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! 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_MsMackkk

Instagram: @_imaniwatson & @mommysbreak_

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/MommysBreakT

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! 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_MsMackkk

Instagram: @_imaniwatson & @mommysbreak_

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/MommysBreakT

Today is 6/4/2020

Today I woke up not really knowing how I feel, but knowing that a cloud was over me.

I tried getting out of bed before Aiden to find a sense of peace, I tried working out despite my mind telling me to climb back in bed & sleep or cry. I tried seeking reasons I feel this way and naturally retreated to telling myself that I’m feeling the urge to cry for no reason. I tried to tell myself that the last 30 days is not enough to put me in this space. I tried to convince myself that a house fire is not the worst thing I’ve experienced. W/ that, I also tried to rid of all emotions related, because after all of that, me and my family made it out and nothing important to me was ruined. Back to today, I then tried convincing myself that graduating was a good thing so to feel uneasy about it not being traditional is childish. These are thoughts I am literally running after in my mind. I tried telling myself that staying in hotels for free is nothing to be sad about. That no matter how much my job interrupts my ability to cater to my own life, I need to be grateful.

And as I’m fighting these thoughts, attempting to work, clean, and cater to Aiden’s requests, I feel the cloud getting heavier. I decided at this point that I’d workout again and go harder than I have in a while to release this dark energy. I showered and I crawled in bed while still wrapped in a towel & Aiden comes into my room. I hear him repeatedly say, “Mommy you need to get dressed.” “Mommy put some clothes on.” It may have been the 10th repeat before I see him pulling clothes out of my dresser and laying them on the bed. However, something in my soul would not allow me to get up. Not until I notice that my three year old is attempting to put my socks on & urging me to help him by putting on the Tshirt and leggings he has laid out for me. At this point, if you follow my blogs, then you probably guessed that I’m fighting back tears. Because in my mind I’m questioning wtf I am doing this morning and why I’m allowing myself to be down for “no reason.” Me writing this is me attempting to tell myself why.

Why? Because I’m overwhelmed. I have not allowed myself to feel the last 30+ days of my life. Whether I feel like I’ve been through worse or not. I struggle so hard with respecting the person I am today. Respecting that she has not been through worse because she has been reborn time and time again.  So today, she is flustered with emotions. In the last six months I’ve disconnected from several relationships. I’ve continued to have a piss poor dating life. I’ve been forced to alter my entire life amid a pandemic. I’ve buried my emotions about not having a traditional graduation. I’ve been caught completely off guard by a house fire. I’ve had to be away from my child more than usual (believe it or not this too overwhelms me). I’ve consumed more social media than usual in attempts to stay aware of recent racial issues. I’ve not given myself the promised space from the world. I’ve been unconsciously f*cked up about the state of the world, & more. All while still trying to just be me.

Mommies, as you all know, this journey is never ending. There are highs and there are lows, but if I stress nothing, I want to stress how important it is to ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL. I have found myself being so obsessed with peace and happiness, that I so often forget that it is ok to allow unpleasant emotions to have their time as well. Being sad or mad or frustrated does not take away from your overall happiness, as long as you do not get stuck there. Make the next 30 days about the balancing of your emotions. Because it helps avoid those days like 6/4/2020, for me.

Solitude

626BD9D6-3242-4068-9169-93A9933CD65DSolitude and its power has to be one of the most underrated things to value. I have been wondering why I feel so calm with everything going on around us in the world. It was not until I began writing that I realized exactly why I am in a state of calmness. It is in direct correlation with my level of gratitude for being alone. Being “quarantined,” is an  escape I have been longing for weeks. And while it is under strange circumstances, I am grateful.

I stated this year, I would release all of my blogs on the 12th of every month. Following my verbal commitment to that, I have constantly found myself in weird spaces since the start of this year. I have also hesitated on this entry as I knew what I wanted to talk about, but could not find the words as easily as usual. I decided to use one of my journal entries for this month’s blog. It is my desire that my mommies/followers will look at my personal stories and find relief in knowing that we are all trying to figure this out.

3/11/2020:

“Solitude…It’s so very often taken for granted. Throughout life we’re taught to forget that we enter & we leave alone. We’re taught that when we want to be alone, we’re “being weird.” We’re taught that our space should be filled w/ activities & people…we’re taught how to drive ourselves to insanity. Two weeks ago, I expressed to Desmond that if I don’t get days to myself then I know I’ll lose it soon. Luckily, I’ve been so dedicated to my emotions & inner thoughts that as I felt myself losing it tonight, I pulled this journal out.

When you become a parent, a mother in particular, it’s rare that you achieve meaningful moments of solitude. If you’re anything like me as a mother, then you fill those moments w/ working down your to-do list, catching up with other people, or creating more things to do. 1/15/20, I moved. A week later I booked my weekends w/a second job. I’ve had visitors none stop. I haven’t spent a day alone with my child, let alone a day w/ myself in almost two months. If this isn’t self destruction then I don’t know what is. I have learned and I have accepted that in this current space of trying to figure out who I am, I function best alone. & what have I been doing? Avoiding and abandoning that time. The why? Something I can’t understand & probably the reason for these tears. I can’t answer the why, but I can recognize the problem and I know how to address it. When you get to a space where you see yourself adding to your demise, but you can’t answer why you’re doing it, it causes a pain. A confusion that I’d call beyond frustrating…

Advise to self: Take time to yourself before you destroy yourself.”

I felt so sad writing that entry and a week later, I know exactly why I have been avoiding being alone. Sometimes, it takes stepping back and watching yourself from another perspective. Pain is not a natural feeling and when you have experienced so much of it, it is easy to make yourself believe that it is a part of who you are. As Aiden’s dad told me, if I am not being all that I can be for myself, theres no way possible to be all that I need to be for Aiden. My avoidance of being alone, was to run away from the emotions of lost. As I entered 2020, I experienced great losses. I knew that I was not ready to deal with my natural emotion of lost so I purposely filled my time and space with people and things.

Telling myself that it is ok to experience unpleasantness and to acknowledge that I am feeling it. However, running away, pushes me further into that unpleasant space. Challenging all my mommies & followers to make that a goal for the next 30 days! Take time to yourself and find a deep appreciation for it. Don’t fill your empty spaces and time, with people and things.

“Oh Sh*t!”

Your kids trying to be like you and mimicking your every move can be the most adorable thing. That is until you’re in the car, police sirens go off, and your two year old is throwing his hands up yelling, “oh sh*t, it’s the police.” Or when that same two year old is shocked by your action and responds slowly asking, “what the hell?!” And while some may find humor in this, I wanted to use my experience to remind mommies this month to be mindful of what you say and expose your children to. Having a potty mouth is not the only thing I have unconsciously rubbed off on Aiden. He has also threatened to “whoop my butt” for saying things like “shut up,” and has even started telling me, at two years old, what he doesn’t care about. Of course his every action is not necessarily something that he got from me or even his dad. However, seeing that parents are the closest and most influential for their children, I think it is important to remember they are watching and learning from us on a daily basis.

When I first noticed his sponge like behavior it was during moments of him saying things like, “are you kidding me?!” or “I’m dead,” to insinuate that he thought something was funny. This did not cause me to be more mindful because I was trying to convince myself of him being too young to start reallytesting the waters. It was not until he started doing things like telling me to lay down before I get in trouble or telling me what “gets on his nerves,” that I paused and realized that I should start taking what he’s exposed to just a tad bit more serious. He has slowly but surely fell into his phase of repeating everything he sees. He is learning independence and in that process, both appropriate and not so appropriate behaviors are being copied as he finds his way into who he’s going to be.

I did not believe that at two he’d start wanting to brush his own teeth, wash his own face, put on his own clothes, and at least attempt to make his own bed. Let alone, would know how to use cuss words in the correct context or repeat stories with extreme detail. I truly thought that I had a couple more years, which I’d assume many parents make the mistake of thinking. And sure, I have always been told “they are watching” or that “kids are sponges,” but it’s not something that resonates when you’re going through the motions of day to day living.

They are not too young to understand and on the other hand, it’s not fair to punish them for things that YOU are teaching them, whether unconsciously or consciously. My experience these last couple months have made me think about how I always hear parents say things like kids are being “too grown,” or punishing their kids for behaviors that they have only learned from adults. I want to challenge parents to instead start thinking about and looking at their behaviors and where they are learning them. It may be time for you to take the exposure more serious. From yourself, the people you allow around your child, as well as what you’re allowing the media to expose to them. It is great when Aiden’s asking to wear my glasses to read, when he’s asking if I’m ok when distressed, and telling me “it’s ok” when I apologize. But, as parents it is important to remember that those cute things are not the only things that they are soaking in.

