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Ahem, Now It’s Our Turn To Speak…

I’m so proud to be a young mama and to be able to witness the amazing day in history that we created once again: the re-election of Barack Obama! This news is definitely a major need of celebration.

However, as many news reports have stated, we must not engross ourselves with the joys of our success for too long because there are issues at hand that affect us young mothers, and including us, young black mothers.

Now that we finally have the mic and politicians are realizing that they must actually listen to us in order to earn our vote, it would be crazy for us not to actually SPEAK and use this opportunity to become a vital part of change in our community.

These are some of the issues that I believe need to be addressed and changed for us:

  • Though I tried to be creative and think of ways to bring in extra income to pay our bills (and actually succeeded with two of my boys), there were times when I was forced to consider whether it would be necessary for me to find a part-time or full-time job only weeks after giving birth. So it would do us some good to look at the Family and Medical Leave Act and think of some changes that needs to be made in order for a job to feel like less of an interference with bonding and building a relationship with the new baby. One great thing is that they added extra break time for nursing mothers up to a year after their child’s birth. However, employers do not have to compensate mothers for those breaks which, in the end, doesn’t fully support mothers choice to breast feed.
  • In addition, many young mothers are in school and do not always have the income to pay for it. Financial aid and stricter discrimination laws in terms of students chosen for a selected college are issues that have blocked some women from receiving the education they need.
  • Finally, many young mothers are also single parents and thus, have the burden of handling the entire financial responsibility of their household.  Yet, women are increasingly becoming the ones with the highest rate of poverty. With that said, evaluating the policies encouraged to create more jobs, more flexibility in the workplace, a level playing field, and less taxes and financial govermental regulations that we must adhere to would help us to make our money stretch and allow us to stress less on how to provide for our family.

Of course there are many other issues that affect us that we must examine and speak on but we have to start somewhere. Women, including us young mothers, are an integral part of nurturing our communities and our families and, just like we have to be vocal with our loved ones about when we need help, it’s time that we start to stand up for ourselves in the political atmosphere and say what we deserve.

Give me your thoughts…

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Black Moms That Rock!!!

Sorry friends for my long intermission! Motherhood is so full of surprises and…HARD WORK! 

I have always been really passionate about what is going on the world and helping those in need. However, as a mom, it’s hard to balance the role of mom and being involved physically when there is barely enough time in the day to handle the home front. When watching TV and seeing women doing things especially noteworthy such as donating to cancer research, creating organizations for needy children, and volunteering to help the elderly, it’s so easy to judge yourself and feel as though you are not helping your community at all. At least, for me, I have this feeling all the time.  

Nonetheless, with three children and a house and husband to take care of, it’s not hard to see the role that I am playing at home and the contributions that I make toward our household. With making meals, helping with homework, potty training, changing diapers, wiping noses, teaching life lessons, and keeping the hubs happy, it’s hardly much time for myself, let alone conquering battles of the world.

So, in light of the nationally recognized youth enrichment program, Black Girls That Rock, I want to start a new movement where I recognize Black Moms That Rock. We may not be very well-known in the world but we make one of the biggest contributions possible, daily, and that is taking care of our little ones and being the first to light up their dreams and confidence to make future presidents, future models, future scientists, future doctors, and etc.

To Black Moms That Rock! BMTR! 

Why trick? Why treat? Just Get Something Good to Eat!

One of the things I love the most about the fall is the cool breezy weather, the orange and red colored leaves falling slowly from the trees, and the misty days that practically beg you to cuddly up in your sheets with a nice cup of hot chocolate. The downfall to that is having to deal with the heavily celebrated halloween.

Halloween is, essentially, the mockery of a day in history where humans camofluaged themselves to avoid evil spirits. It is among one of the holidays that I try my best to keep my children away from because we are Christians and are against what Halloween represents. However, with Dukey being in kindergarten now, it is getting harder to shield him away from it since they do crafts and watch movies relating to Halloween. Not to mention, his friends and cousins beem about going trick or treating and eating candy on that day.

So I have been debating to myself how I should give him the best of both worlds by allowing him to enjoy the “festivities” without acknowledging Halloween.When I researched online and talked to people I know, I found a variety of suggestions as well as opinions on why Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. The decision as to whether I want to celebrate it or not was never a question so the opinions of others on that was not a consideration. But, I did find some good suggestions as to how to find the balance with this day.

