parenting

Love Is…

CHS Birthday Bonus Pack Every year for the last couple of years I have posted visions of black love for Valentine’s Day. While this year I sure missed collecting all those photos and hearing the stories behind those photos, I wanted to take a different look at love, I wanted to explore the love languages and how they apply to your life as a parental figure. So journey with me down this lane of love!

Act of Service

It’s imperative we show our children love. Treating them with respect, helping with homework, watching Moana with them for the millionth time, these are acts of love and acts of service. I know that we as parents can get busy, we don’t have time to use the restroom, let alone sit still and watch YouTube videos or make slime, but it’s important that we make time. It’s our responsibility to organize ourselves in such a way that we can be of service to our children. We must be an example of this type of love so that they not only experience it but can give it back to us and others as well. Take the time to figure out what acts of service your child is longing to have you participate in and then create the time and space to do said acts.

Quality Time

I think Acts of Service and Quality Time can cross over sometimes. Kids want us to be present in their lives. Whether it’s a school play, basketball game, a stunt you just have to come outside to see, they want us to spend the time recognizing them. Again, time is sometimes limited, there’s work, house work, social lives (yes parents we can have social lives), how do you create time for quality time with your children?! I thought that this quality time had to designated, special so I had to schedule it, what I learned is that my kids appreciate anytime we spend together as long as I making the effort to acknowledge them. Putting away groceries, sorting laundry, full concert in the car no matter where we are going, these are all moments I enjoy spending time with my kids and they enjoy with me. Quality time is what you make it, it’s up to you to make the effort to share time and be present.

Words of Affirmation

“I love you!” Three simple words, yet can be so hard for people to express, even parents. Our kids need to know how we feel about them, we need to speak it into them. Pouring words of encouragement into our children help to combat what they might be hearing from the outside world. You are beautiful vs. You need to lose weight, You are loved vs. Nobody likes you, You are intelligent vs. You are stupid, we lay the foundation for opening their minds, eyes, hearts, and ears to accept words that they hear about themselves. Actions and words work together to let our kids know how we feel about them. It’s up to us as parents to make every effort to show and speak love into them on a daily basis.

Receiving Gifts

Who doesn’t like to receive a gift?! Now some may say this is teaching kids to be materialistic, but it can also be an expression of love. I know for me personally I pay attention to things my kids like that will help them be creative. Symone loves to cook so I might pick up some jazzy spices for her, Jamiel loves sports so a new pair of cleats may do the trick, and Anissa LOVES designing for her baby dolls so finding some material on clearance works out. Whatever gift you decide to give your children, let it be from your heart. Children are more perceptive than we think, they can tell a guilt gift over one you put some thought into for them. So give the gift of love and pay attention to who your child is becoming and how you can encourage them to be the best version of themselves through gifting.

Physical Touch

I have to admit this is on the lower end of my personal love language so I have to work at it. Yes this extrovert will shy away from physical contact. I have never had this issue however with my children. I love hugging them. Hugging has become the way we greet each other on a daily. One of the brightest moments of my day is when I’m making dinner and my son, who has gained some height, enters the kitchen to bend down and hug me. It means just as much to me as it does to him. Although they are not as often as they use to be Anissa’s Eskimo kisses are always welcome. Even the oldest one comes by with her arms outreached. There has always been something about a hug with me, it’s squeezing a person and allowing their weight to fall into you, almost as it for that embrace all their cares have been dropped off and they or you can be weak, I think this is why I’m careful as to who I hug. My arms are a safe place for my children, I want them to know and feel it whenever we touch. HUGS TO MY BABIES!!!

Our children need our love! Home should be the first place they experience love. No matter the parental role you play please note that determining how the child in your life best receives love is important. Make every effort possible to support their love language.

How do you show the children in your life love? Do you wish as a child you would’ve been shown love in a certain way?

To hear more about Love Is…Tune into The Parental Guidance podcast, episode 5.

parenting

Positioning Yourself To Win!!!

positioning yourself to winIt’s the start of a new year!!! Every year we make promises to ourselves to do better, to live our best lives, to prosper more this year then last year.  We are hot and heavy for the first few months and then BOOM, something happens and we get less and less enthusiastic about accomplishing our goals. Why? Why can’t we keep winning all year-long? I’ve discovered the answer to this question. We don’t take the time to position ourselves to win. We have the vision board, we have the calendar, we have the map yet, we forget how to implement the tasks to keep pushing forward. So, how can you keep winning. Check out the steps below:

  1. Preparation is key! What are you trying to accomplish? Setting clear goals for what you want to do may seem easy to do. How you prepare to reach those goals is what will make the difference. Each goal requires a different plan, mapping out these individual plans will help you maximize your vision. You must first set the goal, then create the plan. With plan creation you must list out the step-by-step process, this will keep you on track and hold you accountable.
  2. Do the work! Of course when someone else is doing it, it looks easy, but honestly you don’t know that it’s easy for them. Focus on what you are accomplishing and set your mind to doing the work to achieve your goals. Nothing happens by chance, putting in the work to be successful is a major key in positioning yourself to win.
  3. Realize Rome wasn’t built in a day. Timing is everything. Most of us need to realize that our timeline is very different from those around us. Instant success is very rare! Making it a priority to realize that it may take time to achieve your ultimate goal will help you be successful. Think of your vision like giving birth to a baby (it really is) it takes time for the baby to form, to make connections, to come to the age where the baby is ready for birth, and then once the baby is born there is still more work to do. While you may accomplish one part of the goal there is still time needed to be put into nurturing that goal. All of this takes time. When you come to grips that everything may not happen instantaneously, you will learn how to best utilize your time.
  4. Create time & space. You need to stay focused, but how can you, there’s laundry, school projects, dinner to be made, babies to be changed, date nights, the list can go on and on. In order to win you must create a space where you can focus on accomplishing your goals. Whether at home, the library, coffee-house, the park, wherever you need to go to have a space to concentrate you need to make getting there a priority. Once you find the space dedicate time to working in that space on your goal. This is where preparation plays a major role. If you are prepared with the steps you want to complete in the time-frame allotted you are paving the way to achieve that goal.
  5. Connect with like-minded people. One of the things that stumps us in the winning process is getting stuck. So many ideas, maybe no ideas, we tend to get stuck and stay there because we can’t figure a way out. Having people who are going through goal achieving processes as well will help you. They have been where you are and may be there now, encourage each other to keep going, take breaks and enjoy life with each other. You need to find your tribe, people you can call on in those moments you want to give up. This group may be different from the friends you have had for years, the purpose of this tribe is to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals. (Guess what? It’s okay to have multiple tribes)
  6. Start & then start again! The first step in winning is getting started. You have the vision, you have the plan, now let’s do something with it. Most have no problem getting started, it’s when life happens and we get thrown a curve ball that derails our plans we STOP! Guess what winning requires you to know you may have to restart the plan at some point. You are not a failure if you have to restart, you only fail when you quit. How many times you restart is based on you. I will say this if you are restarting in the same area each time re-evaluate your plan and see where you need to implement change.

Hotties we can be winners all year-long as long as we determine we want to win. It’s up to you, you have the power, now use that power to start WINNING today!

How do you document your goals? What advice would you give to someone who’s stuck? Let’s help each other keep winning!

black women, health, women

Being Nanekia…GirlTrek A Walk To Self Discovery!

nik girl trekA little over a week ago thanks to #BlackGirlsInCle I had the opportunity to attend Girl Trek Cleveland Edition. I was excited 1. to find out more about Girl Trek, 2. To get out of the house on a Friday night for a little me time. Go on over and read my review of the event on www.blackgirlincle.com. The space, the vibe, the sisterhood was overwhelming and as with each experience I get to learn more about myself. So what did I learn this time around…Keep reading!

I’ve been living this outside my comfort zone lifestyle for a while. I’ve been many places alone, which no longer bothers me, this experience was different, it took me to a new level of being uncomfortable and I was completely there for it. I’ve had to do a lot of self reflecting and soul-searching lately, this was a decision I did not take lightly as in order for me to become better, to be available to encourage others to be their best selves, in order to live by example, I can’t be bullsh*tting myself. If there was any of that left, the #girltrek experience pulled it all out.

  1. All the ladies in the room were told to stand silently against the wall and leave all judgements including judging ourselves outside the room, there were a lot of ladies but we manage to do it. Then we were told to really think about ourselves and be honest with the answers we were giving. Step forward if you have improved your healthy living lifestyle, step forward if you have left an abusive relationship, step back if you remain in an abusive relationship, this went on with multiple questions until we were uneven. As I gazed around the room I saw women who were just like me, standing on my own in life figuring things out. I’d experienced some gains and losses and I wasn’t alone.
  2. As we remain in silence we were brought to a circle to do a rhythmic dance exercise. Honestly I had no clue what we were about to do, but the spirit in the room was refreshing and inviting. There were so many melanated faces in the room as we looked at each other the music began. First there was a slow beat, which we swayed to, then the build up and as the music began to heighten we were instructed to dig, scooping low (floor) then releasing at the top (above our head) as we scooped the sound was one of great pain from each person, but then the release was a roar, like we had found freedom and we needed everyone to know. The more we scooped the greater the release until you could feel the humming in the room get louder and louder with every release. Not sure if my description is giving you the full picture, but imagine being weighted down and you feel like you can’t get up, but then you manage to get up and now you can’t even feel the weight of what you were carrying. I felt all the pressure of that day being removed from me, the issues with co-workers, kids not cleaning up, missing date night, loss of friendships, too many meetings, goals not reached, the weight of all the issues I’d been having I could no longer feel. What did I feel? I felt my sisters carrying me, I felt with each hum of their voices they were helping me release. This was magical because let me tell you, a girl was extremely tired of carrying that weight!
  3. The Wonder Stories of Wonder Women! This part of the evening was amazing. You all know I like a good story and these were stories of women right here in my community, sharing defeat and triumph. With each shared story I felt closer to these women I did not know. We experienced joy, pain, laughter, anger, so many emotions and so many divine connections made. Once the stories were over we were told to grab a sister, hold her hands and look her directly in her eyes. No smiling, just studying her face and seeing her story in her eyes. Have you actually ever looked at another woman? Not her outfit, make-up, shoes (we know I love shoes), not her smile, but what’s in her eyes. Staring into this strangers eyes I began to notice things I hadn’t about her and we had been sitting next to each other for at least 2 hours. If you are so inclined really look at someone, and you will see their story. This was magical for me and I’m not going to lie the tears began to flow, because I knew my story, that behind my smile, behind the jokes, I was crying my eyes out tired and I didn’t see rest in site. That sister hugged me so tight I felt my body go limp and finally rest!
  4. Finally we get to the walking part, LOL! I mean all this emotional stuff and now you want me to walk. If you read my #blackgirlincle article then you know that 137 black women are dying each day due to preventable diseases. For me personally I know stress correlates directly to some of my health issues. Being able to relieve some of that stress and set myself free was amazing. So what does walking have to do with this? It’s a form of self-care we should start taking advantage of. When I’m angry, take a walk, when I’m sad, try taking a walk, when I’m happy take advantage of that boost and take a walk. Our ancestors found freedom in walking and you can find it too just take your first steps.

Girl Trek is on a mission to get a million African-American women to join the movement by 2020, I’m one of those women! My road to travel in getting me together started when I decided to take that single step, to live a life that defines me and no one else. What will your walk look like? Will you join us?
onika jervisOnika Jervis, Chief Engagement Officer. Girl Trek

Veronica VeryVeronica Very, President & Founder, Wonder of Women

Morgan DixonMorgan Dixon, Founder & CEO, Girl Trek

parenting

I Don’t Wanna Go Broke!

blog photo 11.20.18Hey Hotties! How many of us remember that Toys R Us kid’s song. I knew when I heard it around the holidays Christmas was fast approaching. Well now Toys R Us is no longer around ( insert sad face), is that due to poor financial planning, biting off more than they could chew, like the Tootsie Roll commercial “the world may never know?!” What I do know is I don’t want to see any parent going broke trying to provide a “Christmas” experience for their family. So below you will find a few ways I am curbing my spending during this upcoming holiday season.

Forbes predicts that parents will spend $495 per child. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, parents are pouring out big bucks for electronic items, collector items, and lifetime experiences for their children. Our children are living their best lives and we are going broke for them to do it! So how do we stop the cycle of unnecessary debt and enjoy this season. I’m going to tell you what I’ve done and hopefully it helps you.

  1. I made a list of the individuals I was going to purchase gifts for. I would love to splurge on all my nieces, nephews, aunties, uncles, and cousins but that’s not feasible. I’ve kept the list very specific and assigned a dollar amount to each person.
    (example)
  2. Name Amount Spent Remaining
    Symone 150 75 75
    Jamiel 150 63 87
    Anissa 150 92 58

    Once the amount allocated is gone that’s it, there is no more to spend.

  3. I started shopping 2 months ago. I allotted an amount from each paycheck to go towards the holidays. This way I wasn’t rushing to buy things just because I had to get a gift and I was able to budget between bills and extracurriculars. Also while I love a good Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, there have been some amazing sales going on if you sign up to receive promotions from those stores or vendors. While the emails may get to be a bit much at times, I love being the “first” to know about the sale and getting that extra 15-35% off because I signed up with them.
  4. All gifts matter! Here’s is where your parental guilt may cause you to break the bank spending this season. DON’T DO IT! If you can’t afford it, then that’s it, making a choice between paying a bill and your child having the new Jordan’s is a no brainer. Now don’t get me wrong I love seeing the excited look on my children’s faces when they get the gift they really want, but I’ve also instilled in them that appreciation for the gifts they receive is the greatest gift they can give back to me as a parent. (cause let’s face it they not breaking their little banks to buy us gifts). You are doing the best you can, don’t allow social media, TV, YouTube, or other parents make you feel guilty about what you can and cannot afford. You run your household and you know what you need to keep the needs of the family first not just the wants.
  5. Now if you are one of those people who just have to get EVERYBODY a gift, but you know you can’t afford it, here’s my back-up plan. Get photos of you and your family and have them printed, then create a holiday memory book for family members to display in their homes. Get artsy with it, no grandparent can resist a photo album with the little painted baby hands on it. Or you can bake cookies and give them out, this allows for you all to do a family activity and share with others.

Debt is something we should start teaching our children early to steer clear of. As much as we want to fulfill a want, discipline in spending habits will go a long way to secure their futures. What is your budget looking like this holiday season? How can you save?

parenting

The Ministry of Sisterhood: The Ansari Girls

img_0425If you haven’t been paying me any attention then you missed the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Want to know what it is/was?! My sister, Ayesha, and I have launched a show on Facebook LIVE, IG LIVE, and YouTube to discuss the ministry of sisterhood. We are giving you a behind the scenes look into our lives. How are we handling success, balancing family life, being social, and keeping our groove, all while maintaining our sanity and our close relationship with each other and our devotion to God? That’s a lot to view. So what made us think that our lives were so special that we needed a show. Let me take you on a little journey…

It’s no secret to the people who know us that my sister and I DID NOT get along growing up. We were like oil and water, if and when we did agree it was probably to agree that we didn’t agree with each other. This is how our relationship was for most of our childhood and on into our teenage years. My parents were so annoyed with us, but the older we got, our bond began to form. Now we didn’t stop arguing or fighting, we just didn’t have to do it in front of our family or friends, we each had our own homes and our hang up game was strong. So when did our relationship finally turn around. I really can’t tell you, one day I just looked at my sister differently. I no longer saw her as the brat that was driving me crazy, I saw her as another woman, someone I enjoyed being around. I didn’t just love her because she was my sister, I actually liked her as a person, someone I WANTED to hang out with. As others began to see us together they noticed the difference in our relationship and wondered what changed us. Our conversations were now inspirational and encouraging, our phones calls ended in laughs, we began to appreciate our time together.

So what change? Our faith! As our own individual relationships with God began to develop he granted us access to see each other differently. I began to see where I’d slacked as a big sister (yes, the secret is out, I am the oldest) and I allowed her to see the vulnerable parts of my life I’d kept hidden. It was in these moments our bond was solidified and we could actually see each other. As we began to share our story, our struggles, our journey, people paid attention and they wanted to hear more. If you tune into Just One Hot Mom the podcast (available on Itunes) some of my favorite shows are with my sister. But Just One Hot Mom is my baby, and I can’t share it, so what could we do that would allow people to hear and learn from our stories. Nothing but get in front of the camera and share. So on Tuesday, October 2nd, we shared our first story on “The Disciplined Art of Essentialism!” (check it out on our FB page/YouTube channel The Ansari Girls) Every other Tuesday at 8pm, we are opening the doors of our lives and sharing them with you. Our hope is that by being transparent with you about our lives, you will become confident in who you are, inspired to share your story, and encouraged that you are not alone in this life. I wouldn’t want to do this with any other person.

So your assignment, go like or subscribe to our pages and share in our journey!

Facebook: The Ansari Girls
Instagram: thensarigirls
YouTube: The Ansari Girls