Everyday I’m Momming It

School started in September (I think) and my kids are being homeschooled. Well, virtual school- which means my kids stay home and are on the computer while I get to run my businesses from home. Intitially, I thought that this was going to be a great thing for them and for me. Now, I need them out of my house. Like, yesterday…

Now hear me out… My daughter is amazing at virtaul schooling. Her teacher walks her through all of the steps of what she needs to do and she manages everything on her own. She’s extremely independant and outside of having a ton of craft objects all over my office desk and floor, I don’t have any issues with her. My son on the other hand doesn’t understand the concept of online schooling. At all. Or maybe he does and he just doens’t care. Either way, him and I are having major issues and I am completely over him being home.

I know what you’re saying- it can’t be THAT bad, he isn’t as bad as you say he is. First and foremost, yes he is. He’s a little terror and I really need to find the receipt for him and send his ass back. Second of all, I tested it out. We went to Georgia to my moms house for a week. He was with myself, my brothers and sister, and my mom. The first day that he was at the house doing his virtual lessons, EVERYONE asked me how I made him sit still at home. My response was “I give up on him”. School starts at 8:30a. We eat breakfast from 7:45ish until 8:25a. We then transition from breakfast to online. By 8:35a he’s asking me for something to drink. Around 8:40a he wants a snack. By 8:55a he needs to use the bathroom where he spends at least 10 minutes upstairs and when he finally appears he comes back with a handful of toys. At 9:05a he’s dying of hunger and his dinosaur says that his stomach is hurting because he hasn’t eaten for 2 days. At 9:10a he’s rolling around on the floor because his legs are super itchy and he can’t scratch it from the chair. I wish I was making this stuff up. I had a meeting one morning and left him in the house with someone. That eveing I received an email from his teacher stating that from 10:15a until class was over my son was missing from the computer. I cannot imagine what other parents are dealing with when it comes to their child, but this kid is giving me a run for my money.

The funny thing is he is extremely smart! He is learning his sight words on first try, his math skills are exceptional, he’s finishing his online tests without any help from me in under 10 minutes, and he can finish a puzzle in under 30 minutes. A major part of me believes that he is a genius and he’s just bored in class which is why he won’t sit still. The other part of me is annoyed that he won’t sit still for more than 5 minutes and is equally confused on how he is able to retain ANY information if I never actually see him focus on the computer. Maybe if I wasn’t trying to run like 5 businesses from home it wouldn’t be so bad because I would have the ability to focus on him. And maybe, just maybe, he needs to just sit his little bottomless pit of a stomach down in his chair and listen to what his teacher is saying. Let’s not even get into the amount of snacks that this kid eats in one day… I spend more money on groceries and snacks with the kids being homeschooled than I do when they are home during the summer! I love my children! They are my everything! But school needs to open back up because he has got to get out of my house. Let his teacher deal with his hyperactive self so that I can get back to killing my computer keyboard.

*Please know that I am joking about kicking my son out of my house to go back to school. This was just a funny post about how much I am struggling with my son being home. As I am sure that other parents are also.*

Do you have any tips on how to manage this virtual school stuff? At this point I’m just parking myself next to the kid while he’s on the computer. That’s been working for the last day or so, but the way my son is set up that won’t last very long… LOL! Maybe I should bribe him with more snacks…

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

How Momma Got Her Groove Back

Since March, I have been stuck in the house with my children. Not that it’s a bad thing, but now I’m stir crazy and I want to go out and enjoy myself. I just can’t. Well, I’m not supposed to I should say….

While I have been home with the kids, we’ve been experimenting with food, cooking out on the grill, creating new dishes and recipes, and having lots of fun playing with our dog. But, I gained weight. A lot of weight, more than I would like to admit. I woke up one day, looked in the mirror, and was not happy with what looked back at me . I made the decision to fix it (because you know, I’m a fixer). I asked around and found some products that I wanted to try. I ordered Herbalife but it needed to come in the mail. I also wanted to try Iaso tea so I ordered it online and it came quicker. Simple enough, all I had to do was drink the tea. I love tea so that wasn’t an issue for me. I started with the tea (which didn’t taste as horrible as I thought it would) and went about mu day. The only thing that I really noticed was that it made me go to the bathroom- a LOT! I was ok with it though because I was trying to find something that would make me regular, so this worked perfectly. Because we also now have a new pet, we have to walk our dog daily. Well, I walk the dog daily because the kids somehow manage to come up with every excuse under the sun why they don’t want to go walking daily. Our walks started off just around the block, but we soon started to venture father and farther and I realized that my walks were lasting 45 minutes+. Again, I didn’t mind. One day I walked past the mirror after taking a shower and said “OH SHIT! MY STOMACH IS SMALLER!” I called my friend on FaceTime and did a 1440 (which means I did 4 360’s. Lol!) and asked him if he saw a difference. “yea, you’re getting smaller” he says nonchalantly. To him it was no big deal but to me he just sang music to my ears.

