Parenting Fail: Cleaning Out The Closets

A couple of weeks ago I was frustrated by all the clothes and toys that Munch had outgrown and the fact that I had yet to set an appointment for Purple Heart to come pick them up. With a steadfast determination I selected my appointment and packed up his room of too small clothes, brand new jeans and shirts (I forgot they were in his closet and had never been worn – please don’t judge me) and toys to donate. I needed to have order in the chaos of his room.

Now, before I go further let me pause and tell you that my son is a stuffed animal hoarder. He truly is. He needs to be on a show. He doesn’t care if there is no room to sleep on his bed. He loves stuffed animals. In the last year he had over 100 stuffed animals and played with maybe 5 consistently. His favorite is this stuffed dog that he got for his second birthday that is still holding on. I’ve washed and sewn up the holes multiple times. It needs to be refilled with stuffing. But, that dog (whom he affectionately named Puppy Thomas) remains firmly on his bed as he sleeps with it while at my house.

As I began to get the toys and clothes bagged up, I left the stuffed animals on his bed alone. He slept with them and they weren’t bothering me, but the rest had to go. I needed to make room. All in all there were 9 bags of clothes, shoes and toys that were put out for the van to pick up that morning.

Munch watched me lug those bags down the stairs and out the front door with nary a question or look. I had to get it together. I was on a mission for some form of organization and Munch didn’t question it.

However, that didn’t last long.

Last night when I was tucking him into bed (yes, I still do that) he asked about the bags of stuffed animals. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. “What about them Munch?” I said. “Well, where is it?” he questioned. I replied “Munch I donated them to Purple Heart a couple of weeks ago. You saw me take the bags outside.” He said “But Mommy, all my stuffed animals were in that bag.” I reminded him that he hadn’t played with any of the animals in the bag in the last 11 months. He said “Mommy, my Alvin and the Chipmunks were in the bag. You got those for me last Christmas.” He started crying.

I didn’t know what to do. I mean I went through the same thing as a kid when my mom started donating my toys behind my back, so I could relate to his 10 year old pain. Had I become my mother? The giver of things without my input or knowledge?

I tried to comfort him and explain that I didn’t look in the bag and that I didn’t know the Chipmunks were in the bags. Truthfully, I should have because isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Remember to do everything?

Those are his favorite plush animals and he watches Alvin and The Chipmunks on Hulu faithfully. I didn’t know what to say. I felt bad. He hugged his puppy and just cried. He asked “Are you going to give away puppy one day?” “No, I would never give away puppy” I told him. I kissed him good night and told him how much I loved him. He sniffled and muttered “I love you too.”

I felt heartless and did the only thing I thought could make this better. I caved and went on-line to order them again. I remembered ordering those stuffed animals for Christmas 2016. I remembered Munch being so excited to get them because he loved the Chipmunks. I went in search of these particular plush animals. I found them on the Fisher Price website and on Amazon. I ordered them on Amazon because it was free shipping and with my discount I was able to get them sooner and with free shipping. Crisis handled.

I needed a drink. But, I didn’t grab a bottle of Chardonnay. Instead, I went into his room and told him that I’m sorry and that I ordered him Alvin and the Chipmunks again because I knew how much he loved them. I told him it came with Brittany. He smiled and closed his eyes.

All is well in the house tonight. It may not be well tomorrow or the next. But, I am loving the fact that I went from villain to hero in 10 minutes. I guess I’m doing something right?

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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Be the Man You Want to See

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the morning show host was talking about how 40% of women are leading single parent homes and how he got into a discussion with a gentleman that said that women can’t teach boys how to be men and that they coddle them. The gentleman said in particular, black women coddle their sons and don’t raise them. Can we have a frank discussion on this issue?

Do I have your attention? Good.

So, let me state the facts. I’m a black mother raising my son on a shared custody agreement. He is being raised 50% of the time in a single parent home. Now, I’m not going to argue logistics because yes my son’s father is in his life, but I’m still single. That means on my time, it is imperative that I cultivate an environment where I am both nurturer and disciplinarian. Where I am leader, mother, teacher, spiritual advisor, nurse, etc. Oh, and if that’s not enough I need to make sure that I’m giving him the best opportunities to be successful.

