Broke and Blending

Last week in one of my parenting groups I saw this post from the Daily Mail asking Would you pay your stepchild’s education fees? I was intrigued. What fees? Mr. C and I want to marry in the future and college tuition will be a part of our budget so I wanted to read the post.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected. The woman posted in a group chat how she’s moving in with her boyfriend and they have 3 children among them. She has two girls and he has one daughter. She asked him prior to even the thought of them moving in would his daughter be okay with going to public school while her girls attended private school. He said yes.

Well, lo and behold his daughter is not. Now, her boyfriend wants his daughter to go to private school like her girls or both her girls should go to public school. Yeah right. So, he felt that it was fair and some other people on the post believed the same thing.

Here are my 5 thoughts on this issue:

  1. Heck, no. First off, the man makes equivalent to $18,000 in U.S. money annually. Didn’t I tell you women to stop dating broke men. Are you kidding me? How is he financially supporting his child on this low salary? That is the bigger issue.
  2. The woman stated that she makes substantially more than him and will be absorbing the majority of the costs in the home. Why? Why are you dating someone who will be a financial drain on you and you have children? Your goal is to provide for them and not take care of a broke man.
  3. This is going to shock some of you all, but life’s not fair. There. I said it. That is the lesson that you have to teach your children. His daughter needs to learn that life is not fair and if she wants to go to private school, her parents need to pay for it. If not, suck it up and enjoy a public school education. I did. I turned out fine.
  4. Money should be separate unless you’re married. Why would we combine funds if we are not married? Your money is your money and my money is my money while we are dating. No cohabitation or confusion on this issue. But, let me be clear. It is a man’s job to put a roof over his family’s head. I’ll say it again….I’m not paying for a roof over my head. That doesn’t mean that I won’t pay any bills, but a man should be able to swing the mortgage or rent.
  5. Are you financially compatible? Nope. If you were, you wouldn’t be having this issue. You can’t be with a grown man who has a child that believes earning less than $20k a year is a good look. It’s not. Don’t put yourself in financial straights by dating and living with this broke man.

Now, I know some of you may be saying “T, you’re being too hard.” Nope, I’m not. If I am dating someone (not married) and I can afford private school and you can’t then why should my child(ren) suffer? A man is supposed to provide. If he can’t provide for me he should at the very least be able to provide for his child(ren). If he can’t do that then why would you be with him? Throw him back in the ineligible dating pool. He’s not ready.

This is why I’m an advocate of making sure that you are equally yoked prior to moving in and definitely before marriage. Not just in religion, but in all things including financial. You need to level set about all things and expectations. This whole ordeal could have been avoided had she stayed away from this broke man.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe that all children should be treated equally? Would you pull your children out of private school and send them to public school for your partner?

 

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/.

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/.

Volume

I turned down the volume on the radio. I had a headache. The stress of my situation was weighing on my spirit and I couldn’t take it. I sighed “Two more weeks.”

Two more weeks until I was free to move away. Move to another place far away from this mess of a life that I had managed to create here. My job was transferring. Bigger raise. Bigger opportunity. Bigger city.

The promotion spoke volumes about my professional career. My love life on the other hand wasn’t as finalized. I had been dating a man for the last six months. I don’t know if you could really call it dating. It was more of a relationship of convenience. We hooked up when we were available.

He was a Virgo. Moody as hell. Fine, but definitely not a long term option. He didn’t seem to care when I told him about the job offer and move to Chicago. He just grunted “Good for you.” I guess I knew where we stood in those three words. They spoke volumes.

I couldn’t wait to get out of D.C.. So many memories, both good and bad, but Chicago was a new city. Time for a bigger change. I had already connected with some of my sorority sisters and they couldn’t wait for my arrival. I could just imagine the jazz clubs, the deep dish pizza and the winters. I was ready.

I looked around my apartment and tried to finish packing up my life. No real attachments. My walls held the standard black art and my shelves contained the acceptable amount of English and Russian literature to show that I was educated. I had no personal photos of men that I dated or my family. I was too busy.

Always working. Always striving. I was the most accomplished in my family. That in itself spoke volumes.

I grew up dirt poor in Frog Jump, Tennessee. Not much to see, but the minute I graduated, I packed my bags and headed to Atlanta, Georgia.  I was a southern girl at heart. I attended a prestigious HBCU, graduated with honors and got a job in NYC. After a few years working my way up the corporate ladder, off to the nation’s capital I ventured to work on my MBA at Johns Hopkins and work in finance.

I just knew that I would find love here. I did. Derek was his name. He was tall, sexy and educated to boot. He was my first real love. He showed me the world. I gave him my all. Including my womb where he planted his seed. We were having a baby. It was unexpected, but I knew that Derek would be excited.

We had talked about children, marriage and a future after we had both established ourselves professionally. We were going to be a power couple. Until the baby. Until the night I told Derek that I was carrying our future. He looked at me with so much power that I knew that he would gather me up in his arms and kiss me.

But, I felt the force of his fist across my eye. The venom and anger in which he hit me with his fists and his words spoke volumes. “You whore!” he screamed. “You know that I am not where I’m supposed to be. You trapped me you slut!”

I laid there as he continued to hit me and kick me. I couldn’t fight back. He was too big. I tried. I cried. I tried to protect my belly.

My neighbor called the police. They broke in. They saved me.

