I’m Scared.

It’s not that police brutality or the mistreatment of African Americans in America is new; it’s that before, I didn’t feel the same urgency to consider and protect, until I became a wife to a black man and a mother to black children. I’ve been black all my life yet I didn’t become vocal about black rights—human rights until I became pregnant with my son. It was in 2015 when I was welcoming new a life while many black parents like the parents of Sandra Bland were saying goodbye to a life.

Though pregnant, I hadn’t really comprehended what it meant to mother while black. I remember reading about Sandra Bland and acknowledging that her treatment was unjust, but still being unsure of the possible truth behind the evil accusations made against the police department. I couldn’t fathom such cruelty in modern times. I just couldn’t.

It wasn’t until I experienced the first disregard to my little black baby’s life that I realized, white society doesn’t feel the same urgency to respect or nurture black lives.

“It’s no big deal,” the nurse said to me rolling her eyes as I nervously ask her what was next. With little regard, the nurse pointed to the hospital gown I was to get dressed in and exited out the room. I dressed in my hospital gown to deliver my baby boy prematurely. Although Liam was full term, he was induced 3 days early due to lack of amniotic fluid.

“No big deal,” I thought. If it was no big deal, why was I being wheeled across the hospital and being told to remain calm? Why did my baby need to be born today if this was in fact, “no big deal.” It was in that moment when my body was consumed with fear, my mind monopolized by hypotheticals, and my family still 2 hours away from comfort that I realized, I, the black mother of this black baby had to advocate for his life—our life. The nurse with her biases treated me and my unborn child as nuisances. In those moments I quickly grasped the meaning of what mothering while black would entail.

That interaction shaped how I parent and love my son. It shaped how I maneuver in life. In that same hospital days after my son’s birth I remember a doctor’s astonishment that my son had a present father in his life. “Oh, he has his father’s last name,” the doctor asked with a raised brow. Liam, my sweet baby boy hadn’t even settled in this world, yet somehow society had already written his story.

So when I hear of stories about sweet brown baby boys now black men like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, my heart doesn’t just break, it shatters. These men’s mother’s looked at their babies the same way I look at mine. The bond between mother and child is well established before the child enters the world and being a black mother to a black child enhances that bond times 10. Everything leading up to birth has been calculated, well thought out, and understood. For instance, black mothers know that the maternal rate for them is abnormally high. So a lot of consideration goes into choosing the best hospital to deliver. Black mothers understand that schools aren’t picked based solely on zoning. The school your child goes to has to be racially diverse enough to empathize with black plight, but white and wealthy enough to offer better opportunities. Black mothers understand that although they bring life into the world, they too have to acknowledge that there’s a possibility that at anytime life might be stolen from them by the hands of authority.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies grow up, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies “just be a kids,” “as if they have that choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to send them out into the world, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared for white society to be scared of them because of the color of their skin, “as if they have a choice.”

Times like this I question God. I do. Why? Why is this happening? Why is this still happening? Why is it happening to people of color?

My son matters. My husband matter. My daughter matters. I matter.

Today I have no powerful words or insight to share, because the truth is, I’m just scared.

The Journey to Becoming the Mother I Never Had

Coming of age memoir

The first vivid memory that I have of my mother is when she sent me to stay with my grandmother after my brother was born. The memory serves as small flashbacks; suddenly, my mother was rushed to the hospital to give birth to my baby brother, at one point I was asleep on a visitor’s chair in the hospital lobby. Next, I was handed a box of orange juice by a nurse, and the last thing sketched in my memory is my aunt’s car pulling out my grandmother’s driveway, and me, a newly promoted sister, 5 years old, watching as the car sped away. No one really explained what was happening. I was left to assume that mommy had gotten a new baby and no longer needed her old one.

Before my baby brother, my mom treated me somewhat like a burden. She took me places, and she bought me things, but often times, it felt like a tired routine that she was over performing.

