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 đź’‹

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

badparenting

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

The Way He Treats You Is How He Feels About You

IMG_0218

*Before you read this post, please understand that nothing in this post is condoning domestic violence in any way, shape, or form. This post was written through the viewpoint of a healthy relationship. Also, it may be a little wordy. Thanks for reading!*

I based my life on this for such a long time. It wasn’t until I met with and dated Mr. Officer that I realized that this was nowhere near the truth! We are conditioned to think that if someone doesn’t give us or do for us what we want, then they don’t care about us. My children’s father beat that notion into my head- because he bought me cars and placed a roof over my head, and worked and gave me money that he loved and cared about me. Nevermind the fact that he was ripping away my self-worth, my dignity, and my sanity. He bought me stuff and made it seem like he was taking care of me so I should be happy. After I left that relationship, I was so conditioned and brainwashed to believe that if you don’t give me and show me what I want that you don’t care about me, and it almost ruined my next relationship. I didn’t even realize it.

When I met Mr. Officer, he worked 12-16 hours a day. Despite that, he always found a way to make time to spend with my kids and I. His schedule picked up more, and his free time lessened. So now only I was able to get him, but that was extremely limited. In my mind, because I couldn’t see him and spend time with him he didn’t love and care about me. I was used to equating one with the other. Nevermind the fact that he would go above and beyond for me and the kids, would sneak away from work just to see me (even if for only 5 minutes), encouraged and motivated me in all of my endeavors. I was focused on one thing and one thing only- the time (or the lack thereof) that he spent with me at the location I wanted. If that didn’t happen I was pissed! (I’m sure if he were right next to me he would type in that I was crazy). The arguments increased, I broke up with him every month or so, and he would just maintain that he loved me and he wasn’t going anywhere.

One day, after one of my rants and I broke up with him again (for the then 3,976th time), I laid in the bed and had a mild panick attack. I asked myself “what he hell are you doing?” Because I didn’t want to break up with him, I didn’t want to be apart from him, I didn’t want to fight with him. I just wanted him to spend more time with me. Like an oblivious man, instead of calling me or coming to the house and talking some sense into me, he let me cool off. (Guys- please take this advice: DO NOT GIVE US SPACE!!!!! WE DO NOT WANT SPACE! We want you in our face asking us to forgive you, stealing kisses on our foreheads, wrapping your arms around us and not letting go until we aren’t mad anymore. And probably food and sex. Take this advise. It will help you!) I was left in my bed in my feelings, in my thoughts. The worst place for me to be because I over think and over analyze everything! I finally couldn’t take it anymore and reached out to someone to talk to. And they kindly told me that I was an idiot. That the man I had checked off every box that I had on my list of wants and needs in a man, and that although he doesn’t have a lot of time, the time he does have he gives to me. That I needed to stop being so selfish and started to acknowledge and appreciate the selfless acts that he constantly did for me. You know what I did? Defended my position. Because I was right and they were wrong. I went and spoke to someone else, and they told me the same thing. I went and spoke to one more person and they told me I needed to leave him and be single. So, I had 2 against 1 in his favor. Now I needed to figure it out.

I went to church and told God “I am so confused! My spirit aches when I say I don’t want anything to do with him anymore, but he’s not doing what I want!” The pastor had a message that day on control and intimidation and allowing things that happened to and around you. But the way the message was worded, all I heard was “stop being so selfish and let that man love you!”. I couldn’t help but laugh. I was so conditioned to believe that the way he treated me- not having/making time to spend with me- meant that he didn’t love or care about me and that’s what I focused on. Being this new enlightened person, I had to do a self assessment, and I realized that I was wrong in how I was handling the situation. I had to apologize. I texted him and told him I missed him, and that I was sorry for everything. He said “it’s ok Cheri”. Just that simple. No argument, no “I told you so”, nothing. He said he loved me and resumed back to being my love like I wasn’t having an emotional breakdown for the last few days. (I swear- now that I think of it, he doesn’t pay me any mind when I go on my rants! Lol! He literally will just say “ok Cheri” and go back to minding his business! Lol!).

We need to be mindful of what we are conditioned to believe are acts of love. Just because we are used to someone doing or treating us a certain way doesn’t mean that it is the ONLY way for someone to show us that they love us. Mr. Officer made a promise to sell his home so that we could purchase one together. That’s a huge commitment that I was overlooking because he didn’t have the time to give me when I wanted it. Stop believing in what you’re used to, and start believing in what is. You’ll get a whole new perspective on life and love.

Until next time.

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

Time Heals All Wounds- NOT!

In my 30 years of being on this earth (I’m super young, I know!) I always hear the saying “time heals all wounds”. I’m not sure where this saying originated from, but I believed it for such a long time- until I realized that time went by and my wounds were still as fresh as the day they were carved. Time certainly didn’t not heal my wounds!

Forgiveness heals wounds. Especially emotional ones. The hurt that someone caused you. The heartbreak from your ex leaving. The pain of losing a loved on. Time passing isn’t going to make these things any better or easier to deal with. Trust me, I’ve tried. But forgiving did. Myself especially. I forgave myself for blaming myself; forgave myself for making bad decision; forgave myself for holding on longer than I should’ve. And I forgave the person that I felt did me wrong. Even when I didn’t receive an apology for the slight. That healed my wounds and helped me to move on.

Love heals wounds. And to my defense, when I say love I am equating it to God. Because God is love and love is God. Love’s patience heals. Love’s understanding heals. Love’s acceptance heals. Love’s kindness heals. Because healing can sometimes be so deep that we don’t know how to tap into it. But the love (either from someone else or God himself) that we receive from a genuine spirit can help ease our anxiety and help us focus on where exactly our pain and hurt comes from so that we can start to mend the brokenness.

Therapy heals wounds. Because talking about the problem is the first step to fixing the problem or figuring out what the problem is. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge or know is broken. And we alone are not always able to see the issue objectively in order to fix it. I know I was a burier. I buried all of my issues somewhere deep down inside of me and tried as best as I could to forget about it. And now as an adult I have an extremely bad memory issue because of it. One that I cannot fix on my own and I probably need therapy for.

Acceptance heals wounds. Many people are walking around hurt and angry because they haven’t accepted a choice or decision that was made in their life. They feel slighted, betrayed, or used and they just cannot let go. Accepting those painful decisions can help with letting go of the hurt associated with it. It will not be easy, but for your emotional and psychological well being it is definitely worth it.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. And I wish people would stop saying that. There are many different ways to heal from something, and many people are willing and capable of helping. They won’t to school for it people! Lol. Find one that works the best FOR YOU and heal! You’ll thank yourself later for it. Because waiting around for it to happen on it’s own isn’t going to work.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS.

Until next time

-tootles!

xoxo

Love Is …

Every time I go over to my best friend’s house, she’s watching some sappy love show or movie. And I normally hate them because they’re unrealistic and don’t show what actual love and relationships look like. Until she put on “Love Is”. We started from the first episode, and I was hooked. To see a real, actual, screwed up relationship fight to make it work. It reminded me of myself and Mr. Officer. A little too much! This is what love is ….

Love is hard. AF! They say it isn’t supposed to be, but my experience has shown that it is. You are taking two completely different people and asking them to merge their lives, beliefs, backgrounds, religions, work ethics, parenting methods- EVERYTHING!!!- and figure out how to make it work together. Without a blueprint or a guide to show us the right way. But love is also beautiful, amazing, uplifting, freeing, passionate, and worth all of the headache. One thing that it took me too long to realize is when you decide to love someone and incorporate them into your life, that lane that you paved for yourself- it’s broken now. We like to control people and situations (at least, I do) and make them conform to what WE think is the best. And our mate is more than likely trying to do the same thing. When we make the conscious decision to love someone and merge their life with ours, we also need to merge our lane with theirs. Or create a whole new lane altogether. We cannot force people to love us how we want them to love us, or walk down the path that we create for them. Love is creating that path together the best way that you know how.

Love is scary. You are literally telling someone who you do not know “I am trusting you with my heart. Please don’t break it”. You are giving your life to someone in the hopes that they can bring fulfilment and peace into it. And it can work out bad, or it can be amazing. You can gain weight in all the right places, have your skin glowing, bring your anxiety down and give you more peace, have someone to help with your finances, have someone encouraging and motivating you. You can find your best friend in love. Love brings out the best in you.

