Black History Month Podcast: The Biracial Butterfly
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Happy black history month to you all!

Welcome back to #diversebooks4diverse kids which are podcasts dedicated to sharing stories about diversity from independent authors from around the globe.

Today, I’d like to share with you a special podcast for a book called The Biracial Butterfly by Lennox Benson. The Biracial Butterfly is about a mixed-race boy who was born to two loving parents, an African mother from Kenya and an Caucasian father from England. This story is told from the perspective of a boy who was able to appreciate and find value in both cultures that are unique to who he is.

This book is wildly important, like a lot of the books shared on diversebooks4diversekids podcasts, because many biracial children and adults feel marginalized like they have to choose a race to “fit in” to society. What many people forget, is that race was an idea that was socially constructed to make people feel different or superior to one another. This book is a fantastic reminder that each of us is different and born with unique genetic makeup, but that is what makes all of us so beautiful, like little butterflies!

Listen to the audiobook of The Biracial Butterfly.

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What I’ve learned…

Reviews can make or break a new author, especially on huge platforms like Amazon. Take a minute and share kind feedback about the story you heard today.

Love thyself: Three Months Postpartum
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I had a baby three months ago.

This is the honest truth I have to say out loud when I look at myself in the mirror. Sometimes, I have to say it over and over again. I had a baby three months ago.

It seems like society places so much emphasis on “snapping back” after having a baby. I had so many people commenting on my body after having Sire, it made me incredibly insecure. I felt like a specimen in an invisible cage that was on display for people to comment on and give their opinions to.

I heard everything from “Yeah, you look bigger now,” only two weeks after having Sire. Well, duh. I also heard “Wow! You just had a baby?” [Cue the eyeroll]. Some people let it be known that it annoyed them that I lost most of my weight so quickly. Regardless of the feedback that I heard, it left an awful taste in my mouth like my weight and body were being picked apart by people I knew and even absolute strangers.

Why is it anyone else’s place to tell me how good, or bad, I look after having a baby? Three months postpartum, I still have about 8-10 pounds left to shed to get to my “pre-baby” weight but I am in absolutely no rush to see any specific number on the scale. Why? Because, I am so incredibly proud of my body and what it has done to deliver two healthy beautiful babies. So what if I have extra weight on my hips or that those stretchmarks from my first pregnancy look more noticeable than ever.

What I wish people paid attention to more than a mother’s physical appearance is her mental health. This time around, I’ve been able to keep postpartum depression at bay which is an incredible feeling to have a sound mind. I can be fully present at my job, and when I’m home being a wife and mother. I don’t have the fog of darkness that surrounds so many of us when our hormones are going haywire.

I know there will be plenty of time for toning to get ready for summer when I’m ready. I haven’t been putting emphasis on working out rigorously because I’ve been so busy trying to nurse a baby and establish a sleep schedule for Sire with my [amazing] partner.

I know that I’m rounding the corner to depart from my 4th trimester which is all about loving yourself and your new flaws as well as obsessing over your new baby. Love thyself. It is so important to be kind to yourself even in the midst of constant criticism from people who make a comment about your body. I’ve officially said screw all the feedback. I am damn proud of my mom-bod and the incredible blessings it’s provided, my children.

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What I’ve learned…

All you can honestly do is tune out all the comments and focus on eating healthy during and after pregnancy, especially if you’re nursing. Set fitness goals for yourself to start at your own pace. I encourage you to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs and focus on loving yourself from the inside out.

No attitude, No problem.
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If they don’t have an attitude, we don’t have any problems.

Do any of you have tiny humans who act like teenagers already? If you’re parenting anyone who’s in the 2-7 year age range, it may feel like that.

Aria loves to make dramatic exits from our room when she’s annoyed. You’ll hear, “I’m going to my room” and see her stomping all the way to the door that she grips tightly to slam it shut behind her. When did our three year old turn into my thirteen-year-old self?!

It’s easy to lose your cool when speaking to your attitude-prone child. But, it’s important to remember that if you don’t correct their behavior, it will be up to other adults, caretakers, and teachers to try to instill better behavior in your kid.

Here are the 5 things to do to eliminate tantrums and hissy fits with small kids.

  1. Talk calmly and clearly. Acknowledge when their behavior is bad and clearly state that you are giving them one warning which is their opportunity to correct themselves.

  2. Do not repeat yourself. After the one-time warning, send them to their room. Time alone with no toys or stimulation is super effective. Increments of 5 minutes usually works well depending on the severity of the attitude.

  3. Set expectations and don’t waiver. When you set a punishment for behavior, be consistent with the way you reprimand them. They will remember the negative consequences for bad behavior.

  4. Reflect. Talk to them about the situation that happened and offer a solution you would have preferred to see. For instance, if they’re yelling, demonstrate them the voice level that is appropriate.

  5. Rewards. Rewards should be given if your kid uses good coping and reasoning skills to de-escalate their attitude on their own.

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What I’ve learned…

If you had any type of attitude growing up, your child will serve it back to you tenfold. Instead of raising your voice, or saying the same thing twenty times, try these 5 tactics. I’ve found that in motherhood, nannying, and teaching that they are super effective, especially if you consistently use this method.

Switching Roles: Mom's Going To Work
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Life with a newborn isn’t easy. Newborn babies mean extremely long nights with no consistent hours of sleep, diaper changes in a pitch-black room, and breastfeeding on demand every 2-3 hours. I’m so used to being the primary caretaker for our babies and kids. My entire day was scheduled around pick-ups and drop-offs but that’s all over now. I took a nanny role which requires me to be away from the kids most of the day. My husband who was always the daytime worker, now he’s going to be the hands-on superstar daddy because we’re switching roles!

With Aria, I had the luxury of working remotely from home for the first two years before she went to school. This time, I had only 8 weeks before I had to go back to work. Ugh, playtime with my chicken nugget is over! It was the hardest thing ever to imagine being away from my little baby for 38 hours out of the week. I’m dreading all of the things I’ll miss if I’m at work whether it’s his first word or him learning to scoot around. I will actually cry if he walks for the first time while I’m away.

The hardest part about going back to work is working out the logistics for childcare. He’s too little for us to feel comfortable going to a large daycare center. I’m horrified about the types of stories I see and read about regarding child care staff members harming or neglecting babies who are too young to speak or defend themselves.

Luckily, Dezmond is a business owner so we were able to work out our schedules so that I could work until 6 and he will work evenings and weekends. That way, the kids will be with one of us throughout the day and not in the hands of a stranger. Aria is also old enough to be going to school full-time (until 3:30) so that allows him to focus his time on our cluster-feeding baby. I can’t say that switching roles doesn’t come without heartburn. We had to put in fool-proof systems in place so I wasn’t worried about the house burning down with all of them in it.

Here’s what I did to help daddy prepare for full-time diaper duty

  1. Put everything in designated bins. Keeping yourself organized is key to making sure things go smoothly. For instance, we have 6 main bins. Diapers/wipes, burp cloths & linen, lotions and creams, daytime clothes & undershirts, jumpers, and outerwear/socks/shoes.

  2. Label everything. You can never be too thorough! Avery brand makes labels of all sizes that you can write on yourself or print them out on your home printer. Stick them on and reinforce them with clear packing tape on the front of your bins to “laminate” them.

  3. Make a baby manual. I have an entire PDF I created in Canva that’s full of info every new child caregiver would need. There’s a morning checklist, a health information sheet, a “where is it” location guide, emergency contact form, and diaper bag checklist.

  4. Re-stock the baby bag at night. Make sure that the bag is stocked with 8-10 diapers, a change of clothes, extra socks, a pacifier, a burp cloth, an empty bottle, changing table pad, and a pack of wipes. We also keep a lavender essential oil roller and natural dissolvable chamomile tablets for Sire just in case of fussy days or when teething begins.

  5. Pre-make bottles at night. Make sure you make 3-4 bottles and fill it with the desired amount of breastmilk or formula. I pump during work so that’s what he’ll eat until he runs out of it and then the rest of the day until I get home he eats Organic Similac bottles and resumes breastfeeding when I get off.

It’s going to feel super weird for the first couple weeks, but I know I’ll get used to it. The most important thing to remember is that he’s healthy and he’ll be fine for a few hours each day while I have to work. I know he’s in good hands with his daddy who magically has a newfound respect and appreciation for stay-at-home moms and understands that work productivity can be drastically impacted when you have a small baby. Who woulda thought?!

I’m with you.

For all my working mamas, when did you go back to work and where did you find help with childcare?

7 Bad Habits To Leave Behind in 2018

New Year, who’s this? We should all be aspiring to better ourselves daily. One key thing to having any new year start well is positivity and goals. Progress tends to slow to a halt if you are exuding bad vibes or having a concurrent problem of poor planning. This year could be full of new goals for yourself! For me, I’m starting a new full-time job and getting everything hyper-organized for myself and our whole family. I’m determined to start the year with a fresh attitude and to let go of all bad habits and leave them in 2018.

Fortunately for all of us, we get to celebrate the coming of a new year every December 31st. We can analyze our lives to see what helped us become more successful that year, and what didn’t. There is nothing that will hold you back from achieving large strides or crushing goals faster than bringing old baggage from the year before into the new year.

Baggage can come in many forms! Sometimes, it can be one-sided relationships, toxic bad habits, or even a disheveled state of mind. There’s one sure way to cut out things that don’t work, quit it cold turkey. These are the 7 bad habits to leave behind to start the year with a fresh and happy mindset.

1. Bad attitude

The number one bad habit to drop is a bad attitude. Waking up with a bad attitude is a sure way to piss off everyone around you and send out the wrong energy you want to attract from others. Many of us with kids may blame inadequate sleep for having one, but I found there are things that can counter my bad attitude for the day like having a large coffee before breakfast or spending time with my dogs before work. Figure out what your anti-bad vibe things are and strive to do them daily.

2. Procrastination

Do you ever have so much to do that you swear you’ll do it better tomorrow? Tomorrow is always a day away. Procrastination comes from a fear of not doing things well so, you put it off repetitively. It’s a way many of us can hold ourselves back from putting whatever we’re doing out there in the world for others to judge. Whatever you’re working on WILL be good enough and you will never know unless you try. Don’t wait another second.

3. Disorganized spaces

Does your desk or living space look like the desk from hell? You know the one with papers everywhere even though your notes have been logged on your phone for months? Or maybe, you use the post-it method where you leave sticky notes to remind yourself of important dates. Either way, having your things unorganized is a reflection of your brain and it’s ability to effectively get things done. It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re surrounded by messy stacks of jumbled belongings. Buy a planner, take a few minutes to reorganize your most clutter-filled spaces, and worst case, buy storage solutions with sections so you may organize your stuff once and for all.

4. Anxiety

Quit worrying! So much easier said than done. How do you leave your worries behind? Anxiety can be caused by poor mental health, financial strife, relationships, and even lack of exercise. Focus on setting 3 key goals to accomplish for the day. It can be as simple as fitting in a 30-minute workout or spending an hour studying a new subject. Goal setting can allow you to have a sense of purpose for every day of the week. You’d be surprised on how great you’ll feel when you accomplish what you set out to do for the day.

5. Bad diet

Poor nutrition will leave you feeding like crap every single day. It’s not about how much you weigh, but how you look and feel in your own skin. Bad dieting can lead to new medical issues, acne prone skin, signs of early-aging, hair loss, and of course, obesity. It’s important to have a balanced diet so you have the energy you need to be focused all day. I have a huge sugar tooth, so I have to limit myself to one sweet a day. Outside of that, cutting out starches like bread, potatoes, and pastas out for a few weeks can jumpstart a healthy diet. The Keto Diet is something to look into if you need a strict no-carb regimen. If you’re not dieting, things like whole grains, vegetables, Ph balanced water, and organic protein are just a few things you’ll need for a healthy diet.

6. One-sided relationships

Relationships are tricky because humans crave companionship. It’s easy to get comfortable with people especially if you’ve known them or spent time with them over the course of many years. Unfortunately, people can grow apart and a relationship may be sustained by only one person’s effort. That’s when the relationship is unhealthy. Those are the type of relationships to let go of in 2019. Your time is valuable and your effort could be appreciated by someone else or could be better served if you were working on a personal goal.

7. Old clothes

That sweater from 2013 keeps staring at you in your face. You’ve worn it a 1,000 times, taken pictures in it, and it has a noticeable flaw somewhere, yet, you still keep space for it. Take all your clothing like that and put it into one very large plastic bag, a trash bag. Then, tie that very large trash bag three times. Load the bag into your car and drive it to the nearest clothing donation center in your area and don’t turn back. You will not miss that sweater and that sweater will definitely not miss you.

XO

If I’ve learned anything this past year…

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put time into the things you want and love, both in goals and in relationships. The goal is always to achieve more in the new year than you have in the past. Once you identify your top three goals of the day, you have so much more focus on what to channel your energy in. Shedding bad habits like procrastination and poor eating will set you on a lighter and happier path for life.

My Favorite Trend This Fall: Unique Wooden Watches by JORD
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Fall is my absolute favorite season! I’m obsessed with the smell of crisp air, yummy comfort food, and all the beautiful earth tones to dress up in! My favorite accessory this fall are WOODEN watches. JORD is an amazing company that makes these gorgeous watches and they have many different styles to choose from for women and men.

JORD wooden watches are effortlessly cool and lightweight so you will want to wear it every single day. There is something for everyone in their newest collection whether you prefer delicate thinner bands or bigger watch faces. The coolest thing about their watches are they’re customizable! They can be engraved with thoughtful messages for your loved ones.

JORD watches are absolute statement pieces and the styles they’ve created are timeless. My first choice was the Ebony and Sable Cassia Watch. The dark Ebony wood stood out to me because of it’s chocolate brown color and matte finish. The black roman numerals on the face looked super chic against the gold metal accents on the outer rim and turning dial.

I accessorized my Cassia watch with my winter-ready outfit, a dark green cardigan sweater, wine colored leggings, and dark brown hiking boots! The Cassia style comes in three different colors, too. The Walnut & Rose, Olive & Blue, and Zebra & Ivory variations of the Cassia model are also super stunning.

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JORD made it easy to keep my watch looking its best by providing a free care package (valued at $115) that was complete with a J-stamped cedar box, a soft cleaning cloth, and an applicator pen filled with wood-treatment gel so I can treat my watch as needed. They have created a quality product that can stay in a family for generations.

I’ve partnered with JORD to kick off this season of giving, and everybody gets something! All entries will receive an automatic 10% off discount code, but ONE lucky winner will receive a $100 credit to JORD watches by just entering the giveaway! You could get one of these babies just in time for the holidays. Crazy, right?!

You have until 11:59 pm on 12/21 to enter!