Always Remember, Never Forget.

One of my earliest childhood memories is my fourth birthday party. It was my very first sleepover and the theme was “flowers.” We didn’t have a lot of money at the time for decorations, so my mom drew all different kinds of flowers (daisies, roses, tulips etc.) on white poster boards and decorated our entire apartment with them hanging from the doorways and on the walls. She also baked me a cake. It was confetti flavored and had sprinkles with pink icing. I remember feeling so special and excited. Looking back, the entire day was simple, yet perfect. Twenty-six years later it still stands out to me not because of the amount of money that was spent or the level of theatrics that went down, but because of the way that my mom made me feel.

Those are the types of memories; or better yet feelings that I want to recreate for my son. He turned two on July 4th. We celebrated by taking a family trip to Sesame Place. It was just the three of us and Bub loved every moment. The entire car ride down his dad and I talked about the space that we were in two years ago when Bub was born and how far we’ve come since then. As many of you may know, when our son was born he was unexpectedly diagnosed with a life-long blood disorder called hemophilia. It was a very trying and scary time for us because we had absolutely no idea of how to deal with it or what the diagnosis meant. I remember staying up late at night worrying over whether or not my son would ever live a “normal” life. I would read countless forums and articles on the internet that were written by other parents whose children had the same exact diagnosis. I’d  then create the “worse case scenarios” in my head and convince myself that something terrible was bound to happen. It got so bad that some days I would physically become ill because the anxiety of not knowing what my son’s future held just became too much for me to bear.

If you would’ve told me two years ago that we would be where we are now, I’d have a hard time believing you. In his short life, Bub has been hospitalized more times than I’ve been in 30 years. His trials don’t outweigh his triumphs though. My baby is thriving. He is smart as a whip, a ball of energy, and the bravest, most adorable little boy that I have ever laid eyes on. I pray for a living and speak life and good will over my son daily. Someday all we’ll have left is memories. The reality is that my son has a challenging life ahead of him. I don’t want the tough memories to be the only ones that stand out. So, I’m determined to make the good ones count.

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Of course I LOVE My Baby… I Think?

More than half of my #MomsLikeHer tribe is composed of dope moms that I randomly connect with on social media. About two weeks ago, I came across Aysia’s Instagram page and immediately fell in love with her entire vibe! She’s a young mom of an adorable five-month-old son named Tate. She currently resides in Ohio and her lifestyle mommy blog Between the Gold has easily become one of my favorites!  I’m so excited to feature her as my latest #GuestBlogHER! This piece touches on postpartum bonding and why it’s OKAY and perfectly normal for some moms to not feel a ‘magical’ connection with their little ones right away. Check it out and don’t forget to follow and subscribe to her amazing blog, Between the Gold! #MomsLikeHer

I’m not the first person to be a mom. Duh of course Aysia.  But there are times you go through things as a mother and between the hustle and bustle of life and baby you forget that other moms (and sometimes dads too), are going through or have gone through the same situations.  From my last post I got a lot of feedback from other moms that said “me too”.  

  • I didn’t get the aha moment at my son’s birth: “me too”
  • I didn’t feel a rush of emotions when looking at him: “me too”
  • I didn’t have an immediate connection and it made me feel like a bad mom: “me too”

When I wrote the last post I was SURE I was going to get some negative feedback.  I was sure I would receive some rude, “why would she say she didn’t love her child”, comments.  But to my surprise I didn’t.  

See I loved my son.  I mean at least I knew I was supposed to love my son. He’s my flesh, he was growing inside of me and I was literally creating him. There’s an automatic kind of love that comes with that.  But I wasn’t sure if I LOVED my son.  

Throughout my pregnancy people touched my belly.  Asked to see my ultrasounds.  Asked questions from baby names, to gender, to birth plans- honestly, sometimes it felt like outsiders were more obsessed with my baby than me.  Don’t get me wrong I loved the doctor visits to hear his heart beat.  The flutters in my belly made me feel like there were butterflies all throughout my body.  Rubbing my belly, dressing my belly; it all was fun.  I LOVED being pregnant.  But did I LOVE my baby? 

