Tag Archives: motherhood

Mother’s Day

8 May

If you are a regular reader then you know that my mother is deceased. She passed away 5 years ago of cancer, seemed like she was recovering but at the last minute fate decided it was not to be and she left this world. Too soon in my opinion.

My Mom was my best friend and to some degree (as much as possible between mother and child) I was her best friend. She entrusted me with her secrets, and knew that no matter what she could count on me, just as I could count on her. Though to this day, I still beat myself up that I was not at her side when she passed. Sadly I could not get a flight to get home that day and was planning on getting home the next morning. However death waits for no man or woman.

However in the years since her death there is one day that really makes me crazy and its Mother’s Day. See on the anniversary of her death, I can keep my misery to myself and fake a happy face. Same with her birthday and even my birthday.

Yet Mother’s Day is one of those days that no matter where you go, you see images of mothers and their kids. Go out to eat and its the same thing. In fact I hate being out shopping anywhere near Mother’s Day as folks assume you are in need of a gift for your mother. Um, nope…my Mom is dead. Just shopping for myself.

Now I know folks who love to cry well its just a made up holiday, funny thing is I haven’t met too many folks who say that if their mother is deceased. In fact among women and men I know whose mothers are deceased Mother’s Day serves as a reminder of what you don’t have. Even if your mother was a raving bitch, imagery of mothers still can send you over the edge,. I know because my own mother had a strange relationship with her mothers.

There was her birth mother who decided when my mom was 9 months that she didn’t want to be a mother anymore, so she left my Mom and her father…this was the 1950’s so it was a tough time for my Mom. My Mom eventually met her birth-mother at 16 and they did end up having a relationship, in fact since my Mom’s death I have come to know birth -grandma as I call her. Then there was my Mom’s step-mother whom she had a rather tumultuous love hate relationship with. In some ways I think it was because my mother did not have the type of mother that she wanted and needed that she was driven to be super-mom with her own kids. She was a stay at home Mama at a time (70’s-80’s) when more women were going to work, instead choosing to be home with us.

She was a good mother though a deeply flawed person….look, I admit a lot but sharing my Mom’s flaws isn’t going  happen.  No, she had her flaws and yet the older I get I am learning from them, though many days I wish she was here to get guidance from.

So Mother’s Day is bittersweet at best and while many would say but you have your own kids, indeed I do but even grown up Mothers some times wish we had our Mommies.

For those who have your mothers in your life, I say honor and cherish her and not just one Sunday out of the year but all the time. I always assumed my Mom and I would become gray-haired old ladies together but now she’s gone. I should add if your Mom is not in your life due to issues then feel free to discard my advice. If your Mom is gone, then enjoy  the memories of her that make you smile. Over the years I can finally look back without bursting into tears and on Sunday there will be white flowers on my table to honor my mother. In the African-American churches that I was familiar with as a child, on Mother’s Day women would wear either a red or white flower. Red indicated that your mom was alive, and white that she had passed on.  So while I am not inclined to wear a flower, instead they will be on my table reminding of how my Mom always used to say get me flowers while I am alive because I don’t need em while I am dead. Like my Mom, I have grown to like flowers, they add a certain energy to the house.

If you are a Mom, happy Mother’s Day to you.

Let’s be honest, it is hard work

7 Apr

Time to revisit that parenting/motherhood thing. Its been a rather challenging few days up here in my corner of the world. First off Mama is dealing with PMS and it seems with each passing month that mothering and PMS do not go together…all I want to be honest is to be left the fuck alone. Seriously, I just want to relax and veg out on bad fiction (re-reading VC Andrews first books at the moment) and bad TV (silly programming on Bravo and maybe Lifetime for real cheese-ball factor). I want to eat junk food and generally just be in the zone.

The problem though is that I have a super active almost 4 year old daughter (known to regulars as mini-me, for she looks a lot like me and acts like it too) and despite having a uber helpful husband, mini me is just not wanting  to hang out with him.  As you can imagine, this can create a lot of tension, it meant this weekend, I helped my girl create construction paper eggs and other Easter decorations when all I wanted to do is sleep. In the end it was fun and I enjoyed myself but I am still tired and extra cranky.

Thing is this parenting gig is hard work, I have said it before but I will keep saying it, parenting effectively is not for the weak. There is nothing that can prepare you for parenting, I did it the first time as a young woman and figured it was my lack of education and maturity that made the job hard at that time. So I waited almost 14 years before I tried again, in that time acquiring an education, skills and a solid marriage. So I was sure this time it would be easy since the first time it must have been hard because I was woefully unprepared. Nope, this time I got a kid whose energy level is insane…..seriously, mini-me came out the womb requiring little sleep and demanding 150% of my efforts. No mere 100% was good enough for her. There are days I look back fondly on when I was a single Mama with my son, at least he was a mellow child and my concerns were on feeding us and keeping us housed.

Let me say it again, parenting is not for the weak. Which is why I get amused with the writings from fellow Mamas and how when they strive to be truthful those who live and die on the altar of motherhood, get all up in arms. Check out this blog piece by the NY Times Judith Warner. She talks about an article in another publication and about the downside of pumping breast milk. In the past few days I have seen Judith and the other author get roasted, my goodness we all know breast milk is best at least that is what they started telling us after I had my first kid in 1992. In 1992, there simply was not the push to or rush to make women breastfeed.