By now, we are about 3 months into quarantine so I ALWAYS have on glasses, sweat pants, a t-shirt, and my hair in a bonnet. I made the conscious decision to do more around the house, walk the dog for longer and more often, and try to find a personal trainer. But, as life would have it, work started to pic back up, the kids and I went to visit my mom, and my eating habits went down the rabbit hole (because Haitians love eating rice and pasta). I came back from my “vacation” and sort of gave up on the progress I made because I thought that I had undone it all. Starting back from scratch was what I told myself- until I tried on a pair of jeans that were normally skin tight and we had hella room around the waist area. I couldn’t allow myself to get excited because the jeans could’ve just stretched so let me try on something else. Dresses fit better, jeans fit looser, and my ego was boosted. This freaking tea works!

The icing on the cake? My cousin had an event for her birthday. I said that I was going to lose the glasses, wear some lashes, and do my hair. When I was finished and I looked in the mirror and I finally remembered who I was before I had kids; before quarantine hit; before I gained the weight. Momma is definitely starting to get her groove back!

Moral of the story: don’t let quarantine, kids, and weight gain distract you from the beautiful, sexy, and bad ass woman that you are! You were HER before you became a mom! So, let your hair down, apply some lipstick, plump up those lashes, and swing your hips a bit extra as you walk- let’s get YOUR groove back too honey!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

Parenting For Beginners

For the past 5 years, I have tried to be as transparent as possible with my experiences on parenting and dealing with abuse. The problem (that I’ve encountered) is that people normally tell you the good and pretty side of parenting, which leaves you totally unprepared and unequipped to actually be a parent. Let’s break down some parenting truths. New moms and soon-to-be-moms, this is for you!

I have 2 children- a boy and a girl. My oldest is 6.5 and my youngest is 5.5. I haven’t been a parent for very long, but I’ve been a parent long enough to be able to give out some sound avice. I wish someone told me this when I was starting out- it would’ve saved me from a lot of headaches….

  1. Girls are EXTREMELY sassy! I don’t care how well you raise them, they talk back. They have attitudes. They think they know everything. And they don’t listen. Some start young, some start older- but they ALL get sassy. The trick is establishing dominence. If they know early on who the boss is, you can control the amount of behaviors that come out of them. But be warned- they attack the worst when they first wake up (if YOU disrupt their sleep), when they are hungry, when they are tired, and when they don’t get their way. And do not, I repeat DO NOT!!!!, interfere with the relationship that they have with their father! Dads do no wrong, just accept that fact and you’ll be fine.
  2. Boys are walking trash cans. They eat eveything. All the time. Every day. With no regard for anyone else. When my son was 2 years old he ate my entire snack cabinet in 1 day. I learned very quickly that I would have to keep that thing stocked regularly if I wanted to keep the peace with him. The older he aged, the more he ate. Just last night he sat at the kitchen table and ate 5 mangos, a plate of rice and chicken, and asked for a snack less than 30 minutes later. I told my mom that he needs to get a job because I cannot afford to keep feeding him.
  3. Kids are dirty. There is something in their brain that doesn’t process properly when it comes time to clean. No amount of training, praising, incentives, or threats will be effective enough to ensure that they clean. Because the SECOND you give them leniency they will destroy your house without a second thought and walk away like it’s nothing. My toilet seats are riddled with pee stains, my carpets have every type of bacterial stain imaginable, my bathroom sinks are covered in toothpaste stains… The list can go on. And they see absolutely nothing wrong because they can still use everything as is so “it’s not that bad”.
  4. Once they get old enough to sleep on their own, KICK THEM OUT OF THE BED! For several reasons. They become trained karate assassins while they sleep. They punch, kick, jab, karate chop, body slam, and choke hold you in their sleep. I am not quite sure how they learn these mysterious moves but it is detrimental to your health to sleep with children! If they are being potty trained, you will wake up in pee. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. Unless you have plastic on your mattress or unlimited sheets to change daily, it’s just not worth it. You can’t sleep naked. I’ve tried it- remember I mentioned the karate skills they acquire while sleeping? I’ve had some…. unpleasant kicks in some unpleasant areas while I was sleeping. I think one of my boobs stopped growing because of it. And finally- they eventually steal your bed. At around age 3ish they start to claim your bed as their own if you don’t kick them out soon enough. Then you have to take them to court to try to evict them and it becomes expensive and time consuming. Take my word for it- the sooner you kick them out the better!
  5. YOU WILL NOT WIN EVERY ARGUMENT!!! I had to capitalize that so that you could understand how much emotion I put into that sentence. I grew up in a very traditional Haitian household where I was always wrong. I learned very quickly when I became a parent that I was right (a LOT) when I was younger and my parents didn’t want to admit it! Lol! My children are extremely smart and I hate it sometimes! Especially when I’m trying to get them to do something and their reasoning as to why they shouldn’t have to is extremely logical. There are times when I just walk away from them because I do not have a rebuttal for the argument so I just give up (and it’s usually my daughter who is Ms. Smart-Ass-Logic that gets me to back down). Be warned and be prepared.
  6. Kids have a LOT of energy! And I mean a lot. My son wakes up on 1,000% of energy every single day. My daughter takes about an hour but she gets to 1,000% soon after. And they stay there, on that level, until they go to sleep. And they will NOT say that they are tired! You’ll just look up and one of them is snoring somewhere. So make sure to keep them entertained. Have acitivites planned, go for walks, get them a dog to play with (because cats don’t care about you until they’re hungry), and buy them an iPad because if not they will write on your walls, pour bleach on your carpet, find experiments to do in your kitchen, cut their hair because they see daddy do it in the bathroom, etc. Save yourself the headache and just plan ahead and accordingly.
  7. Kids are freaking expensive!!!! Not because you have to constantly buy them shoes and clothes to keep up with their extraterrestrial growth spurts, but because they want everything they see! We can literally just finish eating breakfast, get into the car to go somewhere and they see a Dunkin Donuts and all of a sudden they are hungry and their stomach hurts from the hunger pains. Or they are watching a commercial on Nick Jr and now they want whatever they just saw. Or at the age of 6, during a quarentine where they can’t leave the house and schools are closed until God knows when, they decide that they need a cell phone because what if they go outside and something happens to them and they can’t reach me to let me know…. Where the eff are you going outside at?!
  8. The BIGGEST truth that seasoned parents hide from us? If you have more than 1 child, your house immediately turns into a WWE wrestling house that never shuts down until they are alseep. It’s to the point where if I don’t hear anyone crying I don’t even worry about them. I was with my mom and my daughter fell going up the stairs. My mom panicked and jumped and I immediately stopped her and told her to wait. My daughter shook it off and kept it moving. I told her “mom- if you don’t hear a cry or scream, DO NOT ENGAGE! You will only force them to fake an illess and now the whole night is ruined!” She laughed, but I was super serious. Kids fight ROUGH! They punch, kick, slam, throw each other, call each other names… I was worried about my kids being bullied in school but they bully each other so I know for a fact that they have tough skin. Thumps through the wall, loud bangs, crashes, and things breaking are a normal part of daily life. As long as no one is hurt and what’s broken wasn’t expensive, I’ve learned to just ignore it and keep on with my day.

Parenting is an experience. It can be the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to you, simultaneously. I used to say that I wanted another child because I love children, but yeah….. I’m done having kids. The way my blood pressure and nerves are set up, these 2 are enough. They give me a run for ALL of my money, and they’ll more than likley kill me sooner than I anticipate dying. But I wouldn’t imagine living my life without them.

Do you have parenting questions? Shoot me a message or an email and I promise to keep it real with you! Lol.

As always, be legendary KINGS, be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

The Perfect Love

Growing up, we all read the fairytales about a princess being saved by a price, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. No one told us that wasn’t how it really worked out. The prince doesn’t always save the princess, and if he does they surely don’t live happily ever after. There are bills, kids, work, schedules, and did I mention kids? Here is what a real love story should be written as….

Emily is raised in a dysfunctional family. She has daddy issues and starts dating at 13, loses her virginity at 14, and meets an abuser at 19. She stays in that abusive relation for far too long and ends up with emotional issues and a baby. Fast worward 5 years later- Emily is now 24 with a 3 year old baby and hella baggage. One day she wakes up and says that she can’t live like this anymore and leaves. It’s hard- Emily has no degree, a dead end job, and a mouth to feed. With her tail tucked and her head bowed, she goes back to her mother’s house. She enrolls in school, start with therapy, and gets custody of her child. Fast forward 5 hard years, and she is now 29 with a masters degree in nursing working as a head nurse for a pediatric department in a hospital.

One day Dan (an older man) walks in with his daughter that is extremely sick. He’s been to 2 hospitals before and no one can figure out what is wrong with his daughter. His wife passed away 4 years ago and he has been struggling to raise his daughter on his own. As he is leaving the hospital one afternoon to grab something to eat, he passes the Emily in the parking lot. Despite everything he is going through, he takes note of how beautiful she is. He gets into his car and drives off. A few days later, Emily is on shift on Dan’s floor and is making her rounds. She stops in Dan’s room and he notices her again. This time is he struck by how beautiful she is up close. Emily has been monitoring Dan’s daughter’s chart and she believes that she knows what is wrong with her. She discusses the probelm with Dan and tells him of the treatment that she would like to start. 10 days later, Dan and his daughter are getting ready to leave the hospital. He tries to find Emily, but it isn’t her day to work. So he leaves, and plans to come back to find her.

