It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you...the summer is almost over. Hold on, wait, I have good news too! With summer coming to an end, this means that for some of us, school is back and no more kids will be in the house. Now that deserves a toast! You’ve made it through the constant “I wants” and the “I’m bored” statements. I applaud you. With that being said, we all know how hectic back to school can be, but I’m here to help you make it as smooth as possible. I have 10 back to school mom hacks that will make your transition super smooth and get you organized for this coming school year. Check them out below!
1. Create a homework station.
Gather all of the tools one would need to complete homework. This will cut down on those distractions and excuses like, “I don’t have a pencil.” We've added a caddy like this one to the desk for our daughter's convenience.
2. During laundry day, take clothes out for the entire week.
Take advantage of laundry day. As you are folding and putting clothes away, pull out 4-5 outfits they will need throughout the week. I even incorporate my daughter’s gymnastics leotards, that she needs as well. This will make getting dressed a breeze and mornings a lot easier. We store them in this handy closet storage.
3. Organize the fridge/pantry for easy lunch making.
Clear a corner in the fridge or pantry, preferably within reach of your child, so they can access all of the food they need to make their lunch. Be sure to put a variety of items in these bins so that they'll be able to have choices and different lunches each day, if need be.
4. Create a family command center.
If you have trouble keeping up with important school/work dates, sports events and practices, then a command center is definitely for you. For those that don’t know, a command center is basically a corner of your home that houses a calendar, a place to drop mail or important papers, a place to drop backpacks and possibly shoes, and a place to basically corral things you will need on your way out of the door.
5. Make grab and go breakfast.
Grab and go breakfast is a lifesaver. Especially for those that just have to have a hot breakfast. Breakfast burritos and sandwiches are perfect for freezing. Just pop it into the fridge the night before, then warm it the next morning and you have breakfast. Something so simple that will keep the kids full until lunch time.
6. Put together freezer meals.
During the week we are so busy running from carpool line to practice or rehearsal that we barely have time for dinner. If you can take a few Sundays before school starts and pack some freezer meals, then it will help you out on those busy days. Just pop it into the Crockpot before work, or in the oven when you get home, and dinner is served.
7. Prepare a carpool snack pack.
If you are like me, and have to hear how hungry your child is all the way home, then this hack is for you. It never fails, every time I pick my daughter up she is starving, so I have to readily have a snack for her and for my sanity. These snacks also come in handy on the days she has gymnastics right after school. They provide her with enough fuel to get through practice.
8. Create a morning and night schedule.
Putting my kids on a schedule has made all of the difference for the household. They know when they need to eat and when to have a bath. They know when it is homework time and when it’s time to brush their teeth. It provides a sense of independence and as a bonus, it lets me know when I will be able to have ME time.
9. Pack a backpack emergency kit.
This may not apply for the younger kiddies, but it is more for those who have kids in middle and high school. Have your kids keep a pouch of some sort in their backpacks, with a few dollars in it, some Chapstick, some sanitary napkins (for girls), and anything else you may deem as an emergency fixer. You just never know! For my daughter, I keep one in her bag with hand sanitizer, Chapstick or lip gloss, some lotion, tissue, and a few dollars.
10. Put at least 10-20 dollars on your kid’s school tab.
If your child normally brings their own lunch it is a good idea to put a few dollars on their school tab. There may be a day that they forget their lunch. To save you from having to run back to school to bring it, you can have them just use the money on their account. Problem solved!
When James and I had our daughter six years ago, we had no idea what we were doing as parents. Three years after she was born, our relationship hit a rough patch, and we decided to tackle this co-parenting thing the same way we did with parenting, by giving it everything we’ve got. When we figured out our relationship wasn't going as planned, we both were adult enough to have a sit down and decide how we were going to make this work, because there was no way he was going to be a part-time dad and you mamma’s already know that Mamma Bear don’t play when it comes to her cub. We began by communicating to each other what our expectations were. We didn’t want a judge to tell us how to be parents, and we didn’t want to take some of the advice we received from friends and family members. We knew it would be hard but decided to do it differently from what everyone was used to seeing. We were going to rock this out and be the BEST we could be at it. My daughter's father always says, “work hard and play even harder.” So, let’s just say we WORK hard at co-parenting, but we do not PLAY about our daughter!
