Category: African American Family

Talk To Me, Baby: What Type Of Phone Call Are You?!

Life keeps us so busy that it gets difficult trying to catch up with family and friends. There are some people that I love talking to & some that I can’t stand to talk to for more than a few minutes at a time, so I’ve categorized my phone calls. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about –

  • Bathroom phone call: Sitting in the bathroom is usually one of the most peaceful times of day for me (don’t laugh) so what better time than to call someone that has stressful conversation? This way when I’m done with my “business”, I’m also done with the phone call. Sometimes I wish I could flush certain people down the toilet (lol!)
  • Lunch break: These phone calls are usually pretty quick since lunch breaks are only an hour long. Because I have to eat and possibly do other things during my lunch break people I call during this time are usually just acquaintances, business calls or family members I don’t really want to talk to for very long.
  • Making dinner: This is where I get to multitask – I call people who are not that interesting.  This way I don’t have to give them my undivided attention and once dinner is ready (usually 30 minutes or less) it’s time to get off that phone.
  • Eating dinner: While I’m eating, I usually call people who like to talk a lot. It’s not good to talk with food in my mouth so during this time I can be a really good listener. And if I go for seconds, then they can really keep talking!
  • In the car – These phone calls are reserved for people I really like because sitting in the car is the largest chunk of time I use up. Traffic can get really bad and driving a few miles can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, so this is truly the best way to kill time. I can connect with friends that I love talking with while I get to my destination safely.

I’d like to hear from you…..what type of phone call do you think you are?

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“Why I Regret Being a Stay-at-Home Mom” – Huffington Post

I don’t think women should give up their career to be stay at home mothers. I came across this article written by Lisa Endlich Heffernan, and swear that she took the words right out of my mouth!

As an African American female, there are too many women of color that have come before me to break color barriers in the workplace. And these opportunities have been around less than 50 years; who am I to reverse the progress that’s been done? I want my daughter to know what a Black women can do outside the home & my son to desire a hard working woman like his mother (that would be me!)

Not to mention it costs a lot more money to be a stay-at-home mother in the long run. Why would I want to lose income like that?  Especially in this economy? Why do I have student loans for a college degree that I won’t be using? Anyhow, I’ve never had kids but this article pretty much sums up why I wouldn’t stop working even if I did. Read the article below –

 

The most expensive decision of my life I made alone. There was no realtor, no car dealer and no travel agent when I chose to leave the paid workforce. There was just me looking at my husband, my children and the chaos that was our lives. At no point did I calculate the lifetime impact of diminished earnings and prospects. I looked at the year we were in and the following year, and I bolted.

No part of my brain sat itself down and thought, What is the price, both in this year’s dollars and my lifetime earnings, to leaving the workforce, and is it a decision that I might regret a decade or two from now? At no point did I examine the non-monetary cost that would loom just as large. At the time, it seemed forgone: We had two demanding careers, two small children and another on the way, and two adult lives hopelessly out of control. 

One day I was working on the trading floor of a London bank and the next, I was on the floor of my children’s playroom. Not once did I think, at age 33, of what the job market would look like for me a few years down the road. Therein lies my most expensive mistake.

I stayed home with my kids because I wanted to be with them. I had a job that allowed me very little time with them on weekdays and I felt our time was short. I did not stay home because I believed they needed me or that the nanny I had hired could not do a great job. 

Now, on the downslope of parenting, I have misgivings about my decision to stay home. While I don’t know any parent who regrets time spent with their kids, especially kids who have moved on to their own lives — and I include myself among them — in hindsight, my decision seems flawed. Although I am fully aware that being a SAHM was certainly a luxury, staring at an empty nest and very diminished prospects of employment, I have real remorse. 

I let down those who went before me. In some cosmic way I feel that I let down a generation of women who made it possible to dream big, even though I know the real goal of the Women’s Movement was to be able to dream anything. One summer in the 1970s, I read The Feminine Mystique while curled up on a couch in my grandparents’ home. The book spoke to me and my mother and my grandmother spoke to me, warning me not to tread the path they had taken, leaving the workforce after their children were born. But the book and my mother spoke to a young ambitious preteen, not a young mother. Betty Friedan or not, I stayed home for almost two decades raising three sons.