Throughout my pregnancy I constantly questioned myself; “shouldn’t I feel something like magic?”, “Isn’t there supposed to be more to this whole pregnancy thing?”.  I would cry to his father numerous times asking “does it mean I’m going to be a bad mother because I don’t have this burning, all over, body tingling LOVE for him?”. And his answer was always the same, “It’ll come”.  And I convinced myself of the same thing.  The second that I laid eyes on that beautiful baby boy that had been brewing inside me, I was definitely going to feel that immediate love.  But I didn’t and for me, it didn’t happen that way. 

The moment they placed the incision and opened me up one thing was for sure, my life was changed forever.  They took Tate out, got him all cleaned up and brought him over for me to see.  This was it! The moment I was waiting for, the one where the love would just hit me like a ton of bricks.  But there was no change; no surge of love, no increase in heart rate, I don’t even think I cried. 

They stitched me all up and rolled me into the recovery room.  I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to be present and spend time with my family but I was so drugged what I really wanted to do was sleep.  Once up on the labor and delivery floor I was definitely in awe with the baby.  I couldn’t believe my body had made something so amazing and pure.  But yet again I felt the question lingering, do I LOVE him?

About a month later we were back in Delaware visiting my parents and I remember a conversation me and my brother had. 

He asked: “So are you like obsessed with him?”.  

I responded: “I mean not really.  I just love cuddling him.  I like feeding him and just holding his hand while I do.  I like to kiss his cheeks a lot.  I stare at him when he’s sleep and just can’t seem to look away. It’s just really cool”.  

His response: “That kind of sounds like obsession to me”.

And finally it hit me. He was right. 

I obsessively LOVED this baby. 

There was this little creature in front of me, so meek and innocent, and I was completely obsessed with him.  

There was no ONE MOMENT that caused this love.  No “magical look” that captured my heart.  But instead there were all these little moments into one. 

Moms you love that baby.  Even when you think you don’t, when you question your bond or connection, or even when your staring at this new squishy thing they put in your arms thinking what do I do with it. Your love for that baby knows no bounds. So throughout his life forget trying to look for special little moments and just embrace all the funny, sweet and loving moments as one. 

Trust me, that’s LOVE. 

 

To learn more about Aysia and her beautiful family, please visit her lifestyle mommy blog: Between the Gold. If you are interested in being featured, please send all submissions to momslikeher@gmail.com. Entry must be 1000 words or less. Thank you.

Family Matters.

I’m thirty years old and still going through growing pains. Go figure.

The first blog that I ever posted was about my personal experience with co-parenting. At the time, my child’s father and I were not equipped with the tools to navigate a healthy romantic relationship; much less a successful co-parenting one.

We butted heads quite often because there was so much discord and misplaced emotions between us. We never really dealt with the negative feelings associated with our breakup and as a result, that toxic energy began to spill onto our child.

That wasn’t ok.

Bub’s dad and I both came from a place of brokenness. You can’t be broken and try to raise a whole child. Unfortunately, generational curses played a big part in our self-destruction. The cycle of verbally abusive behavior, addictions, ignorance and weaknesses was never destroyed and instead began to manifest through both of our actions. No matter how we tried to justify it, we had to hold ourselves accountable for the damage that we were inflicting not only on each other, but on our child as well.

The mutual love that we shared for our son made us want to get it right. His childhood doesn’t get a do-over and we didn’t want him going through life bearing any unnecessary burdens due to his parents not being able to pull their shit together.

We both had to do some soul searching and allow ourselves to become vulnerable. We had an honest conversation with one another and realized that although we still loved each other and wanted to be together…we didn’t necessarily like each other. We also had to accept the fact that in order to grow together, we both required time apart. It was the only way that we could begin the healing process. Living our lives without each other allowed us to work on ourselves and made us both see that even though we were fully capable of thriving independently, we’d much rather do it as a couple.

Once all of this was brought to the forefront, the next step for us was relationship counseling. I’m so grateful that we made the decision to talk to a Christian therapist about our problems rather than opting to continue drowning in dysfunction. Counseling has helped us a lot. When two people come into a relationship with completely different backgrounds and world views, there’s bound to be conflict; especially when raising a child is added to the equation.  Not only were we on two separate pages, but we weren’t even speaking the same language.

No home built on a shaky foundation has a solid future and honestly, ours was some shit. Our communication skills sucked. I personally had to learn that my son’s dad was not my enemy. Often, when there’s a conflict, disagreement or misunderstanding, it’s so easy to be combative and derail from the main point. Instead of staying focused and addressing the problem, anger is usually placed on the individual. Our counselor reminded us that love is not self-serving. At the end of the day, it should always be a “me and you vs. the problem” situation and not a “me vs. you” battle. In order for us to work, we both have to be equally yoked not only as partners but also as parents.

Of course, this journey is not easy. It’s difficult for me to blog about something so publicly, when I’m still trying to process it privately. More often than not, I tend to tread the thin line between transparency and oversharing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s possible to remain authentic while still maintaining a sense of privacy. I’m in no place to offer advice, but hopefully by me speaking my truth, it will resonate with someone else who may be struggling with some the same feelings.

Parenthood is challenging. It’s a roller coaster full of ups and downs, highs and lows and this is just a part of our ride. Neither one of us are perfect and we’re bound to make some mistakes but when it comes to our family, we’re determined to make it work. To be continued…

To Sum it All Up: Six Random Thoughts on My Vacation to Puerto Rico.

Back to reality. From my very first girls trip since becoming a mom. I spent five kid free days in Puerto Rico. You want to know what’s on my mind? Well, lots of things:

1.) I’m more awkward than sexy. I tried my hardest to look cute in a hammock and damn near flipped the shit over. Modeling is not my forte. I’ll stick to writing. Also, posing in a hammock is hard AF. But at least my fresh bikini wax got some shine.

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2.) I hate when people say that you don’t need alcohol to have fun. You don’t need running shoes to run but it freaking helps. I lived off of margaritas, mimosas and tacos for five days and it felt wonderful.

3.) The best times are had when you step outside of your comfort zone. Seriously. I wore a sexy bathing suit in public that showed off my stretchmarks AND I went ATV riding. You know how many fucks were given? ZERO. You know why? Because thick thighs save lives and driving recklessly without a baby strapped to your back seat is actually fun! (who knew?!)

4.) Bargain shopping is my thing. My entire wardrobe was composed of pieces that were on sale at Target, Marshall’s, Amazon and clothes that were already in my closet. I spent less than $200 and found some really cute items! Clearance Racks FTW!

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5.) I’m an extroverted introvert. For me, girls trips (really group trips in general) are fun for like the first two days. After that I’d much rather go off exploring and do my own thing. (I caught a lot of flack for that because I kept disappearing!)

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6.) Mommy guilt is inevitable; but I didn’t let it consume me. Of course, I missed my kid; but for the past two years you know what else I’ve missed? Being selfish, sleeping in late, having the whole bed to myself, drinking alcohol whenever tf I felt like it, not having to share my food, doing ratchet shit with my friends, being a carefree black girl, LIVING. So yeah, I caught up on all of that.

Dear Mama.

Dear Mama,

I never intended for #MomsLikeHer to become a ‘thing.’ I honestly created it as a personal outlet for me to unapologetically fan out as a new parent. When my son was first born, I was so obsessed that I would literally post pictures of him almost every day. Along with the pictures would be a daily update; “Bub had peas for the first time today!” “Bub went on his first field trip to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday!” “Omg yall, Bub has three and a half teeth!”

It got to the point where I started to feel like I was becoming the “annoying mom” that documented her kid’s entire life on her timeline. Even though I felt this way, I knew that I didn’t plan on letting up anytime soon. Shit, I went through hell and highwater for my son to get here so in my eyes, his entire existence was praise worthy.

I figured that instead of bombarding my random mix of followers with pics of my kid everyday; I’d create a separate tribe that would be specifically tailored towards moms like me. Moms who were slightly obsessed with their kids, moms who overshared maybe a little too much, angel moms of rainbow babies, warrior mamas fighting for their children, young moms, millennial moms, black moms who just wanted to spread their magic, mompreneurs, 9-5 mommies, woke mamas, tired mamas, heartbroken mothers, single moms, married mamas, baby mamas, future mommies and any other woman that was going and growing through a stage in her life.

If you follow my blog, then I want you to be able to relate to my stories, my struggles, my triumphs and my journey. If you’ve shared on my blog, then I pray that I’ve created a space that made you feel comfortable enough to be transparent, honest and freaking human.

To be honest, motherhood is the single most beautiful yet emotionally fucked up journey that I’ve experienced in my entire life. I had to find a way to document it somehow, and this made on hell of an outlet.

So yeah, I never really intended for #MomsLikeHer to become a thing. But thank God that it did. Thank you for sharing your journey and thank you for following mine. Happy Mother’s Day mama. Thank God for moms like you.

 

Xo,

Jo

New Mattress, Who Dis?

Disclosure: The links throughout this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product or subscribe through an affiliate link, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog running and OCCASIONALLY pays for a manicure! THOUGHTS, OPINIONS AND REVIEWS ARE 100% MY OWN. Thank you for your support!

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I am a complete Amazon junkie! I order any and everything from there and the convenience of Amazon Prime just makes my life ten times easier.

With Mother’s Day being this weekend, I decided to do something nice for myself and invest in a new mattress (I know… such a “mom” purchase but it was long overdue lol.) Anyway, after doing some research and reading tons of reviews I settled on this one! It’s manufactured by Roundhill Furniture and is a queen-sized pocket spring mattress. This was my first time ordering a mattress from Amazon, so I’ll admit that I was a little nervous. This afternoon it arrived on my doorstep in a narrow, compressed box and it made me even more skeptical; (like how the hell did it fit in there?!) but once I opened it up and removed the plastic, I was pleasantly surprised! The mattress actually began to expand to a normal, queen sized mattress right before my eyes.


Not only is it thick; but it’s also super soft, firm on my back, comfortable and under $200! Last but certainly not least, it’s Bub approved!


In addition to the mattress I also ordered a mattress protector because I’m smart lol! Over the course of the past year my son had managed to waste multiple bottles of milk, vomit and most recently pee (the joys of toddlerhood!) all over my old mattress, so I definitely learned my lesson. I chose this one sold by LinenSpa because it was waterproof, dust mite proof, bed bug proof, hypoallergenic. I really like it because it isn’t your typical mattress cover that goes on like a fitted sheet. It actually encases you entire mattress like a pillowcase and for $25, you can’t beat that bargain!

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All in all, I’m more than happy with both of my purchases. If you’re someone like me who is ballin on a budget but needs a new mattress and accessories, then I definitely recommend giving them both try! If you decide to, leave a comment below! I’d love to read your reviews!

Don’t Talk About The Baby.

So, about a month and a half ago, I shared with you guys that I had been tapped to participate in an independent documentary that explored the culture of shame and silence surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility. The film’s title is “Don’t Talk About the Baby” and it’s scheduled to be released this summer. During my interview portion, I shared the story of losing my son, Bryant.

As many of you know, (and may have read; see: Dear Bryant.) I’m very open about that experience and how it has shaped my entire motherhood journey. One of the many reasons I decided to create #MomsLikeHer was to provide a platform for moms like me to share their stories, no matter how difficult or painful they may be. Speaking about what I’ve gone through has been very therapeutic to me. It’s also allowed me to connect with other women who have endured the same or similar tragedies.

I’m a behind the scenes type of girl so I was very nervous during my interview. However, the directors were amazing and made the entire process comfortable. I didn’t feel awkward at all; which is very rare for me lol. In the end, I’m so glad that I said yes to being a part of something so important to the culture of motherhood. Often, I feel as though angel mommies are sometimes forgotten. My goal is to always represent and give us a voice.

When I lost Bryant, I vowed to honor his memory by sharing his story and speaking his name as much as possible. That was three years ago; and I’m doing my best to keep that promise. So, without further ado; here’s my story… #MomsLikeHer

 

“Don’t Talk About the Baby” is an independent documentary produced by Clever Gretel Productions. For more information on the film, please visit http://www.donttalkaboutthebaby.com.