Random Rumblings – 12.20.17

Good morning loves!

Happy Wednesday to all of you wonderful people.  I apologize for my absence. I’ve really had a lot going on both personally and professionally and truthfully, I’m exhausted. Both mentally and physically. That exhaustion has really drained me from being an active participant on my own site. For that I humbly apologize.

But, I love and miss you all dearly.  So, I felt that at least I owed you some updates, right? Well, here goes:

Munch Mania

Munch has been doing awesome. He made honor roll for the first quarter and he’s adjusting to fourth grade like a champ. I’m so proud of this young man. I can’t say that enough. Even when he frustrates me, nothing can stop my love for the child I gave life too.

His Christmas list has been robust. LOL. He actually circled $1,500 worth of items in the Toys R’ Us catalog. Umm, yeah. He’s not getting that. But, it was fun watching him. He’ll be happy. He was a good kid this year. Here’s his school photo.

Wreaths Across America

I laid wreaths with my sorority sisters on Saturday, December 16th. It was a wonderful day in DC with no rain, clear skies and a cool 50 degrees. We loved it. Thank you for sharing my posts about donations. Although it was my first year soliciting donations for Wreaths Across America, it won’t be my last. The cemetery has 14,000 grave sites and would love to be able to provide wreaths for all of them. Currently we are at less than 6,000. I’m going to keep pushing on. Here are some photos.

There was some fun

I had some fun too. I attended great parties with my sorority sisters over the last couple of weeks and we welcomed seven new women into our sorority earlier this month. Hanging with my sisters was an incredible opportunity for me to just let my hair down and have some fun plus it was my Zetaversary on December 3rd.  One year down and a lifetime to go.

Co-parenting is a goal, but it ain’t reality

I need to make some changes in 2018 specifically with regards to trying to co-parent with my ex.  It’s draining and I’m tired. T-I-R-E-D. Tired of the back and forth and tired of the frustrations with simple stuff. I’ve tried to have a positive attitude and perspective, but I swear that it seems that the more positive and unbothered I become the worse the situation is getting. I’ve read everything that I can about co-parenting and it seems like a fairytale. Like who are these people? What happened? How did you get from hell to a halfway point in your co-parenting relationship? My goal is still to try to co-parent the best I can in spite of, but I know that it’s not my reality. Maybe 2018 will be better. Please pray for us.

That’s about it everyone. All the updates I can spare at the moment. I’m looking forward to my break and spending time with Munch. I have a week long list of activities that I’m planning for us and hopefully we will be creating memories that will last a lifetime.

 

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/.

 

Advertisements

The Harsh Truth About Spanking – Part 2

In yesterday’s post I talked about how spanking is one form of discipline, but that is one form that we need to get away from. Discipline takes many different forms and you can discipline without spanking. It is possible. There are no statistics that support that spanking makes children better than those who were not spanked. In reality, when spanking leaves a mark it now goes into abuse. Do you want to take that chance?

This is what happened to Tyrese. It wasn’t about men and women. It wasn’t about a bitter ex trying to keep him from his child. It was about a parenting choice to spank your child. A choice about whether or not corporal punishment was better than using the situation as a teachable moment.

I met a young woman in college who grew up in a military family. Her dad was a major in the Army. She said that she had a sister and her dad never hit them. She said that when they got in trouble, he made them do drills. She said that she would have to awaken at 5 a.m. and go on 2 mile runs with her dad and do 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. She was exhausted. She said that she never wanted to get in trouble because she didn’t want to  do exercise.

That was the first time that I had met someone that was black that hadn’t been subjected to a belt, a switch, a shoe, etc. This was a different way of parenting. Was it better or worse than a spanking? I wasn’t sure, but it was something that was totally different than what I had experienced.

Now, the basis of positive parenting involves the shift in being both positive and authentic with our children. That’s what I discovered a couple of years ago. Munch’s attitude was always so negative. So, I tried to redirect. I decided to find ways to communicate with my child that didn’t involve lashing out and spanking.

Am I perfect? No, I’m not. I haven’t mastered it all. I have lashed out to Munch out of frustration. Remember last year when I talked about it in my post Mommy Meltdown? I talked about how I had cursed at my son. I felt horrible. I cried. What was wrong with me? I felt like I was taking a huge step back.

Many people assured me that they’ve had breakdowns too. Forgive yourself they instructed. I did. But, I also owed Munch an apology. I was leading him by example and I wanted him to know that I was wrong. That I should not have lashed out at him or cursed at him.

