Fear

March 2014

Munch has been in kindergarten for 7 months now. I’m not sure how I feel about his teacher though. There seems to be a disconnect between her as the educator and me as the parent. I don’t know if it’s the culture or what. It’s causing me to wonder if I made the right decision about putting him in this French Immersion program.

Just the other day, Munch expressed that he got in trouble at school for cheating. He’s five years old. He doesn’t know what cheating is. I reached out to his teacher via email and asked her how it happened and what she told him because he didn’t know what cheating was, but that we had explained how he shouldn’t look off someone else’s paper. She called me and discussed what happened.

I was afraid that I needed to be on the same page or hell at least the same chapter with her, so I asked could we meet. She sent me an email back stating yes, but that she didn’t think that I liked her. I scheduled that meeting and responded that I didn’t think she knew me well enough to make that claim.

Truthfully, I didn’t feel one way or another about her. I knew that Munch loved her so that was all that matters.

I showed up at school and sat down to talk. She started “Tell me what you want me to know?” I smiled and started. I explained that I loved Munch so very much and that he was an only child, but his father and I value education. I told her that I view it as a three-legged stool with one leg being the parents, the other the child and the third the teachers, principal and educators.

I discussed the fact that I felt strongly that if one of those legs were loose then it was my job to tighten it up. I told her that even though Munch’s dad and I are divorcing, Munch was born to two college educated parents whereby both of his grandmothers had doctorates. I told her that I believed that his success required us to be active parents in his education.

I told her that I conducted extensive research on the fact that black boys needed white teachers that cared. I told her that my fear was that he was a black boy and statistically speaking that white teachers and administrators tried to diagnose them as having ADD or ADHD and I wasn’t having that. I explained that he has the best doctors and parents and if something is wrong, my belief is that I would know first and furthermore get him the treatment he would need to be successful. That is my job as his mother. His protector and his advocate.

She reassured me that Munch would be fine. There would be no reason to fear that he wouldn’t. He was not going to be a statistic. She told me how she could tell he was a great child who had the purest soul. She said that he hadn’t seen what some of the other five year old children that she teaches had seen. He was special. He wasn’t like them and that I don’t need to worry about them.

Like them? I sat there in awe at her words. She was categorizing the black children. Those that have strong educated families and those that don’t. The fact that I was going to fight for him meant that I didn’t need to worry. I did worry. I was afraid. Why? I feared the stigma that comes upon the shoulders of our black children who have less than I wondered should I fear that she couldn’t see that?

 

F

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “F” is for Fear. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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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Reblog: The Economics of Dating

This is a reblog/re-edit of a post I wrote almost over 2 and half years about the economics of dating. Why? Because everything costs. Everything has a price tag. Especially dating. Check it out:

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Dating now is a lot like going shopping when you don’t have any money. Even if you find the right thing, you can’t do anything about it. –Joshua Harris

Recently, I’ve been listening to the frustrations of dating and in particular…Who should pay? Should women ever offer to pay? Should men accept the offer? How long should a man and woman date before a woman ever offers to pay? So, I headed to cyberspace to do my research and came across this article on the Huffington Post, written by Catherine Pearson, “Men Still Paying for Dates…And Women are Partly Responsible”. Interesting title right? In short, a study was done and found the following information helpful:

  • 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women say men pay for most entertainment expenses — even after they have been dating for some time
  • 57 percent of women say they offer to help pay
  • 39 percent admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to pay
  • 44 percent were bothered when men expected them to chip in
  • Nearly two-thirds of men believe women should contribute to dating expenses

So, interesting points, right? This is so true. I’m dying laughing. Mr. C still pays for 95% of our dates and it’s been a year and half of dating. I pay occasionally, but I do believe that a man should pay for dates. However, before you think me cruel and not considerate to the man that I love, I must say that I’m not. Although he pays for most dates, I do tend to spend more on gifts. I am a gift giver so I pick up things just because gifts.

But, I wanted to give you an economic breakdown of how a potential suitor may stack up in the dating market. Now, let’s say he’s a 40 year old male (divorced) with a 7 year old child who is in school full-time (first grade) and living in the Washington, DC area. We will give him a career as an IT specialist making about $85,000 a year.

Expense Monthly Cost                      Notes
Rent $1,200.00 Two bedroom apartment in a not so good area in the Washington, DC Area
Car Note  $300.00
Car Insurance  $120.00
After Care  $300.00
Food  $250.00
Utilities  $400.00 Includes Gas, Electric, Cable and Cell Phone
Gas for the Car  $300.00
Credit Card Bills  $300.00 Expenses with car maintenance and dating
Student Loan Payments  $200.00
Child Support  $600.00
FSA  $100.00 Required as part of his divorce decree to assist in the payment of his child’s medical expenses
Health Insurance  $220.00 Based it off a monthly two person rate of $1100 with him paying 20%
Total a Month  $4,290.00
85,000/26 (pay periods)  $3,269.23 Pay Period (Gross)
3,269.23*40% (taxes and benefits)  $1307.69 Taxes and benefits deducted
$1961.54  Total (Net) per Pay Period
1961.54*26(pay periods)/12 (months)  $4250 Monthly Salary

Sobering reality huh?  Looking at the chart above, this man is already broke before taking you out to dinner even though by most standards he’s making a pretty good salary. Just not enough to date living in the Washington, DC area and being divorced.

I recently read a report about how some families in Silicon Valley who are making above $150,000 are struggling.  Reason…housing is pricey. So, the man that I just described above is not necessarily living in the best neighborhoods with a 2 bedroom and paying $1200. Housing in a good neighborhood is not affordable to him.

How can he afford to court and woo you on this salary? Is it fair for him to take you out weekly at an average spend of $80.00 or more? Does his financial status make him ineligible to be considered a life partner? Maybe. It’s up to you.

Mr. C was right when he told me that Roland Martin said a black man in America has to work two jobs. The reality is that in this day in age, everyone needs a side hustle or another stream of income. The cost of living, dating, paying child support, paying alimony and/or paying back student loans makes it impossible to date without a second income.

Mr. C’s income is going to change as he has a son entering college in the fall which will tie up some of his disposable income. In other words, I know that he will not be able to take me out all the time. I’m cool with that. We’ll find cheaper ways to date because I understand his situation. I’m going to probably pay for more dates. I guess I should as it’s been over a year and half. LOL.

I think the key is that you should be flexible in the beginning of dating. A man should pay for the first three or four dates. After we get to the fourth date, I know that you’re probably a good guy and I will offer to get some dates.  I took Mr. C to my favorite jazz spot for dinner and jazz in Philly on our fourth date. I drove, paid tolls, gas, entrance for the concert and dinner. He was shocked. You see how I do it right?

Really though, the key is that if there is longevity, let’s be honest about whether or not you can afford something that week. Let’s think of low cost or free activities and budget dates. I’m not above it. If I want to go out with you then I’ll pay. But, let’s be clear…I’m not financing our relationship.

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 Economics of Dating

Dating now is a lot like going shopping when you don’t have any money. Even if you find the right thing, you can’t do anything about it. –Joshua Harris

Recently, I’ve been listening to the frustrations of dating and in particular…Who should pay? Should women ever offer to pay? Should men accept the offer? How long should a man and woman date before a woman ever offers to pay? So, I headed to cyberspace to do my research and came across this article on the Huffington Post, written by Catherine Pearson, “Men Still Paying for Dates…And Women are Partly Responsible”. Interesting title right? In short, a study was done and found the following information helpful:

  • 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women say men pay for most entertainment expenses — even after they have been dating for some time
  • 57 percent of women say they offer to help pay
  • 39 percent admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to pay
  • 44 percent were bothered when men expected them to chip in
  • Nearly two-thirds of men believe women should contribute to dating expenses

The author didn’t offer an opinion on whether or not she thought this was an accurate statement as to how dating should be done. She just interpreted data. That being said, I wanted to know if anyone offered an opinion on this data and found an article for Women’s Health written by Clint Carter “Should Men Still Pay for Dates” and he offered an opinion. Now, before we start to believe that it will be bad, I will say that I agreed with some of his thoughts, but not all of the article. Why? Because of this statement:

“What these women are saying is that, despite egalitarianism, feminism, and all the high-minded isms we now stand for, there’s still something sacred about courtship. And although it’s true that you’re perfectly entitled to ask for equality in the workplace without practicing equality in your dating life, it does create some tension.”

