What Black Breastfeeding Week Is and Is Not!

Today’s blog post is a little different. Today we are on audio. I hope that you enjoy this post and please be sure to leave your comments below!

♥ Carmen

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How We Can Avoid Raising “Mean Girls”

When we give birth to our precious daughters we have big dreams for them instantly. We may or may not speak them aloud, but they are deep within our desires for them. Now, I firmly believe that our girls should be strong and opinionated so that they are never taken advantage of and for them to possess the abilities to be a fearless voice for other women who are afraid.

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If you all have ever watched the movies “Mean Girls”, “Jawbreaker”, “Cruel Intentions”, or “Carrie” you know what mean girls do in Hollywood films, but what about what they do in real life. cruel-intentions-movie-reese-witherspoonMean girls grow up to become mean women that make all of our lives difficult. It happens in families, schools, and eventually the workplace. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are things that we can do as women to prevent the “mean girl” behavior in our little girls even when they don’t realize they are behaving like a “mean girl”.

Why put that responsibility on women? Because unlike men women are always around…period! If mom isn’t present in our lives there is always a mom, an aunt, or a lady Teacher available to instill love into that little girl. We have to start telling our girls that they are special to us when they are born. I believe that little girls began to change and grow up into being a “mean girl” as a result of a few things.

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  1. Their parents have made them feel entitled to ignore the feelings and needs of others.

  2. They have low self-esteem or feel inadequate due to someone else’s standards.

  3. They lack the basic needs of life. Ex. clean clothes, food, personal care, love.

  4. They are being abused mentally, physically, emotionally, or verbally.

  5. They are constantly being rejected by peers or adults.

  6. They are judged or ridiculed for things that they may or not be able to control such as physical features or disabilities.

How We Can Avoid

I believe that we as women have the power to uplift and embrace the girls that we have constant contact or communication with by doing a few simple things:

  • We have to tell them that we love their little eyes and everything about them the same way that we want to hear someone saying it to us as adults.

  • We have to love them hard just like we do with our precious sons. If you’re a boy mom, you know exactly what I mean.

  • We have to hold them in our arms longer and hug them more often. They have the rest of their lives to become independent.

  • We have to let them talk loud without the fear of it being unladylike and let them dance like no one is watching even when they are.

  • We have to stop telling them that their hair is nappy or difficult to comb even when it’s thick enough to break every comb in the house.

  • We have to remind them that their dark skin is beautiful.

  • We have to remind them that freckles are unique and God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave them to her.

  • We have to remind them that God didn’t make everyone slim and having a little extra body weight doesn’t mean they are unhealthy or unattractive.

  • We have to remind them that their accent is just fine and they don’t have to change their dialect to fit in with the other kids.

  • We have to remind them that their virginity is priceless.

  • We have to remind them that if their virginity was stolen or given out of ignorance that they are still priceless.

  • We have to remind them that expensive shoes, clothes, and purses don’t make you special or beautiful.

  • We have to remind them that they are smart even when they struggle in class.

  • We have to remind them that friends don’t hurt friends and love is not abusive.

  • We have to remind them that No means No and they can say it to anyone.

  • We have to encourage them that they can be anything that they want in life with hard work and faith.

  • We have to pray for them, with them, and teach them how to pray for themselves.

  • We have to build a relationship of trust with them through communication and time spent together.

  • We have to remind them that they are not in competition with their friends or other girls. We all have so much to offer the world.

  • We have to protect them from danger the best way that we can. This means family bullies, sexual predators, etc.

  • We have to teach them to apologize when they are wrong and how to have compassion for others.

  • We have to teach them to not look down upon others with less than what they have and to appreciate all that they have.

  • We have to show them grace and mercy when they fall short and show them how to begin again.

  • We have to teach our girls how to be kind to others no matter how different they are from themselves and their friends.

  • We also have to remind them that their social media followers do not determine how valuable they are. They don’t have to show their bodies, private lives or be someone they are not for the world to accept them.

  • We have to remind them that having one friend is better than having one thousand and that someone in this world can’t wait to be a friend to them.

  • We have to teach them how to give back to others in the world.

  • We have to tell them that we love them and often.

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Share this with another woman or a mom to keep the positivity going!

