Category: Black Women

READERS: Question of the Day – Naming Your Child Junior?

Is it okay for a woman to name her son Jr. if she was never married to his father?

 

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Don’t Try This At Home: Getting Pregnant Later In Life

By now everyone has heard the news that recently-married Halle Berry is pregnant at the age of 46 (her first pregnancy was at 42). While I certainly wouldn’t follow in her footsteps, I do question why anyone would want to have a baby at that age. Even with modern technology we all know the challenges that women face having children later in life, such as birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. Not to mention, the disturbance in one’s career and the sheer physical toll. But even with all of those things aside, why would you want to spend your “middle years” changing diapers & chasing after a toddler?

Other things to consider having children later in life are: fetal distress, cesarean birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery. And that’s just for the mother! The baby is at risk for low birth weight, genetic disorders like Down syndrome, asphyxia, brain bleeds and stillbirth. How terrible is that?! Those are problems that occur during the pregnancy & in the delivery room. Consider what age you’ll be when your child becomes a teenager. How will your parenting abilities be as you age? Can you keep up with your children or their friend’s parents? Will you have the energy? Will you have the patience? Will you be able to keep up with the rigor of raising multiple children as you age?

According to nationalgeographic.com the average life expectancy is 81 for women and 76 for men, so why spend the second half of your life raising young children? I would think that bearing children would be best to do while you’re younger. Instead of preparing for retirement, you now have to focus on raising an adolescent. While you may be more financial stable, the more out of touch you are with the younger generation that you are now raising. Not to mention all of your friends are just about done raising their children so you won’t have the support system that you probably hoped for.

Let’s look at some other famous people who had children later in life:

  • Uma Thurman – 42 years old
  • Celine Dion – 42 years old (with twins)
  • Tina Fey – 40 years old
  • Mariah Carey – 41 years old (and she’s reportedly pregnant again)
  • Nicole Kidman – 40 years old
  • Kelly Preston – 48 years old
  • Salma Hayek – 41 years old (her husband is a billionaire)
  • Molly Ringwald – 41 years old (with twins)
  • Mira Sorvino – one baby at 41 years old, and another at 44 years old
  • Charlie Chaplin – was reportedly 73 years old
  • Steve Martin – had his first child at 67 years old (and his wife was 41)
  • Hugh Grant – fathered a child at 51 years old
  • Warren Beatty – fathered a child at 55 years old
  • Tony Randall  – over 70 years old and died shortly thereafter at 84 years old
  • Luciano Pavarotti – fathered a child at 67 years old and died shortly thereafter at 71

It is a little different when you are rich – you can pay for younger help. You can also afford the best doctors to make sure that your health & the baby’s health is in excellent condition. Plus, Halle Berry looks like she’ll be young forever! But for the average woman these resources aren’t as readily available.

I am so glad that my parents aren’t “older”. This means that they’ll be around a lot longer J

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“We Are All Oscar Grant”

Today I went to go see Fruitvale Station. Unfortunately, it wasn’t playing in a theater near me so I had to travel a little ways to see it, and I am so glad that I did.

If you’re not aware of this film, here’s the back story: Twenty-two year old African American Oscar Grant, III was brutally shot & killed in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009 by an overzealous White transit cop named Johannes Mehserle. Johannes was sentenced to 2 years but ended up serving only 11 months in prison. That’s right – 11 months in jail for murdering an unarmed young man.

Not knowing much about the story of Oscar Grant, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I walked into the theater. But 2 minutes into the movie, I was enraged! The movie started off with the live shooting of Oscar Grant (what I’ve attached here) and sets the tone for the rest of the film. This movie shows the kind of man that Oscar was – an imperfect one, but a seemingly good father and completely innocent young man. His whole objective that night was to celebrate New Year’s with his friends and get home safely by taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) instead of driving. But he never made it home. Transit cop Mehserle claims that he was reaching for his taser to calm Oscar down but instead grabbed his gun and shot Oscar in the back while he was lying on the ground defenseless.

Riots & protests ensued in the days following Oscar Grant’s murder, some peaceful and some violent. I can only imagine the heartache that Ms. Wanda Johnson felt in losing her son Oscar considering that he was unarmed & not dangerous. Barely old enough to drink, he simply wanted to ring in the New Year without any trouble. There can’t be any worse way to start off your New Year than to learn that your son’s life was unexpectedly & unjustifiably taken. But through it all, she still fights for hope in our justice system and redemption for her son’s execution.

I did feel as though the movie was incomplete. Before the end credits rolled there was a status update letting us know what happened to Oscar’s family & the transit cop that killed him. However, the battle shouldn’t end with his death. Connect with the Oscar Grant Foundation, whose mission is in part to “Provide comfort, needs assessment, emergency counseling and resource referral information to assist the family through the initial aftermath of a traumatic event caused by violence and treatment for the emotional injuries sustained at the hands of law enforcement officers.”

Fruitvale Station won two awards in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature & the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film. This film stars Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer and is playing nationwide in a theater near you.

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My New Is Now

With half the year now gone I’m starting to focus on things that I can do to better myself. I even made a list and here are some of the things on it –

  • Invest more in others – Although not all of my friends check in on me, I should continue to check in with them. You never know what someone else is going through.
  • Be a better housekeeper – When I clean, I clean. When I don’t, I don’t.
  • Cook more often – You’ll never starve with me but I would like to expand my ‘recipe repertoire’
  • Study the Scriptures more – It’s always good to get in the Word!
  • Drivitude – I am mean out here in these streets so I need less road rage & to work on my drivitude! (driving + attitude = drivitude)
  • Be a better daughter – As my parents get older I should take it upon myself to check up on them more often. After all, they took care of me and the time will come when I will have to take care of them (or at least pay somebody else to do it for me)
  • Exercise more – This goes without saying
  • Eat better  – This too goes without saying
  • Donate to more causes that my friends are supporting – Every year I’m running in some charity marathon or asking my friends & family to donate on behalf of a dead relative so I need to support other people’s causes as well
  • Read more – I used to be a voracious reader of anything that I could get my hands on. But this past year, I haven’t read nearly as many books as I did when I was younger.  I need to pick that back up
  • Budget better – This is a perpetual goal of mine
  • Floss more often – I already floss several times a week, but this is so important and should be done DAILY
  • Cry more – Crying is not a bad thing. Releasing tears can sometimes soothe to the soul
  • Sleep more – I am a night owl by nature, but the older I get the harder it is to justify staying up late. I have switched my work out schedule to the mornings instead of the evenings so I really need to get up earlier

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You Are Dismissed!

As my birthday month comes to an end I’ve been thinking about all of the people who have let me down by not being there for me and not just for my birthday but in general.  The last month has been rough on me and the people that I thought I could turn to haven’t been there like I thought they should be. A few of my “friends” forgot about my birthday and even some of my own relatives haven’t been there for me, so it’s becoming more & more apparent that everybody in my life wasn’t meant to be there forever.

I realize that I am quick to dismiss people. If someone doesn’t treat me the way I feel I deserve then I stop talking to them. If someone can’t pick up the phone for 60 seconds to wish me happy birthday but sends me a text message instead then I have no problem deleting them from my phone. I get so tired of reaching out and my friends & family don’t reach back.  I don’t know how many Valentine’s Day cards I’ve sent to my single girlfriends over the years just to let them know that someone is thinking about them or how many birthday cards I’ve mailed out and have never gotten anything back. I never give with the expectation of receiving but sometimes it’s nice to have the thought reciprocated.

I know that not everyone shows their affections in the same way. While I love sending out cards & small gifts to people that I care about I know that people can exhibit their friendship in other ways. Plainly put: not everyone is into greeting cards. But it goes beyond the cards; even just keeping in touch with me seems to be a lot to ask. I know that as we get older life gets hectic and it means nothing for six months to pass by without calling me. But I am tired of reaching out to people to see how they’re doing & they never initiate contact with me. One of my girlfriends NEVER reaches out to me unless I call her first. Once we get to talking it’s like old times all over again, but for some reason she just never initiates contact. I love her to death otherwise I would’ve “dismissed” her a long time ago. I just can’t understand – why are some people so casual about maintaining friendships?

I know that I can’t go around dismissing everyone that forgets my birthday or doesn’t call me as often as I would like because then I wouldn’t be left with very many friends. But how can I be fulfilled in a friendship where I am the only one initiating contact? Yes, we all have a lot going on but unless your name is Michelle or Barack Obama, you are NOT too busy to check on me. Do I just give up on my friends? Does this mean our friendship doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to me? Or should I let these people slowly slip out of my life because they are “too lazy” to reach out to me?

The old adage says: “Some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

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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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