Thursday, October 24, 2013

What my daughters don't understand


If you've read my bio or a couple of my other blogs then you know I am a single mom with four daughters. My girls are ages 18,16,13 and 12. And this is the reason why I told my hairstylist tonight as she was styling my hair that I am going to start dying it twice per month instead of once. Needless to say a lot goes on raising girls in a world of social media, iPhones, iPads, peer pressure that has heightened times 1000 since the 90's and reality TV. In my day I did it all; lying, bad attitude, making excuses, you name it. And while most would say that as I experience trials and tribulations raising my girls that I am just "getting it all back". I may agree with them on some level but I would say, that was then and this is now.

A few months ago I updated a Facebook status asking my friends what advice would they give to their younger selves? I have plenty I would say to younger Tasha Mac. I would warn her of all the heartache and pain she will experience if she takes this path, go this route and get with this person. In reality this is not an option. I understand that all of those experiences and life lessons polished me like sandpaper to be the woman I am today. Yet and still if I could have taken a different route to become the woman I am, no doubt I would have. So instead I try to impart my wisdom, experiences and life lessons on my daughters so they can avoid some of the pitfalls I made and make wiser, smarter choices to become virtuous, phenomenal, young women.

What they don't understand is that I've been there. I've used the excuse "my daddy wasn't there, my mom isn't listening, nobody understands me, I had a messed up childhood." I've used all of these phrases and then some for bad behavior that led to poor decision making, hard knocks, and slow progression. I had issues as a teenager and some of it was low self-esteem and a desire to wanna be loved and understood. As I got older I  realized there was no one to blame and hold accountable but myself for the decisions I made regarding my life.  However, teenagers today have much more contenders to deal with which makes their focus so much harder. They are living in a world where social media has replaced verbal and written communication, kids are more open and forceful with their sexuality, reality TV stars are the new sheros and heroes and single parent homes are at an all time high. I get all of that. And it makes the job of a parent especially a single parent that much harder because we are trying to get through all of that noise to raise well-productive kids into upstanding citizens who are able and capable of obtaining sustainability for themselves.

People close to me often tell me they are proud of me because "I did it. I made it." I always say thank you, and I appreciate that. But it took me 12 years, 4 kids and 2 failed marriages later to earn my college degree, realize my self-worth and reach my full potential. I am very proud of myself for overcoming adversity, stereotypes and obstacles to achieve all of the successes that I have. I just would have much rather stopped, took heed and listened to what someone tried to tell me a long time ago and stayed the course at a much younger age. That's all I am trying to do as a parent is help my girls stay the course and on the right track. It's scary at times and I pray, and cry, and sometimes shout and maybe kick myself mentally. But I am determined to get through to them because I am their mother no matter what.

I do believe experience is the best teacher and I know sometimes we all have to bump our heads to get it on straight again. It's just difficult as a mother to see your beloved daughters fall off track. All I can do is keep praying, give guidance and discipline where necessary.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Need Me Too

Being a mom of four girls in this day and age is not an easy feat. Add being single, having a full-time job, being in a relationship and trying to keep my sanity in tact and you have a true balancing act on your hands. There are days when I feel like Nick Wallenda walking across the Grand Canyon carrying a stick on a tight rope. Except my stick are all the hats I aforementioned and that tight rope is a string of my emotions, my stability and sanity holding on trying not to break. When you're silently wearing a cape, and an S on your chest, you really don't have time to allow your emotions to run a muck or as the young people say these days "get in your feelings."

So what do you do when you are on teenage drama overload, burned out on mommy can I haves, 25 emails you have to answer and provide information on in the next 30 minutes and a relationship you're trying to maintain?

The important thing to realize is that you still have to fit YOU into the equation. If you do not add YOURSELF on your to do list then you will be done for and burned out. Every task doesn't have to be a race to the finish line. It took me a long time to realize that I am just as important to myself as all the people
I've committed myself to. Sometimes I have a relapse by forgetting that and I'm reminded of it with headaches, tension in my shoulders and the occasional crying spell.

It would be nice to balance yourself by jumping in a taxi cab, packing a bag and getting away fast. ( Kindred the Family Soul lyrics). But let's be realistic you can't do it everyday and not every week for that matter. However, all isn't lost just because viewing the country while driving on cruise control listening to your favorite music in 75 degree weather isn't an option. It doesn't take much to balance yourself throughout the day and put your mind at ease. I've found that a few minutes with my hobbies does wonders for me. Stealing away 10 minutes to look through your favorite magazine, play an online or app game or even checking your social networking account a few times a day can get your creative juices flowing again. Walking and exercising is just as relaxing for the mind as it is good for the body. And of course a few minutes of prayer and/or reading a few bible scriptures will do a world of good.  And during the most crucial pressure points of the day it's best to back away from what's causing you duress.

One of my favorite things to do is cook. I really enjoy it and I consider myself a pretty decent cook. But there are days when a full course meal is not a part of my agenda for the evening. I use to feel bad if I didn't cook a meal for my girls but I have learned that the objective is to make sure they eat not to emulate Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray everyday. The people in our lives appreciate a happy, well-balanced, emotionally stable us. Not someone who is running around like a chicken with their head cut off ready to pluck at any moment.  A virtuous woman knows her limits and is not afraid to say when she needs a time out. So before you emotionally tap out, or physically snap out and someone finds you in a corner balled up in a fetal position make time for yourself, put you first and the rest of the day you'll be shining bright like a diamond.