Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

downloadphoto credit: Google

I had often heard of the horrific times of slavery; after all, I went to an historically black university.  The intricate details of over 300 years and the mystery of emotions that one might feel if they were to be trapped inbetween two different spaces of time; to be entrapped in a world where you were thought to be no more than three-fourths of a human.  It was not until I began to read “Kindred” by Butler, that I saw the many layers of America’s racial history.  Butler’s sci-fi work is amazing and bursting with so much detail that you smell the deep south as you read.  Butler’s work is one to be remembered as one of my favorite novels.  This work reaches your soul and captures your attention for hours.  In the book, Dana is a black woman in 1970’s USA and is mysteriously and suddenly transported back to the exact plantation where her ancestors were enslaved. As her time-travel trips get longer (spanning many days at a time), she experiences first-hand the pain and burden of slavery. The urgency of Butler’s writing makes the physical terror of her situation palpable; the book grabbed my attention immediately and never let go.

I’d recommend this book to all ages! A magical whirlwind of the many strands that have helped to weave so many American families.

When to say “when” in breastfeeding.

The word “wean” means a passage from one relationship to another –

not a loss or detachment from a relationship.

As a first time mom, nine years ago, I vowed to make sure that my infants would breastfeed. As a young African American mother, I realized there was a lack of support in our communities for breastfeeding. I wanted to normalize the idea and nutritional values of breastfeeding and create support for those who had chosen that option. Not only is breastfeeding cost efficient but The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for ideal nutrition, your baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and that nursing should continue after the introduction of solids for at least 12 months and longer if mother and baby wish.

In reality, breastfeeding can be tiresome. Working 10 hour days with three girls clinging to you is enough to drive anyone insane– not to mention the constant need to pump and carrying the god-awful pump around. I had become “antsy” to begin the weaning process.  I began to ask myself questions about why I wanted to breastfeed and started to set personal limits for myself.  Was I wanting to wean solely because I felt that it would make mothering easier?  I needed to make sure that I allowed Corrine the time to be a baby; me stopping breastfeeding would not make her grow up any faster or demand any less of my attention.

I set one personal limit:

Corrine would not use breastfeeding for comfort and reassurance but for nourishment.  I would provide comfort and reassurance in talks, affirmations, support, affections, and attention.

Breastfeeding is not the same experience for everyone.  In some births you will experience an infant that latches on perfectly and breastfeeding is a breeze and in some births you may not.  In my biggest finding, women should allow their intuition to guide them in weaning their children.

So my breastfeeding mommas , remember why you started this nourishment for your babies, set personal limits so that you are happy in breastfeeding, provide comfort and reassurance to your babies, and most importantly, remember that this is YOUR journey, follow your heart.

MINIMALISM: Be More With Less

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SIMPLE IS SMARTER.

Beginning In October, my daughter had her 8th birthday.  She loves seafood, macaroons, and her Goddie (God-mother), so we decided that her Goddie would come to town (two hours away) and we would take her out for seafood and macaroons.  My daughter frowned and looked somber the whole entire time.  I was so embarrassed at how ungrateful she became because they did not have raw oysters (yeah I know what you are thinking). Now, Christmas has past…and not ONE of the toys that was bought, was thought of a week after Christmas but a few!  She’s begging for more toys and doesn’t take care of the ones she has and doesn’t clean her room.  Granted she’s on the A/B honor roll, her concept of being entitled has got to stop.  So I have to begin with myself and then her.

WHY MINIMALISM IS BETTER.

As a child, I didn’t have tons of toys but I did not want for things to play with.  I learned the magic of venturing out doors and a love for my imagination with my cousins, my daughter, on the other hand, is entertained at the thought of watching children play with toys on YouTube; annoying right?!    She has the type of closet that you often open at your own risk.  I thought “she is  just messy” but in actuality my closet looks the exact same way today and I need to teach her how to clean her room properly and throw away things that she does not need any more and donate toys/clothes to others.  “Convenience parenting” has apps and tablets for keeping children quiet or reminding them to clean up their rooms.  I want to raise children who can retain information when told, who can complete tasks without being prompted, and who are grateful for what they do have.

As a teacher, I understand the logic and practices of what makes children thrive and as I continue to grow within my pedagogy, I realize that most children need minimalism.  Minimalism is not always cleaning up or giving away your things as charitable donations.  Minimalism is about focusing your family on what is important in life.

