Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bonding with Man-child

I am always trying to find different ways to bond with my son. We are really oil and vinegar - he likes math,I like like english; he likes anime cartoons, I like the Flintstones; he prefers to play video games, I love to read.

Sunday, I asked him to teach me how to play a video game. Man-child saved his money and purchased that Guitar Hero game (I know I am not saying it right) for his computer. It the same game that the Nintendo WII has but now there is one for the computer. He showed me how to hold the guitar and press all of the colors. It really seemed simple, so I was ready to play a song. Man-child said "Let's start with the Tutorial". "NO.. I wanna play a song". After looking at the selections, I was like "DUH - these are all rock n roll songs. Don't they have any R &B. He reminded me that it was Rock legends. We go through the list again and I recognize a song by the Rollin Stones. Needless to say, I could not play one correct note on the Tutorial. I must have tried it 5 times. We went back over it again -and I was beginning to see his frustration, so I said "you do it and let me watch". The boy is a PRO. He went right to expert level and went through 3 songs. I went back to the Tutorial and this time I got 3 right notes. I was soo happy. He just said "OK, are you done yet?" That was my hint - bonding time is over.

I've been thinking about that day all week and I have to admit it was fun. We spent about an hour and a half together and I still can't play the game. I'll probably wait a while before I ask to play again. Maybe I finish the Tutorial... :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raising Him Alone

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, I attended the 6th Annual Heal A Woman Heal A Nation Conference at Coppin State University. Co-directors Mothyna James-Brightful and Monoka Tyson of Heal A Woman stated that they strive to rejuventate, re-energize and revitalize the life of sisterhood since we are our sister's keeper, her best friend, her confidant, her reflection and her support. The purpose of the conference is to empower woman to encourage the growth of our communities. The workshops, which I found every exciting were entitled, Taking Care of Me First, Rejuvenating The Dream, Balancing Goals And Decisions, and Creating A Balanced Life.

The portion of the conference that I was interested in was entitled Raising Him Alone. Raising Him Alone is a separate organization that supports single mothers. It is a fact that 85% of households in the US are headed by single parents and most of those are single mothers. They also give support to men who are learning to be fathers or are trying to reconnect with their children. Events have been given in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Virginia. The workshops included: Father Factor: Addressing the Pain of Our Sons Experiencing An Absent Father; Coping With The Day to Day Struggles of Being A Single Mother: Making Ends Meet On A Tight Budget and A Mother's Role in Supporting Manhood Development. I attended all of these workshops and I learned soooo much about the decisions I have made and the impact that they have had on me and Man-Child.

The luncheon was the best part of the conference (ok - the food was ok). During the luncheon, there was a panal of Celebrity MOMS. Dr. Malalia A. Hines, Principal of John Hope College Prep High School in Chicago and Mother of Hip Hop Artist and Actor Common; Dr. Brenda Green, Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literatur at Medgar Evers College and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Talib Kweli; Sheron Smith, Author and Motivational Speaker and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Mos Def; Meshelle Forman Shields, Actress, Comedienne and Motivational Speaker, Cassandra Mack, Founder and CEO of Strategies for Empowered Living and Dana Bankins, grandmother who raised Five Sons.

Each of these woman were very open and honest as they shared with the audience their personal trials of raising boys. They discussed fathers, abuse, fighting gangs, decision making, dealing with the court system, facing jail time with their sons, over compensating with gifts, faith, importance of prayer, taking care of self, reaching out for help, and knowing when enough is enough. I found Dr. Mahaila Hines to be wonderful. She encouraged All mothers to take a personal look at themselves to find the answers to many of the questions we had on raising our sons.

The day was very refresing, and as they stated at the beginning of the conference, REJUVENATING. I met a lot of mothers with sons in jail, hospitals, dealing with children with ADHD, teen fathers, those trying to accept and understand sexual orientation, and so much more. The one common theme, though every circumstance was different, we were looking for support and encouragement for our sons. I grabbed many handouts, collected several free books, 10 Steps out of Puberty: A Teen's Guide to Successful Living by LaMarr Shields, Raising Hi Alone by David Miller; The Single Mom's Little Book of Wisdom by Cassandra Mack; and an audio book "Raising God's Children Alone". The only disappointing part for me was that many of the programs offered were for boys between the age of 10- 12 or 14-18. I questioned "What happens to 13 yr olds?" However, I did get a couple of leads for mentoring programs and tutoring groups that I plan to look into.

When I chose the name for this blog, I never thought that there was an organization dedicated to helping single mothers. I am glad my Sistah-friends encouraged me to write about some of my experiencing so that I may also be able to help others as others have helped me.

Please checkout their website for more information and locations of conference near you.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Best of Man-Child

Making the decision to write a blog was not easy for me. I am not a writer. I have always wanted to write but I did not think I had anything interesting to tell or write about.

Raising Man-child has been a 24/7 job; one that I did not think would be this difficult. In fact I prayed for a "Funky, Stinky, Little Boy". Well, I got it and then some. My friends are in tears as I scream about the things this boy does. UNBELIEVEABLE After I have screamed, yelled and watched a new gray hair pop into place, I realize that he is funny. I hope by putting my trials, tribulations, heartaches and successes for everyone to see, I am able to help someone else that is going through the same things. I also Pray for the support, advise and encouragement.


3. Be Specific with instructions - While cleaning his room, while he was away camping, I noticed that Man-Child had 4 sets of sheets on the bed. I asked him why - his response, "You never told me to take the dirty sheets off".

2. Make Him take ownship for his actions - To avoid doing a science project, he told his teacher that I could not afford to buy the supplies he needed due to the recession and his father's decision not to pay child support money. The teacher bought the supplies for him and offered me a part-time job. I made him work at her store to pay for the supplies.

1. A cure for Nakedness - Man-child had a habit of walking around the house Naked. I keep explaining to him that he was not my little boy but this Man -Child with things that I did not need to see. He reason "You are my MOMMY- it doesn't matter". Well one sunday, while gettng ready for church, I decided to change my bra and took it off and walked out of the bathroom - TOPLESS. He yelled "MOMMY, That's NASTY- Cover those things up". I told him, "When you were nursing it was not a problem. He said " But I'm not supposed to see those things" to which I responded "That's exactly the same thing I've been telling you". Well now he wears his robe all the time.

So what is your favorite Man-child story?