Motivational Monday Moment – 9.18.17

I am exhausted. Mentally and physically. It is sometimes overwhelming just trying to get it all done. Last week was one of those weeks that required so much and gave so little in return. Have you ever had that? 

Whew! I was tired. I was running on empty by Sunday and I allowed myself and my body the opportunity to rest and gather my thoughts. I didn’t know what I wanted to talk about. I felt overwhelmed and I felt like I was just existing. 

What words could I use to encourage you this Monday? How could I make you see that you must keep going on when I felt so tired to even lace up my shoes? How could I tell you that it is not whether you lose or win, but you must keep moving. Moving forward no matter how tired you are.

Then I saw this quote by Maya Angelou: 

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

I realized that was my message. In those 11 words above I knew what I needed to tell you. I needed to encourage you and tell you that no matter how tired you are or how many times you’ve been knocked down that you have to get back up. You must get back up. We must not be defeated.

I know that life sometimes gets hard and it feels that you are being pulled in a million directions. You feel overwhelmed and you don’t know how you can keep going on. You haven’t found a job, you are in a horrible court battle or you lost a close friend or family member and you just want to lay there. 

But, this situation love that you find yourself in is temporary. You will encounter the defeats, but you must not be defeated. You need to get up and get out into the world and fight back. Fight for your piece of the pie. 

Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it in the end? Yes. 

It was Theodore Roosevelt who said:

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

Don’t envy those that seem to have it easy. You will go through pain and difficulty, but it it will strengthen and encourage you. You will get through this week and any situations that you may be going through. The race is still going on. Just join in.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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The Truth About Co-Parenting

I’m in a lot of groups on co-parenting, taking co-parenting classes and reading everything under the sun to learn how to co-parent. Is it working? Umm, not yet. But, that is not to say that I’ve given up. I’m prayerful that God is working it out.

I understand that most co-parenting situations take 5 to 7 years to work out and that will put Munch between 13 to 15. Okay, whatever! It takes a village and I’m okay with that. However, one of the things that I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately is the concern that step moms have that the birth mom’s hate them.

Let me pause and offer my two cents on this belief. This is not true in all cases. If you broke up a home through infidelity, then the birth mother may hate you. But, you should know that. If you didn’t and you both just moved on with your lives and met and married new people then I’m sure that the birth mother doesn’t hate you.

Neither do the kids. They just need to get to know you. The thing is that you fall in love with the man not knowing the history of what he did to that woman or vice versa.  As much as everyone would like to place the foolishness on the birth mom’s shoulder I invite you to take a step back and look at it from another point of view.

As a birth mom to only one child, I only want the best for my child. I believe that his dad wants the best for him. If I don’t know you then how can I know what you want with our son? Does that make you a bad person? Nope, not at all. But, that doesn’t meant that I like you or hate you. I don’t know you.

Does that mean that I’m jealous of you? Not at all. Again, I don’t know you. I don’t trust people I don’t know. Do you trust people that you don’t know? Probably not. It means that we are starting at a point of figuring each other out. We are not sitting here creating voodoo dolls of you and wishing bad things on you. We have a life. We have a child or children. We may have careers.

Every relationship whether friend or intimate has boundaries. When you are getting to know someone intimately they are learning your boundaries and you are learning theirs. When do you learn the birth mother’s boundaries? Do you believe there are boundaries? Do you care?

If not, then think about the relationship that you are creating with those boundaries. When we don’t respect boundaries from the birth parents and do what they heck we want in the name of love, then you will be met with resistance and anger. Probably both. Issues from the marriage or relationship carry over into co-parenting when boundaries aren’t respected. Both men and women are guilty of this.  This doesn’t mean that the woman is bitter or jealous of you. You just crossed her boundary.

Let me give you an example, maybe the ex gave her a sexually transmitted disease (STD), was violent to her, stole from her, etc. Maybe the man didn’t want the child to begin with and now wants to be father of the year with you on his arms. Who knows? You only know his side of the story.  The one that your new partner told you. Maybe the issues are deeper than you want to admit. There are many reasons relationships fail.

And when they do fail, what remains is that there are two parents that have a child to care for. Two. Mom and dad. The parents who created the child, carried the child and the mother who birthed the child left to figure out how to raise this little human being without emotionally stunting him/her. Their children will be raised in two homes, with two different parenting styles and two people who love them immensely. Does that mean that you can’t be a partner in the child’s life with your new man or woman? Not at all.

It just means that you have to recognize that their are other participants in this co-parenting relationship. The parents. Both parents. They need to work together for their child. It may be a lot of residual issues, but your job is not get involved in the BS. To respect the boundaries and love and be a supporting partner to your significant other and a supporter of the child.

Children need the love and support of their parents. If more parents are added to the mix, that’s more love to go around. Their village will expand. Birth mothers don’t go around hating their exe’s new partner. If you’re feeling hated, ask yourself whether or not you did anything to overstep your boundaries. Talk it out.