Now before anyone gets ready to roast me on breastfeeding, let me just say I have proper breastfeeding credentials, I won’t get specific other than to say I nursed my daughter for over 2 years, so I am above the national average when it comes to nursing. So I feel that I am in a place to comment but truth is nursing is hard work. The first 18 months of my daughter’s life I never slept longer than 3 hours at a time. I thought was going to die, I was so tired and run down that my husband put his foot down and took her out of our bed so that I would sleep. See, this is the shit folks don’t tell you about….that at 18 months you still won’t be sleeping. New mothers expect that they won’t sleep in the first weeks after a baby’s arrival but a year and a half later? No one tells you that and in my case I had done this mothering gig before. You have no idea how many times I blamed breastfeeding with my girl’s inability to sleep, my son slept through the night early on, so I expected the same thing.

No, its easy as to idealize motherhood when you aren’t in the trenches or you have the mellow kid but for those us deep in the trenches with a high maintenance kid, our eyes are wide open. Which is why Oprah’s most recent show (disclosure, I didn’t watch it but a friend told me about it and I saw some clips and read up on it on Oprah’s site) about Mamas being truthful really struck a chord with me…why don’t women ever talk about the bad shit and why is it bad when we do. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids but my goodness sometimes you wish you had a mute button or a pause button to hit when your kid is driving you ape-shit. Shit, sometimes I wish I had that button for my Spousal Unit and I bet he wishes there was one for me as well.

Yet while its a hard job, the love we receive back makes it oh so sweet and I would trade my girl for nothing in the world.

Can you take care of yourself?

15 Dec

This is a post for the ladies, specifically for those of us with kids. In my online and even to some degree real life dealings, I know a lot of women who are stay at home Moms. Now I have no problem at all with stay at home Moms, shit I have been there myself and even now I am not a full fledged work out of the home mother since I still do a great deal of work from my home office.

However I keep stumbling across a theme with many stay at home Moms, that frankly scares the shit out of me. Many woman who are at home with their kids who I have run across say they can’t afford to work because whatever they earn would be eaten up by the cost of childcare and after paying childcare, and other related working costs, at best they would break even.

Um…..I have to say something and yeah its gonna be bitchy but I need to speak my truth. If your job skills are such that you can’t earn enough to provide a bare standard of living for you and your kids, well you need to address that skills deficit ASAP. Look, as women we get caught up in the emotions and some times that is not such a good thing.

For many of us as women, we envision a world where girl meets boy, falls in love, marries and has babies all with the expectations that boy will be the breadwinner. Ideally this is a great plan, problem is real life interferes and what happens if boy drops dead? This happened to an acquaintance of mine, our girls are  only days a part and her beloved husband died before their daughter turned 1. Thankfully my girl is an accomplished professional and was able to continue providing a decent standard of living for her and her child. Yes, losing a mate is hard but I can only imagine its a lot harder when the only income you got is those survivor benefits. Grief is hard enough without adding financial strain.

On the equally as serious side, what happens if your man just leaves, maybe after you have the babies and get caught up in the Mama love glow, maybe he decides your new size 14 ass is just not what he wants and then decides to be a bitch and not even be fair with financial support. Or maybe he does pony up his 20% for support but it turns out you can’t live on it….this happens a lot.

Lastly, what if you realize after a while you just hate his guts, maybe he is abusing you emotionally, physically or mentally? Yet with no ability to provide you choose to stay or you leave and you are forced to live a transient lifestyle while you try to rebuild.

Look, none of these are places we want to visit but life happens and as women we need to be prepared. Its one of the reasons that despite marrying a man I felt and still feel will be my life partner until I am a crusty old bitch, I went back to school and have always worked. I was married once to man who was a asshole and had I not been working and earning enough to support me and my son many moons ago, kicking his ass to the curb would have been a lot harder.

Ladies, I am not saying don’t stay home with your babies. Shoot, I stayed home with mini-me full-time the first year of her life and when I did go back to work I was only teaching part time. Yet I believed in staying plugged enough so that I never have to start over with no contacts, leads, etc.

Part of being an excellent Mama and parent is making sure we are looking at basics and basics do include boring shit like food and shelter. It truly breaks my heart to know a woman is stuck with asshole because she has no means. Its just not good.

OK, that service announcement is over, feel free to tell me how you feel.

You, your man and porn….

13 Aug

I must admit that until I started hanging out with white women both on-line and IRL, I really did not know that so many women have issues with their man looking at porn. Now before I begin, I know there are women of color who also have issues with their partners looking at porn, but my unscientific conclusion is that white women seem to get bothered by it way more than the sistas do.

