Strong Women

Back to Reality – Post Election Reflection

Thanksgiving is over, and now it’s back to reality for most of us. Starbucks better be ready today!

I rarely share anything about my political views on social media, or in any setting outside of the confines of my personal circles for a number of reasons. One, being my job. I just can’t. I work in a position that somewhat reports to, connects with, and networks with elected officials. There will be no blue, red, green or whatever party colors displayed on any of my posts intentionally to support a political party. And, you will never get any rants about which side is better or about what crazy thing a politician said.

However, I will comment on the fact that history was close to being made this past election. A huge glass ceiling was about to be broken, and I was feeling all kinds of blessed to potentially see a woman make history. Side note: I feel this way about any woman who has broken a glass ceiling in any area of professional success (Shirley Chisolm, Patricia Roberts Harris, Patricia Roberts Harris, Madeleine Albright, Maya Angelou, Misty Copeland, etc.). Now, one glass ceiling was broken this year for sure! Hilary Clinton is the first female presidential nominee for a major United States political party. However, I think there were a number of women along with their friends, daughters, sisters, and moms hoping for the big win on election night.

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Our daughter looking on as I completed my ballot. The actual ballot is not in the picture. I don’t want no problems behind this innocent picture.

My husband and I took our daughter with us to vote, and in the back of my mind, I thought this is a moment I want to capture for her. I want her to look back and know that she was a part of this election, even though she was not the legal age to vote. I still feel this way, but my thoughts on why I felt this need so strongly are more clear post election hype.

Raising a girl today is a little different.Women are less focused on sitting still, legs closed, and being pretty. We are more focused on empowerment, equality in the workplace, equality in education, more opportunities in education with programs for girls focused on STEM courses, equal pay, and so many other things that move toward a more empowered woman no matter what her path in life is. Then, we want our girls to hold to some moral standard on top of all this. Knowing this, I really wanted my daughter to have a win like this one to reflect on in her future. Today, it seems that no matter how much more empowered we become as women, men seem to still dominate. Even in areas where women are dominate, such as non-profits, men seem to hold more leadership positions.

We can continue to empower our girls. However, the reality is that we only have a limited number of examples to show to our girls. I may be able to look up a Forbes list, but I doubt my daughter will know those names in our discussions later in life. Or, will she even be interested? And heck, will I even be an example to her or not?  I believe that more glass ceilings will continue to break. But, will it be enough for the generation of women coming up today? Will it be enough to shatter the thought that you can not have a family and successful career – one has to suffer? Will it be enough to shatter the stereotype of what a true leader looks like? Will it simply be enough to encourage our daughters to lean in, be present at the table, speak up, and all those other actionable phrases we use to coach women today?

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I wanted a win for my daughter. Honestly, I really needed a win myself. Women are making big moves everyday, and we may or may not hear about them. I’m hoping we start hearing and seeing more of those wins for women today, and the women of tomorrow. So, here we are, back to reality before the Christmas holiday. There is still time to make some moves before the year ends! You may not be running for president, but at least be running for something that makes you a better woman/role model. You never know who’s watching you break your own personal ceiling.

 

 

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Mom Shaming is Not Ok, Love and Support is

Special shout out to all the first time moms out there! Another special shout out to moms of multiple children that range in toddler years! Let me not forget the moms of multiples, triplets, quadruplets, etc.! Wait, l can’t forget the single moms! We also have to shout out those moms working to develop careers and maintain home! And, what about those moms who thought they were done parenting, but God decided to bless them with another little one – 10 to 15 years after their last child. The point is, the list can go on and on with the different lifestyles that a lot of moms are working within while trying to raise the next generation.

We all know this, and we are all aware of the fact that we are all working with different situations. So, where does the mom judgment and shaming come from? We are all doing the best we can out here, right? But, for some reason some moms feel the need to make comment on how other moms are out here just trying to survive! Trust me, I see you moms out there! I know some of you are really hanging on by that last chicken nugget your kid didn’t eat! And, I support you!

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There! I said it! I support you! How hard is it to show, in our actions and words, support? It isn’t very hard, but time after time we judge instead of supporting. I remember talking to another mom about my process for making our daughter’s food. And, as soon as I started going into detail about how I pick fresh organic veggies and fruits from the store to puree, the subtle eye roll happened. Now, I understand that it sounds so extreme to go through that process for some moms. I also understand that time is not on your side when you are doing this. I can recall the many nights up making food for our baby, and wishing I could let go of the need I felt to make our little one’s food. Reality took care of that for me. I took a more demanding job, and the days/nights of making fresh pureed foods went out the door. I settled for the best organic brands I could buy. Then, I settled on the best rated brands organic or not. Now, I am thankful if she decides she likes chicken enough to eat some frozen Tyson Anytizer’s. Don’t judge, Tyson does wonderful things with chicken. And, Publix is always making my life so easy with the buy one get one on Tyson and Purdue products. But, back to the eye roll. My dialogue about my process for Leyah was in no way a jab or dig at the other mom. The reality was that I was tired as all get out doing all that I was doing – working full time, and caring for our home. If she had even given me the chance to finish talking before her eye roll, I would have went on to ask her about what she does to make sure her family is fed. And, I would have gladly welcomed some new suggestions. You see, I am a first time mom. We all know that first time moms do the most. It’s only because we think we have to, and because the judgement is real. I didn’t need an eye roll that day. I needed some support, and I needed a mom secure enough in her parenting skills to say, it’s ok.

Support means saying, “it’s ok.” Those words mean so much to a mom who is suffering from whatever unrealistic expectations that some magazine or baby expert site have put in her head as the only way to ensure your child is perfect in every way. It’s easy to judge, but hard to accept. You see, saying, “it’s ok,” means that we accept whatever is being said or done. It’s ok, means that I may not carry my infant in a Moby wrap, but I accept and appreciate the moms that do. Those children may grow up to be the true lovers and peacemakers of the world. It’s ok, means that I may not let my child cry it out, but I accept the mom who does.

Truth is, every mom needs to hear “it’s ok,” you’re awesome,” you are enough,” you’re doing a great job,” and any other supportive phrase you can think of. Even if we don’t all agree on the how, we all agree on the outcome. The only outcome most of us are expecting is that our children feel loved. It’s ok to show love in different ways, and it’s ok if we don’t all agree, but it’s not ok to shame another mom for simply trying to love the best way she knows how.  Next time you talk to that new mom, check yourself. Are your words, tone, and body language supportive; or are you passing judgement?

I got the inspiration for this post from a post from Parents Magazine (Found Here). I will leave you all with this wonderful video from Similac. Please watch it until the end. It will not be a waste of time.

Working It Out

Women have a built in ability to simply work things out. No matter how many hours are in a day, or how few resources are available, we seem to just work it out. So, I’m sure any woman can understand my frustration with not being able to simply… work out. Seriously, I have been a human yo-yo with my weight, eating habits, and workout discipline the last few months. The struggle is all too real!

I had begun to doubt my ability to be the strong woman I usually know myself to be. Standing in the mirror saying – “You are wonderfully and beautifully made in His image. You can accomplish and achieve all things, because your strength comes from above” – was no longer holding the same uplifting and motivational boost it once held before. My faith hadn’t changed, but my faith in myself and my ability to push through had definitely changed. Truthfully, I thought it was gone. I wasn’t able to find the motivation to do workouts at 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm like I had done so long ago.

*side note: yes, I say the statement above to myself almost every morning!

The reality is that life has changed for me. We never really think about how external changes effect everything going on inside. I was trying to work out and navigate life like I did years ago. That makes no sense, right? But, it made sense to me when I became frustrated about things not being as easy as before. Of course I could work out at 9 or 10 pm before… I wasn’t a wife and I didn’t have a little one who fights her 8:30 pm bedtime well until after 9:00 pm. I didn’t have the same responsibilities. My job did not demand extra hours of work outside of the traditional 9:00 to 5:00. Things have changed, and the reality is that I will probably never go back to the days of extreme workouts at all times in the night. But, that doesn’t change this one fact: I was not happy with where I was with my body.

Here’s the mantra, “I can and will change the things I can change.” There are so many things that I am not in control of, but these things… what I put in my mouth & how I treat my body… are things I have control of. Though I may not go hard in the gym daily, I do make sure I get some cardio in at least 3 to 4 times a week. If you are a curvy girl, I recommend getting some great workout gear that won’t have your thighs on fire. Recently, I invested in a couple of items from Lane Bryant’s Livi Active line. The signature stretch active knee shorts have been great! I hate that I always have to find some leggings or some biker shorts to wear under my traditional work out shorts to keep my thighs from chaffing and hurting after a jog. Plus, it’s hot outside! Who wants to workout in 90 degree plus weather in leggings?

My frustration has become a form of some acceptance. I accept that things in my life have changed for the good, and that means making decisions that work for me at this stage in my life. My time is limited, and if my workout happens while playing with my little one, it’s a win for the family. I may not burn 800+ calories, but I am being active and spending time with my family. My choices revolve around a greater goal than simply looking a certain way. My choices revolve around my happiness and the happiness of my two loves. I may not be happy with my body, but I’m happy with the choices I’m making to change it now. The results will not be as fast, but the results will be there when they come. I’m working it out for the season my life is in now.

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 LB Livi Active Knee Shorts – Get Them Here

Photo cred: My hubby – TJ Glenn @Goodfella_t1k

You’re Gonna Be Great… Hopefully…

I really wanted to have an excuse for a shopping trip this weekend. But, I kept reading and seeing everything under the sun that had to do with family, working moms, becoming a parent, and all those other things that give you warm fuzzy feelings inside – and bring life into prospective. I do not have a clear perspective on life, but I do know that becoming a parent really forces a person to figure out what is really important and what is not. Number One: The child is always the most important! Sounds crazy, because we read and see tons of articles and videos that say take care of you, the marriage, your health, your career, etc. Those things are not wrong. You truly have to take care of you to be the best parent to your child.

I saw a post on LinkedIn by Betty Liu, News Anchor – Bloomberg Television. She wrote about what helps her be a “happy, balanced working mother.” I have read this article at least 5 times since Friday. I keep reading it, because of this one line: “I have near zero guilt about being a working mom.” It just baffled me that someone actually put it out there for people to see. Then, I realized, I totally feel her on this! I wanted to just give Betty the hands raised in celebration emoji x5! If you just saw the sentence without the rest of the article, it may seem so harsh. But, read the entire post, and then you’ll get it (This Crazy Thing Helps Me Be a Happy, Balanced Working Mother)!

I was so ready to get back to work after having our daughter, I was almost ready to run back to work! I even got the, “we weren’t expecting you back for like a few weeks,” from a person at our corporate office. The best me, was and is a career driven me. If I’m not working on something, I kind of feel lost. I’ve since changed jobs, and moved into a role that requires more leadership, more time, and is overall ten times more demanding. And, I did it knowing full well that maybe our future will hold the opportunity for another little one. *gasp! I’m sure there are women that try to plan their careers around their family planning, and sometimes that just can’t be done. We plan, and God is like: “No, I totally have something better for you. But, while it’s happening, you won’t think it was better. But, in the end, you’ll see! Thank me later!”

I am not saying I never have any guilt, but I don’t feel like I have the same amount that I hear women talk about. I love my munchkin, and wouldn’t trade her for anything. She’s really too little to understand now, but as she grows, I do want to explain to her why mommy works. I hope that she feels empowered, and knows the importance of working hard to achieve whatever success she is working toward. I hope that as she grows, she sees that you can truly have the best of both worlds. Sure, there are and will be compromises. But, if you are sure of what you are doing, and are happy in your choices, you will not be left with a feeling of guilt or anxiousness at the end of the day. Side note: acceptance of what is, is a good meditation mantra. If you don’t meditate, try it!

I’m truly grateful. I am grateful that I do have a wealth of resources around me, which make it easier to try to take on the world (my little world). I have a husband who is loving and supportive. We are both just trying to figure it out, and trying to be the best parents we can be. We both have dreams and professional goals. Our baby girl has not one, but two, sets of grandparents within a 15 mile radius. We operate on a schedule. Naps and bedtime are routine. I have learned to relax, and I know for sure that what I do maybe the best to someone, and the worst to someone else – as said in the video in this blog. As with this post, it maybe the best to some and the worst to others. But, I just hope that it puts a working mom’s mind at ease.

Spring Time Blues

I have been meaning to get back to blogging. I think my weekend a couple of weeks ago really made it impossible to not blog about some nice little go to items I have in my closet.

I did not get a chance to post my outfit for Friday night. Only because I didn’t make it to my friends gathering in time! I know, I know… horrible. But, in my defense, it ended earlier than expected. So, I did what any woman would do when an outfit doesn’t get seen. I put it on Saturday night for fun with family!


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I got this skirt from Forever 21 over a year ago, and it has been a go to ever since! It’s so comfortable, and it isn’t too long or too short. If Forever 21 can bring this back, I’m sure I’ll be the first to buy it again in every available color! So, since the skirt is no longer available, you can try the Knit Bandage Skirt – Forever 21 now available. It comes in blue, and looks just as cute! Plus, if you are on a budget, It’s only $9.90!

The tanks I have on are from Old Navy. Nothing special, just your average comfortable fitted tank. I have on a black one under the striped black and white tank. I just hate for my bra to show too much. So, wearing a black tank under the striped one helped to hide my black bra straps some.

I honestly think this will be my go to causal look for the summer. A nice fitted tank, body con skirt, a couple of cute jumpsuits, and a few maxi dresses. Those are the items I know I need in my closet in plenty for Spring and Summer.

The weekend didn’t stop there, and I’m so thankful I have friends that are constantly doing things in their communities. If it were not for my over achieving friends, I wouldn’t get invited to events like Salon De The’. I can’t speak one word of french, but I was definitely excited to support a Wesleyan sister and friend. I got a number of compliments on my blue dress. Honestly, this dress was just a very simple pick! I have really been living in a simplicity is best type of world lately. I pick items that go on easy, allow plenty of movement (remember I have a toddler now), and can transition from work to play with simple changes. This dress does exactly that!

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Salon De The - Shanita and I

Salon De The - Ny and I

I picked this little blue dress up at JC Penny for only $21.00 (JC Penny Sleeveless Shift Dress)! Yep, that is absolutely correct! The back exposes the zipper, and looks great! Check out the link to the dress on JC Penny’s website to see! It only goes up to XL, but the dress gives. So, don’t doubt it before trying it on, if you have some extra curves.

I’m pretty sure everyone will be doing some variations of bright colors, prints, and whites. But, I think blue has chosen me for the spring and summer months!

Talks for Our Baby Girl: Be Who You Are at Your Core (Fruits of the Spirit)

There was a point in my life where I became overly concerned with how I came across to other people. I slowly started to adjust my responses to make sure I was not offending. I started over thinking every single word that came out of my mouth to people that really needed no justification of my actions or my life. My life became more difficult, because I was trying to make life less difficult for everyone else. That makes no sense, right? But, who wants to be called mean when you are just straight forward? Who wants to be labeled as difficult, when you simply question the laws that need to be put to the test every now and then? Who wants to be called something that they know they aren’t? I don’t think anyone does, but it will happen. So, when I talk to my daughter later on in life, I imagine I would say something like this:

Everyone forms their own opinion of you whether it is right or wrong. Usually, it takes 30 seconds for someone to form an opinion about someone. It’s hard to agree with opinions, because there is no way we can truly know someone in 30 seconds. These are the opinions that are the hardest to change, and no matter what… that person will think what they think – and feel how they feel.
So, be grateful for the people that have known you for more than 30 seconds of your life; the ones who have seen you at your worst and at your best; the ones who know you at your core, and still love you. Everyone isn’t going to like you, and that is ok. So sleep at night knowing that you keep love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in your spirit to guide your actions daily (Galatians 5:22-23). Sleep knowing that every opinion formed about you is only a piece of you. That piece of you is miniscule compared to the seconds you will spend with the ones who will love you for who you are. I’m not certain who you will become baby girl, but when people tell me now that you are like your mommy, I smile and say a prayer. The smile is because I know you will be amazing at whatever path you take in life, and the prayer is that you seek out wisdom and hold tight to her. That wisdom will keep you from ever feeling doubt when someone calls you something that you know you are not. And, that wisdom will keep you from repeating your mommy’s mistakes. You will make your own mistakes in life. But, don’t ever let your mistakes be the ones you made because you acted in any other way than the way YOU would choose to act. Because, in the end, it’s only you who will have to live with the consequences or rewards of your actions. Don’t live a life of results that are all based on someone who has only known you for 30 seconds saying, “you’re mean.”

Our Daughter, Leyah, and Daddy.

Our Daughter, Leyah, and Daddy.