You never know how true the words “you’ll see when you have a kid” are, until you actually have your own child. Before becoming a mom, I always said what I would and wouldn’t do. Now that I am a mom, I’m doing whatever the hell keeps baby happy and mommy and daddy sane. One thing I do notice more and more of, especially since everyone has a “voice” on social media, is mom shaming. According to the urban dictionary, mom shaming is defined as; criticizing or degrading a mother for her parenting choices because they differ from the choices the shamer would make. Annoying right? The fact that people have the audacity to comment on what another mom does baffles me. Why do you care? I’m sure we are all guilty of commenting on things we see on social media amongst our friends (I am guilty and working on it), but this public mom-shaming has to stop. At the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can. Let’s talk about 10 topics, mother’s have a difference of opinion on, and where I see the most mom shaming occur.
Two months ago, I had the opportunity to attend the ADCOLOR conference and awards, in Los Angeles. This was my third year in attendance, but this year was a little different than the others. For one, this was my first time attending as a mother, which meant frequent check-ins at home to make sure my baby was doing okay (which he always is when mamma is away). But what was really different for me this time, is that I had a chance to reflect on my past, which is where I discovered my “moment of truth.”
I always leave the ADCOLOR experience feeling inspired and excited to do more, moving forward. Rarely do I reflect on the past. This year’s conference theme, “moment of truth,” allowed me to do just that. It didn’t hit me at first, but by the second day I had discovered my own moment of truth. It occurred in 2015. I had worked at my then employer for three years, haven gone through multiple employee review cycles, getting nothing but stellar reviews. I had frequent check-ins with my manager, and we had my career plan pretty much set. Things were allegedly “in progress.” All of this sounds like the perfect way to get promoted, right? Wrong. Despite all I had done to be a model employee, I remained in the same position for the full three years I worked there. It didn’t really dawn on me until year three, because I was comfortable going through the motions of going to work, and leaving at a decent hour, which was hard to come by in my industry. I had a work-life balance of some sort (or at least so I thought), and the pay was pretty good.
So, when did I have this epiphany? I was a supervisor, and I managed a group of direct reports. One of my direct reports went two levels above me and managed to get promoted. Now how in the hell did she even manage to pull this off, and she had already been promoted two times prior in the three years I worked there? As you can imagine, I was furious! I was upset at her for going behind my back, I was upset at the person who authorized her promotion (as her superior, I had no input) and I was upset at my manager for not going hard for me, as he claimed he was. After the initial shock wore off, I had my “moment of truth.” I had no one to be upset with but myself. I sat at a company that didn’t value me and did not care about the trajectory of my career, for three years. Honestly, they did not care about me period. It was at this moment that I made a commitment to myself that I would never get comfortable at any point in my life, and I would be the one responsible for ME.
Shortly after my moment occurred, I updated my resume and hit the ground running searching for a new job. I was desperate to leave, but I knew my next move had to be my best move, so I had to proceed with caution. Months went by, nothing. Still, I went to work with a smile on my face and I never wronged those that wronged me. It wasn’t my battle to fight, they had to go to sleep at night with their lack of integrity. Finally, an opportunity presented itself. I was hesitant at first, because two months prior I interviewed at a competitor company, and did not get the job. A good friend of mine talked me into applying anyway. I did, and I got the job, on the spot! The offer alone was $50k more than I was currently making, and the benefits were pretty much unmatched. But what stood out more than all of that, was how I felt leaving the interview. Everyone actually LOVED their job! The interview process focused less on my technical skills, and more on my core competencies. It made me feel confident in who I was, and what I could offer to the company, as opposed to what the company could offer me.
For the last 3 1/2 years, I’ve never felt like work was a burden. I never felt like I wasn’t smart enough. I never felt like my voice was silenced because I am black, or because I am a woman. I never felt bad for walking away from a situation that no longer served me. In my moment of truth, I decided I could no longer sit around and wait for things to happen for me. I decided to demand what I needed in MY life. How often do we put things off because we’re comfortable? How often do we rely on other people to do what’s best for us? In your moment of truth you will be tested, and a decision has to be made. At the time, you may not even realize it’s happening. It took me over three years to realize it!
As we enter a new year, and begin making our resolutions, let us reflect on the moments in the past where you had to make a tough decision. It seemed hard at first, but you made it through right? That means you can do it again! Whether it be a job, relationship, friendship, or anything in your life you are currently unhappy with, face yourself. Have that moment of truth with YOU. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to the world to exceed your potential.
Peace & Blessings in 2019,
The moment I found out you would be joining our family, I was over the moon. I’ve waited my whole life for the “perfect time,” and although I feel there’s never a “perfect time” to bring a child into this world, I knew at that moment, the time was right. You are the blessing your entire family had been waiting for. No words could ever express how much you were loved, before you even opened your eyes.
You were so good to me my entire pregnancy. I enjoyed watching you grow every week, and watching my body change to make a healthy and comfortable home for you. It was the only time in life, I was able to take you everywhere with me, and I loved every minute of it. The relationship we built while you were in my womb, is a relationship based on unconditional love, trust and compassion.
Leading up to your arrival, I did not know what to expect. I read several books, but there isn’t a book written that could ever prepare me for the role of your mother. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous as hell. I was taking on the responsibility of another human being. Not just feeding you and helping you to grow big and strong, I was also taking on the responsibility of molding you to be a decent human being. One who will have compassion for others and respect for all humans no matter what color their skin is, or who they choose to love. If I fail at anything else as your mother, I hope to succeed in raising you to be a kind person.
I knew from the time we were in the delivery room, you’d be a force to be reckoned with. Over 24 hours of active labor and 9 1/2 cm dilated, the doctors decided it was time for you to make your entrance, but it had to be done via cesarean. They said you were too long, and wouldn’t be able to turn around to make it through the canal. I must’ve looked frightened, because I remember your father and Gigi telling me “at this point, we have to do what’s best for you and Karter.” About 30 minutes later, I heard your first cry and a sense of calmness came over my body. Even with my entire mid section on an operating table!
We spent an entire five months together at home after you were born, and those were the best five months of my life. Every day was an adventure and a chance to learn something new about you. Not all days were rainbows and shooting stars, some days I seriously wanted to close my eyes and sleep for more than one hour, but of course those were the days where you weren’t having it and wanted to nurse around the clock. I wanted a break, I needed one! But I also knew that you needed me more than anything else and despite how I felt, I had to put your needs before mine. So one day when you have your own children, I want you to remember that parenting a child means putting the needs of them before your own.
It seems like after you hit the six month mark time just started flying by. Every time I looked up, we were celebrating another month! You turned 10 months, and I remember thinking...shit just got real. In no time, you were going to be the big ONE. Party planning was in full effect, and to be honest I was just winging it. That’s another thing I learned as a parent so far. Some times you think you’re just winging it because you don’t know what you’re doing, but when it’s all said and done you’re actually doing a great job. The last seven days leading up to your birthday, I found myself panicking. Everything was set for you party, but the weather reports predicted 100% rain for that day. No way we could have your outdoor party in the rain. But as always, God’s plan prevails and we were able to reschedule your party for the next day without any issues. We had such a great time celebrating your life!
So here I stand with an entire toddler, and each day that passes by makes me more proud to be called mommy (even if you’re still only saying dada). Every experience we’ve had this past year let’s me know that as many lessons I’ll be teaching you over the years, you’ll also be teaching me. In just 365 days, you’ve taught me patience, how to celebrate the small wins and that things will often not go as planned. But as a mother, my super power is being able to quickly adjust to change and still get the job done.
Karter, this has been the absolute best year of my life. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I do not take the blessing that is you for granted. I could never say thank you enough. Thank you for existing.
I’ve been back from vacation for two weeks, and I’m already ready for another! Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was everything I needed in my life, and at the right time. A few months ago, hubby and I decided we would go on a trip at the end of the summer, with Karter. After careful consideration and a trip to San Diego, that idea went out the window. As excited as we are to show Karter the world, we had the perfect opportunity to go on vacation without him. We had the grandma’s schedules lined up for us to go on vacation Saturday-Wednesday. Hell yea we took advantage of that opportunity, and it was so worth it.
