Terrible Twos??Someone Lied!!

Whoever came up with this whole “terrible twos” thing must have been some kind of psychologist and not an actual parent. I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what logic came into place for this saying to be an actual thing. I have a 4yr old who has been “terrible” since, I don’t know, maybe 6 months. He was so bad, when he first started talking if you asked him what his name was he would say “No” because that was all he heard. Dealing with him I thought no one could top him and then God blessed me with the terror known as Tristan.

Tristan is the youngest of the bunch and my biggest headache. Tristan is a fresh 17 months and causes the most havoc in our home. He’s loud, rude, and beyond aggressive. According to this Terrible Twos rule, that’s when the tantrums and bad behaviors really begin. If that is in fact true, I’m just trying to figure out who would be willing to rent my child for a few years. If this child gets any worse I can guarantee alcoholism in my near future and no one would be able to stop me.

What really got me thinking about this was when I was reading a post in my mommy group on Facebook and realizing how much we look for others to tell us right and wrong with our children. We listen to all these studies and “experts” about what our children should be doing and how they should be developing. And while all that is great for a REFERENCE, I think it’s so important for us as parents to step back and really evaluate our kids as individuals. All kids are not the same and all rules can’t be applied to every child.

Don’t get me wrong being able to connect with other moms and help each other navigate through situations that may have us lost, confused, or scared is a blessing. I just don’t like how in this social media culture people are so quick to tell someone what they are doing with their kids is wrong because it isn’t the “norm”. My husband and I don’t follow many rules when it comes to raising our kids and although 2 out 3 right now are less than angels, they are all very loving, intelligent, and adorable beyond words.

My oldest, who is 9, honestly gives me hope that this is just a phase and one day my house will no longer be known as the loud house. He was pretty hyper when he was younger and has completely mellowed out. This also leads me to believe that age plays a huge factor. I could look to all these experts and read all these rules that would tell me my kids are hyper and need more discipline, but why waste my time? I have simply accepted that these kids are just bad as hell and having three boys this is apart of my journey. I just ask for strength and that someone continues to pray that I make it. In the meantime, I will continue to turn my music up a little louder to drown out the nonstop screaming and, of course, I will do it with love.

-Mommy

Dear Mama

With Mother’s Day approaching I thought it would only be appropriate to talk about my favorite girl, my Mommy! Tupac said it best “ain’t a woman alive that could take my mama’s place”.

There is so much to be said about the woman who birthed me and brought me into this world. She goes by Nikki but her real name is Juanita. I call her Mommy and feel so incredibly blessed that I was chosen to be her daughter. My mom and I have an incredibly close relationship. She’s my best friend and often refers to me as her “little homegirl”. Anything can happen in my life and she’s the first person I call. When I need to share a laugh, when I won’t let anyone else see me cry, or when I need validation for cussing someone out, she’s the person I run to.

Beyond being my safe place, she has been that and more for my kids. My mom has taken care of all my boys while my husband and I worked or went to school. From babies until I was comfortable with them being in day care all three of my boys have been partially raised by their “Nene”. This woman has quit jobs, sacrificed what she wanted to do in life, so I could be comfortable enough to go and pursue what was important to me. She’s taught them ABC’s, numbers, colors, and sometimes teaches my husband and I things about our boys that we didn’t know. Her selflessness and patience has played a huge role in the development of my boys and we give her a lot of credit when it comes to their early development.

I praise my mom whenever I can because we came extremely close to losing her. One morning she went to the emergency room for what she thought was a bad headache and it turned out to be a brain aneurysm. She was told that she would have to have emergency brain surgery and was immediately taken to a different hospital. On June 13, 2014 my life stopped for a minute as my mom went in to have her surgery. I can never truly put into words how in deeply destroyed I was by this. I still get overly emotional and am shook to my core over this, which is why I rarely speak of it. I don’t do well with emotion and the thought of my mom not being a phone call away was more than I could bare. Thank god that wasn’t a reality I had to face because in true fashion, she pulled through and has been stronger than ever.

This experience made her stronger than she already was, and it made me love and appreciate her more than I already did. To me my mom is all things beauty, strength, love, light, and patience. I don’t know if I could handle this thing called motherhood without her. So, to you Mommy, I just want to say how much I love and appreciate you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and for loving me unconditionally. I could go on forever and ever talking about the greatness that is you. I hope that my boys grow to appreciate, respect, and love me the way that I do you. You are truly an angel on this earth. Thank you for teaching me to be the best mother I can be. I will continue to apply the lessons you have given me, and I will do it with love.

