Career Day – What’s That?

Today is Career Day at Munch’s school. My mom is going to speak at Career Day. She was harassed invited by the counselor to speak after one of our Parent Teacher conferences. It was weird, but exciting.

See, when I was growing up I don’t remember Career Day. We may have had it, but I honestly can’t recall. Maybe it’s only done in elementary and middle school and since most of that time was spent in Texas, I just don’t remember it.

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However, the counselor really wanted my mom to speak. Why? Because my mother is awesome! Nope, I’m not just saying that. She’s pretty accomplished and the fact that she’s a black woman who is a scientist impressed them.  Shoot, it impresses a lot of people.

But, that was my reality growing up. My mother was working her way through college and grad school while I was matriculating through college as well. She worked 3 jobs and raised three kids while doing it. Never was not in her vocabulary.

She couldn’t make a financial aid workshop? No problem, she sent one of her many villagers to accompany me. They were all working on their PhD’s in some sort of science. They were all women. Pretty cool huh?

That’s when I learned women rock! We can do anything. These women were showing me that. But, no way in hell I wanted to be a scientist. Chemistry was almost the death of me. I avoided all careers that required more than memorization. Which is why I ended up as an English major. LOL.

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My mom wasn’t impressed with going to Career Day. She lives a pretty busy life and isn’t feeling Munch’s school so going wasn’t at the top of her list. However, I did ask Munch in front of her…”Munch, do you want your Nana to speak at Career Day at your school?” He looked at me and asked, “What is Career Day?” I smiled and said, “It’s where your Nana gets up and tells everyone that she’s a scientist and what she does in her career.” He simply said, “Yes.”

It was settled. She couldn’t disappoint her grandson. LOL. My mom then tells me today that she found out that the kids participating in Career Day where in grades 3 through 8. She asked the counselor, “Why would I do this and my own grandson won’t know I’m there because he’s in 2nd grade and they are not participating?” The counselor responded “Don’t worry, I’ll pull him out of class so he can be in there with you.”

And just like that my mom went to Career Day. Even though she was kicking and screaming I’m sure that she inspired some children (hopefully young girls) to be scientists. We can never have enough of them.

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Mommy Breaks 2k16

Let me tell you this…we all need a break. Every last one of us. Do you know how exhausting it can be working, socializing and trying to build your empire? Add parenting, business owner and extracurricular activities into the mix and many of us feel overwhelmed. We feel like we’re losing our minds.

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How are we expected to get everything done in one day? How are we expected to meet our work deadlines, try to write our book, blog and then parent? I need an extra 12 hours during the day when I have Munch to try to get as many things done as I can on my list.

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That’s why I’m a proponent of mommy breaks. I’m creating a movement called #mommybreaks2k16 so get on the ball my dear friends because I’m sure that you need one too. LOL.

You’re probably wondering what is a mommy break? A mommy break is all a part of parenting. It mainly happens when you’re divorced or separated from your child’s other parent and you can co-parent. A mommy break is essential to the survival of the working mother. You will lose your mind if you don’t get a break.

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I mentioned earlier that my ex-husband and I share custody of Munch. Well, my schedule right now is one week on/one week off. It is the best schedule ever. Why? Because when I was married I was doing the bulk of the parenting by myself.

However, in all fairness to my ex, I never asked for help or told him that I needed him to do more. Yes, I could have asked him to read my mind and do it, but I also didn’t speak up. I own it. But, since we separated and subsequently divorced, I have my mommy breaks.

He is  a full-time hands on father for one week. He takes him to soccer practice, swim lessons, soccer games, church school and pick-ups at before and after care. He takes him to therapy to doctor’s appointments or whatever is scheduled during his week. It’s wonderful.

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I get a break. A much needed break. A break where I can strut my stuff and just let my hair down (I know I have short hair, LOL). It’s wonderful. I schedule my hair appointments,  work late, make my nail appointments and girl time during this mommy break. I make time to date, work out and just read. All the things I can’t do when I have Munch.

Mommy breaks are not for everyone. They are only for those who believe that their sanity is worth every minute spent without their child. They are for those who choose to see the benefits of co-parenting not just for the father/child relationship, but also for the parent.

Do you know how many extra hours of sleep I can get when Munch is with his dad? How I don’t have to cook dinner or fix breakfast if I don’t want too? What about  the fact that I don’t have to struggle running up and down the road to take him to his many activities that include swimming, soccer and Tae Kwan Do? Daddy does them.

The best part was that Munch had a busy weekend last week and his dad did everything. I got to do what I want when I want. Like sleep late, head to the gym, and drinks with my friends. It was pure “me time”. No birthday parties or play dates to take him too. It’s one  of the perks of co-parenting.

When I was married, I used to take Munch to birthday parties because when we were married his dad never wanted to attend a child’s party unless it was a long-term family friend and even then he wouldn’t attend if a basketball or football game was on TV or anything that he deemed better than going to a child’s party. It was like pulling teeth.

But, because I have mommy breaks now he actually takes his son to birthday parties. These aren’t just the parties of his dad’s friends, but of Munch’s classmates. I still pick out the gifts (because I’m anal) and wrap them. Usually the parties fall on my weekends. However, if they didn’t I used to ask his dad for permission to take him and he always said yes.

I couldn’t do it this weekend. I was so exhausted and wanted to do nothing more than sleep in and have adult time. So, his dad took Munch to Savannah’s birthday party on Saturday. Ya’ll may remember that Savannah is his crush. Well, he was so excited to go. It was so cute. Munch got up at 8 am and got dressed for the party. His dad laughed and said “Son, we have 5 more hours until the party. You can go and put your pajamas back on and rest.” Munch said, “No daddy, I’m okay. I’m going to just stay dressed.” LOL.

What did I do with my break? Took care of my beauty needs (hair and nails). Went to the mall and exchanged my Michael Kors handbag for a brand new one (thanks warranty), had dinner with Mr. C and even though I wasn’t on Munch duty. I still made sure that I was taking care of his needs. Next up was some new tennis shoes for the summer. Here were his choices:

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Guess which one he picked:

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Yes, his dad and I were shocked. But, he liked them. He said that they were colorful. The good part is that he has a lot of solid color shirts that will match the shoes.

Me? I just enjoyed my mommy break. I went to brunch, dinner, happy hours, the gym and had a great time without the pressure of being a full-time I never get a break mommy. The weather has been nicer the last few days and I’m just soaking up my Vitamin D.

Here are some flicks of me enjoying my mommy time.

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Needed Me

I have to tell you that I’m jamming to Rihanna’s latest song. It is actually a ring tone for someone in my phone. It is a great beat and kind of addictive. LOL. If you haven’t heard it. Please check it out here:

So, my friend Matthew over at Confessions nominated me to do the Four Facts Survey. I hadn’t posted in a couple of days so I thought it would be an awesome way for you to learn more about me. Let’s go…

Four names people call me other than my real name?

Kee, Keetha, T and Baby. My family and close friends call me Kee or Keetha. However, some people call me T or TT. My name is kind of formal so I’m okay with an appropriate abreviation. I don’t like Kee – Kee. Which is weird because Mr. C asked me could he call me that when we first started talking and I said, “Sure”. LOL. When we met and spent more time together he just called me by my full name. His response was “Kee Kee doesn’t fit you.”.

Four jobs that I have had?

I picked tomatoes at 10. I’m sure that there were some child labor laws that were being broken at that time, but it was the south and I wanted some pocket money. All day from sun up to sun down and I think that the most I ever earned was $40. I also did phone surveys, worked at McDonald’s and I’m a healthcare analyst now.

Four movies that I have watched more than once?

Purple Rain, Creed, The Wiz and all the Star Wars.

Four books or authors I’d recommend?

Wow, I love reading and I’m a history buff but a true sci-fi lover. But, I also love books that elevate or encourage my thinking or well-being. So, the latest books that I would recommend that I’ve read multiple times: The Hunger Games, Divergent Series, The Wait and No More Sheets.

Four places I have lived?

Tennessee, Maryland, Spain and England.

Four places I have visited?

Jamaica, Mexico, Hawaii and Nappa Valley.

Four things I’d rather be doing right now?

Sitting in a coffee shop, drinking coffee, curled up with my Kindle and a scone.

Four foods I do not like?

Clams, carrots, Haggis and turnips.

Four of my favorite foods?

Pizza, steak, burgers and any kind of pasta.

Four shows I watch?

Love and Hip-Hop series, Wayward Pines, Sleepy Hollow and Being Mary Jane.

Four things I am looking forward to this year?

Going to Miami in July, going home to Tennessee in September, redesigning my website and taking my son to Disney in the winter.

Four things I am always saying?

  1. There is no difference between me and the next person. I just wanted it bad enough.
  2. God speaks to me in a KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) approach.
  3. Never align yourself with someone who lacks purpose or vision.
  4. I’m truly blessed that God allows people to come into my life that I learn from and can grow with.

