parenting

Who Is Tarsha McMillian?

IMG-0696If you have been following my social media then you know that last week was epic for me! If you don’t know anything about me I am sure you know this one thing…I LOVE ANTHONY HAMILTON! My family has put up with my borderline obnoxious behavior regarding this man for a long time, so it was no surprise when my cousin found out he would be in town and said I should go. So, I went. I enter a room full of people who all seem to know each other and they are talking about the real reason they are there. They are there because Tarsha McMillian is releasing her single. I am there to meet Anthony Hamilton. The room darkens and we take our seats, by this time I’ve spotted Mr. Hamilton and I’m not taking my eyes off him. There’s a video playing on the wall entitled “Who is Tarsha McMillian?!” Ms. McMillian is passionate, driven, the bestest friend anyone could ever ask for, she is an amazing mother, she is giving, she is full of purpose, and oh SHE CAN SANG! These are all words people in the video used to describe Ms. McMillian. The spot light hits the stage and she enters the room, a gorgeous chocolate woman, with a fierce hair cut, she is small in stature and her voice is as sweet as apple pie. She thanks everyone for attending and then the band starts to play…

The little sweet as apple pie voice turns into this monstrous, larger than life, melodic, seasoned, gospel, rock, soul, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, dope a$$ SANGER! There is a difference between a singer and a sanger, this woman can sang. What happened next will surprise anyone who knows me, I lost track of Anthony Hamilton! I know right what is the world coming too. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was witnessing. Tarsha, because now we friends, has a way of drawing you in, making you want to know more about the stories she is telling through song. She is humble and gracious, with some funk on the side. You get so lost in her captivating voice that at one point it feels like every song is about you or something you went through. I live for moments like that when I connect with an artist and feel like they are speaking into my life.  But where is Anthony Hamilton? Right where my eye left him last enjoying this magical moment with the rest of Tarsha’s fans, now including me!

Who is Tarsha McMillian? She is transparent, thankful, an overcomer, a believer, a fighter. She is a daughter, a sister, a divorcee. Tarsha shared a powerful testimony during this intimate experience, one that touched my soul and caused me to reflect on the things in my life, the waiting periods in my life when I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out or even if they would. Tarsha was broken but healed, she is a personal praise break (I loved this description). The list can go on and on about who Tarsha McMillan is, but the one thing I’m sure everyone who was there that evening can agree on is that she is definitely READY!

If you want to know more about who Tarsha McMillian is check our her single “I’m Ready” on Itunes.

Now you may be asking yourself, this woman who loves Anthony Hamilton didn’t get to meet him. Well you’d be wrong…IMG-0697

Side note: My favorite Tarsha McMillian song is Silence Kills, look into it!

 

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parenting

It’s A Shame!

IMG-0358 (1)I honestly hate that this is a conversation we have to keep having but it’s a very necessary one. I’m talking about the conversation around Mom Shaming! It’s a tough enough job nurturing and guiding these people we’ve been given, but to have someone take a hammer and shatter your confidence in this area it’s a bit much. We all know we don’t have it all together, yet each day we at least attempt to put on this brave face and join society. The last thing you need when trying to hold it together is someone giving you the look. We all know the look, when someone tilts their head up in the air slightly to look down upon you, mom’s also have that stare, but it’s an ancient secret I can’t reveal here. Why do we, people think it’s okay to make someone feel bad about their parenting, just because they may not do it the way we do it doesn’t make it wrong. Can’t we all learn from each other.

So here’s the story Anissa loves to where these kitten heel boots she found. She puts them on with her favorite dress and I watch as she transforms into this character that is a singer, actress, mom, superhero, teacher and doctor. I can see her become empowered and it makes me feel good. The other day she wears this magnificent outfit with me as I grocery shop. Everyone is admiring her little boots with the heels. She in turn clacks them together and gallops away so they can see and hear them. She loves to put on a show. As I giggle, I hear a whisper, “She think she’s grown,” I look around to see who thinks they’re grown, because I’m obviously grown and so is the other lady in the aisle and then there’s just Anissa so who is she talking to?! I ignore and keep reading the package and Anissa keeps clacking. I then hear, “Who would let their little girl wear heels?” So now I know she’s talking to me because unless a ghost was going to reveal himself to us both we were the only ones in the aisle. I politely inquire about her comment with an excuse me. ” I was just wondering where you got those little heels? They are cute, how is she walking in them?” My reply, better than some grown women I know!

As Anissa and I walk out of the aisle I could feel her staring and shaking her head. If I wasn’t confident in who I am as a mom I would have questioned myself and probably took away Anissa’s shoes because of course if this one lady is thinking it someone else must have thought it too.  I know that shoes don’t cause Anissa to grow up any quicker, I also know that she likes the shoes because of the sound they make when she walks. So why was this lady so concerned?! She wasn’t, she didn’t care about Anissa’s welfare she just wanted to judge me based on what she thought she knew. What did she know? Absolutely nothing!

This was just a small incident for me there have been countless others where people assume their opinions matter just because parenting styles don’t match. The beauty of our world is that we are all different, which means the people we raise will be a little bit of us and a whole lot of different. What gives any of us the right to stop that progression? So my advice to the shamers…STOP IT!

Have you ever felt like someone was trying to shame you? How did you handle it?

parenting

Being Nanekia…Do Not Apply Pressure!

jesus-hilario-h-311382-unsplashHey Hotties! The school year has officially started for most (YAY!) This summer was amazing the kids and I had a great time on some great adventures. As most of you know Anissa has started kindergarten and Jamiel is a freshmen in high school. Yeah, yeah, I know the spacing, but you know I like it spicy and the way to keep it that way is to spread them far apart, just joking that’s life. Anyway that’s not what this post is about. My son is attending a great private school, that has a high moral and educational code, they are expecting students to excel in all areas of their lives and become productive members of society. What parent doesn’t what that for their child?! I knew this was the place for my son and we have been excited all year for his start, that was until the first week of school.

Jamiel is my calm child, he doesn’t stress too much, he goes with the flow. So imagine my surprise when I caught him up late one night in a panic. His eyes were red, he had a strained look on his face and he was grabbing his stomach. My immediate response, food poisoning! As I begin to feel his forehead and ask about his other symptoms I realized it wasn’t food poisoning, Jamiel was stressed. In my mind I was thinking we are just the first week in, how can you be stressed already. I didn’t want to make light of how he was feeling, so I got him some water and asked if we could talk. (I always ask my kids if they want to talk I don’t assume they are ready just because I am.)

I took a look at what was on the screen of his laptop and there was this overwhelming schedule, something completely new to him, new teachers, new concepts to learn, new school, new people. While this could be the possibility for each school year, something was very different for him this time around. In his words, “I’m a young adult now people expect me to be responsible all the time, to know things I don’t really know, to perform. I’m always hearing how as a young black man I have to do more, HOW DO I DO MORE?!” I felt bad cause honestly I didn’t have an answer for him, I’m still trying to figure out how I can do more and I’ve had almost 40 years to do so. In the first week of school he had 3 quizzes, 2 papers, football practice, a football game, his chores for home,  and time for a social life, for someone who hasn’t had to jungle this before this was a huge shock to his system. He went through several conversations before we narrowed down his real concern, would he be a disappointment.

Jamiel’s disappointment statement hurt my heart, why would he ever think he was a disappointment. then I remembered a conversation we had earlier this summer. School was never hard for me, I didn’t have to study, I could read something one time and just know it. Jamiel had the same ability in middle school but high school is a whole new ballgame. His confidence was low, how do I help him regain it?

  1. We made a schedule for him to stick to and added the events to the calendar on his phone with reminders. There is time for studying, homework, and time each night to ask me questions about what he may need help with.
  2.  He signed up for tutoring, it’s available free through the school so why not utilize the resource.
  3. We are reading for fun a book together, to expand his horizons. We’ll be able to discuss with each other, hopefully helping him to engage in this conversation will give him with the confidence to engage in class.
  4. I’ve put the tribe on notice and asked that they pray for him and send him encouraging words. I am a firm believer that the people in your child’s life should speak excellence over their life.
  5. Going to bed on time. As much as he wants to be up playing Fortnite, he realizes that he needs rest.
  6. I’ve realized that I want him to do well, to succeed, but not at the cost of his mental health. Open communication about the pressures he feels will always be a constant in our home.

It’s important that we listen to and not just talk at our children. Their feelings matter and we need to watch the pressures we apply. What do you do when you notice your child may be a little stressed? How are you helping to alleviate that stress?

 

parenting

Back to School Blues!!

back to school 2018Summer is wrapping up and school is right around the corner (YAY!). Parents your grocery bill is about to go back to normal, just wait on it. I think that’s the thing that excites me the most my bills will normalize and well the fact that I will have a high schooler and a kindergartener. But let’s face it along with those joyous moments as we prepare to send our kids back out into the education jungle, there are some struggles to be had.

