5 Dating Tips For My Future Husband

Fellas. When you meet your significant other for the first time, you go out of your way to let them know that you’re interested. You take your lady out on dates, bring her flowers, tell her she’s beautiful, etc. Those things shouldn’t stop once you get into a relationship or get married. Husband, if you’re reading this, you better not stop these things or you’re sleeping on the couch. This is MY blueprint to dating me after marriage…

1- bring me flowers. I can easily pick them up when I go grocery shopping, but it means so much more when they come from you. To know that you thought of me enough to go out of your way to bring me something that I like will help keep the spark alive

2- smack my ass, hug me from behind, and kiss my neck randomly. Let me know that I am still attractive to you, even when I’m in the house with my hair tied up wearing boxers and an oversized t-shirt. The more I know you still think I’m sexy, the more effort I’ll put into looking good for you

3- call me just to talk! I love to talk, I always have something to say. Calling me just to hear my voice and asking me how my day was will help keep our bond stronger. And it will definitely make me feel important to you

4- take me out, show me off! Let’s get dressed up and go to a party or a lounge. I look good so we will always be a handsome couple. Lol. Let’s get out of the house, not be cooped up, and enjoy the night air and each other

5- f*%! me like I’m a stranger 😏😌. Do the same moves you did when you wanted me to forget all the other people that I’ve been with (there were only 4. Thanks!) Make it passionate, look me in the eyes, and don’t forget that special move I like 😜

I’m a simple girl. I like attention, flowers, and cuddling. And I will make you a happy man. But don’t forget to do these things after being married for 5-10 years. I still want flowers. I still want attention. And I’ll still want you. So let’s keep it fresh love. But- don’t forget to help me with the kids, cook for me sometimes, run my bath water, kiss my forehead, and stare at me because I’m beautiful. I am definitely going to be hype about you, I just ask for the same in return.

Whoever my husband is, I’m waiting on you. And if you’re already in my life, you’re taking too long babe. I’m not getting any younger. Thanks 😆

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS.

-tootles!

xoxo

Dealing With A Breakup While Being A Mom

As you all know, I have 2 amazingly wonderful children. And I am not with their father. Although I act tough, it was difficult walking away from him. I was hurt, angry, and flat broke with 2 kids. I couldn’t let them know mommy was going through so much internally. But how do you keep a smile on your face in front of your kids when inside you’re on the verge of having a mental breakdown?

I’ll be completely transparent- some days I just could not hold my emotions together and my kids got the short end of that stick. They went to bed early, they had cereal for dinner, and I just let them run around while I hid somewhere and let the tears roll. Most days I was able to keep the emotions down and put on a smile for them. But everyday they put a smile on my face and helped me through.

I worked full time; I was able to keep my mind from wandering about my shitty love life by applying for grants, forming partnerships, and helping others. I avoided my feelings by dealing with everyone else’s. For the most part it worked, and I was able to fake happiness until I hit the sheets to go to bed. On a lot of days I had to cry in the shower to mask my tears. The kids always ran to me and hugged me when they sensed my despair. It’s like they KNEW I was having a tough time.

The main thing that helped me through? Actually allowing myself to feel the pain and hurt and let it go. It took a few weeks, tons of prayer, a bunch of tiny-people-hugs, and at least 15 hours of crying, but I got over it. With each tear, each walk down memory lane, each way I found that I should’ve could’ve would’ve made it work, I got over it little by little. One day I woke up and I didn’t have the urge to cry. I wasn’t hurt anymore. And I was actually happy. Happy that I left that toxic relationship. Happy that I was able to start over. I was happy. Finally.

It is, by far, the hardest thing to do: deal with emotional trauma while being a mom. My kids sensed my worst days, and hugged me until they were better. I cried every time I thought. Every time I saw a picture of us, or a purse that he bought me; or when we had to do pick ups and drop offs. As women, we tend to blame ourselves for break ups; even if it had nothing to do with us. We internalize that guilt and it causes us to hold on to that pain longer than we need to. Especially if the person we are leaving is the father to our children. Yet, we need to FEEL the trauma. FEEL the pain. And I promise you that it’ll help you get through the breakup faster.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

I’m Not Just A Number!

