Chronicles of a Single Mom #16 – My Political Princess

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At some point the spirit of past feminists and political activists have taken over my 9-year-old’s body. She’s always felt some type of way about politics (blame her reporter mommy) but it seems to have come out even more so this presidential election.
Admittedly, my 9-year-old probably knows more about this upcoming presidential election, or the election process itself, than most adults my age. She’s often watched election outcomes, goes to the polling booth with me and has even watched her fair share of inaugurations.
However, this year something is different.
She seems to have channeled the spirits of Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer, Yuri Kochiyama and Septima Clark, using the experience and knowledge of all four to educate herself and others on the political candidates and their platforms with a little help from Zendaya and the Future President’s project.
I mean the girl is serious!!!
She even asked to go to kidsvoteforpresident.com so she could research the presidential candidates. She knows everything down to their grandchildren’s names and will gladly share this information with you. She pays attention to the Super PAC commercials that run every few minutes, knowing of course that they’re paid advertisements, but she also knows to look up the information to distinguish if it is indeed factual.
It’s nothing to catch her watching a debate, town hall or cable news network to try and catch up with someone on the campaign trail.
Of course she has determined who’d she like to see as the next president but I’ve also shared with her that it’s essentially every American citizen’s right to vote for whom they believe would do the best job running the country.
She’s cool with the whole process except for one thing.
As she was telling me who she’d vote for during KidsVote, I let her know that right now her vote would not be counted in the presidential election so stumping for a particular candidate in her group of friends would not benefit either party.
Why did I do that?!?!
Her immediate response was “What do you mean my vote doesn’t count?” The face she made was what you’d get if you’d told her that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny (Yes! They’re still real at my house!) was not real all at one time and in that order. For a minute I thought she’d cry or have the fleeting thought of slapping me for merely uttering those words.
After getting over her initial disgust, she politely informed me that things change and while she would vote for the candidate that she’d decided to go with, however, at some point someone needs to look at the voting laws that are in place.
“Why is that?” I asked her. Her response, which scared me a little, was that it was unfair for “politicians to make decisions for children without asking for their input. Yes, some people will come up with silly things like ice cream for lunch and unicorns on the playground but in order to have a successful world for us you have to ask us what makes us successful.”
As I’m picking my jaw off the floor, she crawls off my bed and heads out of my bedroom door. Before walking out, she throws back “that’s why when I’m President we’ll have a kid’s roundtable” and heads back to whatever episode that’s on Disney.
I don’t know whether to be extremely proud or extremely troubled for my fellow American citizens.
Just know that I did try early on to veto the ice-cream-for-any-meal-bill that may be introduced into law in 2041 from your Princess President.
Did I mention she’s heading to the state capitol on a field trip in November? I’m debating whether or not she needs to go with her very own special chaperone.
I’d hate for her to interrupt a session asking common sense questions. After all, she is my child.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #15 – Dear New Teacher

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A letter to my kid’s new teacher:

Dear New Teacher,

Welcome back to a school year that is destined to be filled with fun, appreciation and an overall awesome time.

Okay. Maybe I’m just describing the first day back to school for me after I dropped my fourth-grader off. I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that my fourth-grader will talk at times she isn’t supposed to, that the social lives of fourth-graders may derail your lessons plans and that it may get even harder for you to motivate yourself to get to school in the mornings than it is for me to get her there.

With all that in mind, know early on that I appreciate you taking on the not-so-quiet storm that is my child for a few hours.

I appreciate you not taking it out on the kids that you don’t get paid for the many roles you may play during the school year, including mediator, secret keeper, counselor, superhero and, at times, the villain.

I hope that you’re just as invested in my child’s future as I am. I’ve got to tell you; the price is pretty high after all this time. I do hear the future payouts are worth it, though.

It is my goal to help you as much as I can. While I may not be able (or want) to commit to every field trip, I’m sure we can work something out when it comes to snacks, Kleenex and class parties. Maybe a couple dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in exchange for skipping my name on the chaperone list a time or two. Or a nice Christmas gift for booking the free field trip instead of the $24 option.

Just something to think about.

For what it’s worth, I look forward to picking my kid up in the future and hearing about the awesome day she had and the many new things she learned. I look forward to hanging new art work around the house, posting academic achievement awards and covering up the calorie chart on the refrigerator with exemplary grades from tests and class assignments.

Most of all, I look forward to getting work done without being called every five minutes. Being able to accomplish more than half of my to-do list both effectively and efficiently.

I even look forward to taking some much-needed down time.

Or maybe even a nap.

Either way, I already appreciate all that you’ll do.

Thanks.

I’m Just Saying.

Finding myself… again

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Every few months I get this feeling of restlessness.
I feel as if I’ve fallen down on the job. The never-ending job of mom, journalist, sister, friend, daughter, professional, citizen and woman.
What qualification chart or performance review am I holding to feel that way? None, yet the feeling remains.
Whatever that reason is, it causes me to stop and take stock in all aspects of my life at that moment. Sometimes that’s a good thing (and a morale booster) and at times it causes me to face some ugly truths.
I’m sure that I’m not the only person who’s found themselves feeling this way. There are too many people getting paid off of self-help books for me to be the lone wolf in that forest.
As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate that period of time. I don’t feel worthless. I don’t feel as if I’m not useful.
Oddly, this time motivates me. It’s a challenge to be a better me. Or to at least try to be the best at whatever I happen to tackle that day.
That could be taking on two stories for publication and posting a blog or deciding to wrestle three loads of laundry, while making sure dinner’s cooked before the 6 p.m. PTA meeting.
It’s a push to pour my heart, soul and sometimes anger into whatever I’m doing.
Ultimately, it’s a sign of growth.
It shows me that I’m no longer content with being content. It shows the need for evolution. It shows the need to challenge myself mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally on a quarterly basis.
It shows that I still have the urge to learn, teach, explore and care about others.
Finally, it shows that this is not the end for me. Far from it, if I say so myself. I still have somewhere to go, something important to do, and someone important to say it to – whether they want to hear it or not.
My only problem is which challenge I’ll tackle first.
It wouldn’t be right to expend all of this awesomeness all at one time.
It just wouldn’t.
I have to learn to space the greatness out.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #14: Shhh! She’ll hear us eating!

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I CAN’T EAT!!
Seriously.
I’m sure that I can afford to miss a meal or two but first I have to actually have access to said meals. In order for that to happen my 9-year-old has to stop eating up all of the food.
She has become the human Hoover when it comes to my kitchen. I can go looking for something and it’s already gone.
The other day she ate two plates of breakfast. I mean toast, bacon, and grits. (She’s allergic to eggs.)
Count them. Two.
Did I mention that she doesn’t even weigh 60 pounds? Not at all.
However, she eats like she’s twice that size and it goes nowhere.
Truth moment: I would be jealous but the strain it’s putting on my purse is ridiculous.
She’s so bad that the sound and smell of food being cooked brings her into the kitchen to investigate. I don’t care if she’s sleep, playing with her dolls or watching television.
I literally poured myself a bowl of cereal in the laundry room the other morning in an attempt for her not to hear me.
Only to open the door and find her standing in the kitchen, in her pajamas, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.
Yep.
It’s that serious.
So I’ve calculated that in 18 days she will be back at school where she can eat breakfast and lunch there. Which gives my purse and my stove a break from overuse.
If not, she’ll be looking for job applications to feed her growing appetite. Or she’ll be eating me out of house and home. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to the latter.
I’m Just Saying.

Chronicles of a Single Mom #13: Kitchen Wars

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Help!

My child wants to invade my kitchen and I’m not ready.

Long gone are the days where she’d be satisfied to sit on the floor and play with pots and pans.

Long gone are the days where she’d play in her play kitchen and cook an entrée made out of red and yellow Play-Doh.

Long gone are the days where she’d be excited to play with her EZ Bake oven in anticipation of the sweet mini treats that would come out of the opposite end.

With those memories has gone the sense of security I felt allowing her to do these things rather than encroach on my domain.

Anyone who knows a good Southern woman (I say Southern but this could easily be any cook) will tell you that you don’t mess around in her kitchen.

It takes years to get our seasonings and cooking materials in the right place. A place where they’re organized and out of the way yet easily accessible. Easy enough to come in and fix a quick meal or a holiday dinner.

So now that I know I like my seasonings close to the stove, my little roommate would also like to try her hand at this thing called cooking.

Did I mention she’s 9?

She’s ambitious too. She doesn’t want to start off with making a sandwich or simply fixing a bowl of soup. That would be too easy. She’d prefer to fix four course meals for unauthorized (I haven’t approved any of these events) parties, teas and social gatherings. She even wants to plan the menu for Holiday dinners. One catch, she’s never turned on a stove.

Ever.

Lately, she’s begun asking to fix dinner one day of the week. She means business too because she makes out a grocery list from the recipe that she would like to make.

I’m torn between thinking I’m a great mom setting a great example for my kid and showing her a life skill that will come in handy for the rest of her life, or I’m simply enabling her by not allowing her to experiment in the kitchen and become more independent.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I need to call the insurance company to see how much it costs to cover all accidents that may occur during her learning curve.

