4am Thoughts: It’s Not Really A Job

Mommy thoughts: “How often we go behind our own black curtain definitely matters. After all, you can’t improve the things you aren’t measuring.”

The break: Was laying here trying to force myself to go back to sleep, but couldn’t so I decided to write. Most of the thoughts shared on this blog come from a place that once or currently serve as a struggle in either me or those around me, and our struggles in the parenting journey. It’s not always easy to share thoughts that come from a place of struggle, but I’ve found that sharing mine give me a way to easily acknowledge them. I also notice the more honest I am in acknowledging the struggles, the easier they become to address.

So, I ended up woke at this time of night/morning because Aiden needed to go potty. In putting him back in bed, I thought about how warm my heart felt to be a part of the entire moment. Something as simple as him dragging me out of bed, to me waiting in the hallway half asleep (because God forbid standing in the bathroom and “invading his privacy”), all the way to this exact moment of me putting him back in bed and exchanging “I love yous.” If I had any word to explain how I felt in these moments it’d be, soft. Moments like these are always my favorite because they make me feel so pure in all that I am living for when it comes to being a mother. 

In thinking about all of this, it took me to a moment yesterday when his dad referenced me being too aggressive in my interactions with A. I compared the two moments in my head and asked myself what made them different. Why am I so “tough” at times, but in moments like this I’m as gentle as can be. What makes me enjoy taking him to the bathroom in the middle of the night so much but when having to get his seat belt on I somehow end up wanting to snatch his head instead. Maybe it’s because I’m crankier in the evening or maybe yesterday just wasn’t my day, or maybe neither of them are the reasons why. Because in laying here with my own thoughts, it seems like it’s something a little simpler than we can see at times as adults, in general. And it’s as simple as this, parenting should be fun. Parenting is not an actual job. 

This may have been referenced in a previous blog, but it feels so evident in this moment. In past moments, it has been easy to live by the statement of “parenting is a full-time job,” but I don’t believe it was ever supposed to be taken literal. When we take the fun out of anything, we ruin it. It’s something we struggle with the older we get, but it’s such an important part to life. If I’m honest, the times that I am the angriest or toughest on Aiden are those moments that I am treating parenting like I’m being paid by the hour. As stated, my favorite moments are when I can be as gentle as possible with him, because those are also moments where I feel the most connected to him. Imagine how easy it becomes to guide your children if you’re deeply connected in all moments. If you’re enjoying all moments, even the tough ones because we already know they’re guaranteed. Think about how much brighter it’d make the journey of parenting, by simply making it fun. Use this time to stop and think about the moments and the reasons that you are the hardest on your own child(ren). Can you relate to it being when you’re treating it like a job? Whether you answered yes or no to the question, I wanted to share some ways in which you could ensure you’re keeping parenting fun, for not just you, but your child(ren) too! Choose to do one or all, just make a choice to do something! Let’s change the narrative because we all know that 85% of us are unhappy in and literally HATE our “jobs.” Why categorize what should be the happiest space of our lives in the same? I included seven ways to make parentings more FUN below: 

Start the morning/wake them up dancing & singing their favorite song (Ours is currently The Chicken Wing Song)

Choose something to cook/bake from scratch (Our go to is Saturday morning waffles or pizza any night)

Movie night & snacks (I usually end up sleep, but remember, it’s the attempt that counts!)

Game night (Our interests change weekly, but so far, we’ve held a long-term interest in puzzles)

Make dinner a game of “Restaurant.” Create fake $$ for child(ren) to pay, create a menu, & serve as the waitress! (Works better when you have multiple children to play with)

DIY art project (We love to paint)

Join their world for a day! (Do this with a judgement/boss free mind. For a full day bring yourself to your child’s world by doing things like playing with them and their toys, ask about their happiness, watch their favorite YouTube videos, find out what their goals are, do something they want to do, etc. Just release all your responsibility as a parent on this day, regardless of your child’s age, YOU WILL BE AMAZED)

No matter if you decide to do just one, two, or even if you find ways to make fun outside of this list…just remember when doing any of them, the why behind it. Make it fun, allow it to be fun, and create new habits out of them! The goal is to strengthen ourselves as parents and we can’t forget that in the simple moments! 

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts for a chance to win $10 FashionNova gift card! 