Seven days at a time. Seven days to make sure that I’m doing all that and then some. I cook breakfast each morning, fix a hearty lunch, review homework and enroll him in engaging and beneficial activities. I take him for Mommy/son dates, pay for field trips, camps and make sure that he’s getting sufficient exercise. Exhausted yet?

But, I don’t complain. I love my Munch and I want him to grow up and be a faithful, dependable, kind man who remembers his faith in God and has great moral character. It’s a lot but I am thankful for this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. Now, here’s my issue…

Where are all the men?

Many men who make these comments about women not being able to raise a son are not stepping up to help them out. They complain about an issue when in fact they are part of the problem. How is it a woman’s fault when they are doing the best they can under the circumstances? Do you think women want to be single parents? Some do, but many don’t. Where is the man’s responsibility in this picture? How do you know the man in question knows what it means to be a man? Did he have a man who was a good man teaching him to navigate manhood?

I’m exhausted from hearing that women (especially black women) are the main issue with many of society’s problems. We aren’t. We are the backbones and many times bread winner in a two parent home. We get tired. We need help. What are you doing to help? Are you a mentor? Are you volunteering your time to young men without fathers? Are you spending time with your women friend’s male offspring? Showing up at little Timmy’s baseball game or Max’s lacrosse game? What about Jonathan’s spelling bee? Were you there?

My truth

I’ve been separated from my ex for five years. In that five year time, not one of my male friends has EVER stepped up and spent one on one time with Munch. EVER. NEVER EVER. Why not? Why is it that I have some of the most educated, kind hearted and morally correct male friends and they don’t seem to think about standing in and being a role model for Munch? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because they don’t think about how I can’t teach a boy how to be a man. Maybe it’s out of sight out of mind. They don’t think about Munch. They see me busting my butt to attend every school meeting, PTA meeting, volunteering in the classroom or on field trips or at the school, paying for tutoring, coordinating play dates, paying for private flute lessons, swim lessons and boxing and think I have it all under control.

I do.

But, my son could always benefit from positive male influence. Be the sane person when his parents are stressing him out. Be the one that shows up and encourages him for his event. Be the man that he calls when he wants to take about things. Be the man that gives him true and direct advice to life’s problems or concerns.

But they don’t. We are invisible. We are invisible to many until Munch grows up and leads a less than desirable life. Then it will be my fault.

I’m not giving up on my son. I know that I’m not alone. I will pour everything that I have and more into helping him navigating boyhood to manhood. I will enroll him in mentoring programs and give him opportunities to have positive male influence.

I am not alone. I am one of many women. I am raising a son. I nurture. I coddle. I discipline. Our children need mentors. Stop complaining and get to work. You know what it takes to be a man. So, be a man and give unselfishly of yourself. You might just see how your presence makes a difference.

 

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/.

Get a Plan

My visit to the ER was the scare that I needed that had my worst fears going at 100 miles per hour. Death. Heart attack. I had to make a change.

I am still restricted from working out due to surgery, but I needed to come up with a plan. It hit me the following week when I had Munch with me.  I noticed that Munch struggled to get out of the pool. He was literally throwing his body on the pool floor and trying to lift his weight up out the pool. It was rough to watch.

Two things happened when I saw that. First I realized that he was not utilizing the ledge in the inside of the pool to step on (which was weird as heck) but second I realized that we both needed to get healthy and increase our upper body strength. This was my opportunity to do it with Munch.

So, I reached out to my fellow blogger, David, over at Chape’s Fitness and asked for some suggestions. You know what? He gave them to me. He gave me some work out plans to help strengthen my ten year old son’s upper body. We had a plan. So, the next thing was to figure out how to tell Munch.

I casually mentioned it to him last week that we needed to work on his upper body strength, but I don’t think he got it. So, when he comes home tonight we will talk about our fitness goals. We will do this together. Not just Munch.

My plan is for us to do the following:

• Step on the scale and write down our weight

• Follow the plan that David sent over together

• Walk the track at the high school down the street when the temperature goes down

• Go to the pool together

• Eat more fresh veggies with our meals and less carbs (he loves rice and I love bread)

• Hydrate by drinking our water

• Track our steps – I just bought a Fitbit and I’m looking to get Munch one.

I don’t expect it to be easy, but I’m hoping that he will enjoy just doing these things with me. That it will allow us the opportunity to get meaningful workouts in and just enjoy getting healthy together. I need to strengthen my core, keep my heart strong and be here for Munch.

I want us to both be healthier. I’m not trying to kill him, but I want our health to be a priority. I want to model the behavior that I’m trying to get him to adopt. Healthier choices. More exercise. Keeping our heart healthy and living longer.

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/.

My Heart Hurts

A couple of weeks after my surgery I went to the emergency room. I had woken up the day before with chest pains. It was this severe pain right above my heart. I felt dizzy and out of breath. My mother was insistent that I go to the doctor’s. I had just returned to work and couldn’t miss a day. I figured I would be fine. After all it was a Friday.

Later that night I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. I couldn’t find a position that helped. I finally dozed off only to wake up the next morning feeling like crap. My chest hurt worse. It felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest. I was struggling to breathe now. I was scared.

I caught my mother before she went about her normal Saturday activities. I needed her to take me to the emergency room. Something was wrong. We got in the car and headed to the hospital. The doctor scared the hell out of me when she mentioned that I may have a blood clot because I had just had major surgery two weeks earlier. I started to cry. I said “I have a 10 year old son. I can’t die.” She said “Sweetie, if it’s a blood clot, you’re in the best place and we can test and treat it immediately.” I just laid there praying that it wasn’t a clot. Munch needed me.

I started thinking about life and death and all the in between moments. The times when I was too tired to do anything because I was busy burning the candle at both ends. The times when I forgot to feed my own soul. My family has a history of heart problems and what if something is wrong with my heart? My heart history is bad on both sides of my family.

This was bad. I was only 43. I needed my heart to be okay. I prayed.

Many tests later, I found myself in a morphine haze and still in pain. The nurse said if the morphine wasn’t working then it probably wasn’t a blood clot. She was saying that morphine increases oxygen in the blood. Okay, I just remember that morphine was the good stuff only reserved for end of life patients and here was the hospital giving it to me like candy. The doctor came in and said that everything looked good. It didn’t look like I had a blood clot and my heart looked fine. She suggested that I follow up with my primary care doctor and apologized for scaring me.

I sighed. At least I wasn’t going to die. Not today.

I left the emergency room in pain and went home to sleep. I was exhausted from the day spent in the ER and drugged up off the morphine. I just wanted the pain in my chest to stop.

I spent the weekend in bed and sent an email to my doctor’s office for an appointment. I spent time with my primary as he accessed my hospital test results and informed me that everything looked good. I told him about my dad’s and my family’s history of heart issues. I explained that I was scared that something is going to be wrong with my heart and he’ll tell me too late.

I told him I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to have a heart attack and I wanted to watch my son grow up. I needed him to make sure that I was okay. That my heart was fine.

He said he would. He recommended a stress test based on my family history and then repeated what he’d being saying to me the last couple of years. I need to get the weight off. I need to stop letting people and situations stress me the hell out because my blood pressure is getting higher and stress can affect my heart health. He suggested a low dose blood pressure medicine. He needed me to get control of my weight and stress.

I had no choice now. No more excuses. It was time to put up or shut up and do what needed to be done. He said we can wait until I get the all clear from my surgeon to resume exercise. We scheduled my stress test and it was time for me to make a change.

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 Independence Day

It’s the 4th of July and when I was Munch’s age, I lived in the great big state of Texas. I loved Texas and how pride in U.S. and state history were mandatory. I’m feeling nostalgic today but I’m reminded that there’s no place that I’d rather be than where I am now. It’s my country and I’ll criticize her, but that’s because I want better.

Whether you’re at the beach or on the bay, having a barbecue or just relaxing at home I wish you a Happy Independence Day!

Fourth-of-July-Sayings

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/.