I was another statistic. Another battered woman. My degrees didn’t matter. My job status. My race.

I lost more than my baby that night. I lost a piece of my soul. The quietness of my womb spoke volumes as I lay in my hospital bed.

 

This piece is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt of the day was volume.

 

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/.

#NationalTeachersDay

Today is National Teacher’s Day and I wanted to publicly thank all you wonderful teachers out there. Today is a day where you should be honored. Honored for all the hard work that you do. The countless hours spent on lesson planning and making sure that you are providing both knowledge and life skills to the little minds you teach. I thank you.

6b3da44e115d6273ee4d953e0a8a58ba

I thank you as a former student of some wonderful teachers. Teachers that encouraged me to go after my dreams. Teachers that stayed late after school to tutor me or came in early to make sure I understood the lesson. Teachers that made me believe that I could learn anything. You are truly appreciated.

National-Teacher-Day

I thank you as a mother to a wonderful little boy that has learned the value of who he is by your continued support and encouragement in the classroom. Having no prior foreign language experience, you create an environment where he is learning French. Your wishes for him have come true and he is learning by leaps and bounds. He is both confident and fluent in French and I thank you.

TAW 2017 Carousel Banner2_665x348

I thank you as the daughter of an educator. It is sometimes a thankless job to teach children that seem disconnected, but if you continue to encourage them and create a spark of interest you will realize that their flame of knowledge is burning. They listen. They know that the future will be brighter because you took the time to invest in them.

May your day be as wonderful and encouraging as you!

244893104-quote-Shirley-Hufstedler-the-role-of-the-teacher-remains-the-93380

 

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/.

Summer Camp Struggles

Okay, the struggle is real. When you are a parent with a child too young to stay home alone during the summer, you really try to find quality child care that combines both fun times and educational learning opportunities. It’s hard. Because many of those programs are pricey. Overnight camp is so darn expensive that you would have to scrap any vacation plans for the summer to pay for one week at overnight camp. But, ya’ll know that I’m too protective and I probably wouldn’t let Munch attend anything prior to age 12. I’m just not feeling it.

That being said, I actually applied to a FREE STEM camp for the summer. Ugh, Munch didn’t get in. Why? We’re not poor enough. Economics. Munch’s grades and achievements would qualify, but because of my income he gets kicked out of FREE programs. Apparently, I have to be poor in order to send him to a FREE Camp.  Is it fair? Nope. Does it suck? Yep. But, I don’t want to lie. So, I don’t.

This year Munch asked to go to an art camp. See, Munch is this talented artist that can draw absolutely anything. He’s brilliant. I know it. I love it. I want to make it happen. He still needs to continue with swim as he needs to work on his endurance and rotary breathing. I’m hoping to let him go everyday for a week straight during the day for a couple of months. Hoping that his dad can take him during that time because he said he wants to join the swim team this fall. So, we need to help him get there by hook or by crook.

The school year ends June 9th and some summer camps aren’t starting until 2 weeks later, yep June 26th. I’m like WTH? Can I please catch a break? I’m hoping that Munch’s cousins are free to stay a week with me and keep him that week. I need childcare for 1 week. Oh, and the fact that most summer camps are starting at 9 am and ending at 3 pm blows. How am I supposed to work during those limited times?

I have all these color coded calendars printed out whereby I’m trying to figure this thing out. Ugh! How am I expected to get it all done? I have no idea.

I don’t know how I’m going to do it all, but I did book his art camp for the last two weeks before school starts. He’s going to love that.  We’re going to work on math all summer long, read a few books and take day trips to the beach and amusement park. I want him to have fun, but not forget what he’s learned this school year. He’s brilliant, but summer camp ain’t cheap. These are the real deal summer camp struggles of a single parent.

 

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/.

Mommy Moments: 4/8/2017

It’s a brisk Saturday morning and I’m laying here after prayer trying to force myself to get out of bed. There are things to do and places to go. Munch has a soccer game at 12:30 pm today. His first of the season. We’re both excited.

I have to head down stairs and fix his breakfast. Fuel for his body. He needs to stay focused and engaged and not worry about hunger pains. His sickness is gone and he’s back to normal.

When we returned back to the world of the living on Wednesday and were getting ready to leave the house, he says to me “Mommy, I don’t think anyone missed me.” I stopped. “Missed you when Munch?” I asked. “The last two days that I’ve been out of school. I don’t think the kids missed me.”

I laughed. He was so sweet and sincere. The innocence of a child. I replied “Munch, you were only gone two days. I’m pretty sure no one missed me after two days of taking care of you at home.” He looked shocked. “You don’t think anyone on your staff missed you while you were out?” “No baby” I replied. “Well then, you should fire them Mommy” he said. I began to laugh hysterically.

“Munch, you can’t fire people because they don’t miss you. Even if they work for you” I said. He looked confused. I then realized that I needed this precious boy to keep me sane. I needed his words, his kisses and his hugs. I needed his belief that I was superwoman and that I could do anything. Supermommy.

Although it’s illegal to fire someone and I can’t imagine anyone doing it to me, I see my son as a fighter. A fighter for me. He believes that others should miss me like he misses me and that means more to me than anything in this world.

I make mistakes. I’m not perfect. I probably reward way more than most parents. But, I’m learning and I love what God has blessed me with in Munch. I just thank my blessings for my Munch.

Happy Saturday 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 https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.