The same way we had to learn how to become first time parents, we were back in the school of life, to learn how to become co-parents. Of course, we received a lot of unsolicited advice and feedback from those around us. There were some who thought one was a better caregiver at certain times, then there were the ones who boldly stated that our co-parenting relationship would be tested when either one of us began dating seriously. We didn’t pay attention to any of that, and it has gotten us so far.
I often hear people say, “I wish my relationship with my child’s father was as strong as yours.” Normally I smile and try to move to another subject, because I still can’t pinpoint how I got so lucky. Like what do you even say when someone makes that comment? If the conversation continues, I always encourage communication. It’s something that he and I thrive on. Even when we are frustrated with one another, we must communicate our feelings, so it doesn’t spill over into how we parent our child.
When it comes to sharing the duties of parenting 6-year-old Jordyn Shontee, it falls on Ashley and James. We try to be as flexible as possible with our work schedules (did I mention we work at the same place? That’s another story for another day)! Sometimes the schedules vary, so that one can work while the other takes care of her. We have weekly and sometimes daily conversations about her various extra-curricular activities. Whatever the topic is, it’s never Jordyn seeing both parents fighting over spending time with her and dragging one another. Respecting each other is our common goal to make sure our princess sees that she is loved by both parents equally.
I don’t ever question our decision to co-parent. Our child gets the best of both worlds! She has quality time with her mom and dad, at separate times, and it comes with a lot of perks. Whether that’s mommy doing drop offs to tumble class and daddy doing pick-ups, trips with both parents to cheer competitions across the state or annual birthday dinners with both of us at her side, she knows she’s loved. People often think that's a bit much for two people that are not together. But when the common goal is the little person that is looking up to us, it's all worth it!
I’m no expert, but here are 5 tips for a successful co-parenting relationship:
9 months. Usually correlated with the amount of time it takes a woman to carry a child. No, I did not birth another baby. I birthed the next step in my career.
Prior to going on maternity leave in 2017, I started having career conversations with my manager, and shared with her my goal and plan. She was onboard, and gave me guidance on what I needed to do, to secure the role I wanted. For obvious reasons, I didn’t dive in right away. I took my 6 month leave, and returned to work, a totally new woman. I mean I was tired, emotional and everything else that comes with being a new mom, but my eyes were still on the prize. I began making myself more visible within my organization, doing stretch projects and checking in with my manager every other week during our 1:1’s, to make sure I was doing everything I needed to do to land that role.
After being back for only four months, a role opened up in a different business segment. Unsure of whether or not I wanted to take that role, I took the interview anyway. Even if nothing came of it, I knew I’d be getting the experience of interviewing for an internal position. I also knew that this would further increase my visibility within the organization. The interview went really well, but unfortunately I didn’t land the role. I received stellar feedback, but they went with a candidate who was more skilled in one of the products that was an immediate need for the team. No hard feelings, I kept it moving. About a week after that interview, I had a manager stop me in the hallway and he said “I heard you did amazing during your interview for the AE position on XYZ’s team. I may have something opening up on my team soon, I’ll keep you posted.” Naturally, I thought I was sure to land the next role. Maybe I was a little too sure LOL. He did In fact have a position open up a few months later, but I didn’t get that one either. See the thing about interviewing for an internal role is that more than likely all of the candidates are capable of doing the job. I work with some really smart people, so the competition was thick! We were an interview loop of about 5/6, and I didn’t even make it to the final round. I was devastated, confused and a little hard on myself for at least not making it to the final round. I did everything I could to prepare for the interview, I had great feedback coming out of my prior interview, and I had checked all the boxes in my current role, to even apply for a new role. The hiring manager scheduled time with me to provide his feedback. I appreciated this, because it’s always good to know where you can improve, to increase your chances of landing a role the next go round. Back to the drawing board I went!
I am apart of a reverse mentor group at work, and my reverse mentor is a boss mamma I respect and admire. She is a mom of four boys, and has a super successful career. In a reverse mentor relationship, I’m technically supposed to be mentoring her (she sits on the leadership team) on any challenges or opportunities I have, how messaging from the top down is landing and basically anything else we decide to discuss. She made it very clear in our first meeting, that we’d leave the space open and that I could come to her with anything I wanted. So I did. I talked to her about not getting that role, and what I could do to land the next one. I was already having these types of conversations with my manager, but it was good to get an unbiased opinion. She made it clear that often times it had nothing to do with what I was doing wrong, but what the needs of the team were. I kept this is my mind, and gave myself grace.
