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