This is not a birth mother vs. step mother reality. Women have to stop being pitted against each other. We are our sister keeper’s. We are all part of the village.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Random Thoughts – 09.14.17

I’m sorry that I’ve been inconsistent in posting lately. Life has gotten the best of me. In between vacation, school starting, work and my sorority, I’m burning the candle at both ends. Things will slow down soon. I promise to try and catch up on what I can. Here’s an update on where things are with me.

New Followers – Oh Yeah!

Thank you to my new followers. I have almost 2,000 WordPress followers and I am overwhelmingly blessed by that. I’m truly astonished. I can’t believe that you’ve chosen to follow me on this journey in this thing called life. I mean I’ve seriously grown by leaps and bounds these last few months and I’m happy to have you a part of this walk. I can’t thank you enough. Please check out my Who Am I? page to learn all about me.

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week has been hectic. I had so many meetings and court on Monday. My son’s father and I finalized the parenting agreement in mediation and the court accepted it and now it’s part of our file. We had 5 outstanding items that they refused to handle and I’ve accepted that at the moment, I can move on with my life and rebuild my leave balance because I have only been an employee a little over a year.

My Munch

Munch had Back-to-School Night on Tuesday and this was my second time meeting his teacher (I met him on the first day of school). He seems like a really nice guy and I’m wishing Munch and all the little kiddos a happy and productive school year. I have also decided that I will be enrolling Munch into a Math tutoring program this school year to help strengthen his math skills. I realize that I was stressing him out last year and he was stressing me out. But, I don’t play with academics so whatever we can do to help – will be done.

Munch must also take band this year. Apparently, it is mandatory in the fourth grade here in Maryland. I went to school in Texas so I don’t know. Munch decided he wants to play the trumpet as his first choice and the flute as his second. I just received an email from the band teacher asking would some of the parents be willing to switch their children to the clarinet. Umm, nope. He didn’t pick the clarinet. The clarinet sucks.  Can’t the teachers do what they can?

But, it’s a good year. I like his teachers and Munch wanted me to meet his PE teacher at Back-to-School Night. He likes PE. Did you know that she said she sees the kids for 35 minutes once a week and sometimes twice a week? I remember taking PE every day when I was in elementary school.

Finally, I’m feeling better about his school this year. This is a big change from where I stood last year feeling like an outsider. I joined the PTA and volunteered at Munch’s school. I made it work. I got to know the parents and fund raise for the school. Munch’s new school was made smaller by my efforts to fit in. I’m happy to say that my anxiety has diminished and we’re ready to tackle the fourth grade. Together.

My Love

Mr. C is great. He and I are progressing in our relationship and just loving our happy black a** lives. It’s an adjustment with all that we’ve both had going on, but we’re looking forward to stability and celebrations in the coming weeks. His birthday is later this month and then our anniversary is next month. Woohoo! We’ve been dating for almost two years and in a committed relationship almost a year.

We love where we are and we continue to learn and grow our relationship. I’m in a lot of groups on FaceBook and one of the things that I’m learning is that we as couples don’t know how to talk to each other. We want this picture perfect relationship without doing the work. Mr. C and I work at our relationship. Constantly. Daily. Heck, hourly sometimes.

He gets me. He gets when I need him to just protect me and love me through all the bulls*hit that I’m experiencing. It is in those moments that I sigh and thank God for this man. This man that makes me feel as though I can do anything, but reminds me all the same that he’s willing to help me because I’m not alone. Do you know how special that makes me feel?  Whew! I’m blessed ya’ll.

My Sorority Year

Has started back. We take the summers off and we’re now back. I’m on a couple of committees and working to make a difference in my chapter, organization and of course community. First up is a Mother/Daughter Tea that we have this weekend, which is part of our fundraising efforts for scholarships. I am so excited because we’ve sold out the place. I will be the mistress of ceremony for the event and my mommy, sister and niece will be attending. I’ve also volunteered to chair the Veteran’s committee and work on some programs this year including our Wreaths Across America. Munch loved that program so I’m happy to help in any way possible.

That’s a brief synopsis of what’s going on with me. You are all missed and thank you for being an invaluable piece in my life. Your reading, sharing or commenting truly make my day. I’ve been slow to respond, but trust me that I will catch-up. Please continue to love and take care of each other. We’re hurting in this country and we have to remember that we are all loved, valued and appreciated.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Reblog: Yep I’m Scared

I get scared sometimes. I think back to all the times I’ve hid my true self, my feelings or my insecurities in an effort to put on a brave face for everyone else and how that has somehow held me back all these years. I get scared. I am sometimes too afraid to tell someone how I feel about something because I don’t want to seem argumentative. But, if it’s how I feel, does it matter?

I’ve been exploring and self-evaluating my life a lot lately and I realized that I’m a scaredy cat. I get afraid to reveal the real me and let folks in. My friend gave me a great piece of advice last week when he said, “You can’t go through life being afraid to let folks in and keeping pieces of the real you hidden. Life is about taking the plunge and just wading through the water and see where it goes.” (It was probably less poetic because he is a man, but you get the gist right?). I do hide the real me and don’t like to let people in. I’m guarded. I’m closed off when in unfamiliar territories. Especially those that deal with the heart.

So, I wait. I try to analyze, micro-analyze every problem and situation so that I can’t see the forest for the big tree in my vision. I am a runner. I justify my running away as a part of life. It’s me. If things get to complicated or too emotional, I’m out. I don’t want to get hurt. So, I shield myself, my heart, my mind from folks who just want to get to know the real me. But, the real me is too sensitive for this world. She’s not someone use to sharing pieces of her soul.

Until now. I have bared more of my soul in the last year than I ever have. I’ve let my guard down (that 100 foot barbed wire wall around my heart) and started letting people see the real me. Nothing fancy. Just a glimpse of who I am. I had to. God said it’s time. It’s time to let the wall down and share. But, I keep dragging my feet. Slowly because I’m afraid. I don’t  want my heart to get broken. I don’t want to be uncomfortable.

But, you have to be uncomfortable to grow. I need to face my fears no matter how scared I am. I remember my pastor preaching about growing in the valley with the myrtle trees and I am reminded that life is just that. Growing in uncomfortable places and situations.

I’m terrified, but I know that I need to move forward and grow. Just grow.  Whether it’s my branches that spread to support the leaves in my life or my roots that grow deep in the ground, I need to grow. Growth is good. I’m not saying that it won’t be hard and I will continue to guard my heart, but I can’t move forward if I’m too afraid to jump.  I may get hurt, but I will learn. I will grow. I will survive.

oak-tree

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Reblog: Faith Doubters

Recently I heard a friend say to me that “God must truly hate him.”  I was taken aback by his statement and wondered why he would say something like that. Why did he believe that God had singled him out and decided that he hated him because he had to go through trials and tribulations?

Sometimes when we are in the midst of our storm, we can’t see the goodness of God’s grace because we keep trying to get out of the valley.  I explained to him that God doesn’t hate you and that if He did, I wouldn’t be here. Because as a child of God, I believe that he sometimes uses ordinary people like me to minister to those who may be down on their faith sometimes.  I told him he was being a faith doubter. Someone who has doubts that their faith in God is genuine.  I explained to him that what he needed was to develop an authentic relationship (as spoken by my wonderful Pastor) with God and understand that having faith doesn’t mean that you are immune to trials and tribulations.  Your faith will always be attacked and tested, but you can’t let that stop your praise.  Praise must continually be in your mouth when your faith is being tested.  I told him that our God is a God of second and third chances and that if he truly knew my story, he would know why I continually say thank you.  So, I surrounded him in love and prayer and lifted up his name in prayer.  I reminded him how awesome our God is.  Our God is great!

Sometimes when you doubt your faith, it helps to have a friend or friends that are praying for you to get through your storm so you will learn the lesson and know that God never gives you more than you can bear.  I’m thankful that I have had many folks do that for me and blessed that God allowed me to do that for someone else.  I found these great Do’s & Dont’s about getting through difficult times that I shared with him and I want to share with you when you are doubting your faith.  These are from one of my favorite websites, www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com.

Dos

Be Vigilant – don’t hide under a rock when life gets tough. This is the time to Courage UP; face it, and learn whatever you must to DO what’s necessary.

Be Wise -never stop learning and applying what you know. There’s a huge difference between awareness and application. The difference in how your circumstances turn out is hugely based on what you do, not what you know to do.

Be Set Apart – When you’re thinking like the herd it’s a good sign that you’re in deep doodoo. The herd takes the path of least resistance. You have to be willing to stand alone – to separate yourself from the chaos – from the company you keep to the noise in your head. You can’t think average or behave according to what’s expected by the herd.

Don’ts

Be not distracted – whatever has happened is to coexist with as much normalcy as you can muster. Whatever predominates your mind, reigns. Practice peace; it’s king.

Be not dismayed – after the initial hurt, even shock which you have to sit with in order to become present with your new reality, you must not lose faith in rebounding; resilience is built here. Courage UP: verbally reassure yourself that “this too shall pass” and “I can handle this” because it will and you can.

Be not discouraged – when it’s over don’t argue with the results. Accept them. That includes whatever your new reality is. The life ahead of you with your new conditions will draw you like a magnet if you’ll embrace it. There’s always a beautiful “life after”, regardless of the storm you’re currently facing.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Happy Labor Day!

I’m in Tennessee right now with my family. It’s been an amazing weekend. Food, fun and family. Who could ask for more right?

I love this time with family because it allows me the opportunity to rest and relax among those that know me best. Munch is enjoying himself immensely. He loves seeing all his cousins and playing with the boys. He loves to rough house.

Enjoy your time with your loved ones and if you are off, enjoy your day off! Spend time eating, being at the beach or cooking on the grill. Summer is winding down. I wish you an awesome Labor Day my friend.

Laborday1-750x453

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.