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Just Stop.

Mommy thoughts: “As difficult as it may get, you actually have to keep going. Don’t let all of your work up until this point, go to waste.”

The Break: This is the 1st time in a while that I’ve sat and wrote a blog out on paper before publishing. For a while now, I’ve been in the habit of typing within the same 24 hours of sharing…I wanted to write on paper because 1. Today called for a separation from electronics and 2. When I write physically, I feel more connected to my words.

Anyhow, I knew it was time for me to slow down when I pulled up home and realized I had not strapped my kid in his seat during our 30 minute drive from school. I also realized that I had spent most of all the drive lost in my thoughts surrounding business, day job planning, to do lists, and so on. And while this wasn’t my 1st, nor will it be my last parenting extreme, it reminded me of that message I can’t seem to connect with. Or maybe it’s that I spend so much time wanting others to get it, that I keep missing it in my own reality. Whatever it be, it continues to be a struggle. Without taking breaks and allowing ourselves the space to stop all movement, we set ourselves up for experiences like mine! Now, does it make me a bad mother? Absolutely not. What would make me a bad mother is allowing these things to continue by ignoring that it’s time for a break.

What myself and I’m sure so many other mothers have to understand is that being a hard worker does not align with not resting and allowing time to stay grounded. We all allow our thoughts to convince us that we’re not doing enough and these thoughts usually lead to us into overdrive to “work harder.” As with the time I left the egg on the stove, or slept through his pick up time, and now this, the message remains that I am not focused enough, because I’m lacking in the areas of rest and recover. Being a mother in itself is hard, so let’s commit to not make it any harder by avoiding the things that are required to succeed. If no-one knows, we should understand that life itself cannot be “built,” no matter how hard you work at it. Life in all it’s forms can only come from another living body, so why not ensure that we are nourished in all aspects to be able to remain that source. At the point that I realized that a break was what I needed I planned a 10 day break from social media and committed to existing only in present moments. I told myself that no matter what was to come “next,” or what I had planned, whatever was meant to be, would be. It took for me to convince myself for the millionth time, that if I am no good mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially, then I can be of service/good to no-one!

We have to remember and hold on to the idea that strength does not always come from fighting, working, and moving. We get our greatest strength in silence and stillness, but I can obviously understand how we get away from this concept in today’s world. For today and maybe even the rest of this week, I want you to just stop. Even if every thing in your mind is telling you not to. Take time to stop the norm and commit to only doing things that will nourish you for a day or two! You will notice better moods, more patience for your child(ren), and the ability to see things much clearer. I know we may all have different reasons for why our brains are on overdrive so take time to figure out what your reason may be! Some of the things that helped me during my 10 day “stop” period included:

Wrote a journal each day to measure my own emotions.

Had dinner with family.

Scheduled a full spa day.

Finished an old & Started a new book.

Got dressed up & went to the bar.

No social media.

Spent time with my brothers.

Watched a movie w/ my kid.

Went Hiking

Because it’s usually those smaller tasks that we take for granted that so easily throw our focus. Please share your tips or experiences with taking time to just stop in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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Yesterday Was Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. The one day a year mothers around the world are mostly likely to be given their flowers for all of the hard work they do. But what about those days when they feel like what they’re doing isn’t almost enough. Or when they feels guilty for not being able to fulfill everyone’s expectations of how they should be a mother. And the days when they can’t be present because they’re stuck in plan and work mode.

I chose to use May’s blog to share some tips from some of the mom’s in my life! I’ve said it many times and will continue to acknowledge that this is a job nothing can prepare you for, but the job itself. Being a mother is unlike anything and there’s significant power to be found in doing the job and doing it well! When the filling aroma of being complimented for a day fades away, use this list as a reference to remind yourself that you’ve got this! We will all make mistakes. But the power lies in our choices to get up daily and choose to be the best mommy to the people we brought into this world. Be open to help and take your MUCH NEEDED breaks!

  1. “Set aside “me time.” It’s important to not get lost in parenting and completely forget about yourself + your wants/needs. It can be something as simple as going for a walk around the neighborhood or getting a sitter and doing absolutely nothing for a few hours. Do it and do it frequently. It’s what you deserve and you’ll thank yourself in the long run.” – Mayra.

2. “Always listen to your child. Be understanding. Always be open to the things that they bring to you, (conversations, problems, etc.)” – Tamika.

3. “The one advice I would give is to ASK FOR HELP! When I first became a mom, I felt like no one could take care of my child like I could. As true as that may be, I couldn’t do it all by myself. Inevitably it led to insomnia, unnecessary outbursts towards the wrong people, and depression. I had people try to help and I wouldn’t accept it. It wasn’t until I was at my wit’s end that I had to ask my husband for help, and thank God he was more than willing. All I had to do was ask. As mothers we want to be superwoman and we are more than capable of doing so, but that doesn’t leave much room for us to take care of ourselves like we should. It’s okay to need a break. If you feel like you have no one in your corner to come and help, pray and ask God for help! Regardless of who we turn to, we have to get help from somewhere so we aren’t stretching ourselves too thin. We have to love ourselves enough to know when it’s time to take a step back. When we give ourselves the opportunity to relax and breathe for a minute, we can come back ready to love our children like they deserve. Being a mom is a FULL TIME JOB, but taking the time to enjoy a long bath, go for a walk, or even go out for a night allows us to be the best that we can and ensures we’re putting 100% effort into this job we’ll have for the rest of our lives.” – Christian.

4. “Stop having so many expectations for parenting. You can literally say what you will and won’t do and you truly won’t know what to do or how you will react until you’re fully in that situation. I would also say to utilize the help that is offered to you..don’t think you can do it on your own.” – Taja.

5. “Take that nap. Often we use our free time doing more chores, exhausted and all because that’s what moms do. Take the nap, your body and children will thank you for it.” – Teairra.

6. “I’d suggest the importance of building intrinsic value into our children. I recently read about how we often build value but without thinking, it’s built within us. Our children end up working hard or obtaining success to make US proud, when in actuality, the work is for them. They should feel happiness and joy for themselves when they accomplish things. I personally feel in our world today, this is what’s missing in the youth. Their heads should always be held high with the real sense of “yeah, I did that.” Teach them how to brag differently cause what some are proud of these days, ain’t it!” – Tracey.

7. “Figure out what works best for you and your family. I know sometimes it can be hard to break away from the practices that raised you, but just because your parents did it, doesn’t mean it’ll work for the family that you’ve created. Love your children unconditionally, but don’t forget to love on yourself as well.” – Laikeya

8. “Remember to take care of yourself too. If you’re not good within, you’re no good to your child. It is okay to enjoy in some self care.” – Tionna

9. Read this blog post & read it again. If I could offer the last tip it’d be to notice the pattern in what these mommies offered in their answers. All from different spaces and walks of life, yet similar tips they either wish someone would have given them and/or tips they couldn’t imagine parenting without. Rest. Reset. & always remember that without your strength and happiness, you have little to nothing to offer to your little child(ren).

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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It’s Challenging

Mommy thoughts: “Having a child makes it hard to let my emotions unfold naturally. Always worried about what I’m teaching my child when the reality is, allowing my emotions to operate naturally won’t do anything, but teach him how to have the best control of his.”

The Break: My point in sharing my struggles in parenthood is never to completely change anyone’s parenting style or even convince anyone that I have it all figured out. I realized over the last month that the only thing separating me from a parent who society would call a “bad” one, is my desire to do the job better than I did yesterday. This and knowing that I want to create a different narrative than what I’ve seen and known parenting to look like over my life span. We all make the same mistakes, we all struggle with it, we all experience the moments that should be smooth, but parenting makes 10x more complicated, and the list could go on. None of us have it “figured out” and that’s why Mommy’s Break remains and will always remain relevant. To remind mommies that you got this, you’re doing your best, and as long as you dedicate yourself to learning within the job, there is no failing. We only fail when we convince ourselves that we have all the answers to a job no amount of practice could’ve prepare you for.

