Monday, August 26, 2013

Buzzfeed Just Helped Me Decide Who To Vote For In The NYC Mayor Primary

Since I am not a registered democrat and too lazy to change my party affiliation from independent, I will not be voting in the democratic primary for NYC Mayor next month. I know who I would ideally prefer to win but to be honest, I don't really see much of a difference between each of the candidates to really research their backgrounds and watch the debates. According to Buzzfeed's quiz Which Democratic NYC Mayoral Candidate Should You Vote For I should vote for Weiner because I err, prefer a candidate who is really transparent. 

What about you?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Oklahoma Shooting Breaks My Heart

I am incredibly saddened and appalled by the news of the death of Christopher Lane, the young Australian man that was senselessly shot while he was jogging by three bored teens. When the story first broke, many news outlets did not want to publish the pictures or race of the boys because they were minors. Now we know, two of them were black and one white.

I don't buy the defense people are throwing out that they should have had more to do. There are many kids out there that don't have supervision during the day while they're on summer break and don't have part time jobs or activities to do that are not out there killing people for sport. In order to hunt someone and shoot them for no reason, you have to be depraved in some way. Its a shame that three people were able to get together and all share in this sick behavior and not do anything to stop each other.

When kids are bored and do not have the supervision or parental guidance they need they can get into trouble and do stupid things. Whether it be drugs, drinking, vandalism or hanging out, they can get into trouble with the law which is unfortunate. Kids left to fend for themselves, especially those in poverty can get caught up with gangs or drug dealing, which we see too often in poor, minority communities. 

According to CNN, one of the black boys that shot Mr. Lane in the back recently tweeted he hated 90% of white people. You could argue this is was a racially motivated crime because there is the possibility that if it happened to have been a black man jogging this may not have happened. There is also a possibility they premeditated this attack and it just happened there was a white man passing by at the wrong time.

Obviously, people are calling out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to make a statement, to offer not only condolences to the family this young man with a bright future left behind, but offer a statement condemning what these teens (specifically the two black ones) did. Too often, when horrible crimes are committed by blacks, whether it be black on black crime or it be black on white crime, there is silence by the black community.

I think there is a tendency to feel a sense of embarrassment that one of our own did something so horrid we just don't know what to say. We don't want to appear as if speaking out against crime committed by our race is speaking out against our race. Not everything can be seen as black versus white. Sometimes it has to be about standing for whats right or wrong, regardless of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. 

There has to come a point where we not only speak out against violence when its white versus black. We can't make excuses or try to find a reason why people do horrible things. There are just some instances and times where we can't use racism as a way to explain despicable behavior. 

There are countless young, innocent victims of violent crime that were killed not because some depraved individual decided to shoot and kill, it often times is the result of gang activity, drug deals, some sort of beef that turns into gun violence by people that do not know how to use a gun properly or have much regard for human life to take the risk of shooting an innocent bystander in order to reach an intended target. This, I would argue, is the result of poverty and lack of resources in under served communities. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Biggest Gun Bust In NYC Is Not Evidence Stop and Frisk Works

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are trying to use the recent bust of 254 firearms in Brooklyn as a way to prove stop and frisk policies actually work. The only problem I have with that argument is, those guns were not discovered by a stop and frisk. It was done so by real police work that sought to take down those that are responsible for infiltrating already crime ridden neighborhoods with more weapons.

The people that smuggle guns from the South into NYC are the enemies. The people that engage in illegal gun sales are the enemies and those are the individuals that need to have the book thrown at them.

Surely, we should deter and punish those that sell drugs and commit crimes in our communities. As I have stated before, there are many good, hard working individuals in high crime areas that want to live in a safe environment, but should not have their rights violated in order to do so. The people that already have to fear gangs, drugs, shootouts and the influence the individuals may potentially have on an impressionable youth should not have to fear the police as well.

Stopping and violating the rights of young black and Latino men, in predominately black and Latino areas because they might have a gun is not what is going to get the large amounts of guns off the streets. I hope Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will stop using this historic seizure as a way to continue to promote their unconstitutional policy. 

I Am Not Selfish For Having A Child

I once worked for a very successful company where the CEO was a true family man. He worked his ass off but also made time to spend with his family and encouraged everyone else to do the same. Even though it was a predominately male company, they were very understanding and accommodating to the needs of pregnant women and the men with small children at home. Long weekends and time off during summer were encouraged and we were always reminded of what was truly to be valued in life.

I took this scenario for granted. I thought all companies were like this so when I left, I discovered that many other environments were not family friendly in the sense that they seemed to want to test or punish me for being a parent with outside obligations. I know it may seem dramatic, but I felt as if I were being tested to prove my loyalty and ability to do my job by being forced to work long hours for no reason and given a hard time about taking paid days off I was entitled to even when those that did not have children did not face they same issues when they needed to take time off.