My plan for now and up to the actual day is to watch “scary” kids movies, eat (a few pieces of) candy, take my kids to “hallelujah night” at church and, more importantly, share some biblical scriptures and explain the meaning of Halloween.

When my mom was over one day this topic came up in conversation and she mentioned to me that she didn’t alow me to celebrate Halloween as a child, either. I had remembered going trick or treating in bits and pieces and couldn’t remember whether it was one time or not. She told me that I went once with my cousins when I was over their house and they took me. She also told me that that was her technque; to give me a small bag of candy and let me watch horror movies so that will be the tradition passed down.

So what are your thoughts? How do you “celebrate” Halloween with your children?

 

Don’t Judge Me!

While I was walking down the street, I happened to overhear two neighbors talking to each other about me. One was pointing towards my house and I heard, “The girl has three kids for God’s sakes! I mean, you have to think about these kinds of things!” The other one just nodded her head and agreed.

This conversation, of course, just, as my old teacher would have said…’burned my cheese’.

These ladies barely ever say two words to me and do not know me from a can of paint! I was just so annoyed at how people try to taint a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I’m young, I don’t drive, I don’t work outside the home,  and…I have THREE kids (which, is like a “full house” nowadays). Granted, my husband and I did not plan Baby J and had we thought about it beforehand, we would most likely have decided against it. But, in the end, we chose to keep him and accept the responsibility that comes with it. So to make that comment as if it is a precursor of what is to come in the future is so…stupid.

Everyone has SOMETHING that others can consider a downfall or deterrent but no one can decide what that will entail for YOU but YOU. This will not be the last time someone will judge me but it surely won’t be enough to hold me back and make me fight for my dreams.

Nothing Like a Sweet Treat!

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I don’t know about other women but I will say that the way to a pregnant woman‘s heart is definitely through her stomach, also!

After a long day at home with the kids while my husband is at work, sometimes the best thing he can do is bring a little snack for me to eat to help me enjoy that time to relax once I finally have it! I know that won’t be a great benefit for me after this baby comes since I will probably need LOTS more help for relaxation after endless breastfeeding sessions, cooking meals for me and my toddler while my older son is in school, and attempting to clean and maintain our house but, for now, it surely helps.

Yesterday was one of those days.  In the morning, I got up and cooked breakfast for me and my kids and then we walked to the market to grab something for dinner. By the time we came back, I was tired and really wanted to go to sleep but, of course I can’t sleep while Duke is up. I did that once and woke up to find his window blinds torn up and a picture that he had colored “hung up” on his wall with water.

I try not to let them watch too much TV so I let my Poopy (one year old) play in his playpen while I had my five-year old draw stuff until nap time. After all of that, it was still a repeat of the other day. However, this time, cleaning and making him exercise didn’t work. So I was left to spend the rest of the day feeling like a zombie and snapping at every little thing that went wrong. When days are like this, it seems like everything else around you starts to collapse and that was the case for me because I also stubbed my toe and burnt myself twice. I felt so miserable and tired. By the time dinner rolled around, I did not want to get up. But, surely God must have given me just an extra ounce of energy so I could use it to throw a little something together for dinner (Velveeta’s Cheesy Skillet: Chicken and Broccoli; yeah, I was desperate).

My husband called me on his way home from work to ask me if I wanted anything from the store, like usual. I couldn’t think of anything that we needed so I told him, no. When he got in, we all ate and I put the kids to sleep. When I came back down, he told me he had brought me some ginger snaps from the store. I started grinning like a Cheshire cat when he told me that! I ran to the cabinets and grabbed that bag of ginger snaps, laid some on a plate and poured myself a glass of milk to go with it….all of a sudden, I heard the angels singing!

Nothing like a sweet treat for a pregnant woman!

Is a family of five the perfect fit for us?

Out of all my pregnancies, honestly, this one was the biggest surprise. The last thing I was thinking about was having another child at that time. I was working vigorously as an insurance/investment adviser and I didn’t notice much for about four months.

Because my family doesn’t believe in birth control, we have relied on natural methods in the past, more specifically, the “withdrawal” method. It worked just fine for five years until I got pregnant with my second son and again now when I got pregnant with my third.

With this third pregnancy, I’ve had many people, including doctors, ask me about our birth control plans for the future. Most people have thought it would be smart for me to have my tubes tied because they believe our family is complete with three children.

 

Being that I am an advocate of natural methods (no medicines, no chemicals, no preservatives in food, etc.), I try to avoid anything that will mess with the natural flow of my body. So most birth control methods are out of the question for me due to the added hormones. Not to mention, every time I turn on the TV, there’s a commercial about some medical defect or risks that occurred (or can occur) from someone using some new birth control. 

In the past, I was leaning towards Mirena since it was a one-time procedure and could last until at least the next five years if I wanted it to. But then, the commercials came and friends who took it told me horror stories of others that had taken it and had to get surgery because the device got lost in their stomachs. (Of  course docs say it is rare and doesn’t happen to many people but, uh)

…ENOUGH SAID for me. 

I am strongly opposed to getting surgery for reasons that are not serious and, to me, preventing the birth of another child is just not that important to risk my health for. 

With that said, I have been debating on whether to use Paragard or other natural methods altogether such as the Rhythm/Calendar method or Fertility Awareness. With the first one, it is still a one-time procedure and can last for up to 10 years with no added hormones. The other natural methods do require more regular monitoring so I’m a little nervous about those. 

I, honestly, still haven’t made a decision as to what I will do but I know whatever I decide, it will be the right one for our family. The “perfect sized family” can have many definitions for different families. Some may want one, some none, most two, and a rare few many. No one should be the judge of what size family is a good fit for you. That decision should be left to you and your spouse, only.

I will say that a part of that decision should involve whether you would be able to handle the responsibility of another addition to your family but again, that decision should be left to you and your spouse, ONLY.

Let me hear your thoughts? Should one give in to the pressures of what others think you should do for your family or should you stand firm for what your family wants?

 

How to Make a Move Against Big Banks

I stumbled across something on the internet that really had me bothered: “Young debit card users pay $1 billion dollars in overdraft fees“. This is a problem that my husband and I have had for years. I thought that it was just us and it seemed like no matter how careful we were, banks would find a way to charge us that dreaded $35 fee repeatedly.

Around the holidays one year, I remember my husband and I were shopping for gifts and entertaining items for our home. We watched our account closely to make sure we weren’t going over what we had in the account. That next week (I believe it was Tuesday), our bank had charged us with that dreaded $35. It turned out they had ordered our purchases in a way that would make it go over so they could charge us the fee. When we called to ask about it, we were told, “Debit purchases can be processed in any order especially if made over the weekend”. I couldn’t help but think…what the h%$&!

So if you’re feeling like me and are determined to find a way to turn this statistic around and end banks’ scheming ways, here are some ideas:

  1. Find out ways you can be charged (minimum balance fees, monthly or annual maintenance fees, lost debit card fees, etc.) and research how to avoid them. Banks make it pretty hard to do that with their tiny booklets of Terms and Conditions filled with fine print but take the extra mile and thoroughly research your bank online before signing up.
  2. Find a bank (or credit union) that has policies that fit your financial habits. If you use checks a lot then you don’t want an account that is going to charge you extra every month if you use it more than your required amount.
  3. Use cash as much as possible but especially for small transactions. One thing the article mentioned is that we (young adults) tend to use our debit cards for pretty much everything which is not a good idea, especially if you want to be able to keep track of it all.
  4. Use a smaller bank or credit union. Big banks are usually for-profit and work with shareholders so their main concern is to keep money flowing and keep those shareholders happy. On the other hand, smaller banks and credit unions are usually not-for profits so they will do the best they can to keep you happy. Not to mention, smaller banks and credit unions have lower fees if you do mess up.
  5. Use a credit card instead of a debit card IF you are good about paying on time.
  6. Be a valuable customer. Have several accounts (including credit card or car loans)  that are in good standing with the bank for years and they will be more willing to do whatever it takes to keep you.
  7. A no-brainer: sign up for alerts.

All in all, stay informed and think wisely. At the end of the day, you are entrusting someone with one of your most prized possessions: your money. It’s important for us to be smart because they expect us not to be as young mothers/adults and all of that money earned could be much better used for our kids…or a nice outfit! 😉