This was something I never experienced growing up. But, parents should apologize when they make mistakes. How could I expect him to apologize for his actions if I couldn’t do it? We hugged and talked and after a while the pain of feeling like I failed him dissolved.

Positive parenting involves a commitment to approaching your children with love, kindness and being authentic. You approach it as a way to teach your children without the fear of punitive damages. I admit it was hard for me to get my head around it at first. Why? Because what about “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Was I going to do more harm by respecting, leading and redirecting negative behaviors than not hitting him?

No.

When I learned that more than anything in this world that I wanted my son to grow up knowing that his mother’s hands were those of love and not violence then it was easy to make the shift. I wanted my son to want to learn and understand without me lashing out or spanking him. I changed my tactics.

I’ve never looked back. I don’t see spanking as a way to teach a lesson. I went to college, I have a degree and I liked to think that I have some common sense too. I see the benefits of creating an environment where Munch is respected and can learn in love. Where he sees that we all have bad days, but ultimately we are accountable for our actions.

To that point, I disagree with spanking in general. I disagree with Tyrese spanking his daughter. It isn’t necessary. He now has his 50/50 custody back with a court appointed clinical psychologist as a monitor until June 2018 and has to go to parenting classes and neither him or his ex can use corporal punishment on their daughter. But, why did it take a judge telling him this? Let’s find a better way of teaching our children’s lessons without resorting to physical punishment.

 

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 Harsh Truth About Spanking – Part 1

This will be a two part post. I want to talk about discipline and more specifically spanking and how it must be done. I want to talk about how we need to change our mindset about spanking i.e. corporal punishment.

I’m using my platform to speak about something that has been on my mind for the last few weeks. The whole Tyrese issue and him acting like a mental health case. The man just won’t go away. Let me be clear. He needs to stay off social media, get his life and just focus on being a good father and husband.

But, his antics caused me to get into many arguments with well meaning folks about the issue of spanking. I don’t spank Munch. I’ve spanked him once in his life and it hurt me to my heart. That was four years ago. I try to talk and redirect his behavior and encourage him without violence. Why? Because I firmly believe that violence begets violence. I’m not trying to give my son a lesson in violence.

The whole Tyrese fiasco had many a people up in arms on social media either defending or laughing at this man’s behavior. I didn’t defend nor laugh, but wondered whether or not he was seeking mental help because it appeared that he was having a breakdown before my eyes.  He was apparently crying out for sympathy in his ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife. Something that I find ridiculous considering he basically talks crap about women and tries to pit them against each other. I’m not a fan of this man’s character.

However, the fact that I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that I want a parent to lose access to their child. This goes for both men and women. I don’t think children should grow up without their parents. So, this is isn’t about custody and a parent being allowed to not be able to see their child.

My issue is that Tyrese was in this situation over a claim that he held his daughter down on her stomach and spanked her so hard that she couldn’t sit because she had allegedly taken money from her piggy bank. Two things here: 1. If it is her piggy bank, can’t she take money from it? 2. Did you really need to hold her down and spank her that hard? How much does she weigh in comparison to you?

I got spanked as a child. Did I like it? No. Did I believe it made me better? No. Do I believe that had I not got spanked I would be a crack head or a criminal? No. There’s a whole lot of parenting that occurs between when your child is first born and then gets old enough to use drugs or get involved in illegal activities. But, even if you spanked your child that doesn’t mean that they won’t turn to drugs.

The thing is that you have to be better for your children. If you as the adult can’t find ways to parent that doesn’t involve violence, what does that say about you? Mr. C and I disagree on this. He says that I’m a new age parent. I asked him did he get spanked as a child? He said “Yes”. I asked “Do you believe that had your parents not spanked you when you were young that you would somehow be different? Think about who they are and the values that they taught you?” He had no response.

I want us to change our thinking about spankings and calling it discipline. Let’s look at the word discipline. Dictionary.com showed many different meanings and I’ve pulled out my four three.

discipline (noun)

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
3. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
4. a set or system of rules and regulations.

Discipline doesn’t have to be physical and it doesn’t have to be spanking based on the above definitions. I got disciplined in school and it wasn’t physical. How many of us had to go to study hall? That was a form of punishment. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do so there were consequences.

Not physical.

-To be continued-

 

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/.

Day 13: My Parents

I have to tell you that my family is dysfunctional. My parents were kids when I was born. They didn’t know what they hell they were doing. They made many mistakes. I hated them both at different points in my life.

But, I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for their DNA and for their ability to raise happy and healthy children despite a whole host of issues. Even though I struggle with my feelings towards my dad, I know that I wouldn’t exist without him. I see parts of him in my attitude and behavior. I am thankful for him.

I have a lot of my mom in me. I am my mother’s child. I realized that the things that I was telling my son she had said to me. Words and phrases that were interspersed into teachable moments. She really has grown on me and her and Munch are super close now. I am thankful for her.

I am thankful for the struggles and strength of my parents. It is never easy raising children. You do the best you can and hope that you don’t mess them up. They did. Individually. I understand that now.

It’s not about being a perfect parent. That’s impossible. Just be there. That’s half the job of parenting. Love and be there for your children. No matter how messed up you think your life is, your children need you. The real you.  It is Day 13 and I’m thankful for my parents in my #23daysofthankfulness.

There-is-no-such-thing-as-a-perfect-parent.-So-just-be-a-real-one.-Sue-Atkins-

 

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 Truth About Co-Parenting

I’m in a lot of groups on co-parenting, taking co-parenting classes and reading everything under the sun to learn how to co-parent. Is it working? Umm, not yet. But, that is not to say that I’ve given up. I’m prayerful that God is working it out.

I understand that most co-parenting situations take 5 to 7 years to work out and that will put Munch between 13 to 15. Okay, whatever! It takes a village and I’m okay with that. However, one of the things that I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately is the concern that step moms have that the birth mom’s hate them.

Let me pause and offer my two cents on this belief. This is not true in all cases. If you broke up a home through infidelity, then the birth mother may hate you. But, you should know that. If you didn’t and you both just moved on with your lives and met and married new people then I’m sure that the birth mother doesn’t hate you.

Neither do the kids. They just need to get to know you. The thing is that you fall in love with the man not knowing the history of what he did to that woman or vice versa.  As much as everyone would like to place the foolishness on the birth mom’s shoulder I invite you to take a step back and look at it from another point of view.

As a birth mom to only one child, I only want the best for my child. I believe that his dad wants the best for him. If I don’t know you then how can I know what you want with our son? Does that make you a bad person? Nope, not at all. But, that doesn’t meant that I like you or hate you. I don’t know you.

Does that mean that I’m jealous of you? Not at all. Again, I don’t know you. I don’t trust people I don’t know. Do you trust people that you don’t know? Probably not. It means that we are starting at a point of figuring each other out. We are not sitting here creating voodoo dolls of you and wishing bad things on you. We have a life. We have a child or children. We may have careers.

Every relationship whether friend or intimate has boundaries. When you are getting to know someone intimately they are learning your boundaries and you are learning theirs. When do you learn the birth mother’s boundaries? Do you believe there are boundaries? Do you care?

If not, then think about the relationship that you are creating with those boundaries. When we don’t respect boundaries from the birth parents and do what they heck we want in the name of love, then you will be met with resistance and anger. Probably both. Issues from the marriage or relationship carry over into co-parenting when boundaries aren’t respected. Both men and women are guilty of this.  This doesn’t mean that the woman is bitter or jealous of you. You just crossed her boundary.

Let me give you an example, maybe the ex gave her a sexually transmitted disease (STD), was violent to her, stole from her, etc. Maybe the man didn’t want the child to begin with and now wants to be father of the year with you on his arms. Who knows? You only know his side of the story.  The one that your new partner told you. Maybe the issues are deeper than you want to admit. There are many reasons relationships fail.

And when they do fail, what remains is that there are two parents that have a child to care for. Two. Mom and dad. The parents who created the child, carried the child and the mother who birthed the child left to figure out how to raise this little human being without emotionally stunting him/her. Their children will be raised in two homes, with two different parenting styles and two people who love them immensely. Does that mean that you can’t be a partner in the child’s life with your new man or woman? Not at all.

It just means that you have to recognize that their are other participants in this co-parenting relationship. The parents. Both parents. They need to work together for their child. It may be a lot of residual issues, but your job is not get involved in the BS. To respect the boundaries and love and be a supporting partner to your significant other and a supporter of the child.

Children need the love and support of their parents. If more parents are added to the mix, that’s more love to go around. Their village will expand. Birth mothers don’t go around hating their exe’s new partner. If you’re feeling hated, ask yourself whether or not you did anything to overstep your boundaries. Talk it out.

This is not a birth mother vs. step mother reality. Women have to stop being pitted against each other. We are our sister keeper’s. We are all part of the village.

