dating back in the day, I would get my Essence magazines and read them.  In the magazine were always Tacori ring advertisements.  I fell in love with them.  They are super expensive sets.  Trust me. However he would ask me questions as to why I liked those rings.  My answer is simple, I loved how the band had diamonds all around it.  I like the princess cut and halo rings.  I liked how it looked different from other rings to me.  He never forgot that conversation. I later found out not how much he spent but trust me he wanted my social security number like Martin did Pam in the Martin comedy series but the effort.  It was the fact that he went and literally put this ring together.  He got the center stone from one place, got a setting and had it put together to my specifications like a Tacori ring.  So for that this ring means the world to me because of him listening to me, and knowing my style.  He could have gotten any ring and I would have loved it but the ring was made for me and it makes it that much more special.  Oh and my favorite food is Italian.  My favorite color is red he incorporated it all into the day.  We went to Maggiano’s at our first anniversary and the flood of emotions still gets me.  Marques has always been great with large gestures, the proposal was an extension of that.  To this day we celebrate Sweetest Day even when others don’t.  It’s our own special Valentine’s Day.

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I asked him why he proposed, and it was simple, he loved me and it was time.  Also he told me that I was by his side throughout the years he wanted to give me the ring that I loved and he did!!!

 

Shout out to all of our family and friends who helped in the background to pull that day off!!

 

The Dirty Mirror

Well good morning.  We are all coming off from either a good Mother’s Day or one we would not rather talk about. It is evident in the posts I saw on social media. However let’s shift our gears a bit to relationships this morning.

You ever found yourself admiring another couple?  You love how they love on each other.  Love is supposed to be inspiring.  However inspiration is only a small part in life. I have found myself really admiring a couple to the point where you forget that people are human and just like you are working stuff out on your end they are too.  So here is the dilemma. How much can you take in for face value?  How much of what appears to come from someone or a relationship can we take as the real?  Up to this point I thought I had the whole premise of admiring from afar down pact but I found out that I may not.

So here I go my emotions all over the place in what I thought another couple was showing me.  So here’s today’s nugget, the grass is never greener on the other side.  Yes water your own but stop looking at the grass altogether.  I have to admit often times when you are looking at someone else, what others have, what you don’t have is because of your own insecurities.  How many times had I argued with my husband on what he doesn’t do when in reality I could do it myself.  Not on the level of I don’t need him but doing it for myself to show what I needed from him or anyone to be honest.  People treat you the way you treat you.  So during this new focus on myself I have changed that about me.  I am not looking at what someone can do for me.  I am not looking at other couple and picking at the parts that I like about them because their struggle to get to what I think I see may be flawed.  That is the lesson that I learned over the weekend.

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I have asked myself before I got married what I wanted.  However I never really explored the actual question past fantasy and whimsical things.  The things that I had set up in my head never went as planned.  Nothing has gone as planned.  I could use that as an out and say well it wasn’t meant to be and there is someone else for me.  The reality is no one knows if there is someone else out there for me.  I am not looking let’s be clear.  I am not taking applications.  I am simply noticing that if I treat my mate the way I want to be treated that if he doesn’t treat me in the same high regard than that alone will be what I will use to determine any changes in my marital status and not because he isn’t doing what another man is doing for his wife for me.  That other man can be showing the world all this love and literally could be going through hell behind the scenes.  Same with the woman.  I am learning to have my own expectations.  I am finding out what I do like and what I don’t like.  How about I am doing all this NOW.  This is something I encourage the ones that are not married to do while single.  This is dangerous to do while married but its better to do than to keep going and lying to yourself.  I am not suggesting that while I am doing this, I am finding that my husband is not measuring up. Right now he and I are fine. We are stronger actually than we have ever been and that speaks volumes.  This is about me.  However some other couples can go through this and find that they are no longer suitable.  Please single people figure this out before you get married.  This will save you some time.

What happens if I get to the end of this and find out that my husband and I don’t mesh, I don’t need to worry about that right now.  I believe we will be fine.  We will be fine because this is an important part of maturity. I would hate to have been such a nag, and prolong this out without knowing myself.  Relationships will change. I used to be upset at the thought but they are supposed to change.  I am not the same as I was when we got married almost 5 years ago and 3 children in.  I am different.  I am expected to change. The work gets harder in love.  Love and lovey dovey feelings aren’t the glue to hold it together. It’s about knowing yourself and working things out inwardly.  It requires faith to believe that love is meant to be.  It’s being okay and not falling apart just because it may not. I am not overly concerned about getting to the end so I can feel as if we are okay.  We are okay and that is all that matters.

