Hurt People, Hurt People

My grandma popped my baby. That’s it, that’s the story.

My grandmother popped my baby & I LOST! MY! SHIT! I couldn’t see past my triggers and I lost it! The helpless and scared kid in me jumped out and was front and center to defend my child; cause if I say “don’t hit my baby” that’s what I mean.

Here’s the thing though- while asserting boundaries and breaking curses you have to be considerate. Insane concept right? I have to be considerate of people who want to, or could potentially, harm my baby? You must be crazy! Except, it’s not that crazy of a concept. I have to remind myself that while this is the right journey for us, it is also a very new one.

My grandma popped my baby and I LOST! MY! SHIT!

I still can’t believe it almost a month later. I blacked out on my grandma over my child! (Sidenote: I’ll do it again, to anybody, bout my baby’s boundaries and body!) After the fact, I cried. I cried so hard 1: because “WTF I just spazzed on my grandma???” 2: because I was triggered and seeing red and 3: because “GOT DAMMIT how hard is it to not hit a baby?! MY baby at that??” I felt bad but I had to prove to my daughter that I will ALWAYS go up for her and that nobody and no thing can shake that or change that… right?

In defending my baby, my actions, and my inner child I made my grandmother cry; and that’s not a soft lady, ok! I was hurting so I reverted back to the very behaviors I’ve been trying to run from and unlearn- yelling, cussing, crying to guilt trip. How can I model “connection before correction” if my go-to in adult interactions is flying off the handle? I cried and realized I had the tools to make this right. If I want to stick to this positive discipline thing I can’t just reserve the tools for children- my child. So, I cried until I fell asleep and I woke up ready to apologize. I’m not used to apologizing, or apologies, after a lash out. I have something to prove, though. So I apologized. I did exactly what I would do to Bean, to my grandma; eye contact, nervous laughter (cause that’s my thing), and I apologized. I can’t break curses and shake up the violent lineage without offering grace to everyone around me and starting at the top of the line. So I apologized. I gave my grandma a hug and bellowed the biggest, most sincere “sorry” I had and I made sure my child saw it; because hurt people, hurt people but healed people heal nations.

I‘m trying to heal nations and generations. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it starts at home. Literally. This is your reminder that it’s never too late to start healing; you just have to be consistent. If you’re ready to make a shift in the atmosphere (Gospel geeks, where u at?), join me in my upcoming 6 week “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” Positive Discipline course. Sign up below for more information!

If Yo Girl Only Knew

I wish I knew that:

1: Every day will not be sunshine & rainbows. In fact, you might outright hate motherhood and that’s okay!

2: There is no smooth transition from woman to mom. And it sucks.

3: Self-care is no longer easy.

4: This is your journey and yours alone. YOU are the mother.

5: Spending time with JUST your baby is important. Seriously.

6: You are not bitter for being heartbroken, disappointed, or saddened by the way your child’s father treated you. You have every right to feel those feelings.

I wish I knew that. I’ve been sitting on this post for months. I like reminding myself of what was and what could’ve been. I keep having to remind myself of what was and what could be.

I coulda been a hairstylist, working all kinda hours in all kinda places, for whatever price I deemed reasonable. I can still be one. I coulda been a bottle girl, in college classes, all in the clubs having fun. I can still have fun and go to college. I coulda been an influencer- a “IG baddie”- linking up with anybody my daddy (& beauty!) could’ve connected me; taking trips, doing whatever I wanted. I can still leverage my beauty and my connections and “get to a bag” through Instagram. I just gotta do it with a baby on my hip.

I’ve been mourning “me” so much this past year but how dare I? Seriously. How dare I miss the young carefree girl who was just waking up and going? Why would I wanna be her ever again? (Hint: ’cause that carefree sh!t is FUN!!) I’ve really had to sit and grapple with the fact that I’m never going to be the me that I thought I was, and was going to be. That that’s okay and that this new me is someone I can love AND like, too. I wish somebody would’ve gave it to me straight- “you’re growing your own new life, too, not just that baby’s. Your birth is not just your baby’s; it’s yours too.” I don’t even know if I would’ve listened, but it would’ve been something nice to remember hearing. Your birth is not just your baby’s; it’s yours too. When you birth that baby, you’re birthing a new you. A you you may not like at first. A you you have to relearn and rediscover; somebody who might not like what you used to like and might like what you used to hate. You’re birthing and creating a new you. Own that shit! Walk in it. Dig your heels into this upgraded version of you and embrace her. Find what she likes and fall in love with yourself again. Own! That! Shit!

Why Not Play?

My mom is always telling me I need to “work on my poker face so Bean doesn’t think everything is funny.” Well, here’s the thing, everything IS funny- to me, at least. I literally get through my days by laughing and playing.

I need laughter. I need humor and good times and foolishness and fun in my day to day. I tried to work on my poker face but for what? Why can’t I laugh when my baby is doing something funny and silly? Who says it’s bad to laugh while also setting boundaries and being “firm”? Will Bean take everything for a joke or will she one day learn to assert herself and boundaries, even in fun moments?

