What is Love?

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It is great that there is one day solely dedicated to the lovers out there, but it is important to keep love at the forefront of your mind as you engage in this battle called marriage. I say ‘battle’ because if you’ve been married long enough, you will know that there are wonderful ups and horrid downs on the train ride of love. Love is an action and not just a bubbly feeling in the pit of your tummy. Love is being kind to your husband even when you don’t feel like it.. Love entails staying up late to reconcile your differences even when it will be easier to just go to bed angry. Love is making sacrifices for one another, supporting each other’s farfetched dreams, being empathetic and protecting the other. Love will do crazy things like sneak around to create a romantic surprise or watch the dumbest show with your wife just because it makes her happy. Love is listening to the stories of your beloved, not because you find them interesting in the least, but because his eyes light up when he chronicles the details of his day.

Where do we get love from? What drives us to pursue this thing called love? What color is it? How can we make it grow? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that love pushes me to do better today than I did yesterday.

Happy Valentine’s Day boys and girls,

Swooning Thinking Momma

Why Do Little Girls Love Their Daddies?

imagesA303HNHKI have often heard that little girls love their daddies, but I never knew how true it was until I had a little girl of my own. You see, I grew up with both parents in the home and I was the youngest of three. I had two older brothers who really did adore our mom. I never really had a bond with my dad. He provided for me, did the best he could and was there for all my school plays and extracurricular activities, but I wouldn’t say that I was really attached to him. I was joint at the hip with my mom. Even till this day, I am my Mama’s baby. So I was highly skeptical when people told me that little girls grow up to love their daddies. I don’t hate my dad, I just am not that close to him.

But it is a different story in our house. My little soon-to-be two-year-old LOVES her daddy. I mean once he walks into the house, it is like I no longer exist. She gives him endless hugs, sloppy wet pecks, dances with him and is just all over him until bed time. I mean the man cannot even go to the bathroom without our Lady Hurricane bursting into tears and saying in that mousey voice, “Wait daddy!!” Don’t get me wrong, they have their squabbles. I mean they argue like cats and dogs. It’s the weirdest thing to behold-a grown man arguing with a strong-willed 1-year-old, but right after the arguing is over, out Little Lady Hurricane (as we call her), will say to him “I wadi daddy,” meaning, “I’m sorry Daddy” and will give him a soft kiss on the knee. You see she kisses him on the knee when she thinks he’s upset with her, but will plant a soft one on his face when she knows they are on good terms.

She knows she is the center of his world and she just can’t get enough of her daddy. She has many moments when she sits on his knee and commands him, “Look daddy!” This command means, “Daddy do not talk to anyone else, do not even look at anyone else. Just focus on me.” And if he looks at someone else, our Hurricane begins to squirm in anger. Where does this bond come from? Is it really true that little girls have a special attachment to their daddies? What’s your story of attachment with your dad?

Amazed Thinking Momma

Mommy Rage

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Ok, so maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but do other moms out there experience mommy rage? You know that thing that comes over your body and you flip out over stupid little things? Yesterday was the perfect day. I got back from work and all was well with the world. My kids were happy, there was no fighting or screaming going on, they ate their dinners happily and we were all able to make it to bed at a decent hour. Oh may I also add that I had the best muscle bending arm workout I’ve had ever? Let’s just say I was feeling so great. I went to bed feeling like a queen.

So today began and I was feeling good about my day, that is until for some weird reason I started running behind schedule and my son ran the risk of being tardy to school. Look, over my dead body will any child of mine be dropped off late by me. I just can’t do it, so every morning we have to hustle. I give myself an hour and twenty minutes to get my kids up and out of the door. I mean showers, teeth brushing, breakfast eating, packing of lunch, etc. It is all done within that time limit. I have my system and I am proud of it.

So tell me why my son (who is only 5) is dilly dallying at the breakfast table. He’s eating his pancakes slower than a snail on meds. Then I look to the floor and realize that half his food has not made it to his mouth. Boy oh boy, I started yelling like a crazy person. My son was looking at me like I was a lunatic, and my 1 year old just ignored me. Is it just me or do you flip over the littlest things some days? Be honest guys. It should be no surprise to me that my son is a messy eater, but why on earth did I flip this morning?

Well I felt like a loser driving him to school so I sheepishly apologized. I hate that I probably ruined his morning. I think he was still mad at me when he entered his class and I was secretly hoping he would tell his teacher that his mom has lost it. Do y’all think I’ve lost it? Be honest.

Slightly Demented Apologetic Thinking Momma

Family Feud

What happens when you have family members or people around you that just do not like you? What do you do next? In my mind, family is everything. One’s family supports you through the rough times, encourages you to keep going when you want to give up, and gives you a pat on the back when you do a good job. Family is defined by more than a bloodline. But what happens when you do not get validation, support and approval  from your own flesh and blood? The politically correct answer is FORGIVE!!! But being that I’m not very politically correct and I am also not saintly, my answer is: Get mad first, cool off second, then try to forgive third. I said try to forgive because forgiveness is a process. It can be a very frustrating thing when a family member just does not like you, or when someone who  is a friend turns out to be everything but a friend. I am filled with fresh anger every time someone shows me that their intentions for me are bad.

You see, my anger is very easily lit. The smallest thing can make me erupt, but after a short while, I come back to my senses and begin  to think calmly. This is phase two. After venting, yelling and saying “I don’t believe he or she could have done that to me,” then comes time to cool off. Focus your energy on something else. For me I try praying, watching TV, listening to music, talking to close friends and everything out there that can distract me. This is where reality TV soothes my soul. Don’t laugh at me.

Phase three is really the hardest. After I’ve cooled off, then comes the  difficult task of beginning to forgive. You see forgiveness is tough. Forgiveness to me means even if you try me again tomorrow, I will not respond to you harshly because I have chosen to understand that you just don’t like me, you never will like me and you are  not capable of anything good at the moment. When you understand the reason behind people’s actions then it becomes easier to forgive. Most people that hurt others are coming from a place of hurt. Now I am no fool. I will not willingly put myself in a situation where I would get hurt. If I know you do not like me, I will stay far far away from you. I am nobody’s hero. I said I was trying to forgive, not trying to be a martyr. One who hurts others has this mindset: “Because I am not happy with my life, I do not want you to be happy with your life, so I will make your life a living hell.” But no one can make your life hell except you allow it (at least from an emotional standpoint). Don’t let anyone take your happy away. So free yourself from the emotional chains. It could be a jerk of an ex-boyfriend, an annoying jealous friend, or even siblings that don’t like you and are holding you back. Stop letting people make you miserable. Choose to understand their point of view, set up high, tight boundaries, then go on and live a happy life. If you hold a grudge, it will eat away at your soul. Trust me, I’ve tried it, lived it, got the t-shirt, wore it and tried to sell it, and it isn’t cute.

So choose your path today my friends.

Forgiving Thinking Momma

Are we in 2014 or in the 1800’s?

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I just got back from work. I did not have the best of days, but yet, I trudged on. When I returned home, my kids’ nanny let me know that she had to leave the park yet again. A little background on us. My husband and I are Black Africans- Nigerians to be specific. When we were looking for a nanny, the only criteria we had was someone who had prior experience and someone who would be able to take care of our kids with love. Race was not an issue. I can give two flying petunias if our kids’ nanny is White, Black, Yellow, Purple or Teal. I REALLY DON’T CARE!!!!!!!!!! But this poor lady(our nanny) who is White and Mexican, but looks more White than Mexican is constantly being harassed and questioned when she takes our kids out and about our little neighborhood. Now my city is pretty mixed. I say we have a good mix of races and backgrounds. Actually almost everyone on my street is in an interracial marriage, so I assume the city is progressive. But it gets on my nerves and I feel really ashamed whenever our kids’ nanny comes home with a story about yet another Black woman walking up to her to question her about the kids she is watching. “Are they yours? So how long have you worked for their parents? Their mother is comfortable with you watching them? Do you watch them all the time? Do you plan to do something to her hair? Where are their parents from?” GET OVER IT!!! Yes our kids are Black Africans and their nanny is Hispanic/White. It’s really not a big deal. It is 2014 and I refuse to have my kids be scared of people of a different race. If she’s qualified to watch my kids, I will hire her in a heart beat regardless of her lack of Blackness.

Another thing that irks me is the issue of hair. White people let their kids run around all the time with their hair flowing down, so why is it that when my daughter walks around with an afro (the natural way her hair grows out of her scalp) Black women gasp and look at her like she’s dirty or malnourished? My daughter is a year old and she HATES getting her hair done. My daughter is also not a beauty queen, a model or any kind of brand ambassador. I refuse to sit my child between my legs and pull on her hair as she screams and snot runs down her nose. I am not a barbarian and I will not partake in such. I’m pretty sure that if she had a huge head of curls, Black women would think that letting her hair down was cute.  I refuse to have to brush and pull at my child’s hair on a daily basis. I wash her hair, put in all necessary hair products and I do what she lets me do to it. If during the week her hair gets “rough” I just let her be. She is a child and has nothing to prove. Her hair is always well moisturized might I add. Yes my daughter’s hair is not curly. Yes that is the hair God gave her. I will not burn her scalp with harmful relaxers and no I will not put a hot comb to her hair. SHE IS A YEAR OLD. So I suggest that if you are at the park one day and you see my daughter happily playing with her Hispanic/Mexican nanny with her non-curly afro, you keep moving or close your eyes if you do not like her hair texture. Let my child be a one year old, and let our nanny do her job. It is an absolute shame that one would think it is okay to walk up to a complete stranger and grill her about her job and a child’s hair.

GET OVER It!!!! I choose to raise my child to believe she is beautiful no matter what texture her hair is and no I will not pull my child’s hair out as she screams because society says that 1 year olds have to have relaxed or braided hair. I think she is gorgeous, so move over and let us be.

 

Irritated Thinking Momma

What’s in a Name?

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I got married pretty young. I was a bright eyed 22 year old with the world ahead of her. When I was younger, the culmination of a girl’s life was supposed to be that moment when she walked down the aisle and said, “I do.” I could never understand it. In fact many of my Nigerian colleagues would begin to panic at the age of  25 if they didn’t have a fiancé lurking nearby. I always knew I was expected to get married quickly, but even my parents did not see it coming when their baby girl got married at 22. I guess I jumped the gun. I often would fantasize about my wedding day. In fact, I went out and tried on wedding dresses way before I saw a noble man in sight. It’s not that  I was obsessed with the idea of marriage, I guess I was obsessed with the intricate details surrounding a wedding. I love love. And I love weddings more. I’m mushy and squishy on the inside. I once cried at the wedding of a total stranger- yes I know that’s weird- but the sight of two lovebirds willingly choosing to commit to one another for life just makes me lose it every time.

So imagine my shock when after my wedding, people started addressing me as Mrs. XYZ!! What!!?!!?!!?? All my life I’ve gone by a certain last name. I pride myself to be of my bloodline. I’m happy to be my father’s daughter. It’s not like we’re royalty or extra special, but my last name is who I am. I have written my last name on the page of my nursery school books. I signed my last name when I opened my very first bank account at the age of 17, and it was that last name that appeared on all my college transcripts. So  now I had to dump my identity? I had to drop who I am and create a new foreign being? That hit me like stinky skunk gas on a sunny day. Why do I have to change my name? Is it that serious? If I didn’t take on my husband’s last name would that mean I loved him less? I tell you, it was rough.

I also was nervous to keep my maiden name for I  come from traditional stock. I did not want my family asking me 65 million questions about why I decided to keep my maiden name, so I had the perfect compromise- A COMPOUND NAME! God bless whomever created that. I got to keep a part of me and take on a part of my new hubby. God bless hyphens in general. Although my name is now awkwardly long and impossible to pronounce, it feels and sounds just right to me. I mean I feel sorry for all the folks who attempt to pronounce my full name- 3 seriously African names in a row- (each one longer and more complex than the other might I add).

