Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who are making an impact in their children’s lives. Whether you are a first time dad, a father figure or you’ve been a dad for many years know that you matter. It is important that a child has a father in their life and today we honor you.

It may seem that you don’t get the recognition you deserve, but trust that is not the case. You are and will always be an irreplaceable piece in your child’s life. Never forget it. You matter. You are loved. You’re appreciated for all you do. Even when you think no one else is watching.

To my love who raised his son by himself and is getting ready to send him to college, I salute you. I know that it wasn’t easy being a single parent or a single dad, but your unwavering determination to raise your son into the man you know he will be comforts my soul. He is an absolutely beautiful young man and you deserve the accolades for doing a wonderful job. The way that you love and raise your son makes me honored to know that you would do the same for mine. Happy Father’s Day babe.

To my son’s father…I know that we are like oil and water, but I never doubt your role in our son’s life. Munch is a constant reminder of God’s unwavering love of us when he blessed us with him. Continue to love him and support him without pause and know that you matter to him. You are and will always be his dad. I am thankful for that. You are to be honored and celebrated today.

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

21

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/.

A Shoe Tying Miracle

When Munch was about 6, I instructed his dad to teach him how to tie his shoes. I told him that I would take over the task of teaching him how to read. I couldn’t do both. I was working full-time and a single mom. I had accepted that we were living in two separate homes and we needed to divide and conquer things when it comes to parenting.

Well, Munch never really learned how to tie his shoes. Thankfully he knows how to read. When I asked him why he can’t tie his shoes when his dad said he could, he said “I can’t Mommy, it’s too hard. It never stays tied.” I sighed. I couldn’t believe that my son couldn’t tie his shoes and actually preferred velcro shoes.

Alas was life. I struggled to show him how to tie his shoes. He just wasn’t getting it. It was frustrating. I gave up. I watched him literally destroy brand new tennis shoes because he couldn’t tie his laces and he would walk around stepping on them all day.  Many people tried to help including the summer camp counselor last year. Munch just couldn’t get it.

A friend of mine recommended this book Red Lace, Yellow Lace and told me that it is a God send because he needed it with his son. He said “I couldn’t teach him to tie his shoe to save his life and when I bought this book, he got it.” “Umm, yeah” I said. I had tried everything so I felt that it was hopeless, but the book was cheap so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad investment. I had a niece and nephew who were 4 and 3 who would be learning soon.

I bought the book last week while Munch was with his dad. I’m happy to say that it worked. I love this book. Munch read it and practiced on the laces on the book and then with his own shoes all that night.

Guess what? He’s been tying them right ever since. In one freaking day.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get the book. The best part was when Munch said “Mommy, since I read the book, I don’t have any problems tying my shoes. They stay tied all day.” I smiled.

It was a good week. My work is done. He can tie his shoes and he can read. Better late than never.

w40_fsh12_bc.jpg

 

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/.

The Truth

We had been married for over four years. It was time. I had pushed off having children for years. I enjoyed it being us, but the silence was deafening. The desire to have a baby was like an echo in our otherwise peaceful home. He wanted children. I didn’t know if I was ready. I still had a lot of unreserved issues about being a mom, so it was becoming a problem for us. But, there was no time like the present.

December 2006

We sat there in the doctor’s office.  “Well, we’ve ran the tests and it looks like there is some blockage in your tubes and male fertility problems” he said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “It means that you’ll have difficulty conceiving” I sighed. My husband asked “Does this mean that we can’t have children on our own? “No, I will never say that. Couples conceive each day to the astonishment to the medical community. It just means that it will be difficult to conceive.”

I sighed. “What are our options?” He said “I would recommend IVF with ICSI.” I replied “I’ve been doing research and why not IUI” I asked. “Your blocked fallopian tube makes it more difficult” he responded. I was sitting there stunned. Not sure what to think or believe. My husband grabbed my hand.

