Category: Family

Do You Make Your Children Buy Their Stepfather A Gift For Father’s Day?

I went to a comedy show recently where one of the comedians made a very good point – why isn’t there  a day, or at least a few hours set aside to honor stepfathers? He went on to tell the audience that he was a “retired stepdad”. He had recently divorced a woman with 3 kids & started lamenting on how hard it was to raise someone else’s kids. With Father’s Day right around the corner, he thought that they should get some acknowledgement on that day, even if it was only the last 1 hour of the day. Now can you imagine that: on Father’s Day celebrating your stepfather from 11:00 pm – 11:59 pm only?! LOL

This actually isn’t such a bad idea. When you think about it, stepfathers oftentimes put in more work that than the biological father (or even a stepmother, in that case). Think about it: Usually children live with their mother full-time, therefore the stepfather typically has more interaction with the kids than their own dads. He has more opportunity to make an impact on them, since more interaction means more influence.

Not to mention,  a stepfather’s paycheck has to cover all the bills & incidentals in the home, which includes supporting someone else’s children. (This is precisely why I don’t want to marry someone with kids) The stepfather has to build & maintain a friendship (or at least a relationship) with someone else’s children that is “good enough” for the woman that he chose to marry (otherwise she wouldn’t marry him).  Imagine all the sporting events, recitals, etc. that he would be pressured to go to by his wife. He has to prove to her that he loves & cares for her children, and may even have to deal with the bio dad. This can be a hard thing for a man to do – deferring to another man for a child that lives under his roof (another reason why I don’t want to marry someone with kids – they may live with you & you are financially supporting them but you don’t get the “final say” when it comes to raising them). Only a strong man would sign up for this.

I think the comedian has got a point. If you are someone’s stepparent you have to do just as much work, spend your own hard-earned money and don’t get nearly as much of the credit. How often do mothers make their children buy a Father’s Day card for their stepfather or buy him a gift? How much do mothers show their appreciation of the effort & the dedication that their new husband puts into raising a child that is not theirs?

Helping to raise someone else’s child who lives in your house can be tough. Women with children really should show a little extra love on Father’s Day to any man who is helping her raise her kids.

This Father’s Day, I hope that you think about the men who are stepfathers in your life. Appreciate them. Tell them thank you. Have your kids acknowledge them because being a stepdad can’t be easy.

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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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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How Can You Spend Quality Time With Your Children When You Have So Many Of Them?

I was talking to a friend who was telling me about one of her girlfriends who had married a man that had about 6 children (I say about 6 children because I couldn’t remember the exactly number). They had one child together before getting married but between their one child together and all of his own children their house was always full. I asked my friend why on earth her friend would marry someone who had 6 children already and her explanation was fairly simple: Although it sounded like a lot of stepchildren (and it is), it never really posed a problem because most of them were grown or lived somewhere else.

Apparently, her friend married someone in his late 40’s (she’s in her early thirties) that started having children in his teenage years. Four of his six children were over the age of 18 and already out of the house (and off of child support). Although he does have a lot of children he was only financially responsible for two of them. I mean most American households have only 2 children, so the question arose – how can you take care of your children when you have so many?

Let me state up front that I think money is only a single factor in taking care of children. Sure, it allows you to hire a nanny or provide material things for your children but having money doesn’t buy you more quality time with your children when you have a lot of them.

Take for example Jim & Michelle Duggar who have 19 children. Although they are reportedly living debt free and have the financial means to care for all of their children, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for 2 parents to be devoted to 19 different children. Even with their “buddy system” of an older child caring for a younger child, the mother & father should be responsible for raising all of their children.

Another example would be Ms. Nadya Suleman who has 14 children, with no husband and no real job. Aside from being broke, she has to hire multiple nannies just to keep all of her children in line. And to that I say, “Your Honor, I rest my case”.

Children need more than the love of their parents and they need more than their parents money. Children need quality time with their parents.

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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