If you’ve read any of my blogs, by now you know that I spend 9 months of my life away from my friends, my family, my children, and my sanity. Today is a rainy day so I decided to catch up on my tv shows until I got bored then I would do some work. On one of the tv shows, a father told his son “when you went to jail they replaced your name with a number and stripped you of your identify and your value”. That hit me waaaayyyy too close to home.

When I was admitted into Riverside Correctional Facility (also known as RCF) I was fingerprinted, asked about my health history, and given a tag. That tag had a series of numbers on it- 1155295. The moment that tag was placed on me, my identity was stripped away. Guards knew me by my last name and my number. Whenever I left my unit, my number was checked. When my mail was delivered, it was identified with my number. Losing your sense of self in that way can really mentally f*%! you up.

It was one thing to be ripped away from my life, but to rip away my identity was humiliating. Degrading. Demeaning. Dehumanizing. Even when I was being released, I was identified by my number. It took a while to regain my identity. I am one out of close to 1,000 women that was housed in that complex. 1 out of countless women who’s identity was stripped away. But today I make a stand- I AM NOT A NUMBER!

I am a mom. Every single day that I open my eyes I am a mother until I take my last breath. I am a daughter. A friend. A business woman. An entrepreneur. A soul mate. A future wife. I am everything BUT a number. And this was something that I had to constantly remind myself for months after I left RCF. And today I want to remind you, who is reading this and has had a similar background as me, that you are not a number. You are a person. A whole person. Beautiful. Smart. Driven. Talented. Brave. Fearless. And NOT who they told you that you were. Don’t let anyone else label you. Ever.

I refuse to be defined by my past mistakes. And I refuse to let my mistakes dictate my future successes. I am not a number, but I plan on having a hell of a lot of numbers in my bank account. Define yourself. Always.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

A Letter To My Children

To my miracle child, and my guardian angel- mommy loves you. God knew exactly what he was doing when he sent to both of you into my life, and I wanted to let you know that I am extremely proud of you.

My miracle baby. I went through a lot before you came into my life. I had many doctors tell me that I wouldn’t be able to conceive you. I went through 2 rounds of invitro, and was told that my uterus wouldn’t be able to hold you. I had given up on having children, and was considering traveling the world before adopting. Your dad has just proposed to me only a few weeks before you made me sick. That’s how I found out about- I went to the hospital because I couldn’t get out of bed one day. Only to find out that I had you growing inside of me. It was one of the best days of my life. You changed me. Feeling you grow inside of me, watching you on the monitors, listening to your heart beat. It transformed what I believed was love and helped me to finally and fully understand how God loves me. You were His gift to me, and I promised God that I would always take care of you. When they cut me open and pulled you out, your very first cry melted my heart, and when I laid eyes on you I knew that I had finally attained perfection. You were the most beautiful little white baby I had ever seen in my life. Although I did think that people would think that I kidnapped you because you were so pale. Lol. I couldn’t believe that I- Kishna- had created and carried you. To this day I am amazed with you- how smart you are, how funny, how caring, how charismatic. You will always be my miracle baby.

My angel. Boy oh boy was mommy going through a tough time when you were conceived. Mommy and daddy were always fighting and I had made some really bad mistakes when I found out that I was pregnant with you. Mommy was dealing with mental and emotional issues and caring for another baby wasn’t very high on my list of short term goals. I told your nana that I wasn’t ready for you, and she begged me to keep you and give you to her. That was the best advice I had ever taken from her. When I was at my lowest points, you gave me hope. When I was feeling helpless, you helped me stay grounded (probably because you were so heavy in my stomach that you were weighing me down! Lol!). When I wanted to give up, I knew that I couldn’t because I needed to make sure you were ok. You helped mommy to stay sane in an insane period of my life. You helped me to remember that I had a purpose, a goal, and a reason to live and to fight. When they cut me open and pulled you out, your bright eyes made me see that everything that I went through was for you, to help you get here because you had a purpose. And when they took you from me, I knew I had to fight to be with you again. You are still my foundation. And you will always be.

To my children. Always know that mommy loves you, mommy will always be with you, and mommy will never leave your side. I will be your biggest cheerleader, your constant voice of reasoning, and the connection to God to show you good vs evil. You are my greatest accomplishments, and I hope to always make you as proud as you make me. I love you.

As always, be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

Nowadays Kids

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Growing up, I was around technology. Internet, cable TV and of course, phones. It was my love for technology that drove me towards doing Computer Science as my major. But, I’m not here to talk about me nor my passions.

When I was a lot younger, I used to go outside and play with my dad and my friends. You know, playing hopscotch, double dutch and all those other fun things. Nowadays, these kids don’t really go outdoors and have fun with their parents much. And sure, when they go to school they get the chance to play. But what about that down time with their parents.

Cultures are different. What’s done in the US, UK or wherever else isn’t necessarily done in Jamaica. Well for the most part at least. I have a niece who is so glued to the TV that she knows when her favourite cartoon episode has been repeated. When she was staying with my parents, that’s all she ever did, watch TV.

Her parents are so busy during the day that they don’t really have time to take her outside to play. So she’s mainly inside, watching the kid version of Disney every day. Of course she goes to school and has made friends. But like I said before, what happens to the downtime with her parents.

My point is, nowadays kids are growing up into this highly technological world. And while there are still stay at home parents, some of these parents are too busy running errands or working from home. I’m sure a lot of parents want their “me time” especially after a long day and a long week.

These kids are relying on technology (like their tablets, the TV, etc.) too much and don’t know how to have real fun. They’re taking their phones to the bathroom, to the dinner table, to bed and the list goes on. So what can we do about it? Do kids know how to be kids?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Kids having their tablets and such is a great way to keep them preoccupied especially when you’re travelling. But let’s be real here; they need a break from it every once in a while.

One thing my sister does is that set her TV to a time for it to shut off. This means, no more TV until the next day and no TV at dinner either. This is a really good practice because it helps to bring them back to reality and be more involved with their family.

For parents, try to incorporate some family time into your me time. Take your kids to the beach, an amusement park, somewhere fun. So while they’re having fun, you’re having fun and relaxing too. I’m sure a lot of parents do it but it doesn’t hurt to say it so that busy parents can try it.

I’m no parent but when I do become one (if I become one), I’m going to try to take my own advice. I don’t want my kids to be glued technology for all their childhood. Childhoods are about creating fun memories that they won’t forget. Memories that they can share with their kids.

What do you think about kids and technology these days?

Are you a parent? What have you done to ensure that your kids aren’t always stuck to technology? Sound off below.

This post was written by the talented Shanese! Don’t forget to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.

How To Raise Healthy Children

I was listening to a clip of an audible this morning, and it was based on how to show your son that you love him, or something along those lines. I have a son, so obviously I was intrigued. As I started listening to the audible though, I kept thinking that these principles applied to all children, and not just boys. I turned it off and started to think- although I am still learning daily how to be a great mom, I’ve managed to raise healthy and happy children. Here’s how I am doing it….

Be encouraging. My kids know that the words “I can’t” are forbidden in my household. Those words are the equivalent of curse words around me. You can do anything you want, as long as you try. I encourage my kids to try new things like foods, ways to learn, making new friends, different tv shows, anything. If you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. So we try everything- either together or independently. But they know that mommy will always be in their ear telling them that they can do it no matter what.

Be fun! We make up dances to all of the songs in all of the movies that they love to watch. We go to the park and play together. We make watt and crafts in the house. We build using their building blocks. I let them cook with me. We have fun together as a family to help strengthen the bond that we already have.

