Daycare

Someone messaged me telling me they read my blog and were now thinking of starting their own blog to vent… hmm. That wasn’t my intention when creating the blog haha. I was hoping that yall would be able to relate to some developmental milestones of my son who is nearing 16 months in a few days… Or it would be a platform where new moms or other single moms(/parents) can discuss their struggles and strategies to overcoming them. Nonetheless, writing is a good coping mechanism if you get nothing else from the blog.

Anyway, Buddha started daycare this past week, today is his third day. Yesterday he went for the longest stretch from 8am-4pm. He definitely looked concerned the first day only having seen this woman twice before in his life, but he really enjoyed the activities and children. When I dropped him off today he even smiled at her and reached out to her, like uhh excuse me! I am so so so relieved. From the past two days, I am confident in her caretaking because he came home sans diaper rash, hoarseness and clean. + she has so many fun activities for the kids.

Here’s how we chose her (besides her being around the corner, that was just coincidental and a blessing, honestly). I took my friend Megan with me to go meet the sitter since she has a better sense of discernment (at times skepticism, which is really useful in this situation) and has a daughter two months younger than my son and we’ve been in constant contact since our pregnancies coincided.

My sitter has 2 kids herself one that is 3 and the other is a month older than my son. When we visited she was doing an activity with her oldest on phonics with clay. The second time I visited after the kids have left, her husband was there and he was doing an educational activity with their son too that made me more confident since both parents are invested in the development of their children. It’s a lifestyle not just a job she wanted to take on. She mentioned that she had intentions of starting a center in the future and that shows her commitment to learning the ins and out of childcare. She told us about her curriculum: seasons and phonics, without our reminder. She was very genuine about her intentions to create a healthy environment for the kids.

I have put him in daycares before one a home at 6-months and one a licensed child care facility at 9-months, he was there less than a week each time because of various reasons that I’ll touch on in the lists below (THEY WERE TERRIBLE BOTH TIMES). What do I look for?

First, I check DFPS:

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Search_Texas_Child_Care/ppFacilitySearchDayCare.asp

I’m looking for infractions (incidents) and the severity of them and if I can live with them or not. An example of one I can live with is, if a staff member didn’t submit their diploma or the parents didn’t update the immunization records.

Stuff that won’t fly: cruel disciplining (I’ve found a caretaker putting soiled clothes in the kids face to shame them for wetting themselves, that’s evil and IMAGINE what they do when an inspector ISN’T present), safety hazards, caretaking neglect (a child was left on their own for 3 minutes, that’s a long time in baby time).

Obviously use your best judgment. You’ll know based on the initial phone call if you and the facility vibe with one another. Here are some questions to ask over the phone:

  • Ask what items are provided. (formula, diapers, meals?)
  • Do they provide meals?
  • How many kids do they currently have and their ages?
  • Kid to teacher ratio,  there is a state regulated amount. Don’t quote me but I’m sure it’s 4:1 for newborns (I think that’s crazy) and 5:1 for toddlers (may be a little more doable because they are a bit more independent and can play by themselves and with others).
  • What are the enrollment fees? When do they expect payments: every month or weekly?
  • Do they have an app (she uses Brightwheel and updates every diaper change, feeding, and activities – I get at least 7 updates per day) or camera where you can see your child?

 

Now, you need to go visit and check on these:

  • Cleanliness, check corners (yes, I’ve seen daycares that don’t mop all the way to the corners and you see a swath of dirt sitting right there – new meaning to cutting corners , huh?) –  Ask to see the kitchen if they provide meals.
  • Wear and tear on the playground and toys
  • Childproofing, are there closets open? (I’ve gone to a daycare where all the toddlers were walking through the facility and their supply closet was open and there were items thrown all over and it was a fall hazard + the kids could pull something that would fall on them)
  • Diaper changing area. is it clean? is it organized? can they access all the kids’ items while being in arm’s reach of your child?
  • If you’re visiting the center while class is in session… are the teachers able to manage the kids they already have?
  • Teachers – are they gentle – will still enforce boundaries? do they align with your parenting style? do they have confidence in their abilities?
  • What experience do the teachers have? do they have goals of expanding or staying in the field? (commitment is huge, if they are not in it because they love helping the kids develop then I would reconsider)
  • Ask them how they handle nap times, drop-ins, early pickups, late drop offs, and disciplining?
  • If the caretaker is not a POC, do they give you good vibes? I went to watch Get Out while I was pregnant and it changed my perspective about having a Black son (even if he’s mixed with more ingredients than your granny’s gumbo, I do worry about racism as a woman of color myself and understanding his father’s perspectives as a Black man). Anyways, we went to visit a white lady at the recommendation of a high school acquaintance with a white son & she looked like she’d steal my child. It’s not funny, but really she was creepy.

 

After putting your child in daycare, I observe my child’s behavior and physical appearance at the end of the day. Here is what I look for:

  • How is their temper? Are they smiling and laughing or are they disconcerted?
  • Are their clothes dirty? Are they dirty? (DIRTY DIRTY, normal dirt is OK, they’re babies) I’ve had him come home and had some food on his face and it ate up his skin, so that was there probably the WHOLE day.
  • Did they feed them the food / snacks / milk you brought? (The center lied and told me they made a bottle before I got there, of formula, but it was breast milk when I told them she told me she denied it. – I mentioned it to the teachers the next day and they denied it too. They lied about his food intake when confronted, RED FLAG — I think all nursing/pumping moms can vouch that they know the difference in taste and appearance of their breast milk from formula)

Both the places I went to were in Houston and it was hard to find somewhere near my workplace that was in my budget because I worked in the Galleria. Then the other hindrance was that I live inside a little pocket with different hoods around me (Antoine & 43rd off of 290 and 610) so it was hard to find a facility that aligned with my caretaking standards because YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

I don’t believe that you have to have a million dollar facility and make organic foods and have to stick to curriculum but I want you to be reflective and honest. I took my baby to a daycare on Antoine in between De Soto and Little York literally across the street from apartments where my high school boyfriend got robbed and jumped. So, I know what I’m dealing with geography-wise, but they had an opening and it was my first week of work and my mom bowed out from the show. I had a recommendation for that specific place and I had seen her baby (18-months) SO happy when she would pick him up from her FB stories.

I put my son in there at 9 months and MAN it was terrible. There were roaches, the floors were dirty, my baby was left unattended, my baby came home hoarse from screaming, he had to have been traumatized. He was there for 3 days. The last day he was there my best friend took him out because she went for a visit (they didn’t ID her, until she prompted them to) and she Facetimed me and he was filthy. & her slick ass was like ‘baby, why are you so dirty’ 😝 in front of the teachers. DEAD. I responded, I gave them two change of clothes, he came home dirty the other day. & of course I knew I could talk out my neck because she was picking him up 😂 I would have been mute and dumb if he had to stay the rest of the day. She took all his items and we never went back.

Thank goodness our family could pull through and take care of him/ I could take days off so things like that wouldn’t happen again but DAM! Ultimately, I lost my last job to inadequate childcare, which is super frustrating since you HAD  a job, you just can’t make it.

Be careful of who you let take care of your kids, be diligent about your research, be patient, give yourself plenty of time and for the love of your baby make sure you trust them! Make sure YOU trust them because it does a lot for your child psychologically to know that you are handing them off with confidence instead of ‘oh, i hope we make it through the day.’ Of course as a single mother, I know I KNOW how hard financial struggles can force you to go to work and not feeling like you have a choice I KNOW, but give yourself plenty of time and buffer room so you don’t make hasty decisions, like me.

I hope this helps.

What has been your experience with daycare?

Frustration

I had a brief exchange the other day with a facebook friend about temper tantrums. She’s a mom of a 3-week old and a step-mom/coparent to a 5-year old; she believes that temper tantrums are avoidable. I do not. She believes that kids should do as the parents says and I would like to qualify that.

Despite temperament and environment, you will not be able to force your one-year old to digest your commands and their emotions at every moment. There is so much growth and development occurring for toddlers who are experimenting with sounds, gravity and mobility, it’s almost unfair to expect them to be on their best behavior. The best thing we can do is lay the groundwork for emotional intelligence. I teach him that frustration is a part of life, I identify the emotion (anger, sadness, tired, FRUSTRATION, etc.) what caused it and ‘resolve’ it for him.

Example: He bonked his head on the wall turns around slaps the wall because it hurt him and then yells at it with some extra smacks.- At first, I use to smack it with him. THEN it occurred to me I don’t want him smacking someone if they get in his way or an accident happens. I don’t want to encourage violent behaviors. So, I now hold him and I make a silly voice for whatever the object was and make it apologize to him. I’ve been doing it for a little over  a month and he no longer hits everything when it frustrates him. He still smacks things and people every now and again, but he’s learning to be more gentle with the family and pets that we’re living with so I’m really proud of him.

Of course, I don’t expect Buddha to fall out and writhe on the floor if he doesn’t get his way. Has he? Yes, in private, mostly when I’m trying to put him to sleep & we’re sleep training now while he’s teething (oh joy, you must be thinking). Most of his meltdowns are associated with, ‘it’s bedtime’ and not getting extra outside time and I always promise him we’ll go back outside or that he’ll get to see/ play with xyz at a later day/time. & I always come through. Don’t lie to your kids, that’s ugly. Be dependable. Show your kids they can trust you. Especially if you’re a single parent, YALL ARE A TEAM!

The latter part of this discussion was that kids should do as parents say. Sure, to make my life easy I want my son to do as I say and he does for the most part, but to cultivate the strong-will that he was blessed with I want him to question authority. I want him to be curious and I want him to be an independent thinker. Does that work out for me all the time? No. Will it benefit him in the long run? I absolutely believe so. I think this will lay the ground work for social consciousness and questioning (mis)information, which is especially needed in a time of heightened political propaganda.

It’s important to me that he is intellectually curious even if he sticks his hand in the toilet after I told him 20 times to not touch the lid, even if he puts all the pots and pans on the floor after I told him for 2 months to only play with the plasticware, even if he throws his toys to the ground until I eventually confiscate them. I reprimand him and I try to not yell too much, I try to find a stern but gentle voice when dealing with misbehavior. I get mad every now again, especially if he did something to hurt me (so far, I got my first lick about a month ago with a wooden toy clubbed to the eyebrow and hairspray to the side of my nose 2 weeks following that incident) and I always remember IT’S NOT MALICIOUS.

He’s not purposely hurting me (or you, if you’re going through this), I teared up that last time and I was pissed and I just held his hand and my nose and stayed completely quiet and still, I was fuming, and told him that he really hurt me and he had already stopped paying attention and started on something else. HA. Their attention spans are hilarious and can out run a snap, don’t expect too much on listening skills at this point. Tell them so that information is shared but don’t be disappointed if they don’t acknowledge the sounds you’re throwing at them. He’s learning about his strength and his capabilities to grasp, kick, smack, throw, push, pull, lift etc. Everything’s new to toddlers, why be mad at them? Let them explore.

A lot of raising and teaching a kid is also being aware of your own reactions and demeanor. So, while you’re teaching them with how to deal with their frustrations there are plenty plenty of opportunities to learn about how to deal with your own frustration. I’ve learned to watch the volume of my voice, to not so easily be offended, to not take things personal, to let go of grievances, to know there will always be a mess and laundry to clean up 😅

What are some ways you mitigate frustration for you or your child?

Let me know!

Body Positivity

I don’t have a fun picture to post of my mom bod and this will not be an analytical piece like I said I would like to make in my last post.

This is my first post of 2019 because it’s something that all women deal with due to our fluctuating curves. Mine just happen to be on the downturn. They’re gone! They disappeared, I’m as a thin as a rail and it’s a little depressing whenever I think of it. So, I’m going to get it off my chest, but not too much because I need all the chest that is left. *sigh*

I chose this picture because I  was about  15 lbs heavier than I am now with thighs and my pre-mom boobs. I do currently have my head screwed on to eat more calories more frequently, but I’ve always been fascinated by practice and theory and there is a large difference between the two even in this circumstance.

During the holidays, I saw my son’s father. He commented that I looked skinny and other various comments that I could have done without. It took me back to a time when Buddha was 4 weeks old I was fully into baby blues and he was talking mess to me for three HOURS about how unattractive I was, how I was worthless, how so many h** keep hitting him up since we had our baby, how I can’t do this & that, while the Astros were in the last leg of the World Series I was nursing and he’d occasionally spit on me or lick me, yuck. So, I literally cried. Like sobbing because not only can I not provide a father to my son,  I’m not even attractive to the thing that impregnated me who has the standards of a limbo stick made for ants. aint that bout a whole b****. So anyways, I cried about being too skinny as soon as he left. then I cried because my boobs were 2 cups smaller after having my son, wern’t they supposed to get bigger? then I cried about the next guy I get will never even know I had boobs, so I mourned this body that I’ll never have again because I can’t just plant boobs. then I cried because I still love my son’s dad because I’m obsessed with him. then I cried, then my son woke up and placed his tiny head on my shoulder and placed his tiny human hands on my chest.

and a wave of comfort washed over me. and everything was ok because he loves me as I am.

and I realized, I breastfed for a whole year! & I wouldn’t trade any amount of titty for his little body. I wouldn’t trade two cup sizes for him to be 10lbs smaller or whatever would have been the case if I had not breast fed. I’m so glad and proud that I stuck to it for my goal of a year and I was able to feed my son through my body. It WAS NOT EASY!

I also realized why in the world would I want to be with someone that degrades me and doesn’t value me? Why do I care if my next partner or future husband hadn’t seen a me that isn’t even me anymore? Why would I want someone to want me to be someone I’m not? I don’t! I need people around me that like me for me in order to remain sane.

If I want to be a flat chested greasy b****, shoot, I might be it one day or the next, but it’s not forever yall LET ME LIVE. We let society tell us what we should look like and how we need to maintain ourselves. When I was 12, in the pursuit of thickness (my pre-pubescent pursuit of happiness), I ate so much fast food that I got high cholesterol like I was about to have to pop pills for it. All that is to say, we suffer or go through so much to attain what we idealize. We’re inundated with images of women with hourglass figures, perfect titties perfect asses and a waist the size of a green bean when MOST these celebrities bought their body AND face. I recently got an IG follower that gives filler injections, I looked, out of curiosity. She could sculpt your jawline (didn’t know that was a thing), fill your lips, fill your wrinkles, fill your hollow under eye, pffffft what?!

I might as well love what I have because there are so many unhappy people poking prodding and slicing themselves open that never learned to! Love yourself because you can’t love anyone else, without.

Do you have self affirmations or strategies against body shaming behaviors? If so, please share them with me.

 

Reluctance

This will be my last blog post of 2018.

The topic we’re looking at is: hesitation.

I chose this topic because the fear of failure has oftentimes prevented me from starting or executing plans. This thought sprung up as I am approaching sleep training my son, having to create a plan and being consistent. The latter has never been my forte, I’ll admit I can be shaky at times.

On the other hand, the mantra of: ‘don’t use your son as an excuse to not do, use him as a reason to do‘ is pasted to the back of my mind scribbled in half-eaten crayons. I found many excuses this year to not leave situations that were creating a lot of psychological damage and traumatic experiences for my son. The only thing that was consistent was my rationalizing and justifying my staying in toxic situations. I was reluctant to make a move.

I constantly was able to stay put through nonsense, thinking, ‘this will get better’ or ‘after x I’ll be able to get on my feet’. NEVER did I put my foot down and stand for something. This time I didn’t even have a mental health monkey on my shoulder, just being plain lazy (+ having a baby takes up some of my time). I was reluctant to act on warnings of what was to come and flagrant violations.

Many events passed by that I wanted to share about my son’s development, about my own growth, about this and that, but I always found an excuse to not write, to not doodle, to not put my pen on paper. Like everything else in my life, I found a way to have my toe in the pool, but to not fully immerse myself. I can see so many opportunities, events, trips and conversations in my life that I didn’t fully relish. I wasn’t able to truly enjoy them even though they were presented to me and those type of thoughts fester and can turn into nasty weeds of regret.

Now, reflecting on the past year and how it’s ending on a drastically different note than how it began, I can see the direction I want to head in 2019. I can see that I’m finally taking a stand for myself and my family and I’m so overjoyed at the support system that I have. I’m not anywhere near saying 2019 is MY year. That’s silly and unrealistic and not practical at all in goal-making. I’m fully aware that I am in a hole, that’s ok, 2019 will be a year of rebuilding. I am hoping and praying that 2019 will be the year that I find independence, stability and peace.

2019 is my year to lay the foundation to a 2020 of clarity.

My short list of goals for accountability purposes,

for my blog:

  • incorporating more art & travel
  • outreach with other moms
  • more analytical pieces

for myself:

  • finding community in Austin
  • establishing myself in the creative economy
  • being more organized and dependable

Can you sum up your goals into 3 words?

My three would be: focus, consistency, and purpose.

Primavera

 


Rafael M San Juan

Primavera


Originally, this post was suppose to be an art review (don’t count me out just yet).

A little about the piece, it was made by Rafael San Juan for the detrás de los muros exhibition in the Bienal de La Habana 2015 and was donated to be a permanent fixture on the waterfront located at the corner of Galiano and Malecón. We would see it every time we were heading to or from Habana Vieja. The artist is known for another monumental piece in the series located in Guadalajara titled “Otoño“.

‘Los rasgos de Primavera no fueron inspirados por ninguna modelo en particular, pero la forma y esbeltez del cuello surgieron a partir de la observación de la pose de algunas bailarinas cubanas, entre las que se hallaba Viengsay Valdés, quien le sugirió que la escultura no debía mirar hacia abajo si quería representar la fortaleza de espíritu de las mujeres de la Isla‘ (1)

‘The features of Primavera were not inspired by any particular model, but the form and svelte of the neck emerged in part from the observation of how some of the Cuban ballerinas posed theirs, among the ballerinas that were found Viengsay Valdés, suggested that the sculpture shouldn’t look downward if he wanted to represent the fortified spirit of the women of the island.’

I may not be Cuban, but I have been feeling the strength of being a woman. I left the unhealthy domestic environments of Houston and transplanted us to Austin in hopes of starting over fresh and creating the best life possible for my ☀️ and me. So as we settle ourselves among the winter solstice and the new year, I see my own Primavera/ Spring/ season of rebirth on the horizon if I am able to stay the course and look at things for what they are and not what they should be.

As the weeks wear on I’ve been more consistent about my Instagram content posting one or two posts/stories daily to increase my knowledge and experience with the platform. An indirect result of finding and creating content is a sense that a weight has been lifted. If you follow my instagram (@tinyjune) you will notice that I have been sharing more and more pictures taken around my study abroad programs back in 2015.

When I went through those programs I was in such a depressive state, I could barely speak or put trains of thought together. I rarely remembered anything. The internal dialogue I had was a miserable loop of downtrodden, pessimistic, disparaging comments. I was on autopilot for the most part and there were blips and small slices of time where the environment stimulated the little part of me that was still kicking. I was a fart. A wet bubbly fart.

Looking at the photos from that season in my life was poignant, nonetheless I saw a lot of potential. Through editing I made new meanings, interpretations of old parts of myself, similar to this piece that is made of recycled bands of steel. These pictures represented a time in my life when my emotions were rigid and unwieldy and they have transformed into something pliable to serve a new purpose, much like the sculpture.

I am confronting my issues head on and doing my best to remain unwavering while still being flexible. I couldn’t be more glad that I decided to share these pictures from 2015 because it’s helping me reconnect to an old me that desperately needed healing. My content has allowed me to share my vulnerabilities and it’s a relief. If nothing else, I get to share my art, which I was very reluctant to do up until this point and that’s a good place to start. I’m too ready to see what 2019 has in store for my son and me.

Happy winter solstice ❄️

How are you celebrating your life and reflecting back on this year?


Sources:

1) http://www.rutacuba.com/edicion-4-rutacuba/primavera-en-la-habana/

2) https://havanatimes.org/sp/?p=107552

Diana Hinek

 

I encountered Diana Henik, birth doula and photographer, on Instagram (@artshapedphotography). I was drawn to her by looking through her feed, her photography is captivating and visceral. I couldn’t tell where her job ended and her life started. I enjoyed her images because they captured the joy of (carrying, creating and giving) life, she uses interesting angles and playful lighting. Her lighting is of interest to me because she doesn’t stick to one end of the spectrum, it’s not overexposed nor is it completely dark and moody. So, I reached out to her for a phone interview and she agreed.

It was a refreshing take on interviews, more informal compared to past interviews where I’m recording and have the questions in front of me. My questions were in mind from a brainstorming session prior, the conversation was easy and flowing and there were plenty of opportunities to satisfy my curiosity. We talked about life as a doula and as a photographer and how the two intersected in her life.

She had long been a creative prior to becoming a doula, starting her career as a digital compositor and having worked at the acclaimed visual effects company Marvel (RIP to a world-changing creative and creator, Stan Lee), and transitioned into working for herself as a photographer after working at home for 3 years after her first child. She began to transition into doula-ship once she took on more opportunities with birth photography after her second child. She was encouraged to educate herself as a doula so that she could be a supportive entity sharing this sacred space where all would be welcoming a new life.

When asked if Marvel or the stylistic choices that comics and their film counterparts (think film noir with deep contrasts in lighting) had a creative influence on her photographic work, her response was:

“being a compositor is a huge creative opportunity, because often times you get to deliver the director’s ideas and you need to come up with a concrete way to translate thoughts into real images. It can also be a curse, because that same creativity needs to function within the rule of visual physics -so to speak. So there is the tendency to nip picking and making sure the shots look clean and fluid. In birth photography, you have to rely on your light skills, time reading and emotions tuning, but it falls into the documentary part of photography, so photoshop often does not make sense. On the other hand compositing skills can be useful for other type of sessions, like maternity, family or newborn, where dads are rigidly nervous and babies are fussy.”

Doulas have an important caretaking role during pregnancy, having the knowledge to guide (new) parents: teaching them techniques for soothing prenatal aches and pains, resolving concerns in a less invasive and approaching prenatal hormonal shifts as a small part of the entire experience. They can be advocates for mothers when they are at their most vulnerable, going through the throes of labor is not easy and there can be things we acquiesce to just to relieve the nuisance (signing papers, agreeing to things we would not have if we were not under duress).

The piece of advice that she would give to pregnant mothers is to be present in the process, to know that the pain is temporary and to be ready for the rewarding journey that is motherhood. Doulas are essentially the fairy godmothers of pregnancy. They approach pregnancy in a holistic way that allows for a gentleness not often seen in the doctor’s office. This perspective on pregnancy as a natural process also allows your soon-to-be-born baby to be connected to their parents and support system in a way that is not often cultivated in the hospital conveyor-belt-you-are-on-my-time-cyborg-doctor’s birth process.

Doulas can, in a sense, liberate you as a mother because they’re giving you the power of knowledge. This power transcends your understanding of your baby to an understanding of yourself and that is powerful when you can communicate to your partner or doctor your feelings and WHY you are choosing to do things a certain way. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself and your birthing plan or process, but if you’re choosing to go to a hospital 9 times out of 10 you will be explaining why YOU DON’T WANT ANY MEDICINE in between contractions. I digress.

We touched on doulas doing volunteer work which was spurred by this article and she was on board with the idea, stating she would volunteer once things settled down in her life. She mentioned that her mentor was actually someone who helped create/support a volunteer network of doulas for low income mothers. I am an advocate of increased access to healthcare and after having my son I will gladly advocate for increased prenatal support. Our children are our futures.

Diana was lovely to talk to and this format was more suitable to our conversation because I did ask a lot of questions on the process to becoming a doula and how does one go about that (which she answered very helpfully), so if you want to know about that portion of the conversation, feel free to ask.

.

Check Diana out at her Instagram: @artshapedphotography

Or her website.

She is a photographer, doula and mother of 3 based in the Los Angeles area.

WTF? What even is a ‘Low Key’ Nurturer?

When I began the blog, I had intentions on being a ‘mom blogger’. I assumed and chose topics that covered basic ‘mom’ taking care of baby processes. I wrote about washing bottles, because these were ‘mom’ things I hadn’t thought about prior. I had so many ideas but they felt so impersonal and in my own life I ran myself ragged making my sun the center of my universe but I forgot my own needs – proven by my need to go to the hospital for dehydration around 6 weeks (I thought I was having a heart attack, go figure).

A more holistic approach was needed to my mothering. I had, not only, to adjust to my new life as a mother to my son, caring for and nourishing his well-being, but myself! As my postpartum experience expanded and welcomed other mothers into my healing and seeking their advice, I realized that the nurturing and nourishment didn’t stop at my baby. I wouldn’t only be giving nurturance; I’d also be receiving it.

As my son grew up and I basked in my family’s compliments of my mothering (because we have to before we turn into skeptics of our own abilities), I began to consider the idea that I was becoming a nurturer. What a glorious day FOR ME! To some folks self-esteem and confidence to do everyday tasks are normal functional emotional capacities, for ME these are competencies I find difficult to sustain.

The notion that I became a nurturer was such an achievement in my eyes and as my son grew up and I became accustomed to our routines, this belief was reinforced. I AM taking care of someone and to provide the care they deserved I would have to invest in my own self-care. My perspective changed on, what used to be, trivial responsibilities. A shower was ME time. A walk with baby could be meditative self-care AND quality time. Gathering my hair in a braid was my time to gather my thoughts. Writing IS MY outlet; I found a coping mechanism that didn’t include self-medicating (thanks to nursing, I’ve found clarity at multiple points through this journey).

The notion that I could help someone grow and develop their authentic self in a healthy and happy environment (as it should be) still astounds me. That is a LOT of pressure. I’ve been an incognito LOW KEY nurturer this whole time and it took having my son for this perception of myself to find me. I had to really align myself with my vision of what a mother is, because I didn’t grow up with a healthy example. I didn’t readily have a concept of what a healthy family dynamic was at home. That’s why I chose the site name because we all have this innate ‘nurturer’ inside of us, but because of our environment, lifestyles, etc. we’re not able to access it.

I want to create a space of collaboration for mothers and young women alike so that we can build ourselves up internally so that we may take on the challenges that this world has for us. I want to help other (new) moms that are overwhelmed and were in my shoes with baby blues. I want to extend a hand to new initiates of single motherhood/parenthood. The inception of Low Key Nurturer is the acknowledgment that I am on this journey to raise my energy and frequency with the support of MY VILLAGE to meet the needs of my son and myself, to break cycles of abuse, to educate (BATHE) ourselves in pools of knowledge that will be our lifelines, to teach us how to love ourselves, to build financial and intellectual and spiritual wealth.

We all make choices and if we choose to sit in the toxic stew instead of using our strength as women and especially (single) mothers we could be modelling patterns and habits that we don’t necessarily endorse.

What does nurturing look like in your life?