 I went on about this on a previous post but the reason why I bring this up again is because it seems as if I am hearing more and more that those that don't have the money to stay home, work part time or pay for ridiculously expensive childcare should not have children at all. 

The conversation is shifting from leaning in and finding ways to work while having a family to not having a family at all.

Don't get me wrong, I get why people choose not to have children; its a personal decision and I can see why people are turned off based on the high divorce rate in this country and the high cost of raising a family. I think it is unfortunate and hurtful that those that choose to not have children are often referred to as being selfish and narcissistic. However, I am seeing and hearing more and more those that do have children are being labeled as narcissistic and selfish for expecting certain benefits at work as far as flex time and maternity leave and those seeking affordable childcare.

I am tired of being told that I am selfish for having a child. I am selfish for working my butt off at work in order to pay for housing, food and childcare because I believe our government can do more to provide affordable options for families.

Why do we not see the importance of investing in our children, the future generations of innovators and creators? Do we really think the only children worth giving a damn about are those that are already born into privilege? That parents that may not have money because their wages remain stagnant or they can't find a job should not have a right to have children unless they can afford the high costs of everything?

Our leaders and politicians talk about values. Family values, protecting babies, the institution of marriage. Those that have families outside of the white, upper middle class married structure seem to not fit in with those ideals and are treated as if they are not valuable to society. Only when they are in the womb of their mother are children worth fighting for.

I am tired of living in a country where so much money is spent to incarcerate the prison population while not offering real solutions to the factors that land so many people, particularly young, black and Latino men and women in prison in the first place.

With all of the money spent on war, prisons and aid to foreign countries, I hate the fact that children in this country, our future generation, are treated as a financial burden. With the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, a dual income home is in many cases a necessity.

We go to work for major corporations, companies where CEO's get multi million dollar bonuses and the average person struggles to pay for their most basic expenses. 

We slave away, work longer hours than generations before us had to and forgo having children to be able to do so all in the name of living comfortably.

I get there are people that are unemployed, or not emotional and mentally stable or prepared to make the sacrifices that come with parenting or have the ability to handle the life changes having children make. I just can't help to feel on the defense every time I hear one of those "you should stay home if you want to have kids" or "single parents are bad parents" type of comments.

This has nothing to do with personal responsibility. There are many educated, hard working families that are having difficulty making ends meet because of death, illness and disability. They are having difficulty in finding quality, affordable childcare so that they may work and contribute to society and pay taxes.

With all of the parents and families that are in similar situations, how is it that we let a minority of out of touch politicians and managers determine our status in society?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Let's Hope Stop And Frisk Will Finally Come To An End

I remember years back as my SO and I, along with a couple of his friends, were exiting a backyard BBQ and we were stopped by cops that happened to be driving by at the same time.

What are you doing? Where are you going?

Let me see your IDs!

This is the first time anything like this had ever happened to me. I had never been stopped by a cop, for no apparent reason and asked for ID so naturally I questioned why.

Because I SAID so, so give me your IDs! YOU FIRST!

Before I could open my mouth to say anything else, in a respectful manner of course, my SO intervened and said "just give him your ID, don't make this any worse for us".

Even though none of us were frisked, I definitely felt upset about the situation. Everyone just said the same thing "just do what they say and there won't be any problems", apparently, they learned the hard way that when you ask an officer why they are being stopped, questioned and frisked, the response they get will be aggression, force and a SHUT THE FUCK UP!

My SO comes from a higher crime area than I, so I remember when there was an increased police presence in his area, he seemed to be OK with it. He said it made him feel safer that the police were patrolling the area and liked the idea that if something were to happen, there was always a police officer near by. 

When they started aggressively frisking he seemed OK with that as well. Said he didn't mind getting stopped once or twice if it helped get guns off the streets.

When he was stopped more and more frequently, on his way to and from work, in and out of his building, on his way to the grocery store he became more and more infuriated because he knew his rights were being violated. But what could he do?

He has even been stopped on his lunch break stepping out of his building by cops that wanted to know what he was doing in that neighborhood as they proceeded to frisk him. It wasn't until a white colleague stepped out of the building and questioned what was going on that the cops left him alone.

These are instances that have become all too familiar to law abiding citizens that just want to feel as if the police are there to help their community, not infringe on their constitutional rights.

As a result, many young men of color are being arrested and given summonses for marijuana possession and other small infractions. Drug use is not something that only exists in poor communities of color and arresting certain groups of people for an offense that is committed in ALL communities is racist.

