I am that late a$$ check again. I’m just here living my life and doing things like getting married. I will be on time for the 15th, I promise!
- My shoe game has changed dramatically. A closet that was once filled with pumps/stilettos/heels, are now filled with flats. Cute flats but still flats. Practicality and comfort are now considered when purchasing a shoe. Is it stylish, is it sexy were once the only factors considered when selecting foot wear. Now I have to consider, can I easily run after a toddler in these? If the answer is no, they usually don’t make the cut. Don’t be mistaken I still rock cute shoes but I’m not balancing in the air to show them off. Maybe I will become a sneaker head. That might be difficult though because I only like Chuck’s and Adidas. Air Jordan who? All is not lost. On date nights with my husband I will balance in the air because if I’m do it right, he will be chasing me.
- I never ever want to “TURN UP”. I’m interested in the nearest, quietest, most comfy nap spot. Do you know where they are? True story, my birthday will be here soon and all I want to do is stay in a fancy hotel, sleep and read books. I have no interest in throwing back drinks or dancing on tables listening to loud music. I want to turn all the way down, preferably some sheets.
- For the last 7 years I have had long hair. I always seem to cut it when I’m going through a transition. When I left the tide-water area, where I lived for 13 years I cut my hair into a close cease. I wore my hair natural for a year and then got a relaxer. It had been shoulder length since then. When I found out I was pregnant I had my last relaxer. Transitioning from relaxed to natural hair was difficult for me. Papa bear nor my child understood why it took hours to detangle, deep condition and style. I always ended up feeling guilty about the amount of time I spent in the bathroom. So I cut my hair. I think my cut it FRESH and makes me look younger. The maintenance time has been cut in half and I always have a hairstyle. So I can no longer swing my hair in a huff. Instead I pat my fro’ and tilt my hips in an exaggerated motion. Does this make me lame?
- I cannot listen to hip hop around my sun. With a few exceptions, most of what I like has some type of profanity in it; even the super righteous “conscious” rap. Biggie, KRS-1 and Nas are reserved for my alone time in the car or when I’m cooking and no one is home. I have no idea what is playing on the radio even though Papa Bear thinks I’m a closet fan of 2 Chains. Don’t believe him! Even my dancehall has been censored. It’s totally roots these days. King is very familiar with Bob. Sometimes though I want to do it for the ratchets, a little Yeezus on the way to daycare would certainly get my mind right. But alas, I’m a lame.
- I have retired my super large ghetto fabulous silver hoop earrings. I’ve been rocking some version of these since college. Since I’ve cut all my hair off I really want to wear them. However, danger is around the corner. My sun inspects me to see if there is something he can rip from my ear. He is quick too. Protect ya neck, or your ears, he shows no mercy!
- My last vacation was over two years ago. Now that I am a parent everything takes precedent over having some down town. My coins are now being saved for things like a new home, a college fund and emergency funds. I will be totally transparent. I never had an emergency fund until I had a child. Life happens but when you are responsible for another human being it is important to create a cushion for their bottom. I’m tough and I can withstand the concrete. I would love to leave the country but at this time it is not practical. Practical is such a lame word.
- Everything must be scheduled. Spontaneity is a thing of the past. I used to love living my life with no plan. I am creative and impulsive naturally. But now I am no longer responsible for just myself. I have an entire family to think about. I have to remember doctor appointments, daycare schedules, work responsibilities and things that need to be done around the home. Thank God for an iPhone with all its bells and whistles. I would be lost without it. Spontaneity still shows up ever so often. She however has become very demure and the most we do together is get off work early a sneak in a chick flick.
- I cannot keep up with technology. I do not have the time to explore the internet or peruse the Apple store. A student had to explain to me what Kik was. Then I googled it. Mac’s intimidate me although I hear they are better when it comes to making videos. I don’t use goggle chrome or Mozilla Firefox. I have about 12 twitter friends. I would like more. Here is a shameless plug. Follow me @a_kings_ma.
- I cannot drink. I was never a drinking giant like my cousin who can drink corn liquor and brown juice in the same night and not become sick. But at least I could have more than two. Post baby, my limit is two glasses of wine. Curtains.
- I like to two-step. I like to step in general. Slow dragging is my absolute favorite. Nobody really does that anymore. Salsa or merengue, anyone? I’m not interested in sweating out my clothes in public or having drinks spilled on me doing some inappropriate dance move. I could probably win a twerk contest but I would be in traction tomorrow. Plus the dominant culture has started twerking. And you know when they get a hold of something it becomes, well you know …… lame.
Greetings readers! I totally missed my March 15th blog post. If I were a check, you would be pissed. This thing called life can sometimes get in the way. I am committed to doing a better job! Please forgive me. Now on to my latest offering….
A person’s spiritual walk is highly personal. I respect that. Most religions do recognize some form of prayer. If you are a mother, please get familiar. Sometimes that is the only power you have. King has had a few colds but way fewer than the doctor claims to be the average/norm. In the beginning, every time he had “something” that lasted more than 2 days I would take him to the pediatrician. The doctor would happily take my 20 dollar co-pay and tell me there was nothing he could do. Papa Bear would laugh at Yeye and I; calling us money trees. “You must like to give away money” he said.
I would debate the doctor each time and take my sniffling baby home. After a while google and my mid-wife friends became my doctor. Hyland’s homeopathic products and Babyganics are my remedies of choice. Still there are times when nothing works, your baby is miserable and you feel helpless. But you are not helpless. There is a free antidote called prayer and nobody has to instruct you on what to do. It simply comes from your heart, gut and brain.
King is a rambunctious 15 month old. Watching him makes me tired but when he doesn’t feel well I miss the energizer bunny. Oddly enough when I put my hand on his head and start to pray out loud, he sits still and allows me to. Sometimes my prayer can last 5 minutes and that is an eternity for a toddler. He sits and watches me wide eyed as I pray for each part of his body and his overall wellbeing. As soon as I say Amen his is off to the races again.
Recently, my sun got a respiratory virus. His breathing, especially at night was labored and he was forced to breathe through his mouth. This made sleepy nearly impossible since he is a thumb sucker. Even the cynical Papa Bear felt some kind of way; tapping me in the early morning, “Uh, you need to go ahead and make that appointment”.
So I did. They administered some albuterol, which did nothing for him. They prescribed a saline treatment (which you can purchased over the counter) for him and told us we had to wait it out. Oh and by the way, this virus can last up to 2 weeks. I had to pray right then and there not to slap the dog piss out of the on call doctor that favored Mr. Rogers. He wasn’t getting rid of me that fast. He had to quote research to me, show me how well King was oxygenated on a machine and repeat himself several times before I left his office.
King is on the upswing no thanks to Mr. Rogers. The body is a miraculous thing. It is designed to heal itself. Mothers are designed to protect their cubs. You and I must always remember when we do not know what else to do, we can always pray. It’s free and you feel empowered.
I am doing my best but I don’t think that it is good enough. As an unmarried woman; being a stay home Mom didn’t seem like a smart choice even though it was offered to me. There was also the unattractive disclaimer that our lifestyle would drastically change if I decided to stop working. Leaving my baby has also been a choice that I have never been 100% comfortable with. It stressed me out so much in the early months that my milk supply dried up. I gave myself my first F in motherhood when this happened. I struggled for months to get my supply back up. I eventually gave up when King was 7 months. My son does not sleep through the night. I have tried sleep training but allowing my son to cry for more than an hour feels like child abuse. Yeye allowed him to cry for 2 hours when I wasn’t home one day. Oy vey! His will is stronger than mine. And as guilt ridden parent it is hard for me to allow him to cry during the limited time we do have together. I spend more time at work helping other people’s children than I do with my own child. Something is wrong with that but hey, this is America. I get a big fat F in sleeping training. I’m on a roll!
I’m sure that I am not alone when I worry incessantly about f—ing it up. How do I guarantee he listens to jazz and classical music when I’m away from him? Is he being read to? How can I make sure that the TV isn’t on all day long around him? Although I’m not a TV Nazi mom, I do want to limit his screen time. Sometimes I’m so exhausted after work all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch my DVR Wendy Williams episodes and have a glass of wine. On days like those polygamy seems very attractive. I could really use a sister-wife to make dinner, take King to the park or give him a bath. On second thought, I would feel guilty if I didn’t do everything myself. Never mind imaginary sister-wife, you go ahead and take a nap because I will never be able to again.