In pursuit to minimalize our life, I am focusing on these key concepts:

  • Choosing Gratitude:  cutting down on holiday gifts (tangible gifts).  Birthdays should be about celebrating life.  Valentines day should be about love.  Give the gift of experience.
  • Choosing Family:  making family dinner a priority 1-2 times a week for improved psychological well-being.  spending time with the children unplugged from social media.  learn a new craft/hobby.  READ.
  • Choosing Health:  choosing healthier meals.  cutting back on empty snacks.  COOK TOGETHER.
  • Choosing Outdoors: trading screen time for outdoor play. learning to respect the environment.
  • Being a Conscious Consumer: thinking before I buy.  Allowing three days to pass by before I make big purchases to make sure that the item is something I really want.  Only buying toys the children earn and do chores for.  TEACH CHILDREN YOU DONT NEED TO BUY THINGS TO BE HAPPY.img_9923

Teach Me…

As I walk further into my journey, I realize that I am learning who I really am EVERY DAY.  There is no pennical to the knowledge you attain and the many evolutions you will endure to be incarnated. As a woman, I feel as if I will be born again many times; learning how to fill my own cup…and what exactly I will fill it with.

I watched a video by Will Smith and he stated that his wife, Jada and he, realized that they were two individuals on separate individual journeys learning and choosing to share a life together. He stated that it was not his job to make Jada happy, she had to do that for herself. Jada couldn’t make him happy, he had to do that for himself.

The false pretense of romance and the “we are one” sentiment can often distort a marriage. I realized this fact one night on a dinner date with my husband.  Not many people have the fortune of being born into a perfect family.  As he made points about his up-bringing, and made the claim that “all women were the same”,  I immediately became offensive. True enough, we both come from two totally different upbringings; I had the knowledge of both my parents and even though they were never together, my mother or grandmothers were always present while my father went off to college.  My husband on the other hand, seemed much more traumatized by his estranged father and drug abused mother.  I saw that parts of his up-bringing in foster-homes were internalized and love was totally different for him.

As a woman, I’m naturally seeking how to learn to love and be more nurturing, that’s in my nature.  Although I had both my parents, I was never showed a healthy relationship, what role a man should play in my life, or what “love” is.  I learned that night that my husband didn’t know what love was, how to go about seeking to be loving, and what love actually looked like.  All my husband knew was loyalty and support and for him, that transpired into love and care. Marriage was in some way, an obligation that he owed to his children and at that moment I realized I didn’t want to be an obligation to him because I was the mother of his children.  I wanted to be in a marriage because we were irreplaceable to each other. I was furious until I realized that I could not depend on him to make me happy because some days, he just won’t. He won’t give me butterflies everyday and he won’t always say the right things.

I think that women often get romantic concepts from movies and want our love to be this magical love story.  Great sex, trips, date night, romance, and well-behaved children is not the full picture of an actual marriage.  In order for “Us” to work, I had to be able to focus on my goals and make time for me to be an individual and so did he.  As long as trust was not a question, we owed it to ourselves to figure out what makes us happy and be able to pursue it with the support of one another. We each deal with emotional wounds but learning to get beyond those and to the honest truth of our marriage will be hard work.

Our marriage is a living breathing organism.  It is vital to feed it and nurture it because “love” is a lot of work.  If I went by my husband’s “talk”, we would never make it. Instead, I use his actions to tell where his heart and mind is because he is not a natural born nurturer.  The next day after our date night, I decided to learn how to connect with him and be patient (and ladies it may take a lot of patience LOL).  If your husband is willing and trying to be the man that you need him to be, understand that you may have to teach him a few things and be willing to learn some things (even things you may not want to hear).

DON’T JUST SURVIVE IN YOUR MARRIAGE, PROSPER IN YOUR MARRIAGE.

I love reading a males perspective on marriage and finding activities to try with my partner.  I included a link below to a great article (it is a series)  that you ladies/men may find helpful!

via Pt. 1: How to Get Exactly What You Want From the Man in Your Life (Teach Me…)

Books by Black Authors That You Don’t Want to Miss This Year

If you are an African-American fiction-novel fanatic like myself, then you’re hankering for your next book-fix. In these winter months, I’d rather curl up with a hot cup of mixed berry hibiscus tea and read. I’m currently reading the great Tayari Jones An American Marriage, and it is everything I am looking for in a novel right now. In Jones’ cross-examination of race and incarceration in America, the lives of newlyweds Celestial and Roy are at a turn just 18-months after their nuptial.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

 

Moms and Sleep Deprivation

“You are a Goddess, but not even God built the world in one day!”
Even though I would LOVE to do everything exactly how I want it done…I just CAN NOT, I DON’T HAVE TO, and I WON’T! Moms it is o.k. to allow your tribe to step in.  One of the hardest parts of becoming a mother was *drum-rolls* LETTING GO!   Mistakes happen, but so does so many other positive things.  Take the time to nurture your spirit and pour a little honey on yourself!