Honestly, we were so indecisive about where to go and whether to take Karter, that we booked this trip a little over a month in advance, which isn’t usually like me. Nonetheless, we booked and were so glad at our decision. We decided on the Breathless Resort and our friends who are also a millennial couple, joined us. When I say Breathless was a good choice, I mean it. I’ve had my fair share of all-inclusive resorts and one thing that irritates me at most of them, is the lack of availability at the restaurants. At this resort, you could walk right in with no reservation. Perfect set up for people like us who are likely to take an extended nap from day drinking! Even better, people like us with an infant at home who haven’t had a real break in a while.
When we first arrived at Breathless, we were greeted with glasses of champagne, and fresh washcloths for our faces, which was a great pick me up. We got there about three hours prior to check in, but to our surprise our room was ready! The bellhop met us at our room (which had a beautiful view of the marina) with our luggage, and we were eager to change into our swim clothes. But first, I needed to see what the mini bar was hitting for! Corona’s on deck, ok I’m already feeling this place. Within the first two hours, the guilt of leaving our little one at home went out the balcony door. We were in Cabo, and we were lit!
First stop before hitting the pool was nourishment, of course. We stopped by a cute tapas lounge en route to the pool, called Bites. They had several options to choose from so we went with shrimp cocktail, shrimp sliders, buffalo wings and my vacation favorite, ceviche. Oh, and of course…margaritas! After enjoying lunch and a beautiful view, we continued our journey to the pool. I was expecting a nice pool with folks enjoying delicious fruity drinks. While my expectations were met, it was accompanied by a DJ, gorgeous views of Medano beach and a foam party. Yes, a FOAM party! We had so much fun our first few hours there, we were showered and in bed for the night at 6pm. Before becoming a parent, I would’ve been upset to sleep the night away on vacation. Trust me, we had NO SHAME in our decision! We woke up around midnight, hungry of course and were able to order room service. Our room had a tablet which allowed us to order or schedule room service 24/7 (alcoholic beverages as well).
On day two, we woke up feeling refreshed and grabbed breakfast from the buffet, Spoons. I was not thrilled with the food here at all. In fact, the options were slim, and it was your basic all-inclusive breakfast. Nonetheless, we put something in our stomachs to get it ready for the shots of tequila we consumed all day! We were joined this day, by our friends Avon and Sabrina who are parents to two boys. As you can imagine, they needed a getaway as well. Endless shots and cocktails did not stop us from hitting the Cabo nightlife. That night, we headed downtown to a nightclub called Crush. I honestly do not know the last time I went to a nightclub, and at first Rob and I were not even interested in going, but we sucked it up, and we were glad we did. It was a blast! The DJ was rocking and playing all the hottest songs, to make us feel like we were 20-something year old party animals.
While in Cabo, we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary. I honestly can’t believe how quickly two years flew by. There was a Ruth’s Chris near the hotel, which is where we enjoyed our anniversary dinner. I just couldn’t resist that stuffed chicken breast! The true highlight of our trip though, was the yacht we chartered through Seashine Adventures. It was E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Upon entering the dock, we were greeted with fresh watermelon juice (which we quickly added tequila to) and a fruit platter. The captain and crew on board the Isabella was phenomenal. We sailed the beautiful blue ocean with sunny skies for three hours, accompanied by unlimited drinks, freshly made guacamole, shrimp tacos and the absolute best chicken quesadillas to hit my lips. All made on board the yacht. We circled around El Arco, the point where the Pacific Ocean becomes the Gulf of Cailfornia, watched sea lions and even jumped in the ocean for a swim. Everything was breath-taking. After stumbling into our room at about 7pm, we spent our last night in Cabo just like our first night. In bed early!
All in all, deciding to take this vacation sans our little one was the best decision we could’ve made. We initially felt guilty and wondered if we were leaving him for too long, too soon. But the truth of the matter is we needed it. It was the time we needed to remind each other why we fell in love in the first place (we like to have fun). Most importantly, Karter was fine. Taking a vacation with an infant is not a vacation, it’s a trip LOL. You are on their schedule and somewhat the same routine you have at home, just in a new location. This was the first of many mommy and daddy trips to come, if even only once a year. We need that time. For now, though, we’re rejuvenated and back to obsessing over this beautiful human being we created.
