Sleepless Nights

Imagine having to deal with everyday stressors of parenting, on top of having a black son in this life we live in. There is something different in me as I began to write this entry. Something I don’t usually feel when I set out to publish. I usually try to go in with a clear mind and in a peaceful state. I am not at peace at this moment and my mind is totally disrupted. 

When I first got pregnant, I begged & pleaded to the universe that I needed a son. When he was still an infant, I remember my family joking that I might as well put him in a life size plastic ball because I was SO obsessed with protecting him. I was SO obsessed with the idea of not allowing him to feel pain. I begged the universe because I needed to fill a void of my brothers belonging to me, but not being mine. I needed to feel the same love for a black boy & know that no one could take him away from me. But I guess I never thought about the fact that in this cruel world anyone or thing could take my baby from me. The fact that my baby would have one of the most easily disposable bodies in this place I call life. 

At the point that I split with my child’s father, I knew that statistically speaking, I would be running a higher risk of losing my baby in some form by separating him from a two parent household. & over the last year I have struggled in silence with forgiving myself. I have wrote it out, I have stared myself in the mirror, & I have spent many nights fighting tears because I have struggled to forgive myself. Forgive myself for begging for & being granted with a boy with brown skin. Forgive myself for creating unfair circumstances for him. Forgive myself for the stress that me & his father had to go through, effecting our ability to love him, to be present for him, to focus on him. Forgive myself for not being as ready for him as I thought. Forgive myself for disrupting his innocent life. And MOST importantly, forgive myself for bringing him into a world that is not equipped for him to survive in. The scariest element being that I could lose him to this world. & of course I am aware that the one thing that is inescapable in this life is death. But there is something different about the death of black men & boys who are murdered. Connected or not, I ALWAYS feel physical pain in my heart. 

As I have come closer to terms with accepting it & doing the best that I could to forgive me. Death has taken me back to that space that I was starting to crawl out of. Knowing that if I do not educate him on this place I have invited him into, that creates a target on his back & if I over educate him, that too will create a target on his back is an extremely overwhelming feeling. I had been doing so well, so well that I have not had to hear myself say “I forgive you for bringing a child into this unfair world.” Something I had to hear myself say to stop tearing myself apart. & now as I lay here with my baby, I do not wish to move. I keep replaying the conversation with my family about placing Aiden in a life size plastic ball. Because along with that unforgiving feeling, fear lives within me. 

This goes for not just mommies, but parents in general. Forgive yourself. For any reason associated with bringing a child into this world. I share my personal struggle to let all know that you are fighting a fight that many of us do as parents. Although, you may not even be able to identify what it is you’re feeling. We all go through it. & I’ll share what my therapist tries to drill in me in hopes that I could get another parent to believe the same thing. Along with identifying my feelings, I also am able to identify how my ability to parent is effected. When I focus so heavily on self destructive thinking because I can’t forgive myself it blurs the vision of what my role is. My role is to love Aiden unconditionally, reciprocate the peace that he brings to my soul, & to guide him to the best of my ability. Identify your parenting purpose & make that a starting point. Let’s forgive ourselves together! Imagine having to deal with everyday stressors of parenting, on top of having a black son in this life we live in. 

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23.

So much has changed in my life between my last post and this moment. Although, writing serves as one of my greatest abilities as well as one of my best coping skills, I have had a hard time trying to actually launch my vision and manage the reality of my life.

Year 23 was such a disgusting one, but in the same breath I’d say it was one of the best years I have had. Being 23 broke me down to the very core and humbled my entire being and for that I am forever grateful. I am grateful for all the lessons in the losses. Year 23 gave me a lot to be thankful for, but it also took a lot from me. 23 took a wedding, my best friend, family, finances, normality, my dignity, my peace, happiness, self respect, life, and stability. Instead of soaking in everything I lost in the last year, I got up every single day and started over. 23 showed me to never get comfortable because at any moment life will come for everything I know to test the strength I believe I have. 23 put me in a boat of vulnerability & desperation to show me that I was getting complacent in the wrong circumstances. On the other side of the coin, 23 motivated me to start grad school, relocate to a different state, seek peace, and learn who I actually am. For these reasons, I characterize it as one of my best and worst years, a concept I have never truly understood until life forced me to.

With all of this, being a mommy did not stop. It took me lying in bed crying while my one year old climbed over my head, jumped, played, and stared at me with confusion, for me think about why it was so important to me to start MommysBreak in the first place. There was no break, there was no pause, there was no moment for me to gather my life while someone else ensured that my motherly duties were done. I felt guilt, I felt sadness, I felt drained because I had never imagined getting to a point of doubting my ability to be a mommy, especially so soon in my journey. I had to find force to turn what I wanted to call “shambles” into my “moment” to grow, to find myself, and most importantly to find peace.

Mommies, we will be ok. As I have written before, there is no rule book to this mommy thing. It did not come with a book of directions, so when things do not go as envisioned, it is extremely hard to remind yourself that it will be ok, but it will be. I know that this will not be my last run in with feeling broken and doubtful, but I have found it extremely helpful to talk to myself, encourage myself, and remind myself on a daily basis of the long term goal. I would encourage you all to do the same. Find healthier ways to create strength for you to continue through any storm you may be facing. Talk to someone, see a therapist, utilize your support system, meditate, write, do anything but give up or in.