Yes, she will, actually think everything is funny AND she will be disciplined! Go figure.

There is a parenting approach called “play-based parenting” and it generally follows the child’s lead; allowing them to create and solve problems for themselves while strengthening their emotional and social development. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “not another one of those parenting styles! That’s that new-age parenting!!” But it’s not! Play-based parenting directly aligns with the Montessori lifestyle and Positive Discipline. NAEYC says “rough and tumble play—has been shown to promote early brain development.” There is a method to childcare centers’ “madness” and their love of play centers, after all. Playing helps children learn emotional regulation, social skills, social cues, problem-solving, and conflict resolution-among other things. Play-based parenting, or just playtime with a caregiver involved, teaches children that they are fun to be around and fun to engage with. It builds emotional intelligence and boundaries. Fifteen minutes of play is really all you need to create lasting memories and help build your child’s brain better than any book ever could!

So I said all that to say: Sorry mom, I’m actually not going to work on my poker face! I’m going to keep laughing my way through my frustration and turning on my most goofy face when I need to power through a tantrum; because my baby needs it and I need it. In Sunday’s post (and all weekend on Instagram *wink wink*) I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ways to play with Bean and how I “laugh through our loco”! See you there and remember to keep on laughing!

P.S. Check out the links below for some articles to support play-based learning!

https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-things-every-parent-play

https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/may2017/case-brain-science-guided-play

Hide Me Mommy

Warning: this will be kind of long. I’m not apologizing.

It is 5 am, I’ve had no sleep, and I’ve decided that sharing Bean with the public IS actually anxiety inducing and not something I’m 100% comfortable with. If you’re reading this and wondering if that means you need permission to share her going forward, yes. Yes you do; whether it be from me or her in the future.

I battled with myself and the idea of sharing her my entire pregnancy. How can I teach her consent while sharing nearly every part of her life with strangers? My mind took me in circles and constant loops until finally we settled into the idea that “we” would not share her whole name or her entire birth details, her whole face, or her arrival into this world until it had been a couple days. I was okay with that and everybody else was, too. And then… I was no longer okay with that and it was time to either A: tell people what the new rules were or B: suck it up & power through-because I had a vision in mind. I went with B. I sucked it up and powered through unprovoked online harassment and hacked zoom calls; because I had a vision. I thought my story was bigger than that and that’s not where it was to end, so I kept on.

I swallowed the anxiety that came with her grandmas having Facebook albums dedicated to her and aunties posting her every time they got a new picture of her. I let it be okay- so much so that I even started a blog where SHE was the main focus. I let it be okay! And it was, it really really was… until it wasn’t. I argued with myself and I watched for the way my baby acted around cameras and she seemed ok with them? She started to notice herself in a selfie and SMILE!! She was alright with being on the camera! I was alright too, I thought. I kept doing the mom blogger thing and I was doing it WELL and it was all good; until I realized I was sharing the same pictures everywhere and to everyone. There were no “exclusive” photos to her dad or grandparents or aunts and uncles, no difference between Instagram & Twitter & Facebook. That seemed like a solid plan in my head. How could she be embarrassed or humiliated if only the same pictures are showing across the board? Then I was reminded how evil people on Twitter, especially, are when a “rapper” compared a young black girl to a corpse. I was gutted and triggered; sent back to that time that random white man clowned me, playing a baby shower game, and said something alluding to me eating shit. I was playing a traditional baby shower game. That was enough though; enough for me to stop and rethink everything. How could I put my daughter in harm’s way like that? How could I give someone the opportunity to EVER “drag” her like that? I can’t… so, I didn’t.

I got real cautious about what I posted and said to people. I combed my socials to make sure my baby was “cute”- as if that other child wasn’t. As if “cute” stopped wretched people from being wretched. I started seeing posts about “privacy before consent” and “ask your friends before you post their baby”; things that validated my feelings. Then I wondered if it was divine timing or me just seeing what I wanted to see, what I needed to see, to validate me. Was I really becoming a private person or was I letting social media and strangers get to me? Am I really protecting her or am I projecting onto her? Surely she won’t turn 18, or 10 or 11, and suddenly become embarrassed by all the cute moments I’ve shared of her. Surely her first successful sign language session won’t be a source of embarrassment and anxiety… But what if it is? How will I rectify that and give myself the grace necessary to go forth and heal her?! I’m struggling with all the “what ifs” and since she and I come first, I’m making an executive decision to “hide her from the world”. To wipe her digital footprint clean from here on out. Here’s to giving me peace of mind and her, some privacy and protection. The world is scary enough as is, the internet doesn’t need to be too.

I sincerely regret coming to this decision and feeling these feelings but if you take nothing else from this, take this: be kind to strangers. Watch what you say. Children are off limits, always, and you should be honored to even have access to people’s families in this day and age. Go touch some grass and be merry.