Better Breakfast Month

There are so many holidays in the month of September. I do think it’s a good idea that they whomever makes these days made better breakfast to be in September. It’s a good idea because it correlates to kids going back to school!

food gourmet on top of brown table

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

We no that in the United States unfortunately some kids struggle with meals. This really ought not be but it is a reality for some. Breakfast is super important. As an adult it’s hard for me to concentrate when I’m hangry. (Angry + hungry) how much more for our children? I know some folks really can’t eat breakfast. I am not one of those people. I would encourage the non breakfast eaters to at least eat fruit.

Eating better starts with choices. Having a variety of choices comes down to being prepared. Instead of sugary foods invest in whole grain options. I would suggest prepping it ahead of time. Time is the biggest issue with breakfast.  Not having enough because the stress in the morning and trying to be on time sometimes clashes. I get that!It’s easier to grab on the go.  The same breakfast sandwiches you can purchase at a fast food place can be made at home. Invest in fruit. Invest in cereals with less sugar and be creative. You can have fresh fruit in your oatmeal or cereal as an alternative.Make the time to prepare things at night meaning packing bags can help cut down on time.  If you have lunch and breakfast prepared you can be more in charge with what you place in your body.  Often times we shove food into our body and grab food from vending machines because of not being prepared.  If you have a family if you mirror the change you want to see it makes it easier for others around you to align.  Not all food that is grab worthy is bad.  You can grab yogurt and eat that with some granola and fruit and have that be better than a sugary donut a diet soda.

Even if you say come on “I can’t do that,” commit to a few days a week of making healthier choices. Once you see how much better you feel it may be an easier to make that change stick!  The benefits of eating a better breakfast:

  • Better Concentration
  • Aids in weight los
  • Helps in portion control for the day
  • Better productive day

Can you step your game durng breakfast?  Give it a try!

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Breastfeeding Month: The Real

So happy breastfeeding to all the mommas who have chosen to embark on the journey. Let me say now that my only major concern for babies is that they are healthy and are fed. I have 3 kids and they all have been breast and formula fed. I’ve never been the type to advocate so much for breastfeeding that I’ve mommy shamed another woman for choosing what works for her. Breastfeeding is not just about getting milk to a baby but it takes a toll on a woman’s body and mind. Do what’s best for you, your baby, and your mental health. Let me break down from my experience the real behind the scene issues:

My eldest baby

My eldest is now 9 and won’t remember if I gave her formula or not but when she was born 6 weeks early I wasn’t sure what method of feeding I would do. I considered formula for the convenience. Soon as she was born I was encouraged to breastfeed to help her get stronger. I wasn’t able to have her latch so I pumped her milk. I was doing well but even with a lot of production she wasn’t gaining a whole lot and I was told to put her on a formula that was specifically for premature babies. If you have ever paid for formula you know that it’s not cheap to begin with. So this new formula was even more expensive.

I didn’t feel a sense of guilt for stopping the breastfeeding journey. The delivery was so traumatic that as long as she was healthy I didn’t care. I didn’t have a lot of folks shaming me and to be honest she was in the NICU and between visits, healing from a c-section, and my emotions all over the place I might have given out a 2 piece to folks. My body was doing the most but I do remember being super engorged, in pain, etc. Getting past the pain and making the choice I did for her worked out for us.

The Middle Child

My son, whew he was the picture perfect pregnancy. He was due September 20th and came September 12. So having gone full term I was just happy. I wanted to breastfeed right off the bat because when I had the eldest the nurses was so good at helping me that I wanted to try again. So I embarked on the journey again. He was 7 pounds 4 ozs. at birth and yet I was told he was too small and I was pretty discouraged to breastfeed from my nurses and told to formula feed him. This was not what I had experienced the first time. I think because I was dealing with serious postpartum depression I didn’t even speak up for what I wanted.

Guilt set in. But the guilt was being hammered by the postpartum and I gave into the formula feeding to be honest. My son went from newborn clothes straight to 3-6 months clothes. He was huge. All of the doctors saying “see what I said.” Let me say what I know now is that I should have asked for a Lactation consultant. I should have trusted my intuition. I could have kept on going but I allowed other voices to be my guide.

