Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FLOTUS and Me: Trading Parenting Tips with Mama Obama

Serious Business: First Lady Michelle Obama raising black women-in-training
(photo: Tracy Russo)

Strict Rules? Seriously?

Read my take on HuffPost

There's been much ado about how sternly Mrs. Obama parents First Daughters, Sasha and Malia. But what some people call "strict,"is business as usual in my house. I'm sure my girls, ages 11 and 14 just like Sasha and Malia, feel as though I ride them like a cheap pair of boyshorts. Can you blame me? Let's be real: I'm raising brown girls in an unkind world.

Sometimes I jokingly tell my daughters to, "Buckle up, buttercup! Life is hard." But being mama to two Black women-in-training is no joke to me. It's serious business. I've got to prepare them to work extra hard. Learn more about what I have in common with "Chelle" (I'm sure she'd let me call her that seeing as we're tight and all). Check out my post!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Top 9 Things No One Tells about Being Class Mom

(Hint: Yes, there will be snot)

By now the class mom sign-up sheet has likely arrived in your child’s backpack. Or maybe it was passed around at back-to-school night. I’d like to take this opportunity to stick a shiny gold star on your cute little forehead for even considering this noble role. You are a mom among moms. Just don’t take this responsibility lightly. Class parenting is not for the faint of heart. Many are called, but few are chosen. (Especially if you have a power-drunk PTA board that subjects you to a cloying application process as though you’re vying for Homecoming Queen. But that’s another post).

Between all my three kids, I’ve probably served four or five class mom sentences terms. It’s not like I’m trying to pass myself off as the class mom Grand Puba. I have simply learned a thing or two along the way. And I like to help a sister out. Like loose bowels and other dirty little secrets of labor and delivery, there are elements to class mom stints that insiders tend to keep on the low. To heck with that! I’m telling it all. Here’s what you should know.
  1. Class mom is not Mommy & Me time. You’ll be asked to do things with as many as a half dozen kids at once—like math bingo, making Thanksgiving hand-print turkeys. If your kid is always first or gets do-overs, the game or activity will get old really fast for the rest of the class.
  2. Yes, you can juggle class mom with your fulltime job. Depending on the school, you may get a definitive clique vibe from the tight-knit group of mothers who typically volunteer—like it’s an exclusive sorority of stay-at-home-moms and you don’t measure up. Usually, even if most of the mothers don’t have paying 9-5’s, they don’t mean to come off as stuck up, judgmental haters. So put your big-girl panties on and step up. You don’t need new best friends, but you do need to be involved in the place your kids spend most of their time. As class mom, you don’t need to log weekly hours of actual face time. The main thing is communicating with parents and organizing them to donate food, supplies and in-class help when the teacher asks.
  3. There will be snot. No tissue? No problem. A sleeve or back-handed wipe is proper hygiene in a kid’s world. Think about how often you have to remind your own children to wash their hands after making potty. Now multiply your kid by 23. If you have a germ phobia now is a good time to get over it. Alternatively you can invest in a fashionable hazmat suit or carry hand sanitizer around like an appendage to ward off boogers and other bacteria.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I am a Grown-Up Mom

Today I am a Grown-Up Mom — Truly, For Real

With surgeon-like precision, my eldest leans in to the bathroom mirror sweeping her long hair to one side. At 14, it takes a just-right stroke of mascara and lip gloss to achieve the “I’m-not-trying-I’m-just-pretty” effect needed to face your first day as a high school freshman.

Her younger sister makes her foray into the big, middle school building today. She is less about the close up. More about the profile, wanting to be seen; but not exactly noticed. The cami hits her newly rounded hips at the proper angle. And for as long as the weather gods allow, her blown-out hair grazes her waist and glistens a bit.

Upstairs my little man-child is deep in preparation. Big kid adventures of kindergarten — recess, napless afternoons and school bus rides—beckon. Spider Man blazes across his chest, secures his lunch and (for extra measure) the entire Super Hero posse stands guard on his backpack.

It’s the first day of school and everyone is excited up in here. Even Mama. Especially Mama.