Be consistent. Today, my daughter said “I love you mom”, and I replied “I love you more”. She followed up with “even when I’m not around you still love me”. I constantly tell her that. I constantly tell her that I’ll always be there for her. I constantly tell her that even when she gets on my nerves I love her to life. I keep all of my promises, I don’t lie to my children, and I am always there for them no matter what. My children’s favorite line to repeat back to me is “mommy loves us no matter what!”. And I’ve worked to show them this truth. I’m consistent.

Be firm. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the biggest push-over softee parent known to man. My kids literally run all over me and I spoil them more than I should. But they also know that mommy doesn’t play with certain things. When I give them that look, or say “what did you just say?!”, they know I mean business. When I say NO, I mean no. Explaining to them why I say no about something can be a task sometimes, but my answer sticks and they know it.

Be a family. I was raised eating dinner at the table with my parents every night. My kids and I eat every meal in the house together. Televisions off, phones down, and we talk. We watch movies together. We do activities together. Sometimes we even pick out each other’s outfits. We do homework together- they work, and I’m on the computer. I teach my children to take care of and look out for each other because they’re all they’ve got.

Most of all, be a mom. My children tell me that their favorite thing about me is that I make them their favorite foods and that I’m always there. Never mind how they steal all my money, my sleep, my food, my bed, and sometimes my boyfriend. Lol. I’m their mom, and the combination of all the aforementioned things help them to trust me to be that to and for them. Don’t get me wrong- there are days where I’m wondering how we still have a standing house or how they haven’t killed each other and me yet. But we manage together; we figure it out together. They make me better and stronger, and I’m hopefully making them smarter, wiser, and better than me.

Until next time; have fun with your children, and tell them Ms. Kishna said that they can do anything they want to, they just have to try!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo 💋

To Shack or Not To Shack?

I grew up in a very traditional household. A married family with children. I was raised to believe that if I lived with a man, he should be my husband. I traveled down that road and it didn’t work out too well for me. Now, I’m in a new relationship with a new man and I’m struggling with the decision to move in with him before we get married. Is it the right choice to make?

I obviously have my reasons for pestering Mr. Officer to sell his house and purchase one with me. He works crazy hours, and I think that it would allow us more time to spend with each other- even if it’s just snuggled up under each other sleeping. Not to mention it would save on bills and the kids would have more time to spend with him. The problem is 1- we aren’t married and 2- I am super comfortable living alone! I haven’t lived with anyone (let alone a man) going on almost 3 years. Does my dad count? If not, it’s been almost 5. That’s a really long time on my own. I have my own routine, my own space, and all my closets and drawers to myself. Just thinking about sharing the closet gives me anxiety. And what if he doesn’t put down the toilet seat, or if he takes his shoes off at the door and just leaves it there? What if he’s the type of man who just leaves his clothes strewn all over the house and I have to pick up after him? Oh my goodness- my chest is getting tight and I’m starting to sweat! See? Just thinking about it gives me a panic attack!!!!!! (Okay- now I see where my daughter gets her dramatic side from! 🙄)

On the other hand, having a man in the house would help with having constant stability, a role model for the children, easy access to my man, less stress with bills, and allow me the ability to see if we are indeed compatible enough to walk down the aisle. There are definitely pros and cons to the situation, but I am sure my strict carribean parents would have an issue with me shacking up with a man who wasn’t my husband. And, if I am being completely honest, I will always worry in the back of my mind that he’ll get too comfortable with us living together and not make the effort to marry me.

How many people in relationships “shack up” and never get married? Or have children together and push back the marriage idea all together? What is the point of getting married if you already have the person at your beck and call on a daily basis? Or what if you made the decision to wait until after you were married to live with someone, and later found out that they had extreme habits that you are struggling to deal with? Is there a healthy medium (spending the night a few nights a week at your partner’s house)? I mentioned that I come from a strict carribean background, which means I was raised very religious. My culture doesn’t accept living together outside of marriage. Do you watch Black Ink Crew Chicago? If you do, the episode in which Neko introduced his girlfriend Charmaine to his carribean mother, and her reaction when she found out that they were living together- THAT would be my mother’s reaction. Especially because I was already married and had children from that relationship. I wouldn’t only be bringing a man into MY life, but I would be bringing him into my children’s lives as well. How does that factor into the whole “to move in or not to move in” dilemma that many people face? When is it a good time to allow that much access to your children?