Carmen

Oh Toodles! My Toddler Turned 3!

Time is moving so fast with my daughter. I don’t remember her sitting on our laps for a long time. We didn’t rush her to grow up, but she was just too determined to be held back for our cuddles and babying behaviors.

I know that it’s because she has an older brother and desperately wants to do what he does, but someone should have told her that I needed her to stay smaller for just a little bit longer. She’s my grace baby and yes, I cry a little inside when I say that and think of her like that.

The grace baby that we also like to refer to as ladybug, mook-mook, and sour patch kid turned 3 on May 29. She literally told us that her birthday was coming every day up until her actual birthday. She was just super excited! She told us that she wanted a Spiderman party and then a Peppa Pig party, and she finally settled with a Minnie Mouse theme party. On her actual birthday, we kept things simple with pizza for dinner and cupcakes. She knew that she was having a birthday party with her family and kept telling me that she wanted to jump outside in the tent like the last time. That meant that she wanted a bounce house. That also meant a hot outdoor party which I wasn’t looking forward to having. Because of the 98 degree temps that we are having every day, I decided to schedule her party for 10-12 a.m. That gave us 80-degree temps with a little breeze. Considering that it was rather early for a birthday party I didn’t want to serve pizza or barbeque like last year, so I turned to my favorite Pinterest boards to find some brunch ideas. I could not find any good ideas that would allow me to not have to be concerned about safe food temps, so I gave up in a little frustration and decided to leave it in Gods hands. My husband was settled that he would pick up kids meals from anywhere we wanted the next morning if we didn’t come up with something. I figured that whatever God decided to tell us to buy or prepare that morning was what it would be even if it was pizza. I kid you not, but at about 2 a.m. that morning the holy spirit told me to prepare a variety of sliders. I was like okay Jesus, help me make this taste good now! I got a few ideas of what meat to use from Pinterest and a few techniques to make them taste extra delicious. It worked perfectly for the time of day. I decided on Ham and Cheddar, Beef and Mozzarella, Turkey and Cheddar, and Turkey Sausage and Cheddar Cheese Eggs all on Hawaiian Sweet Bread.

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We also served strawberries, grapes, and bananas and cake. Our beverages were orange juice, water, 100% fruit juice boxes for the kids, and of course soda. My momma, you all, oh goodness! She is the real MVP! She got in the kitchen without a blink and made those sliders like it was nothing. To top it all off she helped me finish the edible desserts which were Oreo cookie Minnie Mouse ears on a stick. My husband’s sweet cousin bagged them up into treat bags with the little twist ties.

I think everyone was happy with the food and that was my goal! Minnie Mouse decorations are one of the easiest party decorations that you can buy or make. I pulled party decor that I used from previous parties that included mason jars, tulle, and felt fabric.

I’ve realized that it’s much prettier and cheaper to buy a few yards of fabric as table covers versus the plastic table covers. You have fewer wrinkles and if you purchase a neutral color you can use them for years to come. Walmart had precut 1-yard fabric in just the colors that I needed. I used them to cover our tables and once I was done with them I just placed them into the washing machine to store away for future use. I knew that I wanted Minnie Mouse ears on everything, so I turned to one of my favorite websites, Canva. I love that you can create any type of design that you normally would have to pay for on Etsy.

Now, don’t get me wrong Etsy is still a great site because there are a few party products that you can find that save you time from creating and that Canva may not be able to reproduce, mostly the vinyl products. However, for the most part, you can DIY your own decor if you have time and only plan to use cardstock. I decided to make a happy birthday board that just says “happy birthday Mariyah” for the gift area. I always use our fireplace as the gift area to save space from a traditional gift table. To make the birthday board and other printables for the party, I switched between the Gochi Hand and Brusher font on Canva. To finish the birthday board I cut streamer paper into circles and my sweet son helped me glue them to the board. I also added some Minnie Mouse ears with a bow.

