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Confessions of a Single Mom #13: I’m Going to Therapy

Saturday was a tough day, a day that made me take the plunge and seek a therapist. On my way to visitation with Khai’s dad, I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I was able to make it through visitation (only lasted 45 minutes), and head home to practice yoga. The one time I really needed Malakhai to sleep so I could at least get 45 minutes in, he did. He slept two hours.

After yoga, I just sat in silence. It was deadly silent. I let my thoughts float away. I drank some ginger tea and ate some grapes, continuing to sit in silence. I felt renewed and my blood pressure started to come down. I felt like me again. It’s that very reason why my mental health needs to be taken care of, as well as my physical health.

I feel like they both go hand in hand. There’s so many ways that mental and physical health support your wellbeing. I’ve gotten back into yoga and I’m sticking with it this time, I have to. Yoga is the only exercise that makes me feel good and can ease whatever feelings I’m feeling that aren’t positive.

I went online through my insurance and found the perfect therapist that can cater to all of my mental health needs. She’s black, my age, has experience, has hours that fit my schedule, and I can afford her.

Have you been to a therapist? Did it help and if so, how? If you haven’t, how do you take care of your mental health?

Vegan Mommy Things

MyGym @ Atascocita

Saturday, Malakhai and I went to a class at MyGym. It’s a little gym for our tiny humans. There were about six other little tykes there. We began with some warm ups then stretches with out minis. Afterwards, we had free time to roam around the gym and enjoy all that they had. There were slides, a ball pit, a parachute ride down a ramp, swings and so much more. Towards the end, there’s what’s called separation time where the parents leave the kids in the circle to play with toys and each other. Malakhai did so well!

I’m going to see if I can work MyGym into my budget. It’s only $82 a month which is awesome and we would be going every week. It’s worth the investment. I bonded with two other moms there and it’s a great way for Malakhai to meet other kiddos outside of daycare. If you have a MyGym near you, I highly suggest it. The first class is always free.

Playing in the circus!
Doing a flip on the bar. Of course he cried.
He didn’t too much like the ball pit.
He seemed to like one of the teachers.
Clearly he loved the swing.
He did not like the parachute ride lol.
Separation time.
He did amazingly well!
Just chillin!
Vegan Mommy Things

Sensory Time: DIY Paint

So, Malakhai has reached that age that he wants to touch any and everything. I open the fridge, he has to touch everything in the door. Anything I have in my hand, he has to touch. I figured it was time to start some sensory activities, and I can’t wait to continue this series.

I wanted to start with painting but I didn’t want to use actual paint because it’s toxic and he’s at that age where everything goes in his mouth. I wanted to make something that I knew I wouldn’t care if he ate it. I chose vegan vanilla yogurt. I got just a small cup and I split it between two containers: one for red and one for blue, although they came out a pinkish red and purple.

1 container of vegan vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, clothes you don’t mind messing up, and a fun attitude

I squeezed 3 strawberries in one container and stirred it with a spoon. In the other, I tried mashing blueberries, but they weren’t juicy like I expected. So, I took a handful and put them in a small pot. I added water just to cover and let them boil until they popped. This made the water a dark blue. I poured that in the other container of yogurt. It actually turned out purple but oh well.

I tried getting Malakhai to paint on paper but he just wanted to rip it up, so I poured some paint on the towel between his legs and let him have at it. He rubbed his hands and feet in it. It was a new feeling for him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He even decided to paint me as well. Here are some pictures from our painting session.

Vegan Mommy Things

Will He Hate Me?

This thought has run through my head time and time again, sometimes all day. When Malakhai gets older, will he hate me?

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that Khai’s dad and I don’t have the best relationship. In fact, we don’t have a relationship at all. We don’t coparent. I won’t get into all of the reasons why, but I always wonder of when Khai becomes old enough to understand, will he blame me for the lack of coparentship his father and I have.

Granted I will tell him the truth of everything, but will he forgive me? Will his father and his father’s wife say things about me to make it hard for him to believe me?

I always think about these things because if Khai ever resented me, I don’t think I could handle that. Granted as I grew older, I came to my own conclusion about my biological father and I’m hoping to do the same with Khai, let him see for himself.

If you are in a similar situation with your child’s other parent, how are you coping? Are your kids old enough to understand? How are they handling it?

Vegan Mommy Things

Narcissism

Dealing with a narcissist is probably one of the hardest things to do if you don’t know how to handle them. My son’s father is a narcissist. He’s very controlling and demanding. He wants everything to go his way or no way. Well, the thing is, he has yet to control me.

Sometimes dealing with him aggravated me, but I have to take a deep breath and then react in a way that he least expects. Narcissistic people tend to want to get you riled up. It fuels their behavior. The best way to deal with them is to react the opposite of what they want.

I’ll give you some examples. My son’s father, let’s call him Tyrone (I know right?). Tyrone likes to give me a deadline of when something needs to be done and usually he wants whatever it is done that day. Me being the petty person I am, depending on level of importance, I’ll do it a day, or two, or three, hell even a week later. I’m a grown ass woman. Nobody demands anything from me aside from my son. He can make demands from his wife and our son, but not from me. I bow down to no one.

Another example is when he gives me ultimatums. First of all, if you know me, you know I don’t take well to being required to make a choice. He gives me a choice of A or B and I take F. This is how our “relationship” has been for quite some time.

Narcissistic people get gratification from everything being centered around them and everyone doing what they want, how they want, and when they want. I can’t see myself letting someone try to belittle me that way.

Always meet narcissism with pettiness. That’s the only way to combat it. I could just not deal with him at all, but that would be me hurting my son and I’m not willing to do that. Yeah, my son is young, but I’m just not willing to start a habit that continues on to when he does understand and then I’m the bad guy.

Have you dealt with a narcissistic person? If so, how did you handle them?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Daycare

Today my son started daycare. He was supposed tos tart awhile ago, but I wasn’t ready. I never wanted him to go to daycare, but he needs social skills now that he’s getting older. He’s becoming more mobile and talkative (baby talk that is). Luckily, his daycare is owned by a friend of the family (it’s a long story but there’s much history).

My mom drops him off and picks him up since I work late and have to be at work early. I also work clear across town, so her doing that for me helps a ton.

He had a good time and I received a great report. He refused to eat his baby food, only drank the breast milk. He just doesn’t like food which is fine by me. He gets all he needs from me anyway.

Today was only the first day so I’m not exactly sire how to feel just yet. Of course, I was a nervous wreck all day, but he adjusted fairly quickly. Actually, there weren’t any adjustments for him. He took to the daycare owner very well.

How did you feel about your child(ren) attending daycare for the first time? Any tips to combat this “mommy worry?”

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

After Work Checklist

1. Pick up Khai.

2. Nurse Khai.

3. Take him home.

4. Unload everything in the wagon and bring him in the carrier.

5. Spend time with Khai (watch his fave shows, play with toys, read a bedtime story.)

6. Bathe Khai.

7. Nurse Khai to sleep.

8. Change Vick’s pad in humidifier.

9. Shower.

10. Sterilize breast pump parts and then repack in work breast pump bag.

11. Layout clothes for tomorrow.

12. Clean kitchen.

13. Clean up bedroom.

14. Eat dinner.

15. Me time (journal, yoga, read, drink tea or golden milk, budget planner, catch up on YouTube videos, watch a show on the fire stick,  meditate)

16. Say a prayer over Khai, then myself.

17. Tie hair up, wash face, brush teeth.

18. Turnoff all lights.

19. Recheck everything is ready for in the morning and turn alarm on.

20. Go to bed.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Bitter Baby Mama

There’s this notion that all single mom’s are bitter. This stems from people assuming we are mad because we can’t be with the father of our child(ren) or we are made that they don’t want us. Speaking for me and me only, both are false.

I am in no way bitter about anything, but me wanting my son and his father to have a relationship and me being passionate about it, comes off as being bitter. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a relationship with my father and I don’t want that for my son.

I think, and don’t quote me on this, most men who are on child support, are on child support because they aren’t financially helping the mother of their child(ren) take care of their child(ren). Because women are mainly the ones giving care to the child, men don’t see how expensive it can be to do it alone. They want to say we just want to take their money or we are trying to live off of them, when that it most certainly not the case.

Can I financially take care of my child on my own? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean I should have to, being that I didn’t get pregnant by myself.

My son is breastfed so in order for him to eat, I have to eat. I wash his clothes everyday since he has to be in cloth diapers. That’s water and electricity being used every single day. He has to bathe, right? That’s water again. Then, I have to be able to get him to my moms house and be able to get to work to afford a rough over our heads. That’s gas. He also has to have his booty wiped, his skin cleaned and conditioned, and his hair done. Then there’s toys and clothes.

See how that can get expensive? Then you have a man who doesn’t want to help financially, and thinks that all that’s important and being a good father is sololey just spending time with a child. No, dead wrong. A child needs emotional, physical, mental, and financial support.

As mothers, we want what is best for our children. We are natural born nurturers, whereas men, they just aren’t. I will spend my last dollar on my child for whatever he needs and wants, but I shouldn’t have to.

Next time you want to call the mother of your child(ren) bitter, don’t. Ask her what she needs and how you can help. Make her life easier, not harder. I can guarantee a myriad of men wouldn’t be on child support if they took the time out to sit down with the mother and laid out all expenses to see where he can contribute. All it takes is a conversation.

Now the flipside is there are many women who are bitter and vindictive towards the father, and do file child support to get back at him. What this does is make other women who file for financial reasons only, look like they’re bitter and vindictive.

Mamas, if he doesn’t want you, he doesn’t want you. Let that man and those feelings go. Worry about your child(ren) and your child(ren) only. You can’t be worrying about this man who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t want to be a father. Don’t battle with him. There’s a man out there who is going to love you and your child(ren) like his own. I’ve witnessed it numerous times.

What are your thoughts on the term “bitter baby mama?”

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

“I Ain’t Ever Scared…”

Of course about 5 months ago I didn’t have this mindset. I was scared shitless. I had spent two months at my mom’s house  after having my son, and I had had so much help between my mom and my stepdad. It was then finally time for me to go home. I was petrified at the thought of it just being me and Malakhai,

I wonder if I could do everything I was doing on my own, without the safety net of having someone there 24/7. Granted, they only live five minutes away, but I would be home…alone…with my child. How could I not be scared? What if something had happened? What if I messed up? What if he didn’t like me anymore because he was so (and still very much is) attached to my mom?

As you can see, a lot was going through my head back then. Now here we are, striving and thriving. We’ve settled in to a routine, I’ve become accustomed to it not just being me, and motherhood is suiting me well might I add. We play, he naps, I clean, he messes up a diaper, he nurses, we play, I clean, and it just continues, but I must say, it’s never boring. With Malakhai, there’s never a dull moment.

Sometimes I wonder how I could I be so scared of someone so precious and small that my body knew how to create? This little human loves me, he wants to always be around me and on me. How could I be scared of him? Not only that, I love him to pieces, a love that I never knew existed until I felt him kick, and then saw his face.

I say all of this to say mamas, it gets better, easier and less terrifying. What was/is something you are/were scared of when it came/comes to your child(ren)?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Black Breastfeeding Week

Today begins Black Breastfeeding Week and I have a short story to share. Earlier today, Malakhai and I met up with some ladies from this Facebook group that I’m in, Awkward Black Ladies. We met at this coffee shop called ThroughGood Coffee, which is black owned (though I saw no one black working there). It’s a nice quaint cafe off W 27th street.