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So for the other couples that are finding themselves in this wave, ride it out.  Through the ups and down you will find out that the person you looked starry-eyed at will be there and maybe they won’t.  If you are really doing the work on yourself you will find that if things do end it can be amicable and you can move on without carrying the weight of the what ifs.  You will know in your heart that you loved hard and did what you needed to do.  I am not scared in this process.  Oh and for those looking for cracks in my marriage, there are none. My husband and I talk about this more now than ever before.  I am not looking to get out, this is just how it needs to be.  Is it uncomfortable? In the beginning it was because I kept thinking the worst was going to happen. Not that we were or are going to divorce.  Divorce wasn’t the issue, being miserable in my own skin was. Not because I was unloved but because I needed to set my personal parameter on what respect, love, etc looked like for me.  I thought no one can go through this shift and survive it.  No one can began to question marriage and still be okay.  However life is what it is.  Questioning is not an issue, doing nothing and simply existing is the issue.  I needed to take charge of my love life and I am.  I have had moments where I wanted to talk to my friends about it but I choose not simply because there wasn’t any advice they can give me.  Even my married friends this wasn’t about getting everyone’s opinion. This was about my voice, my issues, handling this OUR way.

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For any couple in this shift, it’s okay. Every fear you have someone else has had.  For every question you ask, someone has asked those same questions.  You can love someone to infinity and beyond, but you have to be able to know you are giving that same love to yourself.  This will either propel your husband or wife to do the same or show you that they aren’t and never was.  Could I honestly say that my husband was doing all he can if I wasn’t?  No and there was the issue it started with me not him.  I don’t have all of the answers but I love that I have someone who sees the shift, embraces the shift, and we are doing our work together and although it seems as if it may being done separately it’s not.

Why are you dragging La La over Carmelo’s alleged affair?

So the tea is circulating that Carmelo Anthony may have gotten another woman pregnant.  I could care less her profession.  My thing is why are you dragging La La for not staying with him?  Did I miss where in the vows it states to honor?  Where is it honorable to sleep on your wife with anyone regardless if you get them pregnant?  Now I know a lot of basketball players and people in the industry get blamed for cheating but it sort of comes with the territory.  Look at all of the examples where these women who marry into this deal with the ups and downs of the many women who just want a piece of the action and slide into the hotel rooms of these men?  Everybody ain’t telling the same lie!

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If and I say if because as much as these stories hit the airways, at the end of the day marriage is between 2 people, that this is true than she shouldn’t have stayed and high-fived his raggedy behavior.   I do however believe where there is smoke there is fire.  So something other than the stress of his NBA career is happening.  The reason I say that is simply due to the fact that when kids are involved people are more than cautious to not play games with separation with kids in the middle.  Even if it’s just this one public story do you know the other things that have taken place between them?  No you don’t but like any married couple who is real and honest, I bet you it was more than just one thing.  It’s never one thing.  If you want to make a marriage work, it boils down to give and take, and going through the mess and wiping it off, working it out and trying.  However when enough is enough you walk away.  Marriage is forever when both parties are in it for the forever.

You not going to convince me that it don’t still take 2 to Tango.  So we gonna need the ones dragging La La to just stop.  Stop the foolishness of this misconceived notion that wives are supposed to be dumping bags for junk.  She didn’t leave Carmelo high and dry. She did what was best for her and her child after the many sacrifices to her had been taken.  Carmelo will be fine.  It’s unfortunate that after so long with the Knicks but career stress isn’t a valid excuse to be out here slipping.  The most disrespectful thing you can do to a wife is to cheat and have a child with another woman.  Some women deal fine with it and others only deal because they have to but that don’t mean they stay.  No different if the shoe was on the other foot. La La would be called every hoe and bitch there ever was.  You won’t be able to drag her for leaving a cheating man over here at ToiTime.  I am a wife and I don’t play those games.  I will never go on record talking about what my husband won’t or will do but I will snatch your edges if you try to drag me for walking away from some crap like cheating like that’s supposed to be happening in a marriage.

The best thing that can be done is one, make sure you ain’t still with Ray Ray that has been knowingly sleeping with your friend for years.  It amazes me the amount of hate within women who have been in the same situation or worst that tell others what they should do, talk about them, and then go home to do the same thing.  We are women we can be better than this.  I know it a bunch of men blogging and dragging La La and making comments.  Not that men don’t talk because they do, but this is some insecure women crap.   My thing and my stance is you don’t know what is going on behind doors and until you have been in the trenches, leave folks alone about what they do with their lives. Secondly there is a child in the middle of this very adult situation that will get older and have to read about both of his parents.  How they handle it needs to be handled with delicacy.