I love the party frame that allows guest to take fun pics, so I had to make one of those as well. I used pink paint, glitter, and my husband hand drew Minnie Mouse ears with bows. The glitter hearts where leftover from previous party decor and the Minnie Mouse hands were from a free printable clip art site. The old mason jars worked perfectly for a table centerpiece and the different shades of old tulle worked as a table runner. I didn’t place any of the pink plates on the table as decor because of sanitary reasons and kids. I also decided to use plain pink plates because I think Minnie Mouse plates would have been too overwhelming on a table along with all of the Minnie Mouse decors in the room. I had Minnie Mouse ears on the wall, on the doors of our dining room, and on napkins. My daughter also wore cute Minnie Mouse ears that she refused to keep on the entire time of the party. Oh well! The tags that I created to place into the mason jars were made from Canva and it was a card with my daughter’s birthdate and initial, a Minnie Mouse quote, and Minnie Ears.

You can find the craft sticks at hobby lobby or you can use kabob sticks for a sharp point to press through the tulle. My mother-n-law added the balloons to the jar as a special touch.

Let’s talk about balloons. I purchased two jumbo balloons from Winn-Dixie and for whatever reason that were deflated within an hour after the party started. I purchased them specifically for the cake table which meant that there was now no decor available for the cake table. Thank goodness my mother-n-law had already bought a ton of Minnie Mouse balloons, so we were able to use a few of those. I already struggle with decorating cake tables, so I definitely did not like that my $20 for two balloons was gone. Yes, I got my money back on Sunday. Now, you all should know me by now! Frugal….frugal!

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The bounce house was fun for the kids and everyone was happy. The cake was delicious as expected because the baker is so gifted with her hands. Mariyah has told me several times that she had fun at her party and that she loved her party and that was my ultimate goal, but next year I will let a party place do the work. I’m over this, but I do believe birthdays are important enough to be celebrated every single year. She’s three and I’m thankful that she’s thriving and healthy.

Did any of you celebrate your birthday in May like my daughter and me? Let me know in the comments below!

Words of Wisdom and Love: The Mother’s Day Edition

the-mommy-365-black-momSome of the best advice that I’ve ever been given has come from the beautiful and kind women in my life.  I consider myself to be a pretty strong and confident woman, but sometimes I need reassurance, prayers, and motivation about many things in my life from marriage to motherhood to those really bad moments of my life and emotions where I know I’m sitting down in the valley. I guess that makes me pretty normal huh? I’m so very thankful to still be able to have a daily talk with my mom and I promise you that I don’t take any of it for granted. Today I want to share my most memorable moments of wisdom and love through words from a few important women in my life. Untitled designLet’s begin with my grandmothers. I’m blessed to still have my mother’s mom, my grandmother who has always been very charismatic and strong-willed. When I was pregnant with my son, I had to listen to someone constantly remind me of how painful childbirth is and how they felt as if they were dying with every contraction. I already knew that anyway and never ever asked that person how childbirth felt. When I shared this with my sweet grandmother she reminded me to pay it no attention at all. She assured me that “if having a baby was that unbearable we would all stop having sex.” I remember laughing so hard and feeling so relieved. My grandmother explained that she had all 7 of her children without any epidurals and here she was today still breathing and happy. My dad’s mom, may she rest in heaven was so funny and loving towards my brother and me. I didn’t have a chance to spend a lot of time with her, but I will never forget how she made me feel when I was with her. I felt so much love. The best advice that I was ever given from her was to “take care of yourself, fix your hair, make yourself look nice and presentable for yourself and not for anyone else.” Anyone that knew my grandmother should remember that she cared about her appearance and always wanted to look feminine. She was beautiful!FB_IMG_1557528099784-01.jpeg My former colleague turned friend was always my reminder to laugh at work and not take everything so serious. She has become my phone call/text prayer partner and I can trust her to keep it real with me. My most memorable words from her are her reminders to me of just how much God actually loves me, forgives me, and knows me. I can be really hard on myself and my shortcomings sometimes and it has driven me to some really low points in my life mentally. She saw those low moments through my smiles at work and would pray with me and remind me to cry out to God and begin a new slate for myself every single day. IMG_8459My mother-in-law has definitely become my mother-in-love. No, it’s not perfect, but my love for my husband and my children make it even easier to love her. Grace is a beautiful thing when you allow it to reign in your life. I enjoy laughing with her and watching her spoil her grandchildren with snacks and hugs. A funny and memorable word of advice that I will always remember and mostly because she tells my husband and me this all of the time, “I don’t mind doing time if someone messes with a grandchild of mine!” I holler laughing all the time because I know she’s telling the truth and I would gladly sit in a cell with her over my babies.20170212_162744-01.jpeg With all of the words that I could ever put in this blog it still would not give me the ability to express my love, appreciate, and thankfulness for my very own mom. Gosh, y’all my mom is the BEST mom that God could have created for me. She is always a phone call away, always ready to drop something and run for us, and just gives the best darn love that a daughter needs. We talk almost every single day and we have always been close. She was has helped me during my pregnancies, missed work for my sick days, prayed for me, and supports every idea that I have even when it is unconventional. She loves me and I will always remember some many nuggets of wisdom that she has left in my soul. The one that I love and use the most in this phase of my life is that “you have the right to change my mind anytime that you want to.” This is so simple, but important because in life people will try to hold you to a certain standard, their standards, standards that God would never expect to overcome without the grace of Jesus. Nope, not me, I set my own standards and I have a right to recreate it for myself until God says otherwise. Anyone that has a problem with that can take it up with my momma, but they don’t want that fight! FB_IMG_1557528491336.jpgI hope that you are inspired to remember or write down your owns words of wisdom and love from the important women in your life. Enjoy your mom, grandmom, aunts, or children. A special hug and prayer to all of you that have a mom in heaven. Have a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

 

Carmen

Five Words That Your Stay at Home Mom Friend Is Tired of Hearing You Say!

 “Girl, I know you’re tired” or “OMG, I wouldn’t stay home” I don’t think I’ve heard these words said to me so many times in my life except for when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I think people forget that most stay-at-home moms once worked outside of their homes and were likely equally as tired as they are now after working all day in their homes with their own children. I’m that mom! I went back to work in Education a little while after my son was born. It was the best decision for me at that time. There were a few bad things that happened at his learning center and I have to admit they left me traumatized. Summer break couldn’t come fast enough for me in his last year of someone else’s care. I was just over the carelessness of other adults.

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Six years later after the birth of my son, my daughter was born. I went back and forth with the idea of going back to work but ultimately decided to pause my career for just a little while. Six months into my time at home I interviewed for a totally new job in Education and surprisingly I was hired. A few weeks before I was scheduled to begin I had a huge change of heart and we struggled to find good childcare. My husband and I took that as a sign that I should continue to stay home with our daughter. What I never imagined was how it would be a problem for everyone except for my husband and me. So many people had an opinion about why we shouldn’t do this or why they couldn’t do this. Like Jay Z famously said, “It ain’t for everybody.”

Being a stay-at-home mom is a job just like any other job that you care for children. Trust me, I know. As a former Educator, I spent 8.5 hours a day nurturing and preparing someone else’s child to be great! My breaks at work were short and most of the time I didn’t spend them relaxing. I spent them preparing for the next day at work or doing things that I couldn’t do after work because I was going to start my 2nd shift at home as a Mom.

five words that your stay-at-home mom friend is tired of hearing you say!

You see, when you’re a good parent some days you’re going to be tired. It doesn’t matter if you work in the home or outside of the home. My day begins as early as 5:45 and ends mostly around 10:30. It was that way before and nothing has changed. The only difference with my situation now is that I’m preparing my own child at home. I’ve been blessed to find some really nice moms that have also chosen to pause their careers for just a little while to prepare their own children. I will admit that some days may be overwhelming for moms that have more than one child at home, but I also believe that those moms fail to prioritize and plan. Housework is not the most important job and seeing your house fall apart around you all day can be depressing for anyone that enjoys being organized and neat. I would suggest that if that is you, choose a day to clean and let that be when your children are sleep. Also, make your spouse, yes, I said make. Make your spouse entertain the children while you accomplish the task that you feel needs high priority at that moment. Also, try to remember that your children are only little for a little while and your home can then go back to being a museum.

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If you’re that person that is always referencing “girl, I know you’re tired” and you are also a parent, ask yourself if you’re tired after a long day at work? If the answer is yes, then we’re all doing it right. If not, maybe something in your life is being neglected. If you’re not a parent at all you should most definitely keep that comment to yourself because you really don’t have a clue. Try to be kind to every parent that you meet. You never know how hard they were just previously judged for their parenting decisions. It also might save you from getting “put” all the way together by a mom.