After I sat down and mingled with the ladies, Khai became restless. So I tried to nurse him but he wasn’t hungry. I went to change him and there wasn’t a changing table in the restroom (I find that to be poor customer service but whatever). Three of the ladies left and that left just me, the moderator of the group (let’s call her Malissa since I didn’t ask permission to use her name), and Khai.

By this point, he had become hungry and so I nursed him. Then out of nowhere, I felt someone tap me on my shoulder. It was white woman in her maybe early 30s. She said to me, “I just saw that it was Black Breastfeeding Week and I just wanted to come over and offer my support and tell you to keep doing your thing.” I thanked her as I was in shock because I’ve heard such horror stories of white women coming up to black women breastfeeding and saying some atrocious things that include racial slurs.

Malissa just smiled and when the woman walked away, we both looked at each other surprised. Next thing I know the woman comes back and says, “Sorry to bother you again but I’m a doula and I just came from seeing a new mom and helping her to breastfeed, so that’s why I cam over and I’m glad you’re doing that.” I smiled back and thanked her again.

I just want to say how appreciative I am to see that there are still some decent white people in this world. From police brutality to the cops being called on us to us being called “nigger” for just being black, I was beginning to wonder. So to kick off Black Breastfeeding Week, here are some photos from today.

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My Life

Fall is fast approaching!!

fall_puzzler

It’s my favorite time of year and, yes I think I make this post every year, but I can’t help it. Fall is coming! That also means it’s pumpkin season. I’m an October baby so naturally I’m drawn and attracted to this time of year. I feel joyous and in my element. It’s also when I’m the most creative. I love the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, leaves on the ground and sitting on my patio sipping tea.

I know I haven’t been on much and that’s because I have gone back to work. I started last Monday. School starts next Monday so I am doing the final touches on my classroom and getting ready to welcome the students back.

Fall reminds me of my childhood when all of my favorite movies came on Disney channel like Twitches and the Halloween Town quartet.

Though I live in Texas, we don’t typically wear fall wear until it gets closer to December and even then, it’s far and few in between. I remember this time last year I missed fall because I found out I was pregnant and was trying to adjust, also, Hurricane Harvey kind of swept in and damaged everything. I was also in the midst of packing to move into my new apartment. So it was all a blur.

This year, I vow to take in fall and all that it brings, though I’m sure it’s going to bring warm or scorching weather. There are no major hurricanes that are threatening to ruin yet another school year or fall, nine that I know of (🤞🏾).

Do you love fall? What’s your favorite part about it?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #10: I Finally Took a Bath

 

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Yes, you read that right. I finally took a bath. I haven’t taken a bath since before I was pregnant. I know many of you are probably wondering, “WTF? She doesn’t take baths?!” I know many people who use bath and shower synonymously, however, I’m specifically talking about taking a bath. Ya know, running water, adding bubbles, sitting in the tub,  soaking for 30 min.

I cant blame Boo for me not taking a bath. It’s my own fault really. I’m always trying to be so quiet when he’s napping since my apartment is so small. Then since he takes cat naps, I try to shower and be out before he wakes up, but not today. I turned the water on and added the bubbles and while it ran, I rocked him to sleep. Once asleep, I quickly undressed and hopped in the tub. It was so refreshing and much needed. I definiently need to do that more often.

What is something that you rarely get a chance to do for yourself due to having kids?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #8: Single Mom Friends

*Disclaimer: This post is to piggy back off of Confession #4.

I can’t stress how important it is is to have single mom friends as a single mom. I used to trip off having single friends because most of my friends are either married or in a relationship, and then there were those who had kids, so we couldn’t really relate in life. It’s funny that I’m having an easier time finding single mom friends than I did finding single friends. Strange, right?

As a single mom, hanging around married moms or moms who are in relationships is not conducive to a relationship because they don’t know your struggle. Their kids have both of their parents in the same household, they aren’t searching for a man to potentially be a stepfather, they don’t have to deal with their child’s father’s girlfriend or wife, unless they were once together and now they are with other people, they have in-house help, they are a two-income household (majority anyway). They don’t have to go through what us single moms do so how can we relate other than both being moms?

I have a group of single mom friends and I’m thankful for them. We don’t get to hangout all the time but when we do, it’s so much fun. Having play dates and chatting it up about motherhood, our kids’s father’s, dating, sex, you name it, is relaxing and makes me feel sane. Sometimes I need adult interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to my baby, but he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying and vice versa.

Not having single mom friends can make single motherhood stressful and seriously boring and lonely. If you’re in Houston, well technically anywhere, follow @singleblackmotherhood on Instagram and join the Facebook group. I will be posting an interview with the founder, Kim Williams during my Boss Lady series.

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #7: I Could Never Love Another

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More so I don’t want to love another. As much as I love my son, I don’t think I could ever love another child like a love him and I don’t want to. He is my entire heart and my entire world. Honestly, having another child is just out of the question and I know women have multiple children all the time. But I always wonder if moms who have multiple children, love them all the same. I’ve heard some moms favor a certain child over the other(s), and I don’t want to end up doing that. I feel like I would love Malakhai more since he’s my first born.

So I’m wondering, for the mamas reading this who have multiple children, did you find yourself loving or favoring one child over the other(s)? If not, is your love the same for all of them?

For moms of only one child, can you see yourself being able to love another child like that one? Do you plan to have more children?

mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

Mommy Must-Haves #1

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may or may not get paid per link click.

As a new mom, there are things that make life so much easier and allow you to get things done. I had a baby carrier before he was born and after he was born, I wore him in it. It did not have any back support, so he was just hanging, which pulled on my back and my not yet healed stomach. I knew that wasn’t going to work. So, I headed to Amazon and found a carrier that I knew would work.

This carrier by Infantino is the absolute gag. It offers great support, he sits up higher and he’s not just hanging. He’s actually sitting in it. I can now do so many household chores, cook, go on long walks, etc., with him attached to me. I swear by this carrier. I don’t know if I would ever be able to do anything without it.

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One thing I did everyday when I was pregnant was walking. I knew that once he was born, walking would become more consistent. My coworkers got me this stroller as a gift when they threw me a surprise baby shower. It’s pretty much a jogger, though I stopped jogging a couple years ago. This stroller is lightweight and it comes with a car seat. Once he gets older, though he won’t be able to always fit in the car seat, he can still sit in the stroller.

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Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Benefits and Challenges

Breast milk is specifically tailored to fit a baby’s nutritional needs, all nutritional needs. It changes as your baby does when they grow. There’s nothing else on earth more fitting for a baby than breastfeeding.

When your baby is born, the first milk the receive from your breast is called colostrum. It is rich in proteins and antibodies which protect the baby from environmental diseases and illnesses outside the womb. This colostrum is how your baby begins to build their immune system.

As your baby grows, the mature milk contains a higher fat and sugar level to meet the demands of your baby. Breastfed babies have a decreased chance of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and diabetes. They also have better cognitive development. Aside from all of that, breastfeeding creates this bond between the mother and child.

My son will be two months this Thursday and he can already push himself to stand, hold his head up, can turn his head from side to side while in his tummy, talk baby talk, focus in on objects, laugh, smile, has tremendous strength, scoot, turn his body so he can face me while he’s in his stomach, reach and grab objects, and can turn on his side while on his back. He is far developed than other babies of the same age and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s breastfed.

Some challenges are that around the world, according to the World Health Organization, only about 40% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed. Given the number of people in the world, that is a great number, almost half.

Many mothers face difficulties likelatching issues, pain, discomfort, and not enough milk coming in. Another issue is babies feeding on demand, most mothers feel like they can’t get anything done or they’re always holding their baby. It almost becomes a burden.

You then have women of the older generations imposing their beliefs that babies should have solids earlier than 6 months in order for them to sleep longer. Why would you want a baby to sleep longer? That’s increased risk of SIDS. My son typically will sleep in 4-5 hour chunks. He will occasionally sleep for 6 hours if I bath and then nurse him. In my opinion, wanting a baby to sleep longer is for selfish reasons and not the best interest of the baby.

Breastfeeding is a learned skill for the baby and the mother and many mothers get too frustrated. For the new moms, don’t let the beliefs of others influence your decision to breastfeed. Don’t let the temporary pain and discomfort discourage you, because it’s just that: temporary.

If you breastfeed/fed, what are/were some pros? Cons?

All Black Everything, confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #6: The Talk

And I’m not talking about the sex talk either. As a black mother to a black boy, we have to have a talk that our white counterparts don’t: being a black boy in a society that sees him as dangerous and a threat because of the color of his skin. It’s a shame that I have to even have this talk with him and to say that I’m terrified of it is an understatement.

Why do I have to tell my son that because of the color of his skin and he’s a male, he was born with a target on his back? Why do I have to tell him about obeying the police no matter what and not to run even if you’re innocent or they will shoot you down? Why do I have to tell him that no matter what the cop says, don’t become defensive or combative, just cooperate? Why do I have to tell him that if he’s hanging with his white friends and cops come around, he’ll be the one they look at while his friends get to go free, or that he’s the reason for there being any trouble?

Why do I have to explain to him that in school if he seems to be smarter than the rest and he isn’t properly accommodated, his acting out will automatically have him labeled ADD or ADHD or even SPED, when in reality he is just smart and ahead for his age? Why do I have to explain to him that he won’t be able to do everything his white friends do because his skin doesn’t allow him that privilege? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be stereotyped until the day he dies with people assuming he’s a ball player, can run fast and has a big penis?

Why do I have to explain to him that some, not all, white women will go after him for his penis or his money if he decides to play ball? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be fetishized by white women and gay white men? Why do I have to explain to him that there is a certain way he has to act around white people just to make it in this world?

But you know what? Why do I have to explain anything aforementioned to my black son? Because that’s the world we live in and if he’s not careful, he’ll find himself at the barrel end of a gun. I’m not even looking forward to having to have this conversation with his father about when we should talk about these things with him. I know that someone will say why is race always involved. If you live in America and anywhere that black people, especially black boys and men, are shot down for no reason, you’ll understand. Coming from a black mother, our worry about our babies is ten times worse than those of any other race, including those of biracial children.

Vegan Mommy Things

Exercising for fitness postpartum

Since giving birth to my son, working or has been the hardest to get back into. I lack the motivation to do so. I was stoked that I got back down to my prepregnancy weight, however, I have put on about 5 lbs since then and I am not happy about that. It’s weird because I exercised my entire second and third trimester to prepare for birth and now that I’m no longer pregnant, I find it a struggle to workout.

Beginning last Thursday, I started back doing yoga and I’ve also been taking Boo on my walks. When it comes to yoga and walking, for whatever reason they both don’t seem like exercise to me. I see them both as ways to relax, keep calm, selfcare and bonding time with Boo.

This past weekend, I went to Baby and ame yoga (pics soon to come, will probably be in a separate post giving a review of the yoga class). It made me want to start incorporating him more in my home practice of yoga. Though he slept most of the class, it was nice having him there, comforting in a way.

I ended up having to purchase a new carrier to wear him due to me being top heavy and he was adding extra weight with dangling from the previous one (will give details in another post). So now with this carrier, it’s less stress in my back. I can go for long walks when I don’t feel like fooling with the stroller.

Another way I exercise is by strapping him to me and doing house work: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cooking, dusting, etc. Having to squat with him is like squatting with dumbbells: gives that extra weight to make you work harder and use your muscles as well as building them.

Once I am completely healed, I’ll be getting back into kickboxing, but right now, I am just keeping it low impact and easing back into my workout routine. What motivates me is the fact that I have a son and they tend to be more rambunctious than girls, as well as adventurous and require more endurance and strength.

What are some ways you workout as a mom after having your kid(s)?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #5: Co-parenting

Co-parenting is not always something that just works. You have to work at it. I know that I never thought I would have a child, and on top of that, if I did have a child, co-parenting was never a thought in my mind. I for sure thought I would be married if I ever had a child. Funny how the universe throws a wrench in your plans.

When I first found out I was pregnant, my son’s father as not onboard. He wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy or the baby after birth. Was I devastated? Shit yeah! I had just given up my career in China to stay in the US and be a mother. I felt it was selfish of him that I had to completely change my life and he was just going to go on about his as if nothing happened. I was pissed and heartbroken. Did I want to be in a relationship with him? Absolutely not, but I did want to have some sort of relationship when it came to our child. When I found out Boo was a boy, I knew that he needed to have his father, but I wasn’t going to press the matter.

We went my entire first trimester without speaking and that went well into my second. Midway through my second trimester, he suddenly had a change of heart. He came around more and was helping me out. He always asked if I needed anything. I was grateful, but leery of accepting that he was being genuine. I felt deeply that he had an ulterior motive. In the beginning he wanted a DNA test, but after Boo was born, he wasn’t as adamant about it. He still wants one but isn’t pressing it like he was. After all, Boo is the spitting image of him, just a lighter, cuter version, and he’s not denying that. Boo also looks like his father’s late sister, who was also a childhood friend of mine.

Co-parenting so far has been so-so. There have been phone hangups and heated conversations that lead to some days without speaking. With me being hormonal and he being the person he is, sometimes it’s like vinegar and water: we just don’t mix. He and I were never in a relationship, just physical. Now that we have a son, we are trying to at least be friendly for Boo’s sake. I know that not all co-parenting situations are like mine, some being better and some being the pits of hell, but for now, it’s somewhat working. I can only speak for seven weeks of co-parenting, for that’s how old Boo is. As he gets older, I’ll speak more on it.

One thing that motivates me to make this work is that I grew up with a father who didn’t want to be a father. He took care of me out of obligation, aka child support, and even then, he tried to weasel his way out of it any way that he could. I didn’t want that for my son. I don’t want that for my son. In some aspects, his father is a great role model and I know he’s going to be an amazing father. I love the way he loves our son and seeing them together warms my heart. I can’t wait to see their relationship grow, something that I will never understand with having an absent father. I guess that’s why it means so much to me that he’s around and is there for our son.

Now, granted, Boo is definitely not his father’s top priority and I won’t get into too much detail about that, but that is something that puts a strain on our relationship as his parents. It’s something that gravely pisses me off and I’m hoping one day his father will change that about him. As for me, being the primary parent, Boo is my top priority above any and everything else. I always think of him first, and if his father did the same, I think our relationship would be much better.

If you are co-parenting, what is your relationship like with the other parent? How is their relationship with your child?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #4: Loneliness and Meltdowns

Being a single mom from conception is hard as fuck. I won’t even sugarcoat it. Being a single mom period is hard as fuck. There are good days and there are bad days and the bad days make it seem like they outnumber the good. The past couple of days have been trying.

With the transition back home, I’ve felt a sense of loneliness, even when Boo’s dad comes to see him, which has been almost everyday. At times when Boo doesn’t stop crying, I feel helpless and like I have no one to turn to.

There are times when he’s awake for hours at a time and it’s exhausting to the point of severe frustration. I had a complete meltdown today because he was just fussy. He wasn’t wet or hungry and he didn’t want to play: just screaming and crying. It’s hard because he can’t tell me what’s wrong and I have to do my best and try everything.

I found that 9 times out of 10, he’s fighting his sleep. Even though I can call my mom, I still feel lonely with no one here. It’s funny because I live in the same city as my entire family and all of my friends, yet I still feel isolated and secluded.

Mad I had this meltdown while rocking Boo, he just stared at me and smiled as if to say, “It’s okay mommy, we’re both learning.” I cried even harder. It’s moments like that when he just looks at me and smiles, let’s me know I’m going to be okay; we’re going to be okay.

Motherhood can be lonely sometimes, whether you’re single or married, doesn’t matter. You’re the mother and no one else can replace you. What I’m learning is I need to reach out to my mom friends and meet up with the kiddos. Today, I am going to Mommy and Baby yoga and I cannot wait.

One of the best things to combat loneliness is to get out of the house and surround yourself with people. Being around other people can break some of that loneliness, even if you are an introvert and don’t tend to interact with other adults.

Do you ever feel lonely as a mother, despite having a support system? Do you lack a support system and the loneliness is unbearable?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #3: Dancing Fish, Talking Dogs & Loud Houses

I didn’t believe that when you became a mom, what you watch on television changes. I don’t have cable, but I do have a fire stick (best thing ever invented in my opinion). While staying at my parents’ house, I spent a lot of time watching Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and The Loud House. Needless to say, now that I am home, that has not changed.

What’s funny is I now know the them song to each show and actually dance with Boo when they come on. I also want to give a shoutout to YouTube for making these shows available and the networks that they’re on (I was able to purchase the entire series of Bubble Guppies on YT for $5, talk about a win!).

So now, I have to watch my shows and YT videos during me time, which is after 9 PM, but I don’t mind. Fascinating thing is Boo actually watched the shows when I put him in front of the television. He’s content at max for 30 min, which is sometimes all I need.

What is something that you find yourself doing as a mother that you never thought you’d do?

Vegan Mommy Things

Helpless in Houston

On Tuesday, my son was admitted to the hospital with a temp of 100.4. We woke up that morning and he felt extremely warm and was sweating. We headed to Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands (btw it’s a fancy ass hospital). We went to the ER and was immediately taken back to get vitals. His temp had gone up to 102.

They poked and prodded him. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do. He was fussy. Each time they had to do something to him, I had to step out. I can’t stand to hear my baby cry. He took most of what they did like a champ.

Then, they finally said they were going to admit him for two days. I had a melt down. I was scared, worried, confused, and, again, helpless. What was wrong with my baby?

We waited for hours for a room to become available. Our room was pretty swanky with a bathroom, shower, and the most beautiful view. The nurses were amazing, helpful, and waited on us hand and foot.

I was famished by this point and they said that I had to pay for the food I wanted to order off of the menu. Later I found out I got to eat free even though I wasn’t a patient, but since I’m breastfeeding, in order for him to eat, I have to eat. They had vegan options but not a wide variety.

I stayed in the room most of the time because I have trust issues. Even though my mom was there with us the whole time, she did have to sleep. The nurses feel in love with Boo and I had to make sure he didn’t come up missing.

It was a while before we heard anything from all the tests they ran. This morning they said he had E. Coli in his urine, which was and easy fix. They had had him hooked up to a machine to give him antibiotics through an IV.

We are home now and he’s doing better. His appetite never changed neither did his dirty and wet diapers. This whole experience taught me that I can’t control everything. Not everything can be fixed by me. There will be times when there are things that are out of my hands.

To my mamas, or anyone for that matter, when have you ever felt helpless?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

My Reason Why

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“Mom” is the best and most important title that I hold. It’s more than a job: it’s a lifetime of love, tears, trials and triumphs. When I became pregnant, I didn’t know how drastically my mindset would change. I think so much differently now. I don’t only think about myself, I think about my child first.

1. Malakhai is the reason I am on this debt free  journey. Getting out of debt has never been more important to me than it is now. I began budgeting towards the end of last year and I was even able to get my savings to 4 digits, which is something I have never been able to do before.

I’ve always been a spender instead of a saver, but now I think long and hard about purchases I make. I have a complete list I run through before I make a purchase, which I will share in another post.

I’m also doing this debt Free Journey so that he and I can travel. By the time he is school age, I want to be able to work part time in order to spend more time with him, teaching and traveling the world. I feel the best kind of education is done outside of the classroom. I want him to be well-traveled and know that America is not the only place there is.

2. Malakhai is the reason I eat healthier than I do prior to becoming pregnant. I now have to decide if what I’m about to consume is going to benefit him. It’s no longer about just benefiting me, but him as well. Since I’m breastfeeding, he consumes what I do.

3. Malakhai is the reason I want to work for myself so that he can see that he doesn’t have to punch in for anybody but himself, hence why I want to be debt free so I can focus more on my business and become a certified health consultant. I want him to be as open minded as I am and to think outside the box.

4. Malakhai is the reason I haven’t lost my shit after giving birth. He’s how I’ve been keeping it together as far as adjusting to motherhood. Looking at his sweet face and holding him, makes me feel like we’re going to be okay, that everything is going to be fine. I am an awesome mother and he is an awesome child. He is why I know I am going to be the best parent I can be for him.

5. Malakhai is the reason I want to better myself: mentally, physically and emotionally. Since he’s a boy, I’m going to have to be in the best shape physically in order to run around and play with him. He’s also more than likely going to want to play sports and go on adventures and I need to be fit to be there for every single thing. Raising a boy into a man, I am going to have to be emotionally and mentally stable to show him that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help or talking your feelings out. I don’t want him to hold anything in. If he’s having a hard time, I don’t want him to hesitate coming to me.

Malakhai is my reason for working towards living the best life I can. He makes me want to do better and be better. It’s amazing how having a child can make you see the world through different lenses.

If you have a child, how did they change you?

Vegan Mommy Things

2 Weeks Postpartum

Today makes two weeks since I had Boo and I have to say it has been an adjustment but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The first few days were hard because I was in some pain, but also he wasn’t feeding. I got really nervous and scared. 

I found out that he still had amniotic fluid in his throat that he had to spit up. Once all of that came up, he fed like a champ.

Sleeping at night was a challenge because he had his days and nights confused. I realized that he hated sleeping on his back because he can’t curl up like he did when he was in the womb. Now that I let him sleep on his stomach, we cosleep so I can keep an eye on him. He doesn’t do much moving in his sleep anyway, so I’m not worried about anything. Plus I can feel and here him when he makes the slightest noise or movement.

I’m now back to my prepregnancy weight and I’m stoked about that. I’m also embracing my postpartum body: the stretch marks and the small pouch. This body of mine did the most incredible thing that a body can do: it grew and nurtured a life, as well as delivered it and is continuing to nurture through breast milk. I still can’t get over how I brought this little human into the world. I did that. Me. 

Breastfeeding has been great actually. He latched on perfectly after he was born. Had no issues. He is a greedy one though, I must admit that. He’s been putting on weight and getting bigger. He was born at 7lb 2oz and is now at 7lbs 9oz. He Feds about every 1-3 hours (3 hours if I let him sleep that long). 

He is mighty strong to only be two weeks old. He pulls the glasses off my mom’s face, when he got weighed at the pediatrician yesterday he had a death grip on my arm and would not let go. I had to pry his hands off. He has strong kicks and as well (he uses my breasts as kick bags at night).

Diaper changes are still a struggle. Just this morning, Boo peed and it got in his face, on my arms, on the comforter and on his onesie. I ended up ordering some peepee teepees off Amazon. We are not going to keep doing this lol.

As for me, I am doing well actually. I’m so in love with him that it’s indescribable. This little human is mine and depends on me to love, nurture and guide him through life. I am honored he chose me as his mom. Truly humbled and honored. I’m going to be sure to give him the best life I can, a better life than what I had (and I had a damn good life).

The bleeding has slowed to spotting. The cramping from breastfeeding and my reproductive organs moving back to their position has stopped. I still experience some pain and pulling when I carry him while walking. 

My arms are getting stronger from picking him up and holding him while breastfeeding. I swear I have muscle definition now (just take my word for it). 

All in all, the first two weeks have had their ups and downs. I no longer cry from frustration or worry (not to say that it won’t ever happen again because I mean he’s a boy and boys tend to be reckless and get hurt constantly). 

I’ll try to work on updating y’all on Boo once or twice a month. 

Vegan Mommy Things

My Birth Story

Boo is a week old today and I am finally able to get on here while he’s asleep. Getting him adjusted to a breastfeeding schedule has been a little off but he’s adjusting well. He sleeps well through the night, which I could not be happier about.

Breastfeeding has been going well now that my milk has come in. He’s latching and I’m also pumping in order to prepare for when I go back to work in August.

He is the definition of perfection and I’m totally completely in love and obsessed. He has the sweetest face and now smiles at me when he decides to open his eyes and look at me.

But, I know you’re not here for that. I’ll do a post later on the first week post partum. Now on to my birth story.

April 20, 2018

I started having contractions about 9:30 that morning. At first I thought I was just cramping or that they were false contractions. They were about 40 min apart st that point.

I called my midwife at that point and she said to go on about my day. And that’s just what I did. My mom and I went to Hobby Lobby, grocery shopping and to another store I can’t remember.

We then went to happy hour at Los Cucos (clearly I didn’t drink), and my contractions had jumped to 5-8 minutes apart. When we got home, they were pretty intense so I called my midwife again. She had me to come in.

On the way there, the contractions were pretty damn intense but not as intense as they later would get. She examined me and I was only 1 cm dilated, so she sent me home.

Over the next few hours the contractions got closer together and became even more intense. Around 11:30 ish that night, I felt something pop in my lower abdomen. Contractions at this point were unbearable but not yet as unbearable as they soon would get.

I got up and I was leaking. I made it to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out. At that point, I just knew it was time to go see my midwife. I called her and she had me come in. I told my parents (they were the ones taking me and I’m also currently staying with them until I recover). By the time they got to my room, I was on hands and knees in pain. Soon as the contraction let up, I beelined to the car before the next one came.

Let’s pause for a second and talk about these damn contractions. Contractions feel like stomach cramps, but the closer they get, the more painful they become. The pain is on a whole other level.

So we get to the birthing center, and I am only 4 cm dilated. My midwife didn’t want to send me home so she had me and two doulas (along with my mother) walk 3 mi to get boo to move down. Now this 3 mi trek was devastatingly and excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable.

April 21, 2018

Every contraction, they either had me to walk through it or squat. I was beyond tired within the first 10 min.  As the walk went on, the contractions got worse and closer together to the point where every step I took, I had a contraction. I was miserable. About two blocks from the birthing center, I had given up. I ended up sitting on a curb. I was exhausted, in excruciating pain and walking just wasn’t going to happen. My midwife ended up coming to get me in her car.

Once back to the center, I laid down and tried to sleep but those contractions were in full force. I eventually got undressed and got in the birthing pool. The warmth of the water was relaxing and helped ease the pain of the contractions, ever so slightly. I think I was in there for about an hour. I then started experiencing involuntary pushing. I really needed to lay down.

I ended up getting out of the pool and on to the bed. About 20 min later, it was time to push my baby out. They began to see the head during one of my involuntary pushes and told me to push with each contraction.

Pushing him out was honestly the easy part and the least painful. I don’t even think it was painful since I was full of adrenaline. At 5:52 am, I felt his head then the rest of his body. It was an emotional experience.

I remember the first thing I said after he was born was, “I want my baby! Give me my baby!” They laid him on my chest and he immediately stopped crying. It was an experience to remember. I will never forget all I went through to have my Malakhai but I swear it was all worth it. The journey, the labor, everything was worth it to deliver my sweet baby.

At one point during the walk, I wanted to just quit and go to the hospital to make the pain go away, but I couldn’t do that to my baby. I didn’t want any drugs or anything to hinder this experience. I had him in a positive, loving environment and I will forever be grateful for the midwives and doulas that assisted me in my birth (LaMonica, Althea, TiTi).

Afua Hassan is the best midwife and she has made this journey so calming and reassuring. She eased a lot of my fears and made this birthing experience what it was: beautiful, peaceful, and loving. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve gone through with it. Without her being who she is, I think I would’ve ended up having him in the hospital.

I didn’t experience any tearing or anything severe. My pregnancy was healthy, easy, and for the most part enjoyable, but I’m overjoyed that my baby boy is here.

If I could do it over would I change anything? Nope. Not a single thing. It could not have been a more perfect experience.

Vegan Mommy Things

What I Will Miss/Not Miss About Being Pregnant

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As today is boo’s due date (yet he has not arrived), I think about what I will miss and not miss about being pregnant. Don’t worry, this will be a short post (maybe).

What I Will Miss

1. The special treatmeant that women get for being pregnant by family, friends, and strangers.

2. Parking in the “expecting mother’s” parking spot (though I can park in the “customer with small children” spot)

3. Feeling boo kick. I think that is the best part of being pregnant. Laying in bed and feeling him kick and move around with my hand.

What I Won’t Miss

1. People touching my belly without asking.

2. Constantly being asked if I’ve had the baby.

4. Being asked everyday by the same people when my due date is.

5. People telling me I’m getting bigger as if I don’t stand and look in the mirror everyday, or look down and can’t see my feet, or am not able to bend down to pick something up off the floor.

6. The constant, constant, constant, never ending trips to the bathroom.

7. Not being able to sleep on my stomach or back.

8. Eating every 30 min (maybe I’m exaggerating, more like every hour or two).

9. Snacking in the middle of the night due to severe hunger pains and kicks from boo.

10. Not being able to do intense exercises like HIIT or kickboxing, like I used to (how I truly miss kickboxing).

11. Being asked am I ready for my baby to be here. I mean I don’t have a choice now do I?

12. Being asked every single day by the same people if I have everything ready at my home. If not, then clearly I’m not on my shit.

13. Being asked by the same people is this my first child.

14. Basically being asked by the same damn people, the same damn questions, every damn day.

15. The way my body smells. Being pregnant has a whole different kind of sweaty, stinky smell.

16. The discharge.

17. The anxious waiting of boo’s arrival.

18. Being told what I can and can’t do, or what I should and shouldn’t do.

19. Being pressed about my diet (though I know I’ll be pressed about boo being vegan).

20. The horrid first trimester. It was just awful.

21. The unwarranted horror birth stories of others.

22. Being asked am I sure I want to give birth without drugs and in the water,  and how that’s a brave thing to do. Being pregnant is a brave thing to do with all we have to endure. Getting pregnant was natural so why wouldn’t I have the baby natural?

What are some things that you miss or don’t miss about being pregnant?

Vegan Mommy Things

Self-care Sunday

 

I haven’t been to a nail salon in years, so with boo arriving soon, I figured why not pamper myself today? I washed my hair and touched up my roots. Then I went to the nail salon and got a much needed pedicure, manicure, and eyebrow waxing. Since there will be photos and video footage of my water birth, I definitely have to be camera ready. Call it vanity, but I call it preparing for the future and having something beautiful to look back on.

My Life

Thank You for 600+

When I started this blog back in college, it began as a news blog. Had you told me then that today it would be a thriving lifestyle and mommy blog, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy and to not wish that upon me. At one point I had over 2,000 followers, then I deleted that blog and all of my social media. I started over. I have actually started over numerous times over the years and have changed my blog name as many times as well. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I could no longer keep The Black Vegan Author. I knew my blog had to be more versatile.

As of today, I have 647 of you lovely people following, and counting. I am so appreciative and thrilled for all of my new followers and that you somehow found my blog. Many of you are email subscribers and how you found my blog, I have no idea but I am glad that you did. I hope that you find my up and coming content inspiring and helpful, as well as relatable to your own life. I want this blog to be about my experiences through life as a millennial mama, a vegan, an author, an editor, an entrepreneur, a debt crusher, an educator, a blogger, and a traveler.

My hope is that you will go on this journey with me and share anything that you think your loved ones, friends, family, or social media peeps need to see. Tell everyone you know about my blog and let’s keep the family growing.

When I continued to have my blog, I didn’t imagine that it would grow back to the 2k that I had before. I didn’t even think I would be as consistent about it. In all honesty, I didn’t even know why I had a blog until more people started reading posts, liking, sharing and even leaving feedback. It gave me even more reason to delete all my videos on YouTube and start putting them in posts on my site instead. Keeping my content in one place is easier for me and as many of you have mentioned, it is easier for you as well.

Let’s keep going and strive for 1K followers. Maybe I’ll even do a giveaway at that point. My first giveaway at that.

Thank you again for subscribing and following!

Moniqua LaShae

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

I Don’t See How You Do It

I seem to be getting this statement a lot from my coworkers being that I am 9 months pregnant and still working. To many of them it seems abnormal to still be working this long. Thing is, I am a parent who is single, therefore, there is no one at home to help me with the bills, and seeing as how I don’t get paid while I’m on maternity leave (which I find highly absurd), I have to work up until my due date so that I am not missing a lot of money. Luckily for me, I am a teacher, so I still get my summer pay, I just won’t get paid for the month of May. Also, the first 8 days of my maternity leave are paid PTO days, so in essence, I am not really missing that much, but still.

I always wonder why some women, and men, feel that a woman who works up until she goes into labor is something out of the Twilight Zone. I am healthy and active, and so is my baby. I don’t have a high-risk pregnancy and I have been active my entire pregnancy. I honestly believe that has a lot to do with why I am still able to work. Again, I am also a teacher so it’s not like it’s a lot of strain and I am able to sit, take breaks and have snacks. That makes it much easier, however, I still don’t understand why it was so difficult for my coworkers to be able to stay at work until they were ready to deliver. Then again, most of them had that option because they were married.

I think that staying active during pregnancy allows you to be able to work longer if you don’t have a physically demanding job. Along with staying active, drinking lots of water, getting a plethora of rest, and eating a healthy diet (I am going on 5 years of being vegan), can contribute to preventing things like pre eclampsia, swelling and fatigue. Now I won’t lie, I am tired, but that’s mainly because I am so far in my pregnancy that getting in a comfortable position to sleep has become rather difficult.

Something else that has helped me is not letting myself get stressed over things that are out of my hands. I don’t let the stressors of being a teacher weigh on my like some of my fellow coworkers and teacher friends. I am here to do one job and one job only: teach these kids to write to the best of my ability and to assist them in becoming confident and successful in their academic career. Everything else I tend to push to the side. I don’t have the time nor the energy for workplace drama, which comes with any job no matter, where or what it is.

If you are a mama who was able to stay at work until you went into labor, what are some factors taht you think contributed to that? Also, how did you handle people who constantly said, “I don’t see how you do it”?