My littlest

My younger baby boo and I had a traumatic pregnancy and delivery. From the blood clot in my brain to hemorrhaging and having to be readmitted for internal bleeding I was still determined to breastfeed. The extra week in the hospital I was readmitted the same day I was discharged and that was when my milk came in. The nursing staff actually had to pump me physically. I had too many things going on and was focused on living. Shout out to University of Penn for the amazing nursing staff!

My husband had all three kids and I pumped what I could and supplemented with formula. The week came and went and I was discharged and went home nervous that after a week my newborn wouldn’t latch. She did and that started out our journey!!

However let me highlight a few things that most if not all breastfeeding moms know:

  • My daughter wouldn’t take a bottle. It didn’t matter if the bottle was shaped to be close to an actual breast or not. When I first had her I had her at work with me for 6 months and when I took her to daycare despite having a ready supply of frozen milk she wouldn’t take it. She would literally not eat all day until I picked her up. I took her to a Lactation consultant and her pediatrician and eventually had to stop working to nurse her on demand.
  • Yes I tried the give her a bottle with her dad or another family member, she wouldn’t even take it not even from me.
  • I spent more nights worrying about her intake
  • I was worn out and stressed out
  • I was a human pacifier and bottle
  • The Benefits

    • Not having to worry about making a bottle and always ready
      Weight loss I went down to my pre-pregnancy weight with nursing before my 6 week check up
      Baby was healthy and is my healthiest child now
      Bonding was immeasurable-til this day she’s super close to me

    What folks don’t talk about:

    Nursing is a mental and emotional job! I say job because outside of general care of a baby, there are cluster feeds aka when your baby can and will want to eat more than the 2 hours apart. There are growth spurts. There is mastitis. The pain and agony to get passed that has my breast hurting as I type. Also if you don’t have a lot of encouraging family surrounding you it makes it hard. You have support systems that say mean things like, “you’re not giving them enough.” “That baby would sleep if you gave him/her cereal.” “You’re doing this so nobody else can hold the baby.” “Cover up.” These are the types of reasons why breastfeeding involves more than that just feeding a baby. It is mentally and emotionally demanding.

    Pumping mothers

    This is just as hard to do as it is to have a child directly breastfeed. Some women are hard pumping at work all day and that is a lot of work! Some women prefer pumping over the traditional breastfeeding. It is not easy. You see pictures of women who have these stashed or milk that look like they could feed an army or babies and then you second guess what you are producing. Some women naturally over produce. Some do not! A women especially if she’s going back into the work force after maternity leave are stressed out trying to prepare as much milk as they can!

    Saying things like eeew that’s gross, just stop! Even if you never had a child learn to mute your words if you can’t find something positive to say! Mommas are our here giving life to our future! Formula or breastfeeding it don’t matter. What you don’t understand don’t always need a clap back! Learn to support one another no matter!

    Would I do it again? Absolutely but luckily I don’t have to!! I enjoyed the time with each child in their journey and it didn’t matter that I had to supplement, pump exclusively, or have that time cut short. I made it through and did what was best for me at the time.

    Grateful for my time!

    I was about to go 2.5 years with my youngest and that is a super power well within itself! All of the crying I did over spilled milk! Yes this is a thing. After I worked hard to get milk together having it spill will evoke real tears! All my breastfeeding mommas know what I mean!!

    So to all moms do not mommy shame someone else for their choices. If you breastfeed you know the mental and emotional anguish you have chosen. As natural of a process its supposed to be, there are women who can’t and women who feel bad for not choosing the option! All women who are taking care of babies could use a little extra love for its not as easy as we mommas make it!

    Recently the law was passed that all mothers in all 50 states can breastfeed in public. Regardless of where you stand on the covering up of a mother or not she has a right to feed her child. I personally never breastfed my child in public without a cover but I’ve seen other moms do it and it doesn’t bother me. I usually give a smile or head nod to let them know that I understand!

    Little side note: most babies burn up under those cute little cover ups and they will pull themselves out of it but still nurse! So sometimes the babies are letting you know let them alone!

    If you have chosen to breastfeed, congrats on your journey!

    Extra Nugget: Let me end by saying to all women or men please mind business when it comes to asking a woman whether she’s having a baby or not. It’s her decision and you don’t get a choice in meddling in someone’s uterus. If you see a woman and she looks like she put on weight, it’s disrespectful to ask are you pregnant? If she wanted you to know she in her time would announce it! It’s actually disrespectful to ask how far along are you?! You don’t know what’s going on with that woman! Let us be our brother and sister’s keeper and be mindful of our words and gestures!

    Happy national breastfeeding month!

    Ask Toi: How do I deal with my Parents thinking I’m not following old school parenting with my own kids?!

    This is multilayered. This could have come up if you’re making comments about new school parenting is better. It can come up if you do something that an old school parent thinks is too new school. It could come up if you ask for advice from old school parent but then do the opposite.

    Depending on when it comes up is how you proceed. There’s no doubt that old school parents believe and hold to their old school values. That can be from diapering to discipline. So if you are stating how better the new school way is better often times old school parents hear “you think you’re a better parent,” or they hear, “you think my ways are wrong.”

    If the argument of who is better comes up during a time when the new school parent does something in front of an old school parent that could mess with the new school parent and you think you’re not good enough. You may feel pressure for approval and it can mess you up if you aren’t feeling it. If you ever ask an old school parent advice and then don’t take it, it could come off as a “why you ask?!” This is probably the most irritating interactions.

    So here’s the thing:

    1. Parenting is subjective: you won’t ever get to the point where you feel 100% feel that you are quite finding your rhythm and old school parents are super high fiving you! It would be nice but not everyone has that happy mesh.

    2. Old school and new old school ways are within you. You will fuse them but only how much depends on you.

    3. Try not to take everything said to heart. Between your own parents and finding your way and the world with their long laundry list of to dos and not to do it will be hard to find your actual way. It’s okay!

    4. Trust your instinct-this is hard but necessary

    When I had my first child she was born 6 weeks early and had to stay a few days in the NICU. I was fortunate that it wasn’t a longer stay. I relied on my own mother to guide me. She gave me basic parenting skills. However my child had a lot of health issues therefore I had to rely on the doctors for a lot that first couple of years. Probably more than I would have all things considered. A lot of folks was knocking me for it. I trusted my instinct, and did some give and take with those around me. I pushed through! You’re not choosing one side over the over. You’re choosing what you need to feel successful in parenting. Also it’s okay that old school won’t agree. Parenting comes with thick skin. Take things with a grain of salt. No the things that our parents did when we were younger will work now, times have changed but what’s the same is wanting better for your child, keeping them safe and healthy, and working hard to provide. Be gentle with yourself but stand strong in your decisions.

    Sunday Message: Living your Best Life

    I’ve been waiting to right this one for quite some time! The phrase is everywhere. To be honest it’s a good thing to live your best life! Who wants to live the opposite?! However beyond quotes and knowing your angles on Instagram if you’re gonna live it then do the work that it requires.

    Living your best life is best when you start from the inside out. It requires you to leave a few negative folks behind, own your stuff, and be authentic to you. Sound easy but not exactly?! You will find resistance along the way. This is when it’s easier to fake it than to really live in authentic truth! The second you go to live your best life it may cause a ripple effect with those around you! Be prepared!

    More than Instagram Angles

    Who doesn’t love a good picture on social media?! I know I do and you do too! However don’t forget that every picture has a story. I sometimes go back to my pics and think back on what was really going on?! Was I just really good?! What happened before and after the pic! For instance here’s a pic from my solo trip:

    I looked great, felt great and had a good amount of adult drinks. I was in my zone and it was an amazing time. What wasn’t shown was that there was so much work going on. I was in the midst of leaving my job and taking a leap of faith. I actually had secured the bag while there. However dancing between do I leave and start from scratch and how that would affect my family was on my mind. I’m happy to say that leap was super scary and it paid off! However fear and letting go was on the other side of living my best life. Being used to certain behaviors and being completely unsure of myself was on one side and complete freedom, better pay and a better opportunity was on the other side. I could have stayed and made a few waves at my past job but when you don’t move and sometimes take initial fear you could hinder your own blessing. Scared I still leaped! Shout out to those who know that where I am now is a complete reflection of grace! It is not of anything of myself!

    What does living my best life do for you as a person?!

    It makes you grateful! Plain and simple! You know how many times a door shut. How many times you were alone?! How many times you had to shut down the naysayer in your own head but you still had to push?! It makes you stronger as you get to the next fight! It gives you a confidence to gas yourself!! It reminds you that you can do anything! It doesn’t erase the pain but it almost suggests that the pain was worth it! So it’s okay to acknowledge it!

    Fear sometimes drops off

    As I kept going on even in fear it eventually dropped off. I never get to a point in my life as if things are just so Gucci. Nope! I walk-in humbleness. I walk like I know where I am going even when it feels like I’m working with a broken GPS! Fear has many of time walked with me until it fell off like a child learning to ride with no brakes! During many moments of my life it’s been like that! However my biggest motivator is myself and next is the little folks that call me mom! I let them know when I make a mistake I use it when I parent. When they can’t get along I openly let them know of the same moments I’ve had. I also want them to know they can keep going!

    So while you say you want to live your best life be prepared for the work that comes along with it. Accept your flaws but don’t simply just say this is me oh well, take what is said and done to you and make the necessary changes! This requires a gut punch here and there! I used to say oh well to what folks said but everyone ain’t telling the same lie! Own it and change it! Also stop living your life with the brakes! The more I get out, the more I attack the list of wants without excuses the more doors open! Step through them!! It’s okay to be okay and enjoy this life! You don’t have to be downtrodden all the time. Life will give enough of those moments so that you don’t have to create them! Learn to enjoy moments. Smile a little! Enjoy a treat and have a little balance! Get out and explore! Live your best life!

    2018 Philly Night Nation Stand Up to Cancer Run

    So anything that raises money for cancer count me in. Helping others is what we all should do. Running while helping is the tip of the iceberg. This was my first Night Nation Run but it definitely will not be my last. What I like about it was it’s literally an outside party run filled with drinks, an awesome crowd, dancing, and high energy!

    So after I got my run packet I went in and stopped at 99 Brand. It’s been a little minute since I’ve had 99 anything. You know the alcohol who makes 99 apples, 99 bananas etc. I was given 2 free samples. The samples were pretty much regular shot amounts and I sure didn’t mind. I had the 99 peach and 99 bananas and I must say I might need to make a state store run and mix the two. Judge me but they were good.

    I did have one more drink and stopped myself. One, I can’t run with alcohol so this was the first for me. Two I had attended the run by myself and making sure I was aware of anything and anyone around me was the first thing on my mind. Outside of that it was definitely party time. They kept the DJs rocking and rotating. The crowd loved it. Between that and watching out for the beach balls being tossed it was a good time!

    Finally it was time to do the actual run. It was supposed to be a 5k however I think the dimensions were off a little. Since doing Broadstreet Run, this 5k was merely a recreational run! But the energy was unmatched. I met a lot of awesome people! I danced the night away and thank goodness for that breeze it was necessary.

    Shoutout to my husband and family for coming to support me. I think they had a great time as well. Don’t worry they were no where around for the party scene. By the time they saw me I was tired and back in mom mode. I look forward in raising more money next year and I’ll definitely make my presence known!!

    My Mother’s Day hope for my children

    I absolutely love being a mom. I get so much flak about what I do but honestly I love the tight schedules, the prep, and the joy from being on point with them. I’ve learned from trial and error that there is no perfect Mom. So there are many more times now where I can look at my to do list and roll my eyes and get it done at a later time. That’s major for me! I do a lot of self care to get through! However with my children when I look back at the memories we have created it makes me have some reference in the art of being a mom. Here is what I want for them:

    1. To be dope and know it: this means that they understand what they bring to any table, own a room and never compromise themselves for anyone!
    2. To be respectful but stern: I want them to give respect and command it but handle habitual line steppers! There is no settling for bad behavior for any reason not even from me! Gasp! How can I teach them if I’m dishing it and hiding behind “I’m your mom so I can mentality?”
    3. To be what they want! This is such a large statement and I pray daily to enlarge my love even in the areas of disappointment. I know it’s coming and I would hate to be the type of mom who turned their back on their kids when they needed me most!
    4. To love themselves! This is a daily thing! I want them to show themselves they are worthy so anyone friend or foe will know how to treat them!
    5. To make a stand! I’ve always been one to go against the grain and I can stand even alone! I need to be passionate about what they believe in!
    6. For long lives- I pray that they can live out their dreams and that this world doesn’t kill their spirit with all the negativity and foolery that is around

    Of course there’s more for them I desire! But if I can raise them to love God, love themselves, and show love towards others while commanding respect and not taking a bunch of crap along the way, I’ve done my job! I’m not the usual mom! I’m okay with that! My husband and I’s job isn’t to have a bunch of folks stand in agreement with us. It’s our job to create a home full of love, acceptance, guidance and a few side eyes along the way!

    No one laughs harder than our home and we will do what we can to keep it that way! I love my children and grateful I was chosen to be their mom!!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all moms near and far!!

    Not So Motherly Mother

    So we are definitely in Mother’s Day official weekend. This means that restaurants are about to make a killing along with flower shops and stores in general. There is a small amount of people who dread this weekend and it’s those who have raggedy no account moms. Oops! Yes there are some out there. The ones who left kids. The ones who keep up so much drama nobody wants to be around. The ones who have even taken their kids lives, or harmed them in some deep way.

    We give people a hard time for their experiences with their mom. I was always taught to respect a parent regardless of their lack of parenting. I think this is true. I do think you can have a mom who is no account and say thanks for getting me here and leave it at that. The amount of folks that do not talk to their mom has increased as more people realize that the title of Mom doesn’t exclude them from the demons they have left in their name. Some do not associate with their mom. All of the ones with good moms look down on them but I would like to present a different side to the situation.

    You can say thanks to your mom and not have a relationship if the situation warrants it. Not speaking could come from a number of things. It could be from misunderstanding or it could be from trying over and over again to make things right only to have things be wrong. A moms love should be unconditional but some have never felt that from their mom so it’s hard to understand the notion. When a person who has a mom who simply does things that they don’t like, they can work through it easier than someone who has never experienced the sacrifice and love that a mom shows.

    If you and your mom are able to make it work than you should attempt. However there comes a point when a mom isn’t motherly and you have decided that doing little as possible so that you don’t further go into conflict is what’s best for you. If that is the case then you should do what works for you. Everyone doesn’t have loving mothers. We have to stop acting as if that is the case all the time. It is not! Not everyone can get along with their mothers! You can give respect and leave some distance if that is what you need.

    If you are experiencing these issues with your mom I really do hope you are getting some form of help from a licensed professional. They can help you heal without apology. Sometimes we look for or need one and if you’re dealing with someone mother or no who is no account you may not get one. You also need not spew your issues on other. This could mean siblings or outsiders who don’t have the same issues that you do or even siblings who do have the same issues. You don’t need others to understand why you feel the way you do. This generation always needs validation but honestly how can someone high-five your pain?! They can’t.

    They don’t know what’s it like to feel frustrated with no one to vent to. They don’t know the anger thee creeps in when you feel like you have to be the bigger person to a mother who should know better and act better. They don’t know what it’s like to wish you had a different mom but also want the mom you have but she won’t align herself in a better way! They don’t understand being grown but feeling like a helpless child where your mom plays the victim and you need answers!

    For the ones who are hurting more as you see others love on their mothers and you feel the pain of emptiness please know that I get that it’s real! Please do not feel like you have to spend the weekend justifying yourself. My prayer is that even if you can’t get to a place where you and your mom can work through the issues together than at least you can be grateful for her giving you life. I would hope one day things can be worked on but what folks don’t get is that it takes two people to make that happen! One person doing the work only helps one person. Grace won’t cover what you won’t reveal!

    Please invest in a journal or something where you can write down these feelings. Also if you have a mother figure that you look up to, then see if you can spend that time with them. Another suggestion would be to find a happy place and go there. It could be a favorite coffee shop, the beach, a bookstore, just get there! Find ways to practice self-care daily and increase it this weekend!

    To the hurting! I pray personal peace and a lot of self-care this weekend to get you through not just this holiday but through life!

    To my readers who are experiencing this pain I pray peace and love!!