11 Months Later

Imagine being a full time mom, a recent college grad, starting your career, moving into a new apartment, maintaining friendships & kinships, and trying to run a social blog for moms who need a break?! How ironic. For lack of better terms the last year has been, eh, scary. Life has felt like it’s been in overdrive & the saying, “A mothers job is never done” has become a reality for me. I thought with the ending of college, my life was on the road to peace, normality, and free time, when in fact it’s been nothing but the polar opposite.

When I first started MommysBreak, I thought I’d use this as my free time. That every week I’d take a few hours to myself to be dedicated to this. It is hard. It is hard when you haven’t seen your kid(s) for 8 hours of the waking day & they’re sleep for another 8-10 hours a day. When I get home from work, I’m immediately rushed by thoughts of what to make for dinner, bonding time with baby, and trying to be in bed before midnight. I used to think mom’s who were oh so busy wanted their lives to be that way. I thought how could a baby who can’t talk or walk really keep you busy 24/7. I have been humbled over the past year without a doubt. I have learned that it isn’t necessarily the baby who is keeping me busy, it’s the point of having a baby & trying to lead a life that includes things outside of him.

As I write this entry, I think about why I wanted to start MommysBreak. I think about my state of mind after I didn’t post for 30 days, then 60 days, then three months, then 6 months, & before I know it, it’s been 11 freaking months! I was tempted to let it go to waste. The website I built & paid for, the drive I had at the beginning, & all my ideas. I thought “I should just wait to do this until Aiden is older.” Or telling myself “I just don’t have time right now to run a blog.” And that’s just it mommies. We convince ourselves that we don’t have time for anything extra outside of the necessities. I am very well aware that this is the start of sacrificing things that make you happy, welcome to mommyhood right?

Please take time to yourselves mommies. As mothers, we can easily keep up with the excuse of not having time. Make time. Create a strong support system and make time to do something that makes you happy. Start that gym membership, go pamper yourself, go out for a girls night, register for that class, open that book, start that business, engage in a hobby! I’m not giving this advice because I have it mastered, but because as I’m working on it, I would like other mommies to do the same!

I Know You’re Weird, but What Am I?

Hi mommies!

Funny how if you choose not to share a part of your lives with social media, people automatically equate it with something being “wrong.” Every now and again people around Desmond and I will express their opinions with us about how “weird” it is that we choose to keep Aiden off of social media. What baffles me about choosing to keep him off, is that we’re occasionally hit with how “stuck up” or “weird” we are. When people realized that we were choosing not to share him, we were swarmed with remarks such as being “like Kardashians,” or “thought Aiden was Blue Ivy.” I understand that we live in a world where we cannot brush our teeth without letting social media know how many times we stroked the toothbrush, the type of toothpaste we used, and how long we brushed for. But sheesh! I can’t choose to enjoy my son in REAL life without incorporating social media into his life, without being treated like I walk around with a blanket over his face?

Somehow keeping Aiden from social media is always equated to him being a “secret.” We do not give those closest to us any notion that they cannot see him. There hasn’t been a week since he has been born that he does not have visitors at the house, we take him to all events we have attended, his grandparents and close family receive pictures of all his cutest moments, he’s even been out of state three times. And yes, IN PUBLIC. What we are doing IS normal.

As I have grown older, I feel the need to share less and less with social media. Watching those around me and their use of social media shows me more and more how much of a false sense of security it creates. We as a society have grown very fond of maintaining self esteem and approval based off of likes and emoji heart eyes. I initially did not want my son or his value to be based off of how many likes or comments his pictures received. We all know that it just happens, even if sometimes unintentionally. I didn’t even want to chance me having to think about the judgments of social media, how many people screenshot him, or how many group chats he would end up in without my knowledge. I get it, some people thrive off of knowing that they or their children are apart of conversations, but not me. One mom put it in perspective in a way that I am sure we don’t all think of when choosing to share our kids most adorable moments, “Posting that takes advantage of our children’s vulnerability to gain attention for us, the parents.”

Once he was born it made me not want to share him even more. From his innocence to enjoying moments in real time, it just drove me further into not wanting to share him. When I post pictures of myself, I sometimes find my self looking at every detail of the picture before posting it, to ensure that it’s the “right” one. Sometimes taking a selfie 20 times before deciding that I have the “right” one. I remember thinking to myself, do I really want to create that environment with my child who has NO idea what this life thing even means yet? I thought, why would I subject our relationship to that when I can just enjoy EVERY single moment in real life and it’d always be “right.” Enjoying him in reality, there is never a “wrong” face he could make, a “wrong outfit,” or a “wrong” moment.

Now mommies, you all have the right to choose what and how you  want share your child(rens) moments (with input from dad) lol. What we are seeing with this new generation of children is something we have never seen in the history of humans. They are the MOST exposed generation known to man. We don’t know in what ways it will effect them and won’t know until they are older. Subjecting children to the judgments and creating a social media identity for them before they even have a chance to know who they are, is a risk I am not willing to take as a parent. This is not to say that I will blur his face out of all wedding pictures next year or I’ll never share a family photo. I will say that, for now, I like it how it is.

I am not here to influence mommies one way or the other! Just wanted to share my own experience. We did not decide to shield him from social media in hopes that sites would pay us to post him. So for that matter, we’re nothing “like the Kardashians.” Neither are we trying to build up anticipation for the public, “like Blue Ivy.” We are just simply doing what we feel the most comfortable with as Aiden’s parents!

Catch a break next week with MommysBreak!