If you want MY answer, it’s I don’t know. Lol. If I move in with someone, they must know that marriage is around the corner, and we better be planning something within the upcoming year. Mr. Officer knows that I am expecting marriage from him, so I hope he’s reading this and getting the ring ready to slide onto my pretty little finger. I think that moving in before marriage can be a good thing- to help you determine if you truly are compatible with the person you love, to find out what the bad habits are early, and to see how you interact with one another on a consistent level. The last thing anyone wants is to think you’re marrying one person, and to find out they are someone completely different. I went down that road already and I do not recommend it. You know yourself, and your partner- make the decision that best fits YOU!

As always, be legendary KINGS, be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

2-Day Grant Writing Course

I’ve had several people reach out to me and ask me why I haven’t started doing any grant writing classes. My schedule has been extremely busy lately (you can tell by the lack of posts that I’ve put up) and I have my kids on the weekends so scheduling something like this can be a little tricky. But I’ve pushed past all the muck and found the time to schedule the course. I am extremely proud of myself!

This course will be for any person in the non-profit sector. We will go over how to write a proposal, the different parts, budgets, research and statistics that will make your proposal solid, how to find and develop your writing style, and creating engaging content. The classes will be about 2-3 hours long and I will answer any and all questions to the best of my ability.

The only downfall of the course is that I have no idea how to stream this online, so the class will have to be remote- for now! I plan on figuring out how to record the session and upload it online for a small fee (I hope my students won’t be upset at the price difference! Lol!)

Being an entrepreneur- juggling a work life, a small business life, a parenting life, and having a relationship- can be super exhausting sometimes, but pushing through and making things work is always worth the hassle. I love what I do, and I love to teach others, so hopefully this will be a new venture for me!

Wish me luck guys!

Until next time….

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

I Failed At Parenting Today

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If you have children, you know that this picture accurately depicts how many parenting moments go in the household. Sometimes you have to just trust in the fact that you’ve done an amazing job at raising independent children (notice I didn’t say responsible! Lol!). This is the story of one of those days for me. I don’t need an introduction, let’s just get this started.

My daughter had a bad night. Every few hours, she would wake up calling for me. Which would wake me up out of my sleep. And anyone who knows me knows that I HATE being awakened from my sleep. She woke up the first time, I comforted her. She woke up the second time, and I cuddled her back to sleep. The third time, I told her if she didn’t stay asleep I was going to make her sleep on the floor with the cat. She stayed asleep. My alarm didn’t go off when it was supposed to, so I woke up late, with a headache (here we go!). I take a shower, and I am now waking up the kids. My son starts crying. “Why you crying pop?” “I want my daddy!” “Why do you want daddy?” “Because. Because. Because. He gives me chips in the morning! Aaaahhhhhhh hhhhaaaaaaa!” I really wanted to just walk away at that point, but I sent him to go brush his teeth. As I’m getting dressed, I hear the water running and running and running. I peek into the bathroom and he’s filling up buckets of water and pouring it into the bathtub. There’s water all over my floor. I turned off the water (which startled him because he looked at me with fear in his eyes), and I went back into my room. I heard him brushing his teeth; I guess he got the point. He put on mix-matched socks, and I think he didn’t put on any underwear even though I laid out a complete outfit for him. My daughter didn’t want to get up, and didn’t want to get dressed so she literally just put on anything (including backwards shoes); she didn’t want to eat, drink, anything. She was a little terror. I dropped them off to school, thank God.

