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

parenting

It’s A Shame! Part 2

IMG-0190So let’s just say in the last few weeks shaming has been at an all time high. I’m not sure why others take such liberties to tell you about how you should feel bad, but they do. I often wonder what do these people tell themselves when they look in the mirror or when someone corrects them about being who they are. How do they feel? Apparently not bad enough to stop doing it to others. In this week’s shaming story, it’s just me and this body that I am in, that I love but apparently someone felt I should not be so crazy about.

I was in my office minding my business, on this day my hair was wrapped up like a Nubian goddess, I had on a perfect floor length sundress, face was au natural, and my scent was a hint of coconut. I was feeling good, not just about my look but I was having a good day. Then I felt the room get dark and an evil presence enter who wanted to take my happiness away. I’m joking no evil presence just someone else who does not work in my office decided to tell us about the detox she was on. As I try to shy away and head to my office she notices. Excuse me, I wanted to tell you about the detox what’s going on with you?! Who me?! She then proceeds to question my head wrap and explain how a real lady does not wear that type of adornment outside of her home. She assumes that underneath my scarf my hair must be a mess and I should really take the time, just a few seconds and do something besides the scarf. She’s an older woman and I respect my elders so I respectfully nod at her suggestions. You would think it would have stopped there, but I guess because I didn’t completely lose it on her about the hair comment she thought she should continue. Next, apparently I need to detox because my face was super red and it was probably red because of the toxins in my body and not enough water. Again I just nod and try to respectfully move toward my office. 15 minutes later a discussion about how my spirituality was reflected in my look and I need to get right with God, I finally tell her to be blessed and to have a good day. Now I failed to mention earlier she wasn’t just having this conversation with me, but my other co-worker was present as well. Yeah, she was trying to shame me in front of someone else.

After she left, my co-worker asked why I hadn’t responded with a swift, you need to be checked demeanor. My response, I’m confident enough in myself to know that what her thoughts are, are not my own. Why would I take the time to explain that I’d been wearing my hair in a nice flat wrap waiting for it to dry before I removed my wrap, but that I was proud of myself for finally learning how to correctly tie the wrap up on my head ( I watched a billion YouTube videos), that I was in the midst of a rosacea flare up, that instead of covering it up with make-up I decided to let my skin breathe and for the first time in days my skin felt cool. Or why would I explain that me and Jesus are super cool, that we talk on a regular basis and all is well with my soul. I knew that she had already made up in her mind to judge what she didn’t know and she didn’t want to get to know. Why waste time and effort trying to get her to see beyond her own thoughts. And checking her would just feed into her already negative thoughts, so instead I just nod.

But what if I wasn’t confident in myself, what if I was at my breaking point and one more comment would have sent me over the edge? People don’t often think before they speak and sometimes they don’t realize that their helpful advice isn’t so helpful. For me I’ve been in love with who I am for a long time, but a lot of women I work with or speak with are just learning this, what damage is being done my others to take them off the path to self-love?!

I challenge each of us to not assume we know what a person has going on based on one glance and our opinion, but if you really care to get to know that person and if you don’t ZIP IT! Have you been shamed? How did you handle it?

parenting

It’s A Shame!

IMG-0358 (1)I honestly hate that this is a conversation we have to keep having but it’s a very necessary one. I’m talking about the conversation around Mom Shaming! It’s a tough enough job nurturing and guiding these people we’ve been given, but to have someone take a hammer and shatter your confidence in this area it’s a bit much. We all know we don’t have it all together, yet each day we at least attempt to put on this brave face and join society. The last thing you need when trying to hold it together is someone giving you the look. We all know the look, when someone tilts their head up in the air slightly to look down upon you, mom’s also have that stare, but it’s an ancient secret I can’t reveal here. Why do we, people think it’s okay to make someone feel bad about their parenting, just because they may not do it the way we do it doesn’t make it wrong. Can’t we all learn from each other.

So here’s the story Anissa loves to where these kitten heel boots she found. She puts them on with her favorite dress and I watch as she transforms into this character that is a singer, actress, mom, superhero, teacher and doctor. I can see her become empowered and it makes me feel good. The other day she wears this magnificent outfit with me as I grocery shop. Everyone is admiring her little boots with the heels. She in turn clacks them together and gallops away so they can see and hear them. She loves to put on a show. As I giggle, I hear a whisper, “She think she’s grown,” I look around to see who thinks they’re grown, because I’m obviously grown and so is the other lady in the aisle and then there’s just Anissa so who is she talking to?! I ignore and keep reading the package and Anissa keeps clacking. I then hear, “Who would let their little girl wear heels?” So now I know she’s talking to me because unless a ghost was going to reveal himself to us both we were the only ones in the aisle. I politely inquire about her comment with an excuse me. ” I was just wondering where you got those little heels? They are cute, how is she walking in them?” My reply, better than some grown women I know!

As Anissa and I walk out of the aisle I could feel her staring and shaking her head. If I wasn’t confident in who I am as a mom I would have questioned myself and probably took away Anissa’s shoes because of course if this one lady is thinking it someone else must have thought it too.  I know that shoes don’t cause Anissa to grow up any quicker, I also know that she likes the shoes because of the sound they make when she walks. So why was this lady so concerned?! She wasn’t, she didn’t care about Anissa’s welfare she just wanted to judge me based on what she thought she knew. What did she know? Absolutely nothing!

This was just a small incident for me there have been countless others where people assume their opinions matter just because parenting styles don’t match. The beauty of our world is that we are all different, which means the people we raise will be a little bit of us and a whole lot of different. What gives any of us the right to stop that progression? So my advice to the shamers…STOP IT!

Have you ever felt like someone was trying to shame you? How did you handle it?

parenting

Being Nanekia…Do Not Apply Pressure!

jesus-hilario-h-311382-unsplashHey Hotties! The school year has officially started for most (YAY!) This summer was amazing the kids and I had a great time on some great adventures. As most of you know Anissa has started kindergarten and Jamiel is a freshmen in high school. Yeah, yeah, I know the spacing, but you know I like it spicy and the way to keep it that way is to spread them far apart, just joking that’s life. Anyway that’s not what this post is about. My son is attending a great private school, that has a high moral and educational code, they are expecting students to excel in all areas of their lives and become productive members of society. What parent doesn’t what that for their child?! I knew this was the place for my son and we have been excited all year for his start, that was until the first week of school.

Jamiel is my calm child, he doesn’t stress too much, he goes with the flow. So imagine my surprise when I caught him up late one night in a panic. His eyes were red, he had a strained look on his face and he was grabbing his stomach. My immediate response, food poisoning! As I begin to feel his forehead and ask about his other symptoms I realized it wasn’t food poisoning, Jamiel was stressed. In my mind I was thinking we are just the first week in, how can you be stressed already. I didn’t want to make light of how he was feeling, so I got him some water and asked if we could talk. (I always ask my kids if they want to talk I don’t assume they are ready just because I am.)

I took a look at what was on the screen of his laptop and there was this overwhelming schedule, something completely new to him, new teachers, new concepts to learn, new school, new people. While this could be the possibility for each school year, something was very different for him this time around. In his words, “I’m a young adult now people expect me to be responsible all the time, to know things I don’t really know, to perform. I’m always hearing how as a young black man I have to do more, HOW DO I DO MORE?!” I felt bad cause honestly I didn’t have an answer for him, I’m still trying to figure out how I can do more and I’ve had almost 40 years to do so. In the first week of school he had 3 quizzes, 2 papers, football practice, a football game, his chores for home,  and time for a social life, for someone who hasn’t had to jungle this before this was a huge shock to his system. He went through several conversations before we narrowed down his real concern, would he be a disappointment.

Jamiel’s disappointment statement hurt my heart, why would he ever think he was a disappointment. then I remembered a conversation we had earlier this summer. School was never hard for me, I didn’t have to study, I could read something one time and just know it. Jamiel had the same ability in middle school but high school is a whole new ballgame. His confidence was low, how do I help him regain it?

  1. We made a schedule for him to stick to and added the events to the calendar on his phone with reminders. There is time for studying, homework, and time each night to ask me questions about what he may need help with.
  2.  He signed up for tutoring, it’s available free through the school so why not utilize the resource.
  3. We are reading for fun a book together, to expand his horizons. We’ll be able to discuss with each other, hopefully helping him to engage in this conversation will give him with the confidence to engage in class.
  4. I’ve put the tribe on notice and asked that they pray for him and send him encouraging words. I am a firm believer that the people in your child’s life should speak excellence over their life.
  5. Going to bed on time. As much as he wants to be up playing Fortnite, he realizes that he needs rest.
  6. I’ve realized that I want him to do well, to succeed, but not at the cost of his mental health. Open communication about the pressures he feels will always be a constant in our home.

It’s important that we listen to and not just talk at our children. Their feelings matter and we need to watch the pressures we apply. What do you do when you notice your child may be a little stressed? How are you helping to alleviate that stress?