Welcome to my Blog
My Digital Notebook
I like to be sure, real sure about the decisions I make. So I listen to my gut, pray and look for proof that I am on the right track. Here are my notes…
Parenting is a big task. Although two people are given the title "parents" it's too big of a responsibility for just two people. When it comes to raising fully developed kids into emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually healthy adults, I don't think anyone would disagree that it takes a village.
Life in general delivers a cross to be carried. Even when it's full of mostly great things there are tough moments and hard decisions to be made. Having kid(s) takes that to another level because your decisions have an impact not only on your life but also the lives of the little people that depend on you.
Furthermore, "they" say you can judge the state of a society based on how it treats its women. At the moment we, as a whole, aren't living our best lives (and it's not because we're lazy or incompetent or short on ideas). We're in the midst of a maternal health crisis. Though we're starting more businesses than any other group, we're not being compensated at the same levels. Many of us are doing the jobs of two parents and sometimes grandparents. I could go on. Basically, our dreams and voices have been ignored and everyone is losing out as a result.
All hope isn't gone though. Creating opportunities and space for thriving for women, moms in particular, will catapult our society and families in a positive direction. Coaching can and is helping moms to hold on to their dreams and their babies.
Moms need coaches because…
Coaches do all of these. Coaches that focus on supporting women who are moms pay extra attention to the unique challenges and opportunities that motherhood provides. They understand the babysitting juggle, the financial needs and the routine changes that come with a child's development (and they can work through the background noise during a meeting).
Coaches have a leg up in supporting moms compared to your friends. Friends forget to check in and sometimes fear offending you. Coaches aren't focused on maintaining a personal relationship but helping you accomplish the goals you set for yourself. They win when you win. And their money depends on it.
If you're a mom looking to leave a mark on the world simply by taking control of your finances, health and goals while enjoying your family in the process, get yourself a coach. It's a worthwhile investment in yourself. I know firsthand because I have a coach and I am a coach!
Do you have a coach? If so, what have you accomplished as a result?
I have been an aunt since I was 3 years old. I now have 2 nieces and 7 nephews (and 2 sons). I’ve always enjoyed being around and engaging with kids of all ages. I was the aunt wrestling on the floor, adding to dance routines and creating some random obstacle course.
So why now when my kids need a playmate and see pretend as their #1 way to connect, I am full of complaints and excuses? Is 1 hour of power ranger pretend play going to kill me? (The answer is ‘no.’)
I’m almost always down to play UNO, a board game, color or read. It’s the pretend, costume dress up, action figure wrestling that I resist.
Let's think about this.
There was a time when I didn’t have much clouding my mind. There was nothing using up my energy and I wasn’t concerned about preparing for the next day. Nowadays I’m thinking about dinner, budget, laundry, business, health, appointments, and whatever else. Many days, even when I’ve slept and ate well, I am still tired, just physically and mentally drained.
At this stage in life using my imagination is work. Not to mention Kobe (5) wants to control the narrative. He literally gives me the word by word script for our time together. I am a free spirit and rebel. It’s in my DNA to go against anything seemingly restricting. When the scripting starts, I instantly get a twitch and self sabotage so that he kicks me out of his room because he’s so annoyed. (I know. It’s childish.)
But there’s another side of me that really wants to play with him and some moments when I get over myself and fully participate. In those moments we connect so deeply. I see his smile and can feel the love in the air. It’s magical.
So what’s the issue? Why can’t play time be magical every day?
Is it when I focus on the connecting part and not the “work” that I am able to fully engage? Maybe it’s like everything else and clearly about perspective?
But what about those moments when I try to push myself and it just doesn’t work? I am literally speaking to myself and reminding myself about all the reasons why playing is a good thing and how it’ll enrich our relationship and bluh, bluh bluh. I wonder if those are times when I am mentally focused on other things and simply want to complete my to do list and playing is either not on it or already checked off?
Or am I over thinking this and should just accept that as a human sometimes I don’t want to play and that’s okay? I’m not horrible for not wanting to participate ALL.THE. TIME.
There are several reasons why this is even a thought or concern in the forefront of my mind. I feel the pressure to be everything to everyone and put my stuff on the back burner as if my stuff is not as important or deserving of energy and time.
Also I have a deep desire to be fully present in the moment regardless of what I am doing whether playing with the kids, reading a book for fun, or preparing business emails. I find this easier to do when I put myself and my stuff first. (Is this boundaries and self care?) Like “scheduling” my work time (and giving myself adequate time to get it done), telling my family and sticking to it. This is something I probably need to do more often and more consistently.
But that makes me feel guilty.
I don’t have the answers. I’m simply sharing my experience, my thoughts and unscientific analysis. I’m also inviting you to share yours. Anyone else having this internal battle? Feeling bad for both yourself and your kid(s)?
August is for breastfeeding
Black breastfeeding week
25 August – 31 August
If there was ever a time the statement, "I'm bored" from a kid was completely understandable...NOW WOULD BE THAT TIME.
Like you we're trying everything to keep ourselves and our kids occupied. Games are our thoughtless go to. We have a closet full of board games, cards, and puzzles.
Here's 5 of our favorite games that everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy:
What games are keeping you guys busy and smiling?
When we bought our house last May I found a bunch of random materials in a storage closet in our basement. I found wood, old glass windows, paint, flooring and metal fencing. I instantly came up with ideas of ways I could use half of the stuff.
You should know, I am a creative. I really enjoy creating new things especially from old things. I can find use of almost anything. The last woman's trash can be made into treasure. LOL I think I enjoy it so much because it reminds me of my childhood when you could find me building or fixing something with my dad. Every week marked a new project from fixing cars, hanging drywall, laying carpet, building dart board cabinets and soooo much more. Around holiday time we created and sold gift baskets. It was really fun.
Only issue... Very few of my dad's projects were completed. He had more ideas than he did time, other people's needs came before his own, and I think he constantly underestimated how much time a project would take. I took on these traits but in recent years have refused to not master finishing things. Also my husband made me promise I wouldn't have more than 2-3 projects going on at one time.
I've been doing good with that. I've finished more projects than I can remember and I'll share 3 of my most recent ones.
Upscaled shutter shelves
These took me about 4 hours to do over 2 or 3 days. Really the project took maybe 2 hours but I really wanted to get the measurements right and not drill holes before I knew the shelves would be centered, evenly distanced and leveled before starting. I did a lot of penciling on the wall the first day or two.
I paid less than $25 for the brackets, wall anchors and spray paint which I got from Home Depot. I already had the shutters. The process was pretty simple. I measured and marked the wall for where the screws, brackets and shelves would go. I spray painted the brackets from white to brown and used 1 wall anchor for each bracket. I also used a level to make sure the shelves were even.
This was a really easy project and it can be customized in many different ways. It took me about an hour and a hot glue gun to complete. I also used a cereal box and scrap fabric. After cutting the box about 1/4 down from the top, I secured the ends closed and glued the boxes together with the open sides up.
Then I sat it on the fabric and played with how I could get the fabric to fit the boxes best. You can try to use one piece of fabric and make cuts to fit the different angles or you can trace the sides on the fabric, cut it out and then glue it on in sections. With the second option cut a bit more around the edges so the fabric "panels" overlap and don't leave any of the box exposed.
I really like how it adds a touch of color and African culture to my kitchen. I also made matching place mats.
Standing Coat Rack
Our coat closet is across the living room so it's a bit inconvenient for hanging items we wear everyday. Also without any storage right inside the front door the entry way is often a mess with things we throw down or don't want to forget when leaving out (out of sight out of mind). So I built this coat rack (with help from my boys, Kobe (5) and Peyton (1)) to organize the front area a bit more.
I did this project in one day and used about 3-4 hours. I spent less than $20 dollars, borrowed a circular saw from my neighbor and used wall paint that we already had. It was a fun project. If I can figure out how to speed up a video, I'll post the recording of me building this.
I used a 6 foot square piece of wood for the trunk and 2- 2 foot 2x4 pieces we had in the basement. I cut the smaller pieces of wood in half to make the base. We added 2 robe hooks and 4 single hooks at varying heights and on 3 sides. Kobe choose the color which matches our accent wall adjacent from the door. It is sturdy and cute.
What projects have you done lately (big or small)? What kind of diy projects are you most interested in?
Parenting. Marriage. Veganism. Business. It all gets on my nerves and stresses me out. Some more than others. Each make me want to go back in time and make different decisions...
All the crying and whining and dependency, LORD, I can not. Kids are little people with feelings, desires and their own way of doings. None of this is bad but I have to manage my own feelings while not squashing their’s. SO.MUCH.WORK. especially on minimal sleep.
I don't like conflict. Trying to mesh two people's ideas and perspectives is a full time job. Let's not talk about the individual traumas, struggles and triggers. And then add the stress of parenting. Marriage is literally two selfish people (who may not know they are selfish) trying to live, raise kids and be happy together in an arrangement that requires selflessness. Whose idea was this?
I like to eat. I am addicted to sweets. Yet I want to be healthy. Those things don’t really mesh well. It's hard. It's expensive. And results aren't immediate. I am over it.
When I've read all the books, listened to all then experts, implemented the techniques, and money still isn't rolling in, I want to give up and do something easier. I've done what they said and still it's not working for me. Seems to work for everyone else but not me. WTH
...But do I really?? These are my thoughts in the really intense moments when I tell myself nothing is working out, no one cares and life sucks. Many of these things are not true or what’s real MOST of the time but these are some of the many thoughts that play in my head.
I could give you all kinds of techniques and advice on why and how to stay positive but I am giving myself and you permission to have feelings and to sit with them. It's okay to not be positive all the time. It's okay to be real.
Just know you are not alone. You are not the only one dealing with it. And it won't last forever. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST. THAT IS ENOUGH. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.
I have two boys. Peyton will be 2 years old in late July and Kobe will be 6 years old in mid June. I stay home with Peyton while Kobe goes to Kindergarden 9am-2pm most days.
I also run this (blogging, coaching, event curating, and production creation), I babysit about 3 days a week and mystery shop periodically. So I have alot going on.
Parenting in itself is a fulltime job even if your kids are in school because you still have caring for home, making appointments, running errands, and selfcare (which is an essential piece to not jumping off a bridge).
Recently, at one of my monthly 'Sistahs in Motherhood Support Circles' I realized one of the reasons I may have been struggling with my five-nager (a five year old that acts like a teenager) was lack of mental preparation and total commitment to gentle/attachment mixed with conscious parenting.
SIDE NOTE: For me conscious parenting is about love and transformation. Allowing our kids to love (build, correct, enlighten, help, and teach) us as we do the same for them. It's about recongizing their humaness and our own.
I enjoyed pregnancy (minus the lack of sleep) and birth. But parenting has been getting the best of me. I've been yelling, threatening, and plucking lips. These are all things I said I wanted to avoid.
So to get on track and start being the mom I want to be and the mom these particular kids need (forget what society or community says and thinks) I am reading 'The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Childern' by Shefali Tsabary and I pinky promised Kobe I would not yell or hit anymore (because that's not love).
I'm afraid to fail. But I had to give my full commitment aka belief in it just like I did with natural birth and breastfeeding. With those it didn't matter what was going on around me nor who was looking at me sideways. I said I was going to do it, I learned how and I DID IT!
This will be no different.
Are you on a conscious parenting journey? How is it going?
Birth is fascinating to me. I discovered one of my greatest interests only after I became pregnant. I remember seeing my sisters pregnant. I remember seeing them rushed to the hospital and visiting them with a new baby for me to love on. Yet, none of that made me think twice about the process.
I've been pregnant 3 times. My first pregnancy ended in a water birth at a birth center. My second birth ended in a miscarriage. My third birth ended in a natural birth at a birth center.
In the video below I give some details on the births of my 2 boys.
What's your birth story? What birth story are you hoping for?
Research and countless parenting and child development specialists will tell you that connection is key in any relationship especially the parent-child relationship. Healthy, effective parenting is all about building and maintaining a strong connection but who has time for that?
I get it. Adulting is hard. Add parenting to it and exhaustion is one of the first things that comes to mind. The truth is our methods create more work, anxiety and don’t get us to our parenting goals.
So, Ashlee, what should I do?
Well, learn about child development, drop your expectations of having the fictitious “perfect” child and make time and space to connect. I challenge you to use the list below and take the 30/30 Challenge (for 30 days take 30 minutes each day to connect).
30 Ways to Connect with Your Kid:
What would you add to this list?
As a kid I felt cultureless. I would hear people, especially white people, talk about their Irish, Scottish, German heritage. I always felt left out of the conversation because I didn't know where my ancestors were from Beyond slavery. I think I should be able to say I was Sierra Leonean or Ghanaian or some other African country.
I remember telling people that I Haitian or was from Haiti. That was short-lived though because one time I slipped up and told people I was from Hades and the looks on their face having made that very simple but significant mistake horrified me. That was one lie I would never use again. But my desire and journey to figure out who I was, what larger group I was a part of did not stop.
I took an ancestry.com DNA test. I was so excited to get the results and very disappointed upon reading the results. It told me what every person who knows that slavery existed could have told me. That my DNA traced back to West Africa. Really? Really Ancestry.com? You didn't think I knew that?
I wanted, no needed, something more specific. I wanted it to say that I was from or that my people were from Nigeria, or Ethiopia, or Sierra Leone,. But it couldn't provide me with that. So about 2 years later I subscribed to a podcast that was very into Sankofa, reaching back to the past in order to create a better and liberated future. As a result of financially supporting this podcast I was entered into a drawing to win an African ancestry DNA kit. I won the kit and found out that the people who share DNA with me in Africa today live in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. That discovery was so elevating because it gave me a connection that I did not have before or at least that I thought I didn't have before.
Today, about 2 years later, I can say that I actually didn't need the test. I didn't need to be any more connected to Africa then I already was just being Black. I've come to realize that I am connected to something larger than myself as simply an African American. The history of our people even during and after slavery is so rich, full of resilience, beauty and magic. I don't really need anything beyond the truth of that.
I was able to come to that place of peace with identifying simply as an African American/ Black person, after having many conversations with other Black people who had been affirmed in their blackness and reading lots of books by people who have been reaffirmed in their blackness.
I desire to help you do the same. First by being connected to my blog (written by a person who has been reaffirmed in their blackness) you are already connected. I encourage you to surround yourself even the more with conscious Black people (understand the impact of systematic racism and oppression, have an awareness of real history and love Black people Black people and culture). Second, I want to share some of the books that I read that really helped me in this journey.
4 books to reaffirm your black girl magic:
What would you add to this list?
I coach women to prepare for and thrive as mothers via birth, breastfeeding and parenting education and self-care events. I am a Black crunchy momma that has something to say about how we create life, give birth, what we eat, how we connect with each other, and relate to $$.