Pre-Parental Counseling

“You need a license to buy a dog or drive a car. You even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any [butt]hole be a father.” – Keanu Reeves, “Parenthood”

It was the movie quote above and a recent episode of the podcast Gettin’ Grown called “Daddy Lessons” that prompted this post.

Before you get married, people often suggest that you and your bethrothed attend premarital counseling. Whether from a pastor or a non-religious counselor, the counseling is meant to prepare you and your soon to be spouse on how to conduct yourself as a husband and wife. The idea is that these roles are so complicated to pull off that people need extra coaching to know how to communicate and how to resolve conflict.

But, there is no such coaching suggested for people prior to becoming parents.

I’m not talking about the childbirth classes where you learn how to hold a newborn, change a diaper, and breathe during labor pains. I mean some soul-searching counseling or reprogramming to prepare people to become parents before conception.

All of us have, in some way, been influenced by our childhood and the way we were raised. Too many of us are so unaware of the damage that may have been caused until it comes out in our own parenting style years later.

To be honest, the trauma from our childhood has a heavy impact on the way we view relationships in general. Addressing what has happened in the past is the first step in healing. The next steps…are up to you. You can choose to forgive your parents, who most likely only did and continue to do the best they can. Forgiveness is normally contingent on whether the offensive party shows remorse but unfortunately, that is out of your control.

Forgiveness is more for you and less about them. Holding on to that anger, guilt, torment, or whatever you feel will only cause you to sabotage any relationships you find yourself in later on down the road, and this includes a relationship with your children.

Better to get counseling now than to ignore your issues and lead your children to seek therapy on their own for any damages you might inflict on them.

 

 

 

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The Evolution of Motherhood

The season two finale of Pose and a conversation with my beautiful cousin prompted me to think about the roller coaster of motherhood and the ultimate sign that you have done your job to the fullest.

Motherhood is rewarding and beautiful and blah blah blah. But it’s also annoying, tiresome, and, to be quite honest, it sucks. It’s a job that is neverending and constantly changing to the point where it is often hard to keep up.

In Pose, the house mother Blanca faces an empty nest as her “children” have gone on to live lives of their own. In the final scene, the attributes of her children are listed and it becomes apparent to the audience, and to Blanca, that this is what being a mother is all about.

It is far too tempting to tie our children’s shoes, make up their beds, cook their meals, and fight their battles until the end of time. That’s what mothers do. We love and protect our young, even when they’re no longer young and can fend for themselves.

Being a mother means that as each season and year passes, you learn to love your children differently. This love may be displayed by teaching them life lessons, giving them extra homework during Christmas break, or not immediately running to them when they fall. It means teaching them how to iron their own clothes, perfect grooming habits, and encourage them to learn more about the world around them.

Everything I do now will shape the kind of man and woman my baby Hawks will grow up to be. I can’t do them a disservice by doing everything for them or by discouraging them from leaving the house and having their own adventures.

I want to grow up to become Blanca. I want the satisfaction of sitting back and hearing about my babies’ accomplishments. I want the peace that comes from knowing my children have taken the lessons I’ve taught them and are living by them as well as passing them on.

That is when my job as a mommy will feel complete.

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I’m Feeling Sexy

If some of you know me personally or seen a picture of me on my FB page (Mom of 2 Wife of One), then you know that I am a thick chick, full of curves and dips and softness. As a thick chick, it is easy to fall into a trap of comparing yourself to others and falling short because you’re not the “right” size. You get frustrated when clothes just don’t feel right and shopping excursions, that most women look forward to, fill your heart with dread.

My self-esteem has gone up and down since I was around eight and my body started to develop. I have moments where I am cool with the skin I’m in and then there are times when I cringe when I look down and see my large breasts winking at me.

This week, I realized something. When it comes to feeling confident, it helps immensely to be around positive and confident people. Their energy will inevitably pour into you. I thought about my inner circle and though many of them walk with their head held high, none of them look like me. Seeing a slim or athletic woman strut into a room doesn’t have an impact on me.

But I was recently at a wedding where two of the women were around my size. They smiled. They danced. They owned every space they entered and it was intoxicating to witness. They did not tug at their clothes or walk around with their stomachs sucked in. They did not compare themselves to the women around them. It was evident that they loved every part of themselves and shined with a self-love that inspired me.

Being around them, leading up to the wedding and during the ceremony and reception, renewed my opinion of myself. As of today, I feel sexy. I feel pretty. I feel confident in knowing who I am, what I can do, and what I am bringing to every room and situation I find myself in.

This feeling is so FREEING and I cannot wait to see where this new attitude will lead me.

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Make Some Time

Just a friendly reminder, if you’re anything like me, you probably started scheduling your child’s summer back in April or May. We all want to make sure our babies make time for travel, playdates, trips to the zoo, etc. In making the schedule for my babies and trying to fill in every day or weekend I forgot one key element: MY HUSBAND!
I had to literally go back and factor in some date nights with the hubby and some family dates for all four of us. When I was a full-time stay at home mommy, I got so used to it just being me and the babies that I often forgot to invite the hubby on our excursions.
Remember to make time with your hubby and, at the bare minimum, have one date night a month. Sometimes, that date night can be a night on the town but other times it can just be playing a game of cards once the babies go to sleep.
That quality time is an essential part of a successful marriage.
This is a lesson I am still learning after almost six years of marriage and almost 16 years together.
At my baby shower for my oldest baby, my Godmother pulled me aside amidst all the gifts and games and baby advice to give me some advice of her own.
She said, “When your son gets here, don’t forget about daddy. Daddies tend to get lost and forgotten when a baby comes along.”
She was so right!
It’s far too easy to get caught up with the whole “mothering” thing. I make it a point to spend quality time with my babies by reading, cooking, or playing with them. And my big baby, aka my loving husband, needs to feel that love and attention from me as well.
So I’m making a point to make sure he feels just as loved and cherished as our babies do.

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Lord, Hear My Prayer

Ever since singer Ciara married NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, and mentioned that prayer was a huge factor, women everywhere have been begging her to divulge the particulars of the prayer.

A podcaster I listen to brought up a good point. She said that people are so focused on what exactly Ciara said in her prayer and less concerned about who she was praying to. Without a relationship with God, your prayers are moot.

My biggest irritation is that these women think that prayer is all there is to it. I want to believe that before Ciara sent up a prayer about the man she wanted, she first prayed that God would prepare her for what she wants.

Wanting a man, or a woman, that is kind, smart, beautiful, or whatever is a great goal to have. But if you are not in a place to receive that kind of person, then what’s the point?

In Ciara’s case, she was hurt and railroaded by someone she had planned to spend her life with. She had to pray for God to heal her heart and until she did that, she ran the risk of holding her new guy accountable for the last guy’s mistakes.

That’s a mistake a lot of us make when we jump into a new relationship or a new situation too quickly. It’s so easy to cry and scream to God about needing something new or better but God will not give you anything you are not ready for. That’s a wasted blessing.

Focus on praying for yourself before you fix your lips to ask for something or someone you aren’t ready for and will not appreciate.

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My Ovaries, My Choice

All around the world, Abortion Law Bans have been a heavy topic of discussion due in part to news coming out of Georgia and Alabama about anti-abortion efforts. When you get a chance, please start paying attention to the news coverage. The shortened version is that there are a bunch of men who want to decide whether a woman can be penalized for an abortion and the possible punishment of a doctor who performs the procedure.

Why is it anyone’s business what a woman does to her body?

In Georgia, they are arguing that an abortion can be performed until the doctor detects the heartbeat, around six weeks. In Alabama, any doctor that performs an abortion could face up to 99 years in prison. In Texas, in April, there were talks about any woman getting an abortion could possibly be charged for manslaughter.

Again, why is this anyone’s business?

I want to be clear. This post will not be about the morality of abortion. The point is that these lawmakers, mostly White men, are creating laws that in no way impact them. Why does a man get to punish women for making a personal decision about their own bodies? Why do they care?

What pisses me off the most is that there is next to no stipulations for a situation involving rape or incest. If a woman gets pregnant as the result of a rape, why should she be forced to keep a constant reminder of such a horrific experience?

My worry is for people who are overly determined not to have a baby who may go to extreme measures to get rid of the fetus. And for these women who are forced to have these babies they don’t want, now you have children being raised in a home with a neglectful and resentful mother. These children grow up not feeling loved and experiencing emotional and sometimes physical abuse.

When it comes to getting an abortion, it should be the sole responsibility and decision of that one woman. None of these lawmakers will be on hand to assist with morning sickness or a complicated pregnancy or any of the stresses and worries that go along with having a baby so their opinions should not be forced on people.

Never thought I’d say these words, but this is why it is so important to research the people running for office at the local as well as the national levels.

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I had a conversation recently with two older women about marriage and how it’s viewed by my generation as opposed to my grandmother’s generation. The consensus was, wives back in the day put up with a lot more from their husbands while women today throw in the towel too easily.

They told me of a woman who was married to her husband for years whom she had children by. He had an affair that produced another child and when he died, the extramarital child and mother attended the funeral. The wife knew of the affair as the mistress called the house regularly (this was long before people had separate phone lines and cell phones).

When I asked why she didn’t leave him, the conversation morphed into people deciding for themselves what they will and will not put up with in a marriage. For some women, cheating is seen as second nature but they will not tolerate a man being abusive. For others, cheating is the big no-no but a push or shove every once in a while is excusable.

All of this made me wonder, when it comes to marriage in 2019: are we giving up too soon or have our values changed? (and yes, I heard this as a Carrie Bradshaw monologue in my head).

I think the easy answer to this question is that our values have changed but I think that’s a result of an increase of options, especially for women, if they decide to leave their husbands. Back in the day, not every woman was in a position where they could hold down a full-time job. There was no Monster.com or Indeed.com around to help them find a job. And if you’re a mother on top of that, the price of child care on one salary can be more than difficult and the idea of footing the bills by yourself is daunting enough to make someone second guess a divorce.

As for us giving up too easily, I do agree that too many people recognize divorce as an option before they walk down the aisle. But this also comes with some people not being considerate or careful about who they’re marrying and assuming that marriage is not supposed to be accompanied by hard work.

It’s a lot to consider but my overall conclusion is that I can’t really judge someone for the decisions they choose to make in their marriage. It’s even hard for me to say what I would or wouldn’t do if I was faced with those same situations. I don’t think you ever really know how you’re going to react to things until you’re forced to answer the tough questions and make the hard choices.

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