I’ll always believe that motherhood is the one of the most important jobs. We all know there’s no “how to” manual or anything close, despite how easy most of us make it look. Even in believing this, there are certain concepts that it seems impossible to do the job without. One of those being intention. If I had to name the top 3 most important tools for parenting, intention would be at the top of it! In previous blogs I have spoken to intention in parenting and yet, like many, it remains an ongoing lesson for myself. Like spoken to in March’s blog, it’s the ongoing lessons that seem to be the biggest challenges within parenting. The areas where we can all use constant reminders, so I wanted to use this month to provide just that. March was a time of heavy reflection as it practically forced me to embrace the words transformation and acceptance. I took time to reflect about halfway through the month because it felt as if I was losing control of just about everything around me. I also used the time to acknowledge how chaotic things had gotten for our household since the start of 2021. Despite the many things to be grateful for, 2021 also came with new sets of challenges. At least this was my thought during initial reflection.

The reality is, these new sets of challenges aren’t as new as they appear to be.

So what made them feel new? The way they have directly effected Aiden this time around. As they get older, these repeated lessons do come with certain changes, making them even more important to master at each level. The irony lies in the fact that these lessons are usually the ones that have the most potential to become challenge. For this reason I’ve dedicated myself to stopping through EVERY uncomfortable parenting moment and asking myself what my role was and if I was intentional in it. It’s so easy to look outside of our parenting flaws to find blame or reason in someone or something else. When sorting through my own for the past three months, I surely wanted to name the lack of connection from my son as the biggest challenge. When the reality is, our lack of connection is no where near the problem. More so an end result of the actual problem, which is my own lack of intention. And I wouldn’t pretend nor act like going behind your own black curtain is fun or easy. However, I will say its very necessary when you have someone who’s heavily effected by the things behind that curtain, watching your every move.

I want to challenge mommies/parents to join me the next 30 days in practicing intent. Once you finish reading and sharing this post. Write down your top 3-5 intentions/goals as it relates directly to parenting. After writing, store somewhere easily assessable, repeat OUT LOUD to yourself, daily. I would love to hear the changes that naturally come with this practice, during or at the end of your 30 days.

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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Repeated Lessons

Mommy thoughts: “While I feel I have a good grip on my emotional regulation & personal coping skills, I never fail to be reminded by dark spaces, why it’s so important to simply be a good person.”

The Break: Life has been throwing wrenches left & right. I mean kicking my ass to the point of not being able to sit down and simply write a blog for the month of February. I will add that for every tragedy, I’ve been provided 3+ things to be beyond grateful for. So for this I’ll continue to be thankful for even the hardest moments. However it doesn’t take away from them being hard. Initially I started to do what we’re trained to do, ask myself why this would be happening to me. Of all people in the world, why the person who spends her alone time trying to figure out how to be better?! 

And then I asked myself, why not me?

Why not take on and understand each lesson that’s being provided. Even if my chip falls on the ground, instead of getting upset, I’m using it as a moment to return to the present moment, ask myself was there something off in my focus, etc. A technique I’ve shared before, but speaking to it again makes obvious that I haven’t mastered. I’ve constantly reminded myself over the last month or so that nothing is happening TO ME. & while a hard reality to accept, it’s just that. I am being afforded the opportunity to always be an example of all the best described ways. Resilient, strong, and dedicated to creating a better narrative for my child.

I don’t know a category of species stronger than a mommy of any kind. I would say between period hormones & life itself, I’m in a pretty unstable space. I can see and understand how another seizure, family drama, losing a brother to gun violence, still being a social worker, and motherly duties would lead anyone to complete insanity in a 3 month time span. What I can’t see, is if my own reactions or people being immune to my life’s events is creating this space of aloneness for me. I decided to write this month’s blog tonight while feeling down because more than anything I want mommies to know that you’re never alone. I felt by speaking from a more vulnerable space, I’m able to fully express just how I relate. I’ll write this every month if I have to because I just want it known and understood that even when it feels like you’re alone, I promise you’re not.

Overall, I may not can say that things are going terribly wrong for me. What I can say is that tonight I want to cry and soak in the sadness. I don’t want to wear the mommy cape and I won’t. I won’t because there’s strength in knowing when to allow emotions aside from happiness have their moments. Problem arrives when we get stuck in these moments. So my word to you today is whatever space you’re in recognize it, allow it, understand it, & release. It may take 2 minutes or it may take the remainder or March. However long, don’t allow yourself to get stuck. We have little people watching & trust that they are regardless of age or words spoken. I could’ve used tonight to give up and let the emotions win, but instead I’m choosing to make it a moment of strength and lesson in hopes of helping the next mommy! What will you do to help your hardest moments become lesson?

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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Pride or Parenting?

There are many things involved with parenting that we don’t take the time to think about on a regular basis because it comes so natural. There are also parenting situations that appear to be so normal that most of us don’t give much thought or question to the way we were taught. Imagine telling someone that they’re wrong or that they cannot do something, all with the reasoning, “because I said so” or better yet, not being able to admit to someone proving you wrong, that you’re in fact, the one in the wrong. Probably not that hard to imagine given that just about every parent in America exercises the unwritten rule that children can’t be right, shouldn’t debate with adults, and aren’t deserving of apologies when they prove adults wrong. As crazy as it’d be not to give another human an explanation when telling them they’re wrong or apologizing when warranted, we suddenly lose that respect when it comes to our children, why?

In situations outside of my child, I have never been the one to shy away from being wrong and/or apologizing when it’s needed. It was not initially clear to me when the small habit of teaching him, “I’m right because I’m the adult,” started to develop. Now, of course this isn’t word for word what I teach him, but when thinking about it, this is how insane it comes out when taking away from children solely based on age/status. We were going back and forth and w/o any solid reason other than thinking I knew better, I told Aiden he was wrong about how something worked. He politely proved to me I was wrong and even provided the reasons to support me being wrong. This stopped me in my tracks mainly because it’s not everyday that a 3 year old knows how to prove someone wrong with facts. The other reason being it took me back to my times as a child, being annoyed with adults thinking they knew everything.

It seems that when we become parents, we lose our ability to admit when we are wrong and/or apologize to our children. As noted before, this is something I have experienced as a child myself, watching friends & family have children growing up, all the way into becoming a parent. With this being a norm around me, it never stopped me from questioning the reason behind it. In addition to questioning, it has also served as a long standing parenting pet peeve of mine. That is, up until I found myself being that same parent. When having my experience it caused me to step back and question the messages I want Aiden to receive from me and my parenting styles. It made me think about why I was so uncomfortable apologizing. In the midst of these thoughts and trying to wrap my head around how to handle the situation next time, one word kept ringing, and it was ‘pride.’ Something that can easily sneak up in parenting, but doesn’t always mix the best. As I explored deeper into thoughts, pride was the exact block between me being able to comfortably say, “I apologize for saying you were wrong Aiden, because it was me in the wrong.”

I understand, that not all parents believe it to be as big of a deal, but I will be the first to say that it is. I’ll also be the first to say that trying to teach a 3 year old that his thoughts are valid will probably serve me better than trying to get a 13 year old Black boy in America to believe it later down the line. We often times save tasks and teachings for our children, when the reality is it all starts the day we bring them into this world. I want to challenge parents over the next month to look at some areas where pride and parenting mix for you! In addition to looking at the areas, find ways in which you can exercise less pride and more parenting. As we know admitting you’re wrong is only one of the many ways we see pride take over parents.

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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Now We’re Doing Tantrums

I really thought me and Desmond had gotten so lucky that we would be able to say, we couldn’t relate to our kid dropping to the ground while kicking his feet and screaming. Especially given that Aiden is able to have and carry full conversations about when he’s upset and why. It wasn’t until last night that I noticed when he dropped to the floor, he did so in steps allowing me to see that he is looking for a reaction. When I asked … or told him to get up and get out of my kitchen, he stood up and stated, “but mommy, I’m mad.”

Over the last month or so, since the tantrums have started, what he’s searching for, is exactly what he’s gotten from both me and Desmond. Usually him collapsing on the ground results in his dad yelling and/or me threatening the whooping that’s never happened. Realizing that a reaction is exactly what my child has been looking for, it led me into thinking why a kid as smart as him would want to get such a high emotional reaction from his parents. It then led me to think about the fact that he ONLY does it with us two. Over time these reactions become more and more intense, mainly due to shock. I think I may have even asked at one point why he would wait until he’s almost four to start this.

While not capable of giving me a solid answer, his “mommy I’m mad,” statement was enough to help me at least try to figure it out. I had to stop and think about the fact that Aiden’s parents have many new sources that have taken our attention in the last few months. I just shared with you all last month that I was practically forced to spend a day giving my full attention to him. His dad has launched merchandise under his brand, been working on a new project, and while unintentional, that has taken away from the attention Aiden is used to. With this, I have also been working on the release of a book, planning a party, dealing with life, and working on various projects outside of being a mother. So when asking myself why, I had to dig into the role I am also playing. I am a huge believer in the idea of looking deeply into the things that frustrate you until you’re able to see your reflection. However, it is not always easy to apply this when parenting! Do I believe that Aiden saw another child engage in this behavior and thought he’d give it a shot? Absolutely. Do I believe he’s fully capable of expressing himself without the fall out? Absolutely. But what I don’t believe is that he can say, “hey mom and dad y’all attention to me has been off and I would like more of it.”

As a parent, I think it is beyond important to be able to look at your self and own behaviors, when trying to understand your children. I have talked about this in previous blogs, yet and still I am also finding myself repeatedly receiving this lesson. I thought it would be useful to share with other mommies and parents as a reminder. Use this month to come to an understanding with your child about a recent behavior that may be frustrating you! No matter the age or issue, who may be in the “wrong” or “right,” just think deeper than what you see at face value. I’d love to hear how this worked for you and your child(ren)!

Please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts! 

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Gratitude, Do You Know What It Means?

My very favorite time of the month is when my power is randomly turned off & we have no Wifi to operate the smart devices in our home, including the TV, said no one ever. At least, that’s what you’d think living in such a tech loving society.

Last month, we found ourselves waking up to this being a reality for us. No power and no way to operate our phones, that are practically useless without the Wifi. For the first few hours it was manageable with the thought that things would be turned on shortly. That is until shortly turned into days for us having entertainment outside of our home. At one point, Aiden’s dad asked, “how will we entertain a 3 year old all day with no wifi,” and while this is comical, it also reflects where we are as parents in present times. As time went on and daylight found it’s way to replace candles, I decided to do the things on my todo list that required no strong internet connection. By mid afternoon, I was able to think clearly enough to use my hotspot to accomplish things on my computer.

As the day went on, I found myself in a space of being extremely thankful for the level of focus I had to accomplish what I could. I also found myself thinking about how critical it is to be thankful for the things that we do not initially see as a gift to us. I initially felt irritated thinking that I would be losing a day, in what I felt to be one of my most productive days for me. I allowed my thoughts of being involuntarily disconnected from the world consume me into believing that there would be no way for me to attack the 10 things I needed to accomplish. In reality, this kept me off of my phone for a majority of the day and able to focus on bonding with my child. It also allowed me to be more productive because I was afforded less time on social media. By the end of the night, I was developing a plan to have a day once a month for limited access to the internet, social media, and all other things that cause major distractions to reality.

What’s the very last thing you expressed gratitude for? In my experience last month, I found many things to be thankful for. A day where I’m not allowed to focus on anything outside of my home. I was able to be disconnected from distractions. I was productive and so forth. We so often forget to be thankful for situations that come off as irrational, because gratitude is not something that we are taught to value on an unconditional level. Sometimes, it may even take me a while to remember to say, “thanks.” Especially when I can’t understand the “why” behind certain things.

Use this month and every other, to focus on your level of gratitude. This is the PERFECT time to start being and maintaining gratitude for ALL things. Find ways to be thankful for all things, even if they make you uncomfortable or bring other forms of discomfort. Speaking from experience, gratitude has continued to open up new paths for me. In addition to showing limitless gratitude, I want to challenge you this month to choose a day to disconnect. No social media, internet, outside sources, or anything of that nature. I will encourage you to keep the power, but disconnect from all other source and spend the day with your kid, no matter the age!

I would love to hear about you mommies following through on this month’s challenge, so please share in the comments or find me on social media to share your thoughts!

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Who Are You Choosing?

Listening to a speech by Will Smith last week there was a line that stuck out to me. “Everyday we wake up, we are choosing sh*t that is not in our own best interest.” It sparked a thought in my head, of all the choices I make for myself on a daily basis. It made me wonder why we are so easy to choose something no matter how negatively it may affect us, or how many times our gut tells us to choose the opposite. Even in situations where we can recognize that we should choose ourselves and what’s best for us, we still find ways not to.

