Change is Good

Last week I read Michelle Malone’s post where she said “Today I challenge you to seek, identify, and track the signs of change in your life rather than ignoring them.” I was inspired. Inspired to do what? To do what she suggested – seek, identify and track the signs of change in your life.

Here’s what I discovered about myself when I set about the challenge. I learned that when I seek ways to change, I actually allow myself to grow. Grow because I realized that I’m never too old to learn and that it’s okay if I change my mind. I’m a woman and I can change my mind as many times as I want. LOL.  That being said. I wanted to share 5 things with you that I learned this last week about myself.

5 Signs that I’m Changing:

  1. Forgiveness. This was a hard one for me, but I’m actually thankful that I’m able to forgive my dad and spend time with him. When I was home last week I took him to lunch, gave him a birthday card with some money and took care of some of his wants. Forgiveness of all the years of pain and absence allowed me the ability to do this. That’s growth.
  2. Listen more. Speak less. Some would argue that I don’t do that, but I promise you that I am doing that. I’m learning that in order to communicate that I need to spend more time listening and truly hearing what is being said. I’m also learning that not everything deserves a response. Sometimes more can be conquered when you don’t respond at all.
  3. Accepting others at face value. I have little faith in humanity. I’ve seen too much. I’ve experienced too much, but I’m learning that I need to trust more. To love more. To believe more. To try and see the good in others up front and accept what they say at face value. At least until they disappoint me. But, learning to have a discerning spirit is important and not trying to just see the bad in people has allowed me to grow and change.
  4. Advise when needed. I’m learning that just because someone comes to you with an issue doesn’t mean that they want you to respond and advise them of what they should do. I admit that I do that all the time. I am learning to advise only when requested and then apply #2.
  5. Spend time freely. As I’ve aged I realized that I do need to spend quality time with my family and friends. I have brunches, lunches and dinners with friends and take trips home to Tennessee to visit my dad and extended family. This is important because it gives Munch and I time to reconnect. I can’t get so consumed with the day to day that I neglect the folks who haven’t seen me.

There is another way that I just realized that I’m changing and I will share that with you later because it is important. It was my Aha! moment. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I operate and all I can say is that I am a work I progress.  I’m still seeking ways to acknowledge my changes becaue it shows that I’m growing. Have you sought, identified and/or tracked your changes?

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Woman to Woman

Let’s have a talk shall we? As I’ve stated in prior posts, I’m in a state of transition..that from married to single. It’s been a long time since I was single and my first time as a single parent trying to have a co-parenting relationship. I will always love my ex for it was he who gave me our son, but I have to say something… this crap gets hard sometimes!

Not that I’m looking to fix a flat tire or repair my marriage, but co-parenting when we can’t seem to act like adults is hard as hell. Yep, I said “we” purposely. I’m not going to sit here and let you believe that I’ve got this all figured out and I’m the best person when it comes to disengaging my personal animosities and trying to co-parent effectively. I don’t.

Most of the time it is trial and error. Many errors, some good things and a lot of okay things happen. I think letting go of old wounds from our marriage is what is contributing to the bad head space we can find ourselves in. Why? Because we’re both headstrong individuals who have to be right. We both want to have the last word. We both hope that we don’t screw up our son.

Our son lives with his dad 50% of the time and with me 50% of the time. His needs come first. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we put his needs first. Yes, he is six and yes he is aware that his mommy and daddy will not live together anymore. But, more than that he realizes that the two people who gave him life love him more than we ever thought possible.

The reason why I am calling this post “Woman to Woman” is because I needed to get something off my chest. If you are a woman dating my ex and plan on being around there are some things you should know. A list of how to deal with me and my desire to raise an incredibly wonderful little boy in two separate homes. Here you go:

  1. Never, ever listen to us argue. You see if my ex should get reckless and try to prove to you that I’m crazy and hold a personal conversation on the phone with me while you are riding in his car, be woman enough to tell him that it’s not acceptable. What we argue about should never concern you in your preliminary role.
  2. Just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean that I don’t do my research. I’m a protective mama cub. I only have one child and he means more to me than anything in my life. That being said who you are (your first and last name) matter to me.
  3. I don’t want him back. Nope, I don’t. I love my ex because he and I were together so long. We made memories. Some good, some bad, but in the end the greatest thing we ever did was have our son. I’m not trying to do it again. No matter what you hear.
  4. Understand that no one will ever take my place. Not that I think you believe that, but my ex said that to me. He actually said, “No one can ever take your place as our son’s mother.” Dude, I know this. I still have the incision where he was taken from me five weeks early. There is never a replacement for the original. I’m his mommy.
  5. What happens in my home is my business and vice versa. Unless my son volunteers information, I will never, ever question him about what occurs at his father’s house. It’s none of my business unless it affects his well-being. That being said, very little will ever affect his well-being (because his dad adores him) so I don’t care what happens at daddy’s house as long as he is being loved, fed, clothed and nurtured in the best way possible.
  6. Being a part of his dad’s life long term will mean that you will have to meet me. Understand that I bear no ill will or animosity towards you. I am a mother. I am a woman and I believe in the unity of all women. I encourage us to be civil and make the transition for my child seamless and positive. But, understand that you will have to do your part…know and accept that I will always want to do what is in the best interest of my son. No one is more qualified to make important decisions than his dad and I. No one.

One of the greatest things his dad did after we split was rush over to my house because our son had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. It was almost 20 minutes of blood gushing and him screaming. His dad called and he screamed, “I want my daddy”. His dad was in a movie and left and said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You know what? He was. Not because of me, but because his son needed him. That was pretty awesome and it made me realize one thing…his dad will move mountains for him and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am new to this co-parenting thing and no I didn’t expect to have it figured out, but I’m trying. His dad and I make a lot of stupid mistakes (mainly because we’re pig-headed) but we are trying. We will someday get this right, but I want the temporary (or permanent) women to know that there is no reason to be less than a woman when attaching yourself to the foolishness that may be us. We love our son and we will get it right (hopefully sooner rather than later) someday.

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Great Marriages and the Reality

My Facebook friend posted this link last month for a piece entitled “It’s time to accept this fact: A really great marriage is rare”.  I read the article and the researcher made some great points. It wasn’t a woman arguing that people shouldn’t get married, but that great marriages were rare and that there has been a shift in our society whereby women don’t need to marry because of the shift in our circumstances and/or cultural norms. Women have more options and don’t need men for financial security, sexual satisfaction, to have children or for social approval. Women have in essence changed the game. We’ve become more powerful.

I pondered that theory and I have to say that the researcher has a point. When you look at the changes in our society over the years, you see that not only in other races, but especially in the black community, there is a shift. More black women are earning more than their black male counterparts. Thus, it makes it harder for college educated women to find their ideal black man “IBM” who has equal or more to her in terms of wealth. Black women are working hard and waiting until later to get married. But, when you’re ready to get married, your IBM doesn’t come in riding on a white horse to sweep you off your feet.

Fairytales are just that. Fairytales. Not meant to provide any form of reality for our young girls. But, could I as a feminist really truly believe that I needed a man for anything? I don’t know if I was ever sold on the whole happily ever after fairytale that other little girls were taught because I knew better. My reality didn’t include a happy queen and a happy king. In my post yesterday, I talked about how my dad is an alcoholic so any chances of a prince charming taking care of me were replaced with the reality that he didn’t exist. People had faults.

Those faults translated into the fact that I grew up in a single parent home and I knew that I never wanted to be like my mother. She wasn’t a bad mother. She just short changed her life to have me and my siblings and to be a wife. Would she have made the same decisions now in today’s society? I don’t know. I would like to think no. I think she would have given birth to me and gone back to college like my grandfather insisted. I think she would have accepted that she could be considered a social pariah in a small town, but she would have been just fine raising a child on her own after getting her degree. She would have been considered a game changer by my standards.

But, she didn’t change the game. She followed her heart and cultural norms. Those norms shaped and impacted my belief in marriage. That fostered with the environmental factors and social shifts helped me realize one thing…I didn’t need to get married. I didn’t need a man for anything. Men were dispensable objects that had no real value other than fixing my car, maintenance on my house or just friends who I could toss ideas about my career path with. Not worthy of having the title of husband or father because I was jaded and I didn’t believe in happily ever after. I would never sacrifice my career to be a wife or mother. It wasn’t an option.

However, that changed when I found someone who wanted to marry me with my flaws and all. With my jaded view of reality in tow, he sought about finding refuge in my heart and spirit so that he could show me or whether prove to me that men weren’t dispensable objects and I could be both a wife and a mother and I would love it. Problem was that I didn’t love it. I loved him. I loved our family. I loved our son. But, I didn’t want to live my life being disappointed and feeling lonely and unloved. Yes, people have problems. I get that, but when the problem is the two people what do you do?

You make a decision on how your life will play out.  Whether it be a comedy, love story or tragedy, you have to know marriage is what you make it. It takes two people who share, not only the same value of marriage, but the desire to keep it healthy and functioning. You will make mistakes, nothing is perfect, but if you want to find someone who at the end of the day you would rather fight with than without then you have hit the jackpot.

“The painful truth is that really great marriages exist, but they are rare. What we as a society should probably be telling married people is, “If you have love, passion, companionship and equality in your marriage, you are wealthy beyond words. If you don’t, you have two choices. You can decide that your marriage is the best you’re going to get and try to be content. Alternatively, you can leave your marriage to play the lottery of finding that perfect partner, accepting that you are unlikely to win and may have to stay single for the rest of your life.” – Danielle Teller

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When Life Gives You Lemons

I’ve always loved that quote, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I don’t know why it’s one of my favorite quotes.  I think it has to do with the fact that I grew up poor and my Momma could make a meal out of anything.  I mean anything.  Have you ever had a taco salad with Doritos and French Dressing?  Yum.  



I was nine years old when my parents split up.  That was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn…responsibility.  I had to be responsible for the management of my household while my mother worked swing shifts in the military.  She cooked meals and left instructions for me on how to warm them up in the oven and feed my siblings.  She was serving our country and was serving dinner.  The roles had shifted in my family and I had to step up to the plate and learn responsibility.  But, I didn’t want to.  

I was nine and while I understood that there was no one but me to do it, I wanted to be a kid.  I never told my mom.  I did what any well behaved child with a crazy black momma would do.  I stepped up to the plate.  I became responsible.  I picked my sister up from school, walked her home and picked up my brother from the babysitter on my way in the house.  I warmed up dinner while helping my sister with her homework and playing with my little brother.  He was one.  I fed the kids, bathed them and put them to bed.  I sat down and did my homework, cleaned the kitchen, bathed and went to bed. I did this for a little less than three years until my mother decided to not re-enlist.  We relocated from Texas to Maryland and my life never was the same.

Life had given me lemons and I had to make lemonade.  I had to go to a new school, meet new people in a new state where I knew nothing about.  I hadn’t visited Maryland.  What is this state like?  I hated it.  I didn’t like change.  I wanted to stay in my house in Texas with my friends and make it work.  My mom wanted more.  More time with us and more opportunities for us.  But, I couldn’t see this.  

Of all of the things that happened in my past I realized that this statement about making lemonade out of lemons is my theme.  I’ve learned how to start over with nothing.  I’ve learned that life is not fair, but you keep pushing forward.  I’ve learned that the only shame one should ever feel is if they stop trying to make a better life for their family.  That’s what my mom did. She made a way out of a no way and when there was no money, she made miracles.  She was in God’s favor and he continually blessed us. 

The most important lesson I learned came from my momma:  She said as a parent you wish that you could wipe every tear that falls from your child’s face.  But, when I can’t I need you to go to God in prayer.  He will fix it.  She was right.  So, when life gives me lemonade, this is what I do now: