1500 Thank You’s

Today I learned that I had more than 1500 WordPress followers. I just wanted to scream when I saw that. I’m honored you chose to follow me.

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I never believed that I would reach this milestone, but Mr. C did. He encouraged me to write and knew that others would enjoy reading what he enjoyed reading. I am thankful. I am blessed.

I could have never imagined growing this blog. The pace may be slow to others, but it works for me because I believe that everything happens in God’s time. In late October of 2015 (19 months ago) I had only 200 followers. Thank you for staying with me. Thank you for reading. Thank you for taking this journey with me.

For my new followers I write about things that matter to me. Things that have shaped my world and perspective. Things like love. From my first love, to dating, relationships and my divorce and all the things in between. I believe in love. I’m grateful for it.

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I also know pain. Pain from past abuses and broken promises. Pain of a divorce. Pain of infertility.  I write about that too.

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I write about my faith. I love God and am a follower of Christ. Super flawed and I talk about it. I struggle with making sure that my fear doesn’t overpower my faith. I struggle with a lot of things. I’m a work in progress. Each day I choose to be better. But, through it all I know that God has never abandoned me and loves me.

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I talk about social issues. Things that affect me…as a woman, as a black woman, as a mom and as a human being. I believe in the unity of all and I am blessed to have people from all different backgrounds in my tribe.

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I write about parenting. I’m a mother to a 9 year old little boy that I affectionately refer to as Munch. He is the light of my life. He’s a rising fourth grader in a French Immersion program. I’m overjoyed at his birth because he was created by God through help of medical science (I did IVF).

So, that’s my life. That’s who I am. That’s what I write about. I thank you for following and look forward to connecting with each and every one of you.

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Disclaimer: I own no rights to any photos except the picture of my son and I. All others were found on Google.com.

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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Mommy Moments: Acceptance

Here’s a #FBF (Flash Back Friday) post I wrote about parenting a couple of years ago.

A Thomas Point of View

Prior to having my son, I was an inherently selfish individual. I couldn’t imagine sharing my time or space with anyone that wasn’t able to articulate a conversation, pay for dinner or argue with me on the latest plight of black folks. I was determined and single-minded in my focus to climb the corporate ladder and leave the chaos of parenting to folks better equipped to handle it. I craved travel and per diems and detested dirty diapers and incessant crying.

I was single minded and single focused on what I wanted and children were not part of that plan. Children reminded me of bondage and captivity. I would be tied to this one individual for the rest of their life. Melodramatic? Possibly, but I have a great excuse…I was a product of a broken home.

A broken home where I watched love between a husband and wife being played…

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October 2015 Was Busy

Hey Everyone!

I had a busy October with Munch and I wanted to share some of those photos.

Munch Got Glasses

We went to the eye doctor in September and I was hurt when I found out that my 7 year old would need glasses so soon. I mean his dad and I wear glasses but we definitely thought it would be high school or later. Nope, he needed them now. I didn’t add him to my vision plan last year, but put extra money into my Health Care Flexible Spending Account to pay for the purchases. Here is a photo of him in his new glasses that he picked out:

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Pumpkin Patch

We were able to do a mommy play date with some of his friends from daycare. We spent a wonderful Sunday with his friends from daycare who now go different schools. We did a hay ride, he and his friends played in the moon bounce, looked at the pigs and played in the hay. I love Fall and I love spending it with my munch.

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Halloween Party

My son went to a costume party at his Tae Kwan Do Academy on October 30th. He was ecstatic. He got to dress up, eat and play. I picked up a $5.00 Pirate costume from Family Dollar so that he wouldn’t mess up his actual Halloween costume. There was no lesson but lots of food, dancing and games and he was just fine. I’m so proud of him.

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My Niece’s Birthday Party

My youngest niece (aka Princess #2) turned 3 on October 30th and my sister decided to do her birthday party on Halloween at Chuck-e-Cheese. This is after I booked and paid for my son to attend a Monster Mash at my baker’s house. I had to drive 43 miles north and then turn right around and drive 43 miles south to attend the event. Ugh! But, family events are important and munch needed to be there. He even picked out the gift he wanted his little cousin to have.
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Halloween Monster Mash

My high school classmate, Lashaun, is a creative genius. Her and her best friend hosted a Monster Mash at Lashaun’s house this year. It was incredible. It was a kiddie day party complete with decorating cookies, cake pops, cup cakes and candy apples. It was a kid party overload. He loved it. They played games and even trick or treated and got a huge bag of candy. She is definitely the queen of day parties.

Photo by Cook-E-Portraits
Photo by Cook-E-Portraits

Halloween

Yes, it is my son’s favorite time of the year. He wanted to be Sonic the Hedgehog again this year. I have to tell you that I hate repeat costumes, but I got over it and happily bought the costume again. This year his weekend with me fell on Halloween and he was excited because I took him trick or treating with his god brother.
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That was my busy October. Welcome November!

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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My 3 Rules

I read a great post on the Huffington Post entitled “The 3 Rules of My House” and laughed because I thought the author and I must be kindred spirits because I have 3 rules too. I had Munch reciting my household rules a couple of weeks ago. Not for punishment, but memorization and application.

When talking to other parents and adults we are often angered by the state of our youth today. Not having any manners, their lack of respect for technology, a complete disrespect for privacy, their completed disregard or concern about their own health or their future plans. All these frustrated topics were discussed and dissected in great detail that the only thing we could agree on was the fact that the state of our young people scares us. What is happening to them?

A couple of Saturdays ago, Munch was waiting patiently in the nail salon while I got my bi-weekly maintenance. Normally, he wouldn’t be there because I go when I don’t have him, but his dad being out of town kind of threw a wrench into my plans, but such is life. We got up that morning and I asked him did he want to eat breakfast at home or I would stop by McDonald’s as a treat for him being a good boy. He opted for McDonald’s. I grabbed the I-pad his headphones and headed to the golden arches before going to get my nails done.

Once in the salon, he ate his breakfast and watched his movies. He waited the entire 2.5 hours while I got the works and never complained. All the women were complimentary about his patience and behavior. I smiled and said, “Yep, he’s a good kid.”

So, my mood changed when 20 minutes later a couple of young women (guessing their ages were between 16 and 20) walked in and yelled, “How long for a full set?” I cringed and looked at my nail technician and said, “Wow, no good morning? How about rephrasing and asking….Good morning, may I please inquire as to how long it will take for a full set?” She laughed and said, “T, that’s all day every day. Some of these young women just walk in her and start cursing up a storm that I have to remind them that this is a place of business and we don’t talk like that in this establishment.”

I was floored. Why are these young people being so disrespectful? Do they not have any home training? What do their parents think of their behavior? I said, “When I was growing up, my momma had many rules but only two ever stuck out: 1. Never, ever embarrass me and 2. A lady never gets drunk in public. She gets drunk in the privacy of her own home.” She laughed and said, “I know that’s right girl!” I said, even now I only have 3 rules for my house. I said, “Munch, come here please.” Munch walks over. I said, “Munch, what is the number one rule for mommy’s house?” He smiled and replied, “Don’t embarrass mommy.” I said, “Thank you love.” She said, “Wow, I like that.”

Reading the article prompted me to share the three rules of my house:

  1. Don’t embarrass mommy. This is an all-inclusive, mega statement that applies to everything you do from the minute you wake up to the day you die. Don’t embarrass mommy. I know that you will go through things that will make your choices seem difficult. Many questions such as:
  • Should I skip school?
  • Should I try drugs?
  • What about pre-marital sex?
  • What about cheating on a test?
  • My parents won’t know if I lie, that’s easier than telling the truth, what should I do?

I get it. You will have a lot of choices thrown at you, but remember that all your choices are designed with one thought in mind…not embarrassing mommy. Your choices should seem easier if you answer them with that thought at your fore-front. I know. I’ve been there. I can thankfully say that I have never embarrassed my mommy.

  1. Don’t run in traffic. Yes, it seems that this shouldn’t be a rule that will follow him until adulthood, but it will. It’s a continuation of rule number 1. When you’re young, I don’t want you letting go of your parent’s hands and running into traffic. Traffic is dangerous. We want you to hold our hands until you no longer feel the need to be led by us (which hopefully will be until you graduate from high school – but I know that may be weird for you). Traffic is dangerous and I want you to stay out of traffic. Traffic is where you go once you’ve been licensed by the state as a safe driver and can operate a vehicle that will hopefully protect you when you let go of my hand. Traffic is not to be played with and we don’t run in traffic.
  2. Give thanks. In all that you do, you need to give thanks. Have an attitude of gratitude. Things won’t go your way, such is life, but you should still give thanks. Thanks for being able to have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Thanks that you have food to eat when you open the fridge and that if you want to buy lunch, your parents can afford to put money on your school lunch account. Thanks that you have two bedrooms, with two tv’s and two dvd players and a whole lot of Disney DVD’s. Thanks that you have parents that love and adore you more than their own lives. Thanks that we want you active and healthy which is why we put you in sports. Thanks that we try to enrich your life by teaching you French, taking you to museums, vacations and beaches. Thanks to your many aunts and uncles who adore you and listen to mommy blog about you all day long. The same aunts and uncles that love you as though you were their own. The same ones that sent you a beautiful children’s Bible from Paris in French so you could read it and translate it to your parents.  In all things give thanks. Never forget that.

Three rules. Simple and easy to remember. I want munch to have an attitude of gratitude and respect for human kind. I want him to open his mouth and say Good Morning and thank you sir to those who he comes in contact with. I want him to grow up the way most of us grew up. With respect and appreciation for everything.

Getting My Praise On

Last week, I was going through a mini-crisis with the 117% increase in my car insurance next month. I was devastated. I literally went through the 5 stages of grief at the amount of increase. I was crying and falling out all over the place. But, people told me to “get a grip” because I’m the most faithful person that they know. I was offended. My going through the stages didn’t mean that I am without faith. It meant that I was utterly human and fallible. Don’t judge me.

Sometimes we need to go through the stages to get to the praise. Some people don’t but I do. I am not alone. It is not a sign that I am not faithful. On the contrary, it shows that I need to work through a crisis and analyze it from all angles. So, let me tell you what happened at each of my stages so that you can realize how completely normal I am.

Denial and Isolation Stage

This was the first stage. I literally couldn’t believe the amount that I was seeing on my renewal notice. I assumed this is a mistake.

How could you remove the responsible driver discount? I mean two accidents in one year, I get it, but they were small and no one died. Why is this happening to me? No one knows what I’m going through. God, I hate my life. It sucks to be me.

Anger Stage

How could they increase my dang insurance this much? How am I supposed to live? You obviously don’t want me as a client, so kick rocks. I will find someone else. I have had a great driving record for the last 21 years and this is the kind of foolishness that I get? Well, screw you big insurance company! You’re always trying to stick it to the little person. I’m going to talk to my elected officials about Tikeetha’s law to put a percentage increase in place so that insurance companies can’t increase your car insurance over a certain limit without tickets or money paid out in excess of $10,000. Now, where is my congressman’s number? I need to write the Insurance Commissioner about this ASAP.

Bargaining

Okay, I know that this is more than my car note and I can’t afford this amount. I am one step from the poverty line. I can’t get a second job. I’m in a custody battle and my ex will go for full custody if I can’t pick up my son during our scheduled time. I would rather die than be without my baby. I asked my sister, “Do you think people will judge me if I become a prostitute?” My sister responded, “No, judgement, but have you thought about stripping first? Why jump to prostitution? Baby steps okay?” I can’t afford this. Ugh! I need a soup kitchen line because this is where I will be eating from now on.

Depression

I hate my life. Why oh why didn’t I just stay in my beautiful Corolla? Why did I get seduced by the beautiful body of “Blue Magic”. She’s a gorgeous sports car, but am I really that responsible? Apparently not and no one can empathize with the financial burden I am dealing with. I want to crawl under my covers and jump off a tall building in my mind because I can’t handle this.

I couldn’t stop crying in this stage. Everything affected me. Everyone who couldn’t understand was my enemy.

Acceptance

Okay, this is happening and I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I can’t afford the premium and I know that there is a lesson I must learn and I need to fix my mind and call the insurance company because their suggested increase is still the cheapest. These insurance companies suck! I need to switch fields and open up an insurance company because that is where all the money is going. But, let me get it together and call the insurance company…

Me: Hi, I’m calling about policy number 123-455-5789

IA: Hi, I have your policy, how can I help you?

Me: (Burst out crying) Ma’m I can’t afford the increase. I need my car to drive to work and get my child back and forth to school, but I don’t want to become a prostitute. I have a 6 year old son. Do you know how hard it is being a single parent? What will his friends think?

IA: (Extremely sympathetic) I understand your concern. Let me look and see what I can recommend to get your policy lower.

Me: (Sniffling) Thank you.

IA: We can increase your deductible to $1,000 and that will take $300 off your yearly premium.

Me: Okay. I hope no one hits me or that they total my car out.

IA: That’s still a lot. We can run your credit as part of your renewal and that may lower your premium.

Me: Okay, do it.

IA: Good news, it lowered your premium another $900 a year.

Me: Okay.

IA: I know it’s still expensive, but try to bundle your insurance with us and it could save you another 10% a year. I know it’s not much, but it may be worth it.

Me: Yes, 10% is definitely worth it. Thank you for all of your assistance and I’m sorry for crying.

IA: It’s okay, I would definitely be doing the same thing in your situation. I couldn’t afford this.

Me: But, God. I guess it’s time for me to get my praise on.

IA: Amen. You have a good day.

So, I got some money off and the increase is now $5.00 less than my car note a month. Something is better than nothing and I am thankful that she could do that. I have extreme faith that God will never give me more than I can bear and that He won’t let my baby starve or have me living in the streets or prostituting to make ends meet.

Sometimes I need to go through the stages before I get to the point of accepting that He has me and He always will. Don’t question the fact that I go through the stages as a lack of faith. It’s not. It’s a sign of my authenticity. Because, God knew where I would end up at the end of my 5 stages. Right where I was supposed to be. On my knees…praying, praising and thanking Him for his continued support and love over my life.

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I Have My Moments

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook:

From the mommy diaries…I’m gonna pat myself on the back because I rock. After taking care of munch with his respiratory infection this week, missing work, missing his homework and not having time to write, I was able to Google translate his French homework packet in 2.5 hours last night, email the teacher with questions I didn’t understand, go to work today, knock out 2 of the 12 items due, pay bills, order his halloween costume, pay for Tae Kwan Do, order Chipotle for dinner, pick him up, eat and help him with 2 hours worth of homework to have him in bed by 9 pm because tomorrow is another busy day with the start of church school. Whew! ‪#‎momsrock‬ ‪#‎mommymoment‬‪#‎brennansmom‬

As many of you may have guessed, I have a supermom attitude when it comes to my son. That week, I was super proud of all the things I was able to accomplish in the limited amount of time with a sick child. I want to make sure that I am not only giving munch my best, but being the best with juggling motherhood and working. But, I have to admit it does get exhausting.

Why do I do it? Part supermom complex. Part insanity. I’m an overachiever when it comes to my son. I want to show the world that you can have it all. I struggle to make sure that my son never feels neglected by me (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc.). So, I am the mom who does custom holiday cards (complete with a fall photo shoot) and all. I send thank you cards, teach church school, attend Bible studies, attend PTSA meetings, update his website, blog, write my own book, order uniforms, buy new outfits for school pictures, take him to swimming, soccer, bake cakes, do play dates and attend every birthday party we’re invited too. Why? Because I’m crazy. That’s probably the simplest and best answer I can provide.

If I don’t do it, I feel like I’m somewhat being an underachiever and cheating munch out of opportunities that I didn’t have as a child being raised by a single parent. I feel guilty. I wanted him so much, but I want a career too so in order to make sure there is balance, I want to do it. I need to do it. But, doing it all exhausts me. It leaves me feeling drained and not having enough time to enjoy myself. It’s that whole supermom complex.

How bad is it? Well, this year I wanted to sign him up for cub scouts and went to the first meeting with him and his dad. He loved it! I learned all the wonderful things that the kids do and then I also learned all the things that the parents are expected to do as well. This was a heavy parent involvement chapter. I was cool with it. So, another 3 hours a week of more stuff to do? Sure, No problem. I can handle it. But, not everyone was up for the challenge.

His father had sent an email and said that he didn’t think he should do cub scouts now because he’s being over scheduled. I responded “Bye, Felicia! He’s not being over scheduled. He’s fine.” I huffed, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Supermom can handle it. Right?

Well, I could handle it or so I thought until munch got sick with a respiratory infection and I was out of work, in and out of the doctor’s office and nursing my six year old. I was tired. No school. Well, when you’re in a French Immersion program, you need to be at school. Missed days equal missed learning opportunities. We had to play catch-up. In my exhausted state, I sent an email back to his dad and said, “I think you may have a point in no cub scouts yet. While I disagree that he’s being over scheduled, he has a lot going on and school has always been our main priority and focus. That being said, I will wait until later in the year.”

Yep, I sucked it up and bit the bullet and realized that sometimes life will throw you a curve ball and you need to adjust. You need to regroup and refocus your priorities. I refocused and realized that the most important thing in the world to me is a happy and healthy child. It’s my number one priority. So, I have my moments of clarity that remind me that I don’t need to do it all or be it all. Munch will be just fine.

This is one of those moments.