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Fall into Forgiveness

Fall into Forgiveness

Why forgiveness starts with you

It is almost officially fall, I know I’m a little early. But I know it chilly somewhere around the country. Any who, I just wanted to take a few minutes to encourage you that if you’re going to fall for or into any thing as the year wraps up, let it be forgiveness. Forgive yourself for every time you misspoke or when you didn’t speak enough or when you had to give your kids the “no’ they weren’t expecting. Sis, you have to stop being so critical of yourself. You are one person doing the job of ten at any given time of the day, sometimes even in your sleep (that’s for my overthinkers). Women and mothers play important roles in society, therefore we cannot afford to continuously beat and batter ourselves when we do not get it right. Forgiveness is good for the soul. Forgiveness leads to freedom. Forgiveness reminds you are an imperfect person, so needing to receive it and give should not be a surprise. Forgiveness leads to happiness. Forgiveness leads to peace of mind and spirit. Forgiveness is apart of the process of love.

You know what’s even crazier, God forgave you before you did or didn’t do whatever requires that you be forgiven in the first place. If the Creator, author and finisher, judge and jury can extend grace to you, then why can’t you act a little more gracious towards yourself? If you don’t who will? Just as a reminder, if you can’t forgive yourself why would the people who love you forgive you? Then we wonder why familial relationships are strained and broken…because of lack of forgiveness. The more you are able to forgive yourself the more you will be able to forgive others. That is not to dismiss that some things will require more time to forgive than others but as long as you reach the point of forgiveness is what matters. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you have to keep in contact. It’s more about you internally letting go of being wronged, hurt, abused, and broken.  Let’s stop perpetuating the cycle and teach our children how to receive and give forgiveness by reflecting it in our daily lives.

I love you sis! God loves you! Don’t forget to LOVE and FORGIVE YOURSELF!

Don’t forget to share this with a sister-mom that needs a little reminder.

 

Inspiration/faith, Parenting, Womanhood/adulting

My Smart Mouthed Son Tried Me But Failed

Slick Rick met Slick Rita

I know people would like to say that girls are more emotional than boys, but I don’t agree. I know for a fact that men even “gossip” just as much if not more than women, I’ve laid witness to this too. Raising a son has shown me how vulnerable emotionally boys, who will eventually become men, really are. I wish someone would have told me how smart their mouths get as they grow older too.

If you read my post on last week I mentioned that was a season of “new” for us. We, my son and I, are experiencing a new grade and a new school. So, both of us are making adjustments. As I had predicted my son worked through the nerves and by the end of the first day he had conquered his fear. Each of the proceeding days made it easier.  Since I haven’t gone back to work yet I gave him door to door treatment the entire week.

On the third day as we arrive I tell him that next week I’m going to drop him off in the carpool lane. He replies, “Finally”. So, I say “Excuse me sir, we could have been in the carpool lane had I know you felt that way. I’m parking and walking you in because you were talking about how scared and nervous you were.” He got quiet and I finished parking the car. I know something is wrong and I ask him what’s wrong. He tells me that he felt like I was mocking him and I told him I was. I tell my son all the time that he needs to communicate and use his words to tell me what he wants. If you don’t tell me how will I know? I’m not a mind reader. Look, don’t try to get smart and then get in your feelings when I get smart back.

Oh, young grasshopper.

As a compromise I walked him into the first gate and allowed him to walk the rest of the way to class on his own. He didn’t seem happy about that either. The next day, I took a page out of his book and let him take the entire walk into the building solo, as if I had just dropped him off in the carpool lane. He wasn’t happy about that either. Ask me if I cared.

Nope.

I picked him up at 1:15 as scheduled and it was like nothing ever happened. We both had moved on.

Related Article: First Day of Fourth Grade

Slick Rita Out! Live Shamelessly!o

Parenting

First Day of Fourth Grade

 

Tis was the night before the first day of fourth grade

Today is the first day of fourth grade for my little mister, mister. This morning the struggle was real people.  I mean I hit the snooze three button times, type of real. I try not to hit the snooze button but this momma bear was not ready to come out of summer vacation hibernation. I’m sure it didn’t help that I went to bed at 1 am after preparing for today’s monumental event. My cub wasn’t ready either because he was filled with so much nervousness that he couldn’t fall asleep until my sister came home so that they could have a back to school pep talk. (Side note: I love when the village comes through.) I found this note on my pillow that read:

Mom Read:

Dear God,

I hope I have a good day at school & make friends, listen, follow directions, and have fun please….God…I want a good day.