I remember walking into my grandmother’s house the day my mom welcomed my new brother. The blinds were open to let in sunlight, but the eerie of truly believing that my mother was getting rid of me tented my vision with the darkest gray. Grandma’s house was dark both literally, and figuratively. My mom and my grandmother were never close. My mom had made it clear that she didn’t approve of my grandmother’s parenting. Knowing this while standing with my luggage in my hand at my grandmother’s front door solidified the feeling that my mother didn’t care about me.

Feelings of abandonment, and uncertainty consumed 5-year-old me, and even after my mom retuned to pick me up from grandma’s house (after what felt like a few years later,) the feeling of rejection never subsided.

I spent the latter part of my childhood desperately trying to gain attention from my mother. Any attention was welcomed, no matter how it was rendered. I gave my mom a hard time in elementary school, talking out in class, and constantly finding myself in disappointing situations. Although I didn’t always know why I behaved the way did, I remember just wanting to be seen, heard, and loved.

Old age and spankings quickly taught me that good behavior offered the best attention given to me by my mom. So, I took heed, and became an angel child. My favorite pastime was being around my mom on those “good behavior days” in front of company.  An audience fed my mom’s desire to appear as a doting mother, and with every ounce of praise she received, my mom performed harder.  These performances never mattered to me. I was always overly eager to indulge in any affection offered to me by her. This temporary acknowledgement that came with these shows was always worth it. People would eat up her act, and that made her perform even better. Our relationship was never organic, but situational. I knew this, but I didn’t dare accept it.

When I became a pregnant with my first child, I remember feeling lost—mostly unsure. I knew failed parental relationships dwelled deep within my family. I understood that the only way that I’d know if I had inherited this cancerous trait was after I too became a parent, vulnerable and new. It was only logical that I address my childhood traumas with my own mother before I could ever be someone else’s mom.

After my son was born, I fell into the deepest love with him. He was perfect in every way; I awaited the moment that I would fail to make him feel loved in the same way that my mother did to me. Late feedings would end with me mesmerized by a face belonging to a being that I loved more than myself. Acknowledging this admiration for my child, conjured unanswered questions as to why my own mother didn’t feel this way about me. The ache of not knowing the answer to my question began to haunt me. I was never alone in my thoughts, because every moment I was granted time to think; the ghost of, “why” persisted a fixation. The question “why” took the form of my child. Despite my baby being alive, they question, “why” haunted my child’s very existence. My son became a ghostly reminder of the love I always wanted but would never get.

Liam and Zora

 I didn’t know what to do, so I continued to do what I had been doing for the past couple of months; I nurtured him, I fed him, I talked to him, and most importantly I loved him—so much. My haunted baby might have become the Casper I never wanted to encounter, but still, I couldn’t fathom even a ghost feeling alone. So, I became a ghost whisperer and as soon as I started to accept my new norm, something happened. One day, I looked down at my son’s face, he once Casper, no longer looked ghostly. In fact, he looked new. It was as if I was meeting my son and he was meeting his mother, for the first time.

In this realization, I felt as if chains had fallen at my feet–invisible shackles broken. The ghost that once consumed my child was gone. Before I could fully wrap my head around what just happened, I had an epiphany. In that moment of cradling my baby boy in my arms, I realized what that ghost symbolized. It was a ghost from my past, a generational curse. When it realized that it had no place in my home—my life, it concluded that it had no ability, no power! By giving my son the selfless and pure love that I never had, I was discontinuing a long viciously and unhealthy family cycle. Selfless love had broken my family’s generational curse. I was free of burden! We all were. The ghost of my past no longer had a place to fester or feed. So, when the ghost and I realized that, I was immediately emancipated.

On that day, that’s how I became the mother I never had.

Liam & Zora’s Christening And Why We Waited So Long To Dedicate Liam

Romans 12:21

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This is the Bible verse I chose to dedicate the children to. I chose this scripture because, one day, the kids won’t live under my roof and when they no longer do, I want them to understand that although they’ll come in contact with evil, their GOOD—God’s GOOD will always conquer that evil. I want them to stand firm in this truth.

With Liam, everything was trial and error. As years passed of his life, I felt like we had forgot to do something major. It all became clear when we welcomed his sister, Zora.