For our entire summer break, we’ve stayed up late, slept in, basically our schedule was a free for all, but with school just a few weeks away it’s time to make some adjustments. I once read somewhere (if I could recall I would give credit) that it takes 12 consecutive days for something to become a routine. So since school is just about that amount of time away we have started the following;

  1. Preparing our clothes/lunches for the next day the night before so we can do our morning routine and have our outfit/food for the day ready.
  2. Going to bed at a decent time. This is mainly for my 5-year-old, if she doesn’t get enough sleep we all pay the price in the morning. I don’t want her to start off on a bad note at a new school so 8pm bedtime it is. Now for some this is late, but for our family schedule this is perfect. Helping her develop her nightly routine distracts her from the fact her brother isn’t going to bed.
  3. Test runs to both schools and to work. We’ve gotten up and driven to both schools during rush hour to see how much time it takes. OUR FAMILY IS ALWAYS LATE! I want to start fresh with the new schools so being on time is a priority.
  4. Update your calendar! Hopefully your child’s school has sent out the yearly calendar, you should update your family calendar now. That way you are well aware of school events that will take place and ca prepare accordingly.
  5. FOr older children like my high schooler we have started the conversation about the appropriate amount of study time. With social media we need to be intentional about the time we give toward studying and sticking to it. If you start the conversation now then those “But Mom” moments will hopefully lessen because you;ve already discussed your expectation for studying.

You can still enjoy those last few weeks before school starts, but don’t get left behind and wondering why you are struggling, implement routines now to help alleviate this problem. What are some things you do to help your child(ren) prepare for the return to school? Comment below.

These may help you as well!
LuminoLite Rechargeable 3000K Warm 6 LED Book Light

For those late night’s when your high schooler needs to study late!

Alarm Clock & Night-Light

Rise & Shine little one with this nifty night light and clock!
Learning Responsibility Star Chart

Teaching responsibility doesn’t have to stress you out. Using a chore chart and holding your child accountable will help the future leaders of tomorrow!

The Night Before Kindergarten

The night before the first BIG day of school can be hard, help your child ease into the situation with this cute story about how children are preparing for school.

parenting

I Need A Date!

date night footageNow that I’ve got your attention…I have someone to date but I was in need of some date night ideas. I mean we do the norm, dinner, drinks, movies, bowling, ect. I was looking for something to do outside of these things that would say be a little more cost-effective, if you know what I mean. So here are my top 5 date night to do at a great cost to you and your love. Enjoy and let me know how they work out!

  1. One of my favorites is a nice long drive. Now you may be thinking gas cost (and it does) but this is where a little homework and research does you some good. We never go for a long drive without having a purpose (even on date night). Once the kiddies are in bed, baby sitter obtained (we have live in) we head out for our adventure. Where do we go. Well usually we go and look at houses that one day will be our dream home, this may seem boring to some, but why not dream with the one you love of what your brighter and better future could be. If we get bored with that then we take in the night-time scenery. Things look a lot different at night than during the day. Open up your mind and imagination and take in something you may have overlooked during your normal daily drive. There’s magic in the night-time air and you two can enjoy it!
  2. Let’s take a long walk…I love when Jill Scott sings that part and I love a long walk with my guy. We have gone for long walks through the downtown part of our city, around the pond (I think this may be our favorite spot) and at the park. It’s something about that night breeze just before the park closes and you get pulled in close to give you just enough warmth that is magical! And guess what? It’s free to walk! Again, there’s something different about the city lights at night that we can’t capture during the day. You never really realize how spectacular your city is until you’ve had the opportunity to pick a secluded spot and stare out into it at night!
  3. Lights, camera, action! Get your mind out of the gutter! There are a few areas in our city that have magic during the day as well. Whether it be your favorite statue, the park, or just a busy city street, there is nothing like having the person who you love and loves you back take your picture. Now we are not talking about the multitude of selfies you take before you pick the right one. But think about it they see you sometimes when you can’t even see yourself. I love our impromptu photo shoots. Even better looking at the pics after where I normally critique myself but then he reminds me of how beautiful I am. Ladies…who doesn’t want to hear that they are beautiful?!
  4. Late night jam sessions! This is one for the couple who has to stay in the house. We LOVE music in our home. But all too often we don’t get to enjoy it because we are busy or the children are controlling the airwaves. But then there are moments where it’s just he and I and we battle back and forth about who has the most music knowledge or we challenge each other to find our favorite song in a particular genre. Maybe this one is my fave. I love to dance and this type a night always leads to dancing. Thanks to my friend Sabrina Lewis, Music Aficionado for this ‘For Lovers Only” playlist: Juicyfruit (Mtume), Me & Mrs. Jones (Billy Paul), For the Lover In You (Shalamar), Angel (Angela Winbush), Adore (Prince), Make It Last Forever (Keith Sweat), Forever My Lady (Jodeci) and you know I can’t leave out Anthony Hamilton (ANYTHING by him is gold)
  5. Finally, another one for those that have to stay in and chill. Y’all already know Netflix & Chill. Now I don’t know about y’all Netflix and Chill game but mine is pretty strong. We put the kids to bed or send everyone to their rooms. We get all our favorite snack, you know the food we don’t sneak into the movies when we go (wink, wink). We set-up our space, rock/paper/scissors for who will control the movie picking first. And then…we enjoy a good laugh, or drama, or mystery. I have to say the Mister is the better movie picker.

All of these ideas are about enjoying time with the one you love, no matter the cost, but if we can be cost efficient then SCORE. Take time out to invest time into your relationship, I promise you won’t regret it. What are you guys doing on your date nights? Do you have date nights? Comment below.

Also below find a few things to help your date night adventure! Click the pic to learn more!
Folding Picnic Basket Large Insulated Bag
On a long care ride or just going to the park this little picnic basket is guaranteed to keep your food nice and fresh!

Pyle Surround Portable Boombox Best
You can take your Jam Session with you if you have this portable bluetooth speaker

Battery Operated LED Flameless Candle Lanterns
Set the mood and light up the night with these battery operated lanterns.

Food Storage Containers with Lids
You got the picnic baskets, grab these containers as well. Fresh, fun, food!

Repel Sportsmen Max Insect Pump Spray
you’re enjoying your romantic stroll and here comes Mr. Mosquito! Not if you invest in some repellent!

parenting

Tune in!!

Here are a few of my favorite guest and podcast episodes from the last year. I appreciate all my guest giving me the opportunity to share their story. Tune in! Click the links!

No Longer Powerless Featuring Sharone ThomasNo Longer Powerless Promo

Policing Our Communities Featuring Jamaal Ansaripolicing our communities

#BOSSMOM Featuring Sherita Carthonbossmom

Dating After Divorce Featuring Clotea Mackdating after divorce

Donnie Lynee Artist SpotlightDonnie Lynee Promo

parenting

Daddy Duties!

The month of June is all about the Dads! I want to take this opportunity to thank Dads for the important role you play in our children’s lives. No matter the circumstance on how you became a father, when you decided to step into that role know you matter.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.”
~ Winne the Pooh

shaerod and familydemetrius and daughtermone and sonslawrenzo and daughterr. dykesm. moore jr.dad and kidsanissa and anthonym. johnsonw. reyest. cannonesha and dadnik dad esha 2symone and johnnik dad, eshagoldieb. bibbe. williamsm. blanchardj. brownwiggj. tuggeym. moorejamiel post 5r. wilcoxj. caffey

parenting

What A Man?!

It’s been about 2 weeks since my son officially ended his junior high career and is now ready to embark on a new journey to high school. This was a tough time for me. He is my ONLY son and being the main parent in his life brings me joy and a bit of sadness.

jamiel post 1I love watching my kids grow up and advising them as needed. They are all strong-willed individuals (got it honestly) and I know it’s my job to help them grow into productive, creative members of society. All the girly conversations I have with my daughters my mom had with me, the territory that I am unfamiliar with, the one that causes me anxiety are the conversations I feel a dad is supposed to have with his son. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of men in my son’s life who can have these talks with him, but I feel as though he is cheated because he can’t have these conversations with the one person who should be thrilled to do so, HIS dad. (Some background, my oldest two children have the same father, due to circumstances out of my control, he is unavailable to co-parent at this time, I’ll just leave it at that.) As I picked out his suit, helped him get dressed for the events that marked the end of this chapter of his life I often wondered how he felt about his dad not being present. Well why wonder when I could just ask, so I did! My son with his tall, lanky, poised face said, I’m good mom you’ve got this! He kissed my forehead (he now towers above me) and gave me the biggest hug.

jamiel post 2
jamiel postAs I watched him look at himself in the mirror I was beyond proud, WHAT A MAN! My son despite his situation is growing into the most amazing, compassionate, strong, bold man I know. I would take credit for all the great things about my son, but I know without the help of the men who constantly and consistently stand in the gap for him, he might have turned out differently. I am humbled by how without breaking a sweat they show up for him on a regular basis.

So single moms if you are doubting whether you can raise a man…let me leave you with this- You may not be equipped for every talk, or every walk, but you are equipped with the love you have in your heart to raise an individual who will go out into the world and be who God destined them to be. What more could you ask for?!
jamiel post 5

 

parenting

I Am A Pink Sister: When Women Unite!

Saturday, May 26 was a BUSY day for me. My son was going to junior prom and I had been invited to attend the event United Women in White Goes Pink: Setting The Expectation! Now me being the superwoman that I am, had a plan mapped out to be at both places at once! Don’t judge me I’m not the only person that thinks they can duplicate themselves. What seemed like an impossible mission, had its ante upped with a wardrobe malfunction. You gotta love life happening! As I panic and rush to find something white to go with my hint of pink, I reflected on the theme of this event “Setting the Expectation!” which meant I needed to set an expectation for myself. So I did, I accepted the fact that I was going to fail miserably at trying to pull this off, but I still had to try. So here it goes…

*I decorate my house, set out the tux, give Symone (my oldest) clear instructions about transporting her brother, beat this gorgeous face, and don a perfect white dress with my blush pink shoes.

nik pink party

As I enter into the Tinkham Veale Center (which I am familiar with as I work across the street), there is an air of peace that fills the entrance. Now that peace could be from meeting two of my favorite pink sisters at the door or it could be that I felt like I did the very first time I entered a #pinkpartyretreat, like I was home. As I walked the hallway to find others there was a sense of love and joy as I passed each lady, making sure to give compliments and receive some graciously. There were hugs and laughter as ladies connected after not seeing each other for a while and then there were new introductions made. I am a people watcher. The most amazing thing to watch is other women enjoying the company of other woman and this place had plenty of that. As I walked up to each vendor table I felt welcomed, that is a huge thing for me, I really like a welcoming feeling. I explored the offerings available by each vendor and made some awesome connections which will be featured soon enough. I look down at my watch and decide I better make my way closer to the main event.

Have you ever hugged someone and felt like all the heaviness of life has been lifted?! This is what it is like to hug Tenora Edwards, founder of The Pink Party Retreat. She has an amazing spirit and a soft gentle voice that makes you feel accepted. There are more vendors to see and more pink sisters to love on. Not only was I able to connect with my pink sisters I made new sisters/connections and laughed so hard til I had to make sure my spanx was still in place (LOL!) We are getting ready to walk in and then BOOM a text comes through I have become the designated chauffeur for my son and his date due to a miscommunication. CRAP! What am I going to do I need to be here to tell you all about this event, but I am his mom so now what! This is where I learned the true meaning of sisterhood. My friend sees the distress on my face I explain the issue and she says no worries, I GOT YOU! Those three words offered more than comfort. So what was the set up, one friend would take picture and the other would video so that I wouldn’t miss a beat while dropping this cute little couple off.

*I unstrapped my shoes, run as fast as I can, hop in the car, run a few lights and there I am to take my son to the junior prom. While enjoying the beginning stages of the event. Prom was magical, you’ll hear about it soon.

Although I missed being there in the physical for a portion, I made notes as to what expectations I will set for myself:

  1. I will expect myself to forgive me! Don’t allow the mistakes of your past to set the stage for your future.
  2. I will expect to love other women and for those other women to love me! Embrace other women, even if they are not ready to embrace, you set the tone for your relationship with them
  3. I will expect to LOVE ME!
  4. I will expect to take time and be with myself. It’s okay to be selfish and take care of me
  5. And the most obvious I set my own expectations in all areas of my life, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, THIS IS MY LIFE!

While I was super disappointed that I had to cut out early and barely made it back for the ending, I’m thankful that I had my sista girls there who were willing to make sure I was able to be a part. I am forever grateful to be a pink sister, united in love, laughter, and magic!

 

 

parenting

Get Ya Money Right!

Join me in the studio with Aisha Taylor! Aisha is the CEO & Founder of FNPhenomenal. “FNPhenomenal is a movement designed to help single moms build financially phenomenal futures by developing the faith to believe that phenomenal living is their reality and acquiring the knowledge and tools needed to achieve their desired goals.” We’re discussing living your best financial lives! Tune in Get Ya Money Right!

Aisha Taylor Promo for site