Love is frustrating! Remember- there is no blueprint. But when your love doesn’t put down the toilet seat after he pee’s, or doesn’t take the trash out before he leaves for work on trash day, or didn’t prepare dinner for the kids even though he was home a lot earlier than you, when your love decides that them receiving an award of honor and merit wasn’t a big deal to tell you about because you were out-of-town, how do you still love? In my experience- FORGIVENESS. Love is saying “you made a mistake. It pissed me off. I want to punch you in the face, but instead I’ll kiss you and tell you why it bothered me and hopefully we can fix it so it doesn’t happen again in the future”. Every. Single. Time. EVERY! SINGLE! TIME! Remember I said it was frustrating? But when those quirks turn into coming home to a cooked meal for you and the kids, or the trash being taken out the night before trash morning, or those phone calls come in about awards and honors, dealing with those frustrating moments becomes worth it. I guess I should’ve thrown patient in there as well, huh? Love is patient, because no matter how many times you make a mistake love is right there to help you fix it. Love gives you advice and pointers on how to make it better. Love stays up with you the whole night to help you finish your paper for school or that huge project that you need for work. Love will never leave you or forsake you.

Love is stupid. Have you ever been the friend that always keeps hearing “why are you still with him? He doesn’t love you!” Or “you should’ve left him a long time ago”. Or “you deserve so much better!” The problem with confiding in your friends and family when things are bad is that they don’t know or see when things are good. For example? (He’s probably going to kill me for this! Lol!). Mr. Officer works. Which is normal, right? Wrong. He works 20 hours a day. And on the weekends he works 12-16 hours a day. Which means that we do not spend a lot of time together, and he’s cancelled more than a couple of dates and trips because of his schedule. Had you asked me 3-4 years ago, I would’ve told you that I would not be able to deal with a person who worked that much. But, here I am 2 years later, still dealing with the frustration of his schedule. Because when he does make the time, he is amazing with my children. My son wakes up everyday asking to speak to him and my daughter asked me yesterday when he and I were going to get married because she wanted him to be her step-dad. When he makes time, we laugh all day long. We talk, we share stories, we encourage and motivate each other. When he makes time, we go on dates. When he makes time, he comforts me when I am ready to pull my hair out or make a stupid decision that will affect my children. When he makes time he takes my son to the barbershop and pays for my car to get repaired. When he makes time, he is my best friend. It’s easy to say that I should leave because he doesn’t make the time for me, but he is love to me and my children. Let me repeat that- HE IS LOVE FOR ME AND MY CHILDREN! So love is stupid- it makes you go against yourself and your beliefs when the person shows you their love. It makes you trust when society tells you to doubt. It makes you hope when others tell you it’ll fail. Love doesn’t listen to society or others, love makes its own way. Love is consistent, even in the inconsistencies.

Love IS! Love is a being, an entity. Love is an action word- you are love and someone is love to you. Again, it took me way too long to realize that because I didn’t understand that concept until Mr. Officer. I’ve experienced it before in the past, but I wasn’t ready to understand it until now. My relationship with Mr. Officer showed me love through sacrifice, through forgiveness, through patience, through understanding, through trust. Truth be told, I think the only reason that I recognized and spotted what love is NOW is because of my children. I am love to them unconsciously- I exert no effort to be love to them because as a parent it comes naturally. But to be love to an adult requires a conscious effort. Because we both can get up and walk away at any point with no strings attached, so for me to make the choice to stay, I have to acknowledge the reasons and motivations why. I compare the love for an adult to the love to my children constantly- to be able to determine how it can be so easy to do certain things for my children yet I struggle to do them for an adult. Example? I trust my children. I know what they are capable of and what they will and won’t do. I am still building trust in Mr. Officer (which is probably why I put him through the stuff that I did). I can depend on my children. I know that they will always be there no matter what, even when they get older and decide to move out of my house and be on their own. I cannot fully give my dependency to an adult- because you can decide to leave today or tomorrow with no questions asked. But love is saying even though I think you can leave and hurt me, I will make the choice to trust and depend on you anyways. Love is choosing your mate over and over again. Even when you don’t want to. Love is knowing that you could be hurt yet again, but choosing to stick it out and working to make things different and better. Love is a choice, an action. Love is despite of. Love is!

I am no expert on love; obviously, right? I have 3.5 failed relationships under my belt (despite my frustrations, I’ll most likely be figuring out how to work things out with Mr. Officer- eventually). But I realize what Love Is. Because I am a mom, and because my heart is open to seeing it. And I am still learning.

Until next time.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

tootles!

-xoxo

Relationship 101

Unfortunately, I have been in enough bad relationships to know what I do not want, what I do not want done to me, and how to make them fail. Horribly. From the point of no return. The last 2 relationships especially have shown me what I need from a mate in order to be a great partner. The issues that we have is that no one taught us how to be effective partners. Communication and trust especially have been a huge cause of the break up of many relationships. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that I believe are important and necessary to maintain a successful relationship. Hope you learn and enjoy!

1) time is extremely important to someone who actually values you –
We can say “if you have a problem with someone who works a lot then you should be single” until we are blue in the face. But the reality is that we need time spent in order to establish and maintain a close connection with the person that we are dating. Yes- working and having your OWN money is extremely important, but that should not take away and stand in the place of spending time with someone. Especially to someone who’s love language is time spent. That will most definitely be the cause of a failed relationship

2) communication- talking daily, texting, FaceTime, etc- makes up for the lack of time-
In the event that the person that you are dating has a hectic work schedule, talking in any form becomes the way that time is spent. And it doesn’t have to be hours on the phone. A 5 minute phone call twice a day goes an extremely long way. I mean, I want to talk to my mate until I go to sleep so 5 minutes wouldn’t be nearly enough for me, but you get the point. Communication in any form can temporarily replace time being spent with someone, or it can equate to time being spent (depending on how someone chooses to look at it). Just know, it’s just as important and necessary.

3) women love when men plan and execute dates –
It’s part of the chase. Having my partner tell me “babe, get dressed tonight I am picking you up at 8” just does something to me. To know that you took the time and effort to make reservations, pick out an outfit, surprise me with an impromptu date, picked me up…. You just made me feel like the most important person in your world. And it doesn’t matter how often you do it- we get those butterflies every time. Now, keep in mind- a date doesn’t always have to involve going out and spending money. My last partner and I used to have home dates. When the kids went to sleep, we would chill on the couch and watch movies. I would lay on his chest and listen to his heart beat and we would laugh and talk about the movie. That, to me, was better than going to some restaurant.

4) women love going AWAY with their men –
We like going on trips, to different cities and states, and enjoying a different atmosphere with the person that we love. This number is pretty self-explanatory- take us on trips! We might do something to blow your mind. *wink, wink*

5) verbally encouraging and supporting your mate makes a huge difference –
When we fall in love with someone, the words that they speak tend to hold more value and weight than everyone else. So, speaking life into your partner is extremely important. Encouraging them, pushing them, and congratulating them will do more for their self-esteem than they will admit to. We love to see our hard work and efforts being recognized, especially when we feel that we are unappreciated and our hard efforts go unseen. Our mates are our coaches- speaking life into each other can help build and strengthen your relationship.

6) small acts of love- flowers, cards, teddy bears, candles, etc- makes us feel loved and gives us something to remember you by –
Think about it- if you walk past your bedroom and see a teddy bear that your partner gave you, it puts a smile on your face. When you get into your car and you see a medallion dangling from your rearview mirror that your babe gave you, you smile. When you see the flowers on the table, you get butterflies. Small gestures and acts of kindness give us mushy partners something to remember you by. Even if we see you every day, the fact that you took the time, thought about me, and gave me a memento to remember you by, it helps keep the flame alive.

7) if you say you’re going to do something  DO IT! Ignoring plans eventually starts chipping away at our confidence in where we stand in your life. –
That sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Imagine making plans with someone you care about deeply, getting dressed and smelling good, and you’re sitting on the couch waiting for them to pick you up and they never show up. After a few times of this happening, you’ll start to question if you actually are important to the person, if they truly make you a priority, if they even care about your feelings. You’ll either break up with them, start feeling a way about the direction of the relationship, or find someone else to give you the attention that your partner won’t.

8) show your mate off. Even if it’s just to your boys, your family, or random ppl in the street. A female will say that she doesn’t need that attention, but we do. It solidifies our role to you –
This is pretty self-explanatory. You know how they say diamonds are a girls best friend? It’s because when we wear them, it makes us the center of attention. Well, we get tha same feeling when YOU show us off. Even if you don’t have many friends or aren’t close to your family, show us off to someone. Make friends. Then parade us to them. Be mindful of the fact that I am not telling you to tell people our business! There is a huge difference. You can show someone off and still keep the relationship private. But our egos need to be stroked just as much as yours does.

9)  KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! If your mate is asking for a time-table, you should be able to give them an answer. Saying “I don’t know” means you don’t know if you want me around –
I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have a conversation with someone who I am expecting to have future plans with and their reply is constantly “I don’t know”. Unless you have confirmation that tomorrow is your last day on earth, you know what you want tomorrow and next week and next month and next year. You’re just unsure about ME because you don’t really want me involved in those plans. That is a major red flag buddy. I have no clue what I am wearing to work tomorrow but I know when I want to get married, if I want more kids or not, and whether YOU will be involved in those plans.

10) never stop dating your mate! No matter how long you’ve been together or how comfortable you guys are, always date them and chase them! Because if you don’t someone else will and their attention will eventually drift –
Need I say more?

11) learn how to communicate even when you’re upset –
I am speaking to myself with this one. When I feel like the issue that I am dealing with will not get resolved, I just won’t say anything about it. Which is not healthy because if the other person doesn’t know that I am unhappy about something, they will continue to do it. If you are angry or upset and cannot say why, you might want to seek some counseling. Effective communication happens when you are happy AND upset; being able to get your point across without lashing out or shutting down is extremely important in a relationship.

The main point that all of this sums up to is this: speak life into your partner and ensure that they are and always remain a priority. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard one person degrade or demean the other and turn around and say “I love you” to that person. Love doesn’t hurt, belittle, berate, or make others feel less than. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I get that. But we do not repeat mistakes. We repeat praises. And encouragement. And affection. And love. We want to be in a committed long-term relationship (at least I do), so we have to figure out how to make it happen. I think this was a pretty goof blueprint, don’t you?

As always, until next time!

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

Is He Too Young?

Being a mother, working with youth, and having a background in education will probably be a gift and a curse for my children. Knowing what I know about everything involving youth and children and the world has made me overprotective and a little paranoid over them. I push education, morals, values, friendships, and safety onto my children. But most importantly, safety!

Growing up, there weren’t this many kidnappings and missing children in my community. If a kid didn’t go home when he/she was supposed to, it was probably because they were with their friends and lost track of time. Within the last 2 years, every week I’ve seen some type of missing person post of a child come across my social media feed. I even had a conversation with a friend of mine about how we let our children play outside. I kindly told them that they were a little too lenient with where they let their kid wander to outside and they became defensive. I don’t even let my kids walk behind me when we are walking anywhere, let alone allowing them to go off and play outside of my eyesight. I guess I’m just a little too protective of my children-all children within my care. Especially because I know the statistics of 1- young children having sex in elementary school and 2- the rates that children are being trafficked for selling sex (themselves) and/or drugs. I do not wish for any child that I know or care for falling into those statistics.

So that leads me to my question- how young is TOO YOUNG to talk to children and start educating them about these things? Being the youth development director at my job, I am certified to teach sexual risk avoidance curriculums (sex ed) to young kids. Because we receive funding for it, we need parental consent outside of the schools to teach the curriculums. I cannot tell you how many parents do not want their kids talking/knowing about ATTRACTION, let alone developing healthy relationships with their peers. Moms. Dads. I get it. You think that talking to your child might open up a door that you aren’t ready for them to walk into. But the flip side is- what if they are already talking about it; or worse-doing it? Need I remind you that I know the statistics? In 2015, 3.9% of students have had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years. The prevalence of having had sexual intercourse before age 13 years was higher among male (5.6%) than female (2.2%) students. Considering the fact that 30 years of public health research clearly demonstrates that when young people receive such education, they are more likely to delay sexual initiation, and to use protection when they do eventually become sexually active, than those who receive no sex education or learn only about abstinence. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant. Proven research has backed this theory, yet parents are still leery about educating their children.

I have begun to teach my children to name all body parts with the proper name. We don’t call anything “the cookie”, “your goodies”, “your privates”, or any other name other than what it actually is. They can refer to it as whatever they would like, but when I ask “what are you referring to love?”, they both are able to name the part. Educating them about good touching and bad touching in those areas, and who should be touching there in the first place, etc. I am also transitioning them into being able to take a shower and washing themselves independently so that NO ONE will need to be anywhere near them without clothes on period. Including myself. We used to be able to say that just girls were getting molested, but now boys are being targeted just as much- if not more- than little girls. As they grow older, I will teach them about attraction, urges, protection, and the right way to protect themselves if they decide to have sex. Both of my kids get sexually aroused. If you think that children do not touch and play with themselves, you might need to have a long conversation with your child’s pediatrician. I’ve even had to explain to my daughter that she should do that to herself only when she is alone in her room because it is not appropriate to do in front of people. That was not an easy conversation to have with a 4-year-old.

We as parents need to start being proactive rather than reactive with our children. We work. We aren’t with our children 24/7, not matter how much time you spend with them. Teaching them before someone else does will help your child (and you) avoid many difficult situations in the future. From one parent to another, do not be scared of them knowing- be scared of them learning from someone else.

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo