Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Angela, The Novice Wealthbuilder

The #debtfreecommunity on Instagram is rapidly growing and so many millennials are becoming debt free. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m on a journey to becoming debt free. Through this community, I’ve sesrched for, found, and still searching for single black moms who are either debt free or working towards becoming debt free. Our guest on the blog is one of these moms who has recently become debt free, and here is our interview.

1.    First, tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, number of kids, all that you would like to share.

I’m in my mid-thirties, mother to a pre-teen girl and reside in California. I work at a major tv network assisting with developing entertaining and educational tv concepts and programming. I’m currently at the low end of totem pole but rapidly working my way up the ladder!

2.    How did you accrue your debt? (Credit cards, student loans, personal loans, car loans, etc.)

My debt came from the usual suspects. Credit card, car payment and student loans. When I began my journey in 2014 the breakdown looked like this;

• Credit Card- $4,000

• Car Loan- $26, 315

• Student Loan- $27,465

            I decided to follow the snowball method and tackle the smallest debt first.

3.    What was your final straw to make you start tackling your debt, and what kept you motivated on the journey?

I was making decent money, for me, at the time. About 50k a year, yet I didn’t have anything to show for it. Yes, I had nice clothes, nails and hair done, and I was just learning about building wealth. I was contributing 10% to my 401k and additional funds to my HSA. The lightbulb hit when I started reading getting interested in purchasing real estate, specifically a multi-family unit. After tons of reading and research I learned that purchasing something of that caliber as a single woman and mother with no substantial savings and a ton of debt would be extremely risky, that it was a risk I was not willing to take. So, I decided to become debt free, build my emergency fund and then save for my property. I want my purchase to be a blessing and not a curse.

4.    What are some things that you stopped doing or deprived yourself of on the journey?

EVERYTHING! One thing that stands out the most was the decision to stay in my one-bedroom apartment. Once things financially started to pick up, I wanted to move into a bigger place so my daughter could have her own bedroom and we can live more comfortably. To keep my debt payoff momentum going I decided to stay. Housing is one of your biggest expenses so keeping that at a bare minimum is what allowed me to progress during my journey. Now that I’m debt free I have no desire to move, and I’m able to tackle my other financial goals rapidly as consequence to that.  To be completely transparent most of the deprivation came from simply not having any money. Over the course of my 4-year debt payoff journey I was laid off 3 times. I went from making 50k a year to 30k to 15k a year. Thankfully I was diligent with paying off my debts (credit card and car at that time) that I only needed to pay for basic living expenses which included rent, internet, cell phone, tuition and food.  When my income finally did increase it was easy to forgo birthday parties, events, concerts, spa days, hair appointments, restaurants, shoes, and weekend getaways.  I saw how easy it was to go broke and I was determined more than ever to finish off my student loans and save.

5.    What are some things you did to assist in paying off your debts?

I worked and sacrificed. I didn’t side hustle because that was time and energy that prevented me from performing exceptionally well at my place of employment and would prevent elevation. I did work overtime whenever I was able. I would dabble in focus groups but that wasn’t very lucrative. I made a budget, cooked at home, started an Instagram account to share my journey with like-minded individuals since I had no one in real life I could relate to. I also started my account to document my journey so that when things are at a halt or I get discouraged I could look back and see the ground I’ve covered and muster up the motivation to continue.

6.    Did you have a support system and how did people around you react when you said you were starting this journey? Did anyone understand?

My boyfriend at the time was a huge support to me. Mainly because he was getting out of debt as well. My friends were supportive by being offended when I turned down invites. Some even offered to find free to stuff to do and at times would treat me. My mother respected what I was doing and was amazed at the numbers I was throwing towards debt each month. When I explained to people why I was putting myself through such drastic measures it made sense and people understood. However, it’s very difficult to put into action. Lastly, my baby girl was my support system. She understood why she couldn’t do certain activities, why we couldn’t get hot lunch anymore or why we ate the same foods over and over. She would remind me that we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the house when I wanted to stop and get food on the way home.

7.    Are there people in your inner circle who you have inspired to do the same?

I inspired mother to be more aggressive with paying off her credit cards. She’s not gazelle intense but she’s moving. She’s also been thinking about paying her house off in 7 years instead of 15 so she can be debt free when she retires. Other than my mom, I’ve helped a few friends complete a budget to at least see where their money is going and how they can cut back and save.

8.    What was your feeling when you pressed the submit button on that final payment?

Words can’t describe the feeling. There were times when I wanted to give up and stop, especially after the layoffs. I had to take on jobs that paid practically nothing and rely on government support to get by, which I’m so grateful the option was there. Once the day finally came, that I would be making my final debt payment, an unexpected tear came down my face ( I know it sounds a bit melodramatic) but it came from a sense of relief and actual peace. I didn’t expect to be emotional. It’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments, and for my daughter to not only see but experience the ups and downs and then witness the end was just amazing. 

9.    Now that you’re debt free, what are your money goals? Will you still budget? Will you invest? Save?

I still budget and track my expenses. Now that I’ve gotten a raise so to speak, it’s even more important to assign each penny a job. I’m finally able to put into action what motivated me to get out of debt. I’m currently on month 3 of my 6-month emergency fund. I’m contributing 6% of my income into my Roth 401K, and in April I will save for 2 months to pay for a Disney Cruise  that my daughter and I will be taking in September (Our 1st out of state vacation together). Once my emergency fund is complete, I will up my retirement contributions to 15% and will begin saving for my investment property, which I hope to buy in 2021.

10.  Thinking into the future, how will you help your child(ren) when it comes to managing money and not taking on debt?

I’m placing a big emphasis on school and education right now, so that she can obtain scholarships to attend college. Whenever she gets money some goes to savings, giving and she can spend. I also have her plan out her month with events and activities she wants to attend, and she’ll budget and spend money according to what she has left in her spending pouch. I’m proud to say this experience has taught her a ton about not only budgeting but the dangers of debt and the rewards of building wealth.

11.  What are some last encouraging words that you have for other single moms out there who are embarking on this journey to living a stress-free, debt-free life?

JUST DO IT!  It’s so fulfilling and worth it.  Although my daughters father financially supports her there are many times when I wished that I didn’t NEED his support. Now, that I’m debt free, so much money has been freed up to continue offering her a great quality of life.

 Best,

“Angela” 

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

Before Work Routine

  1. Wake up @ 4:30 am.
  2. Take a shower.
  3. Brush my teeth.
  4. Get dressed.
  5. Put coconut milk on to boil for my oatmeal.
  6. Pack up everything in my wagon.
  7. Put oatmeal in the pot.
  8. Fill up gallon water bottle.
  9. Pour oatmeal and toppings in a bowl.
  10. Wake up Malakhai.
  11. Change his diaper.
  12. Lotion him up.
  13. Nurse him.
  14. Bundle him up (weather is crazy cold right now)
  15. Strap him to me in his carrier.
  16. Turn alarm off and then back on.
  17. Load the car. 
  18. Head to my mom’s house to drop off Malakhai. 
  19. Head to work.
  20. Pump before school starts.
Boss Lady

Boss Lady: Debra Johnson

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I met Debra through Instagram about a year or so ago, and we finally met in person this year at the 2018 Houston Vegfest. Let’s get into this interview.
First, tell me a little bit about you and what it is you do.
Hello, My name is Debra and I’m a licensed attorney and a freelance writer and blogger. 
What inspired you to want to get into law?
I was initially inspired to go into the legal field because I wanted to understand how the law worked. I would watch political shows and I was active in my community, and I wanted to understand things better for myself. I didn’t know exactly what area I wanted to practice, but I knew that I wanted to make a difference in education, since I was a teacher before law school. 
What kind of attorney are you? Why did you choose that?
I’m an Assistant General Counsel, which means that I advise companies on internal issues. My focus is employment law. For the first 7 years of my legal career, I actually worked for a public school district, primarily working on Human Resources issues and policies. I enjoyed it because I wanted to make a difference in education. Over time, I developed an interest in working specifically on employment and HR issues instead of School Law, so I transitioned into my current position. 
Do you plan to open your own firm?
I did own my own firm for a while, and I did not enjoy it. I ran my firm while working my full time job, but I had a physical location and everything. There is a lot of liability and overhead with running a firm, and I didn’t feel fulfilled from that work. I find my freelance writing business to be much more satisfying, and it’s also more profitable with less liability. 
As a fellow blogger, tell me a little about what you blog about and why.
I currently blog about ways that people can overcome adversity and achieve their goals. I consider my blog to be a personal blog because I share a lot of my own story. I recently revamped it, and I plan to share a lot of what I’ve learned and how I’ve achieved my goals over the years. 
You’re a single mother like myself. What is it that you want to teach your son with all that you’re doing?
I want to teach my son to be a good person, to help others, and that he can do anything that he puts his mind to. He is a very creative and artistic person, and I encourage him to pursue his passion for the arts. 
Has it ever been or does it ever get tough being a single mom?
Yes, being a parent is tough. Being a single parent is tough mainly because of the stigma that society places on single mothers. But, it’s also tough because the financial, physical, and emotional obligations of parenting are primarily on me. I am blessed to have support from my family, but ultimately the parenting responsibility falls on me. 
 
In the last year or so, I sought out a parent support group and that has helped both me and my son a lot. We also go to family counseling now. I would tell single mothers to find a support group, and to seek family and individual counseling even before you think that you need it. 
What is your ultimate goal whether it be with your career or your blog, or both?
My ultimate goal is to write and blog full-time. I want to be financially free and have the luxury of location independence, so that I can travel the world once my son is older. 
What inspired you to become a writer and do you plan to ever write a book or solely keep your writing for your blog and legal work?
I always wanted to be a writer from the time that I was a young girl. I was an avid book reader, and I wrote a lot; I also majored in English in college. Before law school, I was an English teacher also. I do plan to write several self-help and motivational books in the near future. It was hard for me to write about my story for a long time, but going to counseling has helped me learn how to open up more. 
Where can people find you?


My blog is debrajohnson.com, and I’m active on Instagram @bydebrajohnson. I would love to start making videos on YouTube again. If your audience has any ideas for videos, send them my way! My YouTube channel is youtube.com/debrajohnson

Boss Lady

Boss Lady: Amber Richbook from For the Love of Millennials Podcast and A. Richbook Coaching

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I met Amber through Instagram and I’m not sure who followed who first, but she’s such an inspiration. She’s dedicated to her girls and also empowering millennials. She has just this vibrant spirit about her that’s hard to come by. If you need inspiration, she’s the one to follow.

Let’s start by you telling me a little about yourself. Where you’re from, what you do, just whatever you want to share?

I am a single mother of three currently residing in Durham, NC.  I have a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and one in management.  Fun Fact: I am a licensed cosmetologist in three states.  I host the podcast For The Love of Millennials, a podcast created to empower and uplift the melanin millennial. 

I learned that no matter what job position I am in, I find myself making connections to the people that I meet and learning about them in the unconscious effort to inspire and empower them to be the best of themselves.  

My favorite past times include writing poetry and searching for amazing vacation spots.

Now I know you have a podcast, For the Love of Millennials. Tell me a little about how you started with that. (Came up with the name, what made you decide to do a podcast as opposed to YouTube, what it’s about and what do you want people to get from it.)

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast.  is a platform created to inspire, empower, and uplift  melanin-enriched millennials to be the best of themselves. There are many podcasts that are published and have audiences that are targeted to the melanin enriched millennial.  Many discuss what’s popular today.  What sets this podcast aside from other millennial podcasts? While the podcast may discuss topics and events that are current, we aim to provide  information that has a long term benefit.  So if a listener tunes in months from the episode, they can still find value in the episode. 

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast will not have a limited scope as to music/politics/fashion-beauty/or simply gender related topics, each topic, carefully chosen to provide value to listeners, will thrive with the intention to fulfill the podcast’s purpose to empower melanin-enriched millennials to live their best lives. For specific episodes that will feature a guest, it is important to me to have melanin-enriched millennial expert(s) as a guest(s).

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast. supports and encourages the well-rounded development of melanin-enriched millennials in addition to inspiring and empowering US to live our best lives, whether as professionals (intrapreneurs) or entrepreneurs.  Who are millennials? There isn’t a clear timeline for the rise and end of millennial era, however most sources identify millennials as persons born in the early 1980s to the mid 1990s [approx ages 23 to 36].

I decided to do a podcast because I wanted the audience to be able to tune in whenever and whereever and not be so much distracted by the visuals.  However, at some point the podcast will introduce video. 

The name? For the Love of Millennials was a name I had for over a year. I wanted to have a YouTube with interviews to focus on regular degular successful millennials of color because there was starting to be a gap of  ‘successful”—I use quotations because success is different for everyone—people of color, from age groups to even careers/professions.  You can be successful as a technician just like you can be successful in music, or you can be successful in the arts just like someone can be successful in a professional sport.  I just wanted to reach the US that needed to hear some empathetic empowering conversation.  

You are now a single mom of three beautiful girls. How are you managing single motherhood on top of everything else you’re doing?

LOADED QUESTION. Lol. First and foremost as a solo parent you realize and understand that the well-being, welfare and security of your children rests in your lap.  SUCH a HUGE responsibility.  I remind myself daily that they chose me to be their mother, hence I say, “I get to” instead of “I have to.”  Being a mother is a choice in all actuality.  I get to be their mother doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, but what it does mean is I am owning every aspect of parenting.  

I keep a schedule in addition to keeping myself and my children in a routine.  It provides the structure and balance that we all need.  It’s not rigid as it provides flexibility for us to do other things.  One thing that’s certain is their 8:00PM bedtime.  No matter what by 8:00 they are ready for bed. And then they wake up between 6:30AM and 8:30AM it all depends.  

I make sure to schedule my life via my calendar on my phone and using the reminders.  I’m working on implementing a consistent self care routine because I do realize that’s so important.  BUT I PLAN PLAN PLAN. If my plan gets thrown off I go with it and PLAN again. 

What do you want to teach your girls or what do you want them to learn from what you’re doing?

I want my girls to understand endurance through adversity is necessary for the journey.  To understand that failure is needed to appreciate success.  To see the I’m Possible when the world says “impossible”.  To know the sun is shining, on a cloudy day and even while the night falls.  I want my daughters to learn through my actions that they are enough, whole, balanced and filled with everything they need to accomplish their wildest dreams.  I allow them to explore their creativity, their ideas and encourage the imagination.  I teach them to understand culture and diversity and to love themselves as they are magical.  All in all, I teach them that they are valuable and loved.  As a person of value people have the responsibility to treat us well just as we have the responsibility to treat others well.  

What projects, if any, are you working on now? (If you want to disclose any)

As of right now I am working on curating  spaces for healing and growth conversation.  Something like a group coaching experience.  In addition to sharing my story with others via speaking, For the Love of Millennials Podcast and my A.RichBook/aRichLife Coaching is my primary focus.    

What else do you do aside from the podcast and being a mom?

Aside from the podcast and being a mom,  I provide one-to-one and group empowerment coaching.  I find that I attract the fulfillment of my purpose on a daily basis.  

What is your ultimate goal as far as the podcast and your other projects? 

My ultimate goal for the podcast and any project that I associate with is that it empowers and inspires those targeted to receive the project’s message, and brings about change and transformation.  I want to see more people win, grow and blossom.  

Where can people find you?

People can connect with me on instagram @A.RichBook

Or visit my site arichbook.com

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?

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Series: Too Good for Formula

So I am leaving my family reunion and I really don’t know what it is with the older generations and that damn formula. This is a conversation between me and a family member.
FM: *gives me some clothes for my son* I know they’re big but once he gets on formula, he’ll blow up and get into them.
Me: *gives her the look and y’all know the look, like how the hell you figure he hon be on formula? look* Oh he won’t be on formula.
FM: Whaaaaaatttttt? (The long drawn out “what”). What you mean he ain’t gonna be on formula.
Me: he’s breastfed, he doesn’t need formula.
Cousin: *walks away with a disgusted look on her face*

Then this happened when another family member came to us at the table and my mom was holding him.
FM: y’all doing all that holding and you nursing him, he won’t be able to stay with anybody.
Mama: that’s why I’m the babysitter.
FM: yeah but he won’t be able to go to anybody.
Mama: he don’t need to go to anybody anyway.

Let me tell y’all, when it comes to my mama and her grand baby and me nursing him, she does not play. Idk what it is with the older generation thinking all babies need to be on formula and breastfeeding ain’t enough. My son’s pediatrician is impressed that he’s surpassing all milestones as far as his weight and size, just from breast milk.

One thing I know for sure is that children who aren’t held or cuddled as babies, tend to grow up with emotional issues and a disconnect emotionally and physically from others. I’ve seen this too often.

Mad my child is only 2 months old and cannot walk or crawl, what is he supposed to do if I’m not holding him? And just because I nurse him, doesn’t mean he won’t go to anybody else. Like his mother, he is choosy with who he wants to be around. Babies know. They can sense BS and ill intentions.

So what if my son only wants me. I’m his mother, why wouldn’t he? And I’m not the “cry it out” type. That kind of emotional deprivation is detrimental to a child’s emotional growth. That makes them feel unwanted and alone.

What are your thoughts on older generations and them imposing their thoughts on your parenting skills?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #9: Co-sleeping

I know from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I was going to co-sleep, no if’s, ands, or but’s about it. Due to the fact that I knew I was going to breastfeed, it only made sense.

After Boo was first born, we stayed with my mom. He did sleep in his bed that she has at her house in the beginning, however, when he stopped wanting to be swaddled, I knew that sleeping in his bed was over. My mom really pressed the fact of him sleeping in his own bed. The thing is, parenting styles have changed since I was born (30 years ago) and many Millennial moms co-sleep just like many breastfeed. It’s funny how my generation, in many ways, is reverting back to a time when my parenting style was natural.

Co-sleeping, just like breastfeeding, is a taboo subject. Many people, mainly the older generation, don’t agree with it because it causes the baby to be spoiled, attached, not wanting to go with anyone, not wanting to sleep in a baby bed, etc., which is all not true. Boo is friendly and will go to anyone. He sleeps whenever and wherever. As for the attachment part, he is very attached to me, when I am around. If he can’t smell me nearby, he’s fine.

Much if what the older generation believes is due to what their moms told them, and what their moms moms told them. It’s really just a way of controlling how a woman raises her kids and getting her to do what the woman’s mom did. Many older women feel, in my experience, slighted because of the bond is younger women have with our children due to breastfeeding, baby wearing and co-sleeping.

It’s always said that it’ll be hard to get the baby out of my bed when he gets older and I personally don’t care. He’s my baby and he can sleep with me as long as he wants. As his mother, I know what’s best for the both of us and co-sleeping is it. I love having him near me and he loves being near me. I can check to see if he’s breathing (oh how he hates being touched when he’s sleeping), and when he’s hungry, I can roll him over, pop my boob in his mouth, and when he’s done, roll him back over (he’s a tummy sleeper and burps on his own).

Co-sleeping along with breastfeeding creates this close bond between a child and their mother. The closeness is as close as they’ll get to when the child was in the womb. Many days I miss him being in my womb where he was safe and I could take him everywhere (I still can take him everywhere now but I have to carry/wear him).

Do/did you co-sleep? If so, for how long? If not, what was your reasoning?

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?

My Life

“…lookin’ like a right swipe on Tinder…”

Yes, I know the title may make you think of Cardi B’a song “Drip”, but this post is actually not about someone looking that good. About a week or so ago, I joined Tinder. I hear so much about it and I wanted to check it out for myself. I have to say I am somewhat not impressed. Let me explain.

For those of you who don’t know, Tinder is an online dating website. Many equate it to a hookup type site. All there is to it is to create an account and then start swiping: left for “no” and right for “yes”. Basically if you’re interested in the person or not. My disappointment in the app is that you can’t filter the kind of matches you get: by distance, race, occupation, age, height, etc., like a usual dating site. You’re basically going off of looks which is not good enough for me.

Many of the men don’t have anything in their bios, so you don’t have anything to go off of personality wise. My assumption is that it’s because it forces you to have to message someone to meet up and get to know them: face-to-face interactions. My other quam is that I only date men of a certain race: my race. It’s just my preference, just like everyone else has their preferences. There aren’t too many black men on there, more specifically black men of a certain age. They’re all in their 20s and your girl will be 30 this year. They say “age ain’t nothing but a number,” but it is when you have a child and need someone who is mature enough and ready for responsibilities. I don’t need someone to play daddy, because Boo has a father, however, I need someone mature enough to be around a child and help out. Men younger than, I guess 30, I don’t see as being mature. You know women mature faster than men.

Also, distance is an issue. Now the app asks for you zip code, but I keep getting matches in other states. I’ve tried long distance before and it’s not my cup of tea.

Now, I have seen some pretty decent, reputable looking men, but again, I don’t know their personality. I guess the next step is to send messages with the ones who equally swiped right on me. I’ll keep you posted.

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #2: Home, Sweet Home and Closing the Door

Yesterday Boo and I finally went home from my parents’ house. We had been staying with them for the past 7 weeks. We had adjusted to him being out of the womb and I was getting used to my parents helping out and watching him while I sleep, as well as doing a bunch of other things for me.

Scared was not even the word to describe how I felt about leaving my parents’ house and doing this on my own. Granted they live literally 3 miles away, they are currently out of town. My son’s father helped me to move all of our stuff back into my apartment. He then left right after for an emergency. I was left alone with Boo. That’s when the crying began. He would not let me put him down so I could begin unpacking. At one point I left him in the room and closed the door. I felt a panic attack coming on. Then all of a sudden, the crying stopped, so did my heart. I went back in and he a was laying there with a string of snot coming out of his nose. He looked up at me and my heart broke.

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I picked him up, wiped his nose and cuddled in the bed. I nursed him and he fell asleep. As soon as I got out of the bed, the crying started again. I put him in his vibrating chair and let him watch cartoons on YouTube. I cleaned up a bit until my mom came. She stayed for a little while and he was completely calm. After she left, he cried on and off for the next five hours.

Around 10:30, I called my mom. I put her on speaker so he could hear her voice.  He was calm again. After we got off the phone, I nursed him and he went to sleep. He slept the entire night until I woke him up at 5 to change his diaper and to nurse. He quickly went back to sleep.

I still feel bad about leaving him in the room to cry. I feel like a terrible parent for doing that.

If there are any tips or trick to soothe a crying baby that is not hungry, wet, or sick, please leave them in the comment section. Being a single parent living on my own is hard as fuck.

confessions, My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #1: Be Still, Cherish the Moment

There are times when Malakhai just won’t stop crying. Like today. We went to my apartment and it was his first time there. He cried and cried. I was trying to get things done with my blog, apply for jobs, plan new content, eat, and a cohort of other things. I started to think that he hated being there. Every time he would go to sleep, I’d lay him down and he’d throw an entire fit. He has never cried like that before and I was becoming frustrated. I changed him, I fed him, I rocked him, but what he really needed was my full attention and to cuddle with him. See, being at my moms house, we spend a lot of time cuddling and just us time. I haven’t really been trying to work like I did before I had him. Finally, I got undressed, cuddled him in my arms, got under the covers and laid down. He instantly stopped crying and went to sleep. So did I. In that moment, he taught me a valuable lesson. I have plenty of time to work but moments like that will soon go away, so I need to be in the moment, be still and just cherish it. Turn off YT, Netflix and Hulu. Put my phone down. Before I know it, he won’t want to cuddle anymore. So, I’m learning to take advantage of him wanting to be near me, close to me and just being still with me.

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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”?

Vegan Mommy Things

Single Parent v. Single Parent

Most people have the definition of a single parent misconstrued. If you ask anyone, 9 times out of 10, they will say a single parent is someone who is single and a parent. That is actually not the case. A single parent is a person who is taking care of their child(ren) by themselves, without the help of the other parent.

Most single women who have a child(ren) are single mothers because the father is not around. For example, my mother was a single mother with me because once she and my father divorced, he was not around and found ways to get out of paying child support.

I currently am single and I’m a mother, but I’m not a single mother. My son’s father is involved as of right now (things can always change, but I pray that they don’t). There are even single fathers and I know of some personally: men who have kids and the mother is nowhere in sight, which is awful because how can a woman abandon a child she carried for 10 months?

The abandonment of a child by either parent is detrimental to their mental and emotional growth as they grow older.

All in all, their is a difference between a single parent and someone who is single and also happens to be a parent.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Thoughts on being a Single Mother

Never did I ever think that I would be a single mother, nor did I ever think that I would be pregnant, but, here I am. As for being a single mother, I am not depressed or upset by it because I know that there is a man out there who will love me and my baby. Granted getting pregnant under the circumstances wasn’t ideal, I am so glad that I am going to be a mom.

I used to always look at and judge single parents, women mostly, despite the fact that at one point my own mother was a single mom. It wasn’t until I started realizing the situations that makes a woman a single mom and becoming pregnant myself, that I understood.

Reasons a woman becomes a single mom:

Boyfriend/fiancé/husband dies

Divorce

Abuse

Incarceration

Irreconcilable differences

Rape

Man is married

Prostitution

Stripping

One night stand

Incest

And the list goes on and on and on. There are so many reasons and it’s crazy because women get judged for being single mothers, but men don’t get judged for being single fathers. In fact, they get praised (ain’t that some shit?).

For me, being a single mom and my baby isn’t even born yet, I have become such a stronger person. Decision-making has become so cutthroat for me and I don’t even care anymore. If it does not benefit my baby or brings negativity, it’s gone. My only concern nowadays are staying healthy, stress/drama free, birthing a healthy baby and being an amazing mom to a dark-skinned child. If you are not trying to help with any of those things, keep it moving.

I have yet to go to any single parent meetups because I honestly am not comfortable just yet, and that has nothing to do with me being ashamed of being a single parent, because there are millions of single parents. It more so has to do with me being an introvert and also being asked the situation with my child’s father. The situation I know many women have been in (no it’s not rape, abuse or incest, nothing like that), but I am not ready to talk about it more so because of embarrassment because I used to judge women in this situation and now I am one of them.

I have a cousin who is a single mom and despite her situation with the father, she is a damn good mother and has been doing it on her own for a few years, by herself (of course with the help of our family, hey Azia!). I also have a cousin (Azia’s brother) who was a single father for some time. I come from a family of strong individuals, and the amount of support they give, you never feel alone, even though I do feel alone at this point since no one agrees with my decision to have a midwife and have a water birth (that will be for another post).

Being a parent used to mean that my life had to stop and that I couldn’t do any of the things I want to do, which is why I never wanted kids. But having met and watched through social media, some of these amazing, black, single mothers and how they are manifesting on their own with their child(ren), I can’t help but to believe that I can still do everything I want, and still be an awesome mom. Having a child by yourself does not have to be an obstacle or barrier in the way of you are your dreams. Life does not stop when you have a child. It tends to accelerate and you have to go with it.

My time management skills are so on point that, that I know I can continue to be a blogger, YouTuber, writer, and entrepreneur even after my baby is born. Single motherhood does not define who I am. Yes, I am single and a mother, but I am also so much more.