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4 Tips to Remain Thankful during a difficult Season in your Life

As women, and as Moms we go through seasons in our lives where our hope begins to diminish due to circumstances beyond our control. Even some situations we find ourselves in may be due to a bad decision we have made and has caused us such grief, and that’s ok, we make mistakes and learn from it. No matter the reason we may be going through a rough time it’s important to stay hopeful….because like the old folks say, “trouble don’t last always.” If you or someone close to you finds themselves in a dark time remind them of these 4 helpful tips to add cheer and thankfulness during this holiday season and beyond.

  • Put Life in Perspective

Things happen, we fall and may disappoint ourselves and other’s but it isn’t the end of the world. Learn to put your life in perspective and acknowledge this hard time without letting it consume you. Allow something positive in your life to help you crawl out of the hole you may be in. Allowing yourself to see beyond the hardship or pain you’re in now signify’s your faith and ability to grow beyond it.

  • Be intentional

Being intentional with your thoughts and actions shapes the way life operates around you. When you take control of your life and not allow a difficult season in your life shape your thought pattern, you are creating a positive habit. God doesn’t promise us a life free from problems but he does offer us faith and guidance throughout it. Being intentionally positive when you may not feel like it will only bring positive results. Starting the day off with something that will uplift your spirit instead of starting the day with no direction will make a world of difference. I challenge you to choose an attitude of thankfulness despite what may be happening around you!

  • Give generously

I don’t know about you but when I give to others it automatically puts me in a great state of mind. Especially when it’s a sacrifice. Giving is such a selfless gesture and it becomes addictive. Have you ever given to a toy drive around Christmas or donated clothes to a homeless shelter? If you have then you know the exact feeling I’m referring to. It seems as though when you give sacrificially there’s some sort of endorphin in our brains that signals this immediate surge of thankfulness. You are thankful to be in a position to give, and thankful that although life may not be the best you are still not as bad off as you thought. You begin to count your blessings even more and certainly more often.

  • Appreciate what you have

Appreciation and thankfulness go hand-in-hand. Appreciating what you already have allows our blessings to flow even more abundantly. If we place our concentration on what we do have then we find little time to focus on what we don’t. It’s a very simple concept however, it’s one that we overlook as we get boggled down and distracted sometimes in life. Let’s re-learn to appreciate the small things like, waking up each day, for our homes, our families, our jobs, and of course our magical children that we can’t see a life without. These thoughts can make even the worst days better!

We all encounter circumstances in our lives that can make this time of year difficult to enjoy, but somehow remembering these simple acts of thankfulness can help to curve our focus and rejuvenate our spirits. Remember to use perspective in your life and be intentional about starting a new day fresh. Give generously and appreciate even the seemingly small things in life. I pray that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy every part of the day and its meaning, remember to lead with an attitude of thanks!

-xo

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Long Time, No Blog!

Remember Me?

Wow! It’s been waaay too long since I’ve checked in on you guys and a lot has definitely changed since publishing my last blog! I promise not to go this long again, but you understand how Mom life, work life, school life can get, right? I hope so because I love blogging and it is such a magical feeling to publish a blog and witness your comments and responses to it! I live for the engagement! Are you like me and CANNOT believe that we are in the last quarter of the year and less than 2 months away from 2020??? I mean I think I say this every year…but I REALLY mean it this year, it’s FLOWN by and it just doesn’t seem real how we’re about to close 2019 and begin a new year! 2019 has been one for the books! So much has happened, so many things have inspired me and sent my creativity into overdrive! I know from that 2020 is going to be even more progressive and productive! The key is applying what I’ve learned this year to the next, so let’s get it!

Updates

So since we’ve last chatted I’ve gone from a girlfriend to a Feyonce, honey! (Praise him!!) LOL! Yes, the man of my dreams got down on that good knee on August 23, 2019 and asked me to spend a lifetime with him and it seemed like a dream! The best type of dream because I never have to wake up from this one. The day he proposed was the day our paths first crossed, which was 20 years ago on August 23, 1999 at Midland Middle School in Columbus, GA. He also took us there in front of THE school to bring the moment full circle. Not only did he propose to me, he also asked our Daughter if he can officially be her Father and gave her a gift she’s been wanting, too! If you are a single Mom then you know the importance of your mate loving and accepting your child as their own, it’s a requirement, so to witness this act of love and devotion meant more than anything. This was truly a special moment, but no footage to share Sis, sorry! (insert shrugging shoulders emoji) I know you’re thinking I’m the photo queen why don’t I have pics!? Haha…Well he wanted this moment to be sacred between the 3 of us, and boy was it special, that day will be forever be ingrained in our memories because pictures wouldn’t even do it justice!

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MommiNation Link Up

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The very next day I had the incredible opportunity to meet a bunch of my MommiNation Sisters in Carrollton, Ga, just west of Atlanta! We have connected via social media, conference calls, and video chats, but nothing was like finally meeting in person!

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We had such  a great afternoon and discussed the future of the platform, and we had some special announcements amongst the group which only heightened the celebration! This was a monumental moment for me because as a fairly new blogger I am so fortunate to be apart of this amazing group of seasoned bloggers who have been blogging for much longer than I have. If you haven’t checked out Mommination then you should! We are a group of black Moms sharing our experiences through Motherhood from a transparent and relatable perspective. We strive to be the #1 resource for Moms visiting the site and see themselves through our blogs and discuss topics that directly affect US! I linked it in this paragraph so just click and it will take you straight there!

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Anniversary Vibes

August was a month full of love and celebration because on the 31st we celebrated my lovely Parents as they renewed their vows after 35 years of marriage!

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They had a beautiful and intimate wedding and reception celebration at the Bibb Mill Event Center and we (their children) were their wedding party.

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Friends and family came to help us witness their re-dedication of their vows to each other and it was incredibly romantic and full of love! My Mom wanted us all to be in white and our bouquets to be red roses. The simplicity and vintage feel to the event truly made it a day to remember, because as a family this was so special to see our Parents still madly in love after all these years! Check out below some of the lovely photos of the day!

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Motherhood is Magical turns 1!

I’m so proud of MM and the love and support it has produced! I found that writing about experiences since becoming a Mother has proved that so many other Mom’s share the same experiences. I wanted to celebrate 1 year of my blog and the success of the 1st year, sooooo I decided to throw my first event and invite anyone who wanted to come hang!!

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I reserved a room at a painting studio, brought some food, wine, and cake and I enjoyed every minute of this gathering! I loved seeing the new faces that heard about it and connecting with old and new friends! It was everything I had imagined and I’m so glad I decided to go for it despite my nervousness! Stay tuned for even more growth and gatherings in 2020!

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Big Things Poppin’

So with all the changes that have taken place, there is one last pretty major change that I’ll save to tell you all until it’s done! Because why spill all the beans at once, right? Yea, I don’t like secrets either but this is a bittersweet change that I’m excited about, but also nervous, anxious, and hopeful about, all wrapped up into one big ball of emotions!!! But we will get to that probably in my first blog of 2020, so keep following my friends!

So many things has taken place in between those major events as well like; my daughter turing 8, we celebrated with friends and family and had a party and fun trip. I had my first vending opportunity for Motherhood is Magical and it turned out even better than expected! My daughter and her soccer team went undefeated the entire season and made it the championship game and WON! So as you can see it’s been a busy two months but now that you’re all caught up with me, I hope you’ve had an exciting end of the year as well!

What are your plans to end this year with? What are some of your goals for 2020? I have a strong feeling this next year is going to be BIG! Big in many ways! Some people think buying a car, graduating from school, getting married, etc. are the things that will make the year. Those aren’t the only things that describe a big year for you, Sis! Leaving a toxic relationship and starting fresh is big. Going BACK to school after taking a long break is big! Working on your mental health, or fighting an addiction is big! Carving out more time for your children or committing to a healthier lifestyle is big! Those are still life changing events that are leading you toward a brighter and healthier life that you can be proud of! No goal in the right direction is insignificant, so start now thinking of areas of your life that you want to improve! No one is responsible for your happiness except you, take control but most importantly take action! Your kid(s) are depending on you and your self development so that you can be better for them and be effective in your parenting. As Mom’s we are the glue that holds our families together, make sure you’ve gotten or getting yourself together, too! I hope you’re proud of 2019 and what are you going to do in 2020 to be even prouder? Drop a line or two and tell me how you’re going to make it a Magical year for you and your family!

As always, Make Today Magical!

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*Don’t forget to follow me on instagram, twitter, and facebook at Motherhood is Magical!

The Best Choice For My Baby

Super Mommy

I think the greatest thing I’ve done for my Daughter as a baby was breastfeed her for as long as I did. 19 months to be exact, it could’ve gone on longer because it was difficult weening her off, but it was time to make that transition.  You may ask why do I think feeding my baby is such an accomplishment? Well, because it was not an easy task at the start of it. We often see images in the media of the happy-go-lucky Mom breastfeeding her satisfied baby so beautifully, but in reality the process is sometimes ugly. Eventually it becomes second nature to nurse your baby wherever-whenever, but getting to that comfortable point and ease is a process.

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Hit Me Like A Ton of Bricks

I still remember the day so vividly, it was the day after coming home from the hospital with my brand new baby as a first time Mom, I just knew that I was going to be nursing my baby like a BOSS! I made sure to have her latch on in the hospital so that she would get the benefits of the colostrum as well as trying to teach her how to latch on with the help of a lactation specialist, but I knew the real milk hadn’t arrived yet. I had done all of my research, consulted and met with a lactation specialist during my pregnancy, and had my Mom there every step of the way for advice and support. She breastfed 3 healthy babies for at least a year so her words of encouragement and support really guided me through the process. Even with all of this preparation nothing could prepare me for the day my milk arrived. It was 5 am, I was actually sleeping (a win for a brand new Mom), but at that moment I was awaken from what felt like someone had dropped bricks on my chest! My breast were so heavy all of a sudden I had trouble getting up. They were tight and engorged, and there were blue veins popping up all over my chest. The only thing I thought to do was stand in the shower with wash cloths laid on my chest and let warm water run over it to try to ease the pain and discomfort. At that moment I knew that this was not going to be as easy as I had imagined.

A Bond So Sweet

After surviving it through the arrival of this “liquid gold” I made sure to have my baby latch on and feed as best she could, she was still learning so she wasn’t getting much milk from me. All day long little-by-little I was trying to get her in the habit of nursing. This was honestly tiring and frustrating, many times I contemplated giving up and just giving her a bottle but I knew that I would be disappointed in myself. I knew I wanted to breastfeed my daughter because I felt that was best for her. My milk wasn’t slowing down it was coming in more and more and it was literally painful to not release when she wasn’t able to latch on properly. I begin to use my breast pump so that I wouldn’t allow the milk to slow down from not being released. See my milk was like supply and demand. The more she ate (or I pumped) the more and faster it came in, and I didn’t want it to slow down the flow because I knew she would catch up one day, and boy did she! She ate every hour on the hour and the milk was flowing beautifully. I’m so thankful I remained consistent because it didn’t happen easily at first, but I was determined and as long as I had milk flow I knew we could do it, my baby girl and I. Once we got it down and into a routine the bonding moments we had are unforgettable. It’s something Magical about you nourishing your baby like only you can. That God provided everything your baby needs inside of you. At every feeding my baby looked into my eyes and was content and at peace, knowing that she was safe, pressed firmly against her Mother who adored every part of her. Her little hands gently exploring everything in reach getting to know me even better each day as we grew together. A Mother and Daughter bond that is unbreakable and still to this day the sweetest connection I’ve known that I owe all to my choice to breastfeed my baby.

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Don’t Get Discouraged, You Can Do It!

While breastfeeding is something I advocate for, I am aware that there are women who physically cannot breastfeed their babies. And those who can but choose not to, that’s fine too. Breastfeeding is a sacrifice and is every Mommies choice. I say to those who desire to but are struggling to get over that hump, here are a few tips that may help!

  1. Be Patient with yourself and baby: Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally as we would like to think, it’s something Mom and baby learn together. This is your reminder to be patient with yourself and your newborn when starting. If it doesn’t seem like your baby is latching on it doesn’t mean they will never be able to. Remember not to get discouraged, it takes practice and a lot of patience.
  2. Remember why you chose to breastfeed: Each time I grew frustrated I made sure to focus on why I made this choice at the beginning of my pregnancy in the first place. Remembering that commitment allowed me to reevaluate, refocus my attention and shift my thoughts.
  3. Breastfeeding is another bonding opportunity with your baby: I can’t say this enough, but I will say it again. The most peaceful and loving moments were when I was nursing my Chandler B. She was so content and so was I. Sharing those 15-20 mins during feedings made me appreciate Motherhood in a way I had never imagined I could. I always encourage new Mommies-to-be to take those opportunities because babies don’t stay babies for long, before you know it their infancy is a thing of the past! There are many bonding moments to share with your baby, but this was always my favorite.
  4. The nutritional benefits: We all want to give our babies the absolute best, and as I mentioned earlier, God created in us everything our babies need during their first year of life-how amazing, right!? It’s incredible that a tiny human being can live off purely milk for so long but that’s a testament at how much of a super hero Mommies are! The health benefits of breastfeeding are large in number, some include; Protects against allergies and eczema, causes less stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation, reduces the risk of viruses, urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and respiratory infections, lessens the risk of SIDS.  And the list goes on! There are a wide variety of sources you can read online that can elaborate more on why breast milk is the gold standard in nourishment for your baby!
  5. Seek and support from family or friends who have breastfed their babies: Don’t forget while the journey may not be easy you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to family and friends who don’t mind giving advice or helping, there’s also support groups and professional help you can turn to if you don’t have people you know that can. MommiNation is a phenomenal Motherhood platform and blog site I am blessed to be apart of, and we are committed to supporting Mommies through the ends and outs of Motherhood. Check out some informative blogs related to Black Breast Feeding Week Thanks for reading!

ElevateHer 2019

Black Women our Power is our Influence

Recently I was afforded the amazing opportunity to represent MommiNation at a power packed business event in Atlanta, Ga! I met so many Boss Moms and along with another MommiNation Mommi got to interview a few business owners there as well. Many of you may not have heard about it, but if you attended the XoNecole ElevateHer Crawl then I am almost certain you’re still full from the inspiring experience! There is nothing like a room full of driven, confident, successful black women entrepreneurs! When we gather at events like this the experience is guaranteed to be magical! We must not forget that our power is our influence, we are stronger together and when we work together, buy together, celebrate together things change. The room was filled with positive vibes, encouraging affirmations, dancing, laughter, and pure JOY! Not to mention the fashion and hairstyles was ON. POINT. Sis, I just love us!

 

Show Up & Glow Up

It’s so important to show up to events like this and be reminded that black women and Moms are out here killing it! As Mommies we are multifaceted, many of us have our hands in multiple business ventures while still being loving wives or single Moms, and amazing Mommies!  When you attend empowering events like this the feeling of ambition is contagious, so you leave with a glow and new zest for life! I’m sure every woman there was recharged and revitalized from listening to all of the amazing panelist who were handpicked to share their journey into success and entrepreneurship.  One Panelist in particular that I had the opportunity to chat with is the founder of Curkalon, Shavone Riggins, also known as the “Girl behind the curl.” She is a Mommi of 6, yes 6 beautiful children! This Mommi is a powerhouse, building her brand from the ground up for black women who want to wear an easy and chic protective style,”Curls with confidence.” She is a shinning example of never loosing sight of your dreams after having children, most times our children become our motivation and we push harder because we know they’re watching. Showing up to events like this reveals to you what you didn’t know you needed! You need that push, you need to be surrounded by like-minded women who will inspire you. They show you that your dreams are not too big or too far fetched and that it’s possible to accomplish them, even though you may have doubted yourself.

Mommi, Invest In Yourself!

Attending the ElevateHer event proved to me how important it is to fully invest in yourself. We are usually so diligent about investing time and money into our children but forget that investing time and money into our business, ideas, and personal growth is just as important. Necole Kane outdid herself with creating this event! She knew not only what we love, but what we needed. There were top Marketing and PR professionals on the panelist teaching us all how to sharpen the “elevator pitch” when pursing a potential opportunity with a brand. They shared with us what mattered and what we need to avoid when selling ourselves and/or brand. Pauleanna Reid, a journalist and Senior Contributor for Forbes, dropped major gems on what and what not to do with your 30 second elevator pitch. The discussions were so informative, every woman was all ears, taking notes, or like me recording all of this helpful information to review later. What I saw in that room were women who were hungry for success and elevation in their career and life as a whole. There is no doubt that the return on this investment we made to be here will be returned and then some. So don’t be hesitant to invest in an event or conference that is going to help you expand your brand and opportunities. You may have to put away a little money to attend, or travel a bit but what’s that compared to seeing your dreams manifest into something you only dreamed of? Take the leap and go for it!

Necole Kane, Founder XONecole

Connect and Be Connected

I love how at the ElevateHer Crawl a lot of us didn’t know one another but that didn’t stop us from sparking up a conversation! Isn’t that the purpose of it, to connect with each other? It’s a beautiful thing to be able to have so much in common with such incredible women! We are more alike than we are different. Our struggles are the same, our fears are similar, and many of our experiences and obstacles that we have faced are alike. When you see that someone just like you, who looks  like you, faced what you faced still made it through the fire and is killin’ it in the world! It proves that you can too! When we talk to each other we can feed off of each other and nourish our ideas, as I stated above we are so much stronger together! I think my favorite thing about this event was this connect wall titled “Boss Babes Link Up!” In the vendor area there was a huge wall and on the left side it was labeled “What I offer” and on the right side “What I need.” There were cards for you to fill out your name, email, phone number, business, and a section for you to write a few sentences of what you do or need. The idea behind it was you can take the card or take a picture of it so that you can offer your services based on the need or reach out if you need a service or product. I thought this was genius!!! That’s what it’s all about, networking and supporting each other’s businesses. Everyone was crowded around the wall the entire event seeing what they can offer their fellow Sis or picking up what they need. I loved it and hope that this idea catches fire, because when we support each other we grow together and that in itself is a wonderful thing!

Final Recap

So, if you haven’t already guessed it, xoNecole’s ElevateHer 2019 was absolutely amazing! It was truly a representation of Black Women and most of us Moms, how needed we are in the community and how strong we are building our brands against all odds. The display of kindness, intelligence, and encouragement throughout the day is who we are as a culture and sisterhood. The representation that is often displayed in the media is not an accurate representation of who we are. Black Women are out here making moves. Black Women are obtaining degrees, building brands, climbing the corporate ladder, and of course, raising children and proving to be unstoppable! That is who we are and that is what was represented at this event, we are elevating to the highest levels and making it happen regardless. I left that day feeling empowered, inspired, and full of a sense of community within my own people. At MommiNation we are Moms with different perspectives but we are committed to being the #1 resource for Black Moms to come to where they can relate and read blogs from Moms just like them who know what they’re going through and discuss matters that are meaningful to us and our community. Motherhood is Magical is happy to be apart of this growing platform! We want to support each Mommi through a variety of topics that directly effect us, remember it takes a Village to support a child and a Nation to support a Mom! I hope that you will make it your priority to make it to this empowering event next year! Until then….Stay Magical!

P.S. For more photos and content please check out my Instagram!

 

5 Tips to Consider for Summer Camps

Let the Summer Fun Begin

Summa Summa Tiiiime!!!!…. And here comes all the flyers, emails, and newsletters for all the variety of summer camps for the kiddos to have a fulfilling summer vacation! If you’re anything like me I procrastinate a bit and don’t start browsing until right before summer. With that being said this will be the bonus tip; DON’T wait until a week or two before camp! You’re likely to miss out on the camp of your choice or the dates that work best for your schedule, believe it or not camps are in high demand and Parents are actively signing their children up early! I had to learn the hard way. I love the idea of summer camps for kids because it keeps them occupied during the summer while on school break. Their brains are still active and they are given opportunities to meet new friends and build relationships outside of their schools. Not only are they learning in some capacity, they are not sitting around being couch potatoes or glued to an electronic device. Summer camp gives children something to look forward to after school ends, after having the restrictions of the traditional classroom daily routine. There are so many different camps to choose from and there are different things to consider while choosing, I put together 5 Tips to consider when choosing a camp for your child.

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Day Camp or Sleep Away Camp

Choosing which type of camp best fits your child and what you’re comfortable with starts here. So day camp would obviously be a camp that only lasts through some portion of the day whether it be half of the day like 9am-12pm, or a full day like 9am-5pm. Sleep away camp your child stays over night for a period of time. They can range from a 3 day sleep away camp to a full month, or even longer. It’s important to know the length of time you’re looking for because that will eliminate and filter your search. I personally have not enrolled in a sleep away camp for my daughter, because I honestly don’t think we could deal with being away over night that long. lol Yes, we both suffer from separation anxiety, don’t judge us. But it’s important to know your and your child’s limits. Maybe as she gets older we may try to incorporate a sleep away camp at some point, but for now we stick to the day camps, these work best for us!

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Educational based vs Fun

As we know there are hundreds of camp categories and themes, some are based on academics, others are based on learning new skills, and some are strictly fun based. Knowing what interests your child will help you decide which type of camp is best for your child. I know that I love for my daughter to continue learning throughout the summer but I also want her to have a break and tap into her creativity because she thrives when she’s able to create something. Personally, I like her to have a little mix of both, a learning based camp as well as something more fun and interactive. I feel that either way they are learning something! This summer for the first time, she participated in an Acting Theater Academy Camp, I’ve wanted to enroll her in this type of camp because she is quite the theatrical type. She loves to sing, dance, and pretend, and she is very expressive and not very shy. She has a great speaking voice and she isn’t afraid to be front and center on stage. I want to nurture these unique skills and so I felt this camp would be a perfect fit, and she enjoyed every day of her two weeks there! So although she wasn’t learning a standard curriculum, she was learning new skills in the Arts; she was learning to project her voice, compose a script, and learned what takes place backstage and on set. We will continue to do this camp each summer because she is learning something she loves!

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Cost

So after choosing the camp that fits your child, the least fun part of the process is determining cost, at least for me anyway. Lol I live on a BUDGET so everything has to be budgeted and planned out for it to work in our world. Summer camps can range in price but most that I’ve found that we are typically interested in are usually at least $100 per week, and that’s for half-a-day camps ranging from 2-4 hours. Full day camps can go up from there. So like with anything cost plays a big part of choosing which one to go with, or if you would want to do multiple camps. I like to to choose 3-4 day camps per summer because they usually range in 1-2 weeks per camp, so I think this is enough to keep my Daughter busy throughout the summer without her getting too boggled down and her not feeling she has an adequate time for a “summer break.” It also leaves us time to take a beach trip or two which we like to do each summer. If you prefer sleep away camps those are usually more expensive because they’re a lot longer and they have to provide more for the children from supplies, food, and round the clock staff. In my opinion the cost for camp is pretty reasonable and doable. The camps that we have done so far we usually go back the next summer, we have had great experiences with them so the cost is very much worth it.

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Scheduling & Transportation

I think the biggest factor for a working Mom is scheduling days and activities around the busy daily schedule. I work full-time so I lean on my “village” to help me transport my child to and from camp and activities. My Mom has become more flexible with her schedule so she has been a tremendous help with picking up and dropping off my Daughter, I know that some families don’t have that extra help so I count my blessing everyday! If I didn’t have that help I would only be limited to picking camps in the evening after I get off of work and there aren’t many to choose from with that time frame. I have found that there are a variety of times throughout the day, so there are definitely options. If the camps start at 12 or 1 I choose that time so that I can take my lunch hour to take my Daughter to camp, and then I’ll have my Mom or her other Grandma pick her up or vice versa. Either way I try to work it out so that things run smoothly for all involved. Sometimes its a sacrifice, but as long as she is enjoying it, its worth it. So while scheduling is not a huge problem for me due to my Parents who are heaven sent, I know for most people it is the determining factor.

Safety

The 5th and final tip I think is very important is being aware of the camps facility safety guidelines. The last thing you want to do is pay to place your child in an unsafe environment. I know we think safety is a no brainier because, of course we would never put our kids in harms way, but this friendly reminder just brings a little awareness to what you may not think about in the moment. I always look for how long the camp has been established, their pick up and drop off procedures, if they will be leaving the premises at all during the camp hours, and making sure they have all emergency contact information in place. A camp that has any type of swimming involved I would double check to ensure there will be an adequate amount of lifeguards on duty and that life jackets will be worn and proper water safety is taken seriously. Every summer we hear an insane amount of child drownings so this is so important that we as Parents take extra precautions. Talking to other Parents and reading reviews also help to identify possible problems that could arise. I wouldn’t say to look for problems but I do encourage awareness and being very cautious, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with our children! Remember, safety first!

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At summer camp our children make magical memories and explore in ways they can’t at school. The freedom and creativity you get from camp makes your child look forward to going back each summer. I encourage trying different camps and finding the ones you and your child loves so they will keep wanting to return each year. With there being many different camps to choose from I hope this list will help you choose by considering these 5 easy tips! If you’re not feeling the whole summer camp thing check out this cool guide to some summer camp ideas to do at home with your kids! Are you a camp Parent? What types of camps have you enjoyed for your child. I will tell you that each summer I enroll Chandler B. who is age 7, into a dance camp usually a Princess or Disney themed one because she loves to dance and play dress up. We also do a learning interactive camp at the local University here in my city, and we also have incorporated a Theater camp as well this year! These are 3 that we will definitely stick with for now! Thank you for reading and let me know if this has helped you! Have a safe and fun filled summer!

-xo

 

 

 

 

Our Magical Hair

The Struggle

My daughter is now 7 years old and since the very beginning the struggle with her hair has been just that….a struggle! Now don’t get me wrong she has beautifully long, thick, curls but she is extremely tender-headed. The slightest tug or pull she is screaming and crying as if someone is killing her! I am always so sad and frustrated while doing her hair because I feel like I’m torturing her, and as a Mom that’s the last thing I want to feel like I’m doing. Wash days are an all day “event!” We cannot have anything planned (which is rare) and I have to allot myself at least 4 hours to wash/condition and begin the detangling process. Depending on what style I’m doing it may take longer. I usually try to do it later in the day rather than earlier so that hopefully she will fall asleep and I am able to get more done much quicker.

 

Natural Hair Love

We are #teamnatural and it’s a beautiful thing to embrace the journey and appreciate our tresses the way they naturally grow from our heads. My daughter and I are 100% natural and it has been quite the journey, although I love our hair it is definitely a battle sometimes, the battle is well worth it because the alternative isn’t. When I was growing up having a relaxer was a must. Most (black) women and young girls had relaxers, the straighter the “better!” The creamy crack was literally like crack because it was addictive!! As soon as I felt “new growth” I knew it was time for another one, and my Mother had no mercy with my head. Lol The process that we went through as a black woman to straighten our hair is unnecessary in my opinion. To think we applied these harsh chemicals to our scalps and new healthy hair every 6-8 weeks, especially as a young girl was so unhealthy. I’m sure the chemicals were seeping into our blood streams and if it stayed on too long, usually after about 20 minutes, it would burn my scalp and I would have huge scabs on my scalp. My Mom and I weren’t educated on the chemicals contained in the products, we assumed that if it was being sold in stores/salons then it was harmless. Little did we know that was the farthest from the truth. As I got older as an adult I would constantly read about how harmful a relaxer really is, and it made sense because my hair could never flourish. Sure it was straight but it was brittle and unhealthy, so at 23 years old I decided to begin my natural hair transition.

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The Journey Begins

So after reading, learning my hair, and educating myself on products and healthy hair tips I began my natural hair journey not long after I found out I was pregnant. One reason was because I decided to be very cautious on what products I used and avoided harsh chemicals for the health of my baby living inside of me. I decided to transition instead of doing the “big chop” so I would cut off an inch or two as it grew out. I watched dozens of YouTube tutorials and read all about the different natural hair products (and probably tried them all too) and started experimenting and learning about my hair. When I found out I would be having a baby girl I felt it was crucial to soak up as much knowledge about my hair so that I can properly care for hers. This journey was so much fun and exciting, I enjoyed purchasing new products and experimenting with different styles that I never had the courage to do before. Hair is so important in the black culture, It’s apart of our identity and as a black woman you are often judged by your hair and style of hair. At one point bone straight, silky, smooth hair was what everyone wanted. Wearing our curls, kinky fros, and our larger than life puffs wouldn’t have been accepted. Society put all of these ridiculous limits and one sided stipulations on our hair and because many of us didn’t take the time to learn and appreciate the beauty in our natural curls, we succumbed to their opinions and approval. BUT….A change has come and many of us have returned back to our natural hair and we are prouder than ever! If you haven’t yet there’s still time, Sis. haha

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The beginning of the journey at 3 months pregnant.

Relapse

So after being completely natural since April 2011, in May of 2017 I grew frustrated with my hair and made an irrational decision to get a relaxer and get my hair cut into a short asymmetrical bob. It was bomb!!! Sharp, sleek, flowing in the wind, just FAB!!! I left the salon feeling so beautiful and relieved that I didn’t have to worry about sweating out my silk press or spending hours on wash day conditioning and twisting my hair. This feeling lasted only about a month or so…. Soon I felt like I betrayed my hair, like I cheated on such a great thing. I was upset with myself for not thinking the decision through and acting out of frustration and impulse. I missed my luscious curls and thick puff that I would slick back and wear on the top of my head, my boyfriend often referred to this style as a “fine-apple” like pineapple, because it was shaped like the uncut pineapple and he loved how I rocked it. He wasn’t happy about me getting a relaxer he loved my hair, and so did I, I still regret this decision. So after months of feeling the regret and watched my hair become brittle again much like when I was a younger girl, one day in the shower I got my hair scissors and chopped off the permed ends of my hair off and decided to begin again. I had to return back to what I knew I loved. Even though my hair was so short and I knew I would have no idea how to wear it, I felt I could begin again. So since then I’ve been wearing protective styles; braids, twists, sew-ins and have been keeping my hair braided and unbothered, honey.

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Before and After. From Natural to relaxed bob. My stylist slayed it.
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Bye-Bye to the relaxer for good!

Let The Magic Happen

I have learned a lot through this tough love/hate relationship with my hair. Much like any relationship, some days are good and others are bad. I understand I am emotionally tied to my hair and I am always trying new styles depending on my mood and how I’m feeling in that season. I also encourage my daughter to love and experiment with her hair as she gets older, as long as she doesn’t manipulate her natural hair too much. I believe it’s ok to change and have fun with your hair because that’s part of the magical experience of being a woman, but first and foremost I want her to take care of her hair and watch it continue to flourish! Our hair is our crown, wear it proudly, keep it healthy, and don’t be afraid to adjust it. I’m so blessed to have a daughter because we have the privilege of experiencing magical moments like this and making memories doing it. I’m still learning about both my hair and my daughters hair, much like Motherhood it’s a journey and a learning experience that we should embrace and appreciate! Share some of your hair journey with me, and follow my social media pages to see what I’ve been up to!

P.S. Please feel free to offer advice on natural hair products and/or tips that work for your daughters, I need it, still!

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I buy her dolls that look like her, this Barbie’s hair is FAB!
Beautiful and Proud!

 

My hair now natural (left) and lightly pressed (right).

 

My Father My Identity

Dreaming

I remember when I was at a standstill in my life, my daughter was only 5-6 months old, and I felt as though besides her I didn’t have much. I looked at myself and my life and thought “there has to be more to life than this.” I was beginning to question so many aspects of my situation and wondered when would things get better. Each day was redundant and I felt I was beginning to loose sight of what I wanted, but what did I want? What was my purpose here on this earth, because everyone has one, right? After the birth of my Daughter I prayed constantly for God to show me the direction I would go, I was always feeling unsure because it seemed as though everyone around me was moving forward and I wasn’t. I remember vividly having this one dream in 2012 that was symbolic that I will never forget. Not just the dream itself but that My Father was there to interpret this dream that had taunted me for months on end.

It wasn’t until around New Years of the next year that I mustard up the courage to bring up this dream in a conversation with both of my Parents. My Parents are both Godly, spiritual forces and I hold their words and advice firmly. I was compelled to bring up the dream for some reason, I don’t know why that is but I’m glad I did. At this point I wasn’t looking for interpretation of the dream because by now I had given up on trying to figure it out. There were 4 parts to the dream each of them being some form of interference taking place within me. I remember one part I was standing in a desert as a large bull with horns as sharp as a razor charging towards me. I couldn’t run fast enough so I just held up my hands trying to protect my body from being punctured and wounded. As the bull reached me it sliced my hands over and over again non-stop. Even as I moved my hands to protect other places of my body it only targeted my hands. As I described this part of my dream my Dad immediately stated, “This shows that the attack is on your hands, your hands represent your work.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, it was almost like God was speaking through my Father, and I really believe he was.

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My Identity

My Father has always affirmed us, he has been very nurturing and spoke words of  wisdom and encouragement over us growing up. My Daddy gave me my identity. Just as God our Father does we should all have our Earthly Father do the same. By that I mean, he was that unwavering presence leading us by example.  My Dad taught me the tools to navigate life, reprimanded when it was necessary, then gave me the confidence to get back up and tackle situations full force. No matter how many times I may mess up he tells me “it’s OK we’re going to get through this.” WE, as in he will be right there sticking by my side. Knowing that allows me to be confident in who I am, why I am here, and how far I can go in life. Many adults struggle with their identity, possibly because they didn’t have that fatherly love and authoritative voice behind them confirming them as they walk through life. Lacking a Father in life makes my heart ache because I can’t imagine life without mine. “The truth is that the actions of our lives and how we feel about life and others flow from our perceptions of who we are. This, as we shall see, is why the father figure is crucial in our lives.” The dream I had years ago left me feeling uneasy and confused. I didn’t know what it meant or if it had meaning, but the day my Father gave it meaning reassured me and I was able to release many of my fears. He identified with me, affirmed me, and rebuilt my confidence with just a few words.

Daddy’s Girl

Daddy, thank you for interpreting that dream years ago. Your words that day catapulted me into understanding my purpose. I couldn’t see it but you did. You saw that I had work to do and told me to not let anything or anyone stop that! You always saw far greater things for me than I did for myself, and now as a Mom I see that is what you should see for your child. No matter how old I get I will always be a “Daddy’s girl,” rooted and grounded in all that you poured into my life growing up. You covered and protected me and have given me the most out of life, love.  Your role as “Pa-Pa” to Chan is so special to watch! To witness her love for you reminds me how I’ve always felt about you as a little girl. She adores you and looks to you for that affirmation and affection. I’m thankful that she’s had you to fill in the gaps since her birth and loving her the way she deserves, not halfheartedly but whole-heartedly and then some. All through school my peers admired you as my Dad wishing their Dad was there and half as involved as you were with us, I didn’t understand it because it was my norm. Knowing that it isn’t the norm in today’s society, is much to be thankful for that I experienced a Father’s true love. I’ve never had to look for it elsewhere.

 

 

Every Day is Father’s Day

Father’s Day we recognize Dads and appreciate them for raising us, loving us, molding us, believing in us, and the list goes on. My Dad has done just that and so much more. Countless times he’s been there for me at my lowest and the first to commend me at my highest. He is my balance and my safe place where I know I’m always welcomed without question. Happy Fathers Day, Daddy! For the sacrifices you’ve made for your family and the love that you’ve given and shown us you deserve to be celebrated not just today, but everyday. Everyday you’re a Father that we love and adore! Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I can’t thank you enough, and words just doesn’t do it justice! Fatherhood is also, Magical!

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Not a Sperm Donor a Heart Donor

Donor (noun)

A donor is defined as someone who gives or donates something. Synonyms for a donor include but are not limited to; giver, contributor, benefactor, supporter, backer, etc. As a father, there are some exceptional ones and unfortunately, there are those who would be described as a man that donated his sperm as a means of procreation. They may also provide monetary donations as a substitute for being present in their offspring’s life. A heart donor has given a major organ, like their heart after his or her death to someone else so that the recipient can live and increase their quality of life. Donor’s acts are selfless and they have considered someone else before themselves. Donation’s are given as acts of love and kindness and are completely voluntary. Many donors aren’t recognized or praised for these acts and aren’t looking for anything in return, they find their rewards in the idea that they give what their heart desires.

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He drove 5 hrs to attend Career Day to tell about his profession as a Scientist, and did an experiment with Chandler’s class.

Heart Throb

He makes my heart throb with love, witnessing him take on the responsibility of a child that he didn’t make. Not only was he willing, he did. He never hesitated, he never questioned it, he loved and donated his most protected organ, his heart. Not only is he there, but he’s also present. You see there’s a difference in being “around” and actually being present and active. This man parents, provides sound and well thought-out advice, shows interest and support, and never misses important moments or events. This is a FATHER, a DADDY and someone who loves unconditionally even though his child doesn’t share his DNA. Sometimes genetics isn’t the only determining factor in your position in someones life, love is. He has donated his heart to the most precious recipient, as a result he’s added and enriched her life as well as mine. 

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Chandler’s first boat ride.

Revived (verb)

To be revived is to restore to life or consciousness. To be given new energy or strength to. Synonyms to revive include but not limited to; reinvigorate, restore, energize, strengthen, fortify, rejuvenate, regenerate, renew, enliven, etc. A successful donor transplant revives its recipient, increases their quality of life, and provides them a renewed hope. Metaphorically this rejuvenation has occurred in me due to a generous and courageous donor who wasn’t afraid to give 100% of himself to someone who was not ready to give even 10% of herself.  This donation of his heart has revived the idea of love and union. The idea of a family unit has been renewed after it was torn apart so carelessly. He decided to rebuild with a mother and a young child, and he has provided the strength needed when weakness was present, and uncertainty was prevalent. The donation of his love allowed us to regain control and stability over our lives and fulfill the desire to rebuild again, together. Who knew that there could be an emotional transplant that could take place between two individuals, revitalizing and refreshing elements in you that you never knew existed.

I feel alive and present in love, in motherhood, and in emotional bliss that isn’t perfect but grounded in the basis of commitment and sacrifice that I believe is strong enough to surpass the test of time. The bond that has been slowly built over the last several years isn’t solidified with a marriage license…yet. Nor is it based upon how many likes given on social media. The bond was built brick-by-brick and it is solid! Revived, renewed, and rejuvenated every time he reassures me of his love, not by just his words but more importantly by his actions.

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Caught him doing her hair.

Fatherhood; The Revival

A great awakening has occurred within him as he has fallen in love with a little girl that he considers his own. A pure love that only a father and daughter can share. Although this relationship did not start at birth, it probably wouldn’t have made them any closer. On Father’s Day, of course, I recognize my own father who has and still is my heart, my love, and my hero! Ironically I am with a man that shares so many of the amazing attributes that make my daddy the wonderful man that he is. Their sacrificial personalities and willingness to risk anything for their families. Their abilities to succeed and the drive and tenacity of a lion! Both of them never get complacent in their lives, they continue to push forward gaining more knowledge, obtaining a new degree in education, and always desiring to pick up another skill. Both hard working men! I’ve been beyond blessed to have my dad every day of my life. Even as an adult, my dad is always one phone call away, one short phone call because he doesn’t like to waste time on the phone lol. But I know that when I call him he never lets me down. Not only is he there for his 3 children, he’s also always there for his grandbaby who loves and adores him as she should. As my daughter was a baby I often felt guilty that I let her down by choosing the type of man I decided to marry and reproduce with, sure I didn’t expect things to turn into what they did, but I should have had better judgment, discernment, or better yet just listened to my parents. Either way, I have her, and she’s been the greatest blessing of all! Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? Well, the second time around I know what I want and what I don’t. I’m convinced that I’ve found that and so much more. I wasn’t particularly looking for a father to assist me in raising my daughter because I didn’t think I needed it, but I did. The strength, encouragement, stability he provides is unmatched and the unconditional love he gives and shows me is what lifts my spirit on even my worst days.

My Daddy and I.

 

It takes so much to be a true father, and even more to be a father to a child that isn’t your biological child. Another thing my father can relate to. He has 3 children, but only two that share his genetics, but you wouldn’t know it! We have all been treated and loved the same throughout our lives. Mother’s are natural nurturers and are likely wired to care and love for children and others. Men are a bit different. Better yet A LOT different! (lol) They aren’t wired the same, it takes more out of them to nurture another person, it doesn’t come as naturally as it does for a Mom. When they enter fatherhood emotionally something inside of them softens, and they are enthralled with becoming a parent, much like mothers are. But a step-parent is magical because they choose to take on such an important role that they don’t have to. Willing to sacrifice for someone that they don’t have to, and accepting a child along with the mother when many times Mom isn’t so easy to handle either.

So on this day, I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for not only accepting me but loving my daughter too. You didn’t have to but I admired you even more for wanting to. You didn’t know how to be a parent because you don’t have children of your own but somehow you’ve been the perfect one. Father’s Day is about acknowledging men like you who give their all to this challenging journey that is so hard, yet so beautiful all at the same time. I’m amazed by you everyday juggling all that you have on your plate and still managing to put us first. Donating your heart has opened mine and for that I am thankful, l love you and Happy Father’s Day!

Forever grateful,

Love,

Your Shawty

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Our family

 

Summer Is Upon Us

Another Year Gone

I can’t believe this school year is complete! My daughter has just completed another grade, 1st grade and we’re onto 2nd…that quickly! I remember when she was a toddler around 1 or 2 years old I would think to myself I’m excited to reach the school age years to see her interact with her classmates and participate in all the activities elementary school has to offer. I never knew it would come so quickly! She has never attended daycare, I’m fortunate to not have had to put her in there but with that, she had no classroom interaction until she reached preschool. Some would argue that it’s unhealthy for her social skills but it’s worked just fine for us! Chandler B is the most sociable and outgoing little girl you would ever meet! I think it made her more receptive to meeting new children and making new friendships. This weeks marks another milestone to add to our memory book together, we’ve made it through so much this year and balanced it better than I expected. You see as a single Mom it’s nothing more than a balancing act. Working full time, completing homework each evening, getting her fed and keeping her entertained is no easy task. With such an active and outgoing daughter, we are involved in quite a few things so it’s no going straight home every evening. So I can see why this school year has passed by like a blink of an eye, because you know what they say,  “Time flies when you’re having fun!”

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Chandler B. working one of many school projects this year.

Summer Pros

So I’m that Mommi who is celebrating with her child that school is over and we have a little freedom. I may be a big kid myself, or it could be because I enjoy my time with my mini me so much that I’m ready to hang out passed her 8pm bedtime, watch movies and not have to make her go to bed. All week we’ve blasted our favorite songs on the radio on the way to school each morning, counting down the days until school is officially out! She’s excited and so am I! No more homework at night although we will still read 1-3 books per day to make her reading list to continue the habit and nurture her love for reading. I’m excited about the more relaxed schedule and not having to stick to strict guidelines each day, with my personality I like to go with the flow and my daughter is the same way. We enjoy our quality time together doing whatever makes us happy, I’m so blessed to have the gift of her life each day, she is an extraordinary little girl and I could not imagine my life without her! I have a few summer camps lined up for her that she is particularly excited about, each of them day camps and lasting only 1-2 weeks at a time. I try not to load her summers down to make sure she has that free time because summer breaks aren’t that long anymore. Being that Mommi isn’t a huge planner haha, we have some beach trip ideas but nothing set in stone. We will usually decide a week or two in advance…I know, don’t judge me! What are some summer fun that you have planned? Do you allow your children to go to summer camps? Talk to me!

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A walk on the River Walk one afternoon

Summer Cons

Because with any Pros there are cons, right? Well summer is great and all until the fridge is depleting as fast as you’re filling it up. I have one little girl but she eats like a grown man sometimes. She’s a 4 meals a day type of person and an all day “snacker,” healthy snacker but she must have something on hand at all time. I usually always keep tons of fruit in the fridge, ones that she can just grab and go so that I don’t have to stop what I’m doing each time that she wants a snack. I’m convinced she never gets full! When kids aren’t at school all day burning off a lot of energy then this summer energy is reserved for you, Mommi. My daughter is wanting to be entertained at all times, her energy level is on 100 and I can’t match that. I’m 31 years old, I need naps in between activities. That’s one thing I’m not looking forward to. On the weekends we usually have activities or I plan something fun for us to do, and on Sunday’s we go to Church then we may have a play date. That’s two day’s of entertainment to plan and now I must plan for all 7 days! She’s grown out of taking naps, so it’s non-stop daily. Although the Ipad can be an educational tool I don’t want her to spend most of her time on it. I prefer for her to be active or learning from books or playing. She’s an only child so we try to plan many play dates or else Mommi’s Entertainment Company has to step up! How do you balance the free days of summer for your Children? Do you have these same summer foes as I do? We love buying and playing the games I grew up on too, we often times do game night. Jenga, UNO, and Trouble are some of our favorites! I plan to incorporate some game nights throughout our summer as well!

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Magical Memories

At the conclusion of each school year I get hella emotional. It symbolizes to me another milestone my little baby girl has reached. It seems as though it was just yesterday that she was only big enough to fit in my arms. Now watching her learn and grow into such an independent little Lady really blows my mind! I reminisce on how nervous yet excited she was beginning a new year at the start of each grade, then watching her conquer the year like a true Champ! Seeing her master all the new skills and excelling above all the expectations asked of her makes me a Proud Mom to say the least, I’m proud of us both because we made it together. She aced 1st grade making it on the Principle’s List with straight A’s all year! With it being just the two of us many days we grow closer and closer together. The days passed by so swiftly that it’s hard to imagine an entire year has gone by. Attending the end of the year field day, parties, and of course the sentimental awards programs makes me realize over and over again how incredibly Magical this journey truly is. So, enjoy the school days and long nights of homework, enjoy the ball games outside in the hot sun (in Georgia), enjoy the seemingly small experiences on a daily basis, and enjoy the summer breaks when all the magic happens! All these memories make life worth living and give us purpose and that push in life! Summer is upon us lets make it a Magical one!

First Day of 1st Grade
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Photo Op on the 1st Day of 1st Grade
Pajama Day on the last day of 1st grade
Field day 2019
End of 1st Grade Awards Program

 

The Choice is Hers

If you’ve been following me then you know I’ve joined an amazing platform for Mommi bloggers called MommiNation, created by Sanya Richards-Ross.  Its a safe place to share our Motherhood stories, opinions, how-tos, advice, and so much more! I’m so happy to be amongst such authentic and successful women who share some of the same passions as me! Many of my blogs will be found there exclusively. Motherhood is Magical will still be here however, my blog section will be found there on my page at MommiNation.com/motherhoodismagical. This particular blog just dropped today as we are discussing the Abortion Ban in America as a team and sharing our views and where we stand in a positive yet transparent light. Please read my opinion below:

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My Opinion My Choice

…I have that right…or I should at least. I have been torn about the abortion issue since the conversation became more mainstream. I’m not political nor am I following every single detail of this debate because honestly a woman’s body shouldn’t be up for debate. I’ve never condoned abortion because no, I don’t believe a pregnancy should be terminated however, there is so much gray area within the issue. I can only speak from my actions and what I believe in and I think that should be MY choice. I believe a woman should have a choice and the decision should be hers, it should be treated case-by-case. I’ve never had an abortion, I’ve been pregnant once and I have one child, I cannot relate to my fellow sister who has been in a position to even consider abortion and what might be going through her head, I assume that the pressure is surely unbearable!

The Argument

Many argue that if you make the choice to have sex then you know the outcome could lead to pregnancy, while this is true many women are raped or forced into situations that are out of their control, and I’m not saying the outcome should only be abortion but what I am saying is that to be in that position would be unimaginable so I won’t pretend to act as though I would be level-headed and know what to do. Lawmakers in some states have signed strict abortion bans, with the state of Alabama having the strictest, sentencing Physicians up to 99 years in prison if they perform the procedure. I will again say, our bodies shouldn’t be regulated by laws, we aren’t property and we are capable for speaking and making decisions for ourselves whatever, it may be. This is a tough issue to address, because my christian faith speaks against it under any circumstance, so that makes it more difficult to speak out how I personally feel it should be a women’s choice, but I stand by my choice to believe that no matter what.

No Magical Process

There is nothing magical about this topic. Its hard…really hard! Children are a blessing, they are our gifts from above. As a Mommi I feel very fortunate to be a Mother and be on this Motherhood journey, but that’s my story. I would not expect to regulate another woman’s decisions or journey in her life. I don’t know what could’ve happened or where she stands in her life and that isn’t my place to. A man, politician, or lawmaker should also not have that right either. Maybe there could be revisions in the abortion laws but to have strict bans across the board isn’t the answer. It should be treated based on that Woman and the situation she is facing. This is no easy subject to discuss and no magic is going to solve this issue in America, it will take people, woman, doctors, and lawmakers working together to resolve such a sensitive subject that can effect anyone. As a Nation we’ve got to come together on this issue and many other issues in America!