Haha, my husband and I had forgotten to dedicate Liam to Jesus. No worries. Rest assured. We were told that it wasn’t too late, and that we weren’t the only parents that dedicated older children.

We learned that the most common misconception is that baby dedications are just about the child and have to be done when the child is an infant. Dedications are more so about the parents and their willingness and commitment to surrender their children to the Lord and His perfect ways. Any child too young for baptism with eager parents wanting to dedicate them is eligible for dedication. Don’t be intimated to bring forth your toddlers! It’s not too late! During the ceremony, the parents confess publicly that they are dedicating their children to Christ. It’s such a special moment.

So, with this new knowledge, I didn’t feel too bad about forgetting to dedicate Liam sooner. Frankly, dedicating both kids at once made the moment even more beautiful.

Both kids were dedicated March 1st and we are elated!

Both outfits are from Amazon and eligible for Amazon prime!

The scariest part of parenting is knowing that one day, you have to send your babies out into this evil world. Cover them! Cover them with Christ! Don’t no blanket cover you like the blanket of Jesus!

Xoxo,

Christian

Proof That All Parents Have A Favorite Child

My second baby, Zora just celebrated her first birthday, and although we’re all head over heels with excitement and awe, I noticed that my husband and I didn’t make the same big deal about our daughters first year around the sun like we did for our son.

Maybe it’s because she’s our second baby and subconsciously we’ve unknowingly adopted the , “been there done that,” persona. Maybe it’s because we’re exhausted. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I noticed that her birthday celebration in comparison to our sons was um, lackluster–she was loved on, we sang happy birthday, but she didn’t get the same hoopla her big brother got on his first born day. Why is that?

With your first baby, you spend so much time perfecting everything. You ignorantly promise to yourself and baby to be this perfect mom and to provide this “perfect life.” No fast food, no television, and only the best organic cotton clothes; you actually hold yourself to these ridiculous standards until one day you realize, they’re stupid standards.

So, second baby comes along and you’re excited–not as excited as you were with the first baby, because you made it through your first pregnancy and you know now that ain’t nothing sweet about swollen feet, nausea, and crowning! Nevertheless, you’re excited to meet the sweet baby growing inside of you. Paired with your excitement is understanding, you understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom or baby! You do away with your crazy perfect mommy ways and celebrate each day you and the kids make it another day alive! You dwell in the messiness of motherhood and overall, you have fun! The kids are happy! Mom is happy! It’s a happy happy life!

So, here’s the proof in the pudding that all parents have a favorite child, every kid after the first kid will never get the same attention or preparation as your first child. No matter how hard parents try to fight this reality, it’s the truth. After the first baby, and all your attempts at perfection, you’re exhausted before the other babies arrive. There’s no doubt that you love all your babies and would do anything for them, but unfortunately, the other kids will never know what it’s like to wear organic cotton.

Happy first birthday Zora! Mommy loves you! I’m sorry that I forgot to pick up your birthday cake before your birthday party!

Luckily, her party was the weekend before her actual birthday so, I had time to make things right.

It’s ok mamas, motherhood is a beautiful hot mess!

Xoxo,

Christian

My 4 Year Old Asked Me For More Privacy

The other day when getting out the shower with his dad, Liam asked daddy to shut the door. He said, “I don’t want mommy and Zora to see me naked.” I think my husband was taken aback by Liam’s request, because Liam co-bathes with both of us. In fact, after every bath, the kid gets a 5 star rubdown with coconut oil at his request.

I’m aware that my little curious 4 year old is understanding that mommy and sister have different body parts than him and daddy. I get it. He’s observing and claiming his newfound independence and pride.

My husband asked me what did I think of Liam’s request and I told him that I felt like we should honor it. I want the kids to know that they have rights over their bodies. I don’t make them hug people if they don’t want and I don’t stifle their ideas or thoughts. I’m really big on empowering their voice.

In many cases of child molestation, the child feels powerless over their own body out of reference for the perpetrating adult. I never want my kids to be afraid to speak up in an uncomfortable situation. So, to answer Liam’s request, we obliged him. I shut the door out of respect for his privacy.

It’s so important to empower your child’s voice, especially when they’re young. If not, you risk them not understanding the rights they have over their bodies, space and mind.

Empower your babies!

Xoxo,

Christian

Sharing Your Goals With Others Won’t Hinder Your Success. So, Stop Saying That!

We’ve all seen the meme or heard people say, “move in silence.” I get it, the right hand doesn’t always need to know what the left hand is doing, but it seems that people believe that verbally manifesting their desires jinxes their success. That’s the dumbest theory in the world. Ok, maybe not in the world, but it’s dumb. The Bible teaches us that words have power. So, speak it! If what you want is meant for you, sharing that desire to others won’t prohibit your success. Believe in your power–the power in the tongue. 

I find that speaking my goals out loud hold me accountable. People may act like they don’t listen, but they do, especially your haters. Often times, our haters believe in us more than we do. Most of the time we stand in our own way, blocking our own blessings. The only people that don’t want to hear your goals are the people that believe you can achieve them. When you verbally speak over your life the things you want and don’t succeed, it’s not because you jinxed yourself by sharing. It’s most likely because you shared it, someone heard you, and they didn’t support you. They may have said something to discourage you. So guess what? You quit before you even started. News flash! The only thing that stopped your success was you and what you think others think of you!

Don’t enter 2020 with the plancrastinator syndrome. Don’t make goals with no intent to crush them! Speak it! Write it. Crush it! Own it!Speak it again!

I’m not saying you have to share your plans with the world, but share them with someone. Someone you know could be standing between you, and a great opportunity. Kill the idea that everyone is remotely bad and rooting against you. The first part of manifestation is to speak it, the second part is to act on it!

Happy New Year! By the way, when do you think it’s appropriate to stop saying happy new year? I say until the first week of February.

Xoxo,

Christian

Are Kids Allowed? If Not, I Can’t Come…

As a young mom, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was missing out on certain aspects of my life when I can’t go to certain events because of the kids. Any mom that says motherhood is ALWAYS rewarding, or that it’s a walk in the park has either A) not been a parent long enough or B) is afraid to be honest.

Sis, it’s ok. You’re safe here. Sometimes motherhood sucks. Calm down, I said sometimes.

Taken from memeologist.com

It’s those days when your kid is being a complete butthole, or “you just can’t get it right,” that further fuels your feelings of failure as a mom. These moments make you question if you were really made for parenthood. We’ve all passed a mom having one of those days. She’s usually in the grocery store. Her kid is belting at their top of their lungs. We pass her with an encouraging smile while secretly thanking God that it’s not our own kid. The mom is usually visibly tired and overwhelmed, and although this lady is a complete stranger, you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. Why? Because, she’s you, we’ve all experienced one of these days.

taken from fempositivity.com

When I see my peers partying or traveling carefree, I can’t help but to wonder if I started my journey of motherhood too soon, or wonder if I wasted my youth. I usually snap back to reality and remember that even when I had the leisure to do the things my peers do now, I never did.

Why? Because it wasn’t me–it’s not me. God knew I was meant for wifehood and motherhood before I did.

So, I love being a mom. It’s a title–job, that I take seriously, and conduct with so much pride! It helps that my kids are super cute, and know how to win over mommy’s heart when they lock eyes with mine too! I’m a sucker for those big brown eyes, and they know that.

Even still, I’ve found myself flustered with balancing mommy time and mommy’s free time. I’ve gotten so wrapped up in motherhood that I forget that a lot of my friends aren’t moms yet. Although they love my kids, they’re not always down to censor their language, change location, babysit, or change plans for me and the kids. They don’t say it outright, but I can tell. So, what do I do? Don’t say, “find new friends.” That’s not logical.

What I’ve chosen to do is, sit some events out. It sucks sometimes, especially when it’s career related, or when mommy just needs a break, but I understand that motherhood comes before everything.

So, to any mama that’s feeling what I’m feeling, I don’t have the answers yet. Although, you love being a mommy, the feeling of feeling like you’re missing out won’t lessen, and it’s not fair to bypass those feelings. They’re real.

