Basic Financial Planning Advice That Every Parent Needs to Know

By: Sara Bailey

Although having a child can contribute to money stress, it can actually be the push you need to finally get your financials in order and help you better plan for the future. Whether you’re preparing to welcome a new child into the world or you’re finding it difficult to meet the financial demands of your baby, planning will help you accomplish your goals of financial stability. Follow these tips to help you get started.

Set Financial Goals

Setting financial goals helps you remember what you’re working toward. Instead of simply putting money in a savings account without a future purpose for it, you’re building up funds for your child’s college education, your own retirement, or for a down payment on a home. Have regular discussions with your partner to talk about your goals and evaluate your progress. Many parents make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin by trying to accomplish too many goals at once. Instead, The Balance recommends prioritizing your savings, whether that means starting by building an emergency fund or paying off credit card debt.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

Making a budget will help you evaluate your progress toward your goals and track your spending habits. This will allow you to make cuts if you’re spending more than you’re making. On the more positive side, a budget allows you to do more of the things you want to do if you discover a surplus. In essence, budgeting ensures you will always have enough money for the things that are important to you. If possible, try to set up a budget for your next six months to a year. This will let you plan for large expenses and ensures you will meet your savings goals.

Get Life and Auto Insurance

Consider getting life and disability insurance now that you’re a parent. According to Money Expert, your life insurance should cover the expenses of your family if you’re no longer around to provide for them. This should protect them from the costs of things like childcare, but also your mortgage and your child’s education. Similarly, disability insurance will protect your family in the event that you are no longer able to work and bring in an income.

While you’re shopping for life insurance, it’s also important to ensure to take a look at your car insurance. Should you have an accident, you want to know that you’re covered, especially if you suffer a severe injury. And while all states require you to have basic auto insurance, it’s important to consider upgrading to collision or comprehensive coverage if you don’t already have it. Full coverage could be your best and most cost-effective option but remember that insurance rates vary, as such, it’s important to shop around for the best policy. Note that your premiums will depend on a variety of factors: your driving record, the make and model of the car you drive, and your age and gender.

Track Your Net Worth

Keeping track of your net worth will allow you to monitor your progress toward financial goals, but also help you make better financial decisions. For example, it can help you decide if it would be more beneficial for you to pay off your credit card debt or begin saving for your retirement. Your net worth is essentially a report of your financial health, taking into account everything that you owe as well as the value of everything that you own. This includes things like savings accounts, investments, and your house. You can calculate this on your own, but you’ll need to figure out the value of your home while adding up your assets. You can do this by using online home value estimators or talking to a local real estate agent. You should also figure out the monthly costs of owning your current home and whether you can afford to live there with a child on the way.

Prepare for New Baby Costs

The initial costs of providing for a new baby can cause parents to go into debt. Make sure you plan for these costs when making up your budget so you can cut back spending in other areas. You’ll have to purchase nursery furniture, a car seat, a stroller, diapers, food, clothing, and many other accessories. You’ll be able to reduce spending if you look for second-hand items. However, don’t skimp on a good car seat, since this is vital to the safety of your child. Take a look at your household income and see if you can live off of just one salary before deciding to have one parent stay at home. Remember, this will cut out the cost of childcare, which can often be very expensive.

Becoming a new parent is scary when you think about your important role in raising a happy and healthy baby. However, add in financial worries, and parenthood can feel like an anxiety-ridden nightmare. Ease the burden and stop sleepless nights by doing some solid financial planning. That way, you’ll know that the future of your family is safe and sound.

When Sara lost her husband, she quickly learned there is no handbook for those who have lost a partner and suddenly find themselves raising children on their own. She created TheWidow.net to support her fellow widows and widowers.

Women Don’t Ask To Be Raped!

I am a woman. I like to get dressed up when I go out. I wear tight clothes, heels, makeup, I do my hair really pretty. I get with my girls, and we go out to have a good time. That isn’t an invitation for a guy to have his way with me.