A few weeks have passed, and a mysterious bouquet of flowers shows up to the nurses station addressed to Emily. The card states that they are from Dan and he would like to thank her for saving his daughter’s life and asks if he could take her on a date. Against her better judgement, Emily accepts. Their first date is amazing- they go to a picnic in the park and realize that they have a lot in common. Between their daughters, their upbringings, their love of food and music, they seem to be a good pair. They date for several months, their daughters meet and get along, and Dan decides that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Emily so he proposes. She accepts and they get married.

Two years down the line, they are married and living together. Their daughters are both in the same school and one is getting picked on and the other doesn’t stand up for her. It causes tension between the girls. Emily has picked up extra shifts at work because she would like to be able to purchase a bigger house with Dan, but Dan makes over $100k a year and doesn’t believe that Emily should be working so much. She’s never home and he doesn’t have quality time with her. Their house is now a constant fighting zone and they both have no idea how to fix it. One day, Emily is again fed up and decides that she doesn’t like what’s going on. But this time, instead of leaving she asks God to fix her marriage and to help them find each other again. A week later, Dan suggests that they go to marriage counseling and in order to do so Emily has to give up her extra shifts. She decides that the sacrafice is worth it so she cuts back her hours and goes to counseling with her husband. They fidgure out what’s causing them to not see eye-to-eye, and they invite their daughters in to fix their issues also. A year later, their home is happy, Emily is pregant, and they just closed on a bigger house.

Happily ever after isn’t real. But happy is, if you work for it. We are all like Emily- we all have choices to make, and the choices that we make affect the outcome of our cirumstances. We can choose to fight for what we believe in, or we can choose to let go and just accept what is. Love is work. Love is choosing the same person over and over again. Love is choosing to overlook the hurt, flaws, baggage, and shortcoming and seeing the best in others no matter what. Love is being the best for others no matter what.

Will you choose love or life?

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

Getting My Mind Right

Over the last several months, we have all been quarentined and stuck in our houses. I didn’t mind this one bit because I can work anywhere from my laptop as long as I have internet access. The kids loved it because they love running around my house and eating up everything that I buy. What I didn’t realize was that I needed this time off, this slow down, this “break” to help me mentally stabilize myself. I had been unable to focus and be productive for over a year and I was unable to figure out why until I was stuck in the house and on pause with the kids.

The year 2019 was such a difficult year for me mentally. I had to deal with so much both physically and emotionally and I hadn’t realized how much it affected me until it was time to complete work for my clients. Things that I would normally be able to accomplish in an hour would take me a week to get done. Whenever I looked at a computer my mind would go blank. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t think, couldn’t be creative. I was trying to figure out what the issue was, but that was cut short because something else popped up in my personal life that caused my mental health to get worse. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t able to accomplish many things in 2019- I wrote and published my first workbook, started my podcast, bought my house, started 5 home care agencies for my clients, amongst other things. But the time that it took me to accomplish those things last year was tripled because I was going back and forth to court with the father of my children for custody, child support, a restraining order, and a civil suite. In my free time, I was holed up in my house because I wasn’t sure if that particular day he had decided to send someone to my house to harrass me with flyers. It got to a point that one day I combed my hair and chunks came out in the comb. That was when reality hit me.

This time being home has helped me to ease my mind; calm my thoughts; refocus my creativity. Being home has allowed me to take a break- both mentally and physically. I wasn’t running on fumes anymore- I had the time and ability to woosah. It has done an amazing job on my mental health. This time home has made me more productive. I noticed myself being able to work on the computer more, finishing work faster, completing more assignments in a day, and adding more onto my schedule. I have new ideas for my businesses and I have more ideas for my podcast and this blog. This quarentine was just what I needed to get myself together and back on track.

There have been some days when I missed being around people, but overall I am very grateful that I was able to take this break- for myself, my businesses, and my children. I picked up a new hobby: planting! I have over 40 plants in my house (and counting because I believe I have a few coming in the mail) and I have been teaching the kids how to care for the plants. We water, repot, and rearrange the plants around the house to ensure that they grow well and now the kids keep asking me to buy more plants for their rooms (just great- lol!). Creativity back, a stable mind, and hella plants. We are doing good over here!

As always, be Legendary Kings; be EXTRAORDINARY Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

Relationships Ain’t Easy!

Over the last several months, I have been speaking with people who have been having selfish realtionship issues. And I use the term selfish because they were’nt able to look at the issue from both sides in order to come up with a solution to the problem. I’ve been noticing that issue more often.

I am by no means a relationship expert (although I am starting to think that maybe I should go back to school for that), but I have picked up things over the years and have been intentional in learning how to make my relationships better as well as help those around me improve theirs. At the end of the day, I wholeheartedly believe in love and I will always help anyone who wants to make their relationship work. But, I think that we need to go over a few things because obviously not everybody momma taught them correctly.

Relationships aren’t easy! Under no circumstances should anyone think that making a partnership work will be a cake walk! You are taking 2 people who were raised differenlty, think differently, have had different experiences, have different expectations and you are trying to fit those differences together. There will be arguments, there will be headbutting, and you will get on each others last nerves. THIS IS NORMAL!! Anyone who tells you that is isn’t has no idea what they are talking about! By no means does this mean that constant arguments and abuse of any kind is ok; this does mean that you will see things differently and have differences of opinions on how to handle and fix issues that arise. It also means that you should take into consideration what and why that other person has those reasons for disagreeing with you on whatever the topic is.

I can recall having a conversation with someone about them being mad at their significant other for something they did that didn’t sit well with my friend. My friend (male) kept going on and on about what his partner (female) did. So, I listened, and when he was done I asked him why was she acting how she was acting. He paused and was quiet for a minute. I then proceeded to explain the female’s point of view on the situation and helped him to see the other side of the argument. He then told me that he was going to call me back. A few days later, I spoke to him again and he told me that he went back to his partner and spoke to her with my explanation on his mind and they were able to come to an agreement on the issue. He couldn’t stop thanking me; what I had to explain to him was the he couldn’t be selfish in how he handled his disagreements. I understand that we are selfish people and tend to see things from our own lenses, but when we conscioulsy make the decision to merge our lives with someone eles, we must now take on the role of seeing things their way as well. I promise that it will help you have less diagreements.

Stop expecting what you can’t provide! I hear so many people (both men & women) asking for their partners to provide things that they aren’t able to give themselves! And I’m not talking about money right now (although that’s a big portion of it also). If I am not good at communication, I cannot expect my partner to have great communication skills with me. Eve if the come into the relationship with great communication, my lack of comminucation will cause them to either stop communicating with me, or theyll just start communicating with someone else. If I lack the ability to open up and let my patner in, I cannot be angry if my partner refuses to put in the work needed to break down my walls. We need to be well rounded in what we can offer, especially if we are expecting the same in return. Now, we can add the money part in. If I am working and making minimum wage, I cannot expect my partner to make 6+ figures and provide for me in a relationship because I am pretty sure my partner wants gifts and trips just like I do. If I can’t offer him even a portion of what he can offer me, is the relationship truly compatible? Females especially tend to put this immense amount of pressure on men to provide, yet rarely offer anything other than sex in return. Then I hear “well all he ever wants is sex”. If that’s all you can offer him, what else could he possibly want from you? We tend to forget that men are people too-they have emotions and feelins just like we do, and those emotions and feelings need to be fed just like ours do. It’s great if you can offer a man money, but can you offer him time, understanding, patience, forgiveness, truthworthiness, and most importantly peace? Men need peace above all, especially African American men. Can you provide him with that?

Understand that love can be enough! I have had people argue with me and tell me that it takes more than just love to sustain a relationship. At first I had to think about what they were saying- there held some truth in that notion; that we need more than just love. But then I had to remember- a parent ONLY needs love in order to fight to be the best for their child. God ONLY needs love to provide and sacrifice for us. An animal ONLY needs love to be loyal to us. So why can’t love be enough for us? We as people are imperfect. We have mean and selfish tendencies that can be extremely hard to deal with at times. We tend to put ourselves before others, and we want more than we are willing to give (for the most part). But when you meet someone that takes your breath away, that makes your heart skip a beat, that sends you over the moon. When you meet someone who made everyone who came before them look insignificant, love is absolutely enough. The love that you have for that person is enough to make you want to become a better person, is enough to make you change your perspective, is enough to make you want to fight to keep the relationship and make it better than all of the others that you have had before. Love most definitely is enough. Patience, communication, and amazing sex is great too though. Lol.

You are not always right! I am absolutely speaking to myself on this one! I have been handling things and doing things my way for the last 30+ years and I think that I turned out pretty good. But, put me in a relationship with a strong man who is a leader and we have many a fights ahead of us. Because I always think that my way is the right way (and so does he probably). It took an extremely long time (and a countless amount of arguments) for me to realize that I wasn’t always right. And NEITHER WAS HE! As adults, we have conditioned ourselves to believe that the way we want to do things is the right way all of the time. As a single person, that is absolutely true. But in a relationship, that’s grounds for breaking up. We have our own ways on doing things, but so does the other person. Normally, those ways are absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, the minute that we decided to get into a relationship, those single-minded thought processes automatically became the enemy. Whatever you did alone you now have to change because you are no longer thinking about yourself- you now have a whole other person that you need to be mindful of and take into consideration. Thinking that “my way is the right way” will lead you back to being single. Put that too the side and now find a way to incorporate your partner into your decisions. Someone once said to me” it is not you against him in a problem, it’s you and him against the problem”. That resonated with me so much! It taught me that I needed to stop fighting my partner and always trying to get my way and to start finding a way for the both of us to tackle the problem. This is not always an easy task, but it is definitely one that has me in it for the long haul.

Like I said earlier, I think I will go back to school to become a relationship counselor. It’s something that I am starting to find a passion in. In the meantime, Let’s take these tips that I mentioned and apply them into our relationships (both romantic and parental!) and see how we can make everyone’s lives easier.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

Parenting With Intention

Over the last several weeks, I have been talking with parents about parenting and being intentional in the methods that they use to parent their children. I know that some people just mimic the tools and methods that their parents used to raise them, but what worked for them may not necessaily be what’s best for you and your child. Thus, I wanted to cover some ways that we could be intentional parents.

Figure out what works: I was raised on beatings. I was beat for just about any type of defiance. But that method didn’t work for me because I still did what I wanted to. The minute that I knew I could get away with something, I did it. I did NOT want that to be the same for myc hildren so I made the intentional and conscious decision to talk to my children about their actions BEFORE I punished them, and made the punishment fit the crime. For exmaple: my son loves to snack but doesn’t always finish his food. So if we sit to eat and he claims that he doesn’t want to finish his meal, we talk about WHY he doesn’t want to eat, and I let him know that if he doesn’t finish 80% of his food, he can’t have any snacks for the rest of the day. Or if one of the kids hits/pushes/talks mean to one another, we talk about WHY they felt the need to do that particular thing, and their punishment would be maybe they can’t participate in an activity that I am doing at the moment or they can’t get on their iPad for 30 minutes. Hitting my children is not my first option, and I was intentional on making sure that I created other routes to discpline my children.

Create a routine: with everyone having a busy schedule, sometimes it can be difficult to create a steady routine for and with your kids. But it is necessary! Even if your schedule is subjected to only the weekends, this gives your child(ren) the ability to count on you. This is extremely important! It allows us to teach our children that they can rely on us and other adults. Plus, it allows us the ability to spend time with our children. I know that I get out of work early at least 1 day a week, so on that day every week I do something fun with the kids. We cook together, go to the park, watch movies while eating popcorn- something. The kids know that they can count on me to pick them up from school and spend time with them. They look forward to it, and if it doesn’t happen I hear about it. We also have chores in the house that have to be completed on certain days. The kids started off not being too happy about that so I made it fun. We do the chores together, sing songs, play music, and dance around. It teaches the children responsibility and accountability- if their chore isn’t completed then they do not get their iPad. We haven’t has an issue yet.

Teach and reinforce healthy habits: my children have been subject to verbal, mental, and psychological abuse so I made the decision to put them in therapy. I also used that as a way to open uo communication with them about everything. We talk about feelings, how our day went, what bothers us about the other (my daughter had a rather long list of things that mommy does that she doesn’t like) and how to better handle situations when they arise. I was extremely intentional about talking to them about everything, specifically because when I was growing up I bottled everything. By the time I was 21, I was a walking/ticking time bomb. I did not want my children to have to deal with that pressure, anxiety, and stress, so we talk everything out. My daughter will probably tell you that I talk too much. I encourage the children to use different methods in handling issues (solving problems, tying shoes, figuring out why the tv stopped working, etc.). Our motto is “can’t isn’t a word- you CAN do anything, you just have to try”. The kids know that we don’t have to yell to get our point across, we don’t have to be mad if something doesn’t go our way, it’s ok to not always be the center of attention. Oh- and we hug and kiss for everything. I think I did that too much because now the kids won’t stop hugging me. My daughter tried to come into the shower to hug me this morning. Lol. We hug things out, we kiss to show affection, and we encourage each other daily.

Don’t be so hard on yourself: contrary to public misconceptions, there is no rule book to parenting. You do not have to do things the way your parents did, the way your brother/sister does, the way your friends do. Parent the way that works best FOR YOU! One thing that I learned in my 6 years of parenting is that everyone’s opinions don’t mean shit to me. I’m the person that has to be home with my children and deal with the consequences of my parenting style. The tantrums, the yelling, the doors being slammed- they are all directed towards ME. So I learned that only I could figure out how to coach these little people to be good, honest, caring, and well mannered little brats. Do I always get it right? Nope. There are days where I lay down and think “girl- you really could’ve handled that better earlier”. There are days when I know that if I sleep too hard my daughter is going to come into my room and smother me with a pillow while I’m asleep. And there are days when my kids make me feel like I am absolutely crushing this mom thing. But every single day I try to be the best parent and role model to them. And that’s all that matters!

Parenting isn’t easy. It’s never been easy, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. But I am always here for advice and an ear if you need it. And you can go to my podcast to listen to some insights and tips on how to try some new tips on parenting. You can find it here: https://kishnaj.buzzsprout.com or you can look up “Balancing Life & Kids” on any podcasting platform: Apple Podcats, Spotify, iHeart Radio, or Google podcasts.

As always, be legendary QUEENS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

Home Staging Tips for Busy Parents on a Budget

Selling a home is a lot of work on its own, but when you’ve got a small budget to work with and kids at your heels, prepping your home for sale can feel like a never-ending nightmare. But it’s far from impossible! Although you may not be able to remodel your kitchen or install a new roof, there are several budget-friendly methods you can use to sell your home more quickly and for a better price.

Stage Your Home for Showings

Staging your home for sale is one of the most important things you can do to influence potential buyers. While working with a professional could cost you thousands, if you do it on your own, it’s cheap! Before staging your home, visit some open houses in your area to get an idea how other sellers are staging their homes. While staging goes far beyond cleaning and redecorating, purchasing a few new items can help you add those little touches needed to make your home feel move-in ready. For example, you may want to pick up some new bathroom towels or some elegant candles from affordable retailers like Kohl’s. Just be sure to grab some coupons before you shop online to stretch your dollar even further, and if possible, shop when they’re having one of their beloved clearance sales.

Remove Clutter, and Make a Cleaning Plan

An important part of home staging is decluttering and deep cleaning. You want to turn your home into a blank slate in which potential buyers can picture their own lives. Plus, decluttering your possessions means you won’t have to spend money moving them—you may even make some money by selling them!

According to Early Bird Mom, there are a few key areas to focus on during your decluttering. First of all, remove anything that is personal, such as collections, family photos, and quirky décor. Take care of excess furniture that’s crowding your space and making your rooms feel smaller than they are. Don’t forget to declutter your storage spaces as well—overflowing closets give the impression that the home lacks storage. Get your kids to help out by sorting through their own possessions as they pack up their rooms.

Since it can be difficult to maintain a clean home for showings with kids running around, keep some items in strategic places around the house for last-minute cleanups. Position a couple of empty bins in a closet where you can quickly stash toys, clothing, papers, and other items lying around the home. Also, ask your family to use only one bathroom so the others stay clean for showings.

Make Cost-Effective Upgrades

Once you’ve given your home a thorough cleaning, consider making a few low-cost upgrades. Luckily, some of the most affordable home upgrades have the highest ROI for sellers. Give every room in your home a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color to boost your sale price—keep an eye out for weekly ads from home improvement stores like Lowe’s to pick up your paint at a bargain rate. If your carpets are looking a little too tattered to fix with a cleaning, replace them with cheap vinyl or laminate flooring. Additionally, replacing the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom will give these areas an instant modern upgrade. You may also want to replace light fixtures that look outdated.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

Finally, make your way outside. Of course, the exterior of your house is the first thing potential buyers will see. Good curb appeal can help your home sell more quickly and for a higher price. Fortunately, optimizing your curb appeal can be accomplished on any budget, and it’s a great way to get your whole family working together in the fresh air.

Start by tidying up your yard and front entrance, removing clutter and refreshing the paint on your door. Ensure your grass is uniform—you can fix bare patches by planting grass seed a few weeks before the first showing. Remove dead bushes, incorporate new plants into your landscaping, and add attractive mulch to your flower beds. For more budget-friendly ideas, check out this article from HGTV.

When your home is up for sale, keeping the place spotless is essential. Fortunately, decluttering, cleaning, and making a few affordable upgrades can go a long way toward finding a buyer. If time just isn’t on your side, get your kids involved in the tidying and staging processes. This may be the perfect opportunity to teach your kids valuable life lessons and make lasting memories!

Guest post by: Kris Louis

This Is Depression….

I woke up and just laid in the bed. I had to force myself to roll over and try to get up. I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to move. But I had to get the kids up for school and I didn’t have anyone to help me in the morning. I coached myself; move your left leg, then your right, then your arms. Sit up, stand up, now walk. I walked past the bathroom because I just didn’t have the energy to brush my teeth in that moment. I went into my daughters room, took a deep breath, then smiled as I proceeded to try to wake her up with kisses and a song. I repeated the same act for my son, sent them to the bathroom t brush their teeth and wash their face, and I laid back down on the bed. I was exhausted and the day hadn’t even started yet.

I was living 2 lives- 1 where I smiled at everyone and tried my best to act as if I was ok and 1 where I didn’t want to get out of the bed, eat, sleep, or do anything. I was always physically in pain, and I couldn’t sleep so I was always tired. I didn’t cook. The kids ate leftovers that I pilfered from someone’s house or frozen foods that I purchased for this specific reason. They didn’t seem to know- they always smiled and jumped on me and kissed me like everything was ok. Or maybe they did and I was just too depressed to notice. At that time, they always wanted to sleep in the bed with me and always wanted to sit next to me and hug/kiss me. But I didn’t want the affection, I just wanted to be left alone so I would always tell them to go play somewhere else and not to bother me. Of course they didn’t listen, but I didn’t have enough energy to yell at them to I just let them play.