The truth is, you will feel like you’re missing out on things, and guess what, sometime you literally will miss things. It’s ok. You just have to know that no other job compares to motherhood! It’s the hug at your knees that your toddler gives you after a day you thought would never end. It’s the smile your baby does when she’s sleeping on your chest at 5:00am, because she’s refusing to sleep through the night. It’s on those hard days when you feel like you’re failing the kids that you overhear your kid telling someone that you’re a superhero.

It’s those moments that are priceless! It’s in those moments you realize you’re only “missing” out on superficial things. Your true meaning in life calls you mom.

So in conclusion, if the kids can’t come, neither can this mama.

Xoxo,

Christian

DIY Christmas Card Photos Like A Professional |Easy Tips|

I love photography, specifically smart phone photography! I have the iPhone XR Max, and I specifically purchased this phone for the camera! I’ve captured some really beautiful moments with my iPhone, and some would say, the photos look super professional!

I love saving a buck or two, and one way that I do that a lot is by taking my own photos! I usually already have a vision in mind. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. I usually scout locations, color coordinate outfits, pose my family, and get to snapping! I’ve taken maternity photos, wedding photos, and Christmas photos all on my smartphone!

Sure, a professional photographer is a professional not just because they have an expensive camera, but because they’ve received some education in photography making them proficient in photography, editing, photoshop, and they usually have their own studio. 

You don’t have that experience and most likely you don’t have the camera or equipment, but that doesn’t have to stop you from capturing professional like photos!

Step 1:

Clean your lens! A dirty lens can be the one thing standing between you and a bomb photo!

Step 2:

Find your vision! If you don’t have a vision for your shoot, search online. You can recreate photos or find inspiration!

Step 3:

Scout your location! You may envision your photos one way, and may have to quickly change your vision, because of the location. Maybe the location is too dark or too crowded. Whatever it is, scout the location before you bring your models.

Step 4:

Check the weather! If you’re doing an outdoor shoot, the worst thing that could happen is getting caught in the rain! If you’re shooting someone outside of your family, they may not be as forgiving after getting caught in the rain.

Step 5:

Have fun and go with the flow! Not being a professional photographer should take the pressure off! Have fun with your shoots and models! Since my kids serve as my models majority of the time, they don’t always cooperate with mommy and that’s ok!

Step 6:

Portrait Mode is your friend! Taking photos in portrait mode makes your photos looks super professional! Portrait mode focuses on the subject, and blurs the surroundings out!

Step 7:

Download editing apps! Your phone has filters built in, I use them often depending on the look I want. The App Store has a plethora of editing apps! Download some and play around!

Step 8:

Use props! Props can really tie your vision together, and make your photos pop even more! You can use things around the house!

Step 9:

Invest in a ring light and tripod! Ring lights provide additional lighting and tripods allow you to shoot from different angles! Using a tripod also means you can jump in the photo with your family! Amazon has affordable tripods!

Congratulations, you’ve just become a professional amateur photographer!

Here are my family’s latest Christmas card photos! Happy holidays!(I forgot to turn the Christmas tree lights on, but the pictures still came out super cute!)

The first step to becoming a professional photographer is picking up a camera!

Xoxo,

Christian

Please Don’t Ignore My Oldest Child

I get it, chubby cheeks, and baby giggles make the manliest of men stop in their tracks to smile in admiration at a cute baby. I’m positive that babies have their own powers. I read somewhere that babies are literally scientifically created “cute,” so that mothers naturally want to care for them. Like, there’s science behind baby cuteness.

Before my own kiddos, I never cared too much for other people’s children. I’d give a cute smile, and “aww,” but nothing else. So, to my kidless friends, maybe you don’t understand why what I’m about to talk to is considered butthole behavior, but to my friends that are parents, shame on you! *Shakes finger in disapproval

Liam has been an only child for 4 years. He’s super cute with a lot of personality which makes him hard not to notice and even harder to forget. He’s a natural star and I’m not just saying that because he’s my son, it’s true! Now that Zora’s here, Liam has noticed that most of the attention has shifted to his baby sister.

At first he was conflicted. He’d stand by while people totally ignored him and doted over his sister, but more recently, he’s started to address the situation. When someone doesn’t address him after a couple of minutes, Liam will make his presence known with a facetious, “Hi!” He says in a way like, “I know you see me standing here, speak fool!” The first time he did it, I was both tickled and proud. I was proud that he didn’t fall trap to the tired sad song, “no one ever noticed me, they always payed more attention to my sister/brother.” I was proud of Liam for standing up for him! Way to go Liam!

As a mom, it really bothers me that people see nothing wrong with blatantly ignoring one child for another! If you have kids, you know that when a stranger gets to chatting about the baby, these chats last a good 5 minutes at the least! Imagine standing with a group of people and everyone gets acknowledge, but you! How would that make you feel? Imagine what it feels like when you’re a little kid.

To you, you’re only uncontrollably drawn to the baby and all their cuteness. You’re not thinking too much about it. To the child/children that feel left out, they’re internalizing why they’re not good enough to be spoken to. “What’s wrong with me?” That takes a tole on their self esteem. Many older children act out, because they feel left out. You ignoring the eldest for the youngest could literally cost that parent a tantrum, because the youngest child can’t verbalize that they feel left out. I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid tantrums at all cost!

So, when I find myself in one of these situations, I make sure to mention Liam several times in conversation to “imply” to the other person, “hey, there’s another child here.” It’s seemed to work so far.

To all my perpetrators of this egregious child offense, don’t feel bad! I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm. Like I said before, babies are bundles of adorableness! In the future, think before you speak. In fact, count before you speak. Count every child and speak to each of them to ensure that no kid feels left out!

One of my favorite philosophers, Birdman once said, “Put some respek on my name.” Put some respek on every child’s existence!

Xoxo,

Christian

Your Kids Should Be Sharing A Room

Ages ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, my younger brother and I shared a room. The room wasn’t large, but it wasn’t small. It was just big enough to provide separate spaces for privacy, but small enough for us to carry conversations when we wanted to talk.

My brother and I didn’t share a room because we wanted to. Kids to a single mom, we had no other choice. Most of the time we complained about never escaping each other’s company, but now that I’m a mom, my perception of those “horrid” times have changed.

When my husband and I first found out that we were pregnant with Liam, we rushed to decorate his nursery! We decorated an elaborate nursery for our new baby boy, and the child never slept in the room. In fact, I’m not sure if he remembers having it. We tried a different route with Zora, we opted for a shared nursery! Baby girl slept in her crib adjacent from our bed which made late night feedings and diaper changes more convenient. Liam felt left out with what he felt was a super fun “Zora gets to stay up later than me” sleepover, so mama thought of a master plan! I asked Liam did he want his sissy to sleep in his room and to my surprise, he answered, “yes!”

A couple of months later, we evicted Zora from our room and moved her into her brother’s room. Both kids were ecstatic! I worried about how their sleep schedules would change due to their new sleeping arrangements, but things seemed to work out naturally! The kids adapted peacefully to their new arrangement!

It’s was evident during moments that I’d pass their room and overhear them giggling, or check on them at night and find toys in Zora’s crib that Liam snuck to her to keep her from crying; that I made the right choice! Some mornings I got to sleep in later, because both kids managed to keep themselves occupied in their room until mommy awoke. It’s a beautiful sight!

Have you considered moving your kids into a room together? Do it! Memories of my younger brother getting in the bed with me when a thunder storm was too much for him to bear, or nights when we’d talk ourselves to sleep, still make me smile. Sure, as I grew older, I yearned for my own space, but in the end, sharing a room with my sibling made me feel safe and warm. If our childhood room walls could talk, they’d share the many memories we made within those four walls.

I think siblings should share a room for at least a year. It teaches them teamwork, sharing, compassion and sacrifice.

Mama made us share a room, but we chose to make the best of it!

Move your kiddies in a room together! Make the spare room your mommy getaway!

Xoxo,

Christian