I’ve had conversations with friends, conversations with police officers, and now I am watching this documentary on Netflix, and I am baffled at how people blame the victim for being raped. “She wore a tight, short skirt”; “she was by herself in the alley”; “she was drunk and all over him”. No matter what “she was”, no one asks to be violated. No one asks to be taken advantage of. There is never a reason for a man to use his strength, power, and control to overpower a woman and rape her. It’s not our fault. We can wear whatever we want- that doesn’t mean that we want it. I’ve had too many conversations with men who say that women ask for it when put in a compromising situation. Think about it- whenever a female says she’s been raped, the very first questions asked are “how do you know you’ve been raped”, or “what were you doing?”, “what did you have on?” What I wore doesn’t qualify me as a candidate for being raped. Me drinking shouldn’t make me a contender for being raped, nor justify someone taking advantage of me. And I have to prove, aside from the bruises and tears on my vagina and or asshole, that someone did something to me that I didn’t ask for? Now- let’s take a breathe and admit that there are women who lie about being raped for whatever reason they do so. I am in no way justifying or condoning that. But for ACTUAL rape survivors- why is being a female automatically the reason why we are raped?! If I do not openly say yes, it’s rape. That means don’t kiss me, touch me, finger me, fuck me, nothing. If I’m drunk, let me be drunk. If I’m high, let me ride my cloud. I shouldn’t have to cover up or wear baggy clothes or not be at a party alone because a man doesn’t know how to control himself. I am not your toy. What saddens me is that other females will shame a rape survivor rather than go to her defense. Another woman will quickly blame a rape survivor for being raped- like the exact same thing couldn’t happen to them!

I have a rather large behind and large lips. I hate going out because of it. The stares, the gropes, the sexual advances. I was told that I had “dick sucking lips” all throughout high school. So yeah, I believe that I could easily go out at night and have something happen to me. Because in a room full of people and cameras, men still make unwanted advances. At this point, I’m thinking thank goodness that I am not a drinker and I don’t go out alone. I don’t believe that any woman should ever be raped (and yes- that includes transgender and homosexual people as well). Getting someone to sleep with you in this day and age is extremely too easy. There’s no reason anymore why anyone should feel the need to “take it”. I’m not going to change my clothes, I’m not going to button up my shirt, I’m not going to not drink. Men need to learn that NO means NO! Not maybe, not in a few, not after another drink. NO!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

3-Meat Chili

I have a major love for food, cooking, eating, and savoring good food. I like to try different things, throw some stuff in a pot, and hope it comes out tasting amazing. It usually does, so I think I can call myself a master home chef. While I was “way on vacation” (as my mom used to say), I watched an episode of the chew and saw a recipe for chili that I wanted to try.

So to make this chili, you’ll need ground turkey, spicy beef hot sausage, shrimp, onions, green peppers, chili powder, chili beans, chicken broth, cayenne pepper (if you like spicy food), white rice, and love. I’m Haitian so we don’t measure stuff- we just add some seasoning and taste until it’s perfect.

I start off with cooking my ground turkey and chop up my spicy beef hot sausage and throw them in so they’re cooking together. I also add chopped onions and peppers in to cook. Once everything is added and cooked, I add the chili beans and some chicken broth. I then start adding some seasoning, the chili powder, and the cayenne pepper. Season to taste. Once you’ve perfected the taste, the last thing you add in is the shrimp. They cook quickly so they don’t need to be in for long. In another pot you can cook the white rice by putting on a pot of water, salt, and a 3 tablespoons of oil. Once it boils, add rice to the middle of the pot until it pokes out of the water. Spread out and turn down the fire to simmer and let it cook.

It’s easy- simple to make and tastes amazing. I have neighbors and friends who are constantly asking me to make it for them. Lol. Check out my highlight on Instagram (@_flawed_beautifully) labeled “Dinners!”. I have a video of the final product that doesn’t do this picture any justice!