I cried myself to sleep most nights. I couldn’t figure out how to climb out of this hole. I couldn’t figure out why someone would want to hurt me, would want to scare me, why someone would want to tarnish my name and ruin my brand. Of course I know the answer is because people are cruel but that didn’t stop me from struggling with this intense weight that was on my shoulders. I woke up everyday checking the whole house to make sure things were the way that I left it. I peeked out the window to make sure there wasn’t anything or anyone waiting for me. I looked over my shoulder when I walked to work. I was scared to be in my own house, and I was scared to leave out of it. I was in a lose-lose situation.

I lost weight. I couldn’t eat anything, and I had no appetite. My hair was shedding. I started to break out with pimples and blackheads. I was moody and grumpy. And whenever I stepped out of the house I plastered a smile on my face and made everything seem like it was ok. I tried to put a smile in my voice, and I did my best to hide what I was going through. After I was able to pull myself out of my depression, I asked my mom and my partner if they knew that I was depressed and they said no, they didn’t have a clue. I guess I did a good job at hiding it. Being a mom while dealing with depression was almost impossible. There was no way for me to completely come out of my depression to provide the kids with attention and affection. It took too much energy. The kids often went to bed early because I was tired and needed to sleep. The kids fetched their own foods to eat (thankfully lunchables and fruits were always readily available for them). They learned to take baths independently, and they often put themselves to bed. I used all of the little bit of energy that I had during the day at work and I had barely any left to be a mom.

I woke up one day and said “I”m done!” I was tired of being physically in pain. I was tired of not having the energy to be a mom. I was tired of being scared to be in my own house. No- my situation didn’t change. I was still under an immense amount of stress, and I was still dealing with the foolishness of the father of my children. But I made up my mind to not focus on all of the negative things that I was dealing with, rather to focus on the fact that I had children to raise and a business to run. 2019 was probably the hardest year for me emotionally, and many friendships suffered because of it. My business suffered, my cashflow suffered. I distanced myself from almost everyone because I just needed to find my peace. Of course, many people had issues and took it personally, but my mental sanity was more important to me than someone’s ego.

I was able to pull myself out of a hole. But it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was almost impossible. It took an immense amount of willpower and dedication to change my thinking and my outlook on the situation. And therapy. Talking to a therapist really helped me put things into perspective and understand that my situation wouldn’t last forever, and that I needed to start looking at tomorrow instead of focusing so much on today and right now. I HIGHLY recommend a therapist if you are suffering from depression (whether situational or clinical). I also recommend that you find help with your children. Suffering with depression is already hard enough; having to be a parent on top of it (ESPECIALLY a single parent) makes it unbearable. Find someone that you trust to take the kids for a while and allow you time to decompress as much as possible and try to relieve some of the pain that your body is feeling. I was in extreme physical pain when I was going through depression, so soaking in a bath helped me a lot. Massages did also. I didn’t attempt to keep up the same workload while I was suffering through my depression. It wasn’t going to happen. I was barely able to read 5 emails, let alone complete a grant or application. If I was able to complete 5 email, I was productive. Small and simple tastes are ok, and build up your energy until you can get better and go back to your normal routine. Give yourself a break and time to get better. It may take a week, and it may take a year. But allow yourself the time and opportunity to get better.

Depression is real, and depression can severely abrupt your life. Do what you need to get yourself better.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

New Yea, New Tings!

I am so excited to be announcing something new to you all! I have been going back and forth on whether or not I should start a podcast. It was something that I have been thinking about for several months, but wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for me. Then, I had a few people reach out to me and let me know how much my blog has helped them deal with a situation, or how refreshing it is to have someone be so open and honest about parenting and dealing with the kids at home. I realized that I was helping people. That was my pushing point.

I’ve always wanted to help people- that’s why I work in youth development and it was why I did direct care for years. Talking about my experiences has helped people, so why not broaden that platform? I am super excited about this venture. I’ve decided to not only do a podcast, but to record it as well and put it on YouTube. There will be plenty of ways to get what I am giving!

I have updated my website to include a space where the podcasts will be easy to access and listen to, but they will also be uploaded to iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud. And the YouTube channel will be live under Kishna J.

If you would like to be a guest on the podcast, please drop me a line! I would love to have you! In the meantime, check out my Facebook page where you can get a clip of one of the interviews. Just go to Facebook and look up Kishna J.!

Thank you all for reading my blogs, sharing my posts, and leaving such inspiring comments and notes! This is all possible because of you!

Happy Sunday!