Might even invite the agent over for soup and sandwiches.

I’m Just Saying.

Trump vs. Women: Who wins?

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We are in election season Ladies and Gentlemen and the claws are coming out.
I can’t help but notice the many Donald Trump 2016 bumper stickers and the “Make America Great Again” signs. Again I’m not against either the Republican or Democratic Party. This is just about the individual himself.
Now, I’m not one to tell you I told you so, so I’ll just prove it to you. See below:
http://wp.me/p4rgtT-2f
Again, it was all fun and games until it was realized that Trump’s bigoted and misogynistic rhetoric was somehow hitting home with a large majority of folks.
Now the RNC is scrambling.
Let’s be clear about a something…
America never was great in the beginning without a little assistance from different races and from different countries. I’ll beat that horse on a different day.
What truly concerns me about those who drink Trump’s Orangeade are the women who blindly follow this man without thinking about where his political platform and policies will eventually lead them.
For years, women from every race have fought for gender equality. To be equal to peers or male colleagues in education, rate of pay and voting rights among other things.
We’ve worked hard, shoulder to shoulder, to fight for the rights we do have and in a blink of an eye they can be stripped away because we’re thought to be “hormonal.”
Trump has a long history of disrespecting women and flat out being a sexist bully who has a habit to speak before he thinks.
Is this the man you want to make America great again?
If the answer is yes, then that’s your constitutional right and I commend you for using it despite the side you may be on.
Speaking of sides…
Think about this the next time you go to a Trump rally and actively spew hate against African Americans, Hispanics and protesters – Once the wall is built and Trump has put everyone on the other side just like he campaigned ask yourself this:
When will it be my turn?
Because after all, a three-time divorcee who happens to hold tight to his misogynistic ways couldn’t possibly think of women as second-class citizens could he?
Although you have to think about everyone else he’d labeled as second class citizens.
You remember them right?
The Hispanics
The African Americans
The Anchor Babies
So if they’re consider second-class and you’re considered second-class as women, doesn’t that put you in the same boat?
I’m Just Saying.

Sipping Lemonade in the Purple Rain

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Okay, I know I’m late but I’m just now coming out of the Purple Rock’n’Roll Haze of mourning.
Barely.
However, I did notice that Bey dropped her visual album the Saturday following Prince’s ascension and sometime within the following two weeks I was able to watch it despite my tears.
While “Formation” had me on the fence, the visual video pushed me over the edge and I can confidently say that I am here for the new Bey.
Whatever her reason for dropping knowledge to her fans, I applaud her for using her social status and celebrity to make a definite stand against the injustices in America that most celebrities are afraid to openly speak on.
Now I’m not saying that I’m going out to buy the album but I respect the hard work and creativity she infused into her work to bring social consciousness to topics that are often ignored or overlooked from African-Americans in the industry.

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I could care less about her and Jay-Z’s marital problems. My mama taught me to stay out of married folks’ business. I do care about her finding herself and putting it into an artful arrangement that encourages others to step their grown woman up, celebrate the wins of life and mourn the losses without staying down too long.
I care about her using her work to portray that while African-American’s, both men and women, get the dirty end of the stick from significant others, employees and employers, police, the government, and the world they still rise to the top.
With this work, she’s shown us that it’s okay to work out and let go of our Daddy issues, we don’t have to conform to what’s deemed trendy to be beautiful, and that sometimes we have to break down in order to rebuild ourselves. She’s showed us that there’s a lesson in the pain that we as African-American women have endured as an undervalued, under-appreciated sub-category of human beings.
She doesn’t stop there.
Bey then turns around and shows us that there’s strength and rejuvenation in numbers. Her video shows our need as a people to become slave to the money and the conventional working environment, and why we should make investments into ourselves and our community while calling for a change.

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She reminds us that no matter what happens we can turn the sourest lemons into lemonade. Honey, I’m always up for a tall pitcher of iced cold lemonade, with a shot of something strong on the side.
She’s showing us something that we’ve hadn’t seen in a while and that’s evident from the responses that those from other races have had in regards to her Super Bowl performance all the way down to her Lemonade album and tour.
She’s highlighted that our potential as woke African-American’s scares and intimidates many even in 2016. That the change that could be made invokes fear, bigotry and is downright terrifying to some.

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Yeah, I here for the new Bey.
In the front row, with popcorn, a Mountain Dew and a plan so that when the time comes I’m already in formation.
Who knows?
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making so I have to keep running cause a winner doesn’t quit on themselves.
I’m Just Saying.