So my dear friends, why was it so hard for me to shed my maiden name? I’ve now been married for 5 years, and I am now reaching a point where if you call me “Mrs. XYZ,” I will not look at you like you’re crazy and it will click in my brain that you’re talking to me. I will actually turn around and reply. Why are names so hard to shed? If I have to give up my entire identity for my husband, what part of his identity does he have to give up? Am I crazy or does some woman out there feel my confusion? I love my husband. In fact, I’m probably borderline obsessed with the dude, but it was incredibly difficult to drop my name after 22 years of wearing it proudly.

Think about it. Add comments too 🙂

Confused Thinking Momma

Maintaining your love connection with your spouse

Remember when you first met your spouse? For many people it was love at first sight. Remember going out on dates with him/her and feeling all sorts of funny butterflies in your stomach? In my case, we were inseperable. All I ever wanted to do was to hang out with my then boyfriend (who is now my husband). It was like I could think of no one else. Why is it that after so many years of marriage, tons of couples seem to lose that butterfly feeling? It is probably safe to say that many couples do not feel the flutter in their stomachs when they see their beloved walk through the door after a long day at work. How do you go back to that puppy love feeling? Now, I have to say because you feel butterflies in your stomach and you cannot stop thinking about someone, does not actually mean you love them. I believe there is a difference between being in lust, being in love, and loving someone.

Lust is self explanatory. It is a superficial craving for someone. Lust will wear off quickly once the other person’s appearance or simple circumstances change. Being in love often entails liking someone and having this overhwelming feeling (or butterfly effect) when you see or think about the person. People can fall out of love as fast as they can fall in love. I think it is simply a temporary feeling. But real love does surpass everything else. Love is the action. It is wanting to stand by a person’s side even though they irritate the freaking crap out of you. It is wanting to call off work to tend to your feverish partner. It is knowing all their dirty little secrets (and filthy filthy habits) but still being able to overlook them. It is wanting to grow old and grey with this flawed annoying human being. It is wanting to share your secrets, wanting to forgive that person when he/she wrongs you and wanting to make it right when you know you are at fault. That my friends, is my definition of love.

Now every marriage needs a healthy dose of lust, being in love and of loving. But how do we get back to the butterfly effect? I think it is staying open with one another, making sure each person is getting exactly what he or she needs from the relationship and trying to figure out why you fell in love all those years ago. If we can keep those magical moments in mind at all times and remember what used to make our tummies turn and tickle, then we are set.  The magic can stay lit if we can continue to excite the other spiritually, intellectually and otherwise. The magic will grow when we continue to remember how to talk to the other with respect, kindness and overlook insignificant foolishness. I like to say, “Treat your husband like he is a man you are trying to date and treat your wife like a hot girl you are still trying to get.” This wonderful cat and mouse game should never end. Know each other’s  buttons and stay away from them. Go on adventures together, solve arguments as fast as possible. Apologise even if it means biting your tongue off. Make him smile for no reason at all. Buy her gifts and do cute things just because.

The bottom line is this. Love is an action and true love is hard work. You must fight each day to maintain the love. Nurture it like a plant. If you water it, it will grow and become fruitful. Now go out there and make your connection a lasting one.

Any thoughts?

Loving Thinking Momma

Happy New Year!!

It’s been two months since I have put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) on this blog. I have been busy as a bee. I’ve been swamped with work, busy with the kids and trying to spend more quality time with my hubby. I decided to take a break in December to just take stock of my life, reenergize and get back to my center. But now I’m recharged and back with a huge bang. Well Happy New Year to you all. I hope your 2014 will be filled with laughter, joy, fulfilled dreams and lots of success.

So what are your resolutions for the year? I often do not make any resolutions, but as I get older, I have decided that I need to be more organized and goal oriented. One way I can do this is by organizing all my hopes and dreams on one page. I set a challenge for my husband and I. Although he has yet to fulfill his end of the bargain, I’ve done mine. I wrote down all my goals for the year and divided them according into several categories. I find that writing resolutions this` way is less overwhelming for me.  I had spiritual goals, career goals, goals for my marriage, fitness goals and goals as a parent. I handwrote them on printer paper and pasted them on my closet door. When your goals are in front of your face on a daily basis, you will be more motivated to accomplish them. My goals were really simply written and specific. For example, one of my fitness goals is to work out 4 times a week. I plan to do 2 days of cardio and two days of strength. My goals were not too lofty because if they are too difficult, I will be too discouraged to even attempt them.

I need some encouragers. I started the year happy with a great outlook and I’m looking forward to achieving some big things. So dare to dream, dare to work hard. What is that thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been to scared to try? Come join me in the year of challenging yourself. I think a dream, a plan and hard work always equals success. My plan is to write down my dreams (check), make solid plans on how I intend to accomplish them (check), then take small steps daily to actually accomplish them.

Come join me. Happy New Year again boys and girls!!!!

Inspired Thinking Momma

P.S: One of my goals is to have weekly blog entries so look forward to many more ramblings from me.

Sibling Rivalry

When I was younger, I wondered why my mom yelled so much. I grew up with 2 older brothers and all we ever did as kids was hit one another, play pranks and yell. In public we were very well behaved but at home we were monsters. My poor working mother did everything she could to keep the home running smoothly, but we kiddos chose to run amuck all through the house, so our mom really had no choice but to yell a lot to keep us in line. Most times, I honestly just tuned her out and thought her yelling was hilarious. Flash forward 20 something years and now I am the screaming momma. My kids really love one another, but they have days wen they get on each other’s nerves and just can’t stop hitting each other. My son will lure his sister toward a  toy, and as soon as she comes closer, he takes the toy away and laughs. Of course this upsets his sister, who then proceeds to hit him as hard as she can. I spend days putting out fires and saying “Don’t hit each other!!!” Is it humanly possible to parent without yelling? The older my kids get the more yelling I do. I feel I just need to do it to keep them from killing each other. Is there anybody out there that has successfully raised kids without yelling? If so, please sell me your secrets.

Thinking Momma

Arguments With Your Spouse

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Anyone who has been married for longer than 2 years will tell you that marriage has its ups and downs. One day you can be happy and have butterflies in your stomach when you as much as hear the name of your spouse, and another day, you could be about ready to scream when your husband or wife walks into the room. I assure you that it is all natural. But how do you keep petty arguments and disagreements from escalating into a huge rift?

For me and my husband, the number one thing is to know the other. I am someone who likes to take time outs when I am angry or irritated. If my husband is saying something that is irritating to me in the moment, all I simply have to do is tell him that I need a time out and he understands that. If I do not take my time out, I will end up saying something that I will regret later on. I am a fan of keeping quiet if you have nothing nice to say.

Make yourself some simple rules of engagement. When you are in a happy lovey dovey mood, sit with your spouse and put down rules for fair fighting. Some people are irked when the other’s voice is raised, so say to your spouse, “No voice raising.” Some people hate when their spouse says or does something specific. Let your spouse know where your buttons are, so he or she will stay away from them. Your spouse is your ally, so you should not be stepping on his or her toes anyway.

It is ok to argue or disagree, but what is not okay, is when you hit below the belt. Know the topics that are off limits to your spouse, and stay away from them. For instance, if you are the primary breadwinner and your spouse feels sensitive about that because he or she has been job hunting for 6 months, then maybe it is a bad idea to use that against him or her during an argument.

Learn to let the past stay in the past. Don’t keep rehashing old wounds and arguments. During a specific argument, do not remind your husband about what he did 2 months ago. When one argument is over, make sure you have talked things out, aired out feelings in a constructive way and buried the topic. How would you like it if every time you did had a misstep, your spouse reminded you of past transgressions?

Remember your spouse is your friend. If you are constantly at each other’s throats and harboring resentment, then maybe this friendship will not stand. If you wish to have a successful marriage, then you might want to take your spouse’s feelings and point of view into consideration from time to time. Fight fairly. Actually I should say, do not aim to fight your spouse. Aim to resolve conflicts as soon as you can. Conflicts are a part of life, but how well you work together to resolve issues will go a long way in determining if your relationship sinks or floats.

Which one do you choose? Do you want a sinking marriage or a happy floating marriage? Think about it.

Floating Thinking Momma