-Mommy aka Key-boo

Motherhood Is A Career Choice

A mother’s job is challenging and endless. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed we never turn off from mom mode. Sometimes we must deal with late night wake ups and early morning breakfast cries. When a woman has a kid and makes the choice to raise that kid, it is at that moment she makes a career choice. That career choice is MOTHERHOOD. This applies to all moms, whether you choose to be a working mom or a stay at home mom.

For some reason there has been a long debate over who has it harder, the working mom or the stay at home mom. Coming from someone who has done both I can honestly say each has its own difficulties and hardship. From my personal experience being a stay at home mom takes such a toll on you mentally and that made it so hard for me. I tip my hat off to women who make the choice to be stay at home moms. If I had a choice I would love to stay with my kids, I just don’t know if I’m mentally strong enough to do so. My anxiety is too high, and my patience is too low.

Don’t get me wrong being a working mom (40 hours a week) and a mom of three (endless hours) is extremely difficult and tiring. However, unlike the stay at home mom I get a little break. Whether you want to admit it or not, every mom needs a break, sometime to decompress and recharge. I’m not taking anything away from working mothers. It’s hard, it’s all hard. Being a working mom, I’m expected to be the best mom I can be and still succeed at work. I must maintain my home and my career. I constantly feel guilty for having to leave them and not be available all the time. I can’t pick my kids up from school, I miss some award ceremonies, even sometimes when they’re sick, I can’t be the one to take care of them. Does that make me a bad mom!? Nope, not even a little bit. Or at least that’s what I would like to think.

I fear my kids will remember the moments I wasn’t able to be there because they tend to out weight the moments I am. A big part of me envies the stay at home mom. Even though it’s no walk in the park, the freedom it allows you to be with your kids is priceless. I know that my kids know my heart and know everything I do is for them but I do think to myself if it’s even worth it. Is spending 9-10 hours a day away from my kids for a job I don’t even like worth it? Is the tradeoff going to be worth it in the end? I struggle with what the right choice is as a Mom. There’s a fine line between satisfying my own needs and still making the right choice that will benefit my kids the most.

For a long time, I was only motivated by others. By what others were accomplishing, what others said was success, how other people were parenting. In my head, that was part of the reason I felt I needed to be a working Mom. A mom that could do it all. Now I motivate myself. I use myself as the standard. What I achieve, how I grow, what I accomplish, and how I choose to parent. I gained that confidence through motherhood. As I’ve grown confident as mom, I feel that whether I chose to stay at home or work I am still doing it all. Every mom is a superhero in their own way. Everything I do for my boys, every decision I make, will always be rooted in love.

-Mommy

Genuine Love

I had a moment this weekend when I looked up and saw all three of my boys running, laughing, and smiling from ear to ear. This moment of genuine happiness made me emotional and made my heart ache. I was overwhelmed with how much love I have for them and how much their happiness means to me. I was taken back by how much their joy brings me joy. Being a Mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I sometimes forget how lucky I am. 

As a Mom, I feel that I constantly get caught up in making sure everything is in order, everything is clean, and everyone has done whatever it is they need to do. Very rarely do I stop and enjoy the important moments. The moments of uncontrollable laughter, corny and very unfunny jokes, and endless stories that make no sense at all. I’m realizing how often I allow myself to get consumed by things that hold no value in comparison. The truth of the matter is before I know it these moments will be gone, and I will be sitting wondering how I could get everything I allowed myself to miss back. Instead of being filled with regret years from now I am willing to acknowledge that I need to step back and enjoy being a Mommy now. 

Being a Mom is one of the most fulfilling jobs I could have. From having intelligent and meaningful conversations with my eight year old, to watching my three year gleam with excitement from being able to write his name, and the moment my heart fills with happiness because my one year old claps from excitement because he accomplished the goal of showing me where his nose is. As a Mom I get to experience all these different stages of life up close and personal. I get to celebrate each accomplishment and every triumph.

To know that I am one of two people that my boys will turn to for every problem, every accomplishment , and everything in between brings a feeling to me that I will never be able to describe. I just wanted to take the time and celebrate the genuine joys of motherhood. I wanted to take the time and really appreciate all that motherhood is. Unfortunately, motherhood isn’t a club that all women get to join, and I was blessed enough to be chosen. I don’t want to waste that blessing I want to take it in for all it has to offer. 

Realizing I need to take in these moments as much as I can and lose this idea of being some form of a “Super Mom” I have made a promise to myself to just simply enjoy my boys. I want to allow myself to let some of their child like joy rub off on me. The simplest moments are the ones that hold the most value. I have shifted my priority as a mother and will focus more on the hugs, kisses, and genuine love they shower me with. I will sit back and watch them continuously grow into strong, happy, and functioning men. I’ve given myself a gift in understanding that I can still enforce rules and set boundaries while still being able to laugh uncontrollably with my boys. I’m still figuring out this whole Mommy thing and will continue to learn from my boys. 

This journey is so special I can’t wait to see what it brings. I will approach it openness, understanding, and of course with love.

-Mommy 

 

That Kid Said What To You!?

I grew up in the 90s and early 00’s, times were different. Everyone wasn’t so sensitive, things weren’t as heavy. Even the subject of bullying wasn’t something I thought about. I was fortunate enough to never have experienced it. I never had to deal with being bullied so I never saw it as a major problem. Besides, I feel the definition of bullied back then was completely different from being bullied today. Growing up it was normal for other kids to taunt you or say stupid things every now and then. It’s a part of growing up, that is my honest opinion. I do feel there is a fine line between grade school taunting and bullying. As I got older, I became more aware of just how horrible bullying had gotten and the horrible effects it caused.

In the times we live in today, with social media and the ability to reach someone so easily, bullying has seem to be growing at an alarming rate, or one would think. I couldn’t help but wonder if this problem has been just as bad all along and I’ve been ignorant to the importance of being aware. Obviously, with social media I’ve been seeing the causes of bullying every time I pick up my phone. Being a mom, I started to pay a lot more attention and decided to educate myself on just what was happening with our kids today.

I have three boys that I have spoken to plenty of times about bullying but I haven’t given too much detail on who they are. I have Jayden, who is my oldest, soon to be 9 years old. Jayden is the most sensitive out of my kids. He wears his heart on sleeve and literally sees life for everything good it brings. He wants everything to be fun and he wants everyone to be happy. Then there’s Kameron, the middle child, soon to be 4 years old. He’s my fire cracker, my wild child. He’s unapologetically himself at all times and could care less how you feel about it. He’s a bit more aggressive, but just as happy and loving as Jayden. Lastly, we have Tristan, the baby of the bunch, freshly 1 year old. He’s still pretty new so we are figuring him out. He’s seems to be more of a chill, go with the flow type of kid. He keeps a smile on his face and isn’t bothered easily. Why would anyone pick on these kinds of kids? Could these kids be bullies themselves?

My kids are loving, sweet, smart, and so much more. Why would anyone ever want to hurt them or make them feel bad? More importantly, why would anyone want to have to deal with me!? Because if you mess with my kids, you’re messing with me. When it comes to my boys all logic and any level of understanding goes out the window. I just know you wouldn’t be able to get me to understand why someone is hurting my child, physically, mentally, or emotionally. As a mother, I have a real fear of any of my kids being bullied. The thought of one of them suffering day after day breaks my heart. To try and avoid this heart break for my kids, I decided to educate myself.

In doing a lot of reading, I found that there is no clear way to stop or prevent bullying. Which is understandable given there’s no clear understanding of what makes someone a bully. One in every five students REPORTS being bullied. Females are more likely to report bullying than males (which wasn’t surprising). Studies show kids who don’t get enough attention at home, see violence at home, or are picked on themselves tend to become bullies. But studies also show that bullying comes from a group of kids, very rarely is one kid bullying by themselves. I also found it very interesting that bullying is more likely to stop when another peer steps in rather than an adult. The main reason kids are bullied? For their physical appearance and race/ethnicity.

I could go on and on with all the “stats” and findings I read about. One thing was clear, bullying is a serious problem that needs to be talked about and assessed more. Even though with growing awareness it seems that bullying may be on the decline. I still feel it’s a huge problem that parents need to make themselves more aware of. It’s important as parents we keep communication open with our kids. Talk about bullying openly and honestly. Make sure they feel comfortable letting us know when something is wrong. It is also important to make them confident in being comfortable with speaking up when something wrong is happening.

I am a huge advocate of my child protecting their personal space and not allowing anyone to violate that. I give them permission to act accordingly if someone violates their space. That includes if someone gets physical with them. I’ve made it very clear I would have their back if they had to protect themselves. Where I struggle is getting them to understand they can also be violated mentally and emotionally. And how important it is to protect that space as well. The thought of being completely helpless if my kids are going through something like bullying really makes me upset. But all I can do is make sure I create a safe and open environment to make sure if something like this does begin to happen they will be willing to open up. I also want to make sure the environment I create doesn’t turn them into bullies. I just want my boys to be well rounded humans. I will give them my all and do it with love.

-Mommy

Self-Love is Self-Care

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s OWN well-being and happiness. This is the definition of SELF-CARE.

As I’ve grown as a woman and a mother, I have come to realize how important self-care is for me. If I don’t get my alone time to get my nails done, go to the gym, or meditate everyone in my house will feel my wrath. It’s not that I’m dying to be away from my family, it’s just that alone time helps me recharge and reconnect with myself. I didn’t always view this as a priority because I felt as a mother, I didn’t need any alone time. I need to be with my kids as much as I can, so they don’t feel neglected.

Fast forward to 3 kids and a husband, I now know that I deserve that alone time. I do everything for everyone and by doing that it becomes almost second nature to forget about yourself.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been blessed with an amazing husband who has continued to push me to not forget about myself. He allows me to make myself a priority, probably because he knows if I die out the house will go down in flames. That alone is even more of a reason to focus on keeping yourself 100%. Going to the gym, pampering yourself, reading, journaling, listening to music, sleep, drinking coffee (yes coffee is a form of self-care) etc. These are all amazing examples of self-care, most of which help me maintain my sanity. However, on this journey of self-discovery that I’ve been on I have learned that the best form of self-care has been allowing myself to be ME.

I’ve always been super comfortable with the person that I am. I like me, I love me. But somewhere along the way I lost that confidence in me. I’m a very open, understanding, blunt type of person. I don’t mean any harm I just believe it’s best to speak up for yourself and say what you feel. I’m not sure how or when but for a while that quality left me. I didn’t realize it until my husband brought it to my attention. I had to take a step back and figure out what happened. That’s when I realized I wasn’t making me a priority. I was consumed in the thought that I should be doing more at the point in my life, that I hadn’t accomplished anything, and I was looking to others to validate my self-worth. This feeling, this behavior lasted for a while.

It wasn’t until I realized I need to do me, that I began to become myself again. I started going to the gym, eating better, changed my way of thinking towards myself and just like that Keyanna reappeared. It was the self-love I was depriving myself of that helped me focus more on maintaining my self-care. They both go hand and hand. It is so important to make sure you like the person you are. Self-Love is such a powerful thing and it can help you overcome so much.

How could I be a great wife and mother if I was dying on the inside? There’s a saying that your kids don’t need a perfect mother, they need a happy one. This saying touched my soul. Even though I didn’t realize it, the emotions I was putting off touched each one of my boys. I had to recharge myself. I had to dig deep and put myself first. It wasn’t easy but I did it and I did it with self-love.

-Mommy

I’m Sorry.

You can only be as happy as your saddest child. This is something that sticks with me. This is why I feel my biggest job as a mother is to make sure I protect their happiness. A part of me feels as though I owe my kids an apology for not being able to completely shield them from this horrific world. I feel like I need to say I’m sorry for bringing them into a place that is filled with so much hate.

I’m Sorry.

The innocence of a child is one of the most beautiful possessions they bring into this world. Their ability to find happiness in almost any situation is what I try to protect most as a mother. I am fully aware that as they grow older they will become completely jaded by the harshness that is our world today.

Sometimes I catch myself getting upset at my children for always wanting/trying to play. I have to catch myself, take a step back, and ask myself “why am I upset at their joy”? Why would I want to stop them from having this happy moment?

I learned with my first son, Jayden, that the way a kid sees the world is nothing like we adults see it. There was a moment when I asked Jayden “why are you always trying to play”? And his answer was simple “I just want to have fun Mommy.” That’s it, that’s all they want. That’s all they know. My struggle is deciding when do I, as their mother, let them know that life isn’t all fun and games? When do I begin to show them the true scariness of this world? When do I begin to take away their innocence?

My parents never sheltered me as a child. They recognized my level of understanding, adjusted, and raised me accordingly. I am forever grateful for that. They allowed me to navigate through the world and learn for myself while always being there and helping me along the way. The lessons they taught me were blunt, honest, but always loving. Their willingness to allow me to be myself and learn for myself shaped me into the person I am today. Becoming a parent myself, I now see how hard that must have been. I am extremely hesitant to let my children go. I want to protect them from everything. I want them to never feel any hurt or any pain, but that’s just not realistic. The truth is, I have to let go and allow them to see this world for what is really is. As a mother, I just have to make sure I prepare them for what this world might throw at them.

My fear is that if I try and hold onto this innocence they posses too long they will become naive and unprepared. I don’t want to do them a disservice and emotionally stunt them or keep them from being able to cope with the realness of the world. Raising three boys I have to find the happy medium of giving them enough love to where they understand how to love and making them strong enough to not get eaten by the darkness they will face. Honestly, I just don’t want to screw them up.

I can’t help but feel truly sorry for bringing them into a world that hates them just for being themselves. I am truly sorry for having to explain to them that someone might want to hurt them just because of the color of their skin. I am truly sorry that they will experience the pain of someone close to them trying to bring them down because they appear to be doing better than them. No matter how trash this world is, I will do everything in my power to allow them to live a happy life, while still making sure they understand that everything won’t be perfect. I will not shield them or lie to them. I will do my best and do it with love.

– Mommy