How Does She Do It?

How Does She Do It?

How do you do it all?  

I get asked that question all the time and my answer is usually, “I put one foot in front of the other and move forward”.  I suppose it’s not that simple however.  I never anticipated being a single mom.  In fact, it was one of my biggest fears.  Prior to getting married, I watched single friends of mine get pregnant only to have the men they loved walk out of the lives of their children and leave them to raise children alone.  I saw the disappointment in their faces, the sadness, the frustration and I didn’t want that for myself.  I swore I’d choose a good partner/mate/future father and build a family together.  It was important to me.  I thought it was that simple and couldn’t have been more wrong.  LIFE HAPPENED…

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The Best Advice My Mom Ever Gave Me...

The Best Advice My Mom Ever Gave Me...

I spent the next nine months trying to prepare myself.  I read every book, watched every baby show, went to ever pre-natal appointment with a list of questions and created the safest, most amazing, Thomas the Train nursery. I followed the “What to expect when you are expecting” book like it was the bible and my husband and I bought the best, the newest, and most technologically advanced baby equipment we could afford.

…AND WHERE WAS MY OWN MOM DURING THIS TIME?

she was right by my side…laughing hysterically

My mom knew what I couldn’t comprehend at the time…NOTHING prepares you for motherhood! NOTHING!  The one piece of wisdom my mother told me was this…

“MOTHERHOOD WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO PRAY”

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..."And Were You Good To Yourself?"...

..."And Were You Good To Yourself?"...

…”I don’t think so. But, I forgive you, girl, who tallied stretch marks into reasons why no one should get close. I forgive you, silly girl, sweet breath, decent by default. I forgive you for being afraid. Did everything betray you? Even the rain you love so much made rust out of your jewelry? I forgive you, soft spoken girl speaking with fake brash voice, fooling no one. I see you, tender even on your hardest days. I forgive you, waiting for him to call; I forgive you, the diets and the cruel friends. Especially for that one time you said ‘I fucking give up on love, it’s not worth it, and I’d rather be alone forever’. You were just pretending, weren’t you? I know you didn’t mean that. Your body, your mouth, your heart, made specifically for loving. Sometimes the things we love will kill us, but weren’t we dying anyway? I forgive you for being something that will eventually die. Perishable goods, fading out slowly, little human, I wouldn’t want to be in a world where you don’t exist…”-Warsan Shire

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Sometimes You Just Have to Reset...

Sometimes You Just Have to Reset...

2018 hasn’t started the way I hoped it would. It’s been full of challenges that would seek to sideline me from my goals.  The vision board I created for this year has been an extreme help because I see it every day and use it as a reminder to stay focused, do the work and allow the universe to let freedom manifest in my life.   I can say I’m taking better care of myself. I’m treating myself better.  Taking time away when I need it, resting more, enjoying more experiences with my friends and my family and practicing daily self-care.   I’m slowly finding my balance and equilibrium and when it gets to be overwhelming, I just hit the reset button and begin again.  When I fall back into old habits and old mindsets, I just hit the reset button and begin again.  I'm letting go of the need to be perfect and embracing the desire to be authentically me and loving myself through it all.  I’m finding freedom slowly but more importantly, I’m finding myself again.

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Love Stories: Love and Friendship

Love Stories:  Love and Friendship

As I think about those relationships, I realize why friendship is so vital to any romantic relationship. There is an ease in my friendships.  I don’t feel like I’m walking on eggshells.  I don’t have to put on any masks. All I have to do is be myself.   There is freedom in these relationships. That is something I desire with the man in my life.

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Love Stories: "I Fell In Love...With Myself"

Love Stories:  "I Fell In Love...With Myself"

As the inside grew toward self-acceptance, it began to show on the outside. Confidence, a quality that I had never possessed, began to take root. A close friend once mentioned to a beloved relative of mine that I seemed so confident, something my relative later revealed to me. Honestly, it blew my mind. It truly did. But I was reminded of an important fact: I had truly come a long way. Here's the thing: we all have flaws and imperfections. Falling in love with myself meant that I learned to accept those flaws and imperfections without diminishing all the other components of me: a person, a woman, capable, and happy. 

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2017 Year-End Reflections and 2018 Word of The Year

2017 Year-End Reflections and 2018 Word of The Year

I choose the word, “HEAL”, for 2017.  At the time, I had no idea what I was asking the universe. 2017 was the year that broke me all the way down, revealing the cracks in my foundation.   I don’t remember a year like this; full of so many highs and devastating lows. 

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Finding The Good in Goodbye

Finding The Good in Goodbye

As we continue to explore ways of practicing gratitude, I wanted to explore ways to find the good in goodbye.  There are moments when relationships have to end.  Friendships, work partnerships, intimate relationships; we’ve all felt the uneasiness and or pain of ending relationships that no longer serve you, honor you or we simply just outgrow them.  This year, I’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of relationships that at some point were incredibly meaningful to me.  Where’s the good in that?

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A Season of Gratitude

A Season of Gratitude

It’s so easy to be grateful during the good times. How can you be grateful when dealing with heartache, loss of a job, the death of a loved one, financial struggles and/or  illness etc.?  Even more, how can you be grateful for the negative experiences that are occurring in your life? 

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The Adequate Child

The Adequate Child

Somewhere along the way, we as parents have stressed not only ourselves out chasing this “Exceptional” child score but we have stressed out our kids as well. In many states standardized testing, gifted testing and selective enrollment processes have turned us into number counters on a mission to make our kids THE BEST. We encourage them from the time they can walk to be great at a sport. We drill them with flashcards and charts on walls to make sure they can read before they can even stand up so they will be ahead of the game. We tell them they have to be the best and get up early to catch the proverbial worm so they do not get left behind.

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Seasons Change

Seasons Change

Living in Chicago, you are lucky if you get to experience all 4 seasons. Normally you just get winter and summer with an about a month of fall and spring. Fall is in the air now and I’m noticing what an incredible metaphor for life each change of season has. It’s a period of transition…much similar to what has been happening in my own life.

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When Sisterhood Goes Wrong

When Sisterhood Goes Wrong

These are a core set of my friends. My true friends. The friends who, when I am at my worst……they point it out, tell me to get my shit together because I’m better than whatever I’m doing or being, and feed me afterwards like a real friend should. The friends who will show up and out for me if I need, or want, them to. The friends who love me, despite me. The friends who will fight for me……like, LITERALLY fight for me. The friends who will fight me when I’m wrong. The friends who will fight FOR me when I’m right. The friends who, beyond my blood family, have been my support system since I was 15 years old. The friends who I trust with my life…..who would never betray me…….or lie to me……or dishonor our friendship in any way. Friends don’t do that…………right?

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Anatomy of a Breakup: Pt.3-The Healing Power of Time

Anatomy of a Breakup:  Pt.3-The Healing Power of Time

We don’t take time to heal in relationships. We are so focused on moving on and getting over the end of a relationship we find ourselves in messy situations or other relationships that could have been avoided if we had just recognized and acknowledged our feelings and taken the time to process and deal with them. We are trying to microwave our emotional healing.

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Why We Need Safe Spaces of Sisterhood

Why We Need Safe Spaces of Sisterhood

Recently I spoke with one of my oldest friends and we were talking about how difficult it is to be married and the challenges that come with it and how there are so many times we feel alone in our issues because we don’t want other people to know we are going through the things we are going through. We laughed, we yelled, we joked about the things we were both going through and when I hung up I felt like I had just left her house. The invaluable advice on how to survive and the confidential ability to release all of the otherwise unspoken emotions that were bottled up in our hearts and minds is truly priceless. When I exhaled and realized my shoulders weren’t as high up as they were before we spoke, it hit me just how important having a safe space of sisterhood truly is.

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The Problematic Empath

The Problematic Empath

I walk around life with more emotions than most.  I always have.  I’m loyal to a fault and tend to take on the problems and emotions of my friends and loved ones.  If my friend is going through a divorce, it’s as if I’m going through it to. If another friend was cheated on in her relationship, I hate the guy just as much as she does.  If my friend is struggling with her child, it’s as if it’s my own child. I feel things deeply…like too much.  If my girl is broke, I’m trying to help her as if my own lights are going to be cut off.   If my friend has found a new love, new job, new opportunity, I’m excited as if was me! It is more than compassion; it’s literally the ability to feel someone else’s emotions as strong as if they were my own.  As I get older, I’m more in tuned with the empath that lives inside of me.  The person that lives inside of me that really just wants “my people to be ok” in every sense of the word. It’s a huge reason why “The Sum of Many Things” was birthed.  It was birthed out a desire for women, particularly women of color, to be affirmed, heard and well. My heart is my greatest asset because it’s gives freely. 

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#ThursdayThoughts: Anatomy of a Breakup: PT.2-HOLD UP! (Denial and Anger)

#ThursdayThoughts:  Anatomy of a Breakup: PT.2-HOLD UP! (Denial and Anger)

It’s important to recognize where you are and take impeccable care of yourself during this time. If you let it, your anger can be exactly what you need to push you right out of sadness and into a clear mental space.  You begin to realize what you wanted was not what you received. You begin to understand that the universe is loyal to you because it will remove things in your life that don’t honor you, making way to better things.  Coming out of denial and anger is just another step in your re-awakening and re-discovering who you are after heartbreak.

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#ThursdayThoughts: Anatomy of a Breakup-The Moment of Impact

#ThursdayThoughts: Anatomy of a Breakup-The Moment of Impact

Sometimes it starts with a feeling. Something is off.  Silence, distance, fewer phone calls and text…you know something isn’t right. Do you say something or do you ignore it thinking things will get better? Even when you know a relationship is coming to an end, the actual END of it can cause a range of emotions.  It’s a withdrawal of sorts.  One minute you are accustomed to the phone calls, text messages and date nights and then just like that…it’s over…nothing. This initial “Shock” phase is filled with emotions.

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#ThursdayThoughts: What Kind of Friend Are You Really? (A Life Lesson in the Midst of Loss)

#ThursdayThoughts: What Kind of Friend Are You Really? (A Life Lesson in the Midst of Loss)

We all get busy; it seems like life is moving faster and faster every day.  Death and loss have a way of slowing it down and shifting your focus.  Life really is all about balance and equilibrium and we can always do better.  Tell the ones you care about how much you love them, make time for one another and do it as often as you can.  Life really is short and people you care about can be taken away in an instant.  Sometimes, there isn’t a “next time”.

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#ThursdayThoughts: For the Men Who Stand In The Gap (A Father's Day tribute from a single mom"

#ThursdayThoughts: For the Men Who Stand In The Gap (A Father's Day tribute from a single mom"

Father’s day used to be a weird holiday for me.  When the kids were younger, I was newly separated and was trying to figure out how to spend this day with my children in a way that never made them feel like they “were different” or “missing something.”  It was a difficult and challenging time.  I’d take my kids out to eat for something special, and I’d see looks of pity on people’s faces.  One lady even offered to pay for my family’s meal out of pity.  I would see red on those days.   As I got older and my kids were adjusting to this new family structure, I would spend my holiday as I did most holidays, with my Dad.   Nowadays, Father’s day seems to be split into celebrating Fatherhood and attacking single moms, at least on social media. It’s a sad state of affairs so I usually log off and disengage, rather than see the venom spewed on what should be a celebratory occasion.  So, what does a single mom do on Father’s Day? How do I celebrate when the father of my children is completely absent from their lives?  I could spend my time angry at the world, or I could wallow in sadness and victimhood, or I could choose to celebrate the men in my life who have stood in the gap and been father figures to my children. 

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