The doctor said “I know that I’ve given you a lot of information to process, but if you want to move forward I would like to set up the group counseling sessions about the process. You’ll work with a nurse who will outline and handle everything.” We smiled. Got up slowly and were handed off to the nurse.

She smiled. Beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. In an instant I felt jealous. I bet she doesn’t have fertility problems. I bet she has a beautiful baby with the bluest eyes and blonde hair at home. It was painful. She could sense my anxiety and led us through to a conference room and explained the next couple of months to us. I was trying to listen and absorb what was being told to me.

Beyond the counseling sessions, we had to do our testing. Complete work ups. Do we want genetic testing? Does it matter? Personal choice. But, shouldn’t we be happy if we just get pregnant? Questions among questions floated through my mind. I looked over at my husband. He shook his head. He was listening intently. I looked back at the paper.

I needed to get on birth control. I had just had my period a week ago so nothing could happen for another month. I need to order my medications. They were specialty drugs and they had a specialty pharmacy in the building. We took all the paperwork and left. It was overwhelming.

We stopped by the pharmacy and dropped off the prescriptions. They were starting a Lupron protocol. We went to the car. We sat there. “It’s a lot” I said. “Yeah” he said. “Are we ready?” I asked. “Yes, we’ve talked about this” he replied. He’s right. I was being a chicken shit.

I hated needles. The fear of the needles was paralyzing me. That along with all the other scientific stuff we needed to go through. But, the smallest thought that we could have a baby next Christmas gave me pause. I smiled.

We headed home. Our lives were about to change.

-To Be Continued-

 

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/.

BlackFace 101

This is a detour from my normal posts, but I think it’s important that we have an open and honest conversation. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’ve made no secret of that. However, we can’t be afraid to talk about race.

I’ve been blessed to have friends of all nationalities and races. Let’s have a frank discussion about blackface. I’m entitling this BlackFace 101. I recently read an article about a white teen who dressed in blackface to ask a girl to prom. He believed he did nothing wrong.

If that is true, then his parents failed him. Why? Because as a parent, you have an obligation to teach not just tolerance, acceptance and empathy but history to your children. The school’s don’t do a good job of it anymore. They are literally omitting and changing history in the textbooks.  You need to fill in the blanks. Just like I have to do.

Our job as parents require us to encourage and educate our children every step of the way. If you are a parent in 2017, why would you think it is okay for your child to dress up in blackface? If you knew it was wrong and you don’t think it’s a big deal, then stop asking for forgiveness for your child’s ignorance. You failed them. Plain and simple.

I’m black, but I have to teach Munch about all cultures. Not just our own. Not the watered down versions that the schools are teaching now. It is my responsibility to make sure that he knows and respects everyone’s culture. That’s what we seem to be lacking…respect for other cultures.

If you don’t teach your children this, then you are ill preparing them for the real world. We are a melting pot of many cultures and nationalities and ignorance isn’t bliss. I don’t care what anyone says. Preparation for the future is key.

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Mahatma Gandhi

The history of blackface is not something that is ever appropriate. In short, white America’s conception of black entertainers were overly exaggerated. They were mocking us as the socially and racially inferior race. It was pure ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that if you choose to wear blackface after knowing it’s offensive history, you’re in essence telling me that you don’t give a crap about my feelings as a black woman. I’m supposed to take it as a joke. The thing is though…you can’t forget history. I can’t wipe off what happened to my ancestors like you can your painted blackface. It isn’t acceptable and if you do it, at least be man or woman enough to not ask for forgiveness over your ignorance.

 

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/.

Co-Parenting: Dating with Kids

One of the hardest things to do is date when you’re a parent. Whether the other parent is active or not, I think we can all agree that it is hard dating when you’re a parent. Whether it is coordinating schedules, your child gets sick or you are exhausted, we all have things that get in the way.

When I started dating one of the things that I made a point to say to prospective men was that I was a mom first. That meant that you needed to be flexible with me when it comes to my son. I remember that I had met a guy and we had gone out a couple of before. He was nice enough. Well, one Sunday he wanted to go out and I told him that I didn’t want too.

I explained that my ex-husband had sent me a text that Munch was not himself and not feeling well that day. He said he would monitor him. I was asking for more information and he just responded “If he gets worse, I’ll take him to urgent care.” That meant that I wasn’t going to go out that night. The possibility that my son could be in urgent care was too much for me. My son had never been to an ER or Urgent Care without me.

This was the new me. A single mom and my son would always come first. Needless to say I texted the man back to say that my son was sick and I wanted to stick close to home in case he had to go to urgent care. The guy didn’t get it. He was disappointed and I never heard from him again.

Okay. His loss. Munch did end up going to Urgent Care and was later diagnosed as having shigella, but that didn’t matter. That man had broken a cardinal rule…being upset that I told you no over choosing to be a mom. I wasn’t hurt. I stood my ground. I was a mother first.

Dating is hard as hell whether you have a child or not. How are you expected to cater to your man and to your child too when you just meet someone? How are you expected to balance it all? The truth…carefully.

You have to meet someone who understands and values your commitment to your children first. I would never be upset if someone’s child was sick or they needed to be a parent first. Remember that I told you that I wanted someone to love me and my son as though we were flesh of their flesh. That was a requirement.

Mr. C is an incredible father who respects and loves the fact that I’m a mom first. He tells me all the time that I’m a great mother. Even when I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. He’s encouraging. I remember the first time I cried when I told him my fears about parenting. He soothed my spirit and calmed me down. He’s a parent.

We have two different parenting styles. He doesn’t believe in allowance (but secretly spoils his son) and I am going to start giving Munch an allowance. He believes that driving are a right of passage that a boy must undertake by his senior year in high school (I think it depends on their responsibility level). He’s strong and a provider and I’m a tough as nails educator who will dole out kisses and hugs and lots of encouragement and support.

Different. I think that’s why we work. He respects that I’m a mom first, a girlfriend second and knows that I will always trust his judgement. I am blessed to have met someone who gets that parenting is hard and it comes first. Someone that gets that I may have to reschedule plans or include Munch when things get in the way. He is flexible.

Find someone that encourages you to be a better parent. Who supports you in raising wonderful and good human beings. Who believes that there is nothing more valuable than creating and crafting the minds of the future leaders of America. Okay, well maybe that’s too much…but find someone that loves your kids as much as you.

 

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/.

Oldest Child Problems

A couple of weeks ago I read this great article over at Bougie Black Girl (BBG) about how parents use their older children to watch their younger siblings, much to the expense of the older child. I’m not speaking about an occasional babysitting job, but a child having to cook and clean and take care of her siblings like she birthed the babies. This article hit home for me.

See, because I was one of the girls that she was talking about. It happens a lot in the African American community. We tend to make our older girls the caregivers for their younger siblings. They didn’t give birth to your children.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that my mother was a bad mom. She wasn’t. Do I agree with everything she did? Nope. Do I believe she tried her best with the information and skills that she had at that time. Yep. But, there was damage.

You see when my daddy walked out of our lives, I was the oldest. I was 9 years old and my sister was 6. My brother was just 9 months old.  I had to become an “adult” and parent my siblings because my mother was in the military and worked swing shift. That means she was on for 18 hours and then off and back at work. She was exhausted.

I would have to pick my sister up from her classroom (we went to the same school) and walk her to pick up my brother from the babysitter to then go home. My mother left instructions for how to heat up dinner (she was exhausted but thankfully she still managed to cook). I would help my sister with her homework and we would eat dinner. I would bathe them both and put them to bed.

I would then sit down and do my homework, take a bath and head to bed. It was exhausting. I was a child. I had no choice. My mom didn’t have a choice. This was our lot in life.

When my mom got out of the military and we moved to Maryland, she had to work three jobs to take care of us. My dad didn’t pay child support and she made $10.00 too much to qualify for food stamps so working that many jobs put food on the table and clothes on our backs.  I received reduced lunches. I wasn’t embarrassed. I needed to eat.

I became their “de facto mother”. I doled out punishments and enforced chores. I had to make sure everything was done so that I wouldn’t be held liable.

I didn’t want to be a mother when I was still a child. I didn’t know how not to be. This kind of forced motherhood made me never want to have children. This made me feel as though my needs didn’t matter. The needs of my siblings came before my own needs.

The thing about not having your needs met is that you feel like you don’t matter. I couldn’t create boundaries because no one would respect them. I had no choice. I had no voice. I had to take care of my siblings.

I had a lot of pain during that time because I was a child raising children. I felt like my siblings didn’t respect me. Even now I sometimes feel the pain of past issues that manifest itself as disrespect. I’m sure that they don’t think of it in those terms, but they don’t know the sacrifices that I made too. Not just the ones made by our mother.

I didn’t get to participate in any after school activities until they were old enough to be left alone or my mom could watch them. There was no money for extras and no time. There was a schedule that had to be maintained.

I remember telling my mother a few years ago that I am tired of the disrespect of this family. I told her that I did everything to raise children that I didn’t bear. That I got raped and had to go home to take care of her children because that was my responsibility. I asked her who was ever going to take care of me?

It seemed as if no one was going to take care of me. I was on my own. That is why I am fiercely independent and choose not to show weakness. I hate being vulnerable. I hate not being able to do something. I’ve always taken care of me.

Even when it hurt to do so. Being in a healthy relationship allows me to appreciate the things that I didn’t even realize that I had. Things that I took for granted. Being a mother of an only child allows me the opportunity to give him experiences that I never had. I want Munch to enjoy being a child. No pressure. Not too much responsibility.

Does this mean that I don’t give him any responsibility? Nope. I do. I dole it out in stages. Cleaning your room, getting good grades and being civic minded have rewards attached to them. He’s a child. He’s learning.

I’m still learning and you know what? I’m pretty happy that BBG spoke about this topic. It’s pretty taboo in the black community, but the point of it all is that you as a parent have a responsibility to make sure that your children are children. Not the surrogate parent to their siblings.

 

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/.

Knot Now Satan

A couple of days ago it hit me that sometimes I’m unprepared for this single mama stuff. Prime example…how do you tie a tie? This is something that I don’t know how to do or have never done. I didn’t grow up with my dad so I never watched him tie a tie or show my brother how it’s done.

My ex-husband knows how to tie a tie, but what did that have to do with me? I’m a woman. He tried to show me a couple of times, but why would I want to learn? He had two arms and hands. I couldn’t think of any time when I would need to tie a tie.

But, I was wrong. You know when you have to learn how to tie a tie? When you have a son and you’re single. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I was a single mother and I had no idea how to tie a tie.

Earlier this week I bought Munch a new shirt. He had a year end performance at after care last night. A beautiful baby blue tie accompanied the crisp white shirt in the package. I carefully took it out the package to iron and hang up to drop off for the performance. That’s when I discovered my mistake….

I had bought a real tie. Not a clip on. Not a zip on. A real tie.

What the hell? It was too late to exchange. Munch loved the color. It was exquisite against his skin. I had to suck it up and learn. “Not today Satan!” I muttered out loud. Knowledge was power and I thought of myself as pretty powerful. Badass in many ways. I had to learn so that I could impress my Munch.

So, I headed to YouTube and found a couple of videos that showed how to tie a tie. Not just any knot. I wanted to do the Windsor Knot. It was beautiful. I loved the look on it. After watching the said video like 3 times (8 if I’m completely honest) I actually got it. I was so proud of myself.

windsor

These are real single parent struggles. When you’re a mom of a boy you need to learn how to tie a tie. There may not be a man around and it could be the eleventh hour, but making sure your young man looks sharp in his shirt and tie will be one for the books.

Munch looked handsome of course in his tie which was tied again by his dad because Munch didn’t know how to adjust it, but it worked out well. I was sitting up front and beaming for his performance. I was amazed that I had tackled something that I swore I would never do. Score one for mama!

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/.