To: God & Mom

From: Kingston Smith

How adorable. Right?

The first day of fourth grade has arrived….and we’re nervous

Once I quickly got passed the grogginess of my pervious slumber, I found myself back in the kitchen whipping up homemade guacamole to be the star of his snack time goodies and lunch time accompaniments like homemade cranberry almond chicken salad. Then it was time to awaken the cub, get myself in the shower, and then it was go time.

Besides this year being a new school year, we are starting a new school. I am sure that all this newness was a little much for the cub. Ironically, after we park and begin approaching the school, a small wave of nervousness kind of hit me. It was a lot of people and then we were trying to figure out where his class was located, but found it thanks to the helpfulness of his assistant principal and other staff.  But I didn’t let my son know because I had to keep him on course and steady. Momma bear is always cool, right? Ha! Only if he knew my exterior face game is just bomb.

As we walked over to his class he questioned me about there being two schools on the same campus, which I explained the difference and how he needs to stay with the perimeters of his school and that when he goes over to the other campus, his teacher will take him. He’s not the wonder off type but I don’t any of his new friends putting any ideas in his little head. (lips twisted face) we finally meet his two teachers and I stayed a few minutes to ask a few questions and long enough for him to get started but then I was off. He reminded me he was still nervous, I told him he’ll get through it. We hugged and momma bear was out. My son is full of it though because he’s acting all scared and nervous now but I give him to the end of the week at the latest before he’s in such a rhythm them that I’ll have to ask for a hug.

We have survived the first day of fourth grade

At dismissal he was all smiles and said that he had a good day and he hopes that all of his other days are good too. When we got home that he was so nervous that his bottom teeth where shaking. I’m glad that is all shook out in the wash, pun intended. One day down and 179 more days to go! Oh boy!

Related Article: That “F” Has to Come Up: The Value of Education Starts at Home

Have a great year and Live Shamelessly!

Parenting

3 Birthday Lessons I Learned from My Son’s Big Day

 

The Birthday Recap

This week we celebrated my son’s 9th birthday. We kicked the day of with presents that included a boogie board, cell phone, cards and cash courtesy of no one else other than grandma. Then we headed out to happy hour at one of the local Sky Zone facilities. We then stopped by Starbucks for fluids and snacks on our journey to pick my sister up from work before we headed to dinner at Chili’s. What should have been a 20 minute drive turned into a hour because I got lost and wound up growing through the mountains. After some real good eats we, picked up grandma and head on over to bible study. Finally, we capped the night off with an ice cream birthday cake, without characters because a certain someone told me they were too old for all of that baby stuff now. So a simple cake with a basic Happy Birthday message and a number 9 candle is what he received. Who am I to argue with big boy status?

Besides him becoming such independent big boy I learned a three lessons during this year’s celebration festivities.

Birthday Lesson #1: Simple is better

I was worried that because of budgetary reasons he wasn’t going to be happy with his day. While we sat at Starbucks roasting in the sun and eating cheese, crackers, and fruit he looked over at me and said “Mom this is the best birthday ever because I get to spend time with you.” I know you had to pick your jaw up off the floor, me too and my heart to go with it. He was happy with his hour of jumping around at Sky Zone and taking in a mid-afternoon snacks before we tore those plates up at Chili’s. I worried for nothing.

Birthday Lesson #2: He took my thrill factor

You know after you have a baby a few changes may occur in the body. So for me that one thing is my capacity to enjoy thrill seeking activities like roller coasters because my stomach has become super sensitive. I was never the first one in line for the roller coaster before I had my son but with a little coaxing I would be a team player. But know I can’t ride over a set of rail road tracks without my stomach falling somewhere between the gas pedal and the brake. But I just knew I could take a few bounces on a trampoline, I mean toddlers do it. Please! I jumped on that trampoline trying to get my bounce to jump in the foam pit, and wound up walking up to the edge and jumping in. I even turned around and told my son who had jumped in, climbed out, and was back in line before I could muster up the courage “Why didn’t you warn me”? His response “Go mom.” Safe to say that this mom will be holding shoes, water, and cellphones next go around.

Birthday Lesson #3: I’m doing a 9 year stint as the cyber police

He finally got a darn cell phone which he requested a year in advance. He was so excited texting all his family and friends and downloading games. But I honestly am not looking forward because now that is something that I will have to monitor very closely for the next 9 years. With predators, sexting, and cyber-bullying on the rise, in addition to a few other issues make me extremely nervous. Who thought that having a cellphone could be viewed as a bad thing? Even though I’ll enjoy our conversations but I’m not at all looking for my stint as the cyber police.  Thanks grandma!

Related Article: 7 Ways Technology Has Made Parenting More Difficult

Until next time, let life teach you and Live Shamelessly!

Parenting

Ooh I’m Telling: Fun at Grandma’s Expense

 

Ooh I’m Telling Part One

“Ooh I’m telling” is probably one of the most commonly used phrase used amongst worldwide. Typically, you expect to hear that phrase shared amongst children, but it works with grandmothers too, just ask my son about it. The other day my mother and son were out running errands when a seemingly innocent incident ended in these four words “Ooh grandma I’m telling.” The beginning of the ultimate betrayal and signifying that your business will be broadcast amongst family and friends. So this how the story goes according to my mother.

They were just driving down the street and she stopped at the light. She turned her head to look at the driver beside her, which most people do at some point do when driving. She says the guy in the next car smiled at her and she proceeded to smile back. Then things got a little funky because the driver took this opportunity to follow the smile up with a wink and air kisses. Now my mother said she turned her head to the opposite side to avoid the man’s advances because she was just trying to be a nice road neighbor. But not before my son got an eye full of the man’s antics and shouted from the backseat, “Grandma what are you doing to that man?” Now she was taken aback because she wasn’t doing anything. My son goes on to say “Ooh I’m going to tell everybody that you were flirting with that man.” I died when I heard her recount, but what was even funnier is that my son didn’t tell when he got home, he forgot after being so dramatic in the moment.

Ooh I’m Telling Again

Fast forward to the next day after we drop my son off to camp, my sisters and I accompany my mother to help her find a few new clothes for work. As my mother is in the dressing room trying on the clothes, she comes out to show us the dress. There is a man standing waiting to get in the next dressing room. As my mother models for us, awaiting our opinions, this man chimes agreeing with our sentiments and tells her she should turn around.  She says that the she didn’t zip up the back of the dress and he tells her to have them to do it, referring to us, but she ignored him. I tell him no she’s fine. My mothergoes back into the dressing room and when she comes out I tell her “Ooh I’m telling.” So when I got home I actually remembered to go through with spilling the beans. After telling my son that his grandmother was “back at it” all he could say was “Grandma” and laugh.

Now in my mother’s defense I also would like to add my son is plays both sides because on one hand he talks about how my mother needs to get married but on the other hand he clearly he doesn’t trust the process. How does he expect her to get hitched? It could have started with a wink.

Related Article: My Son Tried Me and Failed

In the meantime, laugh a lot and Live Shamelessly!

Parenting

The Powerless Parent

 

Powerless parent: The struggle of surviving the “system”

No one wants to be labled a powerless parent, and being a mother and raising a child in today’s society is tough. However, when you add the adjectives like son, black and single to the mix now you go from tough to laborious. The debate whether to whip, whup, or spank a child has been debatable for many years. At one point at time there was no debate to be had, if a child did something inappropriate you got a whipping from the teacher, neighbor, babysitter, or family member that witnessed the initial infraction and then you got it again when your parents found out about it. That definitely is not the case today and this form of discipline has been as seen more controversial lately. Many critics have added their two cents in the disciplinary practices of mothers from the Baltimore mom who was caught on camera hitting her son for participating in rioting against her instructions to a variety of video posts of parents whipping their kids on social media outlets.

Mother Jailed After Her Three Boys Burglarize Neighbors Home

It baffles me of how critical society is of the single black mother. I was appalled when I read an article from The Advocate about a mother, Schaquana Spears, who caught her three pre-adolescent sons, ranging from ages 10 to 13, burglarizing a neighbor’s home. As a punishment she allegedly whipped them with a RCA cord, thus landing herself in jail on two counts of cruelty to juveniles. They stole but she ended up in jail for disciplining them. Now released on bond, this case has stirred up the debate over the difference between discipline versus abuse. But could it be argued that the real debate here is how society conveniently strips the power of parents?

Had she done nothing then she would be labeled a horrible mother who let her kids run wild terrorizing the neighborhood. Yet, she did what she probably thought was the best thing to do at the moment and received the punishment instead. In the wake of all the continued senseless killings of Black men and women in American society, not to mention the astronomical incarceration rates, there is a subconsciously embedded fear in minds of many Black mothers and even now some fathers that this same justice system would one day get a hold of their children and do far worse. So what are parents left to do?

Are parents becoming powerless to the “system”? Was Spears right to whip her kids or was it abuse? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Related Article: 5 Reasons You Need to Let Go of Single Mom Shame

Until next time, Live Shamelessly!

Update: A few days after I initially wrote about this incident Ms. Spears was released from jail and all charges were dropped.

Parenting

4 Reasons Why You Need to Live Shamelessly

Drop the Single Mom “Shame”

With my hand raised high and voice loud and clear…Hi my name is DiSheen and I am a single mom. It has been almost nine years since I gave birth to my last child. It has taken me every day of the past nine years to walk with my head held high and know that despite what I am labeled, the word mother should never be associated with the word shame. According to American society, single mothers and especially black single mothers are to blame for all the things that are wrong with children today and continually associated with outrageous scrutiny.

Here are five reasons you should drop the shame cast upon by other’s opinions and perceptions and live shamelessly.

 Being a mom is the hardest job in the world period. Some of the struggles that you have are shared by all moms even if they have a partner or spouse in the home to help. So, struggles are just mom struggles.

  1. Love doesn’t come with a relationship status attached. You love your child. Your relationship status doesn’t determine if you love this person who grew inside of you for nine months and has brought you an indescribable joy that keeps even the best wordsmiths lost for words. Also, let them love you in spite of your imperfections because you are watered by their love too.
  2. Life is a series of choices along a long journey. No matter the situation surrounding the conception or birth of your child. That child was destined to be yours, so enjoy each moment because the next time you look up you’ll be holding your grandchild. Quit living in regret because living in the past will make you miss the joy in today.
  3. You can only be responsible for the child you were entrusted to raise. Stop reading all the articles, tweets, and comments that perpetually make the single mom out to be the spawn of all the troubles in American society. You can only be responsible for the child that you raise. Make sure they are equipped with all the tools that they need to be a great human being and leave God to fix everybody else.
  4. Greatness comes in many shapes and sizes. For some reason, we as people feel like greatness is limited to a certain group of people. However, that theory is constantly dispelled because many of the greatest people in the world are far from the “ideal” person or in the “ideal” situation when their greatness is manifested. What if Mary had not given birth to Jesus? Or if Stanley Ann Dunham had not birthed President Barack Obama?

Remember all mothers need help no matter if it comes from a partner, the in-laws, neighbors, or friends. Being a mother is such a desired opportunity that women are literally dying to give life no matter the how that life came to be. Don’t you take for granted a gift that someone is literally mortgaging their house to fund their fertility treatments or to pay their adoption fees. Single or married we are all in this together. Live Shamelessly!

Have you as a single mother ever felt shame over your status? If so what helps you get over that shame?

Related Article: The Powerless Parent

Parenting

Setting Parental Boundaries

 

Grandma Can’t Play Both Sides of the Fence

Parenting is a hard job, point blank period. However, that job is only intensified when you are a single parent. As a single parent I have to know when it’s time to play good cop, bad cop, and in the middle cop. Then there are the times when I have to rely on your village for support, especially when comes to upholding the structure, boundaries, and discipline needed to make sure my son is learning how to be the best person he can possibly be.

Recently, my son came home from school and took twenty minutes evading the answers to my questions of why he was requesting to be woken up earlier than usual. After a tiresome game of “uh” and him continually rewording and trying to explain what I already knew the truth was revealed. He didn’t finish his work because he was busy bumping his gums in class. I’m not shocked because he’s been a talker since he could babble. However, he knew he was in trouble. I tell him all the time to  finish his work first then talk.

Now during this ordeal I was trying to cook dinner and get down to the truth. My motherinterjects and tells him he needs to answer the questions. I put my hand up to silence her because I had this under control, no assist needed. After I finally got the complete story from him and handed up a verbal reprimand and made him do the spelling assignment he didn’t finish. I hear that my mother threatens to spank him if he didn’t get his life in order. Yet again, who asked for the assist I had already taken it to the hole and scored.

Ever since my son made his way into this world, my mother has been the dotting fun grandma. I mean the woman even held him first. Even as a mother she wasn’t much of a disciplinarian. I think even with my son she may have, and that’s a big may, spanked him once in his almost nine years of life. So, there is no need for her to start now. Thus leading to us to have a boundaries conversation.

Here are the three reasons why boundaries are important for all parties involved.

  1. It’s important that my son understands that I have the final say in all things pertaining to him.  Does that mean he doesn’t have to respect other adults when he’s in their care, no. However, when I get to glory, God is not going to say how well or poorly ya’ll raised him, no  he’s going to be looking solely at me. Listening to what I say is his first priority and will not cause him to undermine my authority as his mom. Also, it helps my mother avoid potential conflict between she and I.
  2. When my mother jumps into add her two cents, I know it’s not coming from a malicious place. But, it undermines my authority in the situation. It confuses him because now he doesn’t know who to listen to. He doesn’t know what level of trouble he’s in because I’m giving a verbal warning and she’s talking about a spanking. Especially, because my mother has always been his ally in fun, games, and getting out of trouble. She’s always been the mediator bridging the gap between us not playing the bad cop.
  3. Not only has she been a mediator for understanding between us but his confidant. There have been times when he won’t share things with me but grandma is his buddy, old pal and has him opening up f like a flower in bloom. Every child needs to have the person in their life, my grandmother was surely that for me growing up. That helps mainly when there are serious issues needing to be discussed. But jumping on team punisher takes that away. He needs that more now than ever because he is a growing boy.

Boundaries are essential for any relationship and parenting is no different. If you set boundaries at the very beginning there will be less tension, confusion, and resentment to deal with later.

Stand up for what you believe and Live Shamelessly!

Related Article: The Powerless Parent

Parenting

Why Black History Starts at Home

 

My son and I were on a recent yogurt date and I asked him what he knew about Black history month. Read the conversation below.

Me: Son what do you know about Black history month?

Son: It’s the month that we got free.

Me: Huh?

Son: (He looks a little confused) Is it when Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves?

Me: Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves and don’t let me hear you say that again. Are you guys doing a Black history project or having a Black history assembly?

Son: No. I don’t think so.

We continue the conversation where I have to school him on Abe’s role in the Civil War and what the Emancipation Proclamation really didn’t do. I was disappointed but not completely surprised that after being a student in the public school system, for the past four years, in two major cities, this is all he recalls.  Which is almost laughable because American society has reduced Black history as importance of celebrating our contributions and now the few things they are teaching, they are giving out the wrong information.

This leads me to two points and one clever but serious suggestion.

We must teach our own kids

As a Black parent it is important that I make sure my son knows that our ancestral history in America may have begun in the bowels of slavery however, it stretches wider and goes deeper than most would like to acknowledge. It is no denying that we were an enslaved people however, next to slave put a comma and not a period. My son will learn that Black people were and still are queens, kings, inventors, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, scholars, actors, entrepreneurs, and the list goes on. Now we can include the distinguished honor of President.  We were not a people looking to be led because we were already leaders. Clearly, if we don’t teach our children, who will? We can’t continually expect the education system to accurately depict the truth, can we? If we do, Honest Abe is going to be doing a lot more than freeing slaves and killing vampires.

Stop with the family secrets

It is just essential that our children know their familial history too. Unlike, those that immigrate to this country it is hard for most of us to definitively trace our linage back several generations, for several reasons. However, we need to make sure we share the information we do know. I grew up in a southern household in the heart of the big city, where there were many secrets, things left unaddressed, and information that has been taken to graves all in the name of family.  The old heads thought they were doing the best to keep the family together but not realizing the generational effects these secrets, lies, and half-truths would have on the family.

Black History 365, Never!

In my opinion, learning, mentioning, or celebrating Black should not be condensed to one month out of a year. But I was thinking since it is too radical to actually celebrate it for…I don’t know 365 days a year, I have alternate solution. I think that only in the month of February, we should be allowed to use things like the stop light, eat peanut butter or peanut butter products, use refrigerators, or use any shape form or fashion of the beloved cell phone. That’s not to mention only listening to anything Beyonce or with drum beat or baseline for the next 21 days. If you don’t whip it, Nae- Nae, Twerk, or Dab by the 29th then you’ll have to wait until next year where there will only be 28 days to get all of this Black celebration in. I know too much, right? Please! Not enough.

Black is beautiful, 365!

Love Black and Live Shamelessly!

Related Article: I Feel Like a Partially Proficent Parent

Parenting

I Feel Like A Partially Proficient Parent

 

Recently, I had the first parent-teacher conferences for the school year. Prior to the conference my son had already informed me that he had not achieved my expected standard for academic achievement. He tried to assure me that he was going to do better and that he has a second chance to do better during the second trimester. So, I’ll admit that I went into parent-teacher conference not necessarily with an attitude of defeat but more like on edge. I was sitting on the edge of disappointment and anger. Depending on what his teacher had to say would determine which way the pendulum swung.

In true teacher form, my son’s teacher gave me a few glows about his undeniable charismatic personality and then she hit me with the real reason we are conferencing, his academic progress. As she spoke about every area of improvement, I literally melted on the inside. I mean she might as well had been the water and I am the wicked witch of the west, type of melting. I was upset with him but even more upset with myself. His teacher tried to be reassuring that it didn’t make me a bad parent, which really floored me because I never vocalized my discontentment with myself or him. Who says a face doesn’t speak a thousand words? So at the end of the conference she finally reveals what the actual report card says and on average his currently a partially proficient student. Which translated to me being a partially proficient parent. Heavy Sigh.

I have always been a big believer of that your kids are a reflection of you and right now my reflection doesn’t look good. So, I spiraled and went down the rabbit hole of parental persecution. I took the stand, tried myself, and found myself guilty by the end of that one conversation. This is a place that has been more times than I would like to admit. It’s different when you are the opposite side of the conversation. I am use to delivering the speech about how somebody’s kid is awesome and amazing followed by the proverbial but in a nut shell your kid needs to get their academic life in order.

Being an educator myself I know better and feel like my kid should be academically on point all the time. Which is one of the reasons that I really want to quit my job because I feel like I’ve spent so much time over the years planning, preparing, and advocating for other people’s kids and mine is falling to the side.  My original plan when I relocated to the California was to focus on writing but I realized two things; one, breaking into the entertainment industry is one of the hardest industries to get into and two, I still have bills that come in every month no matter what job I do. However, my son’s lackluster performance has me really considering going back to my original plan and make it the best way that I can (also known as having faith). Honestly at the end of the day whether if I’m receiving a teaching salary or getting paid hourly, I’m at point in my life where I am living paycheck to paycheck either way.

Another reason my mind is spinning is because I know that third grade is the grade that sets the tone for the rest of his academic career. Many studies have shown that third grade is a benchmark year where students are assessed to determine if they have an adequate foundational skill set. All the proceeding grade levels build on the basic math and reading skills into more complex ones. Thus, by fourth grade it is evident if a student is at or below grade level and then comes the disattachment from school and potential behavior issues. In a nut shell third grade is important, especially for black boys because they fall victim to these issues and setbacks.

I want the best for my son just like any mother. In today’s society to live without an adequate education there are very few options for a person, and once you factor in race and gender those options become almost obsolete. I know he’s only eight and he’s not in danger of failing but I don’t like him or me being labeled partially proficient because I know he can really could do better and so can I.

Related Article: The Lesson In Lying

Do you ever feel like a partially proficient parent? Leave your comments below.

Parenting