I used my driver’s license far more than my degrees. I got my driver’s license after a short course and a couple of lessons in 11th grade. My post-secondary education took six years of hard work and yet, for years, I used my drivers license far more than my formal education. On one level, I felt like I was shortchanging myself and those who educated, trained and believed in me by doing this.

My kids think I did nothing. They saw me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering and even writing, but they know what a “job” looks like and they don’t think I had one.

My world narrowed. During the years at home with my children, I made the most wonderful friends, women I hope to know all of my life. But living in the suburbs among women of shockingly similar backgrounds, interests and aspirations narrowed the scope of people with whom I interacted. In the workplace, my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it. 

I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work.  Some of this work was deeply meaningful and some of it trivial in the extreme. Whether it is sitting on a hospital board or raising funds for a nursery school, volunteer activities involve a flurry of activity, but at the end of the day, those who are running the organization carry on and my job was over.

I worried more. Being around my children so much of the time gave me the chance to focus on them at a granular level. And I feel fairly certain that neither they nor I benefitted from the glaring light I shone upon us. Helicoptering takes time, and I had the time. If I had worked outside our home I would have still worried about them, but might have confined my concerns to more substantive matters.

I slipped into a more traditional marriage. Before our children were born and when they were young, my husband and I did the same job. We left in the morning together and came home together to stare at each other and at our small children through a blinding haze of exhaustion. In every way, my husband sees me as his equal, but in the years that I have been home, our partnership has developed a faint 1950’s whiff. He doesn’t ask me to run to the dry cleaners or fish store, but let’s be fair, they are both closed by the time he gets home.

I became outdated. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, I worked in banking on Wall Street in a technologically cutting-edge department. Just as I mastered every new computer, it would be whisked away and replaced by newer, faster models. I was au fait with software the public wouldn’t see for years and anything I didn’t understand was explained to me by MIT-trained analysts. I have kept up with technology, but not in the aggressive way I once did in my job. In my world, I often use my young adult kids as tech support and endure their snide remarks and eye-rolling, knowing deep inside that at one time, it was very different.

I lowered my sights and lost confidence. But far and away my biggest regret about my years at home was that I lowered my sights for myself as I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of. I let go of the burning ambition I once held because I didn’t feel as though I could hold it and three babies at the same time. My husband did not do this, my children did not do this, I did this. In the years that I was home, I lulled myself into thinking that I was accomplishing enough because I was. I was raising my children and as any parent who had spent a day with a child knows, that can fill all of the hours in a day. What I hadn’t realized was how my constant focus on my family would result in my aspirations for myself slipping away. And despite it being obvious, I did not focus on the inevitable obsolescence that my job as mom held.

If I could wind back the tape, have a do-over, what would I have done differently? Looking on at my grown and nearly-grown sons, I am grateful for the gift of time we had. Yet, I wish I had tried to keep a finger, a toe or a hand in the working world to ease an eventual return. I did not have a job well suited to part-time work, and work at home was technologically impossible at the time.  But, the solution required imagination, not capitulation, and with hindsight, I would have recognized that over time, my parenting and career would both ebb and flow, but neither would — nor should — ever end.

lisa endlich heffernan

 
 

                
        

 

I Want The Perfect Man, But Would He Want Me?

As I think about the type of man that I want to be with and the qualities I would like for him to have, I wonder whether or not I have the qualities that he would want. I do believe that just about every woman has some wifely qualities in her but are they the right ones? I would love to not have a “perfect man” but I man who is “perfect for me”, even though I’m not perfect.

I want a man who is –

Good with money: As the potential head of my household I want a man who is responsible with his own finances. I want a man who knows how to make money and protect the income that we have together. I want a man who not just saves money but is also financially savvy even though I’ve had my share of money problems.

Able to fix stuff: A man who knows how to fix things is sexy. Fix the toilet, change my flat tire, own a toolbox, anything – I like it! I believe that a man should know how to repair things but as a woman I’m not so good at housekeeping. I don’t like to clean & only do it out of necessity. I know a woman should be domesticated but cleaning isn’t really my forte.

Interesting: I am strongly attracted to a man that I find interesting & intellectually stimulating. And even though I’m pretty good at holding up my end of the conversation, when it comes right down to it I’m not always very exciting.

Attractive: I like men who are polished and well put together. Now, I don’t want him spending more time in the mirror than I do, but I think it is important to look as good as you feel.  I like a dapper looking dude even though I’m not always looking my best every time I leave the house.

A good listener: What woman doesn’t like a man who listens? Yes, I know we women talk a lot but it’s great to be with someone who is an active listener. But as much as I talk, I don’t always like to pay attention. I get bored when the conversation isn’t interesting enough.

Romantic: What woman doesn’t like a little romance? I expect a little romance every now & again, but I’m not very romantic myself. Why you ask? I’ve always thought romance should primarily fall on the man so that’s never really something I’ve put too much effort into.

Sane: There are a lot of weirdo’s out there so it’s not easy to find & connect with somebody who is not crazy! I am moody but I chalk that up to being a woman. J

Even tempered: I don’t want a man with a bad temper or someone that I have to argue with all the time.  I have my own attitude but I chalk that up to being a Black woman. J

A Gentleman: I like a man that opens my door (actually, that’s a requirement) & gives me compliments, even though I’m not always lady-like. For example, I talk about my menstrual cycle sometimes and have been known to put my feet up on the dashboard when I’m sitting on the passenger side.

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Shouldn’t My Future Mother-In-Law Kiss Up To Me?

Sometimes I think about what my mother-in-law will be like. Will she & I get along? Will I like her? Will I call her “mom” or by another name? (Hopefully not something that rhymes with witch) Will she teach me the family recipes or back me up when she knows that her son & I have been arguing? Will she be proud to call me her daughter-in-law? Will she & I hang out together and talk often? Or will I despise her and complain to my girlfriends about her? Maybe I’ll dread the holidays when & if I come to visit. Maybe she and I will be complete opposites or worse yet, she’ll think I’m not good enough for her precious son. Whatever the case may be I know that once I get married, I’ll have to deal with (or put up with) not only his entire family but also his mother.

Of course, if my mother-in-law (MIL for short) & I don’t get along I would think that it would greatly affect my relationship with my husband, especially if he’s close to his mother. I wouldn’t want him to be stuck in the middle but that just may end up being the case. Who should a husband side with – his mother or his wife? I say his wife, because according to the Bible, “…shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” (Gen 2:24) Plus we all know the saying: Happy wife = Happy life. Not to mention as his wife I am the one that is committing to him for the remainder of my life, sticking by his side through sickness, times of poverty, bearing & raising his children and will be there for him when he puts his mother in the grave. Yes, that’s morbid I know but that’s all a part of being a wife. So with that said, if I happen to have a MIL that I don’t get along with wouldn’t it be in her best interest to make a special effort to get along with me?

Just think about – if I knew that someone had the power of possibly putting me in a senior home once I got older or letting me move in with them instead, I would try my best to be on that person’s good side. If I knew that someone else was largely responsible for my child’s happiness and my grandchildren’s wellbeing, I would do everything in my power to build a good relationship with that person, especially being as the elder. Sure, there needs to be mutual respect between me & my MIL, and deference on my end since this is the woman that created the man I love & have pledged my life to be with. But don’t think that just because I tolerate you that I like you because those are two totally different feelings.

Until I get married or have children of my own that one day get married, I won’t know what it’s like to have a mother-in-law or to be one. Hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with my own mother-in-law but if not, I may have to prepare to not have a relationship with her at all.

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Would I Be A Good Mother?: Maybe You Don’t Know What Kind of Parent You’d Be Until You Are One

On the heels of Mother Day, I started wondering whether or not I would make a good mother. I mean, I’m not sold on having children in the first place but in the event that the Lord sees otherwise I don’t even know how the whole motherhood thing would work for me.

I have so many hangups on what motherhood is supposed to be like that I don’t even know if the actual role would match up with the job description I have in my head. From what I can tell raising a child properly takes a lot of ingredients that I don’t have:

  • Patience – This is probably the largest trait that I’m missing. I have patience for children (after all, they’re just kids and they don’t know any better) but I don’t have patience for adults with kids. How am I supposed to deal with all of the parents of my children’s friends? What if I don’t get along with the other parents in the PTA or on the playground? I can’t deal with people who aren’t good mothers.
  • Housekeeping skills – I’m just going to come out & say it: I don’t like to clean. I do it out of necessity but don’t really enjoy it. I feel like there are so many other things I’d rather do with my life than to clean up after a kid and their friends (after a large birthday party or sleepover)
  • Time management – I usually have a pretty crowded schedule. Where on earth would i find time to include a child’s activities? I know, I know, I would HAVE to adjust my schedule and sacrifice some of my activities because we all know that children should come first. It seems so much easier said than done though. Seriously, after a long day at work, going to the gym, running errands and cooking dinner I just don’t see how I would have time to be a good mom to my kids by doing things such as checking their homework, reading to them, after-school activities and the like. Because we all know husbands aren’t good for much around the house (lol)!

Would having these things make me a good mother? No of course not, but I do think that you need more than just “love” to be a good parent. So how is someone supposed to know if they would be a good parent? There’s no checklist or survey to fill out. There’s no application required or background check that will determine whether or not you’ll be a good parent. Do people think that just because they consider themselves a good aunt or a good uncle that they would make a good parent even though having nieces & nephews is nothing like having your own children?  How is a man supposed to know if the woman he wants to marry will make a good mother? How does any woman know that she’ll be a good mother to all of her children and not just her favorite? The conundrum is that you don’t know what it takes to be a mother until you are one. But the problem I have with parenting is that once I decide to become a mother, I can’t take it back.

So all in all, I guess I’ll never really know what kind of mother I’ll be until I become one (Jesus, help me!).

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ISO: Head of Household

My parents have been married for over 30 years. Correction: My biological parents have been married for over 30 years. Although their marriage hasn’t been perfect and I’m sure there were times when one or both of them wanted to call it quits, they were committed to their marriage. They were committed to their commitment. And that’s exactly what I want in my mate.

Unfortunately, coming from a two-parent home seems to be a rarity these days (especially within the African American community and there are various reasons for that, all of which will have to go into another posting). Because of this it seems that a lot of men are not equipped for marriage, let alone to be a good husband or father. Now of course, there are some exceptions to this rule (President Barack Obama, for instance) but for the most part in order to be a good leader, you need a good example of leadership.

Sure, it’s nice to have a strong male example around like a grandfather or an uncle. But an example is not the same as the real thing. That’s like saying a substitute teacher is just as good as a regular teacher. While both might be good at teaching, it is always best for the students to have their full time teacher in the classroom.

Now don’t think I’m saying that having a bad father in the home is better than no father at all. But the argument for having a bad father in the home is that you can at least see what not to do. In other words, you are able to see how to overcome adversity when the strife is right in front of you. People always say that it’s not healthy for children to see their parents argue. But if you’ve never seen your mother & father argue and then make up, how can you possibly know how to handle arguments as the head of your own household? Yes, you don’t have to see an argument to know how to handle one, but it’s always better to learn by example rather than by trial & error.

Men like to think that they have so much to lose when they get married. But as a woman I have to give up a lot as well, particularly letting a man take over my household. I want a man who knows what he is doing. And if a man has never seen an example of how to lead how can I trust that he will know how to lead our household?

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42

Earlier this week, I saw the upcoming film 42 which is the story based on the life of Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. I didn’t go into the theater with a whole lot of expectations, only to learn more about Jackie Robinson. But boy, was I impressed! The film really focused on how Jackie Robinson transformed the game of baseball by being the African American to integrate  Major League Baseball in the 20th century.

He was born Jack Roosevelt Robinson in 1919 and attended college at UCLA, joining the U.S. Army just before finishing his degree. He began playing for the Negro Baseball League in 1945 and was recruited by the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers President, Mr. Branch Rickey in 1947.  He led his team into the World Series in 1955 and played for a total of 10 seasons. Jackie Robinson was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1962, just five short years after his retirement.

Jackie Robinson married Rachel Isum in 1946 and had three children. His widow, Rachel, founded The Jackie Robinson Foundation after his death which is a non-profit organization that gives scholarships to minority youths for higher education, also preserving the legacy of Jackie Robinson.

This coming Monday (April 15th ) is deemed Jackie Robinson day where his retired number “42” is worn in solidarity within the teams of the Major League Baseball.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet the Robinson family on several occasions and they are very excited to see Jackie Robinson’s story come to life on the big screen. I hope that you support the film this weekend – it’s great for the entire family!

JR2

To learn more about the Jackie Robinson Foundation go to www.Jackierobinson.org