Mom guilt is a terrible drug. It is addictive. It gives you many examples of how you are not good enough. It is a demon you constantly have to fight. Sometimes I’m too tired to fight so I just sit in hell. All is not lost, however. Maybe I did one thing right by becoming an educator, I have the summers off. At least I have that time to try to make up for the ten months away from King. Two Fs and an A give me about a C-. So maybe I’m not failing. But growing up I could never bring home a C. Because average means you are doing the bare minimum but I swear, I am doing my absolute best!
In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, I offer you these affirmations for loving your post natal body. Black women love thyself!
• Proper food choices are an act of self-love.
• My breasts are beautiful. They provide perfect nourishment for my child.
• I release weight quickly and with ease.
• By exercising I am modeling good behavior for my child.
• Motherhood is sexy!
• When I look in the mirror I am delighted by what I see.
• I am a superhero! My body provided a portal which brought forth life.
• God created me to be a mother.
• My body is a perfect instrument, with love it will return to its pre-baby appearance.
• I will take care of myself first so that I can take care of those I love.
Repeat in the mirror everyday until you believe what you are saying! Happy weight releasing!
To my dismay King did not say Mama, Ma, Mommy are anything close as his first words. The first distinguishable word he said was STOP! I wasn’t even the person to identify the utterance as a word, his aunt had to let me know what he was saying. She has an older son. When you have to take things away from King or redirect his behavior, he tells you, STOP. Sigh. In an effort to NOT teach my son the word no at an early age, I used the word stop. Well it worked; he can correctly use the word in a sentence or as a sentence.
His second set of words did not include my title either. “Bye-Bye Daddy” he said.
The words were just as clear and audible as a grown up’s. I was in total shock and l looked and Papa Bear and then Yeye to confirm what I just heard. Their faces told me that my ears had not deceived me. I was totally excited. King spoke with words I understood! Praises Be! I spun King around and kissed his fat face. I was so proud of this milestone.
That feeling subsided and another one entered. The one I do not have a name for but the one I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be blogging about. My mind chatter went something like this:
How dare he not say Mama first? What?! I carried you’re not so petite self for over nine months and let you distort my dancer’s figure; that I have yet to recover! I nursed you for as long as my body allowed. Then I suffered a mild depression when I dried up because I thought I was failing you in some way by going back to work. Boy! Since you’ve been born I never had a good night’s sleep. I pray over every decision I make for you. I live for you. And dude, you couldn’t say Mama first? The nerve.
But these are the conversations that no one will admit to having with themselves. Please note I know I was being ridiculous. I am glad that he is saying something and that there is no speech delay. Two word sentences are pretty advanced for my now thirteen month old. At his paternal grandmother’s house he has found other babies to communicate with. I am glad that what sounds like gibberish to me is understood by another. Once again things did not go as planned and guess what? I lived.
This piece was supposed to be published elsewhere. It wasn’t. I am a grown woman (Cue Beynonsense). I know what it means when people say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Enjoy the read kitties!
If you take a poll of the room you are in right now and asked people what a school counselor does; the answers will be unusually varied for a profession that has been around since the late 1800’s. Some people don’t even know what you are talking about unless you use the antiquated term guidance. But those of us in the trenches attempting to influence America’s youth with very little recognition understand how essential we are to the pedagogy.
A counselor knows the importance of social and emotional health and how it directly relates to academic achievement. A school counselor is a magician of sorts managing to juggle parent/teacher conferences, mediation, and character lessons. And what about that phone call from the parent that is over-sharing and thinks that you are therapeutic? I am responsible for a lot professionally; why would I want to add being responsible for a whole other person? Why? Because children are the spice of life; they are the cream that rises to the top.
Becoming a Mom has sharpened my relationship building skills. When I look at little Johnny, I can now imagine him as my son. I can approach a difficult conversation with compassion and empathy because I can now put myself in the parent’s shoes. I communicate better with teachers and administrators in my building in an effort to holistically come up with interventions that address behavior. After all, I would want someone to take that kind of time on my child. Everything in life is about relationships. My students are always watching and I want to model for them what I am expecting from them.
Motherhood has made me a time management guru. If it is not written down, it is not real. Being the CEO of my home means I have to cook two meals every time I do cook because I don’t cook every day. I do this to free up time to do other things like, workout. Grocery list, to-do-list, the-kid-needs-this-list, keep me organized. I love my phone with all its reminders dings and bells. Managing my time at home directly translates to organizing my-self in the workplace. Reminders on Outlook keep me going to more meetings than my mind can remember. At work I must prioritize duties and it is the same at home. If you are lacking in this skill and care about doing a good job; go have a baby, your skills will be instantly honed.
Even when I don’t feel like it, being a mother has encouraged me to always do my best. Feelings are temporary, so whether I feel like being on my best behavior or not; I always choose the best because I know little eyes are watching me. This same rule applies to being a school counselor. There are students and colleagues that will and do challenge your sensibilities. This just comes with the territory of being around people. Despite how you might feel about someone in the workplace, you always want to give your personal best. Children deserve this, definitely mine.
It is the New Year and everyone is armed with their resolutions. Good luck with that, I hope it sticks this time. If you are new here, my name is Thembi aka A King’s Ma and I am the mother of a 1-year-old sun named King. He makes me want to be a better person. (Cue As Good As It Gets) I’ve done a lot a work on myself. I have dredged through getting to a healthy place in regards to my self-esteem and worthiness. But there are other areas of opportunities that require examination and shifting. While I’m on this journey, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned, what works and what does not. So instead of boring you with a list a resolutions that will never come to fruition, I offer you tips on b&@#h exorcism.
- Smile. Sounds easy right? Well my “regular” face is perceived by many as “stank”. I can be minding my own business, tending to the people in my head and the people in the world think I am angry. I am not but their perception is their reality. I had to practice in the mirror. I meditate smiling so my face can get use resting in that position. Trust me, a smile disarms people and makes things easier.
- Do something nice for a person who provides a service for you. I live for my eyebrow threader. I come close to tears and an adult tantrum when she goes home to India. And when she goes she stays for two to three months. Grrr! Jeet is fabulous. She is so kind and patient. I always have plenty of directions when it comes to the shape of my eyebrows. She always tries to give me what I ask for. Jeet is a Sikh and probably doesn’t celebrate Christmas. However, I did bring her an aloe plant for the holidays. I love aloe plants and I love Jeet, it seemed fitting. I did something a little extra so she knows I appreciate her. She was gracious and very surprised. Now you try it.
- Quit watching Ratchet T.V.! Release the tight grip around your pearls and continue reading. My greatest commodity is my time. Now that I am a mother I treasure my personal time. Television takes up a lot of time. I understand the need to relax and decompress after a long day but I’m sure there are more constructive ways to do this than watching reality TV. Most of the women on these shows are poor representations of the feminine. And instead of watching someone else live their dreams and get paid for it; spend that time working on yours. I too rationalize the ratchetness as entertainment but I’m sure some of that is seeping into my subconscious. If you don’t want to be a b%$#h quit watching them on TV. I have not kicked the habit completely but I am cutting back.
- Let someone in your lane while in traffic. Send the person that just cut you off blessings instead of the bird. If you ever want to evaluate where you are spiritually, check yourself in rush hour traffic. It will reveal a lot!
- Give money to the people on the street begging for it. It is not our business what they use it for. This exercise is more about the intent in which the money is given.
- Call the family member you said you were going to call last year, last week, and last night. If you love someone one let them know, reach out to them. Do it today, tomorrow isn’t promised.
- Be nice to the lady/man on your job who makes it their life’s business to get on your nerves. At my day job there is a woman who I tried to be friends with because I thought we had a lot in common. She throws me tons of shade and only speaks to me if I speak to her first. The old me could have won the you don’t exist contest but the new me doesn’t play games. I continue to speak and continue to be polite since we have to coexist in the work place. You will encounter challenging people all the time. BEEEEEEP. This is only a test. Act accordingly.
- Exercise. I don’t care what it is, get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which is the body’s natural happy juice. Exercise is also a constructive way to release aggression. Instead of cursing out your unsuspecting mate; demolish that tread mill. The tread mill has no feelings; your man does. You can walk away from the gym with your relationship intact and a few pounds lighter. And losing weight always puts me in a good mood.
- Give compliments. Give them freely and be sincere. I notice shoes and hair immediately. If there is something I like, you will know. Feel free to do the same with me. The mom shoe game is different but still hot! Peep my new functional fancy style.
- Send hand written thank you cards. If someone looked out for you in a way they didn’t have to, thank them, promptly. I recommend having a stock pile of blank thank you notes. Send them within 48 hours. This actually might be a standard of etiquette you teach your children. People will appreciate the gesture. When was the last time you received a hand written note.
Happy New Year folks! Plant seeds of prosperity and try not to be a B*&@H!
~A King’s Ma