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

The Poop HERstory

Do you get the title? It’s supposed to be history but I’m a female so it’s herstory. Whatever I thought it was funny. Yesterday, I woke up fine. Ok, not fine because the kids insisted on sleeping in the bed with me and my daughter sleeps like a wild banshee so I was nearly pushed off of the bed and only slept for like 4 hours, but my STOMACH was fine. I woke up unbloated, not gassy, and I ate breakfast. Lunchtime came around and it was a different story. My skirt that had hella space earlier in the day was extremely tight around my waist and my stomach was hurting. Here we go again…

People don’t talk about their gastrointestinal tract. Ever. We talk about getting colonics and drinking smoothies and herbal teas that are good for our insides, but that’s about it. We don’t actually talk about our system, our poop, and what’s healthy and unhealthy. I know my system is unhealthy- not because I don’t make the effort to be healthy. I eat my fruits and veggies, I’m mindful about eating beef and pork, I work out. I take vitamins. But my system just has a mind of its own. I can go days (sometimes even a week) without moving a bowel. When I was pregnant, I was a bit more regular, but still inconsistent. And it causes major issues for me. I am always bloated, gassy, uncomfortable, and when I poop it’s either bloody or it hurts. I have to drink something to help make my body go to the bathroom. I tried a few different products, but they were super harsh on me and made me cry when I was going. That’s a no-no for me. Lol. I talked to my mother about it, and she told me to try this tea called Ballerina Tea.

This tea has been a miracle worker for me. I go easily- no harsh reaction, no pain, no tears. Lol. I just go. Please be mindful that the first day or 2 after you take it, you’ll get rid of everything that’s been back up inside of your GI tract. Let me say it plainly- you’ll be running to the bathroom. I hope you run fast and the bathroom isn’t far. Lol! I’ve almost had an accident once or twice. And DO NOT TRUST ANY FARTS! Please! If you need to fart- RUN! Just to be on the safe side.

I didn’t know that our poop tells a story about our bodies and what we eat.

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What even triggered all of this? My daughter pooped yesterday and asked me what color was her poop supposed to be because it was greenish-brown. So we talked about it, looked it up (your poop should be brown) and determined that her poop was normal for her age (because we eat lots of greens at home). But mine isn’t. Mine was green and foul-smelling (which can be indicative of malnutrition, dehydration, and not getting enough fiber in my diet). Check, check, and check. Had you asked me before, I wouldn’t even have thought twice about it. But the color, consistency, and smell of your poop really tells a story about your health. And because I’m more conscious about my health, I am conscious about my poop now.

Remember I was gassy yesterday so I drank the tea? I pooped this morning and felt as light as a feather. A friend of mine texted me “good morning, wyd?” while I was going, and I said “pooping”. That didn’t go over very well. Lol. I think that we should be able to talk about our poop without it being labeled “disgusting” and “weird”. You go, I go, everyone goes. Apparently all the time. So why can’t we talk about it? Especially because certain poops will help tell you if something is really wrong with you. I talk to certain friends about everything and they help me self-diagnose myself. Lol. We should’ve gone into medical school because we are really good doctors. And the stuff we can’t figure out (like why I cannot poop more than once a week) I go to the doctors for. Maybe me pooping once a week is normal for my body, so now I just need to make sure that the poop that is coming out is normal.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS! And make sure you poop!

-tootles!

xoxo

The “Mom-Bod”

I want to start this blog off with throwing ALL the shade to moms who have multiple children and still have amazing bodies. All you mothers who had amazing pregnancies, glowing skin, all your hair, and amazing genetics that allowed your shape to return after you had the baby. All of you moms despise me. (I’m joking for those who didn’t get it. Lol). I’m 5-years postpartum and I have people asking me if I’m pregnant again 😑. Not exactly the way I pictured it.

