Thank You Kendrick!

This week the internet has been buzzing about rapper, Kendrick Lamar.  I enjoy this brother’s vibe.  He is unapologetically true to himself and his community.  Even though the world we live in is so shallow and people are so venomous.

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In case you have been under a rock this week, let me explain….So, tell me….if you were graduating from high school and your big brother bought you a 2017 Toyota Camry would you be stoked or expect a luxury car?  I guess because the “Humble” artist is famous, the masses expect him to buy his sister a more expensive car? Why does anyone care?

A moment that should have been precious and celebrated by anyone in earshot was tarnished by internet trolls that probably are just hatin’ on her Camry!

Thank you Kendrick for a responsible, smart and normal gesture of love. I am sorry people have such little substance.  I bet they would be giving him props if he bought the car for them.

#IJS #JMO

Couple Chaos: 5 Do’s and Don’ts for New Parents

heart-1647308_960_720So, you have a newborn baby! All of the pregnancy fuss is over, baby showers have passed, and the baby is here!  You look at your significant other moments after baby’s birth and imagine no greater feeling on earth.  Well, congratulations to you both!  There is no doubt the baby will bring sheer joy to both of you, but what if the bliss in your relationship comes to a screeching halt?

5 Spousal Do’s and Dont’s:

#1: Check on Mom. The woman you love just brought a child into the world. There may be aches, pains, and needs that she is ignoring for the sake of her newest priority, the baby.  Inquire with her several times a day.  Perhaps, you watch a television show with the baby and allow Mom a needed nap or shower.

#2: Check on Dad. Although the wife or girlfriend gives birth, your spouse is in need of your attention too.  With “baby on the brain,” it is easy to feel overwhelmed and like your spouse should understand you have a ton of things to do.  This is true, but whether they are on paternity leave or at work, show some affection and send loving texts while you are apart.  Make sure you muster enough energy to ask about their day when they arrive!

#3: Listen With A Smile.  You may be tired of hearing about the baby’s newest quirks or maybe you feel like your spouse does not ask about YOU anymore.  Whatever the topic, hear them out.  If you feel a little neglected, voice your opinion respectfully because it probably is not what you think.  Keep “baby envy” to a minimum Dads, your spouse’s life and perspective on it is forever changed.  Mothers need support and encouragement. If you give her what you want in return, I believe you will love the end result.

#4: Family Time is Quality Time. There must be time where you enjoy the blessing together. Try not to desert the primary caregiver by being gone too much.  I know the life you had before the baby seems far away, but the baby is only a baby once and will thrive from the love of the parents.  If you cannot get along, how is the tension affecting the baby? Spend time together and find special moments during baby’s naps.

#5: Romance Can Exist.  Be creative! Picnic in the living room, have a movie night, order takeout from your favorite restaurant… parenthood does not mean the couple cannot enjoy each other.  It means you nuture the baby together. Then, you find ways to make your spouse feel special.

It may not mean going on lots of trips and having loads of cocktails right away, but just learning to appreciate time at home.

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Over the Hill or Stuck at the Start?

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When you turn 50, people and birthday decor will declare you, “Over The Hill!”  My perception of this phrase is that being over the hill means you have risen above and are beyond mood-altering insecurity, crippling pettiness, and trivial arguments.

Today, mature people are faced with a challenge.  They can choose to live life “over the hill” as did many before us, with grace and desire to invest in the new generation or hold on to the habits and hang ups of their youth.  If you look at yourself and see no room for improvement, I would venture to say that people see little to no change in you over the years.  I am not talking about wrinkles here.

The beauty that we exude from the inside is more important than the outer appearance.  It is how we are remembered. It is the impression we make on others.

  • Are there lots of judgements in your conversation?
  • Have you done anything to help a younger person not make a mistake you made?
  •  Is the world your classroom?
  •  Do you gossip more than you pray for people?
  • Do you delete friends more frequently than you call them?

If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes,” you may be stuck at the start.  Reflect on the statements people make about you.  Do they have the same complaints about you they had when you were 18? Selfish much? There is time to turn it around.

Get over yourself and get over the hill.

MOMMYHOOD 101: Lesson 1

Congratulations to all of my first-time moms and congratulations to the veteran mamas! I salute you.

This Mommyhood Tip is not about the baby, but simply for you. I know it seems like a rare occurence, but you are still important too!

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5 WAYS TO FEEL SPECIAL WITHOUT LEAVING THE BABY!

1.  ORDER IN! New babies require so much from us and we are often feeling exhausted and sorry for ourselves.  You may not have a babysitter or want to leave baby to have a special meal, but with Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and other food delivery services you can have your choice of local restaurant cuisine!

2.  HAVE A GIRLS’ NIGHT!  When baby is big enough to be around people this can be a fun way to catch up with friends, unwind, and get some help for an evening.  Great friends wouls love to meet your new blessing.

3.   SHOP ONLINE! If you are the type of girl that loves to shop, and miss it now that you are a mom….buy yourself something online.  There are countless retail vendors and apps available to calm your shopping itch. Some of my favorite sites are Etsy and Amazon. Some cool shopping apps are Wish and BooHoo.

4.  FIND A MOBILE HAIR STYLIST. Just because you are recouperating and breastfeeding around the clock, it does not mean you can’t have you hair done.  There are plenty of stylists that will come to your home for a small additional fee.  However, I would suggest getting a referral and/or reading reviews before you let a stranger in your home.

5.  ONLINE CLASSES OR “YOUTUBE UNIVERSITY.”  If you find your brain need stimulation beyond Sesame Street and have some energy left, learn something new.  YouTubers have a plethora of videos to teach anything from cooking to computer programming. I like to call it YouTube University.  If that is too informal, enroll in an accredited online university and study hard!

There you have it… 5 ways to hold on to some activities you may feel slipping away.

The Balance: How Much Is Too Much?

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 Let’s talk about that interesting game of love. Some of us fair on the side of doting on our man and fulfilling his every need, others are as tough as beef jerky and demand everything!  I’m not here to point out dos and don’ts, but rather offer my opinion on the best middle ground.  I call love a game because a whole lot of people are out there playing…literally!

First plan of action, make sure that you are not a pawn; dive into love with purpose. Let your purpose be firm and unwavering in your spirit, many times our instinctual desires are not too much to ask.  Our plans go sour when we give them all up and devote our whole agenda to a complete opposite! (That is a completely different post.)

You may be saying “Big Sis, what balance? If he pisses me off, I’m poppin’ off!” Other sisters may be saying, “Give in? I do ALL I do for love.” I recognize both of these ideas as necessary and a part of a healthy relationship. I just charge us all to consider the following:

1. Love with your heart AND your head.  Do for the one you love to your heart’s desire, but take inventory at the end of the day and make SURE that the same is done for you in a heartbeat.  Does he comfort you when you cry?  Does he acknowledge when you come in and say goodbye?  Are his intentions deep enough to take you around his family and friends?  Is he kind and interested around your friends and kin?  Try not to give and give more until you are emptied out, what you put out should be replenished before you run out!  Many would not dream a relationship would lack these things, but women forego them all the time to maintain what they have.

If your final analysis finds you out in the cold, do yourself a favor: address it, call for action, look for reciprocation, and if it is still MIA remove yourself to find what you need! (Someone who means well by you is willing to make lifestyle changes for you).

2. Choose your battles wisely.  I agree with standing up for what you believe in, but let us strive to generate a discussion not a shouting match.  Please understand there is a difference.  Discussions usually volley back and forth and are even toned with SOME passionate moments.  A shouting match is a fight without the swinging!  These matches hardly ever lack berating, and most of the points on both sides are lost in the high volume!  Of course, sometimes people have to decompress and your significant other usually catches the brunt of this.  However, the key word here is sometimes.  You are no one’s punching bag, and if you love him then he should not become your sparring partner!

At the end of the day, if you are more enemies than lovers…reevaluate what you share. Discern how much willingness you have left to make it a more pleasant situation, and ask him the same.  The best of relationships cycle through turbulence, but don’t allow it to be your everyday.  (Someone who means well by you is willing to evaluate their communication with you and keep the respect levels high!)

Book Review: Respect the truth!

“No Disrespect” by Sister Souljah is full of experiences and ideas that some conservative or routine people may find offensive. The author is an accomplished lecturer, activist, and scholar. “No Disrespect” is her autobiography, but it is not your average chronological, cookie-cutter life story. Sister Souljah attended Cornell University’s advanced placement summer program, Spain’s University of Salamanca study abroad program, and a graduate of Rutgers University. She has lectured across the globe, and organized many programs to empower families and programs. Often, individuals accomplished to a degree this high can attribute their success to their upbringing, and the support of their parents. After reading “No Disrespect,” it is evident that Sister Souljah believes and teaches self-reliance.