Racial profiling, harassment and aggression do not help to mend police/community relationships, it gives people even more of a reason to not trust the police. It gives people even more of a reason to want police OUT of their neighborhoods because not only are they being terrorized by gang members and drug dealers, they're being terrorized by the very people that are supposed to keep those people off the streets.

Is there a problem with gun violence in the inner city? Absolutely. Does something need to be done to get illegal guns off the streets? Yes. Is stopping, frisking and harassing innocent people helping to get the job done?

Some will say yes, Mayor Bloomberg even stated Blacks and Latinos aren't being stopped enough. Some will say no, the problem of drugs, gang activity and poverty still exist whether the police are frisking people or not. Shouldn't we focus on getting to the root of the problem?

Shouldn't we focus on where those drugs are coming from? On where the illegal handguns are coming from? Drugs and guns may wind up in the hands of poor, minority youths but who is putting them there? Why are we the ones that continuously get punished when we're only a piece of a much larger puzzle?

I think the focus should be more on funding for education and after school activities for kids to open them up to more options than what they may see around them. I think poor, minority communities need access to healthcare that will especially provide resources for those that are battling addiction. We need affordable housing, we need jobs. We need to demand protection from those that try to infringe on our rights as citizens.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Interfaith Relationships

This was the initial religion post I was going to write but became sidetracked with my story here.

When my current SO and I met, he told me there were three things I needed to know about him, one of them being he was a Christian. I felt OK with it of course, and actually thought it to be a good thing. We could do things like study the Bible and go to church and help me gain a better understanding of what I did or did not believe. I just had to be sure he wasn't someone who would constantly proselytize about hell. 

As I got to know him one of the things I really grew to appreciate was his love of deep conversation and books. We would have long conversations about religion, philosophy and experiences and it was done in such a non judgmental way and I felt at ease. I found someone I could truly talk to and be open with. I was able to open up to him in ways I had never been able to with anyone in the past.

He has done research on the different major branches of religion and even dabbled in a few. He was raised Christian, but always sought to truly understand what he was taught to believe and why. When I became pregnant, he began studying the Bible even more. He read it every night and would listen to it on his way to and from work. Then one day he came home and said "I think I'm going to become a Jew".

He went through all of his reasons why, based on what he had been reading in the Bible. He wanted to follow the laws set down in the Old Testament and live a different lifestyle. He wanted our son to be raised Jewish as well; go to Hebrew school and be raised going to a temple. I was OK with him wanting to identify with a different religion but I wasn't sure how I felt about our son being raised apart of this faith since I was not a part of it and did not have much knowledge or understanding about it.

Since he is more knowledgeable about the Bible, and religion in general, it was difficult to argue or debate the issue. I really don't profess to be Christian but at the same time I didn't feel comfortable agreeing to raise my son any different. It was what I was most familiar with. Also, how could I raise my son to be part of a faith that I am not a part of? How could I answer his questions and teach him history if I don't know any myself? 

My SO wanted me to become immersed in it as well. No Christmas, Halloween or Easter. He wanted to observe the Sabbath and wanted me to dress differently. I felt as if I was going through what I went through with my last boyfriend all over again.

The difference here was, he was open about discussion and would explain to me why he believed in what he did. When he would go to temple or have discussions with his Jewish friends and coworkers, he would talk to me about what they talked about but he wasn't preaching. He didn't and still doesn't make me feel as if I'm going to burn in hell for not believing in what he does. He wanted to hear my feedback, concerns and doubts and discuss them and I appreciate that.

The thing I'm still grappling with is how our son will be raised. He was never baptized and I have not taken him to church. He has never been to temple either because I haven't agreed to go. It seems as if he is not being raised apart of any faith because we can't decide how were are going to raise him in a way that makes us both happy. 

I know my son is still young, but in a few years he's going to want to know about God and I don't know how we're going to discuss that.

If he does go to temple with his father and I don't, I'm sure he's going to want to know why I don't believe in what his father does and why I dress and look different than the women at temple. Why my family celebrates Christmas and not Hanukkah or why I don't observe the Sabbath. Why his father feels so strongly about him not going to a church.

If I would have known in advance this was going to be an interfaith relationship, we may have been better prepared for children but this came about toward the end of my pregnancy without me knowing how to deal. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you decide to raise your children?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Religious Experience

Years back, I had a boyfriend that became a born again Christian after his father became one. He started going to church every Sunday, only wanted to associate himself with other Christians and would constantly talk about hell.

When he was trying to "save" me, he would 75% of the time talk about me going to hell if I were not saved. My parents, friends and coworkers. Everyone I knew was going to hell. Considering yourself Christian and going to church didn't count, you had to be saved.

He became very controlling. Went out of his way to sabotage my relationships with my friends and family because they were leading me to the devil. He would try to restrict the TV shows and movies I watched, even the books I read. He even dismissed my college education because it wasn't about the Lord.

At that time I was young, maybe 20 or so, but I felt like I was in love with him and that we would eventually get married. I felt that because I loved him, I should be as open as possible about going to church (which I did enjoy) and reading the Bible. I also started to feel really anxious and scared because as much as I was trying to have the relationship with Jesus that he did and see the world as he did, I just couldn't do it.

I had questions and opinions. I wanted to have discussions about Bible passages and church services but he would quickly dismiss them as the devil playing tricks on me. He would tell me I thought too much and even though God gave us free will to believe what we wanted, what I was doing was wrong. I had to stop questioning, stop doubting and just believe. Since he and his father were born again, they felt as if they had the right to tell me I was wrong, and they were right and I had to just LISTEN.

He would say we were all evil, wretched, disgusting. Ants had more value than humans unless we had Jesus. 

This was all happening during the Bush era, when the "moral majority" elected him back into office. I found myself feeling overwhelmed at the amount how religion was everywhere I turned; from politics, to TV to school and I just couldn't take it anymore.

I started to feel more and more anxious. What if they were right? What if I were to die tomorrow and I would go to hell because I refused to become saved because I had so many doubts? What is hell like? Would it worth it to have doubt now and possibly go to hell for eternity? I felt as if I had full blown anxiety, then insomnia, then depression and then I had a panic attack at school which was the scariest thing ever. 

I decided I can't force myself to believe, my mind wouldn't let me do that. I would be living a lie. I decided instead to let go of focusing on hell and death for my own sake, my own mental health. I wanted to have positive relationships with my family and non religious friends again and enjoy my last few months of college. I just wanted to be free from worry and just live. 

As I mentioned in a previous post I wrote a Myspace blog post about what I was dealing with hoping I would find comfort and advice from friends, but boy was I wrong. My non Christian friends were silent and the Christian people that I was friends with were distancing themselves from me and talking about me behind my back. They said I needed Jesus and I was an atheist. I never claimed to be an atheist in my post and never had before that. People just couldn't understand the thought of someone questioning their beliefs or what others told them they had to believe. 

My ex and I broke up shortly after because I felt as if he were trying to control my life even though he came off as a really nice, easy going guy. I had to live my life and couldn't let others force me to believe what they did. I had to understand it and believe it for myself. I needed to be with someone who understood me and why I was the way I was and who would not try and tell me I was wretched or disgusting for disagreeing with him.

Since our breakup, I have studied the Bible and gone to church. Like I said before, I am not an atheist, I do believe in God, I just have difficulty at times wrapping my head around the Virgin birth and the Trinity. Its difficult to discuss because I find as if people wear their religion on their sleeve or refuse to talk about it as if its their way of not admitting they have their doubts as well. I find myself often disagreeing with what is said in church and with what I read. I guess you can say since I have my doubts at times, I'm not a real Christian and I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Can't Afford To Have More Children

While I was packing up clothes to donate because of my impending move, I came across some of my old maternity clothes I had stuffed away in my closet. My initial reaction was to donate because I need to minimize the amount of clothing I take with me, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

The cute dresses, sweaters and skinny jeans were just screaming out at me that I needed to keep them because hey, you never know, I may need to wear them again.

I would love to have more children. My SO talks about us having more kids quite frequently actually, and while I know I've always envisioned myself as someone with more than one child, I just can't imagine what life would be like having another child NOW.

We were so fortunate to have a family member care for our son for the first year and a half before putting him in daycare but if we were to have another, that would not be the case. I would have to put a little baby, possibly two and a half months old, in daycare, which is something I really don't feel comfortable with or feel as if we could afford. 

I would have to stay at a job that I really don't want to stay for much longer because of the health and life insurance. I may have to put my goal of going to grad school on hold to be able to focus  on my two full time jobs- one as mother to a toddler and a baby, the other outside of the home. 

Our already crowded living situation would be even more crowded. If we upgraded, we'd have even less money. Our already stressful situation would become even more stressful. I just don't know if I can bring another child into the world already struggling to get by with the one that I do have.

I was an only child until I was a preteen and I remember longing for a little brother or sister close to my age. I still feel that way. With the way things are going now, if we don't have more children, my son would experience what I did growing up, but with less cousins. 

If I were by chance, to have another baby, I would totally embrace it and all of the challenges that would come along with it. We can't always be certain of what the future will hold and we can't always expect all to go as planned. If it happens, I'd totally embrace it. If not at this time, then I'm OK with that for now.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Can I Make Dad Friends Too?

I mentioned in a previous post I need to make mom friends since my childless, single friends seem to find me too boring or broke to hang out with. I'm not very good at making new friends since I am a bit on the shy side, but I figured the best way to do so would be by letting my kid become friends with a kid at the playground and then I become friends with his or her mom. Sounds easy, right?

That would work if all kids my son's age went to the park with their moms. Some go with grandparents, siblings and nannies. Also, some also go with their dads. So now, that leaves me to question: is it cool for me to make dad friends? Can I exchange numbers with a dad if our kids seem to really like each other to set up play dates?

The reason I ask is because a couple of weekends ago at the playground, my son seemed to really get along with a little girl about his age who happened to be there with her dad. It was kind of awkward, we exchanged nice, faint smiles while our kids played but never really introduced ourselves. Like I said before, I'm not very good at those things and who knows? maybe he's the same way.

Anyway, as they were leaving the dad kept looking at me so I said "bye" and that was all he needed to come over and initiate conversation. Now, I'm thinking to myself, what if this guy wants to meet up for a play date with our kids? Would that be OK?

Needless to say, this guy was bat shit CRAZY. I felt my eyes glazing over as he told me about his book bag, his grocery shopping habits, recent parking tickets, etc. I say etc. because he talked about a bunch of things all in one breath and I honestly couldn't keep up with what he was saying.

Then he says "so where do you live?" and I was all like "umm, uhh in the area" (even though I live down the street). "Do you come here often?" and once again I was like "ummm sometimes". It turns out we live only a few blocks away from each other but needless to say I did NOT want to go out of my way to meet up with this guy again and was kind of relieved I wasn't put in a more uncomfortable position by him asking to meet up so our kids could play.

Now had this guy seemed like a really cool person that I wouldn't mind meeting up with or had been a total DILF (not to say ILF him but it'd be something nice to look at while our kids played) I wonder if I would have been more open to the idea.

* from businessof-misery~ on tumblr

I asked my SO what he thought and of course he gave me this look like "why you asking?" but just kind of shrugged it off.

What do you guys think? Am I being silly or is there a valid point in being wary about making new friends of the opposite sex?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Conversation About Race

I bet the world would be a much smaller place if all pregnancies were planned. 

I bet the world would be a lot smaller if all couples waited until they were exactly where they wanted to be in their careers with the right amount of money and the ideal living conditions. I wonder, more specifically, what this country would be like if that were the case.

Even more specific than that, what would the Black community be like? 

In Keli Goff's article in The Root, she outlined some of her opinions of problems being faced in the Black community and what could be done about it. The first being the need for major institutions to acknowledge the existence of racism and discriminatory hiring practices targeted at Black people, and the second being people need to wait until they have the money, education and partnerships before they have children. She goes on to describe poor, Black people that have children out of wedlock as selfish and likens parenthood to adopting a dog from a shelter. 

While I do agree with Ms. Goff on the importance of both parents being involved and for people to be able to afford to have the means to care for their children financially, I think she is missing the point as to why there are so many single parent households or why people do not delay parenthood until they are older. 

I would also like to point out that not all households are the same. Not every single parent household or two parent household is alike and it is unfair to suggest the problem in this country is the Black woman's inability to stop having children. I think we should look at why many young women without the financial means to care for children decide to have their children in the first place.

Could we place the blame on a poor education system that does not prepare the poor youth for college? Could it be because our children lack an understanding of their options with regards to their future? Discrimination? Harsh police tactics? An unfair judicial system? Rap music?

Is it fair to suggest to people of color their neighborhoods will be cleaner and safer if the very people that live in those areas stopped having children? What message is that sending? I honestly don't see how it is any different from what we would hear from a conservative pundit on Fox News.

I think instead of focusing on money, we should focus on values. You don't have to have $250,000 laying around or have a college degree to teach your kids the importance of hard work and an education. You don't have to have a college degree to motivate your children, help build their confidence and be the support they need to live a life better than yours. I am sure most people in poor, Black communities aren't criminals or throw trash in the street. I am sure most people would love to see the gangs and drugs go away, I am sure most people want the best for their children and want to escape poverty but may not know how or have the means to do so.

I am not suggesting that we play the victim role either, or blame all of our woes on racism. What I am suggesting is we find ways to help these poor communities get access to the tools they need to get out of poverty. I don't think telling people to stop having kids is the answer. Do we know for sure these young men and women would go to college if they did not have children? Can we be certain they would not be stuck in the prison system or work low wage jobs, but do a little better financially because they don't have additional mouths to feed?

If our children don't have anything to look forward to, then how could we expect them to be good decision makers?

Those that are already in the throngs of poverty with children, should we just give up on them? Should we not offer access to parenting classes for young women and men with children so they are better prepared for the challenges of parenthood? Should we not have increased screenings for postpartum depression for new moms to help reduce the amount of young children that get abused in poor communities? Should we not offer more access to childcare so that young men and women may go to school and work and be in a better position to support themselves? Should we not demand more funding for public schools and after school programs so that not as many children are left unattended because their parents work? Should we not invest in training programs to prepare the unemployed and underemployed to be able to fairly compete for work in an already competitive market?

Don't get me wrong, I do believe in tough love. I do believe we need to teach our kids the importance of being responsible for their actions and the importance of making decisions regarding their lives and the future of those they may bring into the world. I think instead of placing blame on a group of people and saying "You're the problem" is only going to continue to create more of a divide, especially within the Black community. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Social media

As cute as my kid is, I've come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, people don't want to see a new pic of him every other day especially if we're doing regular day to day stuff like going to the park or riding the train. 

One day as I was scrolling down my feed on Instagram and FB out of pure boredom I said to myself, wow I'm kind of boring, all I do is hang out with my kid. Then I realized No! I'm not boring, my life just appears that way on social media, so I figured it was time to chill with posting all of the cute kid pics.

It was tough at first, because as a millennial I just can't help but put everything I do on the internet for everyone to see. There are just times when we're having a blast or he looks exceptionally cute and I'm all like I GOTTA take a picture. There's nothing wrong with capturing those memories, our memories but whats special and memorable to my family may not be special enough for casual acquaintances to want to look at online.

The novelty of social media and seeing what everyone was doing wore off years ago, especially for those of us that were part of Myspace when it was popular and were actually in high school or college when Facebook came out. We were able to see what school people went to, who got fat, who partied, who went to jail (yes, people on my friends list do go to jail). 

Now that we see what everyone is up to and pretty much how they are living their lives, do we really need constant updates? Like yea, I get it, you smoke weed, you party every weekend, you wear a lot of makeup but do we really need all of the updates if you're just doing regular shit everyday?

I mentioned in a previous post I deleted my Facebook. I felt as if I was being sucked into comparisons and it was too time consuming to look at what other people were doing. I also got tired of reading the dumb quotes and looking at boring pictures so I figured I'd stick with Instagram hoping those pics would be more interesting to look at but nope, I got tired there as well.

I like to follow people that do interesting things like yoga, lift weights, cook and bake. I love seeing pictures of people that travel or have really cool, interesting jobs. I've found that I prefer to use social media to connect with people with similar interests and see what they are doing and how they're doing it. I've learned some really cool workout routines and made some kick ass recipes that way. I love to see people working toward a goal and actually reaching it. I love when I see people do great work for a cause. 

This is how I plan on using social media from now on. Connecting with those who I actually care about what they're doing and using a blog to find and connect with people that I can relate to. I do of course want to see the new babies and the bathroom selfies, but in moderation. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

I May Have To Join A Mom Group

Motherhood has been lonelier than I anticipated. I have found myself without as many friends as I once had and the ones that I do still keep in touch with, I don't see very often.

I don't know if its me not reaching out and making an effort to maintain those relationships or our lack of common interests, or just a natural drift that has led me to feel like my circle is really small.

My first year as a mom was rough on our family financially. I had quit my job to try something new and when it didn't work out, I found myself working for much less pay than I originally had before. I couldn't afford daycare and was broke. It was tough and I was stressed and when I felt like I needed my friends most, I felt as if my not having money pushed them away.

I was constantly declining invitations to dinners, brunches, weekend getaways and parties. I either couldn't afford to go or didn't have anyone to watch my son if his father was working late or had already made plans of his own.

The invites suddenly started turning into "I know you probably can't afford to go BUT we're going to eat at such and such place if you want to come". Then I stopped getting included at all. I was being asked for advice on where to vacation but not actually invited on the vacations. I found out what my friends were up to based on what I saw on social media.

As a mom, I need to plan ahead so when I did try and make plans in advance, I was met with resistance because they like to be more spontaneous. While their incomes were going up, my bills were going up and my pay was stagnant. Their lives are different and much more expensive than they were years ago when I was still single and childless. I often feel embarrassed at suggesting free events or using a Groupon because it just proves how different my life is from theirs. I live in a small apartment and have received criticism for not only the size but lack of "nice things" so having dinners and get-togethers at my house wasn't exactly something I was excited about doing.

My friends are dating, advancing in their careers and travelling. They're saving money and spending money. I'm just getting by. When we do catch up I feel as if I really don't have much to say. I have come to realize my son is not as interesting of a topic to them and I don't really have much else to talk about

A friend of mine told me a couple of weekends ago she needed to make new friends when I told her I was watching Golden Girls and drinking wine for the night. It kind of stung at first but I guess drifting apart is natural whether you have kids or not because she's obviously feeling lonely as well.

I need new mom friends. I need to put myself out there to meet other parents that would actually be interested in swapping stories about our kids and how much we love to drink wine after a long day. It would be nice to talk about relationships and how they change after having a baby and ways to save money. It would be nice to go out for free events and have a blast with our kids. 

I have been dreading seeking out "mom" friends but I guess the time has finally come.

P.S. This is day 5 of Luvvie's #31writenow challenge. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why I Decided To Start This Blog

If I had it my way I would have been blogging for years. I wrote a blog post on Myspace (years I tell ya) to test the waters and the post received so much negative attention I vowed to never write another blog post AGAIN. I can't handle criticism and I felt as if I were being personally attacked and the world was out to get me.

Earlier this year I lost a very good friend. Shortly before he died, I kept talking about how much I really wanted to start a blog but somehow always found an excuse not to. One of his favorite sayings happened to be NO EXCUSES. Shortly after his death, I found myself with anxiety which I thought I had left behind me in college and my mind was racing a million miles a minute leading to insomnia, which is also something I left behind in college.

I'm an introvert and the thing with us is, we like having friends and we like talking to people. We just want to have conversations about things that are important to us. We're just not all that into small talk because if that's the case, we'd rather not talk because its mentally draining to force conversation. I've found its hard to have friends that I could be totally open and honest with because when I do, I feel as if I get judged and criticized which keeps me from having those deep meaningful connections great friends are supposed to have. 

I always thought starting a blog would give me the freedom I needed to be myself and say what was on my mind without being judged. I had a lot on my mind and thought blogging would give me the opportunity to connect with others going through the same as me.

One slow day at work I picked up a pen and started writing. I wrote pages and pages full of random thoughts, feelings and ideas and when my hand started to hurt I thought "I should start a blog!" so I did. 

I'm sure you notice my blog is anonymous; my name isn't really Urban Parenthood. After what I went through after writing that Myspace post, I thought it was best to not to have this blog associated with my regular Google profile. I may also go job hunting and wouldn't want a future employer to think I'm a bitch for yelling at my son. I also have incredibly nosy coworkers that like to Google each other so yea, don't need them all in my bizness either!

Since I started this blog I have felt it has given me an outlet for a lot of my thoughts and emotions. I have been struggling with my role as a parent, as a girlfriend and figuring what I ultimately want for myself. Sometimes writing things down helps to put things in perspective. I don't really have any expectations for this. I'm happy and satisfied knowing I started this and its mine. I can say what I want. If anyone out there can relate, then great. If not, I'm still happy.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Serenity Now

Looking back at my posts from a few weeks ago, I could tell I was anxious and feeling gloomy. I was frustrated at myself for not knowing how to “control” my son’s behavior and couldn't figure out why he was acting out. I was in a constant circle of frustration, anger and guilt and had difficulty getting to the root of my problem.

I tried all sorts of things to calm down. Running, yoga, the “Serenity Now!” mantra from Seinfeld and still felt really bad.

I realized that a lot of our spats were about control. I would demand he go to the living room and play with his toys while I cooked because I was busy. I would demand he would sit on a bench at the laundromat, I would demand he hurry up in the morning because we were running late or was in a rush to get home and cook in the evening.

When he would say "No!" I would become agitated because he wasn't the well behaved little boy I imagined I would have that does exactly what I say when I say. When I would raise my voice and yell, he would yell back. Then his yelling turned to hitting and biting.

After I stopped focusing on not yelling and just chilling out and enjoying him, things have changed so much for the better. I've realized that being a good parent isn't necessarily about throwing out commands and your kid listens, its about forming a close relationship with your child that will last through adulthood; one that is built on trust, understanding and love.

Our children learn so much from us based on their interactions with us. What could I possibly expect him to learn from me if I’m yelling, short tempered and always too busy to spend time with him? How could I expect him to want to confide in me as he gets older if he thinks I’m only going to yell at him for saying something I don’t like?

Toddlers are constantly proving their independence. He’s constantly saying “Let me do it!” and “Leave me!”. Now that I've been giving him more freedom to do things for himself like put the ice in his sippy cup and apply his own toothpaste he’s been a lot happier. Instead of pushing him away so I can cook, I find little ways to let him help me so he at least feels included. I've also been cooking after he goes to bed so we can spend more time playing and reading in the evening.

We get up earlier in the morning. We have time to squeeze in a story or two if he wants or he has some time to play before we head out to daycare. We can take our time at looking and talking about the flowers and the trees on our way there. We can stop and stare at construction since he is obsessed with construction.

I give him more choices. Not choices like “do you want McDonald's or vegetables for dinner?” but choices between two equally good options when it comes to what he eats, drinks and wears. I don’t get upset when he doesn't want to eat dinner or take a bath right away, and I give him that extra five or ten minutes to play and he happily obliges when I remind him its time.  

Things have been good. I have learned to enjoy our time and make the best out of all we do. I have learned its important to not focus and worry on things I can’t control and just deal with what I can’t change and change what I can. Your kid can sense when you’re overly stressed or anxious. It’s true what people say; they grow up so fast so make sure you enjoy them. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

On Being "Mixed"

Reading Maria Guido’s post 10 Things You Should Never Say To The Parent Of A Mixed Race Child brought back a flood of memories from my childhood and the never ending question of my race, my identity and stereotypes.

Growing up I often felt pressured to identify with one group or another because what I consider myself is apparently really really important to people that don’t know me. And for those that want to get to know me, figuring out how I identify is the most important way to do that.

Listen, I get it. I've seen plenty of people with exotic or unique or just plain different features and wondered what background they were from as well. The first thing we notice on a person is their face and the color of their skin so it is natural to wonder or even ask “hey, where you from?" or "what are you?” but here are some that cross the line:      
   1. Do you know your Dad?

The sad thing is, no I don’t speak to my biological father who happens to be Black and it really isn't a conversation I’d like to have with someone I've just met. There are a lot of great dads out there whether they are with women of their race or not and I think its unfair to assume that I wouldn't know him by asking me that question.

2. Do you consider yourself Black? Oh- you do?

Which leads to…(drum roll please)
    3. You know you’re really not Black, right?
    Who the hell do people think they are to tell someone that they are not black? Is it like comparing skin tones on a paint chart?
  4You know, I think its insulting to Black to people to say you’re mixed with something. If you’re Black, you’re Black.

You see, the thing is, you didn't ask me “what are you” because you thought I was just black even if you suspected I was mixed so why so defensive? Also, I don’t think by acknowledging you have roots elsewhere is in any way showing your disdain for being Black. Nothing wrong with acknowledging the variety of cultures that make you YOU.
  5. I bet you don’t date dark skinned guys because you don’t want black babies.

    6.Too bad you didn't come out with hair like your mother
   Since this isn't a natural hair post I won’t get all into this but making little girls feel bad about their hair is so wrong, especially by other Black people.
    7. What kind of Black?

From here.
Yea, you know. African American.
Oh, you should just say you’re Puerto Rican

8. I bet you have a complex.

You know what? I bet YOU have a complex because my race and my identity mean so much to you.

As I got older I decided to steer away from these race/identity traps I simply say I’m from Brooklyn. I think that describes a lot more about who I am as a person than anything else.

Workplace Diversity

"Your son has a better chance of going to jail than college."

You know, statistically speaking, since you’re Black, Spanish or whatever you consider yourself AND a single mom, your son will most likely wind up in jail."

OHHHHHHHHH! I get it now! Thanks for explaining the first statement with "facts" because my ignoring you since I'm trying my best not to lose my shit and keep my job led you to believe I was confused and didn't understand the knowledge you just DROPPED on me. It couldn't have possibly been because I thought your statement was ignorant and misinformed, it was because I was the misinformed one that had never heard of the frequently cited statistics that are no longer factual.

"I wish I were a Black woman. I could get any job I want and go to a top 10 law school because of affirmative action."

Yea, the same fool that told me my son was going to jail said this was the reason he may not get into a top 10 school. 

"Hey, since you're Black and Puerto Rican I don't have to worry about filling both quotas! Lucky me!"

Ohmagod! You are the luckiest boss EVER. Every employer should look for mixed race employees so they don't have to hire too many non-white employees because you know, one is already enough. Employers should actively recruit people that identify themselves as Cablinasian so they could have all their bases covered.

I wrote a post about using the N word at work but I feel as if there is still so much I have to say about diversity at work, which basically means throwing a Black or Latino in an office and calling it diverse. From my experience, I've found people think its OK to make inappropriate, hurtful or downright racist comments because they know I :

a) wouldn't want to be known as an overly sensitive drama queen
b) wouldn't want to damage the opportunity to get a reference or considered for a promotion 
c) they know I have a kid and don't want to risk losing my job by beating someone's azz

Now to be clear, I am NOT one to sit and listen to someone say hurtful, insensitive things about groups of people; even groups that I do not belong to. Call me the race police but I have confronted colleagues about comments about various ethnic groups, religions and LGBT people. It just gets to the point where I say to myself Why do I have to do this? Why should anyone go through this?

And please, please, please do not initiate a conversation with "why do black people always..." or bring up your views on immigration and the need for all of these Latinos to get out of the country or talk to me about Al, Jesse or some black chick that claimed to get raped by white lacrosse players at least a decade ago or why you believe the Zimmerman verdict was correct. 

What makes people think I want to talk about that?

Just Go AWAY!