I had a bad work day. I still had my headache; the internet was down so I couldn’t get any work done, and the kids camp called and said my son pee’d his pants. By the time I picked them up from school (still with the headache), I was exhausted and done for the day. So- they found whatever they could in the fridge and ate it for dinner. Luckily, I had small water bottles, so they didn’t have to pour anything to drink. I was laying in bed. Under the covers. Trying to hide. I think (actually, I hope) that I raised them well enough that they could fend for themselves. My daughter knows how to navigate the tv, and my son will just play with his blocks when he doesn’t want to watch what she’s watching. Surprisingly, they only came to bother me twice- I told them I didn’t feel good which is why I was laying down and they let me be (they can actually be sweet when they want to). Bedtime came around- I didn’t do baths, I didn’t dress them, I barely got out the bed. They asked for a bedtime story. I didn’t want to read one so I told them that we were going to make one up (hey- I was winging it here). They loved it, and they each made up a bedtime story. I kissed them goodnight, and put them to sleep.

The next day, I woke up and said to myself “you failed at being a mom yesterday”. I walked down the steps to check my living room and kitchen, and I was amazed that it was still in tact. The pillows were missing, but that was all. I was extremely proud of them. So much so that I made their favorite breakfast and dinner, and took them to the park after camp.

Being a full-time parent is hard- couple that with working full-time, owning a small business, and trying to maintain my sanity, sometimes I just want to turn off being a mom and relax. As long as the kids don’t die, I’m ok with how things turn out. Lol. I have food available, they have access to drinks and water, and they can choose between watching tv, reading books, playing games, playing on their tablet, or playing in their room. One or two days of me checking out for an hour or 5 won’t kill them (insert emoji here).

Until next time….

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

How Do I Write This Grant?!

Being a grant writer was an easy transition for me; I was already a blogger, I loved writing, and I was constantly doing research for my job anyways. Becoming a grant writer just combined all of these things together. What I didn’t realize was all of the work and time that I would have to dedicate to the craft. Man, this thing definitely takes a lot of work and effort!
Because I had transitioned into a completely new territory, I had to figure out how to put this thing together. Where the heck was I supposed to start! The good thing is, I finally figured it out. And now, I would like to teach anyone working in the non-profit sector how to put together a simple proposal. It’s not as hard as you think.
1. Introduce your organization. Briefly give a synopsis of your what the organization is, what the mission is, and what the focus is. “Uniting Families, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on creating stronger relationships within the family structure. Our mission is to build a bridge within the family that creates long-lasting, generational bonds. The organization was founded in 2011 by Dr. Elizabeth Wright who is a family psychologist”, etc.
2. You need to create a name for your program. Identifying it makes it more relatable, and can get your reader to identify with your goal. For example, if my org’s name is Uniting Families, Inc., my program name could be “Mother-Daughter Connection”. This clearly tells the reader what the program is about, and can warrant an emotion from them.
3. Have a clear purpose for your program, as well as evidence that it can or does work. “Mother-Daughter Connection is a weekly workshop that has activities and classes that helps low-income and underserved mothers and daughters establish a closer relationship and helps build trust”. Why is this important, and what type of activities would help make this program plausible?
4. Create a reasonable budget for the program, SEPARATE from the organization’s budget. Think of it like this- the organization is the mother, and the program is the child. The mom has her own money that needs to be spent, but so does the child. It can be seen as 1 major budget, or 2 smaller ones. Being able to distinguish the 2 will, again, help make the program relatable.
5. Explain, briefly, what the money will go towards. It doesn’t have to be a full explanation of the funding; “if funded, the budget would cover the cost of materials, activities, food, and travel”. You’ve already described what the activities are which is why this section just reiterates that.
6. Lastly, as you close out the proposal, thank the funder. Let them know that their contribution to this program would benefit whoever your program targets. Your closing statement should be strong and engaging.
This proposal needs to engage the reader-they’re giving you money after all. The more compelling your “story” is, the more likely it is that you’ll get funded.
I hope this helped someone!

As always, be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo