Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel

5 Ways My Life Has Changed, Since My Son Has Been Living With His Dad: The Pros And The Cons

  1. My schedule is random unless my is visiting on the weekend. When he’s home with me, I provide the stability and the structure as well as discipline that he needs, by following a schedule to keep him on track with bed time, dinner, breakfast, play time, reading etc. It was a schedule that I implemented for him long before he was living with his dad. Now that he’s gone, I sleep in, I eat out, I cook less, and I eat whenever and whatever I want. I take longer naps, make runs to the store at any time throughout the day, no matter how late. I can travel more if I’d like to and not worrying about who would take him to school and pick him up, or even the fact that he would have to miss school. I can take last minute media assignments, make last minute plans, and spare of the moment trips out of town/ in town or even out of the country. Overall, I have free time to pursue many endeavors.
  2. Anxiety: For a while, I had my anxiety under control. I did not experience anxiety on this level at all, prior to having a child. It was not until my child was taken from me, over an accusation, proven to be false; which left me in such a helpless and anxious place. It was because I could not help my child. I could not do anything to give him what he asked for, which was to stay with me. That is when I began to experience anxiety again. The decision on who he would live with, did not rest in my authority. It was not in my hands and no one asked my son where he wanted to be. The reason the anxiety heightened and escalated to the place where I am today, is because over the last 4-years, I became aware of things that were taking place, when my son was not in my care and after hearing so many things, it caused my anxieties to soar through the roof. While most of this, is a thing of the past, it was traumatic for me, and I still live with it, constantly finding ways to cope; reposing in the assurance that everything happens for a reason, and I have seen some of the advantages and blessings come out of it all.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Teresa

  1. Parks will never be the same: One of my son and I favorite pastime was to go to the park. We discovered just about every park there was, in the city. We settled on two, to call own, which were closest to the house. I spent many flex-days there with him and while he would play, I caught a spot under the tree. Today, it’s hard to drive by those parks. It’s hard to sit in those parks, work out, run around or walk around those trails. It’s a real challenge to be there, if other children are there. I have been in a place, where I couldn’t watch the other kids play, without breaking down. Though I am getting better with regards to seeing other children, I have yet to overcome the anxieties of going to those parks without my Bambino. When I do have him, we still make the most of our time. I found another park to create memories at, until the time comes…
  2. Insomnia: In other words, I cannot sleep at night…. Literally. (due to the anxiety) At times, I have been up 48 hours straight. That had a lot to do with the anxieties as well. Constantly worrying about where my kid was, who he was with and if he was OK. I had been fed some things by the Amicus on our case, in which she thought to be disturbing. Naturally, it disturbed me at that point as well. For 4 years of constantly hearing more and more, I was finding that my nights were getting longer and longer. Time passed like molasses. I would lay down with every intention of sleeping, but couldn’t make it happen. Still, to this very day, I have nightmares, terrible dreams that wake me from my sleep, where I fall to the floor and pray that my child is OK. He may be doing terrific! And that’s what I hope, but until I can get over the thought of anything happening to him, I will be woke.
  1. I have more Me Time: Me time has showed to be my best friend. It’s A time to get back to me, and focus on improvement. There’s always room for improvement, right? And since I do have severe anxiety and insomnia, it gives me the opportunity to work on getting myself back to a place, where I am rested, refreshed and refined. It allows me the time I need to “talk” about why I can sleep, why I have so much anxiety, why I stopped traveling as much, why I don’t leave the house as much, why I can’t sit in the park and watch other children play, or why I cannot do anything about what has transpired, but that I can find ways to cope with it. Me Time, gives me the space and time I need to do my make up again, do my hair again, celebrate myself again, in all that I do. Me Time helps me get back to the business of this empire and to pamper myself, heart, mind, body and soul. Me Time has encouraged me to get out of the house and to get active in the world again.

Article Originally posted Here, On Working Mother

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized

Why Moving Out Of My Home Was Bitter Sweet and Why My New Situation Is Sweet As Pie

I moved into my home, in the Sienna Plantation Subdivision of Sugarland, Texas; in April of 2012. I had every intention of making it home for at least the following 5 years. I wanted a place for my son to grow, to call his own and to run around with all the freedom a One-Year old could want. I wanted a community, where extra-curricular activities, in a family-oriented environment and a family-friendly neighborhood; were in plethora. I wanted the security of knowing that my son was in a safe neighborhood (as safe as it could be anyway – little to no crime) and in a home where he had a large backyard, to run wild in the grass. I thought of that land that our home sat on when I was in grade school, and how we could go outside in the backyard and have the time of our life, without being in harm’s way. I wanted this for my child.

I accomplished that when I picked out the house, April of that year. Even though the move was a sudden and quick move, only looking at two other homes before deciding on this one, I was completely satisfied. I found the house on a Friday and I had moved in within a week. When I looked at this house, I saw myself in the kitchen being able to see the entire backyard, as my child was playing outside.

As I walked through the downstairs, admiring the open kitchen and bar area, the entertainment living room, which had floor to ceiling windows that stretched over 16 feet, allowing natural light to illuminate the entire downstairs area; I settled at the fireplace. I gazed over the backyard, from corner to corner, while standing indoors, at the fireplace. The whole back of the home, was wide-open. I envisioned a flat screen TV above the fireplace, accompanied by fancy art, which would anchor both sides for symmetrical purpose. I am a person who often seek balance, and it penetrates each part of my life. The living room was just one. I fancied the idea of raw paintings, that would adorn the collar bones of the home.

The walls had yet to be painted. Just the way I like it… A blank canvas. I knew that I wouldn’t paint them either, because there’s something about the look of clean, white walls, throughout a wide-open home. I took noticed the multiple options that I had, for placement of family portraits and moments, which would be captured between my son and me, for the duration of our stay.

I moved beyond the living room, into the downstairs Master Bedroom, which had a window seat and another large, open window area. It was just the right size, just what I was used to. The Master-Bath was to my liking, as well as the walk-in closet that would support alllll the clothes, shoes and purses that I would be bringing. From there, I moved throughout the breakfast area and dining room, just before heading upstairs. Once upstairs, on the catwalk, I had a choice to go left or right to decide which room would suit my son. But I took a pause, for that breath-taking moment, as I looked down, over the living area. The tall windows allowed me to see beyond the fence in the backyard, into the bayou. The privacy was just what I needed.

I took the right… Headed right to the room that I knew would be perfect for the little one. It was just off the open play area, where if I were downstairs in the living room, I could look up and see him always. The other side of the house, seated two additional bedrooms and a full-sized bath. So, there I was. 4 bedrooms, large walk-in closets, plenty of room, open kitchen, entertainment living-room, dining area, breakfast area, large laundry, open floor plan with lots of natural light, large, fenced-in backward, 2 car garages and the home was located at the end of the street, last house in the circle… on Story Book Trail. I was good. I was home.

Fast forward 5 years later, after I had hung my coat, and settled in over the years, making this home my resting place; I wondered through some old photos. It reminded me of the first day that I moved in. I sat in that timeless moment of nostalgia. I cried, I laughed, I danced. I thought about the reality of it being March 2017, and how the close of my custody trial had also brought a close to my story, on Story Book Trail. I would be moving out of the home in a week. I needed to get away. I thought about some not so great moments that happened in the home, which caused me to view to home a little differently, 1-year into being there. I loved the home, but shortly after I moved in and only after I revealed my address, some random acts of vandalism began to occur. At that moment, I wanted out of the house, but I had to make the best of the unpleasant situation and remain put, until the time was right to leave.

I was getting so much negative energy about being able to live in such a lovely home, (how could she afford it, that’s not her home, who’s paying for her home, it must be a rental or did she purchase it, she doesn’t have a job, she needs to get a job). (And the best one of all, “she’s using child support money to pay for it” ALTHOUGH, I wasn’t getting child support, I was paying child support) and all of this was creating a ball of hate, which was beginning to grow legs, arms, eyes and vicious teeth. It was hovering over my life unwarranted. It was crawling through my home, disturbing my peace. It was killing the spirit of joy throughout the walls of my home. Every time I looked around, something else was occurring.

It was almost like watching an apple decay. A beautiful apple, turning from red to black. From plump, to a soft and fetal position. A series of events were tarnishing my home. From break ins while I was out of town, to tampering with my phone lines and security systems, to people showing up disguised as delivery services and phone company representatives, who only wanted to get inside my home to plant wires… to the home being rummaged through while I was away. Even installing a security system didn’t work, because through the phone lines and my computer, my space had been invaded, violated and my privacy was destroyed.

But then I thought to myself, this is the 5th year, and all that I had planned for. Everything that was pushing me away from that home, was pushing me into the direction of something so much greater. I did not understand while it was happening. But I understand it now. I understood it while I was packing up and getting ready for greater. I had my last dance with the home, entertaining my son and his friends as they ran about outside, playing in water wars and washing the cars. I had my last rendezvous with the home the last night over a bottle of wine. I had my last affair with the home as I sat in the soaker. I walked the home corner to corner, as I had done when I moved in, taking in all the precious moments that were spent there- from room to room. I sat in each room and prayed. I walked upstairs and downstairs closing all the doors, as you would, a book once finished. I turned off all the lights, disconnected all services, closed all the blinds and locked the door for the last time. I was smiling and I never looked back, as I drove away.

Had I moved, prior to the season for me to move, I would be in a repeat situation. I am convinced, that it was by purpose, that I remained in that house until all the court hoopla came to a head, where I was then able to move at my leisure, unbothered and unfollowed. GOD is still good.

“There is always a sign that Precedes the move of GOD” That was the sound of those doors locking, one last time. That was the sound of me driving away from Story Book Trail, as that story was over.

Walking out of the house, I could hear only “One Sound.” That was the sound of “The Anthem” featuring Gospel Singer, William Murphy and the Full Baptist Church. Halleluiah, you have won the victory. You have won it all for me. Death could not hold you down, you are the risen king, seated in majesty, you are the risen King! I am grateful that GOD kept me in the valley, hid me from the rain… forever, he will reign.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Here’s My Highly Non-Recommended Diet And Exercise Plan Which Happens To, I Mean Which Use To Work For Me.

I’ve never been one to stick to a healthy diet or exercise program and I’m not a considered a healthy eater. I don’t consider myself to be in the best of shape, with regards to being able to run a mile without becoming winded quickly. With that said, It should be obvious that I am not fitness GURU. I just happen to know my body, and what works for me.

I remember being 30-years old, when I got away with eating little Debbie snack cakes every night, and a gallon of Gatorade. I’d exercise in the evenings, after work, doing a 3-5 mile run walk outside around the track, followed by a 2-3 mile run, on the treadmill. After that, another mile on the stationary bike. I was 5-feet 8-inches, weighing in at 115 lbs, at 30 years old. I gauged my size and growth by a pair of jeans that I wore in High School and College. If I could still fit them, I was doing good. If I couldn’t, then it was time to peel back. It was as simple as that. I was hell bent, on remaining the same size, and so when my eating sprees got out of control, my motivation was to get back into those jeans.

Yea, it’s true. I go on ice cream binges, fried food fiascos and red wine Soirees that will make the person standing next to me say WTF! And I’ve always been the topic of discussion when it came to eating unhealthy food and staying the same size.

UNTIL LATELY. This is what they mean when they say it will catch up with you. It tracked me down like an ex from college that I was hoping to never run into. It came to my front door, unannounced and was on my living room sofa before I could say Calgon take me away.

It happened so unexpectedly. 15 lbs in 5 months gripped my waist, hips and buttocks like the seat of a luxury vehicle does, when it locks you by the seat belt, after slamming on the brakes! What was I to do? Age 39, at my heaviest and biggest size in life. 145 lbs and rising….But I only weighed 150 at full term pregnancy, when I was 33-years old, just to put things into perspective. I was panicking now. Not because I was caught up in “image” and societal shaming of belly fat and love handles… but because I could not fit my 20-year old jeans, in a matter of 5 months.

Most importantly- it is you who must be O.K. with your size and weight, your image and your features. Your accents and all that make up the beautifulness that you behold. In my quest to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it had nothing to do with anyone’s idea of my body or their opinions… but it has everything to do with how I wanted to see myself and what I want to look at when I look at myself in my own mirror. It has everything to do with what I find pleasing in my eyes when it comes to my very own body, and that is not a reflection of how I see anyone else who choose to be big, small, thick or thin. Hopefully when you go on your quest, you’ll do it for yourself as well, and not for anyone else.

But understand, my issue wasn’t with weight gain altogether. It was with “rapid weight gain.” My size is still good, considering my height and age…. but at this rate of weight gain, I could easily become the poster kid for many health-related conditions.

Many things contributed to my weight gain. Being home, and not being as active as I was before. I spent less time traveling and being away from the comfort of my bed. I was stressed over many issues surrounding the custody of my child, which kept me inside the house. I was running to the refrigerator every chance I got, for “something sweet to eat” just to pass time. I wasn’t shopping for healthy food any longer, as I did not have my child at home with me full time anymore.

After a visit to the doctor, I discovered I had issues with thyroid. I experienced a brief bout with pressure and a heart related concern, in which medication prescribed had a side effect of weight gain on top of that fact that I was also given a new medication for severe migraines and anxiety; which contributed to weight gain and my hormones were completely out of whack.

This is also why I would recommend that the first thing you do when you decide on any dieting and exercise regiment, to tackle weight gain or rapid weight gain, that you consult with your doctor first. You want to check your health by doing a temp check of the state of your body, so that you know if you’re fighting against something other than the fact that you can’t stop eating ice cream. It could be more. Address those issues, then you can find a diet that works best while addressing real underlying health concerns.

I had to think about it. All these things that I had come face to face with at 38-years old was new to me, coupled with the things I was voluntarily doing, which aided in weight gain. I realized that many of these issues I never faced before the age of 38, which is why I could eat the way I was eating. I lived a more active lifestyle then as well. If your lifestyle isn’t the same with regards to activities and health- you need to make a shift that tailors to the changes. You won’t be able to eat as much on less activity- or eat all day without exercising or watching calorie and fat intake.

So, where am I now? Well, I watch what I eat and I exercise daily. I stay away from scales. Scales are discouraging. I just look at myself until I like what I see. That may be at the same weight, but in more of a tone package. Same weight, with a healthier eating plan and a suitable workout plan that maintains health, weight and fitness goals. I have a note on my mirror that says, “Stand here until you like what you see” It’s like a Mantra of some sort, because it applies to anything related to esteem. When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you do better.

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel

What if The Word Why? Came With A Dollar? I would be rich off my one child alone.

One thing’s for sure, and that is, I am tired of hearing the word Why? So much, that I have considered telling my child that he has a one why maximum on the usage of the word why, per day. Or, if he uses it more than twice in a day, I am entitled to have the exclusive right to say, “I don’t know” even when I really do know. Plus, I should get to say, I don’t know, at least one time per every two why’s. Yea, that sounds like a plan. I think when you are over a certain age, your why’s should come with an Excel spreadsheet and payment on every third why in a day. Maybe, us parents can conduct a WHY Convention, where we answer all the children’s why’s in one day…. Headline: Bring your children on Friday to the Summit Beach House, and don’t ask us why. Boom! That’s it

Truth be told, I love my son’s thirst for knowledge, and the fact that he always asks me; even though it challenges me to channel my inner 6-year-old child, in which most cases, I find out that I am not smarter than a 5th grader. Juuuust kidding. But I really cannot remember anything from 5th grade. Does that make me less smart though? Hummm… I will have to think about that one before fully deflating my ego. At least when he asks why, I am forced to go into those rooms that have laid dormant in my body’s northern hemisphere, in the brain region. So, it’s not all bad. I do get a kick out of seeing if I can beat him to an explanation that will cancel all the following why’s. Just searching for something good enough for him, without having to tell a lie… and of course before resorting to saying that I don’t know. I think we should limit the times we tell our children that we don’t know something, to prevent them from growing up thinking we are dumb as a box of rocks. Or, to prevent them from asking other people and getting the wrong answers all together. I think if we do not know, we should try to find out WHY.

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” ― Phil Collins

As moms, we have all heard the expression that children are like sponges. All to say that they soak up a lot of knowledge as they grow into their personalities over the wonder years. It’s never a terrible thing that our children have so many questions about how things work, what they do and what they are used for. I am happy that my child wants to know if there are people in the back of the television. I am not so happy that he wants to take the TV apart just to find out. I am also happy that he wants to know exactly why he can jump up and down on the bed and bounce high. However, not too pleased when he tests just how high he can bounce, when it’s followed by a big fall off to the side of the bed.

I totally get it, that it’s extremely annoying to hear the word why, when it’s in response to something where the only answer is: Because I said so! Because there may not be an answer other than that to: Mom why can’t I go outside right now. Well, maybe it’s too late in the evening, maybe he’s already had his bath, maybe you are too tired to go outside with him and watch him, maybe you’re too busy to go out at that moment, maybe you don’t feel like getting him dressed appropriately to go out in certain weather conditions…. These reasons will still be responded to, with a why. Therefore, when he asks, why can’t I go outside, the answer is simply, Because I said so.

See, you must be smart about your response to the questions of why, because they have already planned their next why. You need to find ways to beat them to the punch and shut it down or it can go on for hours. Some children, like my own, will sit and deliberate on the answer, and use the Scientific Method without even being taught that in school just yet. He will began thinking it all the way through, forming a hypothesis, making an educated guess. And here we go again. Most recently, he asked to go outside and it was hi-noon in Houston. It was 58 degrees in the shade. It was a dry heat and no wind was blowing. Even your breath blew stifling air. If you saw anyone holding hands, it just made you hot because you are already sweating, shirt sticking to your back, your shades are even hot while they rest on your noses to see someone hugged up, was like scratching a chalk board. Yes, that hot. So, when he asked, I told him that it was ‘fainting weather” He asked what’s fainting weather. I explained and told him that it’s too hot, and it’s the kind of weather that you are liable to pass out in (faint) heat stroke. I told him that we needed to get some water so that we could stay hydrated while out in that kind of weather.

The next day, as a consolation prize for being indoors for the afternoon, on the day before; I took him to the park. It was just as hot. On the way, he asked, “Mom, is this fainting weather.” Me: Yes, baby. 40 Minutes later after silence in the car, he asked, “Mom, why did GOD make the sun so hot? Why would he want to kill the people he created?” I literally felt my mental elevator crash somewhere between my heart and head. I was totally defeated. I answered, He did not do it to kill anyone baby. He made it hot because the trees and grass need it. So, he asks, “Why?” By now, I am in the front seat banging on the dormant doors to my brain. No one would answer. I just told him that the trees and grass can take it. We can’t. But if we stay hydrated, we will be fine. He then asked, “Well, why can’t the trees and the grass stay hydrated?” All I know is, I was so happy to be pulling up to the park right around that time!

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized

Every Single Mother Will Benefit From Hearing This

2016 began a year of transparency for me. It came after recognizing that there was room for a change in the direction I was taking to approach new challenges. In being told out right, that I was not as transparent as people would like, and that because of this, they don’t “know who I am” I decided to delve more into it. Initially I didn’t take to that very well, as I thought I did good at being an open book, if I should say so myself.

However, in this season and along this journey, I’ve come to the realization that being an open book about my life and happenstance, wasn’t exactly the transparency that they were referring to. It’s awesome to show people a strong courageous girl, after detailing some of the things that life throws at you…. but sometimes, it’s even more awesome when people can relate to your testimony, by knowing the tribulation as well, so that they will know that the things they may be burdened with, are also things that someone else has been burdened with. They are then able to seek refuge in knowing that there is a way out. IE: “XYZ happened to me, and I made it out.” V.S. more Transparency: “These are the things I endured, when XYZ happened. And this is what I had to do, to get beyond the things which happened to me. It wasn’t a cake walk, but I made it.

pexels-photo-267569 (1)

…. We breeze right past the hard part because we’re anxious about telling the good part…and we are so happy to share the good news. Or because we do not want to dwell on the bad part, we skip right to how we triumphed, and it comes across as, all good. As women, working mothers, single moms….we make it look so easy sometimes, because no one really hears the part about where we fell down a few times during the trials and on the journey to make it through and out. However, that’s what they need.

For some reason, and one that I am sure will continue to reveal itself to me more over time, as I become familiar with why people want to know about the bad days, I understand that it’s important that you share that you had some hard decisions to make; which came with some pretty hefty consequences from choices or even moves you did or didn’t make when the time was necessary, and that you struggled in the process.

I understand that people want to know about the battle and they want a birds eye view into some of the pain, without hearing the sound of a victim. This takes some crafting, because there’s a tiny little line, in which if crossed, the dynamic and tone of the story will change to reflect bragging or even boasting. On the flip side, someone who’s constantly talking about “what has happened to them” instead of talking about the process of how what happened, brought you to a brighter place, the message tends to get lost in translation. While we should be happy in our own right- and celebrate our victories, as well as be proud of the fact that we made it out of a rough patch, we don’t want the testimony to get trapped in a maze of affirmations about self.

time

“With reference to those times that you hear someone say, that someone has put a bad taste in their mouth, think of this: The taste you give someone about yourself, comes from the soil that you mature and grow in.” – Sincerely, Niedria Kenny

When we speak of the victory all the time, without balancing and filtering into the story, the things that make us normal- to show people how they too can overcome something, they don’t believe they can. Such as: How we managed to move through the ranks, what we did in between jobs and we transitioned in careers, what we faced when we were fired from our jobs, what happened to us when we did not get the raise we needed, what we did in the meantime, while we waited on the promotion, how we came to the conclusion to leave a job, in order to create a better life, or how we had to make a life-altering decision to loose in order to win again. If you do not share these things, people begin to see you as super human, and no one wants to be around a super human or someone that makes them feel inferior. If you always make it look easy, you contribute to a person’s sense of failure, in that if they can’t do something that’s being described as so easy… they began to ponder the question of, “what does that make them, what’s wrong with them?”

 sleepy

Be not mistaken. I’m not standing in the gap for people who constantly need ego stroking or people who are generally always down and looking for someone else to pull them out of the slumps of which they won’t do their part in helping themselves. I am not standing in the gap for those who relish in knowing that someone else is miserable. Both are toxic people and can end up pulling you back into the place that you are so happy to have escaped.

This was also something that I had to learn to decipher between: Someone who wants to know about your fall before success, so that they can encouraged themselves and speak life over themselves to move into a place for change. .v.s. someone who just wants to know that you fell down, just so that they can say, aha!

I would like to encourage Mothers, Single Moms and Work Moms, who are successful or finding success by navigating through the trenches; to not be ashamed of sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. If it is a victory that you want to share, share the trial as well. If you messed up somewhere along the way, or did not get it right the first time, or it took longer than you anticipated, it’s OK. There is someone, somewhere, who will benefit in knowing that seasons change, and they can too..

“You know, I don’t think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn’t wish for that, but it happened. Charlize Theron

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Lifestyle, Parenting

Here’s 10 Ways to win the heart of this woman, just in case you were wondering

There is no skeleton key for opening my heart. There are some things that may work with some women, which does not work for me. This is due to differences that we may have in our priorities, prioritizing, responsibilities, my age, my culture, my background and upbringings. I do feel that my list of things, fall in line with what a woman should require, but who am I to tell anyone who never asked me, what she should require? There are characteristic requirements that I seek in a gentleman, in which another woman may not require or she may not put the same amount of weight on it, when it comes to doing what it takes to get into her heart. To each his own, and for me… it’s this:

respect

  1. RESPECT: I am coo-coo for coco puffs, over a gentleman who has respect not just for me, but for other women. He can’t degrade any female while in my presence and especially not his mother or the mother of his child. A man should always treat a woman like a queen. She should carry herself as such, but when he sees that she is not, I believe that he should encourage her to do better, rather than to perpetuate her unladylike characteristics. I think he should always hold her to a higher standard, by respecting her. This is demonstrated in the way he is to talk to a woman and the way he treats her overall. Never being a misogynistic A-hole or a male chauvinist.
  2. LOVE for my child: There are many women who choose to date and have a separate life, apart from the one where their child is involved, because the person they date, does not want to be involved in the child’s life- or the woman doesn’t really want him to be around her child. I think when it comes to me, the reason I chose not to do this, is because I am not a serial dater or a casual dater. When I date, it is because I have a real interest in something developing between the person that I give my time to. I don’t care for a man who wants a life with me that does not include my son. Meaning, we can’t play house during the week, but then you disappear when I have my son, because you don’t want to “have anything to do with” children. I have a child. And so, I am a package deal.
  3. MANNERS: A man who has good manners when it comes to sitting at the dinner table in a formal setting breeds a second date. When he knows that there is a time and place for everything, without me having to break it down, it’s less work for me and I don’t feel so much like I have a project or a fixer-upper. When out in public, where the need for etiquette skills to be demonstrated, are done so, with ease… it gives me the sense of comfort that I need to continue entertaining him. I love to see a man treating the waiter and waitress with respect, saying please and thank you. The topper is when I see a man who knows that it is necessary to address my parents as, Maam’ and Sir…. saying Yes and No Sir, when asked a question.
  4. CHILVERY: While the above manners, fall under Chilvery, there are more things that do so as well. Opening doors for his lady, adorning her with cards that read sentiments of his love and respect, honor and commitment to her, in addition to flowers for no reason, are a few simple things that go into the metal ingredients, which makes up the key to my heart. When a man knows these things without me having to tell him or ask him for it, it’s bonus! I do not like when I must tell a man how to treat a lady. I do realize that there are a small society of men who may not truly know or realize and understand that this is what a lady might require, due to what he has been allowed to get away with in other women.
  5. COURTING: Maybe I am just from the South and I am addicted to the ways of the South, where courting a girl first, was a way of life. Courting, I believe goes hand in hands with chivalry. Courting requires getting to know a woman on a deeper level, and showing her that you care, and are around for the long haul. This included “dating” her…taking her out. It’s like a try-out. If you want to be the MVP, you must do the work of an MVP. You must show her the value of having you, show her that you are a man who knows what to and will do what it takes, instead of just being another player. Show her that you want the ball. It’s making your intention clear by treating her like the lady she deserves to be treated as. It’s having a vested interest in taking it beyond dating, and into something serious.

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To piggy back a little on chivalry, respect, good manners: If a man offers to take me out to dinner, I expect a man to know that he will be picking up the bill, unless I offer and/or insist on paying for my purchase. If a man gets up for a bathroom break when he knows the bill is coming, he should also know that he will never be seeing me again. If a man fumbles his wallet when the check comes, giving any indication that he was not prepared to pay, he can make it the final payment that he will ever have to make when it comes to me.

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  1. Wash my car and take out the trash – without me asking! When a man is around and the trash is still sitting in the garage, the hallway or the kitchen and any other part of the house, I think he’s a lazy boy, off the rip. I should not have to tell any man that he should stop walking by the trash and take it to the garbage outside or to the street for trash pick-up. Lastly, I should not be driving a dirty car, when there’s a man in my life. I expect him to know that he should always make sure that my car is clean and up to date on service. I need a man who knows this.
  2. Converse and listen– I said it before, I love a sociable guy and one that can hold his own in a conversation or in a crowded room, where the need for diversity in communication skills are needed. However, I do not like a man who goes on and on about himself, other people and never takes time for a breath. I do not like a man who does not listen, for the sake of him talking too much. A man who doesn’t listen, is usually holding on to his next thought, and is the reason he did not hear anything that you said. I can’t tell you how annoying it is for me to have to repeat myself- due to someone not listening.

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This is where the list gets a little shorter, as the last 3 things are that I require, I wouldn’t quite consider to be red flags. It doesn’t make a man a bad person, if he doesn’t possess these qualities. But they are certainly things that I still consider and account for, when taking a closer look at accepting his offer for a relationship.

  1. Take Heed to The Things I Like and Don’t Like: Such as: Niedria prefers carnations over roses. Niedria prefers fresh seafood over frozen. Niedria prefers red wine over white wine. Niedria prefers silver jewelry over gold jewelry. My sister dated a guy once, who kept a list of her likes and don’t likes in his phone. His list grew as he got to know her. When holidays came around, he knew just what to get. When invited to dinner, he knew just what to say. When going out for a night on the town, he knew just where to take her. When she was upset, he knew just what he did.
  2. Sense of humor – He’s got to crack a joke or two, or at least able to take one. A witty and intelligent guy is attractive to me. When he can jump right in, with rebuttal jokes, against my random joking spells, he has what it takes.
  3. TATTOOS: Yes, it’s a little-known fact. It’s not a deal breaker, if the man is of a certain age- but I do love tattoos.  See Full Article on CafeMom
Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships

What Makes This Mother’s Day As Special As It Was The Last Six Years

What Makes This Mother’s Day As Special As It Was The Last Six Years

Throwback Thursday, I am in my closet, rummaging through some things and I found a Mother’s Day card that my son made for me last year. I had it hung up on our bedroom wall, until a few weeks ago when I decided to move out of our home. I came to it, while searching through a bag for something else, altogether. I stopped to reflect on the hand print that was within one of the cards, that he documented with finger paint. There was another one where he wrote, “I LOVE YOU” But, Love was in sign-language. On the inside, a special note: Happy Mother’s Day.

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I paused, yielding to a few tears of joy… lending my heart to some more than welcomed memories and thoughts that flickered through my mind, followed by revelations, of how I blessed I am to have someone call me MOM. It is such a wonderfully incredible and indescribable feeling all at once. What an Awe-Amazing place to be at 4 months before I turn 40! I am Mother. I am still Mother. And why in the world am I crying right now? LOL…. Those emotions are something that comes with being a mom. In fact, my best friend witnessed me cry once and I was 34 years old then… He starred at me, without saying a word. Then he finally said, I am trying to figure out what to say, because I have never seen you cry. LOL…. Anyway, in this most precious and beautiful moment of seeing these cards, feelings of joy rush in.

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So, when people ask the question, what do I want for Mother’s Day, I am still stuck in such a place, where my answer is, I already got it. My child. What do you give a woman who has everything she wants and everything she needs, loves and desires, whereas the answer is simply, love, love, love and love? I get it, and I understand that the entire world does not revolve around the happiness and joy that my son brings to me and that some people might argue that it could be unhealthy …. Please understand that I am truly just speaking about the overflowing love I have for my son and the gratefulness that I show to my creator for making it possible. I realize that a woman can find love and joy in many other things…but hey, for the record… I got that covered too – and everything is all good. But I am talking about the bean-misters right now. I don’t praise him, I just love him.

The last 3.5 years have been extremely bumpy…where my child was concerned, as his father and I, were in and out of court of some of the pettiest things you could ever think a pompous narcissistic and controlling father could do to the mother of his child. A 4-year cycle of erroneous motion after erroneous motion, which his father filed, almost made me throw in the towel.  However, when I look back on the fight that I put up, to save my son, I have no regrets. When I look back and see that I truly still came out on top- I am even more thankful that I could have had that kind of love in my heart to go as far as I did for my child. To look at him, is to see a reflection of me… and to know that it was all in the name of love, love, love love, and so, it was all worth it. Love is a language that stretches across barriers, breaking levies, steering through mountains, trudging through treacherous paths and untrodden territory; by which is only understood by people who have experienced motherhood… and people who have experiences true love, and for those who know what unconditional love is.

I was made for this. It only strengthened me and encouraged me, to be strong and to be here for my son. The struggle…It helped me survive. The sleepless nights…they are still here, and from what I hear, they will always be here, so long as I am a loving mother. With that, I rest in knowing that it’s only because I care so much and because I love him so much, that I want to make sure that he is ok, wherever he is and with every breath he takes.

I am happy today. I am happy knowing that I survived some of the worst times of my life. I survived some of the most devastating and heart breaking news, but I am still a Mother and I still have my child and that is the best Mother’s Day gift I could possibly ask for. When someone loves my child, and someone cares for my child and shows a vested interest in his well-being, that is the best gift I could receive as a mother. When someone ask, how my child is doing, and they call him by name or have been around long enough to know the nicknames I have given him (Prince Cornelius, Bambino, Bam-Bam) it makes me feel good all over again. When my friends ask, how’s Lil’ C doing, how’s Big C doing… my heart melts.

It is a pleasure and an honor to have been commissioned with the task of being a Mother. It is a Pleasure and an honor to have been assigned to this little boy. I could not imagine life without him. Even when I think about how much easier it would be, I reflect on the wonderful times we have shared over the years…I think of all the times that he has made me laugh, all the times he made me think outside the box, overcome some of my own fears as well as the times that he made me realize how much he needed me to survive….and nothing, not even peace, could replace that. I live for the chaos that the four- foot tornado brings. And though I cry a lot behind some of the things he does, this is my first stab at this parenting thing, so I can only imagine what he’s going through, taking his first stab at this co-parenting thing…So I have loosened the reigns a little. But what he doesn’t know is, my grip isn’t on the reign anyway. It’s on GOD, and GOD’s promises, to protect him, guide him and keep him safe. I am so fortunate. I am so thankful. And I am so blessed, to be celebrating my 7th Mother’s Day, as the mother to Deon Cornelius Kenny, AKA, Prince Cornelius …. Bam-Bam …My Bambino!