Hey y’all! So I’ve literally started this post in my head for over a month now. The way my life has been set up the months of May and June, I just couldn’t get done. Between work, Karter in daycare and traveling twice, ya girl is TIRED. I wish I never used the word tired before having a baby. This is a whole different type of tired. I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you all with my fatigue.
During that period of “writing my blog post in my head,” I also went through about five different post topics. It’s like every time I was sure I knew what I wanted to write about, something else happened, and in my head (where I live) I was like oh this would be cool to talk about. Since my last post, I’ve experienced my first Mother’s Day, Karter’s first day of daycare, my first weekend away without hubby and baby, KD’s first flight and Rob’s first Father’s day. That’s a lot of firsts! So having experienced all of that, there’s one obvious and clear theme...first experiences. I won’t go into detail about all of these experiences, because y’all don’t have time to read all of that. Instead, I’ll focus on how I felt over these last few weeks of first.
I’ve always been a pretty grounded person when it comes to doing what I need to do to have a clear mind and keeping my energy positive. Lately, I’ve found myself not taking care of that. When it comes to self-care on the physical, I’ve maintained that. Bi-weekly nail appointments, wax appointments, eyebrows taken care of, even making time for massages and facials. That’s cool and all, but my spiritual and internal self-care has lacked. I was waking up in the morning and the first thing I would do is grab my phone, chime in on my group chats and scroll through my social media apps. On my commute to work, which is an hour, I replaced my podcasts and gospel music with the Breakfast Club (which I absolutely love), but I need a healthy balance and I’m usually good at balancing that. What I listen to and what I do sets the tone for my day. My diet...let’s just say it doesn’t exist. I’ve been eating every and any thing I want. I know last post I told y’all I would do better, but I haven’t. Now I’m sitting here nurturing a break out on my face. Oh and not to mention I got my first period post-baby. Damn it felt good NOT to get one for so long. On the other hand, it also feels good to know I’m not knocked up again lol.
About two weeks ago, I finally had a come to Jesus moment. I couldn’t keep making the choices I was making. I made the adjustments I needed to make to my morning routine, and I instantly noticed myself becoming more productive and my days becoming more intentional. No, I haven’t written down all of my goals for the rest of the year, all of my laundry is not complete, my e-mail inboxes are not at zero, but I’ve been able to actually complete one task daily. It’s a small win, but what I’ve learned as a new mom is that you have to celebrate all of the small wins. Everyday isn’t going to be nowhere near perfect, but if you even get yourself and the kids out of the door on time, you’re WINNING. And from that lesson, I also learned that when you can celebrate all of the small wins, you’re able to live in the moment and actually enjoy it. I’ve always been one to live in the future, which hindered me from enjoying the present. Everything for me was like a never ending check list, completing things and quickly moving to the next.
With all of these first experiences over the last few weeks, I realized I haven’t really STOPPED to take it all in. Time is moving fast and we don’t get those moments back. I’ve made a promise to myself to truly live in the moment, enjoy it, and forget about all of the things on my to do list. The list will always be there, things will always need to be done...and it will get done when it gets done. Dishes are done every night (thanks to the dishwasher) and my bathroom is clean. Those are my must do’s! The time I’m saving from worrying about all of the things I need to do, is now time I’m spending with my family and creating memorable moments. Before I know it, Karter will be walking, talking and then going to school. I don’t want to look back years from now and think “where the hell did my baby go?”
I hope that explains why I haven’t posted in so long and I will do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again! I am unapologetically living in the NOW and I’m doing the things I need to do, to start my day on a good foot. There will be some days I succeed, and some days I’m sure I’ll fail...and that’s ok. Every morning we wake up, is another chance to get it right. More importantly, when my kid looks up at me, he assures me that I’m doing everything just right and meeting all of his needs (including still nursing at night through teething). Y’all pray for your girl!
So I’ve been back to work for a month now, and I must say I’m back into the swing of things. My transition back has been fairly smooth and my workload has been bearable. I even attended a few after work client events. Look at me, living and shit
The first two Monday’s back were an adjustment for KD, and I think the weekends threw him off. Now, he’s totally on board and on schedule. Every day, I run out of the office to catch the 5:00 bus back to Jersey. We have a large bay window in the family room, so I can usually see him in the window waiting for me as I’m walking from the bus stop. It makes my heart melt. As soon as I come through the door, we have an all out kiss fest. I have to steal all the kisses I want now, because in a few years I’m sure he won’t allow me to kiss him, especially in public.
He’s six months now and I’m still going strong with nursing. Pumping during the day is getting a little harder as work picks up. I literally have a recurring “meeting” set up on my calendar to remind me to pump twice throughout the day. Karter and I are still co-sleeping...as in he thinks our bed is his. We’d hoped to be done by now, but with nursing it makes my life SO much easier (I can literally roll over and pop my boob in his mouth during the night). He’s eating more solids now and I’ve recently started supplementing with formula to reduce the stress of having to pump a certain amount of milk each day. He’s still drinking 4-5 oz. at a time, so I spilt it with half breast milk and half formula. I’m not ready to give up nursing yet. It’s our thing, and I just love having him so close to me in my arms. As many benefits as it provides for him, it’s beneficial for me as well. It’s been my cardio LOL. I haven’t started working out yet, and I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss. I’m 15 lbs. lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. My eating has been TRASH. I’m always hungry and I eat every and anything I want. I do understand that it’s time to get my life and that I won’t be nursing forever, so I really need to buckle down.
The other reason I began supplementing, was because Rob and I were going to Washington D.C. for a night, and I wanted to make sure KD didn’t starve while we were gone. It was our first night away from home since having him. While in D.C., we attended the Broccoli City Festival. Personally, I was uber excited to see Cardi B. perform. When I think about women killing it, Cardi B. makes my heart smile. I appreciate her always being her genuine self and not portraying to be someone she’s not. I’m not going to lie, when speculations first started about her pregnancy, I didn’t believe it. I was like “Damn Cardi is KILLING it right now, this isn’t the ideal time to get pregnant when your career is taking off.” But after those speculations were confirmed and I saw how happy she was, my thinking changed. Like why the hell not now. As women, we’re always waiting for that “right time” to have a child, or for anything in our lives for that matter. There’s never going to be a right time. We’re always going to want to have a better body, make more money, have a bigger home and the list goes on. Men don’t have those pressures. They can have a child at any point in their career and nothing changes. I’m sure post baby, Cardi is going to continue to work and excel in her career. That’s what being a Millennial Mamma is all about! Screw what society says, we can do whatever the hell we want and still take care of home.
As nervous as I was to leave my baby overnight, I felt good knowing that his grandmother’s were with him. They spilt the shift and he actually did well! Aside from waking up every three hours at night in search of boobs (rolls eyes). As soon as we hit the road to D.C., we were totally at ease. Mamma even started drinking on the road (no, I was not driving). It felt great! Especially to know that I didn’t need to save any milk I pumped that day, because I had enough breast milk pumped already and formula. Although we were only gone for a short time, it was like the good ol days before we had a baby. Riding in the car with loud music, singing along to every obnoxious lyric and taking trips down memory lane.
All in all, we had a good time day drinking, watching some good performances, hanging with friends and visiting one of our favorite D.C. restaurants, Lauriol Plaza. We were in bed before midnight, and it was heavenly. I enjoyed my first night of eight hours of sleep since God knows when. What I didn’t enjoy was being woken up super early because of engorgement. For those that don’t know what that means, it’s when you go a long period of time without nursing or pumping and your breasts are filled to the max with milk. Talk about PAINFUL! It literally feels like rocks are in your breasts and they are tender to the touch. If you do this to often, you can end up with clogged milk ducts or mastitis, which you do NOT want to experience.
The ride home seemed long as hell, but when we finally arrived we were so happy. Karter was excited as well, but after attacking my shirt to get to my boobs, he knocked out early. He’s usually asleep by 8:30pm, but he was asleep by 6:30 that day. I was fine with that, it gave me an opportunity to relax before heading back to work on Monday.