It’s been rough trying to get my body back. Actually, I’m lying. When I had both children, I was very skinny so I snapped back pretty well. But I was unhappy and I hated the way I looked. I started to gain the weight back without going to the gym and toning at the same time. Big mistake, because now I can’t lose this belly fat to save my life. I have an amazing set of people around me who lie to me all the time and tell me that I’m still sexy and attractive and that my stomach isn’t as bad as I think it is. And I love them unconditionally for it. But I know they’re lying 😂. It’s been a struggle trying to control what I eat and not eating beef ribs, fried shrimp, crabs, rice, Haitian mac n cheese, 3-meat chili, shrimp and chicken Alfredo penne (should I continue or do you get the point?). I just recently had fried Oreos for the first time and now it’s my new addiction (since I’ve banned myself from eating a whole chocolate cake) 😩. I have a love- an obsession- with food and its making it so difficult to be consistent with eating right (which always equates to healthy and healthy foods are so bland and non-filling).

The gym you ask? Well, between hating going alone because I have no idea what I’m doing, hating when guys ogle at my rather large behind, hating that I feel awkward because I’m absolutely sure I’m using the equipment the wrong way, not having a babysitter, and running 3 businesses, my schedule and pride doesn’t always allow me the opportunity to go CONSISTENTLY. And truth be told, I’m a lazy f-word, so if I don’t have someone pushing me while I’m there, my workouts last all of 30 minutes and I’m done. Not to mention that I now have been diagnosed (finally!!) with arthritis in not one but BOTH of my knees…. I can’t do all of the things that I used to be able to do. Yay, now I have to wear knee braces, I can’t run, lift weights, or put stress on my knees. This is going to be really easy 🙄😩.

I am quite sure that I am not the only mom of beautiful little monsters who say “mommy, can I jiggle your belly please? It’s just so squishy” at least once daily. I feel for you mom! I understand your plight and I am here with you! We need to stand up and take back the “mom-bod”! All of these people in the media who say we need to have a flat stomach and perfectly toned arms and legs don’t have to wake up at 6am to get little terrors up in the morning ready for camp/school, then get yourself ready, figure out breakfast for the kids, rush out the door to beat traffic, drop them off and get to work only to remember that you didn’t eat breakfast at 11:18am when your stomach starts to ask you why you think she was created. I propose that we just shamelessly walk with our stomachs out- proudly! Just make sure you shave that strip of hair first. My strip grew a mind of its own after the 2nd baby. I didn’t have it before and now I can’t get rid of it 🙄😂😂😂.

Mom, let’s take back our confidence, our beauty, and let’s shame these heffas with flat stomachs. Because if I can’t have one no one can! 😂😂😂😂

As always, be legendary QUEENS, be extraordinary KINGS!

-tootles!

4 Key Tips to Help You and Your Partner Stay Connected After a Baby

Written by Emily Graham

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Many people fear what will happen to their relationship after a baby. There’s no point in sugarcoating it: it is hard. Studies have shown that relationship satisfaction tends to decline twice as fast for couples with children, which is a scary statistic, to say the least. However, it is important to realize that this often happens because new parents don’t make an effort to remain connected after the baby. Here are the basics of doing just that.

Open Communication

 Open, honest, and regular communication is the most important part of any marriage, but this becomes absolutely crucial when you have a baby. A few keys of good communication between spouses include speaking softly, listening actively without interruptions, and honoring each other’s opinions — even when you disagree.

It’s a stressful time for both of you, so empathy is key. Remain a positive source of support for each other, but make sure you are never trying to fix your partner’s feelings. If one of you needs to vent, the other should allow this to happen without judgment or taking responsibility for it.

Communication is harder when you have a baby thanks to the crazy schedule and the constant exhaustion. You may not always have time for long, in-depth chats; however, a daily check-in can do wonders. Marriage Laboratory has a guide to the 10-minute check-in: Go over the good and the bad of the day, express your gratitude for each other, and wrap it up with a kiss.

 Date Night

Making time for non-baby things is one of the things that are going to keep you sane in the coming years. According to Kindred Bravely, you should definitely institute a date night, whether that’s simply watching a movie together, hosting a board game night, having a nice dinner (in or out), or just hanging out together like you used to before the baby. This quality couple time will strengthen your relationship, encourage communication, and ensure you both still feel connected to each other as people, not just parents.

Make Time for Friends

 When you become a parent, a sort of rift can form itself between you and your friends. It is important you fight against this, both for your sake and for your marriage. After all, your friends act as a sort of emotional buffer between you and your spouse — if you don’t have anyone else to talk to, it is easy to become codependent and resentful of each other.

Real Simple recommends you find a balance between your new lifestyle and that of your friends, keep regular contact, and focus on being a positive influence in your friends’ lives. Some friends may be harder to connect within the early baby stages, and that’s okay — it doesn’t necessarily mean your friendship is over.

 Take Care of Yourself

 It feels counter-intuitive for some, but when you take care of your own mental and physical well-being, you are better prepared to take care of both your baby and your marriage. A lot of parents feel guilty about taking time for themselves, or they feel like it’s impossible — but it isn’t! For example, you may think you don’t have time to exercise, but there are plenty of ways to fit it in. Going for walks with your baby, joining exercise groups for mothers, or just investing in some kit to work out at home while your baby is napping can help you stay in shape.

Another great way to fit in self-care is meditating. It’s easy to fit into any schedule (there are meditations as short as three minutes long), can be done anywhere, and a sustained practice does wonders for mental health. You can even apply mindfulness concepts to be a calmer parent and spouse; when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, stop, take deep breaths, and focus on your sensations, thoughts, and emotions.

 Having a child is the best and most terrifying thing you will do together — but never forget that you are doing it together. This fact alone bonds you in a way nothing else can, but it’s not enough. Remember that you may be parents now, but you were people, partners, and friends first. Learn to tap into who you both used to be before the baby and to make your relationship a priority. You will both be so much happier for it.

About the author: Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.

I Have Grey Hairs!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am dedicating the whole month of July to parenting. And if you don’t, know you know too. Lol. I find that too many new parents feel as if they don’t have anyone to turn to when they have “parenting woes”. Shoot, us seasoned parents don’t always have people to turn to that won’t judge us also! So I wanted to dedicate this whole month to issues, topics, and concerns that parents might have but are afraid to speak on. And I promise I won’t judge, so feel free to send me your messages and if I have an answer I will gladly help you out.

So- my most recent past time with the kids is keeping my son from playing with his penis blatantly in front of people, and helping them understand that they cannot say certain things out loud. Let’s tackle the latter first. Children have absolutely no filter. I am learning that more and more as they get older. I cannot get mad- they don’t understand why what they say is wrong; they’re just curious and want to know why something happened. For example- I used to take my next door neighbor’s children to school. They attended the same school as my daughter and I hate children walking alone so it was a no brainer for me. Every morning one of my children would go knock on their door and tell them that we are ready to go. Well, one morning while on our way to the school, my daughter bursts out and says” why is your house so dirty?” I honestly feel like the whole car instantly got quiet. I might be crazy, but I believe even the radio dimmed down for a few seconds.

I said, “Bell, that isn’t nice”.

And she replied, “no but mommy their house is really dirty”.

“Bella, I said that isn’t nice. Please stop!”

“But mom, our house is so clean and their house has stuff everywhere. They need to clean up.”

“Bella, I asked you to stop!”

Neighbor’s son: “Na uh, our house was dirty that day but it’s clean now!”

Bella: “no, it’s not. I just saw it”

Me: “Bella!”

Neighbor’s daughter: “well, we cleaned downstairs, now just upstairs is messy”

Car: dead silence. And I swear the radio shut off too! Lol!

I always drop my neighbor’s kids off first because I walk my daughter into her classroom, so when they got out I finally spoke to my daughter and helped her understand that she wasn’t in trouble, but she made the other kids feel bad when she said something about their house. I explained that not everyone cleans their house like we do, and sometimes mommy’s are too tired to clean. Just like sometimes our house is messy and I have to clean it or pay someone to clean it for me. Her response? “Well, maybe they should pay someone to clean their house too”. I burst out laughing- this little girl is something else!

Another example do you ask? Sure, why not. I have a neighbor who only has one arm. My kids see him all the time. He talks to us daily and even gives the kids pastries or ice cream occasionally. I guess those things shadowed the fact that he only has one arm. Until one day… I was getting the kids and I out of the car and into the house and my neighbor asked if I was still selling my car. I said yea. From behind me, my son yells out “Hey! What happened to your arm? It’s missing!” I froze. Two seconds later, I had to put my hand over my mouth to keep me from bursting out laughing. Of course I wanted to know the same thing, but I wasn’t about to ask him that! Lol. *In case you’re wondering, no he didn’t answer him*. Teaching our children to be mindful of what they say, how it can affect others, and being appropriate in our questions can be extremely hard. Especially if they are young like mine. I just have to keep reminding them.

Now for the pee-pee playing. This little guy has figured out that he can play with his penis, make it hard, and it feels good. So he does it- everywhere! He used to come out of the shower and take lotion and play with his penis in front of my daughter’s face. After constantly telling him no and stop, I decided on a different approach. I spoke to his therapist and we both agreed that we should redirect him- not to stop doing it (because that’s the age where they learn what it is, that it feels good, and that it’s not just for peeing) and explaining to him WHEN and WHERE he can do that. So I had a talk with him and told him “if you feel like you want to play with your penis (yes- we use the actual word), you need to take a few minutes and go into your room because that is a private thing and other people do not want to see you do it”. I didn’t criminalize him or the act, just simply explained that it’s only for him and when he’s done then he can come out and finish whatever he was doing. So now every night after he takes a shower, if I see him lingering in his penile area too long, I ask him does he need a few minutes to go play with it. The very first time he looked scared as he was walking away (I think he thought it was a test! LOL!), but now he knows. If it’s pee-pee playing time, we go to our room. When he’s done, he comes back and finishes lotioning his body for bed. And it works. No more inappropriate behavior and everyone is happy.

I admit- I handled it wrong at first. I yelled, I punished him, I probably made him feel bad about it. And the minute I realized that I was not approaching the issue correctly, I sought help to fix it. Had I not spoken to their therapist to help find a solution to the problem, I might have associated a negative reaction to him playing with himself (which is totally normal). That wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted him to understand that he could do it as long as it was in private. Seeking that help for a solution saved us from having an issue every night. There is power in asking for help, so don’t think you have to parent alone. I still have hella grey hairs because of them though. Lol. Seeking parental advice is always for you and the child(ren)’s benefit. It won’t make you any younger, but it will make your job as a parent a lot easier. Let’s build this village, together.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

tootles!

-xoxo

Traveling With Kids

As you all know, I have 2 beautiful children. Annoying, but beautiful. We have a 3-day holiday weekend and most of the family went out of town so I decided to give in to my daughters constant nagging and bought tickets to fly out too. It’s not easy flying with children, so here are a few tips that I’ve mastered over the years. Hope they help!

Tip 1: make them sleep early the night before! Although for me it’s a pain because I always end up sleeping late and having to get up early, it allows them to wake up energized and ready for the trip. I even let them sleep in their traveling clothes so that when they wake up, we just brush and go!

Tip 2: pack lots of snacks. If your kids are anything like mine, they want everything they see. So to combat that, I pack all of their favorite snacks in their bags so they have something to snack on. And hopefully their mouths are too full to ask “mommy, can you buy me that?”

Tip 3: download favorite shows and movies onto their iPads/tablets the night before. We always go to Netflix and download at least 1 movie and a few shows to keep them entertained while waiting to board and actually on the plane. I sometimes pack activity books and crayons too- anything to keep these hyper kids from running up and down the plane. Lol!

Tip 4: please bring a sweater! The last thing you need is a kid whining because they’re cold and there is no blanket in sight. My kids either wear long sleeves or have a light jacket.

Tip 5: wear tight shoes (sneakers, back strap sandals, shoes)- something that you can run in. You never know when it’ll come in handy.

Tip 6: remember when I said I bring snacks? I also bring gum. The ascending and descending of the plane almost always make our ears pop, and the younger the child the more uncomfortable it can be. The snacks and/or gum helps un-pop the ears and makes them more comfortable.

Tip 7: bring headphones. I’m sure the people sitting around us on the plane today were not too happy that I forgot ours. Between their iPad, the Nintendo switch, and my son shouting every time he jumped successfully over a rock- my isle was pretty loud.

Tip 8: make the trip exciting! We talk about taking “an airplane adventure” at least 2 weeks before the actual trip. I started doing this since the very first time I took them on an airplane 4 years ago and it helped them to not be scared of flying and enjoy the sights outside the window.

Lastly- have fun! It can be a little overwhelming (specifically if you’re flying with them alone) but the more you make it exciting for the kids the better the experience. Plus, they have something to tell all their friends when we get back home.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

A Love Letter To My Ex-Love

When I first met you, I was going through one of the most difficult times in my life. I needed advice, and God brought me to you. I only needed advice- what to do and how to do it. But you gave me so much more…

From our very first conversation you made me laugh and feel safe. So when you asked if it was ok to call me later, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. From that moment on we’ve talked just about every day. You went from giving me legal advice to bringing me peace, calm, stability, and love. You’ve been a role model to my kids, a voice of reason when I wanted to snap, my business partner, and a very good friend. I don’t know when it happened, but I fell in love with you. It caught me completely off guard because my past relationship was still lingering, still pestering, still trying to bring me down. That didn’t stop you though, didn’t scare you, and didn’t keep you from being there for me. You became my love.

It was definitely a struggle! With my ex on my end and your job and children’s mothers on yours, finding time with each other became difficult. At one point it was non-existent. But you managed to find a way to come back to me to show me how much you needed me. You always found a way to show me how much you needed me, even if you couldn’t find the words to express it.

I’m struggling now to understand how we got to where we are now. Struggling to understand where it fell apart. No matter what happens, I want you to know that my love will always be what it is because of you. Because of the way you fully accepted me. Because of the way you never judged me. Because of the way you never stopped loving me even when situations made it difficult for you.

Thank you for loving me.

I still love you…

I am not always right

I’ll be the first to admit that I think I know it all. I think I know the best way to handle things and fix situations, which is what makes me a great business woman, but that doesn’t always transfer over into our every day lives.

You only understand as well as your brokenness allows you to. The truth and profoundness behind this statement is scary (never mind the fact that it came to me while I was washing dishes. Lol). The hurt that we experience as children and in past relationships shape our understanding, thought process, and logic. For too long, I was dealing with people and situations with the assumption that I knew how to fix “it” and make it better. When in fact, the ONLY thing that I’m right about is that I don’t know crap. I’m learning every single day- learning how to love, how to heal, how to parent, how to maintain my business, how to trust, how to listen. I’m realizing that even when I think I’m right about something, I may have gotten a small part or fact of it wrong. As an imperfect perfectionist, this used to drive me crazy! But the more I let myself go and just listen (to God, to others, to myself) the more I understand that’s it’s ok to not know everything; the more I learn.

I don’t know how my kids are going to turn out. All I can do is teach them what I think I know and pray that God covers the rest. I don’t know what love looks like. I thought I did, but I’m learning that it has too many shapes and forms to be able to place a label on it. I’m learning that healing doesn’t always mean peace. I can be healed and still have to go through storm after storm. I’m learning that forgiveness isn’t easy, and acceptance first comes from knowing God. I don’t know it all. And I’m finally understanding that it’s ok not to.

I’m not right about a lot of things. But I’m right in loving despite the hurt. Because the love that I give isn’t always about or for me- it’s for the one person who feels like no one has ever loved them so they don’t need to love others. Or the child who’s bounced from placement to placement and doesn’t believe that anyone could love them. It’s for the woman who finally found the courage to leave her abuser, but believes all the lies he told her about no one loving her besides him. It’s for the man who heard all his life that he was soft and didn’t deserve the respect of being a man. Too often we make life about US; it’s not. It’s about everyone.

Let’s let go of what we think is right, and listen to what the universe and everyone in it can teach us. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo