10 Ways Becoming A Mother Has Made Me Lame

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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Prayer Warrior aka A Mom

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.

Mom Guilt

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!

King’s First Words

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.

Balancing Act: How Becoming a Mother Made Me a Better School Counselor

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.

Raising a Singleton

As soon as I had my first child people were asking me when I would have the next. It is repulsive enough that the government tries to make decisions about my womb, now I have randoms doing it also? No sir, we are very happy with our #1 and have no plans of making #2. After folks learn this, I get bombarded with ugly comments.
“Your child will be spoiled.”
“He is going to be selfish!”
“Who is he going to play with?”
kingpicforblog raising a singleton
It seem as though being an only child has gotten a bad rap. Since I am an only child; I would like to have a PR moment on behalf of only children everywhere. There are wonderful skills we have acquired as a result of having no siblings. Only children have wonderful imaginations. Creative people tend be only children. Famous only children include Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Alicia Keys, Frank Sinatra and John Lennon; maybe being a singleton had something to do with their genius. Just maybe. My grandparents used to tell me the story of how I would set my dolls in a row and play school, teaching them their alphabet. They would also crack up laughing at how I would beat the dolls for getting out of line. I was a big disciplinarian in my young age. Exercising my creative juices allowed me to manifest my current job as an educator.
Only children know how to be their own best friends. One of my favorite things to do is going to the movies by myself. I have plenty of girlfriends who will forgo an event because they have to go alone. Dear single ladies, you increase your chances of being approached by a man when you are alone. Those mobs you like travel in, intimidate men. Just saying.
I can have laser beam focus when raising my child because I have only one target. I plan on encouraging his creativity in every way. I also think it is important that he appreciates his own company. And don’t worry, he will earn his rewards; they won’t just be given to him. He will learn to share and play with others because his father’s family is overflowing with children. So randoms, if I didn’t ask for your opinion about my single offspring, why would you offer it? And would it be inappropriate if I said to a mother of multiples, “it looks like you don’t pay much attention to that middle one. He has boogers in his nose, his shoes are mismatched and it looks like he has gum in his hair!”

The Birth Story of a King

003

I have been hesitant to tell my birth story because I wanted to avoid processing for as long as possible. King is now 8 months old so maybe now I should give it a try. After being told that my eggs were old, in low supply and that my one fallopian tube was blocked; I miraculously conceived a child. That was easy! Now on to the hard part, where and how did I plan on delivering? I come from a family of light workers, my mother has always been what people now call “new age”. I just call her Mom. Natural child-birth seemed like the logical choice for me. A birth free of medications, and minimal interference was a no brainer for me. There was one hiccup, Papa bear. He is very accommodating and acquiesces to most of my non-traditional shenanigans but there was no way I was having a home birth on his watch.

A happy compromise for him was giving birth in a birthing center. So I began my research, there are limited choices in northern Virginia area. The Birthcare Center located in Alexandria Va., seemed like a feasible prospect. I attended an information session and had a couple of appointments. The benefits of this place were that my insurance covered the visits and possibly some of the birth experience which is an anomaly. They also have registered nurses as well as midwives on the facility. Insurance rarely covers any birth experience outside of a hospital. Birthing babies is big business! The disadvantages were the place was less than hygienic for my personal taste and the front desk people were trained at the personnel school for the snarky, unprofessional and unenthused. I was certain if I had to deal with one of them checking in for delivery; they would have been sufficiently cursed out! I don’t need to deal with people who will bring that out of me or maybe I need to exhibit more self-control.  Either way Birthcare was nixed.

The second place we visited was Nova Birth Center located in Chantilly Va. I fell in love the minute I walked through the door. The facility is modern, with state of the art equipment. The information session was traumatic for Papa bear. They were talking about placenta encapsulation. Whoa, this is his first visit let’s not scare the poor man! We had options of different rooms we wanted to labor in and every room had a large birthing tub. A con of this facility was it cost $3200 to give birth there plus your prenatal visits. Insurance covered zip. If you had to be rushed to the nearest hospital you were not refunded. For me, none of the women being RNs was also a con. There was also the 45 minute commute to the facility. If you have disposable income and have given birth before with no complications, I highly recommend this place. We made a different choice, the traditional hospital route. The horror!

King stayed in my womb 5 days past his due date and I wanted to evict him. My doctor(s), it was a practice of rotating doctors which I loathe, scheduled me to be induced. I was on my way to the last supper before checking in to the hospital when my water broke. A little trickle, nothing major, I put on a sanitary napkin and went on my way. At the restaurant I went to the bathroom to change the napkin and the levies broke. Water forcefully escaped my body and flooded the bathroom stall. Oh my God! Then the mucus plug came crashing onto the floor. Oh my God! I’m standing in a public bathroom with pants around my ankles trying to clean the floor. OOOH –MY-FREAKING-GOD! I texted Papa Bear to tell him to pull the truck around front; I planned on running and jumping into it.  Have you ever seen a fat, pregnant woman with soiled pants run? Trust me, you don’t want to. Sitting on a towel I leaked on Papa Bear’s new leather seats. Luckily, the hospital was around the corner. I pre-registered in hopes that I would be admitted quicker. No such luck. I stood in public leaking answering question that I had answered 12 times before. Then we went upstairs to labor and delivery only to answer the same questions again. “Is it possible for me to sit somewhere since I’m leaking and having contractions?” I asked.

Finally the nurse took pity on me and admitted me to my room. I refused the Pitocin and labored through the night. They did put a hep-lock in my arm and gave me fluids. I wasn’t dehydrated and I couldn’t move hooked up to all those machines. Sigh. Babies are big business! The doctor checked me, I was only 2 cm dilated. What? I’ve been at this for 6 hours now. Early the next morning I was checked and still only 2 cm. They promised the Pitocin would move things along. Well it did move the labor along but it also brought with it the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. Each time I had a contraction I felt like bones were breaking. I finally yelled at Papa Bear “Do something!”

He assisted me with moving since I was hooked up to machines. Moving freely to get into a comfortable position was almost impossible. I did find some relief in standing and bending over while having a contraction. It became too much. My mother wasn’t there to Jedi mind trick me and I asked for the epidural. Well what did I do that for? They were in my spine for ages trying to get it right. Meanwhile, I was having contractions but I had to remain still so that I wouldn’t end up paralyzed. Ugh. I cried out for my mother it hurt so badly. Yes, 36 years old crying out for MY mother. This was almost worse than the contractions themselves. But I survived and quickly felt no pain. Laboring was easy now but I still wasn’t dilating. By this time I was on my third doctor rotation. King’s heart rate dropped. I turned on my side and went to sleep, my mother finally arrived. Around 10 AM the following day the doctor checked me, then the baby. His heart rate was still low and they wanted to operate. A c-section? Really? Wow. Everything I wanted to avoid was happening. I didn’t feel in control of my body, the decision making, or anything. Mom consulted a couple of her midwife friends, did some reiki/prayer on me and I was rolled into surgery.

Lucky thing they cut me open. The umbilical cord was wrapped around King’s neck three times. I have heard from other doctors, doulas, etc. that there still could have been a way to deliver him vaginally. But who really knows? We are all speculating here. King was delivered at 9lbs 3oz covered in meconium with full strong lungs. He was perfect. The nurse cleaning him kept commenting on how big his testicles were. I told her to shut up from the surgical table, gut wide opened, I had already transitioned into the lioness protecting my cub. Because of anesthesia I had to wait an hour to nurse and I wouldn’t allow them to feed him formula.  King and I had skin to skin contact until it was ok to nurse then he latched on like a champ. Recovery was slow and I stayed in the hospital for four days.

My birth plan ended up simply being a writing exercise. Nothing went the way I planned. I think I suffer from post-traumatic stress due to my birth experience. No matter how messy the process the end result is pure bliss. I have a healthy baby boy who has deepened my capacity to love. And for this I am grateful.