Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life" unknown
The season of change. The season that reminds who about the importance of family, and creating memories. The season that eloquently reminds you that change is both beautiful and necessary. If I'm being honest with myself it is also, historically, the time of year when my depression goes into high gear and I find myself not wanting to enjoy any of the above... family, change or creating memories- because well change scares the crap out of me.
My children are my everything. They bring me so much joy and happiness, yet often I find myself consumed with work and getting through one day just to prepare for the next.
This weekend I had so much fun hanging with the little people I love most, my children and my nephew. We spent the entire day, just 25 minutes north of the city, in nature playing, laughing and enjoying each other's company -work, while important could wait.
Lately, family has meant so much to me, after all its really all that matters. It can get so easy to fall in the routine of working and living day to day. Last Saturday I really took the time to disconnect and enjoy the energy of my family. We put on our fall attire, laughed until we cried, played in dirt, fed farm animals, took a hay ride to meticulously pick the perfect pumpkin, watched pig races and shared freshly made, warm kettle corn. Time escaped us and the only thing that matter was having FUN!
Driving home the children peacefully slept on each other's shoulders which allowed me the space to turn up my Coltrane and reflect and plan for more moments like the one I had just experienced.
As I cruised down one long, quiet country road I crafted a list of ways I intended to slow down this season and really love on my family:
5 Things you can do SLOW DOWN and ENJOY FALL WITH FAMILY!
1. Get outdoors.
Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh cool air. The urban Ecology and many County parks have amazing walking paths. Use this time as a moment to engage with nature and just be.
2. Cuddle up.
When the weather gets cold, there is nothing more comforting than grabbing your favorite blanket, a hot beverage and turning on netfilx to enjoy a PG movie with kids... in my case Captain Underpants
3. Bake Something.
MAKA love being in the kitchen with me. I have found several mama and me type cooking books that allow use to make quick and yummy treats together as a family.
4. Fall Arts and Crafts.
This is the perfect time of year to spend a Saturday morning making art. Grab leaves and do rubbings, fine pine combs and paint them, get pumpkins and do lanterns.
5. Take Fall Pictures.
Grab your smart phone or a camera and use nature as your backdrop. Capture the family and create a fall corner some where in your home filled with your new pics. OR you could call me and I'll photograph your family for a small fee.. :)
What can say?
One year ago today I gave birth to my piece of peace. Literally.
As I think back to where I was this time last year, I was emotionally and spiritually drain. Literally at my dead in, back up agains the way, ready to call a quits. I can remember during my pregnancy with him feeling broken and lost and yearning for a change. I was on the heels of a mental breakdown and knew that something in my life needed to shift. I never in a hundred years could have guess that shift would have been raising a second child... alone....
I found out I was pregnant with my son at 6 months. 6 FULL months have gone by without me noticing a change in my body. 6 full months of pregnancy that left me with just four short months to plan a life with a new little person to care for.
No morning sickness, swollen breasts or back pain. Hell, I didn't even gain any weight. I literally had NO FREAKING IDEA.
He literally gave me no trouble has he quietly grew in my womb... It wasn't until he decided to make his earth side appearance that I knew he would keep me on my toes and many lesson to teach his mama.
.My water bag broke during my nephew's 16th birthday dinner...at Buffalo Wild Wings. This was also the day before my best fran was scheduled to leave the United States for a year of living aboard. His timing has always been rather perfect.
God knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he chose me to be his mama. In this past year I learned to love without conditions..Scratch that... I learned to LOVE MYSELF without conditions. My son taught me to choose happiness... everyday even when its not easy. He also taught me patience. His calm chill demeanor always reminded me in my anxious moments to just relax. God's gone work it out.
People who know me personally would always say King's demeanor is so chill. He never cried and simply appeared to just make observations of life happening all around him. He taught me to be more like him.
I could not imagine my life with my Kingston ASE. His is my everything.. My and so it will be. My peace. There is something magical the way a boy loves his mama. He, at 3, 4, 5 months made me feel like the most important person in the world... simply from his toothless smile. He cultivated my desires to get closer to Christ.
He renewed my faith in men.
He gave me reason to want to love (Black) men.. again. For after all I am raising a Black man. I almost gave up on them.
My son is 1. ( 12 months cause Im one of them mamas that will tell my son's age in months until he's 1.5 years old)
Kingston Ase has made ONE full rotation around the sun. We made it one year. I am so proud.
Kingston is walking, laughing, eating his own food, chasing after our dog, screaming, saying "go" and "oreo" --- but no mama yet (insert major side eye lol).
I am so proud to be his mama.
My Kingston Ase.
Happy Born day son from Mama and Marli.
Dear Frans and Family members,
I need y'all help!! Ive seen several blogs that speak to the lack of photos that a single mother will have with her children- that aren't selfies/ussies. At first I was just sure that I had a healthy amount of ussies and photos taken of me and my children. However after a weekend of organizing my digital files I realized that I actually have far too many ussies and a very limited amount of photos actually taken of me and my children. sort of like some 3k photos and maybe 50 are photos taken of me and my children.
That fact made me pretty sad,
I am almost ten months post partum and finally I'm beginning to fall in love with my body again. Finally I'm starting to see my reflection and recognize the person staring back at me. Finally I WANT to be photographed period.
The over arching problem is I rarely have any photos of me interacting with my children and that has to change.
So here is my request for my village of frans and family that see me often.
Take photos of me.. even when I'm not looking/paying attention. I want my children to go back into their albums and see how involved I was in their lives. I want my children to know i was present.
Send me the photos so that I can print them and add them right away to their albums.
Your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated!
MelanatedMama Product Review: Haakaa 90ml silicone breast pump breastfeeding manual breast pump BPA free.
I'm in a few breastfeeding groups on Facebook groups on Facebook. For weeks this product kept popping up as the newest must have for breastfeeding moms. So, finally I decided to give it a try.
Purpose: the purpose of this product is to catch the milk from the letdown from the opposite breast not being used during nursing or pumping.
How does it work?
The design is simple and user friendly. Position the Haakaa on the entire nipple and breast and create a suction that's comfortable. Wait for the let down and watch the milk drip into the Haakaa.
I used this while nursing my son. It was quite the workout, it took a few tries to get the perfect suction and to distract my son. But once we were settled the experience was pretty cool! While I nursed the Haakaa caught 2.5 oz of milk. Im interested in how much milk It will catch when I'm pumping on one side. I hate pumping both breasts at one time so this product makes sense for me especially with encouraging a let down.
If I were to give this grade I would give it a B+. It takes some getting use to and the suction isn't a strong a one. It requires frequent readjustments. If you're a mama that has an over flow, and produces a lot of milk this product would be great for you.
Would I recommend this product?
Im super nervous about this...but it has been on my heart.
Ive experienced three mother's day so far and with each of them I spent at home saddened because I didn't recieve any acknowledgement.. .especially from my children's father.
Instead of setting up expectations that lead to hurt feelings. This year I want to shift the expectation and empower myself along with other mamas.
If you are a single mama you are welcomed to join MelanatedMama for a Single Mama Mother's Day Brunch this SATURDAY at 11am Maxfields pancake house -Mayfair!!!
Let's get together and fellowship and empower one another. Please note Mamas are expected to pay for their own food.
Babies are welcomed, of course!!!!
Each mama that comes will receive a gift!
Comment below if you plan to attend
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#melanatedmama #mothersday #mamasday
If parenting has taught me one thing,,its taught me that this little person already has her own predetermined destiny and that my job is guide and expose her to things that will contribute to her greatness.
I remember when I thought parenting a child meant I would be in control of their decision- making. However she reminds me, often, that she's clear about her likes and dislikes. I was sure that being a parent meant that I could dress them how I wanted and that basically the child would do and be what ever I wanted them to be.... and then I became a parent.
My daughter is intelligent, opinionated, observant and eager to learn. She has critical thinking skills and is beginning to show some higher level thinking abilities. Parenting my child has taught me more about me then I could have ever imagined. While writing this very post I had an "aha" moment about my desires to control situations in my life- the conclusion is you can't.
I have to remember that it is my job as her mother is to guide her, not control her. My job is to nurture her spirit and let her lead the way. A totally different approach to how I was parented.
I was raised (for the most part) on the premise of "Do as I say and not as I do" or " because I said so" ideologies. In order to raise a child who is confident, aware and empowered I believe I must let her lead the way. She is control of her body, she determines her wardrobe, and hair styles, she's learning (already) to make choices and to own them. Yes, at three she's learned that now some choices are good ones - and that consequences are real.
There are some days when I'm drained and overwhelmed with this parenting approach- however I realize that in the end it will all make sense. There are still some times when my choices must trump hers- for safety but I'm confident my decision to let her lead the way is the best way to raise an aware individual!
What are your thoughts?
This time of year is usually hard for me. However this year I am so grateful that God decided to me a mom again... I am so blessed to have two healthy children!
Becuase of my surprise baby there was no money in the budget for professional pictures... but no worries I invested in a decent camera earlier in the year and decided to have the kids God Mama come by and assist! She did a great job!!! (what would i do without the village?!)
Merry Christmas from TeamSMK!!
Oh the struggle of getting my 3year old dressed in the morning! Every morning I envision my daughter leaving the house with a cute outfit styled by me... however every morning my daughter has a different set of expectations. Every morning she is adamant about getting herself dressed (and often times the outfit is very festive- and unmatched lol) I no longer fight her on when getting dressed and simply allow her to piece together an outfit that she wills confident in. Allowing her to express her creativity (by picking out her own outfit) has saved me from at least 25 minutes every morning from dealing with tantrums and tears.
After a month of trying to figuring this out I have created a list of tips and advice to save you from the headache.
**Bonus- The Winter Coat Strugle**
The house is warm, so it's no wonder putting on that big, hot, bulky coat is a fight. Here is a tip to eliminate the winter coat struggle .
1. Don't force the issue with them! Let them go outside without their coat on, carry the coat outside with you - when they get cold enough they will surely be running to you to put it on. (That'll teach ‘em- lol)
The next time you get ready to leave and you suggest putting on their coat they won’t be so quick to fight you on it!
Lets talk... what are some ways you support your toddler in dressing themselves?
Every morning my daughter and I stand in the front of the mirror to do a self check before we leave to start our day. The mantra that we speak to ourselves includes, I am Marli ( I am mama) and Im Black and Proud.!!! With everything that i do, I try to make sure my daughter sees positive images of women and girls that look like her. I came across this video and can not wait to sing it with my baby!!!!!!
Teaching her to see her self as a baby Queen before Elsa or any other Disney or media identified princess is super important to me.
Last night I just about lost all patience with Marli. After work is always a tricky time when i actually get the rare time to come straight home. Yesterday I was able to come straight home after work to sit and relax. That span of time could be an hour or two before dinner is actually served. I tried real hard to fill that time in with a healthy snack and some mommy daughter play time, however Marli clearly had other plans. Immediately after walking in, hanging up her coat and releasing our dog from his cage she ran to the fridge asking for ice cream.
Now, I normally don't buy Ice Cream but a few weeks ago Marli was hit with the flu bug. Ice cream and Popsicle were thee only thing she would keep down. While preparing dinner one day earlier, she caught a glimpse inside the freezer and saw the damn ice cream bucket. From that day on, her favorite food group has been ice cream.
Last night was an all out battle.
"marli lets eat some dinner"
"mommy I Don't want no dinner- I want ice cream"
" marli eat this spaghetti and then we can have some ice cream."
Immediate tears, all of which were fake, came running down her face. Kicks and screams filled my living room along with the frequents reminders that she was in charge and that ice cream would be for dinner.
"ok, marli ill leave your food here. Eat it and then you can have some ice cream."
SCREAMS at the top of lungs.
Trying to remain calm, I politely picked her up and dropped her off in her room.
"night night. You don't eat spaghetti you can go to bed"
" no mommy, i no tired. Ill eat dinner."
We walk back into the kitchen. She tricked me. She saw that ice cream and went crazy. Again.
Go up to screams at the top lungs and re-read 2 more times.
It took me a good 4 times to rationalize with her. However, once she saw it my way she enjoyed her spaghetti and got indulge in some rainbow sherbet ice cream!