As a mother or caregiver of any sort, you have been conditioned to believe that choosing yourself is, “selfish.” The society that we live within has told you that it’s not ok to put yourself before anything that you hold a title over. This is especially true for those of us who are mothers. It’s almost as if you choosing yourself becomes a sin the moment after peeing on a stick and it’s emphasized beyond measure once you give birth. You easily lose sight of not only who you are, but also your ability to put yourself before all other things. You eventually won’t see how choosing yourself is not only a priority, but it should be your 1st one.

I have found my biggest struggle in choosing myself, lies in my relationships. Before 2020, I don’t think I have ever lived on a path of consistently choosing myself. I actually learned at 24 years old that I have spent most of my time being a “people pleaser.” I put it on my “master list” for this year and have found that it’s a path of pure happiness. Has it been perfect? No. Has it been easy? No. Have I had people misunderstand? Yes. But, has it been worth it? Absolutely. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to trade any of the “loses” in people I have experienced over time, due to choosing myself. As stated, I have spent just about my whole life, choosing everyone around me and valuing their happiness and peace over my own. I was conditioned to believe that keeping the people around me happy and “pleasing” was the key to keeping my relationships strong. At the point that I began simply, choosing myself, it was easy to see that my pleasing and choosing of others was the only thing keeping some of those relationships going.

Think about when you were a child. How hard was it to ALWAYS choose yourself? We have to start seeing it as a natural and pure act. If we don’t sell ourselves short on anything, we make sure to do it in our abilities to choose as we get older. If we lost everything we had in life, the one thing that would remain constant is our ability to choose. Choosing ourselves, what’s in our best interest, and choosing the things that choose us back. We cannot allow the world to tell us that there’s something wrong with this. I want to challenge mommies and all other readers to use the next month to be intentional about choosing yourself. I am also asking that you share in the comments, 3 ways that you have chosen yourself in the last month! This will enable you to think about how much or how little you choose yourself.

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Judge Me Not

As I have thought about things to write on, I have tried to process how to share my experience as a mother during such a stressful time. I’ve now had my first seizure at 25 years old. The frustrations of being in the house with a toddler for five months, is something I haven’t been able to put into words. Losing my ability to drive during that same period has carried me to the edge. And I’ve also thought to write about all the other things that I know we’re going through at this time.

While I realize this has been one of the most trying years for any parent, I decided that I don’t want to write on any of the topics initially thought about. After re-reading my first written book, there was something that stuck with me. Something about one aspect stayed on my mind for days after reading it again. I processed it differently and realized how it has affected me as an individual. I then thought it’d be a good idea to share with other parents who may consciously or unconsciously impose the same things upon their children and children’s friends. As hard as it may be to believe, I grew up as the kid that parents didn’t want their kids hanging around. I had multiple friends with parents and caregivers who either directly or indirectly gave clues that they didn’t think I was a good influence.

I have honestly felt over time that I did not care about this aspect of my life anymore. However, something about reading through this experience took me back to the way I felt as that girl. Knowing that I have always carried a good heart for those around me, it was painful to be in this space again. I wanted to use this feeling to share with parents how detrimental it is to stray away from judging your children’s friends, ESPECIALLY while they’re still children. On the outside I played a very tough role as a child, but knowing how people’s parents felt about me carried over into my adulthood. Being older, I am able to connect so many of my experiences to the way my friend’s parents viewed me. I am also able to see how it’s effected the way I cope with judgement in general.

I understand that as a parent, your natural instinct is to protect your child from anything that may look like harm. I have found myself looking at other toddlers and being concerned about how their behaviors will affect Aiden, so I get it. I have also been able to step back and realize what I am doing because it is something I actively work towards growing away from. Taken from my own experience I should know that, 9/10 the children that appear to be “bad” at face value are the ones that parents should be least worried about. If you have followed me for any time then you know that I experienced many things that made me look like a “bad kid” at face value. In the same breath I can offer that my friends whose parents worried the most, are the ones that wish I could’ve served as a bigger influence.

I’d like to challenge parents until next time! I’d like to challenge you to being intentional about how you’re viewing other children around yours. Be intentional about not judging them and thinking that they will “ruin” your child. Put that energy instead into how you and your child/family can influence that child because, as cliche as it may be, you truly never know what that child may be experiencing outside of what you see.