Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Deal With Constructive Criticism About Your Child

I’ve read the Q&A sections in parenting magazines and always see the question asking for advice on how to approach a friend whose child may have a less than desirable characteristics. You’ve seen them or may have asked them yourself: “my friend’s child does (this one behavior) and it hurts my child’s feelings. I don’t want to lose them as friends but how do I bring it up?”

The answers range from “they’re just kids, don’t worry about it” to “if you are afraid to bring it up maybe you shouldn’t be friends” to a step by step on how to bring it up, where to bring it up, what mood the room should be, if you should be in public or private or in a police station in case things escalate.

While at the park the other day with a friend and her daughter I found myself on the receiving side of the question. I couldn’t believe it! I was the mom whose child warranted thousands of mothers to write Ask Alice questions!
Leilani and I !

I listened, I understood, let her know how I felt about her concern, and then she asked me about her child’s behavior.  It was a painless experience, until a day later.
Still unsure how to feel I called my sister and dumped all the feelings I had about the exchange on her. A little short of laughing at me she said, “People are different, parent different, and everything will be alright.”

The truth is listening to someone give you feedback about your child can be very difficult. Even if they are completely right and you know it.

From my personal experience I have found these tips to be helpful when handling these tips of experiences:
  • Breathe and humble your defensiveness: We are all defensive when it comes to our children. All of us are but automatically becoming defensive can change the entire mood of the conversation and make your friend feel like her child’s feelings aren’t important.
  • Listen and evaluate: Listen to what the other parent is saying and honestly ask yourself if what they are saying is true. If your friend has taken the time out to bring up this uncomfortable conversation you should respect them by listening the best way you can. In my case the problems were my daughter’s lack of sharing and blunt way of speaking, both are things I know she has to work on.
  • Let them know how you honestly feel: I expressed to her that I understood what she was saying, have noticed these things myself, and that we have been working on them. I also explained that although my daughter is older than hers, that they are both children learning how to express and communicate and we need to be patient with both of them.
  • Offer feedback: Don’t let this opportunity pass because bringing up the conversation again can be hard. Let them know if there is anything about their child that has been troubling you and your child.
  • It’s not just you, it’s everyone: Every child is the child that makes parents everywhere ask these questions because every child is different. Try not to take it personal.

And perhaps the most difficult thing to remember but easiest to say: Everyone parents different and so is every child. Teach your child how to deal with different individuals by showing them.      

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I always freak out before the semester... nothing new.

I have so much on my mind right now and I'm not sure which way is up.

  • School starts tomorrow. 
  • I need an affordable and reliable baby sitter. 
  • The quarterly job or not to job question is fresh on my mind again. 
  • I'm broke. 
  • The post office is pissing me off because they NEVER deliver my packages and I have to pay $20 to go get them myself after paying them to send the damn thing. 
  • This is my last year of college (technically only 9 months left) and I'm freaking THE. HELL. OUT.
  •  I feel like I have no direction in life... What am I doing?! 
  • I need a baby sitter 
  • I have MAJOR writers block! MAJOR which is making it hard for me to write my thoughts out which means they're all in my head jumbled up all over the place! 
  • What is my life

... Can you tell I'm a mess right now! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back To School With @EarlyMama

Early Mama is a blog founded by an Early Mama, Michelle Horton.

Last night I was reading Early Mama and LOVED the 14 Comments Young Mom are Sick of Hearing post! So much greatness is here and I'm sure we can ALL relate to these types of comments and questions from complete strangers.

Just this Monday I cussed someone out before 11am because he disrespected me and Leilani FOR NO REASON!
I digress.
source: Early Mama
When I finished the 14 Comments post, shared it all over Twitter and Facebook, I went back to Early Mama and saw the awesome Back to School Week the site is having for STUDENT PARENTS! While older parents worry about their kids back to school task and list, we teen moms have to worry about back to school DOUBLE time!

All this week Early Mama and the new Early Mama contributing writers have and will continue to write Back to School Post for us! Student parents! Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#KmartBackToSchool with Style!

While I was in Florida I was watching TV when the K-Mart Back to School Yo' Mama commercial came on. I laughed and loved it some much that I paused, rewinded it, and called my sister into the room to watch it with me. It was the cutest and one of the most creative Back to School commercials I've seen in a long time.

Then I saw this commercial and loved it just as much.
(The lyrics will be stuck in your head all day, I promise!)

These children are a real rap group called Da Rich Kidzz based out of Minneapolis ranging in age from 10-13 years old. I love how they are rapping about Back To School and making it fun and exciting. The song's title is "My Limo" and by a quick show of hands who felt like their school bus was their limo? *raises hand* Seriously! I did!

I love this cute commercial and think it's great that Kmart has provided this group of talented kids with the opportunity to showcase their talent NATIONWIDE. Now while you're doing your pack to school shopping you can sing this. :)

Disclosure: Presented by Mami Innovative Media, this is a sponsored post. I am a Kmart #BackToSchool blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Tips on How To Deal With an Absent Parent

As you may have read in my previous post trips to Florida can be tough.

This trip I timidly reconnected with my past and then people really upset me when they did this but what was most bizarre to me was that after 3 years plus of Lifetime movie worthy terribleness Leilani, her father, and I all spent the day together.

When her father and I were together we RARELY ever spent a family day together so doing so when we are no longer a family was weird. However, it was a nice day and for once in a long time Leilani had both of her parents with her for a whole day.

Hearing Leilani being able to say daddy and get a reply, seeing him help her do everyday things, and simply watching them be together makes me happy because I know it makes her happy. In a perfect world Leilani would always have both of her parents by her side whenever she needs us but that's not the case.

The truth is I can't and don't want to be her father.
That's his job and whether he chooses to accept it or not is his decision.

What I can do and have done is learn to live within my parenting capacity and help her navigate the feelings she may have when it comes to his absence.

It hasn't always been easy but here are some tips I can offer for anyone dealing with a absent, seasonal or part-time parent:

How To Deal With an Absent Parent:

  • You can't force someone to be a parent: as simple as that sounds I found that I was trying to force him to parent her but the truth is you can't force anyone to do anything especially be a parent. 
  • You can't make someone be the parent YOU want THEM to be: I have come to realize that parenting is a spectrum and each person defines parenting their own way. My definition of being a parent is clearly different from his and as much as I want him to be the parent I want HIM to be for her, he can only be the parent he wants to be for her. 
  • Focus on your parenting: Make sure that while you're wanting or trying to get a less than involved parent involved that you aren't slipping in your parenting. 
  • You can only be one parent: For a long time I thought I had to make sure I was enough of a mom and a dad to make up for his absence but that's just crazy. I'm me. Only me and I'm pretty awesome at being one parent. 
  • Do NOT bad mouth in front of the kid: Yes it's hard to bite your tongue but your child shouldn't see their parents fighting or trashing each other it's not fair to them and it might make them think YOU'RE the meany because you're the one talking negativity 
For more tips and a great blog on navigating the world of co-parenting check out Alexandra A blog by a former teen mom who rocks at being a mom. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

We Live in NYC. Get Over It!

While we were in Florida everyone was asking myself and Leilani over and OVER again when we were moving back. While I understand the question, curiosity, or less than perfect way to say I miss you I hate the question when asked over and over again. But more than anything I HATE when it's asked of Leilani over and over again followed by one or all of the following:

  • Don't you miss Florida? 
  • Isn't Florida better?
  • Tell you mommy how much you dislike NYC maybe she'll listen and move back.
  • We really miss you here and wish very much that you could move back. 
  • Well Florida is better than NYC you know. 
  • I think you would like Florida better. 
  • Your mommy is so mean for moving you away... and the list goes on. 
This type of questioning/ badgering of Leilani really pisses me off. Again I realize they are basic questions or whatever but when asked of a 7 year old over and over again to the point that she is repeating these things to me really upsets me.

First off, Florida and I do NOT mix. For whatever reasons I can not live there and Florida doesn't like me as a resident. 
Second, the people asking the questions are mostly the people who made our life A LIVING HELL when we did live there. 
And most of all, can you be an adult and check that selfish shit while you're spending time with or interacting with her? 

She doesn't know and or understand why we had to move to NYC, you as an 'adult' should and do know. You know our life was garbage when we were there and we wouldn't be anywhere near such a healthy place that we are now if we stayed. You know I ALWAYS wanted to move back to NYC and you KNOW that she is the amazing child she is because of all the decisions I've made as her mother. 

Florida trips can be very emotional for Leilani considering her father's side of the family all live in Florida, her favorite cousin who is more like a brother lives there, and it's the place she lived for the first four years of her life. Going back and spending time with these people and knowing you live apart from them is tough. I use to feel bad about not being able to give her the extended family she wants but the reality is that we are our own family and we live in New York City.  

In short: Dear family and friends who always ask the above questions please stop! We live in New York City, we're not moving to Florida, get the heck over it! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Faves!

Here are some of my favorite posts from around the young mom web this week!

Tiny Blue Lines helps me remember/learn The Secret of Motherhood. You'll love it, I promise!

I, on the other hand FINALLY realized and owned that Leilani and I ARE a Family no matter what anyone including my self doubting self felt.

Early Mama reminds me that taking a break is NORMAL and OKAY and how handsome her son is.

Dr. Melanie Watkins was a single teen mom who got into med school and achieved her dreams of becoming a doctor! Take THAT stereotypes! (watch the short interview here). Check out her post on time management.

The Young Mommy Life had us ALL thinking about money when she shared how her family plans to be COMPLETELY debt free in TWO YEARS! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

#TMNYC and #NoTeenShame August Photo Challenge

Here are two GREAT photo challenges for the month of August!
Be sure to join one or both and use hashtags #TMNYC and #NoTeenShame when uploading your photos!

Can't wait to see what you share!