Category Archives: parenting

Friendships: A Teaching Moment

Teaching your daughters how to be a friend and not a problem.

Todays world is a mixture of distaste, bad words and dishonesty. Our children are facing harsher discriminations, abuse and bullying because the world is no longer keeping them safe. How do we as parents teach our children to not only stand up for themselves, but to stand up for injustice and others.

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Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

I dont have boys, so I cannot speak on what is going on in boys friendships. But as a mother of four girls I am disgusted with how some of these mothers are allowing their daughters to grow up.

Could it be because more parents are young themselves? I remember when I was pregnant with my now 11 year old daughter, the lobby of the OBGYN was filled with 13 year olds pregnant with their first child. The mothers of those babies, usually in their 30s, were excited about becoming a Grandma. I can’t imagine having that same feeling.

I wonder how those 13 year olds raised their children, or if they did at all, because now the girls who are my 11 year olds age are out of control. Watching and doing challenges that can physically harm them. Playing the role of someone who has lived a “hood” life but has never been in a serious situation.

I also blame letting television and youtube raise these kids. I remember the television show, and Im not sure if it still aires, “16 & Pregnant” I remember the reason for the show was to originally show the raw hardship that a teenage pregnancy can cause, from homelessness, not having a lot of money, and the struggles that being a parent and being in school can have.

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Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Somewhere along the way, it became glorified. The thought of having a child who would love you unconditionally seemed like a great idea to the lonely and the misfortunate. An epidemic was an understatement, and those poor girls on the television show became celebrities instead of becoming a lesson.

These girls are taking Mean Girls, as a right of passage instead of taking a lesson from it. I blame the parents, but I also blame social media and schools who do not take their “No Bullying” signs seriously. We have to be the voice for these young ladies, we have to stand up for them when they feel like they have no one else to stand for them.

Having a baby shouldn’t be a trend, because along with babies there is also the fact that STDs spread further and quicker than pregnancy. So what do we do for our girls? How do we save them?

Featured photo Photo by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash

My Kids are Afraid to go to School

We Need To Protect Our Children, It Wont Change Your Rights

After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been several more shootings or threats of shootings, including a shooting by a teacher that the politicians are pushing to arm.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

“Its getting closer and closer Mommy.” My 14 year old comes home and talks to me daily about her anxiety and fear of something happening. I told her today that she will be fine and nothing will happen to her, and then I paused. How can I say that? I’m sure those kids who went to school felt safe and never afraid of anything except the normal teenage things, like a test or a crush.

Then it was their school…

sometime around midnight a few weeks ago there was a post circulating, that the school my kids attend was to be shot up the following day. There were factors that I thought about as I read it, it only said RHS. How many RHS’ were there in the world? Several I am sure, but this said Rison kids be careful.

My daughter was in tears and begging for me not to let them go the next day. I pictured all the things that could’ve gone wrong. I imagined how many parents wish they would’ve listened to their kids begging them to stay home, how many warnings that were not taken seriously. So I decided they wouldn’t go. I called the police who offered no information, because the officer “just got on and had no information” (a simple hold on, let me find out would’ve sufficed, and his huff like I was annoying him as he hung up was heard as well…. I understand the police get a lot of calls but have patience).

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The principal posted a FB message around midnight, that I didn’t see until the next day that said it was for another state, I believe Ohio. Like that was supposed to calm us down and make us send our kids to school. My kids decided to go at 1 p.m. I wasn’t the only one who decided to keep their kids home, as many assignments and tests were rescheduled because half the school was out. I have to admit, I expected there to be police officers on campus to protect the kids and staff that did show up, just in case, there was not one. The girls said there wasn’t any though out the rest of the day either.

To say I was a mess for those four hours, would be an understatement. I couldn’t sit still and none of my conversations made much sense. I was stressed and I was scared. I kept my phone close because I told my kids that for today put their phones on silent instead of off. I told them to pay attention to their surroundings, where to hide and to not run. That if a shooter was to show up to the school be still until the police releases them.