Now, you see why I was like “Woosah”. I was sitting there thinking how odd that you think a man shouldn’t pay for dinner because I want equality in the workplace? Wow! I guess I should stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen or be a part of the secretary pool because that will allow men to pay for me right? I had to breathe and realize this is in part the fundamental argument that feminists face…you want equality in the workforce, but not in the courtship.

Sidebar:  Let’s try to breakdown some realities. I am a feminist. Feminism is defined as “the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men”. That’s it folks! Plain and simple. I don’t want to be told that I can’t work somewhere because I’m a woman. I don’t want to be told that if all things are equal and I do the same job as a man that I will be paid less. I don’t want to be told that if I have a baby that I can’t take leave to care for my own self and newborn.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate men. I love men. I have a son who I adore and motherhood is the singular most important thing I’ve ever done. I just want him to understand that although you may fight for racial equality remember that gender equality is also something you should advocate for because women deserve it. Simple. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to the economics of dating.

BUT, when I re-read Mr. Carter’s statement (truthfully like 6 times) what he’s really saying is that you deserve equality but understand that it is going to create tension in your dating relationships. Ain’t that the truth? You don’t believe it? Get up and ask three women between the ages of 28-48 how they feel about dating and whether or not they’ve paid for a date or been asked too? Ask them how it made them feel.

I realized that he’s actually right on point with this. In talking to a number of friends, associates and women and men in general they actually feel that women should be chipping in or paying for some dates. But, what if a woman doesn’t want too? Is it her prerogative? Yes, absolutely. Will she find a lot of men willing to commit for her “to figure out” whether or not they are compatible? Probably not. In reality, dating should be a slow process whereby two people get to know each other and determine whether there are sparks. How much should this cost?  How long can two people who are getting to know each other decide if they like each other enough to be exclusive? Why do women include their costs of make-up, getting an outfit, nails and hair done equate into what “we’re paying” for the date? Is that fair?

Since, I’m slow and tend to think of things in terms of economics, let’s break down some numbers so that we can see how much dating can in fact cost a potential suitor. Here goes:

Now, let’s say he’s a 40 year old male (divorced) with a 6 year old child who is in school full-time.

Expense Monthly Cost                      Notes
Rent  $      1,200.00 Two bedroom apartment in a not so good area in the Washington, DC Area
Car Note  $         300.00
Car Insurance  $         120.00
After Care  $         300.00
Food  $         250.00
Utilities  $         300.00 Includes Gas, Electric, Cable and Cell Phone
Gas for the Car  $         300.00
Credit Card Bills  $         400.00 Expenses with car maintenance and dating
Student Loan Payments  $         200.00
Child Support  $         600.00
FSA  $         100.00 Required as part of his divorce decree to assist in the payment of his child’s medical expenses
Health Insurance  $         220.00 Based it off a monthly two person rate of $1100 with him paying 20%
Total a Month  $      4,290.00
70,000/12 (months)  $      5,833.33 Monthly (Gross)
5833.33*25% (taxes)  $      4,375.00 Net
4375 (Take Home Pay) – 4290 (Monthly Expenses)  $           85.00

Sobering reality huh?  Looking at the chart above, this man is already broke before taking you out to dinner. I’m not judging, just acknowledging that his financial picture is a little sketch. Living off credit cards and a monthly take home of $85 after expenses. How can he afford to court and woo you on this amount? Is it fair for him to take you out weekly at an average spend of $80.00? Does his financial status make him ineligible to be considered a life partner? Truth: It costs to be the boss. Many men and women want to be the boss and have a fairy tale dating life when the economics of dating don’t support it. Life happens and some (not all) men can’t afford to take care of their responsibilities and wine and dine you without some reciprocation. The man above by all accounts seems like a decent man, but let’s face it…some women won’t even give him the time of day if they knew his monthly financial situation.

Finally, I know many people (women) will find fault in my argument, but I want to go back and say that I guess I did agree with Mr. Carter’s response to the data and I want to implore more women to be open about the economics of dating. Realize that sometimes, you have to pay if you want to get past the initial stages of dating. Be open to picking up the tab for breakfast, lunch or quick dinner at a diner. How can a man know you’re a contender if you spend your money getting ready for the date and deduct it as dating expenses? How can you show a man that you genuinely care about him if you find it deplorable to reach into your purse and at least offer to leave a tip? It doesn’t set the gender back. It doesn’t mean that he won’t court you or invest in you. It means that you understand simply…the economics of dating.

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