All Moms Are Super Hero’s…EMBRACE The One You CHOSE to Be!

 

Super Mom Powers

So of course this picture of my friend and I was taken Halloween this year.- She and I arrange an annual play date at our local zoo each Halloween so our daughters can enjoy “Boo at the Zoo” together.

I know you are wondering HMMMMM—So let me just say upfront that NOPE our costume selection was totally NOT PLANNED… we literally showed up at the Zoo, looked at each other, and busted out laughing. You see she and I have children the exact same age the BIG GROWN 4! LOL So it is no surprise that we were both feeling a little MOMMA powerish this Halloween.

So any-who my friend and I met while attending the same college in the Atlanta area. After college we both ventured away to Graduate/Professional, eventually pursued some pretty high level professional careers (Me College Dean & Friend Attorney) our paths later crossed allowing us to reconnect when we both moved back to the city.  We connected over the fact that we put our blood, sweat, and tears chasing careers that we had dreamed of all of our lives and now we are JUST moms! AHAHA

Now for me, mommy and wife were always in the cards BUT I had no idea of the challenges that would present itself ahead when you are the mom of THREE and the WIFE of in addition to the BOSS! From working 12 hour days, Up all night with sick children, breast feeding around the clock, taxing kids around town, and being a stand up wife and the alpha and omega at work life could NOT get anymore hectic. So then I became envious of “other moms” and use to think that being a “different type” of mom would lessen these challenges. Thinking to myself well “If You know well if I were a teacher with a flexible schedule” OR “If I were a stay at home mom with no employment responsibilities” OR OR “If I were a work from home mom” Than I would have none of these challenges created in my head! I though the “IF ONLY” thoughts we use to beat ourselves up?

I overwhelmed myself with my overthinking and pearl clutching about societal standards and what people would think of a woman like me who…went through all of this schooling,professional preparation, glass ceiling pursuing and ladder climbing  only to later throw in the towel— JUST because she is somebody’s MOMMY! That one thought haunted me for so many years and honestly right up until this day…Although I want to be able to be a room parent and not have to think about what was on my work calendar and I want to be able to drop my children off and pick them up from school AND want to not have to admit that we have a Nanny because between my husband and I we simply cant do some of those basic things that all parents do! And WHY because our CAREERS do not accommodate the “traditional” parent schedule.

Then one day after compiling data (i.e stories from all the mommies that I knew who it into every single mom category known to man) I uncovered that AHA Moment “HEY WAYMENT—All Moms are NOT Created Equally!!!

So I say all of this to share a my AHA moment with you:

“Each mom is motivated by different factors and various reasons. You may have decided NOT to pursue the corporate life-Or stepped down from an executive leadership post-Or may have opted for the stay at home / work from home life…. BUT whateva choice YOU made embrace it!!! Find comfort in YOUR decision to do what YOU felt was BEST to accommodate the needs of YOUR family! There is NO universal recipe to baking this #MOMLife cake!” Sonyaism (2017)

 

XoXO

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It’s OKAY to Do YOU BOO!

momsguide-150dpi_WEB

Annnd guess what I did!

As a mom its hard to follow our dreams…not because we don’t want to but often times because it doesn’t fit into everyone else’s needs in our family. BUT I decided to be like NIKE and just do it and what would emerge is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life “MY BOOK” .

I learned so much writing this book but the ONE thing that will stay near and dear to me is…it is okay to do me sometimes 🙂

What are you waiting on MOMMA—JUST DO IT!

Book Plug:
If you are a mom looking for information about school options and school choice OR a Mom struggling to make all this school stuff make sense— this is the perfect book for you!

Grab your copy today on AMAZON.com. only $9.99!.

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BE FLY, FUNKY, FRESH and FABULOUS While BUMPING on a BUDGET!

Maternity Clothing

AHHH–Pregnancy that beautiful time in a woman’s life when she is carrying a precious bundle of joy! For some women this is the best time of her life as she enjoys each and every little thing about it…the good, bad, or uncomfortable. BUT for other women its a “figurative” 9 month prison sentence where she has etched into the walls of her office proverbial tick marks counting down each week until D day!

No matter which end of the spectrum you are on I think we can all agree, one of the MOST cumbersome parts of pregnancy is our  W_A_R_D_R_O_B_E!!!!! It is inevitable that in addition to our growing baby bumps…our dress size will also embark on a drastic change during the course of the three trimesters God allowed us to prepare for something miraculous. BUT that doesn’t change the fact that it is a stressful time physically, mentally, emotionally, and FINANCIALLY!

Personally, I have a hard time making purchases feeling I am flushing money straight down the toilet! Now, with Maternity clothing being a “specialty” item they are often pretty high up on the cost ladder and something we literally wear the heck out of for about 5-6 months and then pack it away in the attic never to be seen again. I mean think about it–even if you plan to have multiple children (and I did) there maybe a chance that you are pregnant at various seasons of the year thus WILL NOT benefit even from your own hand-me-downs (unless well you are the serial baby planner and got them baby seasons down to a science… and if so YOU GO GIRL!)…..Seriously, I was literally pregnant with at each season of the year. My eldest (Winter Baby) My Big Baby yes she gave herself that name lol (Summer Baby) and my currently cooking bundle of joy (Spring). In addition, my pregnancy weight has been totally different with each child. With this, I gained 100+ pounds with child #1, less than 30 with #2 and God only knows the final figure on this one!

However, now with expecting our Baby #3 I can say that I have learned a few tricks of the trade in this department and would like to share a few tips to ensuring that YOU spare yourself the mistakes that I made in literally spending hundreds of dollars on clothing that I never wore again. The secret is out and here it is…. buy “Maternity-LESS” Clothing.  YES just buy the clothing you would normally purchase in execution of your personal style but in larger sizes, fabrics, and cuts/designs. With this dressing up while pregnant doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. You CAN find items that you 1) feel cute in and 2) Be frugal buying.

So here are a 3 tricks of the trade I’ve put into practice!

 How to Be FLY, FUNKY, FRESH and FABULOUS while BUMPING on a BUDGET

  1. Maternity-LESS Clothing
    T shirts, Leggings, A-Line Dresses and Pencil Skirts are your friends. Pick solids, prints, or racy prints whatever your taste BUT make sure they are a stretchy fabric! These pieces are often pretty inexpensive and are often in your local target AND don’t have to reside in the Maternity section. I love each of these because although you will purchase a much larger size you can always go back to them after your delivery.
  2. Don’t be afraid to wear SEXY Clothing
    I think this one of the biggest fashion myths of the pregnant woman fashion wardrobe “thou shall not wear anything SEXY” Well that is crazy! Do it! I am not saying get your KIM K on but I am saying that its okay to wear form fitting or skin hugging fabrics.  I get it as you go into the later months when your belly is the size of a gigantic watermelon (8/9th) this might not be the look but in those first lets say 3-7 months DO IT your man will thank you and guess what it kind helps your self-esteem too in preparation for the waddling yet to come! LOL
  3. Keep it Simple
    Yes we all love a good Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, or even Nieman Marcus—but during this time it is okay to become a MAXinista! I personally shop at high end stores every now and again BUT when I am pregnant I am more inclined to shop with practicality in mind. With this my favorite stores are: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Macy’s, Target, and even WALMART! The point is while you are out and about grabbing the kids goodies for school go on over to the women’s section and take a peak! I have snapped some super cute pieces in each of these stores that I was able to do a little mix and match in!

    **Bonus Advice—-SHOEAHOLICS BEWARE***!!!!!!!!!
    YOUR FEET WILL GROW so back away from purchasing the shoes that made your eyes melt and the two of you locked eyes! LOL GIRL… Let me spare you the pain that I personally felt in the 5 or so pairs I had to give to my mom, sister, or aunt 😦  Soooooooooo, DO NOT … I REPEAT DO NOT splurge on a pair here and there as GIRL ya might not ever get back into them! So just repeat after me I make my local Rack Room, Famous Footwear, Sears or JC Penny my new best shoe friend!

    SORRY IJS>>>>Don’t believe me ask a friend! HA

 

XOXO
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Brown Momma Problemz: The Swim Hat Debate?

SwimPic Girl

As a mom of two daughters I am all too familiar with this little defiant pose!

This past weekend me and my 6 year old had a strong conversation all while she was standing just like this about WHY she wasn’t going to wear her swim cap in the pool. She was adamant that she would be the ONLY little girl with an ugly cap on and she didn’t understand why she couldn’t just let her hair get wet and flow in the water like “the little mermaid”!?

Let me paint the scene a bit more—she was invited to her BFF’s birthday party one who lives very deeply in the suburbs. With this the guest list included a majority of little girls who where Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Mixed Race. Each year she attends and she is normally one of the few dare I say only African American little girls in attendance. So anyway she had been making such a big deal about the swim cap all of a sudden and I didn’t immediately pick up the why. She is in year around swim school so is accustomed to wearing it anytime she gets in the pool. Even when we go to our neighborhood pool as a family she wears it without any attitude. But at this point didn’t register as to why all of sudden this was a problem with little missy…All I knew was that the hair was pressed, washed, and tamed for the week and that getting any sort of water on it would be a total disaster for the school week to come!

So me and Miss Addy went back and forth until finally I just said “You  are wearing the swim cap and that’s that”. So we arrive at the party and just like the years before my baby was the lonesome chocolate cutie. AND of course she was the ONLY child there with a swim cap on (side-eye). It then dawned on me—This setting is unlike the others because here she is the ONLY brown girl. Before I could retract my thoughts Here comes Mr. Super dad to the rescue…He whispers to me, “just let her take it off so she can be a little more comfortable.” If looks could injure he would have limped back to the car! HA! So I allowed my little kinky curly haired diva to let those curls flow in the pool!

Yes I gave in to help my baby feel a little better about her differences and you know what that was a very hard pill to swallow. On one hand I never want my daughters to feel inadequate to other children based off of their genetic make up BUT on the other hand I never want them to feel like they have to be like others in order to feel good about themselves either. As a brown momma I constantly battle the what I FEEL I need to do vs. what is BEST suited in my children’s little bubble of a world. Realizing that pushing my personal perspectives could taint their view of the world they see in a pure/innocent way. Ultimately I am accepting (daily struggle) that they have to learn HOW to comfortably exist in it. YESSS I am learning very slowly to just RELAX and Let Them Explore!

#BrownMommaProblemz

 

 

Momma Tip of The Week…

“When in doubt just order the darn thing online!” Sonya-ism (2017)

 

online shopping

So I must admit I WAS totally that mom who was ANTI anything related to online shopping. I didn’t care if it were shoes, curtains, makeup, clothing, diapers, electronics, or even books. I needed to get in my car, drive some where, provide credit card, swipe card, load the SUV, then drive home! Now doesn’t that just sound like super crazy! HA

My BFF a total corporate-ISH, straight-laced, conservative, yuppy lives by online shopping. I mean you know the type that might actually be allergic to retail stores! Any who she has been telling me for years….”girl get your life together and start shopping online”….SOOOh needless to say I dragged my credit card all the way to the computer monitor and said what the heck. I cant see how the heck I jumped on this boat so late! Hey make no error, I still get my retail therapy ON with a casual trip to Nordstrom’s or Target every now and then. But the difference is that now I don’t do the shop around goose chase from one side of town to the next trying to find that perfect something (usually something that anint even for me) but  I digress. Now my friends, I have seen the light! So when I cant find what I am looking for I no longer yell at the shopping devils and damn them to HELL… instead I say HALLELUJAH while snagging me a little Prime item to go in my shopping cart!

Moms it is that time of the year again—you know Pumpkin Patch, Halloween Costumes, Turkey Day Outfits, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Diva New Year’s Outfits. So don’t get caught up in the madness and stress of grinding through retail outlets for hours on end, instead roll through the online check out and save your sanity for the highly anticipated visits from your husbands family!!! HAHAHHAHA >>>>To be clear we talking about YO IN-Laws because I LOVE spending time with mine! LOL LOL LOL

Happy Online Shopping Busy Mommas!

 

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Just RELAX & NAP: Encouraging Napping

Nap Pic

We all remember that sweet precious time of the day when we FINALLY got the baby to sleep! For many of us this marked that special time during the day we too were going to hit the hay but for others it was hitting the laptop to get that work done! Regardless of the master plan once he closed his eyes tight enough for the tip top away, it was SHOW TIME AKA MOMMY TIME!

With both my children I was dealt the royal flush in the nap arena. Now let me say this I was NOT dealt this same hand in the sleep through the night card game so hold on to your “must be nice girl” commentary LOL. Luckily, each of my daughters would gladly take their midday naps with no fuss–not only were there zero problems, these babies slept for 2 hours! This made my life during the “day” super easy which is probably how I lived through being on team NOSLEEP for the first two years of their lives without turning into a zombie! I was able to clean the house, do a little online shopping, pay bills, catch up with phone calls to friends and sometimes all of this plus a lil bonus cat nap. Ironically people would say to me all the time, “Girl enjoy these times because that nap life will end soon into those toddler years”. Welp for the Okoli Girls…Mold broken as it never happened.

Preschool and Beyond Kiddies Dont NAP 
YES they DO!
How is this possible you ask? Well let me share a well know secret weapon that we all have in our purse…ROUTINE! Yes that is it! I will say with my children guess what, at the ages of 6 & 4 STILL NAP. YES MAAM! I dont think this is by happenstance or becuase they are just sweet little angels, I believe it is because they are just accustomed to doing so. Anytime we happen to be home between 1-2 ish the girls are down for the count. Now of course this is not possible every weekend or school closure as now that they are “big kids” they have sports, birthday parties and a totally active social calendar more packed than mine. However, we get it in and here is how…

Our Routine:

  1. Breakfast (8:00 am)
  2. TV Time (9:00-10:00) 1 30min. show for each kid
  3. Academic Enrichment Workbooks/Exercises from School Week Topics (10:00-11:00)
  4. Outdoor Activity/Something I structure scavenger hunt/painting (11:00-12:00)
  5. Lunch (NOON)
  6. Afternoon Story Time (12:30)
  7. Nap Time

The WORD NAP May Sound Like Punishment
Now of course the word nap for the 6 year old is like a punishment sentence, so for her I simply say its quiet time. With quiet time we go to our rooms, free from toys, electronics etc and we have 45min of doing nothing. The funny part is after the action packed day they are both out like a light in less than 15min. When they are asleep my online working *coughs* shopping begins! On a serious note, this time allows me to replenish energy and gives me much needed me time. The funny thing is most times I honestly end of falling asleep myself with computer in lap! LOL

Moms with older kids you may have passed the “Nap” time but certainly try implementing the quiet time. In the world of tablets and video games its easy to be okay with the kiddies being tucked away and on some electronic device. However, this gives you an excuse to peel them away from it so that their mind will rest. Incorporate “reading time” encourage them to find a book on their fave thing and flip through it. Believe me flipping through books ultimately leads to reading it.

Moms with Infants: Starting Dat Baby Early

Moms if you have a baby try your best to get her on a nap routine as early as you can. The key is to maintain it now matter your location. So no matter where you are set aside a specific time and stick to it. For me, I integrate our schedule into wherever we are, even when we are on vacation or visiting grandma. It will be hard at first, and folks around you may get annoyed but stick to your guns. Take the time to explain the importance of your decision and why you are doing it. I find that with grandmas they just want to feel included all the way around. I used grandma because she will definitely be the first contender of this monkey wrench LOL. Again just be confident in your why and description of its importance and you will be just fine 🙂

 

In the end every child is different and there is certainly no one size fits all. However, as a working mommy I totally know the struggles of feeling like ME time is deserved. The truth is sometimes we just gota take it! Try to do just that by encouraging them big ole kiddies to just RELAX AND NAP!

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If the Grocery Store is NACHO Friend…Check out Online Options!

 

OMG news

OMGGGGGG!!!!

I am literally gushing with GITTY right now because I just did my first go at online grocery shopping! Yeah Yeah Yeah I know its not necessarily anything new. I actually heard about it from friends and of course online/radio ads but, I just kept putting it off because most of those convenience services don’t extend into the suburbs. So silly me…I was convinced that this was something only available to the City Slicker Moms!

Today, pregnancy had me down and I was soo exhausted. Yup MOMMA down woman in distress. I was desperate, the fridge and pantry was on EMPTY.  A sistah was D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E but NOT desperate enough to ask my hubby to do the shopping for me today. I don’t know about your hubby but mine NEVER EVER EVA gets exactly what’s on the darn list. Even if I write it out, provide brand names, or texts screen shots this man will say something like “Well I found something a little better” or “the store brands taste terrible so I just got this instead”. This absolutely DRIVES me up the wall every time and then I instantly regret ever sending his butt to the darn store in the first place….but I digress!

Sooooo TODAY the lord bestowed a beautiful gift upon me. I discovered by total happenstance that my local Walmart, Kroger, and Publix offers some sort of Online Grocery Service. Of the three the BEST in my personal opinion strictly based on my needs was Publix.  In my area they offer not only curbside pick up BUT actual DOOR service. YES hunty they will deliver ALL your groceries right to your front door! So of course I gave Publix a try. I really wanted to determine if it would be worth my while as far as time, cost, and convenience.

Today, publix.com had a special offer, “first order no delivery charge”. I read that there is an ongoing delivery charge that can be pre-paid annually or you can just opt for the pay as you use option $4.99 per delivery.  There were also some other fees mentioned but let me do you one better….I will just show you my sales receipt.

Check this out :

Items Subtotal $137.68
Sales Tax $4.62
Service $13.77
Total $156.07
First Order Free Delivery!
Savings from Publix $4.64
Savings from Instacart Coupons $0.75

++Your card was temporarily authorized for $185.00 to allow for changes from replacements or special requests. Your statement will reflect a final total charge of $156.07 within 7 business days of order completion.++

This really made my day! It took a total of 2 hours from the time I filled my shopping cart and submitted it to the ringing of my doorbell! I feel like those 2 hours were credited back to my life. I sooo plan to make this apart of my routine adding this expense to the other conveniences I gladly pay to help make my life easier.

As a mom I am learning to accept that I can NOT do it all. I also now acknowledge that sometimes I hold onto things because I feel like letting them go in some way shape or form is dimming the shine on my imaginary badge of “Mommy Honor”. You know that badge moms supposedly earn in the eyes of society for doing the things coined as stuff a “REAL” momma does!?

Yes its hard to STOP being a busy working on everythang all day MOM! Yes it is easy to feel super guilty because you think you have way too many conveniences. But let me tell you, I  decided a long time ago that I will invest in things that preserve my “time” and I will not be made to feel guilty about paying for the conveniences that allow me to do just that!

The Mom’s Guide