Me personally, it doesn’t bother me and nor do I feel disrespected by it. Shit, the reality is for months after our daughter was born a sista was not in the mood, shit I was tired and if the spousal unit needed to get his jollies off looking at some air-brushed babe, didn’t mean he loved me less or was being disrespectful to me. I didn’t feel his looking at the occasional nude pic meant he loved me less or had issues with women. Shoot, the mister is one of the kindest and gentlest men who is in touch with his feminine side but at the same time he is a man with needs and for me him handling his business was preferable to him pestering the shit out of me while I was recovering for almost a year after giving birth. Yeah, it was a serious drought around these parts.

Yet I am continuously amazed when I hear my white friends say if they caught their man with porn it would be a betrayal… um, no for me a betrayal would be if I walk in my bedroom and there is another woman on my bed, now that is some betrayal. A while back a good white friend confessed she and her husband only had relations once in a blue moon and that she had not given her ole man any special treats in about 5 years. Can I be blunt? As I heard this story and nodded my head, I thought to myself, are you sure your man is faithful? Now I know her husband, he is a nice guy but I know having had 2 husbands that if I only wanted to kick it every now and then, that would not make for a happy man especially since this same friend is anti-porn, in other words she don’t want the mister wanking off to images that are not her.

Um, I am ole school..reared by a Black woman and the one lesson I always got from my Moms is take care of your man and if your man handles his business correct, do not tell your girlfriends? Why, you ask? Simply put, you start spouting off about how your man makes your toes curl, you will learn who your true friends are.. shit, I learned that lesson back in my 20’s when a so-called friend stepped to my man. No, some shit you don’t share.

That said, back to the story at hand, seriously men and women have different needs, many of us women like to cuddle and have that quality time.. men, they like that too but at the same time, they like to blow off steam if you know what I mean and IMO if you are in a committed relationship, you need to take care of each other or else there will be a disconnect.  I am not saying have sex when you don’t want to, hell nawl to that but damn by laying down rules like no porn if that’s what your man likes, seems to me you are creating tension where there need not be tension.

I know that many women feel pornography is degrading to women, that many of the women are being taken advantage of but these days there is also a lot of quality women made porn, so I would think a couple could meet in the middle and find something acceptable.

One thing I have learned after 2 marriages and 2 kids, men do not like to be controlled anymore than we do and silly rules like no porn do not help a relationship. However if you feel your man viewing porn is fucking with your self-esteem then I suggest checking out Katt Williams in the sketch where he talks about how esteem is a thing of YOUR self, not anyone else. Men are smart, chances are your honey would rather have you than the woman on the screen, so keep that in mind.

Just Mama- revisiting and remaking Black motherhood

11 Aug

I actually had another post already to roll out but for some reason being a Mama is deep on my heart today. I also suspect I am missing my own Moms a bit today more than usual. Perhaps its because despite the plethora of blogs on motherhood that exist in the blogosphere the vast majority are not written nor geared towards women of color. (Look at the recent issue of Bitch Magazine for more on this)

Anyway I have made what will be a life-changing decision today, I am taking mini-me out of daycare and instead she will go to preschool. Now to the childless who read this, you are probably laughing because I probably would be too. However at present I compress my work life into 27-30 hours a week of daycare and for some strange reason preschool is only 5 hours a week. That means Mama is about to spend a whole lot of time with baby girl. No, I have not given up work either, its just that there is an ebb and flow to my work and I know in a few months I am going to hit a slow time and frankly in a family where both spouses are self-employed its time to get serious about saving money and having her home with me will indeed save a block of money.

On the other hand I have grappled since last year when I stopped teaching with wanting to spend more meaningful time with her and 3 is a good age to start the Mama and baby girl time. I am often intrigued with how white women take motherhood so seriously, I have read enough blogs and had enough real life discussions about Moms who feel bad if they turn on the TV or if they are not fully engaged with their offspring every moment of every day. Now when I first started rolling the idea around to take her out of daycare, I was fretting over what classes to sign her up for, nervous about how I would fill up our days. Then it hit me, my Moms never took me on a single play-date or extracurricular until I was old enough to have a say and I turned out fine.

No, my Mom by the standards of today’s parenting especially the parenting that is prominent by the educated classes would have looked like a slacker, yet looking back the best times and best lessons were learned by observing my own Mama. How she carried herself, how she went about the day to day of just living. Its not the big stuff I look back on when I reminisce about Moms, no its the small shit, its Sunday dinner, how she took forever to cook a feast. How she could make miracles out of nothing in hard times. Its how when I was 14 back in the 1980’s she convinced me that thrift shop clothes were cool when all my friends were rocking the Guess and Girbaud that was so popular at that time.

Looking back I am reminded that while raising kids is serious business since if you fuck it up, that’s a human who is fucked up but if you do it well, it lasts a lifetime.

Black motherhood has always looked different, after all we didn’t need to fight for the right to work, shit we were working from day one when we landed in this country. Yet we raised kids who were good even when we had no time to spend and no money to give.

So, I think mini-me and I will be ok, yes she may end up watching too much tv when I am on a deadline but as elder boy tells me too much TV didn’t rot his brain back when I was a single parent and had to rush home to make dinner so he had to entertain himself with Rugrats and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the mid-1990’s. This is a kid whose summer reading included Kurt Vonnegut and that was just for fun.

No, motherhood takes many forms and we can’t allow others to define it for us.