Over the last couple of weeks, I have been in a funk. Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you know about the recent death of George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. George was murdered by a police officer who put his knee on his neck and held it there for approximately 9 minutes. Breonna was murdered in her home by police officers afterwho raided the wrong home. It’s sad to admit this, but since the murder of Tamir Rice, (an 11 year old kid playing with a toy gun in a park and was shot and killed by a police officer) I have become almost numb at hearing that a black person was killed by the hands of police. I stopped talking about it. Trayvon Martin was a hard blow. Michael Brown hit below the belt.Tamir Rice was the nail in the coffin. It solidified my decision to be a stay at home mom. My husband and I say all the time “We all we got!” So one of us had to hold down the home, and the other had to bring home the funds!
I’ve been asked by so many times recently, “Have you had the talk with your boys?” The answer is yes. If you are unfamiliar with the talk, the talk is the conversation black parents have with their children about how to handle themselves if they have an encounter with the police. This conversation is not specific to any gender/sex. I was given the talk when I was 12. It is forever instilled in me. My parents had 3 girls. They always told us, the goal is to get home. Luckily when I was old enough to drive my parent’s had a bag phone that they kept in their car for emergencies. The rule was if I was pulled over to call my parent’s first, find a well lit area, and then pull over. We even had contingency plans, and had played out scenarios. But that’s for a different blog.
Having this conversation with my boys is hard. The first time I had the conversation with my son he was in 2nd grade going to 3rd grade. He went for ice cream with a friend. They pulled up to the Dairy Queen, and his friend did not want to get out. His mom asked why? His friend replied, its black boys hanging around, they might hurt us.” The mom was mortified, and replied “AJ is black, do you think he’s going to hurt us?” His response was “No, he’s a different black.” Of course the mom and I had the conversation, she explained where he heard that from. But it was still hard for me to explain to my son what those words meant.
I had to explain to my son what racism really was at age 7. He thought me asking him, if a friend at school was white or black, was racist. He would say, mom it doesn’t matter if they are Peach or Brown, it’s racist to ask that. My response was “No sweetie, it’s ok for me to ask, it’s not ok for me to judge them because of it.” I don’t think he quite understood. He was 7! Children at that age react off of feelings and emotions. If you make them happy, it doesn’t matter to them what you look like, what color you are, or what you are shaped like.
I’ve been perplexed in how to have the conversation with my boys about what’s happening in the world. For the most part we sensor the content in which they are allowed to see. They don’t have social media. They are allowed to watch Youtube kids, but we found out there is tons of content that slip through the cracks on that app. We don’t have cable, and we pay the premium on anything to keep us ad free. So I was super surprised on yesterday when AJ came downstairs to show me his new NBA 2K avatar. He dressed him in an “I CAN’T BREATHE” shirt. He was so proud! I asked “Do you know what the means?” He replies “Yes!” He goes on to tell me the full story. He even said that this isn’t the first time it happened. I was shocked! I mean, we weren’t trying to shield him from it, but we were waiting to talk more about it after things had calmed down, and I wasn’t so emotional about it.
He hadn’t seen the video. Only pictures of the cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck with his hands in his pockets. I asked how it made him feel, and he said “Sad.” He thought the man didn’t deserve it. I asked him did it make him afraid of the police? He said “I feel like I should be, in case one of them don’t like me, but I’m not really afraid.” I asked what would make them not like you, and if they don’t like you, it is still their job is to protect and serve. His reply was “I mean right now, I don’t think a cop would kill me, because I’m a kid, and I’m really nice. The only reason they could possibly dislike me is that I’m black. But we don’t live in a very racist neighborhood. I mean some people are. But not people like cops, and firefighters.” I immediately went into history 101 with him. I told him about systematic racism, white privilege, and everything in between. I didn’t even tell him about Breonna. My husband ran in the room and was like what are ya’ll talking about it. Sounds scary. He made a joke, and gave me the chill out look. So I calmed down, and started writing. Here’s my heart to my Black Son.
Sunday, May 10, 2020, will be my first Mothers Day without my mama. She passed away 3 days before Christmas 2019. So far I’ve celebrated Christmas, my birthday, my aunt’s birthday, and my daddy’s birthday without her. Her birthday is coming up on May 16th, and my sister’s birthday is May 10th as well. I’ve been able to navigate these celebrations pretty well so far. I mean, of course, there were tears, but I managed. I don’t think it will be the same for Mother’s Day.
The crazy thing is I’ve been trying to prepare myself for Mother’s Day since March. It’s been advertised everywhere since Spring Break. Normally,If my mom wanted anything specific she would tell me in April. My fondest memory is her asking for an expensive perfume. My mom lost her sight due to her disease, so her since of smell was heightened. My sisters, and dad were not allowed to purchase the perfume. Only me. She didn’t trust them to buy her what she wanted. I purchased her a bottle of Gucci Guilty. When she received it in the mail, she smelled it and said that it was the best smelling perfume she ever smelled. She also told my sisters not to touch it, unless she asked for it. Oh and if they tried to sneak a little spray she knew it and would call me to tell me about it.
Here’s how I plan on celebrating my first motherless Mother’s Day.
I plan on starting the day by meditating and focusing on my mom. I have her casket insert setup with flowers and candles. Starting my day with meditation helps me focus. I recently learned from a friend that my setup is called an “Ancestor Alter.” I was not intentionally setting it up, it looked really nice until I found a permanent location for it in my office. I love to sit there and connect with her.
Next, I plan on soaking in a nice bubble bath. My mom loved bubble baths. I’m a shower girl, but I do occasionally enjoy a nice long soak, followed by a shower. I also plan on listening to music that reminds me of her. I’m sure there will be tears, but also laughter. My mom was the funniest woman I know. I have tons of memories of her telling stories and jokes. I’m prepared to cry and laugh because a good cry is needed from time to time.
FaceTime with Family
My family will get to celebrate her by going to her grave and laying flowers. I can’t be there because of COVID-19 and it really makes me sad. I’m crying typing this. I want to be there with my family but I know that’s not possible right now. My sisters will FaceTime me when they get there. Being there with them, even virtually, brings me comfort.
My sister’s and I recognize how hard this is going to be for all of us including my dad. We celebrated his birthday a couple days ago and asked him what he wanted. He replied “Nothing, what are we gonna do for you mom for Mother’s Day?” It’s going to be an emotional day for everyone but the one thing that makes it a little easier is knowing that we will have each others back.
Buying Her A Gift
Celebrating her is important to me. I plan on buying new flowers to put beside her casket insert. Since I can’t visit her grave, the flowers help me feel connected. I also commissioned someone to do a self portrait for me. It feels weird not getting her any thing. I mean, I can’t hear her voice, or physically touch her to give her a hug. Heaven doesn’t have a phone! So this is my way of honoring her being THEE. VERY. BEST. MOTHER.
Enjoy Being Celebrated
While celebrating my mom on Mother’s Day is especially important, I also understand that I have to allow my boys to celebrate me as well. I want my boys to have the same fond memories of me that I have of my mother during these special holidays.
I plan to get as cute as possible (Quarantine Chic) and spend the day with them. The only thing that has been revealed to me is that I will get some “me time” the first part of the day. If I know my boys like I think I do, the plans will include; gift giving, breakfast in bed, water balloons, grilled food, family game night, and mom to mop and clean what they tried to clean. I will enjoy every single moment of it.
The emotions are still very raw. I still cry when I think of her. I still laugh uncontrollably when I think of her. I still get choked up telling my kids stories about her. I still get nervous when I hear people talk about her, in fear that they will get emotional, which in return will make me emotional. There is no rule book on how to celebrate a Motherless Mother’s Day as young adult. So I’m going to do my best, and so should you.
If you are celebrating a Motherless Mother’s Day… Do your best. That’s all you can do. That’s all to be expected. If you spend the day crying, that’s your best! If you spend the day at her grave site, that’s your best. If you spend the day journalling about your emotions, that’s your best. I just want you to remember that she is a huge reason, (maybe the reason) you are the woman you are today. You are her Best! Know that you are not alone. I’m sure it will feel that way on social media, tv, and everywhere. But you are not alone. I’m sending all the love, and positive energy your way.
I know I’m not alone in this. Every Parent in the U.S. is now homeschooling their children due to COVID-19. When I first learned the news that my kids would be distant learning for a month, I was very indifferent. A part of me was relieved that our ISD was adhering to the CDC warnings about this virus and doing the safe thing and closing the school buildings but another part of me was in full on panic! You want me to make my ADHD, dyslexic kid do school work, while he’s at home around all his gadgets, toys and dog? I already have a hard time with homework! You expect me to teach my AP student Algebra I and TX History? I’m from Mississippi!! The panic part of my brain started to take over. Between keeping a stocked pantry, social distancing, making sure my dad was not being hardheaded (he can not get Corona), entertaining my kids, and trying to keep my sanity, there was no way I could effectively homeschool my children.
My biggest concern about homeschooling was how it would impact the relationship with my boys. They know that I am serious about their education. I have been known to make them do several math problems until I was tired, and recite and spell sight words 10 times. But over the years, I found that these strategies do not work on my kids, and they are antiquated. What worked for me, doesn’t necessarily work for them. My goal is to create memories with them that when they look back during this time are full of fun and adventure, not of hurt and fear.
I promised myself that I would not overwhelm them or myself. I’m dedicated to making this time as fun as possible. I’m going to use this opportunity to get to know the boys better and focus on things they are interested in. My friend (who is also a teacher) sent me a schedule that she came up with for her kids. I thought having a schedule would be a great idea. My kids love schedules. The one my friend sent me was amazing, but wouldn’t work for us. So I came up with my own, using her template.
The boys schedule gives them wiggle room to finish daily work at their own pace, breaks every other hour, and they only have to full on focus for one hour at a time. We started the schedule last Monday & they love it. I asked them Friday if they wanted to make any changes, and they replied “NO! We love it! Please don’t change it!”
So far, so good with homeschooling. I’m sticking to my promise to not be overwhelmed or overwhelming. Right now, I know we all are learning a new normal & it’s important that we find a rhythm that works for us and our families. If this schedule works for you, by all means use it. If it doesn’t, then come up with your own. If not having a schedule works for your family then do that. You have to do what’s best for you and your family. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Be gentle with yourself and your kids. Homeschool your way!
I think I speak for all boy moms when I say the most irritating question we are asked is “Are you trying for a girl?” OMG??? WHY???🙄I know people do not mean any harm by asking, but that doesn’t make it any less irritating, and sometimes infuriating. After 12 years of being asked this question, I will address why I’m not trying for a girl.👨👩👦👦
Let me first start by saying Girls are great!! I’m a girly girl💕! If I were blessed with a daughter, I would be elated. Of course, I had the same mind frame as most of society, I wanted one boy, and one girl (in that order). When AJ (my oldest) was born I was happy that he was a boy. When Ashton (my youngest) was conceived I hoped he would be a girl. But if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans, right?
I was gifted with the BEST BOYS ever💙! So when I’m asked the question, I feel like its implied that my boys are not enough, or I’m missing out on something. Lies! All Lies!! They are perfect! My family is perfect, and just as it should be!! So no need to pity me! My cup is full! There’s no void because I don’t have a girl.
The best part of being a boy mom is being the “Queen of the Castle.” My boys LOVE me. They constantly compliment me. They give thee best hugs, and cuddles. Ashton has asked me to marry him,👰🏾and AJ unfriended a kid because he told him I was hot😆. I know that I will be protected and loved by these two for the rest of my life.👸🏾
Raising them is my honor and privilege. I have been tasked with turning them into men. Not just men, but black men👦🏾. In the world in which we live, I’m frightened at the thought of them not being prepared for the world. The conversations about prejudice alone is not for the meek. That’s why we strive to make sure they experience and understand joy at home, because the outside world is not always as kind or forgiving.
I recently found out that both my boys are Rainbow Babies🌈 They were both born after miscarriages. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I’m supposed to be a #boymom. It’s possible that the angels before them were girls, I will never know. But what I do know is that I have two perfect angels on earth that I adore👼🏾. I’m so grateful for them, and wouldn’t change our family.
So the next time you see a family with all boys or all girls, try not to ask “Are you trying for a _______ ?” or “Do you want a __________?” If they want you to know that information they will tell you. Instead compliment them on how beautiful their family is. Because family IS BEAUTIFUL, no matter what.❤️
Yes this is my second blog about back to school, but that’s because…. I love it! It means new beginnings, and new milestones for my kids. Although I get a little sad knowing they are growing up, I have to remember to celebrate with them. Music is a big deal in my house! My family and I blast music all the time. In the car, from the tv, alexa, google, the refrigerator, and our phones. Music sets the vibe and mood for every occasion with us and believe, we have a playlist.
I encourage my kids to listen to all genres of music. My husband and I are fans of hip hop and R&B, preferably 90’s R&B. I also love Pop and Gospel music. Every now and then a country song will come along and make the list, but thats few and far between. AJ is a huge fan of hip hop, while Ashton is a Nickelback fan, and recently since the Lion King remake, Beyonce.🤷🏿♀️
Last year I made a playlist for the boys for Back to School. I wanted them to start the year with fun and positivity. They absolutely loved it! The playlist had music that encouraged confidence, graciousness, perseverance, and kindness. I decided to do it again this year. I’ve listed below our top 5 songs for this school year.
“High Hopes”- Panic! At the Disco
“Be Nice”- Black Eyed Peas (feat. Snoop Dogg)
“Spirit”-Beyonce (From Disney’s “The Lion King”)
“Calm Down”- Taylor Swift
“This Is Me”- Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble – The Greatest Showman
Here is our full playlist. Durham Family Playlist
It’s “Back to School” time, which means shopping for school supplies! I know some people dread this time of the year, while others (me) rejoice! I’ve had several conversations with parents who think school supplies cost way too much money and hate shopping for them. The stores are overcrowded! The school supply aisles are in disarray! It becomes overwhelming, especially when you can’t find the yellow plastic folder with brads. 🙄 Trust me, I KNOW THE FEELING. I’ve figured out a few ways to save me time, money, and anxiety. Here’s how I spent less the $75 on my kids school supplies.
Shop at home
My kids come home at the end of the year with a backpack full of things leftover from the previous year. For example scissors, pencil box/bags, and folders. If it’s in good shape I keep them. We also have a huge craft box. So from time to time, I buy things to keep in there for projects. My husband and I both work from home, so we tend to keep small office supplies. I was able to check several things off the boy’s school supply list just by shopping at home.
Stock Up On Clearance
During back to school time, you can find most school supplies on sale. When the sale ends most of those items go on clearance. I stock up during these times. I always find glue, notebook paper, folders, and other items. Last year I purchased glue sticks, folders, copy paper, and notebook paper. These are items I’m sure my kids will need every year, probably until high school.
This year, I did not need notebook paper, folders, or scissors, because we already had them from last year when they were on sale. However, I did purchase extra notebook paper in case my son needs it. So when you see the back to school supply section say “Clearance”, purchase extra. Even if you are not into stock piling items, you can gift it to your student’s teacher. They always run low on items, and most are too proud to ask, so they end up purchasing it themselves. If they have a wish list, this would be a great time to purchase items from the list. I’m sure they will appreciate it!🍎#teachersaresuperheroes
Buy the store brand
Certain items on the school supply list ask for specific brands, for example, Crayola crayons or Elmer’s glue. I make sure to pay attention to that. However if it’s not specified, I buy the store brand. One item on my kids list was colored pencils. No brand was specified so I purchased the store brand. I did the same thing for storage bags, pens, erasers, facial tissue, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer. They Work The Same.
I remember being self conscious about purchasing store brands until I ordered from a school supply company. They shipped my school supplies to the school for me. When I saw the box at “Meet the Teacher” night, a lot of items were store brand. Half of the class purchased this same box, by the way, but I was embarrassed.😡I sent the teacher an email, and told her that I would bring the correct items to school on the first day. Her reply was that the items were fine and they all work the same. The way my anxiety was set up, I still purchased the items anyway. Now it’s a running joke between she and I. They. Work. The. Same.
It goes without say that shopping online saves time and money. But if you don’t know, most stores offer same day pickup or free shipping. This is a big plus for me! I hate the congested and unorganized school supply section. I would much rather spend 30 minutes -1 hour on my phone, or computer. I usually add all my items to the online cart for several different stores. Just to be sure I am getting the best price. I’m extra so I usually leave my items in the cart for a few days, and check back daily to see if there are any price changes, or coupon offers. For the past few years, Office Depot has given me the best deal. I received all my school supplies within 48 hours. Done, for under $75!!
Like many, I was once a working mom. But I knew that I wanted to, one day, be a stay at home mom. I still remember the day I told my husband, Aaron, I wanted to stay at home with my boys. I told him I wanted a big SUV, and to be able to take my kids to Chick-Fil-A everyday. Well, that’s what I thought I needed to be the perfect SAHM. He laughed at me but six months later, we decided to make it a reality. I was now a stay at SAHM & I had my “big SUV.” I was ready, at least I thought I was. Much to my surprise, the journey I chose to embark on helped me to mature and change quickly. I am so thankful and appreciate all the growing pains along the way.
I wanted to take a moment to share 5 things I’ve learned from being a Stay at Home Mom (In no particular order).
MOM- Master of Multitasking
When I first made the decision to stay at home with my boys, I was determined to be a SUPER SAHM.I wanted to develop a routine with the children and more importantly let my husband know that both our investment with this concept was productive. I had my kids on strict schedules, planned dinners for the month, developed a cleaning schedule, and even scheduled date nights. I had laser like mommy focus when it came to the kid’s schedules and to do list. There were no impromptu playdates, lunches, or even target runs, especially if they interrupted nap time. This way of thinking, eventually landed me in my doctor’s office. I had to learn that although I can do it all, I don’t have to. My husband’s only expectation of me was to keep our children safe, and for us to be happy. I still love multitasking, but I’m also ok with leaving things on my “to do” list. I eventually get to it. 😉
Connecting with other Moms
Being a SAHM can get very lonely, that’s why it is important to have a support system. Finding other “mom friends” was not hard at all. The mere fact that I am a mom means that I have something in common with other moms, kids! When the boys were smaller I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and met some amazing moms. I connected with moms at the gym, when I dropped my kids at the daycare, at the neighborhood parks, and I met one of my best friends at the barbershop. I’ve also met moms through PTO, and my children’s extracurricular activities. Most of the moms I met were never more than “mom friends”, and that’s ok. The moments we spent sharing stories about our kids, to me, were priceless. I always felt heard and not alone. Each mom had something of value to offer me, and I hope I did the same. ☺️
I’m Not JUST a Stay at Home Mom
I remember telling my parents that I was going to stay at home with my kids. They had so many questions: “How long? Why? How much money does Aaron make? What are you going to do with your degree?” I had to explain to them that it was a mutual decision made by me and Aaron. They still check in with me, approximately twice a year, about this decision, especially since both boys are in school now. 😂 My parents raised me to be I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T (do you know what that means). So to see their daughter not doing her own thing was baffling to them. I got the same reaction from some friends as well. Needless to say, I developed a little complex about it. So when people asked “What do you do?”, my reply would be “I’m JUST a stay at home mom…” I remember the last time I said it, it was to a friend on the phone. She screamed “JUST! What do you mean JUST? That’s a hard job girl, requires THEE most work…Don’t put JUST in front of your title ever again!” She was right! Why do I diminish my title as SAHM with JUST? Nobody with any other job title does that. I work hard. I. Do. All. The. Things. I’m proud of my accomplishments, and I’m not JUST any one thing. Period!
We went from 2 incomes down to 1 so of course, changes had to be made. My husband has always been the primary breadwinner, but my contribution was not small. We always had enough discretionary income to do what we wanted. When we made the decision for me to stay at home, we knew we had to stick to our budget. It was a challenge for me in the beginning, but I’ve found my rhythm. Honestly, I love it! Saving money really puts a smile on my face. I have apps for all my favorite shopping places, and I LOVE a coupon. From the grocery store to family vacations, I’m always looking for a deal. I love finding creative ways to cut corners, and sticking to our budget.💰
It goes without saying, I love my kids. I also love spending time with them. But sometimes they wear me thin!! My kids require a lot of energy from me, and sometimes I don’t have it. I don’t feel guilty about taking the time I need off. Sometimes it’s planned time off, for example; nail appointment, massage, girl’s night out, brunch and shopping with friends. Sometimes it’s not, for example: closing my bedroom door for an hour, soaking in the tub, Starbucks alone, sitting in my car listening to explicit versions of my favorite songs, or taking a nap at 4:30 in the evening. It’s important for me to give my kids my best self. So taking the time to recharge and refresh is not only good for me, but them as well. My kids are older now, and they get it. They prefer that mom takes a break, and not blow up. ☺
I’m Nakinya,or Kinya. I am the mother of A.J., Ashton, and Lucky (fur baby). I am married to my high school sweetheart Aaron. I am the queen of my castle! We currently reside in the suburbs of Houston, TX. I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s literally the hardest job I have ever had, but it’s also the most rewarding. I love sharing with other women and moms about life, parenting, marriage, and beauty. Inspiration comes from so many places and I’m always looking for it.
My family is my world! “We all we got!”-Dirty ENT. Spending time with them is my favorite thing to do. I enjoy finding creative things for us to do, and saving money while doing so. I am frugal, not cheap (hate that word). But I also believe in my alone time! Mama needs a break, and I am serious about self care.
Kinya’s Korner is where I want to connect with you. Our stories and life experiences (positive and negative) can help inspire others. None of us are perfect and free of sin, and THAT’S OK! “We Fall Down, But We Get Up” -Donnie McClurkin. It is the most freeing experience when you can talk about your triumphs and downfalls. I want that for every woman!
Thanks for stopping by! Let’s connect! Introduce yourself in the comments.
-Your Girl Kinya