Something You Should Consider Before Having Children

If you ask any parent to give a list of things to consider when thinking about having a child, the lists may sound similar, but will vary. However; there are quite a few that should be at the top of the list. They sound a little something like this:

(1.) Think about your finances: Diapers, formula (if breastmilk doesn’t work for you), daycare, before and after care, clothes, shoes, the type of car you’re driving (Is it big enough for all of you?) food, pull-ups, school, extracurricular activities. They all cost when it comes to your children.

(2.) The pain: This isn’t at the top of my list to say to people, but it is for others. I don’t believe in scaring women with birth stories. Everyone’s experience is different. I do share mine, but I always reassure women about the beauty of it all.

(3.) The risks– For black women, you’re honestly risking your life to give birth in a hospital setting. The healthcare system does not serve black women and babies properly, and the maternal/infant mortality rates are out of this world. It has been a huge concern for decades, but is more recently catching TV time and headlines.

(4.) Sleep deprivation: You legit won’t get any sleep for at least two years. Thats the nice way of putting it. You really don’t get any sleep for the rest of your life. Once children sleep through the night, they do everything in their power to fight naptime and bedtime. When you finally hit the weekend and think you can sleep in, you can’t because of Saturday activities! Not to mention, you’re still trying to do things for yourself in between and have alone time. That usually takes place at night. You find yourself enjoying the peace and quiet that you stay up way too late and now it’s morning again.

(5.) Libido changes: Everyone’s experiences are different, but many will say that the desire for sex dies after having children. Most women say it’s because they are so tired from the baby crying, nursing, working, taking care of home, no longer feeling sexy and more. I’ve unfortunately heard of men no longer desiring their significant other because of her body changes (ie. stretch marks, a larger stomach, weight gain) and not seeing her sexually attractive because they are disgusted from her breastfeeding their child.

This list could go on forever. But let me help you out with one huge, forgotten thing to consider when having a child. It’s potty training. Many will share the various stories they have about their child’s huge blowout (when the poop explodes out of the diaper, up the back, down the legs, etc.), but won’t share the pain, struggle and hard work it takes to potty train their children. Well, I’ll be the first to do it.

I hate it! Potty training my oldest eight years ago was a much easier process than it has been for my newly two-year-old. I tell people all the time. My oldest daughter did nothing to prepare me for her little sister. I feel like she tricked me into thinking I could parent again, without giving me the whole truth! If you’re wondering… yes! I just blamed my daughter for my having another child. LOL She begged my husband and I for a baby sister for four years. She even asked my father at his gravesite! Clearly it was his and I doing, but she played a part. She was (still is) such a good kid, I really thought it would be a breeze this time around. I was so wrong. The potty training experience has only been one part of the torture. But it’s a huge part.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched my daughter sit peacefully waiting to poop, then all of a sudden she stands up when it’s coming out. Yepp. So now I’m cleaning up poop off the floor, her legs and the pot. I thought I would have to call poison control because I randomly heard a sucking sound and caught her sucking poop off her fingers. What irritated me about that experience the most is that when I yelled “No, stop!” her face was frowned with disgust from the taste. However, she needed a little more to taste in order to confirm that it was nasty. Thankfully, I’d already made it to her before her hand could reach her mouth again.

We are currently in between using a transitional potty training seat and her pot that goes on the floor. She knows how to say, “Mommy, bathroom” or “Mommy, pot-pot,” but chooses to grunt as if she’s already taking a poop. So I find myself almost breaking my neck running to her and taking her to the bathroom. She’s too young to be trusted in there alone. I’ve left her alone on the pot on multiple occasions and learned my lesson each time. Not deliberately, but because I ended up having to pee while she was waiting to poop. When I return from the bathroom, I buss in the room to find her little naked butt on our bed. Thankfully, she hasn’t had poop on her during those moments.

I’ve also noticed that my daughter uses going to the bathroom as a way of escape from her playpen or high chair. In addition, she’s obsessed with washing her hands (not a problem at all until water is all over the sink, floor and her clothes). I still put her on the pot anyway in order to not take any chances. What happens? Endless tears and screams. Snot everywhere, and demands for foods and drinks.

I’ve found myself in a conundrum. I no longer want to pay for pull-ups, but I loathe the moment where I have to wake up in the middle of the night again for this little girl. Making bathroom runs during the night, or having to change her clothes and bedding because she’s had an accident. Having to be on call to wipe your child’s but after every bathroom visit or being traumatized when you realize they’ve used the bathroom and didn’t call you to wipe! Oh and let’s not forget how close you are to a heart attack when the newly potty trained child needs to use the bathroom while you’re driving. In addition,  my oldest has to use the bathroom nonstop (she gets it from me). She specifically finds a way to have to use the bathroom after when our food has finally come when we’re at a restaurant. At this point, I’m convinced frequent bathroom visits from my children will aide in my weight-loss journey. The amount of times that we have to run back and forth to the bathroom. The unfinished meals… Pray for me…

Sincerely,

An “I’m over this sh**”(literally & figuratively)

Queendom Wife and Mother

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I love my daughter but…

When growing up, I always heard the terms “daddy’s girl” and “mama’s boy” when speaking on the relationships of mother’s, father’s and their children. For me, it was always so hard to choose. I loved both of my parents so much I didn’t understand how you could be more of one than the other. As I grew older, I learned that being a “mama’s girl” or “daddy’s boy” wasn’t an intentional thing, but more of a natural connection. No one is intentionally choosing to grow closer to their mother than their father, it naturally happens.

When I became a parent the first time, I soon learned what it meant to be on the other side of “mommy’s little girl” and “daddy’s girl.” In the early years, maybe up until three, our daughter Taniya loved her some mommy. My husband was the love of her life and favorite person to play with, but when it came to me… I was the apple of her eye. As she grew older, my husband soon turned into her favorite person. Quick side note, her grandparents are on a whole different level when it comes to people she loves. My husband and I know our place lol.  But when it comes to us as her parents, it’s “I’m daddy’s baby, mommy’s crazy.”

I thought it was cute and loved that she could see no wrong when it came to her father. My father was deceased when I gave birth to her so it was heartwarming to see her enjoy the love of my husband. Eventually, what I once thought was cute began to transform into irritation as the years flew by. I started to notice my daughter intentionally choosing my husband over me.

Since my baby had to spend a lot of time away from her dad due to work, I sympathized with her. For example, when he came home from the road I would put myself on the back burner in order for her to spend as much time with her dad as she could before it was time for him to leave again. Their bond would continue to grow while he was out on the road, but it was through their experiences with one another in person, that made them inseparable. It was beautiful to me! During this time, she and I had no issues. She and I were tight like a corset, and she was able to still have a strong relationship with her father.

Things began to change in October of 2017 when we gave birth to our second daughter. Although there was a six-year gap between the two, I knew the baby’s presence in the world would bring about mixed emotions and behavior from Taniya. She was an amazing help, loved Jayla dearly, but also had to share the attention. She was also growing and learning herself more since she was in her first year of grade school. I soon began to hate age six, while my husband loved it. Of course he did! She loved, respected him, played with him, and he didn’t spend all day with her. When it came to me? I received the back talk, terrible listening, shifts in attitude and more. I tried my hardest with gentle parenting and being super understanding to her having to learn the new dynamic in our household. I understood that for six years I belonged to her, but I grew to a point where I was fed up. I believe my daughter viewed me as inferior to my husband. Like he was the only person she needed to respect. It was upsetting because I thought that I would have this struggle when she was a teenager, not six!

Fast forward to June of 2018… After a year of being a local driver, my husband and I felt it was okay for him to head back over-the-road to drive long distance. Taniya is in her final months of being 6 years old at this point. He left on a Monday, we went to visit South Carolina with my in-laws that Friday. When I tell you my daughter LOST. HER. MIND!!! I mean literally lost it.

I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. I kept censoring myself and trying to be kind since my in-laws were around. I wanted her to be able to enjoy them. But I soon learned that she thought she could get away with her disrespectful tone because they were present. It was so noticeable that my in-laws ended up addressing it also. On the last day of our visit, I almost turned Cracker Barrel upside down. Every time I corrected my daughter she had a rebuttal, and I had to repeat myself 7 times before she would finally do what I told her to do. I saw RED! In order to keep my cool, I let her sit with her grandparents while I went to nurse Jayla. I began to calm down as I nursed, but I felt myself shut down from my own child. I didn’t want to talk to or be around her.

I genuinely loved my daughter, but I didn’t like her. I felt disrespected, unappreciated and unloved. I know that sounds crazy. I’m the parent, and children will be children. But I was already in a vulnerable state. My husband just left and I was on my own with TWO kids this time. I was still battling bouts of postpartum depression, and I was honestly used to Taniya and I clinging and working together when it was just us. I was completely caught off guard and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to punish her for responding to the departure of her father, but I couldn’t let her continue to act out the way she was. I tried not to bother my husband with the drama because he literally just left 5 days ago at this time, but I called him and let him know everything. I told him very calmly that I knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy, but I had checked out. What was supposed to be a nice getaway was ruined. He was appalled. He immediately said, “Put her on the phone.”

My feelings were so hurt when I heard her responses to his questions. My daughter completely dismissed all that I did for her and sung all the praises to my husband. She would be willing to do the tasks, but would rather my husband told her to do them. I was flabbergasted! My efforts to make sure that Taniya respected and loved my husband when he came home turned into her thinking that she should only listen to him. I would never turn her against him, but how?! I did and do everything! I mean everything! When my husband isn’t home, I operate as a single mother for up to 2 months at a time. How dare she make me invisible?! To my surprise, my husband felt the same way. He was so disappointed in her actions.

It took me 4 days to gain back control of our situation. I was battling with having a pure dislike for my daughter. I felt like a bad mother for not liking my own child. But I chalked it up to this. Although I was the adult in the situation, my relationship with my daughter is an extremely important one. Whenever any person feels mistreated in a relationship, they feel hurt. I felt mistreated by my daughter. I had to let her know that although she is a “daddy’s girl,” it doesn’t mean she has to choose one parent over the other. I wanted her to remember that her mother and father were a team and she had to accept us as the duo we are.

I also learned that I had to change-up my day, and maximize the time that I would spend with Taniya. Even though I needed Jayla’s nap times in order for me to get other things done, I had to use some of those times just for Taniya and I. It’s an ongoing process, but she and I are getting it together. This phase really allowed me to see that there is a lot that I need to work on as a mother.

We don’t always get it right!

Movies with the kids? Nope!

Like everyone else, my husband and I anticipated watching Black Panther on the big screen. It had been a long time since we had gone out and enjoyed ourselves as a family, so we decided to take the girls along. In addition, we really wanted our oldest daughter to see women and men with her skin color uplifted, shown as Queens and Kings… people of color being shown as heroes!

Huge mistake! 5 minutes into the movie, our youngest, who was 4 months at the time, had a vocal awakening. Every scene where there was no loud music or action, my baby said “it’s my time to shine, ACTION!” I’ve never heard that little girl talk so much until that moment. I had to stand up in order to quite her down a little. That didn’t happen until I nursed her about four times and she finally fell asleep 10 minutes before the movie ended. Yes, I stood the entire movie.

While I took care of the baby, Jayla, James took care of our 6-year-old, Taniya. His journey began 15 minutes into the movie. That’s when the first request for the bathroom happened. I believe she had to go a total of five times. Mind you, she will only ask a total of one time during a kids movie.

Whenever I had the chance to sit down, maybe five minutes at a time, I spent my time saying “Taniya, there is nothing to be scared about!” “Taniya, you have to watch the movie to see what happens.” “Taniya, it’s just a movie. These people are all actors.” “You better not cry!” I won’t say which parts made her emotional in order to not spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but in the last action part of the movie, homegirl started rubbing my back and shoulder. I thought she was rubbing and loving on me because I spent the movie standing and keeping Jayla quiet, but it was really her calming herself from being afraid. I accepted it regardless because her gentle touch helped soothe both her and I.

From what we saw of the movie, James and I thoroughly enjoyed. We agreed that we would leave the girls home next time and see the movie again, ALONE. For now, we’ll only be seeing kids movies as a family.

I wasn’t embarrassed at all during the movie experience though. Jayla was actually a great baby. I just didn’t want to ruin the experience for other movie goers with her constant baby talk and occasional cry for the breast and sleep.

While I wasn’t angry with Taniya, I was slightly annoyed. I couldn’t understand her fear. I couldn’t understand how she couldn’t see the value in that movie. If you actually sit and have a conversation with my daughter, you’ll understand why it’s easy to have high expectations on her way of thinking. I tried to explain the movie a little and it’s importance for the black community. Her response was, “Mommy, I just don’t like seeing evil and death. There were people being killed or almost dying and that scares me.” In that moment I was reminded of who my daughter was and how my husband and I raise her.

We shield Taniya from a lot of things because we believe that a child should cling onto their purity (mind, body and soul) and innocence for as long as they can. We share the truth with her in pieces as she matures. Black Panther was the first movie with violence that Taniya had seen. I was being selfish when I expected her to be okay with something she never experienced. She has attended only one funeral since being born, and she was so young she doesn’t remember. At this age, my husband and I have decided that when someone dies we won’t tell her unless she asks about that individual. So at the end of the day, she doesn’t witness death unless it happens in a kids movie.

Many people may not agree with our parenting method(s), but it works for us. Some people call it sheltering the child and creating a false image of reality, but we call it letting a kid be a kid. Our daughter is highly intelligent. She doesn’t ask questions suitable for a child her age. She has always asked questions that should be asked by someone 4-6 years older than her. So we like to let Taniya think and act (be) like a child as much as possible.

Who knew that a trip to the movies would be a learning lesson for a mom and dad? Well, besides the fact that you shouldn’t bring the kids to tag along for a movie you actually want to hear and see.

It’s still Wakanda forever though!