Following the Blind

I used to follow this woman on Facebook. Her page described her as an author/writer. Someone had shared one of her posts in a group that I’m in and I liked what she had to say. So, I went to check out her page and found many things that resonated with me. I clicked the follow button and became one of the 4,000 plus followers to her page. I began engaging in communication with other like-minded women on her page. Things that spoke to the strong black woman. The woman that is the back bone to society. The woman that doesn’t put up with foolishness. The woman that stands on her morals. I was in agreement. I felt like I found a tribe. A tribe of strong black women.

But, that tribe turned into a cult to me yesterday. The writer had posted a piece about the television show A Different World that aired in the late 80’s to early 90’s. It was a spin-off of the Cosby Show. Two of the main characters in that show were a woman named Whitley and a man named Dwayne. It was a good show. It showed black children in college and attending a fictional Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and all the fun things that came with matriculating amongst your people. The writers nailed it.

As great as that show was it showed love, young love as misguided and ever changing as we grow and evolve into young adults. The story of Dwayne and Whitley made many women swoon as we dreamed of a love story like theirs. A love that showed two flawed people that encouraged each other’s dreams and supported each other no matter what. A determined kind of love. Or at least that’s what I know the show to be.

However, the writer that I followed made a long post that was accusatory and bitter painting Whitley as some young woman who was beat down into dating Dwayne. The writer said Dwayne was trash and that the many women he pursued were out of his league including Whitley. I was like “Huh?” I literally stopped.

I wondered did she watch another show called A Different World because I knew this show inside and out and if she saw something different, it can’t be the same show that I watched. But, it was the same show, however I’m convinced that she just didn’t watch all the episodes. She wrote a biased piece bashing love. Black love. A man. A love between two young and flawed individuals that worked out for them.

Her own demons were projected throughout the piece. Men were trash who took advantage of us. It was disturbing.

My tribe had changed. The women started agreeing with her post. When I asked questions challenging the post based on actual episodes she accused me of making Dwayne out to be a victim. Seriously? Why in the hell does anyone have to be a victim? I felt my balloon of hope pop as the needle was stuck into it. The air slowly deflated my hope that this was my tribe.

The author was deflecting and argumentative to me and my opinion. Who the hell does that? Aren’t you allowed to have opinions? Aren’t you allowed to have different perspectives and voice them or are you only supposed to follow blindly what others tell you. I assumed the later. I exited stage left and unfollowed her.

That post got me to thinking – is the expectation of writers, authors, bloggers, media figures, etc. that we blindly follow and co-sign on what the writer says regardless of whether or not it makes sense to the reader? Are we creating/crafting a culture of minions without opinions to validate our existence?

I prayed not.

I hurt for what this writer was doing. I believe in love. I cherish it. I prayerfully know that I will find and have love, but I don’t want to bash a good man because it didn’t work out and we didn’t get it right. I am a feminist. I’m a womanist. I’m not going to bash all men. I have a son to raise. Bitter women raise bitter children. We have to do better.

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 @mskeeinmd.

Motivational Monday Moment – 07.02.18

I was sitting here trying to think of what to say today to motivate you. I was having a serious brain freeze. I was blessed. I had a great and relaxing weekend, but I didn’t know the words or the message to encourage you to get through this week. I was stumbling. I was looking for a way to inspire you to keep on keeping on. To look at this week and feel a renewing of your mind and spirit and I just had nothing.

Until Pandora started to preach to me this morning. I was listening to the gospel group Forever Jones and their song “Time to Believe” came on and I got inspired. My message became clear and I had received the words to motivate you this Monday morning. The message is simply “It’s Time to Believe in What God Says”. No more backsliding, side stepping and ducking and dodging His Word. It’s time to believe.

My Motivational Monday Moment is about believing and trusting in His word. It never fails. Let’s look at the lyrics in the first stanza:

Time to believe in what God said

Time to believe in what he promised

We see small he sees great

When we speak doubt he speaks faith

It’s time to believe in what God said

It’s time to believe because we know what He promises. “We see small and he sees great. When we speak doubt he speaks faith. It’s time to believe in what God said.” How many times have we tried to imagine things that we wanted and when we received those blessings they were bigger than we ever could have imagined? How many times have you spoke doubt into a situation?

We need to believe in what God says. He’s multiplied many blessings that I have received. I thought small and he blessed me tenfold. I’ll be so busy counting the many ways that things won’t work and then God will step in and restore my faith. He knows that I’m a work in progress. Has that ever happened to you?

In the second stanza the group takes it deeper by reminding us that:

Don’t allow your past to dictate where you’re going

Or let who you are make you believe you can’t go on

Because Gods promise is true and what he said he will do

How many of you have been dejected and rejected personally or professionally? No is a part of life. It’s okay. We are sometimes being redirected in the no’s. Time to get serious and trust that what God says is true. We all need to hear a no, but that no can’t keep us in bondage. We can’t stop believing that our past dictates our present. Just because it didn’t work the other 12 times doesn’t mean that it won’t work this time. We need to believe in what God says.

You don’t believe me? My sorority sister is a judge and I remember talking to her about her judgeship and how awesome that was. She told me that she applied like 11 times before she was approved. She never gave up. She knew that she was destined to be a judge and she trusted God’s word. Her faith in God’s promise saw her dream come true. She didn’t give up and neither should you.

So, my Motivational Monday Moment is about not giving up. It’s time to believe in what God says. No matter what you’re going through.

Happy Monday loves!

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 @mskeeinmd.

*Mothering Violence

I had to share this post because I’m a mother and in between watching your son grow up, shuffling him to activities and helping with homework and watching him sleep at night, you pray that you will never ever have to bury a child. But, this mother and many mothers do have to bury their son’s.

via *Mothering Violence

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 @mskeeinmd.

Motivational Monday Moment – 06.25.18

I saw this great quote and thought how appropriate it was to share on this beautiful Monday morning. My Motivational Monday quote says “Life is about balance. Be kind, but don’t let people abuse you. Trust, but don’t be deceived. Be content, but never stop improving yourself.” Isn’t that good?

I loved this quote because I think in our quest for peace and happiness we forget to balance things like kindness, trust and contentment. You see I am finding even at my age, people think that you should allow abusive people to still occupy space in your mind. You shouldn’t. If someone is mean and abusive to you why would you allow them to continue to be in your life? I know there may be times that you have to interact with people because you have shared commitments, but you have a right to protect yourself. No more toxicity. You are throwing off your life’s balance.

I had this very discussion the other day with someone. We were discussing how she felt the need to allow someone in her life that didn’t contribute to her life on any level: financially, emotionally or spiritually to continue to play a role in her life. I don’t care if it’s a supporting role; you should never allow that kind of person to abuse you and be there. We have to keep our boundaries strong. You don’t have to treat people like they treat you (however, I wouldn’t be mad if you did) but you should still be kind. Now, let me be clear, being kind doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be a doormat. No. It means that you should be kind to everyone that you encounter. However, if people abuse your kindness then leave that toxicity where it stands and move on. Don’t engage.

Trust is a huge thing for a lot of people. Heck it was huge for me. Trusting someone after my divorce took years. Trusting that people won’t disappoint or take advantage of your trust are big barriers to many of us opening up. But, we must allow ourselves to trust again. Trust the right people. It’s okay if you make a mistake and trust the wrong person. It happens. But, if deception occurs, just remove yourself from that situation. Keep your eyes open and your heart free.

Contentment is not just about just staying where you’re at because you’re satisfied. That’s great that you’re happy with where your life is at the moment, but what about all those moments in between where you’re good, what are you doing to improve yourself? We can all use improvement in one way or the other. You may not be concerned about getting a promotion because you love your job, but what about getting that certification because you know that it adds value to your resume. Isn’t preparation the key to success? What’s that saying…if we fail to prepare then we prepare to fail? Don’t prepare to fail. Be content with who you are, but never stop learning.

So, that’s my Motivational Monday Moment loves. I had an amazing and busy weekend, but I wanted to inspire you to get through your week. It is going to be a great one.

Happy Monday!

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 @mskeeinmd.