It’s Ok To Take A Break

July’s post didn’t come to me as easy as the last few months. Spent a couple days wondering if I would have to come up with an excuse as to why I didn’t write it. To hear that Georgia has some of the strictest child maltreatment and abuse laws, not due to the fact that they care about children the most, but because they experience child mortality rates that are very much so alarming, I instantly felt inspired. After talking with a friend and my second time being in a statewide training on How to be a Good Social Worker: 101. We began talking about the process of potty training toddlers and how some parents struggle with such a simple task to the extent of causing physical injury to their children. It reminded me of why I wanted to start MommysBreak in the first place. When I first had my son and realized how much work it came with. I thought about the fact that there is no epidemic or group of people who are advocating for how important it is to take time from the job of being a mommy.

This conversation sparked a thought process in my head of how easy it is to get frustrated as parents. I thought about how I could not imagine not being able to catch breaks from the job, due to not having a strong support system, especially coming from a co-parent. Mommies have one of the toughest jobs in the world with what sometimes feels like, comes with no reward. We have moved away from the notion of “it takes a village,” when the purpose of this was so that mommies did not have to do EVERYTHING. This often leaves mothers feeling like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Although I have experienced this mostly in clients, I have also seen this in my own personal life. What separates, is that some of us are more determined than others to feel comfortable with taking a break without shame.

And in no way does some mommies having a different way of dealing with the stress of the job, make them “bad moms.” The world can barely handle working a job for 8 hours a day with typically, two full days off. Imagine having a job that’s “never done.” I say all of this to say that the stigma of a mom needing a break having a direct correlation to bad parenting, needs to be removed. As a mom and a social worker, I see so many situations that could be avoided if moms were afforded a simple hand for a break.

I am forever grateful for the people that have assisted me in this mommy journey. As without being able to have a break to be myself outside of mommying, is something I could not imagine. I encourage all to remember this when judging a mom for being tired, needing help, and/or making a mistake. Changing the attitude of judging to one that is willing to help. For mommies who do not feel as though they deserve to receive help parenting, I advise you to seek and appreciate a hand.

Happy Mother’s Day

0E32494F-FB7C-46EE-BF80-7DE1C740E41CMotherhood is hard. And if you’re conquering it, I have nothing but love, gratitude, & respect for you. We live in a world where Mother’s are not readily afforded the level of respect & uplifting, as it’s deserved. Mother’s are given one of the most difficult tasks of conceiving, carrying, birthing, raising, shaping, & preparing another human being to be something that is greater than she may even be. On top of these tasks, Mother’s are not afforded the human luxury of making mistakes without the world crashing down on us. But today, I’m taking the responsibility of praising the one that birthed me.

My theme for this post was going to be how much me & my mother have grown past our differences. I wanted to show how strong a relationship could get with mutual effort, forgiveness, & love. As I searched for a creative space to began writing I decided to instead share all of the great things about my mother. To use this day to celebrate everything I love about her. There are no amount of mistakes, struggles, arguments, or punishments imposed (& there were a lot), that can take away from the amount of love my mom has for me and my brothers. She has proved in every sacrifice just how far she will and always has went to love & protect us.

Mom, thank you. Thank you for the lessons, the sacrifices, & the limitless love. Of course as a teenager being told my shorts are too short, not being able to attend every party, or getting my phone taken away, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see that you are everything I needed in a mother. You’ve made me into who I am today. I couldn’t be this without you, no matter how much I’ve ever tried to take credit for who I am. It’s because of you that I have a backbone. It’s because of you that I know how to love. It’s because of you that I know how to help others. It’s because of you that I know what hard work looks like. It’s because of you that I know what it means to be a protector. It’s because of you that I feel like a confident mother!

If you’re reading this, use this Mother’s Day to celebrate your mother. Not just by buying a a necklace, sending flowers, or taking her out to dinner. & if for any reason you can’t, celebrate another mother that you’re close to. Tell that mother how & why she’s valued. Let your words be the gift.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning