Making it through Those Awkward Thanksgiving Conversations

Thanksgiving, a time to gather round with family and friends, a time to give thanks, a time to reminisce, and catch up but —- let’s face it, Thanksgiving can be stressful as hell.  Aside from getting your look together to sit in the living room, you have to mentally prepare to surround yourself with people. Keep in mind a gathering of people can mean the meeting of many personalities, some stronger than others. We’d all like to think our loved ones mean well but in the moment sometimes it’s hard to tell.

For example, What do you say to your grandmother who’s been saying the same thing for years,

“You’re getting older girl when are you going to have some babies”?

or

“Whatever happened to so-and-so?”
— a reference to the person you brought to thanksgiving last year.

Part of us wants to crawl in the corner and hide when we are met with these types of questions, part of us may want to yell out the truth, “Well Nana, if you must know; I’ve been having trouble conceiving for the past 3 years and I don’t know if I’m able to have kids” or “We didn’t work out and now he’s back with his ex”. —- both very real experiences that many women face, but the truth is most of us just want to get through the moment… we want to respond in such a way that takes the spotlight off of us as quickly as possible and puts it onto someone else in the room. —- a skill I have still yet to master myself.
I will say over the years I have learned a few things about Thanksgiving with family:

1. You cannot control what is said- only how you react.

Sure I’d like to cuss out more than half of my family at any given moment during dinner, my grandmother included but I don’t. Again, its best to think people mean well, another very important thing to consider is a lot of people haven’t seen you since your last relationship or last life update so a lot of times they are genuinely curious. Remain level headed and don’t take anything personal

2. Its only for a day.

Count your lucky stars you don’t have to surround yourself with these people everyday.– keep a clock close, even consider coming up with an escape plan. “Damn its 7 o’clock already, let me get out of here I said I’d stop by my friends house.” Of course only you, me and anyone else who reads this knows you have no friend’s house to go to but setting an escape route to avoid the possibility of tension is always a MUST!

3. My favorite– have drinks on hand.

Depending on what kind of drinker you are, a lot of times having a drink or two can calm the mood, if you’re attending a dry house, pack something in your purse. Turn the “21 questions” into a game… take a sip every time someone says something out of line, it’ll lighten your mood, you’ll get a couple laughs out of it and you’ll be tipsy by the END, especially if your family is anything like mine — because they are always saying something out of order.

Regardless of how much stress or anxiety the holidays may bring you have to remember that some people don’t have a family or a house to go to— be grateful.

We never know what the next year may bring for any of us so take advantage of time spent even if your aunt gets on your last nerve. Eat, drink and be merry… being around family can teach us a lot about ourselves both good and bad, and being able to walk away from a gathering happy is honestly a blessing. Hell, sit at the kiddie table with the kids if you’re really that concerned, and I’m being completely serious when I say that…as you can see, here is my sister and I at the kiddie table last year.living room.jpg

 

Go to dinner with an open mind and an open heart. Family isn’t always easy but in the end they are our family, and that statement is in no way an admission to being around toxic friends/family so make sure you know the difference.

There are toxic family members and then we have those … (for lack of better words)  “have no filter”, if they are toxic then stay home and have someone bring you a plate because you don’t need that kind of energy. In the end, everyone’s situation is different and  you know what’s best for you…and whatever you do make sure it leaves your heart and your stomachs full.

 

So, Let this be a reminder, We all have that one aunt or  uncle… with that being said

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

What are some ways you avoid confrontation at thanksgiving dinner?

comment below:

As always thank you for reading,

Mommi Ashley

 

Gained a baby lost my sex life.

I’d be lying if I said becoming a mother hasn’t taken over in all areas of my life. —at work if something comes up, my response, “well y’all just gotta figure it out”  because guess what— I’m a mom first. It’s girls night and something comes up, “Sorry ladies I know we’ve been planning this forever, but I gotta cancel”—- I’m a mom first. I find myself reiterating the fact being a mom is number one when it comes to many areas of my life, and in most areas I’m finding that people won’t always be happy with you prioritizing being a mother first. *kanye shrug*

Not my problem.

Becoming a mom has simultaneously thrown me into like bionic woman mode, which I’m finding works with everyone but your partner. I wake up with a to-do list, I gotta do this and this and this and this today, I go to bed with a list reminding myself I gotta do this and this and this tomorrow and guess who usually doesn’t make the cut, one of the most important people… my man. It’s no secret that relationships change after having a baby , most times you hear about them changing for the worst.

My mom has warned me far before I even thought about having children that men show their true colors after having a baby— a warning I am now convinced is some bitter black women’s old wives tale. (For the record I’m not calling my mom a bitter black woman)

Do men get the same warning about women changing ? —- because maybe they should.

I am not the same woman I was before becoming a mother. My partner fell in love with the carefree, whimsical, happy, adventurous, sex in random places down for anything Ashley. Since becoming a mother I am 1/6, no doubt I have changed hell, I realized I have changed so I can only imagine what it’s like for him.

Babies can strengthen the connection or they can make you lose it, suddenly it’s all about the baby and we sometimes forget about the life we had with our partners before. Writing this for me is therapeutic because I have forgot about what life was like before Carter, I forgot about how important making his dad happy was for me and I’m now seeing the toll it’s taken on us.

TMI coming right up but, there was a time I’d go home on my lunch break just to squeeze in a quickie. It was important to keep it fun, and fresh… now I get home and sometimes I’d rather choose sleep over intimacy.—- shame on me. Shame on me for making it seem like being a mom gives me an excuse when it comes to nourishing my relationship and making sure I’m listening to my man and his needs. (Now don’t go reading this honey and think you can tie me up tonight cuz it’s not happening, I have a bad back now).

After many nights of him chastising me for what I have not been doing we finally began to communicate! He began to ask what could he do to help ease the burden, what could he do to help me after my long day so I could relax. The importance of communication amongst partners cannot be stressed enough, it’s so easy for us as mothers to come home after a long day get into our evening routine, all the while we are burnt the hell out and not once will we ask for help. It’s not uncommon for men as partners to see their spouse in their routine , and not speak up out of fear they may be imposing ( if y’all didn’t know women run the show, happy wife happy life) most men stay quiet when it comes to running the house.

And night after night you and your partner go to bed with so many underlying feelings that could be fixed with a conversation and a little compassion. —- it’s hard, tell me about it.

I read, Understanding your partner’s love language 

a “guide” more people should read, and I realized I’m not a mind reader and neither is he… I may not be affectionate but I know he is. There is so much give and take that’s goes into relationships, and they fail when people don’t understand that. My give, is bouncing on more D when Carter goes to bed (might have to visit a sex shop or two to brush up on the old skills), and vocalizing just how appreciated my spouse is and how I recognize all that he does although I don’t always say it. My take is being more open to help, and suggestions…understanding there is no such thing as a bionic woman and if there is I can imagine she is probably single.

Without question I am still a work in progress, a mom just trying to figure it out, but one thing is for certain my goal is to build with my partner and not break in the process … we have broken MANY times before and *whew chilay*

I hope this helps any other moms struggling to find a balance after such a huge adjustment, as for those who have been blessed enough to have it figured out  what are some things that have helped keep your relationship strong even after becoming parents?

 

Interacting versus Occupying our kids.

This past weekend I took my 20 month old son to see Sesame Street Live, we were accompanied by one of my good friends, her son who is close in age to Carter and dada came with us too! What I was shocked to see was the disparity concerning attendees of color versus those who are not, and being brutally honest I’m pretty sure you could count the amount of black people there. — excuse the brutally honest statement, and excuse the one to come … but what is it with people of color not emerging their children in activities and things to do?

I had this conversation long ago with a friend way before I was a parent and at the time she was.  I constantly suggested things to enroll her daughter into, dance class, cooking classes, gymnastics, swimming etc… I’d constantly see fun things for kids her daughter’s age to do and grow envious that I didn’t have a child of my own to engage with and introduce them to new, fun things. She never signed her up, and eventually I stopped asking. I guess she just didn’t have the time.

Finally being a mom, especially a mom who works hard to make ends meet etc… I can see why some parents may not have the time or the funds to engage their kids in activities, but…(and here goes the blunt me again) why not make the time and find a way?

Our children are an investment.

literally sponges, just waiting to absorb, so remind me again why we are choosing as parents to not engage? … oh that’s right, it’s easier to throw an iPad in front of the kids and have them sitting there watching it hours on end as long as they aren’t bothering you—- I forgot. Now please don’t go labeling me as some judge mental mom because sometimes the iPad is a very necessary distraction/ break for mom and dad. Carter at 20 months and has taken a liking to YouTube so I totally get it, but what I don’t get is making a habit of it. What happened to kicking it old skool’ ? Coloring books… puzzles, games? I lived for those as a kid and that wasn’t too long ago, I’ll remind you I’m only 27. It’s sad we are raising a generation dependent on technology, it’s sad we as adults have become a generation dependent on technology and it’s translating to our kids. When Carter was 6 months, I signed him up for swimming (such an eager new mom I was). The class at the Y cost $180, his dad and I were the only parents of color… when asked by friends how much the class costs because they too were interested, we were meant with turned up faces and the shocking, “you paid that much for a damn swimming class”? And Just as confused as them I tried to remind myself how much iPads were going for at the time.

So you guys would rather spend ridiculous amounts of iPads etc, but not spend money signing the kids up for an activity? — oh.

Second reminder our children are an investment.

My goal as a black mother raising a black son is to keep my child engaged. Sparking his interests is not only something I’m looking forward to doing but something I feel is necessary while raising the next generation of children. The more we do, and the less familiar faces I see I try to stay hopeful that my son’s peers’ parents will someday get on the same page. As a black girl being raised in the suburbs I know what it feels like to be exposed to things with not a familiar face in sight, I can count of my hands and feet how many times I was the only black girl in the class.

You think We wanted to drop $50 on each ticket to Elmo, HELL NO, but my son loves Elmo , We knew Elmo was coming for months so guess what we prepared to bring Carter to Elmo…

(I’ll go broke anytime if it means seeing him smile like this)

89C71C0C-2DB7-48D2-A9EF-454EBA3FA342.jpegMoral of the story the same amount of time parents spend on Facebook, Snapchat and instagram could be spent looking up a class or an upcoming activity in the area to engage their children in.

Moms feel free to drop some ways you keep the kids busy and past activities you guys’ have participated in… were they worth it?

The older my son gets, the more I want him to do… call me an overzealous wannabe soccer mom, but I can’t wait to be obnoxiously cheering in the stands  at all the games with my wine in my cup (that everyone will think is coffee) Am I the only one?

How to Train Your Heart

Better For That

roses Image via Pinterest

  1. Be vulnerable 2. After you feel safe. 3. Live in the moment. 4. Live in love.
    5. Bottle all good memories 6. Sniff often. 7. Teach your heart to dance    8. Let it be still    9. Regularly feel around for tears. 10. Repair them. 11. Remember that ‘art’ is part of heart and love creatively 12. Your heart is inside of you, so self-love first. 13. To cultivate the patience love requires, teach yourself to garden, play an instrument or speak another language. 14. Forgive all hurts, including self-inflicted wounds 15. Forgiving doesn’t mean staying in an unhealthy relationship 16. Curate. In matters of the heart, choose quality over quantity 17. Recognize that your authentic style of loving is unique and not for everyone, and that’s okay. 18. You will find everyone meant to share it.
    19. Walk, don’t run into love. 20. ______________ (fill…

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“Open Letter” to dad that most moms can relate to.

Dear Da-Da,

On a scale from 1-10 how relaxed are you? Because me, I’m like a -7.

Since we’ve had our baby, I have been in overdrive! I have watched you day in and day out work just like me, interact with our child/children just like me and it still doesn’t feel like enough at times.

Truth be told, I am envious of you. Sometimes my envy actually translates to dislike… I honestly dislike you at times.— damn it felt good saying that.

I wake up in the morning after more often than not a late night with the kids and trying to squeeze a little “mommy time” in to do it all over, the next day and the day after that.

Bullshit.

You wake up each morning looking quite refreshed, after I’ve went to bed with one eye open listening for a cry and thinking about all the shit I have to do tomorrow … can you relate? I have work brain and mommy brain on damn near everyday, planning and prioritizing for us… yes you read it right us. Hell, “Head of household” should honestly come with an extra bonus just for us working moms.

Meanwhile you go to work, and I’m almost sure daddy mode goes right out the damn window… are you thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner when you get home ? Or how much of a fight bedtime is going to be… or better yet did you have your alarm going off at work today reminding you it’s time to pump? Better yet.. when’s the last time you did laundry for the house? Because believe me there’s a lot of it!

For goodness sakes, I’ve turned into a mommy for everyone. I cook, clean and still bend over when you want me to (most times let me tell you I’d prefer to sleep). And what am I getting in return?

Ahhh the joys of being a mom!

The time you spend with the kids isn’t like the time I spend… my time is draining and when I signed up for this partnership I thought it would be just that 50/50. You pick up when I fall short, and it just seems like as soon as I became momma, I simultaneously turned into Superwoman too.

I’m convinced woman take so long to get ready because it’s the only time we get to ourselves, sitting on the toilet long after I’ve already finished has turned into a little peace of heaven for me.—- sad

Once in a while I’d love to hear honey, take a day off … like literally a full day! No you, no kids… just me ! I probably wouldn’t know what to do but just hearing you say go take some you time would mean THE WORLD.

I expected more, and saying this out loud may sound ungrateful. I’m appreciative of all that you do, I just wish I didn’t have to do so much at times… becoming resentful of you was never a part of the plan.

Loving my partner however was.

Signed,

your burnt out superwoman.

Aspirations of Being a Stay at Home Mom

With the weather finally breaking, I’m starting to feel flooded with working mom guilt all over. Working 2 jobs has always made me feel like I just don’t spend enough time with my son. Unfortunately God didn’t feel it was necessary to bless me with a rich husband, he probably figured, ‘no way… she would be out here wildin’ And rightfully so Lord…

-because I would.

Last weekend I packed my mom and Carter up and headed to the zoo and I can’t help but think about all the fun things I want to do with him this Spring/Summer, when I’m not working.

part of me constantly feels the need to push myself into entrepreneurship, so I can have more time with my almost 2 year old and future babies, but then I think about the trials and tribulations that could come with that and feel maybe it’s a risk I’m not willing to take.

Moms? Have you guys experienced working mom guilt, and how have you been able to cope?

For any stay at home moms on the other side of the things I’m anxious to hear how that’s been for you as well!

Sincerely,

A busy mom ready for early retirement.

 

Theres falling in love, and then there’s falling in love with a black man.

In wake of the passing of Ermias Joseph Asghedom better known as “Nipsey Hussle”, it has us all questioning our place in the world. “How did something like this happen to such a good man”? Has constantly been questioned by many since the rapper was gunned down outside his own damn store on March 31, at 3:25 pm

How brazen can someone be? But shit like this happens to black men all the time … so what’s new ?

Over the past 4 days we’ve heard from the conspiracy theorist, the streets, and the police… all of whom have their own takes on why such a senseless act of violence happened, and still nothing changes the fact it happened. Whether the  government sent this informant, Eric Holder to kill Hussle because of fear that he may cause an uprising in the community through education or whether an altercation ensued over a “snitch” being outside his store… he died.

The death of a black man in modern day America is more than likely at the hands of either the fellow black man, or sadly enough the police. I’d actually be lying by saying “modern-day” because black men have been dying like this since forever.

Ask me if I’m shocked about what happened no, I’m not … ask me if I’m shocked about who it happened to, no… I’m not. Look at Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Sam Cooke the list goes on. Reputable black men envoking change killed, details of their muderes allegedly “known” but still leaving many with speculation.

Homocide is the #1 cause of death in black men ages 15-34. An article was published in the Washington Post, “America’s big issue is ‘Black Africans’ killing eachother

Read here to be disgusted

Donald Trump went on to tweet in November of 2015:

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First off look at the picture used…how sad secondly these numbers are so incorrect, which comes as no surprise with the deranged President’s report of fake news. One fact we do know is know is as of 2015, 86% of black men are killed by gun violence Read more   

The Atlantic published an article last year Read more  confirming Black men ages 15-34 are 9-16x more likely to be killed by police (something we already knew) it’s just so heartbreaking to actually read it. Nipsey Hussle was no different than the everyday black man, he may have wanted different for the world, he may have given more to his community …to his kids, he may have loved his woman more… but he was no different from any other black man unfortunately , and it’s sad.

Our hearts have gone out to Lauren London, meanwhile this has been the reality for many black women, many black mothers since forever.

“There’s falling in love, and then there’s falling in love with a black man”. We can’t fault Nipsey for being from the hood and staying in the hood… how dare we say that? That’s what’s you’re supposed to do, hell we’d fault him for getting put on and leaving the hood behind. We need to stop pointing fingers at everyone else and take a real look at our peers and the people around us. All these black lives matter movements meanwhile black men are out here killing their own, we don’t even need the police’s help if you want to be technical.

sad reality.

 

RIP Nipsey Hussle, another black man dead.

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