After a short, recent holiday hiatus, I am back, and life is in full swing again. We celebrated Good Friday, Easter Sunday, began spring break, and visited the cherry blossoms, but for most of our holiday, my husband and I spent time celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. This anniversary is so unique and important to me, because I am beginning to see the influence and importance of my husband's relationships, not only with me, family and friends, but most of all, with my children.
Mr. President #1 will be six years old next month, so he is beginning to mirror a lot of the characteristics and traits of my husband. I have heard many women and single mothers talk about their success in raising children without the help or involvement of a husband or father figure, but for me, that seems virtually impossible. When a father is absent, I often see other male figures step in and assume that role. With that being said, I thought this occasion would be a perfect time for me to emphasize and celebrate the positive impact my husband has had on our entire family in his role as a husband, a son, a friend, but more importantly, as a father.
It it is natural for us to emulate the behaviors of our parents. As a woman, I can attest to the fact that I looked for a husband who possessed similar characteristics and qualities as my father: someone who was strong, caring, loving, dedicated, and willing. If a little boy has a father who is angry and abusive the majority of the time, chances are he will become accustomed to that type of conduct and begin to emulate those negative behaviors. If a little boy has a father who is just the opposite -- fun, loving and caring, chances are he will emulate those positive behaviors, which shows us just how vital a father's role truly is.
Social interaction is extremely important for all children and their parents. Research shows that early patterns of interaction are really all children know. It is those patterns that effect how they feel about themselves, and how they develop. Children are extremely vulnerable to those early patterns and incorporate those behavioral qualities in their regular routine of social exchange. For this purpose, dads (and parents in general) need to be positive examples for their children. It is us they are emulating, and our negative behaviors can do more harm than we think.
And for some households where parents are divorced, separated, or the father lives outside of the home for whatever reason, things happen and not every marriage is a fairytale, but it is still important for the father to be involved and continue a healthy and loving relationship with his children.
Very few households these days consist of married couples, which is why I try my best to lead my family by example now, and explain to Mr. President #1 the importance of friendship between mommys and daddys every time a question is asked by him. In a study by the American Psychological Association, I found that dad's are more engaged in this day and age more than ever before. For this reason alone, more emphasis needs to be placed on the role a father plays and his relationship with his children. Now let me be clear...some fathers will never step up to the job, so all we can do is pray for them. And for some households where parents are divorced, separated, or the father lives outside of the home for whatever reason, things happen and not every marriage is a fairytale, but it is still important for the father to be involved and continue a healthy and loving relationship with his children.
Let me share one tip with you fellow mothers: encourage your husbands and the fathers of your children, and bring out the best in them. Men are often like a computer system -- you get out what you put in. If you want your husbands to be positive and caring, you must do the same for them. Don't waste your energy telling them they did something wrong, or constantly complaining about this and that, but save that energy to help bring out their brightest and best qualities. After all, you and your children will both benefit in the long run, because at the end of the day, encouraging your husbands will allow them to be encouraging to you and your children in return.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that as a black man, there is no place for him in our society. I have to disagree with him on this matter because we need our husbands and fathers now more than ever, as the man's role in today's society is slowly diminishing. The future is at a loss without them, and it is up to us women to give them the support and reassurance they need. I am very blessed to have such a wonderful husband who is an incredible role model for our children. His role makes my job a heck of a lot easier, and I desire the same happiness for each one of you.
A friend sent me this video of Mr. President #1 playing at one of his basketball games this season. In the video, he dribbled to the basket, saw an opportunity to score, took a shot and missed. Don't worry about a thing though, because he gained possession of the ball again, made his way to the basket, and...SWOOSH! HE SCORED!!
I am sharing this video with you today to encourage you to take a lesson from this little guy. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Mr. President #1 could have been discouraged because he didn't make that first basket, but he was determined to get some points on the scoreboard, and that's exactly what he did.
If you don't succeed on the first try, pick yourself up and try again. Some of the most successful people in history failed on their first attempt. None of us are perfect. We may not get things exactly right the first time, but aren't you glad we have the opportunity to try again and again? Be like Mr. President #1: take the shot as many times as you can, and I bet you'll make that basket!
I would begin by saying that some of you parents need to teach your kids some respect, but I have come to the realization that some of you parents seriously lack in that area yourselves! I have recently encountered some of the most disrespectful children I have ever seen in my life, and I am convinced that this younger generation has no idea what respect is. I truly believe that respect and other important life lessons should be taught at home.
When I was a child, I was not allowed to call an adult by his or her first name (unless I wanted to get "popped" by one of my parents). I was not permitted to interrupt a conversation when adults were talking, nor was I allowed to say excuse me unless it was extremely important; I had to wait until the conversation ended. I answered my parents by saying yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir, and I did exactly what I was told to do.
Kids these days...they talk to their parents, teachers, elders, and other adults they see in public any kind of way, and I think it's ridiculous. I teach my children to have respect and to USE the manners they have learned. Please and thank you are everyday words in my house, and nothing will be given without saying please first.
At the memorial service we attended this past weekend, we were instructed to stand and hold our right hands over our hearts as TAPS played during the military honors. I immediately stood, sat Mr. President #2 in the seat next to me, placed my right hand over my heart, and turned around to glimpse at Mr. President #1 to make sure he was following instructions -- He did as he was told. By the time I turned back around to face the front of the room, Mr. President #2 had climbed out of his seat, stood on his feet, and because he didn't know his right hand from his left, he placed both hands over his heart. He stood like a statue for the entire military honors.
Seeing my son, only two years old, standing in such a mature position as a sign of respect almost moved me to tears. I looked around the room, saw my husband snap a picture of him, saw other little ones rolling around on the floor, but there was one other thing I noticed ...some of the adults were not standing with their right hand over their hearts as we were instructed. I have to admit, I was a little surprised by that.
What I do want to bring to your attention is the fact that my two-year-old son has more respect than some of you adults, and that is a crying shame.
I am not sharing this with you to make myself look good, or tell you that my kids are complete angels; we both know that would be a lie. What I do want to bring to your attention is the fact that my two-year-old son has more respect than some of you adults, and that is a crying shame. Kids learn many of their behaviors from watching their parents and other adults, and if we don't set a decent example for them, it's no wonder they'll end up acting like some of those disrespectful kids I mentioned earlier.
Please do not take this as an insult, but rather, use this as a reminder to always be on alert because your kids are watching! We complain about adults and some of their behaviors as grown people [some politicians come to mind], but remember that they too were once children and leaned their behaviors from someone else. If Mr. President #2 can show such a deep level of respect at such a ripe young age, so can you! Okay, I'm done...
Yesterday began as one of our typical Saturdays: breakfast, basketball, early lunch and errands. But later yesterday afternoon, we attended a memorial service for a family member and friend who passed away unexpectedly.
It shouldn't have to take something so tragic to remind us to appreciate our loved ones and tell them we love them, but unfortunately, it does. The moment I heard of this passing, I wanted to hold my little guys as tight as I could. Every single day, we should tell our children how much we love them, and spend every moment with them that time will allow. Through the passing of family and friends, I have learned to cherish every moment I have to spend with my children and all of my loved ones while we're still together on this side.
Stop taking this life for granted because tomorrow is not promised.
We get so busy with life and so caught up in the day-to-day, we forget to say I love you. I'm not going to share a long, drawn out blog post with you today, but rather remind everyone that we are not guaranteed a certain amount of tomorrows in this lifetime. Stop taking this life for granted because tomorrow is not promised.
At the memorial service yesterday, the pastor had a heartfelt message to family and friends: "We are not attending this memorial service to mourn such a great loss, instead, we we are here to celebrate a fulfilled as meaningful life, and the celebration does not end here." I don't know If I will truly be ready for my time on this earth to come to an end, but when it does, I want to have no regrets and have a smile on my face knowing that I lived my life the best way I could.
Before you go to bed, hug your kids a little tighter tonight. Our children have the right to feel loved, and one day, when our times comes, they will know just how much they meant to us. I know it sounds depressing, but death is a part of life. We can't live forever, but we can make the most of the time we have.
This past weekend, Mr. President #1 and Mr. President #2 had their very first experience away from my husband and I for our long-awaited weekend getaway. At first, the Presidents were a little nervous about being away from mommy and daddy, but when they heard the words TOYS, CHOCOLATE FACTORY, TRAMPOLINE PARK, and COOKIES, they were ready to start packing their bags!
Although my husband and I had our weekend getaway planned months in advance, it never would have happened without my Team. Who/what is this Team I keep talking about? Well...meet Yammy, my mother; Poppy, my father; and Auntie F, my awesome little sister. These three people are a HUGE part of my Team.
I live hours and hours away from these members of my Team, but we always find a way to make it work. The day we met up with Poppy to drop off the Presidents, he made the long, dreadful, three-hour drive to meet me halfway. He was in good company with another awesome member of my Team, but instead of sleeping in and enjoying retirement bliss, he decided to go the extra mile for me...LITERALLY! This just speaks volumes to the amazing type of people I have on my team.
What exactly is a Team?
Webster defines a team as: a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group; a group of people who work together; or a group of two or more animals used to pull a wagon, cart, etc. Well I prefer to define a team as the group of dedicated, compassionate, incredible individuals who are there to support you and have your back no matter the circumstances. But here's the key...you have to do the same for your team. We are more than just a group of people who work together; we build up an truly inspire one another.
Why do I need a Team?
I'm sure you've heard the expression, "It takes a village to raise a child," and this has definitely proven to be true for me. As a mother, I admittedly feel overwhelmed sometimes. I'm trying to do this, trying to do that, work, be a homemaker, be involved with elementary school, etc., etc. At the end of the day, we can't do it all, and although most of us think mom = superwoman, the reality is, we need help too, and THAT IS OKAY!
What can I benefit from having a Team?
Believe it or not, my Team is what keeps me sane and in check! If you constantly stay busy trying to do it all, eventually you will be burned the heck out. Let your team do some of the work for you! In my case, Yammy and Poppy are the grandparents who don't get to see the kids as often as we would like (other than our nightly FaceTime sessions), so it's a win-win! When opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it.
How do I build up my own Team?
When you're ready to build up your team, it's very important that you choose family and friends who WANT to be there for you. Not everyone is there to support you; some people are on stand-by just to bring you down. Use your judgment. Don't procrastinate either! Have your team ready before d-day! Lastly, but certainly not least, your Team should consist of the most genuine, compassionate, caring and reliable people you know! My team keeps my head above water, and I could not ask for more.
There's only one catch to having a successful Team; you have to treat others as you would have them do unto you. No one is going to want to be on your team if you're ugly inside! Come on now! Be good to others, and they'll do the same for you. To ALL of the members of my Team (especially you three), and with every piece of me...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Many mothers have to face the exceptionally challenging job of being a mother and a working professional. We all know motherhood is a difficult responsibility in and of itself, but when you add a professional career on top of that, things can get a little complicated. I am going to designate some time to discussing this topic and sharing some insight with my fellow working mothers, so please stay tuned!
In the meantime, I wanted to share an update with you, as I will be a speaker at an upcoming conference this summer, The 11th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference (click here). I am excited to share some of my personal experiences and advice with other communications professionals, so I just had to share the update with all of you!
Lately, I had been considering adding public speaking to my list of things to accomplish, and this opportunity just happened to fall into my lap! Thanks for all of your support thus far, and be sure to grab a seat for the exciting journey ahead! Moms ROCK!!
This week was all about our brand new venture: POTTY TRAINING!! Some days Mr. President #2 is a pro at using the potty, and other days...well, let's just say he'd rather squat in the corner of the room and go to the potty the "old fashioned way." Earlier this week, we finally found our sweet spot when it comes to potty training, and here is a little background for you:
"Never mind patience being a virtue...let me introduce you to Potty Coloring Time! Thanks to Auntie F., we now have Mr. President #2 on the potty, distracted, engaged, and going pee pee or poo poo ever single time!! Woo hoo!! So how did I do it? I taped a piece of paper to the inside of the toilet lid, sat Mr. President #2 on the potty backwards, gave him a dry erase marker (in case he colored outside of the paper for easy clean-up), and let him scribble his little heart out! What a genius idea! Now the key is getting him OFF of the toilet, but that's where the bribing comes in! Oh...and don't forget you can't leave the little ones unattended. After all, they are sitting on the potty backwards!"
Now that we've discovered potty coloring time [which, I should add, is one of Mr. President #2's favorite activities], we have no trouble at all getting the little guy on the potty. Since Mr. President #2 is doing something so fun and engaging while he's going pee pee or poo poo, he's on the pot long enough to make sure something magical happens every single time.
The other day, I sat Mr. President #2 on the potty, gave him a crayon [which I also found to be pretty easy to wipe clean], and let him have a good time, per our usual routine. As I turned around to sit down on his stool, he reached out his hand and yelled at me, "No! No! No mommy!" When I asked him what was bothering him, you probably won't believe this, but he immediately looked up at me and said, "Mommy! I need some privacy, please!" I could not believe those words had just come out of his mouth, but after all, I'm sure he's heard me say that a thousand times.
When I so graciously obliged the little guy's request and started to leave the bathroom, Mr. President #2 yelled, "No, Mommy! Sit down!" I put on my "mean face" and said to him, "Okay, buddy. We have a little dilemma. You can't have me stay here and have your privacy at the same time. Pick one!" Well, Mr. President #1 was home sick from school that day (which broke his kindergarten perfect attendance record), so he came up with a brilliant idea: he suggested that I put Mr. President #1's hooded towel on him so he could cover up his face, and then he wouldn't be able to see who was in the bathroom. Well, voila! What a great idea because IT WORKED!
Everybody was happy that day thanks to Mr. President #1. I was able to sit my butt down, Mr. President #2 was able to get his privacy while he colored and used the potty, and Mr. President #1 was feeling pretty darn good about himself because he realized he had just saved the day. He was my little assistant that day, and I can always count on him to have my back.