Mother, Chapter One. Instead of numerically notating the chapters, the author names each one after a person in her life. In a very calculated manner, the titles are relevant and keep the directions of the story flowing. It was exciting to see what name would be featured at the next turn of the page. “No Disrespect” is about the life of a young African-American woman and her struggle to understand family roles, relationships with men, and love. This autobiography should be a handbook for anyone living in a conventional nuclear family, all of the youth of today, and any person that believes they know why so many African-Americans are living dysfunctional and dangerous lifestyles.

Casual rape,” is just one of the many harsh activities the author describes that can occur in the projects. Growing up in the projects for much of her youth, Sister Souljah makes it clear “self-love” and a relationship with God carried her through many trying times. The absence of families helping one another and communities coming together for a better way of life was illogical to the author. She was adamant throughout her life about developing a plan to “save the broken lives and spirits of the shattered families,” rather than just host celebratory parties as her wealthy relatives did.

She is as deadly as a nine millimeter.” This analogy to describe the rareness of a 21-year-old educated woman without children. This may seem like an extreme statement, but it shows young women that there is power in being independent and having a family by choice, not by accident. This idea along with the constant relationship highs and lows described successfully give many readers a new way to think about their own lives.

These are ideas that are talked about all the times in forums and “save the youth” campaigns, but the author’s life contextualizes these points to a degree where another sector of people can relate and gain a new perspective. This new outlook may lead them to an overcoming, achieving life. People that only observe events like this on the news will benefit as well. It is always enlightening to know what life would be like if you lived on the “other side of the tracks.” Sister Souljah’s book opened these cookie-cutter eyes to a new part of the world.

“No Disrespect” by Sister Souljah, Vintage Books: pp. 361, $15.00


 

No Matter What: “Quo Vadis!”

I was thirteen, and anxious about the last year of middle school. I began the school year with some really great friends and an English teacher with a lot of spunk. She was a self-proclaimed 24 years old, but was definitely one of the “Golden Girls.” She challenged us to adopt a single phrase, “Quo Vadis.” I, with a twisted facial expression, wondered where the lecture was going. All sorts of questions entered my mind during this first day of class.woman-notebook-working-girl What type of school year are we in for? This lady was older than some of our grandparents, she was of Lebanese descent, and seemed to be slow moving. I did not see an angle where she could relate to us. However, she was about to provide a room full of black and brown children with a very profound idea. It has stuck with me over twenty years later.

She told us, “Quo Vadis means, ‘Where are you going?’” She charged our minds to think about the direction we wanted for our own lives, and to answer the call with “To Thine Own Self Be True.” She stressed and drilled into to our psyche that our strongest weapon in this life is to be true to ourselves. So, to my lil’ Sisters, I ask you to do the same. Regardless of your circumstances, configure your outlook on life in such a way that your possibilities are endless. Ladies, understand that when you say “Quo Vadis” the next step is to set a goal. Embrace the skills that you have been given and research to discover what roles in life best match your skill set.

When you shout “To Thine Own Self Be True,” believe in yourself and remain steadfast in your pursuit to success. One way to ensure that is by practicing realism. If it helps you comprehend a little more, “KEEP IT REAL!” If you cannot practice realism with yourself, you will walk around defrauding the entire world. Evaluate what you do best and where you lack strength. Avoid setting unrealistic goals because you are building a foundation that only failure can stand on. If you are terrified of animals, do not sign up to be a receptionist in a veterinarian’s office. Fears can be overcome surely, but that probably should not be your first option. Realism also holds you accountable for strengthening the weaknesses we have control over. When we fail to evaluate and correct ourselves, we hold our success back.

For example, I see many women young and old with dreams of own their own beauty salon. They output their creative styles on every head of hair within their reach. However, these entrepreneurial spirits never attend a business seminar, buy a “How-To Book,” or even attend cosmetology school. Only you can fulfill your dreams. No one is going to hand you anything. No matter what my sisters…SPEAK “Quo Vadis,” and ANSWER with “To thine own self be true.”