A few weeks went by and ANOTHER role opened up. I knew this hiring manager fairly well, she knew all about my experience and invited me to interview for her team. Again, another interview loop of super smart people, ready to take the next step in their careers. Because most of us had recently interviewed, we didn’t need to go through the full process again. They already had all of our feedback in the system, so we only needed to have an interview with the hiring manager. We each had 30 minutes with her. Again, I didn’t get the role. By this point, I couldn’t keep up the positive pep talks. I was pissed at myself! Three interviews, and I didn’t get ANY of the positions. I let my manager know that I would not be interviewing for any more roles. I was going to focus on my current role, and think about what’s next. But at that moment, I wasn’t interested....PERIOD.
I also set up time with my skip manager (my manager’s boss), and shared with him how I’d been feeling etc. Before we could end our meeting, he let me know that one of my colleagues had resigned, and her position would be available. Mind you, I had just assured everyone that I was NOT GOING TO TORTURE MYSELF AGAIN. He told me to think about it. Well I didn’t have much time to think about it, because the following day the hiring manager on that team sent me an email to schedule my interview. “God, what are you trying to tell me? I’m supposed to be focusing on my current role, why are you pressuring me.” These are some of the questions I was asking the big man upstairs.
Nonetheless, I applied. The whole week leading up to my interview, I was nervous. I wasn’t nervous about the actual interview. C’mon I was an interview expert by this point! I was nervous, because I didn’t know TOO much about this manager. I knew he was super smart, so I was excited that I would learn new skills. But I was a little unsure of whether or not I would get the same amount of flexibility my current manager gave me. Turns out I was totally overthinking the whole thing. The interview went amazing, I felt extremely comfortable and we got to know each other better. I assured him that I did not need any special work arrangement that was outside of our company’s already amazing culture. My family is my priority, and that sometimes requires me to come in a little later, leave earlier some days, or work remote. It was a TOUGH conversation that I was unsure I’d be able to have, but it was also a necessary one. When you interview, it’s not just to see if you are a fit for the team or company. You also need to make sure the team or company is a fit for you and your lifestyle. The next day, he asked me to meet with him. My stomach did cartwheels. This could either go really good or REALLY bad. We sat down, he asked me how I felt about the team and the interview process. He asked me a few more questions, and let me know that he’d be extending an offer to me. “Are you serious?” I said. I was shocked. Not shocked because I didn’t deserve it, but just shocked because after 3 NO’s, I finally received a YES. He shared some feedback with me, and let me know that he was really impressed with my ability to have tough conversations in a professional manner. As a salesperson in Corporate America, that’s a really important skill to possess. We’re in the business of making money! People will tell you no hundreds of times, but you can’t stop until you get that yes.
As you can imagine, I was overjoyed. The feeling brought me back to that day four years prior, when I first received my job offer with the company. If you read my previous blog post on my Moment of Truth, you’d understand why. So after nine long, exhausting and emotionally draining months, I finally landed the role I wanted. After I processed everything that I had been through, I laughed at myself for ever doubting whether or not I was qualified. I am that friend who will encourage you into believing nothing is impossible, and here I was doing the opposite. I extend grace to people every day, and I wasn’t doing the same for myself. SMH!
All in all, my experience was quite a learning lesson. The crazy thing is that it’s not even a lesson that I haven’t learned before. But sometimes, we lose sight of what the goal is, or the work it requires to achieve it. It’s natural. As mothers, we’re constantly being pulled in different directions, we’re constantly questioning whether or not we’re doing what’s best for our families, but one thing I always remind myself and any other mamma I come in contact with, is that the time it takes to achieve our goals may be slightly delayed, but we can not lose sight of the goals we have or had before becoming a parent. Our children are watching. Let’s teach them resilience, grace and the power in completing what we start.
Here’s a few tips on how to land an internal role at work.
by Guest Mamma, Assata Bruton
1 in 8 women experience infertility. I am that 1 woman, and it’s hard. Everyday you’re faced with new challenges that test your strength.
It’s been 10 years since I found out I can’t conceive a child the natural way. After four failed early pregnancies, and four ectopic pregnancies, two in which resulted in the removal of both of my fallopian tubes, my doctor and I came to a final conclusion that IVF was the best and only option to conceive. After many doctors appointments, blood work, over 30 self medicated shots in my stomach and butt, plus ultrasounds, it was finally time to see how many embryos we could make. To our surprise, 28 eggs were retrieved and 11 embryos were set to be put in preservation. We were so happy and relieved because everyone is not that lucky to produce that many eggs, if any at all.
So many thoughts cross your mind when you’re being told the natural way to conceive is not an option for you. The cost, the hormones, the medicine, the Truth!! I felt less of a woman. I mean that’s what women were born to do, have babies...and my chances were cut off. My husband and I spent plenty of days talking to one another about life and how one day we are going to be great parents. This journey is complicated but has also brought us closer. He has been very supportive and vice versa, but nonetheless the experience teaches you so much patience, growth, understanding, and most of all, the value of life.
Infertility is not only hard on the women, but for all involved. Family members and caring close friends take your feelings about your infertility into consideration. Although it is nice and sweet to know my feelings are cared for by my loved ones, I would never want anyone to hide their joy from me.
And then there’s the strangers. “Do you have children?” “When are you gonna have kids?” “What are you waiting for?,” are a few questions asked by some, and I think it’s a bit insensitive. Am I wrong for being upset about them asking? Or do I brush it off, due to their lack of knowledge of my story.
With National Infertility Awareness week just passing, and Mother’s Day vastly approaching (the agony), there’s been a cloud over my head, and my spirits have been a little down. It’s not obvious to others, but my husband immediately noticed and keeps asking what’s wrong? It’s been 2 non-stop work weeks at the airport, and I’ve seen what seems to have been a million babies, kids, pregnant women, ultrasounds of friends babies, pictures of newborns, countless news feeds of birth announcements, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, transfer days, etc etc. Don’t get me wrong it’s the most beautiful thing in the world, I love it, but I found myself in a depressed mode questioning “Why can’t this be Me?” I’m just not understanding how this is my life! It’s hard, extremely hard. Thoughts cross my mind every day, thinking of all the what if’s in the world, thinking of how my children will look, how will they act, whose personality will they have, even what texture hair will they have. I try to keep busy so my mind doesn’t take over.
“What kind of mother do I want to be?”, “Am I her now?” , “What am I doing to become her?” are questions I ask myself. One day at a time, I’m evolving steadily, and learning about myself as I heal. Everything is going to be alright. Pretty sure it will make sense sooner than later. I wake up every day with my head held high, hope in my heart and a smile on my face. Infertility will not define me!
Ladies, I encourage you to be proactive about your health and thinking about your future, if you are thinking of conceiving, or trying to conceive, especially if it has been over 6 months to a year. Find an Infertility Specialist to get testing done, to ease your way into a happy and healthy pregnancy.
This one hurt different. I won’t act like I’m familiar with a lot of his music, or even a super fan. I know a few songs, which I found to be thought-provoking, and I’m familiar with his work within his community. For me, it didn’t hurt because I lost my favorite musician. It hurt because a little girl and boy lost their father, a woman lost the love of her life, an entire community lost a leader. It was in that same community where he lost his life Sunday afternoon. Nipsey Hussle stood outside of the business he worked so hard to build in his community, only for some coward to take his life.
For many, money is the motivation, but not for Nipsey. He used his money as a tool to create change in the Crenshaw neighborhood, by providing job opportunities, a co-working space to bridge the gap between inner-city neighborhoods and Silicon Valley, resources for those lacking, and most importantly, hope. Hope that no matter ones circumstance or the hand they are dealt, they too could beat the odds. That’s the shit that hurts. You have someone using their fame and money for good, only for them to be taken from this earth due to a senseless act of gun violence.
As a wife and mother to a black king and prince, I found myself so emotional since the news of his passing. The world we live in is so freaking scary, and no matter how much I love them, the world will never love them the way I do. There are lessons we have to teach our young black boys, that they won’t even be able to fully comprehend until a certain age. Many may disagree that parenting a black boy differs, but I wholeheartedly agree that it is not the same. How do we parent young black boys to be aware of what they may encounter in the world, without making them fearful of the world? How do we explain to them that opportunities may be harder for them because of the color of their skin? Or that driving while black is real? The list goes on. All I can do is pray that despite all of the noise and cruelty, he will survive and succeed. Pray that he allows his parents to be his first teachers, and not the streets. Pray that we will always lead by example and instill morals and values in him, to make the world a better place. Pray that the world will give this young black man a chance to be a ray of light in this dark world. Tonight, I hugged and kissed him just a little tighter. He’s too young right now to understand why, but one day he will. God willing.
by Guest Mamma, Erica Hackett
Pregnancy is an awesome, yet touchy time. Many women will share their horror stories about morning sickness that lasted the entire pregnancy or laboring for 1,000 hours, but mine was easy. In fact, the most difficult part of my pregnancy was finding a black OB/GYN to care for me. That may sound a bit blunt but the truth is that black women are dying at an alarming rate during childbirth because they do not receive the proper care and their voices are not being heard. I knew I needed someone that looked like me who would advocate for me if I were unable to. Luckily, I hit the mother load with my young, black, FEMALE OB!
Throughout my entire pregnancy, I didn’t find out the gender, so it was fun to hear everyone’s theories about my small baby bump. Bump and I were sailing smooth until week 34, when the ultrasound revealed that there was an irregularity with my baby’s waist. Most body parts measured at 34/35 weeks but the belly was measuring at 31 weeks. This discovery prompted bi-weekly ultrasounds. I panicked as most expectant mothers would but now I thank God for that scare because the following scan put me in the best place possible.
Picture this; you go to the imaging center at 11am for an ultrasound. During your appointment, the technician, who is usually very talkative, is quiet and super focused on the screen. She informs you that your baby hasn’t moved in over thirty minutes, which is cause for concern at 35 weeks gestation. She phones your OB and you are sent upstairs to Labor and Delivery for a stress test that should only take about twenty minutes. While you are hooked up to the stress test, you realize it’s been well over twenty minutes and you’re still there. Your baby finally moves and his heart rate drops. The nurse informs you to lie on your side and proceeds to move the baby. He moves and the heart rate goes back up.
You ask your nurse if you should have your significant other come and she tells you not to worry yet. Ten minutes later you’re told that they have to deliver your baby NOW and your loved ones have roughly twenty minutes to get to the hospital. As you scramble to inform your family what is happening, people begin entering your room with clipboards asking you to sign documents that could possibly be signing your baby over to the state (I kid). The anesthesiologist comes in to talk to you about the block that she will be injecting into your spine. Your significant other walks in the room shocked, as the nurses are unlocking your bed to wheel you into the OR.
Sounds like a scene out of an OWN drama show right? Nope, this was my experience as a first time Mom, after an amazingly smooth pregnancy. I was rushed into the delivery room without even receiving a reason why they were delivering my baby five weeks early. I was scared, confused and helpless. While I was on the operating table, I prayed that God would allow me to bring my baby into this world, healthy. My SO made small talk. He was even more confused and helpless as I was. He got summoned to the hospital after being told everything was okay and to stay at work. He was expressionless until we were out of deep water.
At 2:53pm I heard the words “IT’S A BOY” followed by a loud cry. My fear and anxiety turned into joy as they allowed his father to go take pictures of our 4 lb 1 oz baby boy. They presented my tiny swaddled up baby to me for a quick photo op then wheeled him into the special care nursery. I was stitched up and taken into a room to recover. My son was not able to leave the nursery and I was not able to see him until I demanded a wheel chair at 10pm that evening.
After the high of holding my beautiful child for the first time, I was confronted with the realization that I was totally not prepared. My hospital stay turned into a long exhausting nine days. I was moved to another ward because I was discharged but had to stay to nurse my baby every three hours. I was considered a “Boarding Mom” which meant they would continue to feed me, but my treatment was over. Often, my meals never came. I was left to fend for myself while recovering from having my stomach and uterus cut open. My stent at the hospital mentally, emotionally and physically drained me. It was brutal and uncomfortable, but overall I was grateful to be in the same building as my son.
As I look back on my experience, I know that there is nothing I could have done to avoid an emergency c-section but I wish I would have done the following:
To sum things up, January 18th 2019 rocked my world! When I woke up that morning I had no clue I would be welcoming Kaleb King into my life. I am extremely grateful that my outcome turned out well. I have a healthy growing little person to care for, who is thriving!
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.