Now that you learned some stuff about me. I’m recommending the following 4 blogs to do the same thing with the 4 facts survey. I can’t wait to see what you come up with…

Ginger Funk’s Blog

Hot Mess Memoir

Nicky’s Day with Autism

Grow with Me

 

 

 

Real Talk: Child Support Drama

Can we get real for a second? I wrote last week about how we choose men and then consider them unfit to be more than a weekend dad and now I want to talk about the child support drama. Now, before going off on me, please read the entire post.

Okay, do I believe in child support? Yes, I do. We can’t raise children on purely love, hugs and kisses. It takes finances to be able to raise children. In other words, you paid to play, you paid to lay and now you have to pay to raise.

Simple truth.

For the Ladies…

Some women (if it doesn’t apply to you stop getting mad) use child support as a weapon against their child’s father. They in turn use that support for things that have nothing to do with the child. Is that fair? No.

It takes two parents to raise a child. If you are a woman and your children are school age you need to get a job. You need to provide financial support for your children as well. You need to be able to raise your children financially. We can’t assume that the other parent has to do it all. He shouldn’t have to.

Neither should you. But, you need to be working. Let’s be honest…it takes more than one income to raise children from infancy through college. You need to be a productive member of society showing your children that you worked hard to provide for them.

For the Men…

It is never acceptable for you to go off and make a new life and not support your children. Children have needs and expenses that require both parents to participate in. Nope, I’m not asking you to pay my rent, mortgage, utilities or car note. I’m asking you to help with the expenses of health, dental, vision and schooling including activities.

You can’t be a every other weekend dad and just take care of your child 4 days out of 30 or 31. What the hell is wrong with you? Who is supposed to do it the rest of the time? Your children have expenses and is the mother of your child supposed to figure it out?

I remember hearing my mother beg my father to support us (it was 3 of us) once a year. She said “My two hardest times are when school starts and Christmas. If you take one of those events I will support them the rest of the year on my own.” You know what he said? No.

My Story…

I’ve had men tell me that I’m a good woman because when I asked for a divorce I said we could have joint custody. No child support. That doesn’t make me a good woman. I did it because I believed that we could both support our child without having the courts interfere.

But, here’s a piece of information that I found out when going through a divorce…Child support looks at both incomes. My lawyer told me that because I made substantially more than my ex-husband that I would have to pay him $497 a month to keep his son 50% of the time. Say what now?

Yes, I couldn’t believe it. She asked, “Why did you marry someone who wasn’t in your tax bracket?” I was stunned. I responded “We dated in our mid-twenties. It wasn’t that big of a deal when we were younger. He likes working in the non-profit field. They don’t pay as much. I didn’t care. I wanted him to work wherever he’s happy.” She said, “Well, now you could pay for it.” I responded, “No, I will never pay a man to keep his child 50% of the time. I still have bills and expenses including trying to save for college. I can’t afford that. I’ll file for sole custody before I pay child support.”

I went on talking and explaining my expenses for my son that I pay for without ever asking for financial reimbursement from his dad. I told her that I keep him on my health insurance because I do this for a living and would never have him on a plan that wasn’t phenomenal. I told her that in the beginning of the divorce, I actually divided and shared my son’s clothes so his dad could slowly rebuild. Anything that benefited my son I was doing. She added those numbers in and had it down to $10 a month.

But, what about me? Was I wrong in my thinking? I mean after hearing that I would have to pay my ex-husband child support to take care of our son half the time I was willing to change the circumstances of what I had initially agreed to. Was it fair? In my mind I believed that to be the case which is why I called him.

I told him what my lawyer said. I told him that “In the interest of being fair, I just found out that I would have to pay you $497 a month to keep your son 50% of the time in child support.” I said, “I’m not going to do it. I will never pay someone child support to keep their child 50% of the time knowing that I do a lot that I’ve never asked for reimbursement for anything I’ve paid for. I’m also saving for his college fund. I will file for sole custody with a visitation schedule if you want child support.”

Yep, I was kinda rude. I own it. But, he was understanding and he knew that I would have to pay him support but agreed to not take anything from me. That doesn’t make me a good woman because I didn’t take him to court for child support. I understood the differences in our income and knew that my son’s father does support his son. He may not do it at the level I do financially, but that is okay because I make more.

Finally…

Parents need to support their children. It takes two parents and we’ve got to make sure that we are not using our children as pawns or paychecks. I know that I don’t. I just ask that you consider not doing it either.

We need to support our children. Not by yourself but as an equal partner. You see that word? Partner. It’s the same letters as in Parent. Co-parent.

Real Talk: You Chose Him

Can we get real for a moment? Have a real talk? Discuss something that’s been on my mind for a minute.

Okay, here goes…

Girl, you chose him! Stop acting like the man that you laid down with and had a baby with is unfit to see his dang child. Was he unfit when you were sleeping with him? Was he unfit when you gave birth? Was he unfit when he showed up at every doctor’s appointment, sporting event or school performance? No.

No, he wasn’t. He was there being a partner with you. Loving you. Being excited for his blessing that was growing in your womb.

We have to stop this backward thinking when it comes to raising our children. We don’t need to raise our children alone. Nor should we have to. If you have a man that is a father and wants to be a father then why make it difficult?

It’s not about you. It’s about your children. They deserve to have both parents in their lives.

Do you know how many men I meet that tell me that I’m an incredible mother because I don’t deny my son the opportunity to see or visit his father whenever he wants to? Should I get a medal? Nope. I’m doing what’s right.

Right by who? My son. His father.

My marriage didn’t work, but that didn’t mean that his dad was a crap father. He wasn’t. He loves his son. Does he make mistakes (in my opinion)? Yes. But, so do I. No one is perfect.

I didn’t use my son as a pawn.

Neither can you. Even if the father is a questionable individual he should still be allowed to spend time with his child. Even if supervised. Children grow up. They learn who was there and who wasn’t.

But, this isn’t a competition. This is parenting and this s**t is real. We have to do better. We have to learn to co-parent and get along for the sake of our children.

This pettiness, bitterness, I don’t need you to do a damn thing for me attitude has got to take a backseat for the children. You may not need him to do a damn thing, but he should still be able to be a father.

My male best friend went through a divorce 7+ years ago. At the time, his ex wife decided that he would be better as an every other weekend dad. She (along with the courts) stripped his rights and limited his visitation. He was devastated.

She then went two years without letting him see his kids every other weekend. He filed motions of contempt and back and forth to court. The judge caved and made excuses for her. He said, “Tikeetha, I give up. The courts are siding with her. If she wants to do it all then fine. Let her. I’m tired of fighting a battle that I will never win.”

It hurt to hear that. I begged him not to give up. These were his children too. They deserved to have their father and mother in their lives. He couldn’t afford the continued expense. He would show up at the designated meeting spot every other weekend hoping she would be there. Every other weekend for two years. You know what? She wouldn’t be there. Until one day.

He flagged a state police officer down. He showed him the visitation schedule. The officer called her and told her she had 30 minutes to bring the children or he would arrest her. She showed up.

Ridiculous huh? The bitter truth is that she hates him. She’s using her kids as a pawn. Their son is now 15 and very disrespectful to her. She wants his father to help her. He asked her “Why? You did everything in your power to keep me from my kids. You can’t play the hero and victim. You did this so deal with it.”

Do I agree with his response? Nope. But, I understand. I’ve talked him off the mountain and said “Your son will never be happy because how a boy treats his mother is how he will be judged. You need to address that behavior.” They are going to family counseling next month.

However, the worst part of all this is that his son said, “Do you know how embarrassing it is for me that my parents don’t even speak? That my mother and father hate each other. The only time there is ever a conversation is if she’s calling to complain about me.”

Wow! Out of the mouth of babes. Doesn’t that just break your heart?

We’ve got to do better women! We chose them. They have rights. More importantly…our children need their fathers.

Friday Afterthoughts – 5/20/2016

I was thinking of doing a Friday Afterthoughts post to share a lesson learned during my blogging week. It might not be every Friday because ya’ll know that there are many things that I just don’t listen or learn when I should. LOL. But, I wanted to share the lesson and how it applies to me.

Here goes…

So, I shared with you in my post yesterday about my mommy meltdown and how I had cursed at my Munch and the anguish that I felt afterwards. I truly felt like a bad mommy. I was sitting here thinking what did I learn? Because there is always a lesson to be learned. Even if I don’t want to learn it there is something to be learned and I had to do better.

Why? Because I’m his mother and I want to lead by example. Be someone that he can look up to know that I made mistakes, but I didn’t make the same mistake twice (I made new ones) and that I apologize when I’m wrong. Apologies matter.

My lesson learned was this…I learned that we all mistakes. Just like I make them in my normal every day life, I make them in parenting. I’m not perfect. But, what I learned is that in the same way that God forgives me, I have to be able to forgive myself. I have to do better.

I was out of line and out of pocket cursing at my Munch. I’m sure I’ve done some things that God would probably put his palm to head when thinking about me and my mistakes but he isn’t cursing me (that I know of). He’s loving me in spite of my disobedience and sending me reminders to get back on track.

I need to forgive myself. Have better self-control and walk away from frustrating situations. I’m not perfect. I’m just trying to be better.

James 3:2 (NLT)

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.