 

 

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/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

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/.

Child Support: My Story

The issue of child support is a touchy one. This will be a three part issue. The first part will be my story, the second will be a man’s story and the third will be a woman’s story. I’m going to explore multiple sides about the importance of child support and give you truth here. This may be a trigger post for some of you. So, if it is, please stay off my page with your drama. I am all about trying to equalize the argument for the benefits for financially supporting your children.

Many people see child support as a bad thing. It’s deemed the devil because many states require a man to pay 1/3 or more of his salary supporting a “lazy momma” while being denied visitation or being forced to work multiple jobs to even live.  Others see it as the only way to make a man financially responsible for his child while checking out emotionally. It is a vicious cycle and in reality there are some truths to both sides. Let’s discuss the reality.

In reality, children require more than just love to grow into healthy adults. It takes money. Can your child live without clothes, medical, dental, food or shelter? Nope.

Okay, good. Now, before you start saying that I’m pro the destruction of the man, stop it. I’m not. Women who don’t raise their children should also pay child support. I believe that everyone has a financial responsibility for their children.

For the record, I don’t get nor have I ever filed child support against my ex-husband. He doesn’t get it either. In fact, we agreed that we would equally split expenses for our son. So, I have no “skin” in the game to protect any financial support you think I may be getting.

Now, the difference between me and some other women is that I can afford to take care of my son without his father’s help. It’s not a bad thing. It’s reality. I’ve been blessed to have a great career that allows me both the financial and emotional means to be present for my son. However, I recognize that not everyone can say that they are as fortunate. Some women and men actually need the financial support of the other parent.

 

When I was growing up, my dad was ordered to pay $200 a month in child support for three kids. Yes, I said that right – three kids. Ask me how many checks we received?

Zero.

Not one.

My dad lived his life getting paid under the table. He avoided paying child support like it was a contagious disease. He refused to catch it.

Did he feel bad? In my opinion no. Anyone that avoids the financial support of their child doesn’t have a conscious. Therefore, they can’t feel bad for not doing for their child. Combine that with the fact that he lived in another state and didn’t see us and you have the trifecta of a poor example as a father.

He was not present. Financially, emotionally, spiritually or any form or fashion. We were a non-factor in his life. The life he lived in avoidance.

So, I watched my mother struggle. Struggle to put clothes on our back and food on our table. Struggle to work multiple jobs and go to school so she could provide a better life for us.

I imagined that the better life she was working on would provide better clothes, better shoes and more of an opportunity to have her present. See, when a person doesn’t take care of their children, it leaves the other parent to take care of the slack. But, it took two people to create that child. How come one person gets to slack on their responsibility?

 

Because of that hard life of learning to survive in spite of my circumstances, I worked hard. I didn’t want children. I wouldn’t bring a child into this world without being able to support them on my own. I would never give anyone that power to determine the fate of my child/children.

I would be better than that.

And I did. I worked hard to get my career off the ground. Even when my marriage ended and I had to re-shift my focus, it became about the most important asset in my life. My Munch. He was more important than any job or my career. I needed him to know that.

So, I spoke up. I told my employers during the interview stage that I am a mom first. That it is just me and that I will always be there for my son. I won’t miss school plays, programs or games. I will be present on the first day of school and every day thereafter. I only have him for a short time before he is released into the world, hopefully making it a better place.

My responsibilities were to my son first.  My employers understood. They respected my decision. So, I continued to rise in my career without sacrificing because I was a mother. I have been very fortunate to have that.

Even this summer when I had to adjust my schedule to get my son to and from camp. I called on my village and they helped out. My supervisor understood that I had camp that started at 9 am and there was no before care. I didn’t get to work until 9:45 am. My mother went in early and took off to pick up Munch from camp at 3pm.

I take off to take him to doctor’s appointments, to volunteer in his school, attend his programs (like the art camp) or if he’s sick. My supervisor allows flexibility because it’s just me. I need it. My mother didn’t have that. She had me.

I missed school if my siblings were sick. She had to work. We had to take care of each other.

I’m not ignorant to the fact that Munch has the best of both worlds…a mother that can afford to provide and a mother that is present. This is in direct contrast with what I experienced, but experience taught me. I chose to be a mother and I chose to have a career and thankfully I am able to have them both.

The lack of child support or financial means pushed me to work harder and become more determined to not be another statistic. We needed the financial support from my dad, but we lived and thrived in spite of. No one should ever have to be in that position.

-Part 2: His View On Child Support is Next-

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/.