We’re going to San Diego next month, and KD is coming with us. We used to travel a lot, so we can’t wait to get him started. That’s a six hour flight...keep us lifted in prayer! It’s a night flight going, so I’m sure he’ll be fine. We’re already planning for two other vacations with him before the year ends. Can you tell we’re trying to take advantage of the fact that he flys for free until the age of 2? I haven’t had to travel for work yet, which is a good thing but I’m sure something will come up soon. That will be a whole other first time fear to conquer. I will be attending the SUMMIT21 Conference in Atlanta the weekend before we go to San Diego. It’s a quick 48 hour trip, and he’ll be home with Rob so I’m not really feeling any anxiety about it. I’m excited to hear from so many women entrepreneurs and meet some new people. I’m going to make it my business to attend at least one event each quarter to help build this Millennial Mamma brand. In the spirit of balancing work and play, a few of my sisters (yes, my really close friends are considered sisters), will also be in town attending, so I’m looking forward to catching up and spending time with them as well.
Rob is a little nervous that I’m leaving for the weekend, but he’ll be fine and so will KD. He’s done a fantastic job as the Manny (lol) these last few weeks. I always tell him that he’s aggy (aggravating), but I’m so grateful he made a sacrifice to take a break from work to care for our child for six weeks. There aren’t many men willing to do so, especially since Family Leave Insurance in New Jersey does not pay 100%. He hasn’t complained once, and although he goes back to work for a few weeks next month, he’ll also be home with KD part-time during the summer. That means we don’t have to worry about a full-time daycare bill until September. At that point, KD will be 10 months. We don’t always have things figured out, but we make it work. He supports all of my endeavors and he’s an awesome dad.
It’s finally warming up in NYC and the weather is great! I was pregnant last spring/summer so I’m having a hard time finding clothes that fit right now. I’ve also been so busy, I haven’t had time go shopping. I’m finding pieces in my closet here and there, but I need to grab a few staple pieces. I swear every time we’re in the mall, Karter is the only one who has a successful shopping experience. I seriously had to have a pep talk with myself to not buy him any more clothes. He doesn’t even go anywhere during the week LOL. I’m looking forward to enjoying the weather though, and getting him outside on the weekends. I feel like we don’t get enough time during the week, so the weekends are really important to me. I’ll also be finding time for date nights and girls nights throughout the summer. Both are important to my sanity. Speaking of the weekends, I’ll be on my first panel this weekend. Ironically, the topic is about millennials and moms! I’m a little nervous, but I think I’ll be fine. I’ll share my experience in my next post.
Next weekend is Mother’s Day. My FIRST ever, O-M-G. I’m not really planning to do much, besides chill at home and schedule some time for a massage and facial. Self-care is really important, and I try my best to maintain myself, even with a busy schedule. I get my nails and toes done on lunch at work, still make time to wax, and although I don’t get a facial every month as I’d like to, I find time to squeeze them in. We really have to take care of ourselves, in order to take care of our families. Making time is hard, but your mind and body will thank you later. As nurturers by nature, we sometimes feel guilty for putting ourselves before the ones we love. It’s ok, it HAS to be ok!
September 29, 2017. That was my last physical day in the office. After reviewing my company’s maternity leave policy in its entirety, I had it all figured out. I would work from home for three weeks and use my two weeks of unused sick leave to prepare for my November 3rd due date. In true Ebony fashion, the nursery wasn’t complete and my hospital bag was not packed, but in my mind I had two weeks to get all of that together. That plan ultimately FAILED! I had prepped all of my colleagues on the coverage plan I put in place, and on October 20th, I set my out of office on my work email address. By October 26th, I was in labor. The only thing I’d accomplished in those five short days was getting my hair braided and I put away all of my son’s freshly washed clothes. I actually had to stop at the local Kmart on the way to the hospital, for slippers. I didn’t want my husband to pick them out (because I had SO many options in Kmart lol), so we walked in together in between full blown contractions. 24 hours later, my baby arrived. Karter King Dilworth made his way into the world, via Caesarean section. Loopy and completely OUT OF IT, I took a first look at my baby, smiled, and closed my eyes. In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same again.