Baby You’re A Firework!

Everything is different in my life, and this 4th of July was no exception.  I’m sure everything this year is going to be “different” because its my first year of Motherhood!
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, past some recent 4th of July holidays, shall we? One could find Simona either at a ratchet cookout holding my red cups or watching the fireworks with a bae or my woes on a D.C. rooftop; or, like last year, at the monuments, which was super fun and romantic by the way. Well not this year – I have a baby who I refuse to subject to anyone’s turn up or fireworks, and taking him anywhere requires milk-pumping (which I hate – “but it’s for your kid!” –  I know,  blah blah) and packing a diaper bag . We couldn’t even enjoy the war zone that is Southeast D.C.’s fireworks. I ended up being super pissed about how loud they were, 95 percent convinced that there were gunshots mixed with the sounds of fire crackers — and if I had any kind of thug in me I would’ve gone out there and demanded they stopped their recklessness! But this is Southeast; I wasn’t in a position to test my gangsta. So I pulled my SMW close to me and covered his ears praying that the gunshot-crackers wouldn’t wake him up. In the second world I live in, the one in my mind, this is not what 4th of July is supposed to look like! To be fair, I didn’t do a great job at planning a day that could allow me to stop by a cookout nor did I do a good job at looking into any family/baby-friendly festivities to grace our presence. So there I was, on the couch, playing  Tummy-time & Footphone (a game SMW’s godmother made up) with SMW, waiting for my pizza and wings to be delivered. Dominoes and Pizza Hut were closed , so I was stuck ordering from Pizza Day. What the hell is that? Their pizza sucked, and it’s probably because I ordered onion pizza. Why did I order onion pizza?
There was no sign of having anywhere to go to show off my recently purchased blue & white polka dot romper and for SMW to show off his “My 1st 4th of July” bib. I live for those ‘Firsts’ bibs.  So while SMW was figuring out how to put his whole fist in his mouth, I was staring at him feeling bummed, annoyed and alone.
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I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be than to be with SMW. Let me make that clear. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that everything is such an adjustment for me, and lately it’s becoming a “thing.”  A moody thing. I did a bit of digging on my friend Googlenisha to see if my symptoms matched the Baby Blues (Post Partum Depression). Ehh, nah I’m not there. This new mom gig is difficult for anyone, and having to adjust doesn’t necessarily equate to depression. For some it does, I totally understand it and I am here to be of support if you are going through that and you need someone to talk to =]. I mean that. PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE.
It’s a balancing act, quite the tough one, to grow into my new normal but also keep an old part of my routine. Not because I’m desperately trying to hold on to my pre-mommy life, but simply because it’s all I have known and I’m trying to figure this new life out on my own. My name is Simona, and I don’t know how to ask for help. I’m a pretty optimistic girl (its one of my favorite qualities about myself *blush* ), so I’m always the ‘mind-over-matter, gotta look on the bright side and move on’ type. With that being said, I look at each part of my life, well the parts that I have some control over, and give my best to it. I attempt to keep my apartment clean, cozy, and full of love, life and Bath and Body Works candles (or TJ Maxx candles – they have some amazing candles for like FOUR BUCKS — #staywoke ). I do my best to provide SMW with very loving, fun and wholesome environments and experiences, even at the age of 3 months.  He deserves it, and I don’t feel he should have to take the ‘L’ (loss) on anything. I am always researching and reading up on baby milestones, baby poop, baby toys, baby activities, all baby everything –  just so I am well informed. I give my all into work, my family and friends. So as I watched the fireworks through the bedroom window, my own mental fireworks were going off! I think I realized, yet again, that life is different and so much is being demanded of me. I am constantly pouring out so much of my energy  (mentally, physically and emotionally), and I wasn’t feeling replenished. So I strolled down the ‘If things were this way and that way, life would be better’ lane.
Ninety percent of the time, I realize how truly blessed I am and I’m super proud of me. Then there is that 10 percent.  I continue to struggle with trying to complete the whole puzzle now, which leaves me frustrated, exhausted, extremely hard on myself, and feeling like I’m lacking or not doing my best. The truth is I am, doing my best that is, and I receive encouragement everyday from the people who matter. It means a lot to me when folks tell me I’m doing a great job. That’s my love language: Words of Affirmation. I need to hear it, because sometimes I can’t see it and I can’t feel it. I have to be completely okay with where I am, what I have and what I don’t have.
I need to give myself a little more grace even with adjusting to my new normal. It’s okay to be bummed about missing out on an event, and I shouldn’t feel guilty or resentful about it. It’s okay for it to take a while to get used to changing 500 diapers a day and wiping drool of my work shirt as I dash to catch my train. I pat myself on the back for successfully dodging SMW peeing on me during diaper changes, keeping a genuine positive attitude, and working hard towards what I want in every aspect of my life: career, finances, romantic and parenting. What I did realize over the weekend is that working towards the goal shouldn’t be exhausting, even if I do feel that way 10 percent of the time. I need to look at the bigger picture. I don’t want to miss any moments trying to “get there.” Get where? Where is there?
“I can’t wait to get to the point where I have this Mom thing on lock.”
“I can’t wait to get to the point where I have the house I want!”
“I can’t wait to get married.”
“I can’t wait to get to the point where I can swipe my card anytime and anywhere.”
I’m always trying to “get somewhere,” and I forget that I’m actually having a really good time ‘Here’. Somewhere along the way, some of us thought ‘There’ would be filled with ideal situations. The recipe for ‘There’ is to get your college degree which will land you your dream job in your favorite buppie city where you’ll meet your gorgeous wife/husband and be featured on Munaluchi Bride.  Not taking into account that a dash of networking and resume sending, a pinch of heartbreak and bad dates, a shake of unexpected hiccups and shots of rolling with and growing through the process will be required. And that’s the best part – that’s where the good stories are! Instead of working so hard on getting ‘There’, which is still important, I need to always recognize that ‘Here’ is very rewarding and very real. ‘Here’ is full of good friends, cute surprises, an amazing work ethic, a happy spirit, and a fun-spirited new mom trying to figure this thing out! This should feel fulfilling because it is where and when you develop who you really are!
So maybe I didn’t get to watch the fireworks the way I would’ve liked, but it felt good to remember and realize that my life is full of pretty & colorful fireworks everyday! I hope you are doing a better job than me at giving yourself the grace you deserve. Pat yourself on the back, because I’m pretty you’re doing a fantastic job wherever you are in life =]
So tell me, which areas of your life do you not give yourself enough credit for doing an amazing job?!

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Fools Gold

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Whew! I was hoping to be more consistent with blogging but in between transitioning back into work, pumping when I have a moment, and running to pick my son up – I just have not found the time. But I promise, I’ll do better.

So anyway,  I had the pleasure of spending my Monday evening with Jill Scott, catching up and talking like the sister-friends we are. Okay, I lie, we didn’t hang but she was on stage performing and I was a few feet away watching! Interactive One hosted an intimate taping featuring Ms. Scott performing some her greatest hits and some songs from her new album ‘Woman.’ The album drops on July 24th –go get it. It’s fi-yah!

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So I’m not a music head per se, but I’ve always loved Jill Scott. She’s real; she’s a grown woman and her lyrics teach a girl some things – which is always necessary, right? So she performs this song, Fools Gold and I lost it! Everything about that song, I could relate to, and not just on a wack bae-ship level, but life in general. Peep the lyrics:

So I thought I would try something new
I wanted to find out if I could live happy without you
And it turned out I wasn’t living at all
I’d rather never known if you had just played along

I was living the dream believing things that just ain’t true
Oh I can’t believe I ever believed in you
You had me chasing fool’s gold
I was chasing fool’s gold
I was chasing fool’s gold

So I did that inside knowing you weren’t right
For breaking the spell was a plan I never did right
I wanna be here forever if it’s for you
But I would had been living forever as your fool

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So I’ve reached a point in my life (you know, the ‘grown woman’ mindset) where I know if I am somewhere I’m not supposed to be. I’m more sensitive to this now because Baby SMW makes me think about how my life affects him. Some things are easier to see than others, and even when realized, some things are easier to “fix” than others. When you know better, you do better (if that’s what you really want). So here I am asking myself: Am I choosing ‘fool’s gold’?

I think that question requires a heavy dose of soul searching and truth telling because you kind of have to consciously step away from the victim mentality. That’s tough – for me at least.  It requires me to take a critical, hard look at what’s working and what isn’t working for my life, especially if I’m not in position to do something about it.  Maybe it’s because I’m scared, not sure what of exactly. But I’m definitely ready to get out of Punkville (Can you relate?) — that whole ‘watching your life go down stupid lane’ because of your insecurities, procrastination and need for comfort or fear is sooo yesterday. Well, at least it should be because it sucks! Like the song says, you find out you’re not really living at all!   Not only do you remain stuck where you are, not progressing, but perhaps you start to believe that you’ll never get out of that situation. And it could be any situation you know? A relationship that has continued way past it’s expiration date, a group of friends that just aren’t conducive to where you’re trying to go, or maybe a career opportunity that you’re missing out on.  And the situation will play out and things will remain the same, especially if you’re the one losing and they’re/it is the one winning. I hate to be so vague, but do you get what I mean?

So who or what got me to the place where I’ve started to settle and believe things that just aren’t true? Past failures, rejection, fear, family, friends, a sucky boss – what? Even on a spiritual level, I realize that the Enemy will do his best to warp my thinking and have me going down a road that I just know I shouldn’t be on. That requires a whole lot of questions that I’ve been doing my best to answer lately. I tend to shock myself with the truth behind some of my ‘chasing pavements.’

So anyway, I ain’t trying to be no fool, ya’ll. While it’s never easy to do, when it’s time to bounce, it’s time to bounce –I’ll be hopping on that train because sometimes our lives, our joy and our purpose depends on it. Another life lesson, this one wrapped up in a song. Do you have a song that has changed or sparked a new way of thinking? Share your thoughts/favorites in the comments below.

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The Birth Story – Both Mine & SMW’s.

It was the beginning of Summer in 2014, and it was looking mighty good. I had just signed a lease to my new condo in the gorgeous Navy Yard area of Southwest, Washington, D.C. Here I was a year into my dream job, and things were so amazing! I even got back into the jungle that is DC’s dating scene, and it was going well for me. Life was looking and feeling good — this is what I had been waiting for! The good Buppie life. #UnfinishedBusiness lingered in my life, and here I was staring at a plus sign. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Jesus, noo! We were careful! I mean, I wasn’t supposed to be having pre-marital sex as a Christian, but was this consequence really my reward? This was certainly not part of the plan. Had I ran out of ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’ passes? It all became too real at once. I was always proud of how well I navigated my life -college (CHECK), dream job (CHECK), dream apartment (CHECK), next was dating, and then getting married. So how did this carriage come before marriage? What were people going to say? Not only was I not married, this baby was conceived with my ex; #UnfinishedBusiness had become #PermanentBusiness. I was keeping the baby. Babies are a blessing, no matter how they come about. So life was about to change, and change mighty fast. photo 1 SMW ( our nickname for him here)  is currently pulling my hair and gnawing at my shirt (making it really difficult to type- sheesh, kid). This is how I know I’m a totally different person. There’s a 2-month old drooling on my shirt. WHOSE KID IS THIS? Anyway, he (and these stretch marks – I’m slabbing bio oil every day, y’all), is my daily reminder of how much more resilient and focused I’ve become.  I decided I was strong enough and just the right person for this job, the minute my OB/GYN (shout out to Dr. Lightfoote of FOXHALL OB/GYN – she’s bomb . com) gave me the sonogram. Weird right? I should’ve been boo-hooing in her office. That’s actually what I wanted to do, but she’s a very pretty doctor, and I couldn’t be out there with my ugly cry – no ma’am! I needed a mental suitcase. What and who was I gonna pack in it? Well, Jesus’s grace and favor for sure. My mama. A close group of friends (Hey Michelle, Leo, Ariel, Nina, Kiara, Nicole G., Jackie, Shanae and Fisayo) that I knew would be there no matter what! Mommy blogs and mommy friends. And, most importantly, peanut M&M’s; cause that was my craving.  Anyway, mental suitcase packed, i was ready — no matter what went down or how I felt, I was going to show up —  and boy did I have to!!  Y’all know people love to talk- shady boots folks. Especially those who don’t have real responsibilities (marriage, kids, jobs) – you know, those who work to pay for brunch. I was ready to tune out the “friends” who weren’t as present, the folks who tried to convince me not to keep him (be ashamed of yourself – when my son blows up don’t ask him for no cash); the social media haters; and all of the unpleasant hiccups along the way–  I was on a roll checking off each item on my “Baby Countdown” list. You could not stop me for anything (swag surf).
photo 1 This world was new to me – I mean baby registries, maternity ward walk-throughs, just in case induction appointments (what the uhhhhh???) – but again, I had to adjust. My fancy apartment had to go – womp. Because budget.  But that was okay, my baby was on his way and I found something perfect for us — and $400 cheaper, yes God!  Four am baby kicks, 3 baby showers (yes three – hehe), a maternity shoot and DIY baby corner projects later, life was feeling good again. I turned my ‘oopsie’ into the celebration that it was meant to be, and I could not wait to see my prince! #PermanentBusiness was thrilled we were having a boy (literally victory danced in the docs office – cute). My preparation game was going well, but what I loved the most through this experience was the mental workout.  Everyday, I found myself really proud of me and who I was becoming.
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I was tested mentally. I really was. Pregnancy was great, but some folks were determined to make this an unpleasant experience. But the Holy Spirit is a true comforter (praise dance!). I was very intentional about my friendships and relationships — not everyone made the cut. Words are powerful, so I really didn’t have room for those who not only spoke negatively, but idly. Those who hit me with the “Well what if you can’t afford him?” or “What if you get the baby blues?” – ummm whet? How about “What if your kid is about to be the next Bill Gates and you’re about to get PAID?!” See, that’s more like it.  Yasssss, move over there – thanks. I even had a girl send me a congratulatory email only to screenshot my announcement a week later and send it to another girl with the caption “I Can’t.” as shade. *Sideeye* You can’t what? Weird, lol.
photo 2 I’ve learned about making the best choices in any given circumstance, and now that my beautiful curly-haired boy is here, I’m still learning. Choosing to be happy. Choosing to forgive easily. Choosing to not let very hurtful events take me down– boy, that’s a toughie. Choosing to live and enjoy the now, and not spend one minute fretting over what’s to come. These choices are tricky, because I have to be intentional, to recognize and be grateful for each moment. Choosing to trust God – because he really carried me through this. Choosing to consider #PermanentBusiness in my decisions, because that’s a healthy parenting relationship, and I’m all about that. We refer to ourselves as the #parentalunitgang, ’cause we’re awesome like that. Choosing to be very patient with myself whenever I feel overwhelmed with the pressure of having not only my life to think about, but my little nugget. It can be a lot of work, but working at it every day really has gotten me feeling whole.
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I’m at a place where I’m no longer afraid anymore, and that feels good! Sometimes, i can’t believe that I’m a mom – it’s a huge responsibility, but I’m honored to have it.  I still can’t even believe that I had this strength in me (even to push this baby out- Lord). My apartment is looking and feeling jazzy. I’m loving my new crew of mommy friends and getting back into my girl’s night chronicles. Maternity leave is almost over, and I’m already securing wedding clients, because mama has to have multiple streams of income. I’ve managed to make baby-wearing a breeze ( and quite sexy too) so I can go out in my heels with a bottle for SMW, and mommy’s sippy cup. Because wine. #Pumpenough #AlcoholMilkStrips #JudgeYourselfNotMe
photo 5 I’ve fought to become the woman I am now, and I’m proud of it. God is proud of me, and I know SMW is too. He waltzed into my world after 19 hours of labor on March 23rd.  The birth of the next best thing in my life, and the birth of a new me. The hottest new mom in town. So to all those nay-sayers, those “everyone is getting pregnant” memes, and those who have a million questions and doubts – I’m twerking and flipping my hair to you. Amen to that.
photo 3 So tell me – What parts of your journey (mommy hood, career,faith etc.) have led you to discover a new you? x0x0