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Photo by D x L on Unsplash

The school should’ve had a conversation or assembly discussing the fear and what to do in case, but once again, just like when the child who committed suicide, it was swept under the rug. My daughter has a full plan in place, and knows which classes have locks and are safe. My daughter shouldn’t have had to make this plan for herself, we as parents, those of us in congress and us as voters need to stop letting the NRA run and pay for the discussion on gun control to be quieted. h

To make matters worse, instead of talking about what to do, legislators are too busy talking down on teenagers who speak up for themselves, or blame the victims and say that they were the blame in some form or fashion. Bullying is a problem, but that doesn’t give anyone a reason to shoot and kill several people, besides with this kid, it wasn’t the case.

So what do we do? Its hard enough as a parent of teenagers of color, with the threat of police brutality, and racial profiling, but now we have to deal with the fact that any kid can get and own a gun. Lets not even begin to discuss the fact that they want to arm the teachers. Teachers who have way too many titles, already stressed out and get far too less pay.

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Photo by xandtor on Unsplash

There has got to be a better way, the NRA won’t allow people to have to give away their guns, but we need a compromise. War guns have no reason on the streets or accessible to civilians. An AR-15 should be for military use only. But its not only that,  its the availability to guns. Over half the kids our school district have guns and are proud of them, but shouldn’t they have a license? To drive a car you have to have a permit and take a test to get a license. Why can’t the same be done for guns.

You shouldn’t be able to go in a store and pick up a gun like a gallon of milk. There needs to be stricter regulations, because the guns are now in our schools. They are coming after our children. Something needs to be done. We need to change the conversation or vote the ones who don’t want to out.

 

Featured image: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Today We Talked About Racism

 

img_1363.jpgMy 14 year old and 16 year old daughters received gifts from one of their Aunties for Christmas. Its a sweatshirt that represents the beauty it is to be black. Its a sweatshirt from Black Republic & Company that says on the front, “I’m Black Whats Your Super Power?” It’s a shirt that uplifted my daughters spirits throughout the many racist comments made daily.

Now me, I am the parent that has all types of activism shirts that I wear in the concession stands at the high school football games. I have shirts that stand with Planned Parenthood, the LGBT community, and several that stand for Black Lives Matter! NO ONE and I mean NO ONE has come for me. But today, this little boy broke my 14 year old daughters heart and scared her. He told her “I know what my Super Power is, its making a noose.”

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Pause. This little boy said a noose… like wrap around a black persons neck and hang them – noose, strange fruit – noose. Really? Deep breath!

First of all – the amount of curse words and closed fist punches to the throat I thought of doing to this kid, but I had to calm down, explain the situation to my child about the evil words of those who do not like us, even though they have no reason. I struggled to control myself, that was not just a racist comment, but a threat to my child’s life. Thats how I took it, and I have every intent to treat it like that.

Before I could even say I would be at the school the next morning, she said the Principal will not take reports of racism, he will send you to the Assistant Principal. The same one who acts like she doesn’t know that racism exists, even though she’s black. I wish they would say the sweatshirt is the problem, I will have every black person I know with the same hoodie on protesting on their front lawns. The problem is someone’s parent taught them that it was ok to disrespect my child who is black. The problem is that the leader of this country has racist people opening their mouths again like we will not beat the shit out of them.

Let me catch my breath.

Screenshot 2018-01-29 17.38.40But how do you talk to your child about racism? About the symbolism of the noose? How do you make them feel safe in a community that is only sprinkled with a few black faces? How do you make them feel like their skin is not the problem, but the ignorance of the others are. How when they hear these comments from more than just one little privileged white boy.

I always push unity, but we cannot begin to talk unity until we admit and acknowledge that racism is still alive and growing in 2018!

2018!!!! 

I had the talk, you know the talk that was on Grey’s Anatomy last week, the talk that was on a few commercials that white people everywhere was upset about. The talk that EVERY black parent has had with their child. The talk that explains to her that there is no escaping this, no matter where we go racism is there. We cannot hide the color of our skin, but we can fight so we never let another person make us feel like she felt today. You know the one white people don’t want to admit is real, because then they would have to admit that RACISM IS REAL! Its real and its hurtful. I never thought I would have to explain this today, Arkansas once again, I hyped you up and once again, I have been disappointed.

To complain with me call Cleveland County Superintendent Johnnie L Johnson at (870) 325-6344

More Than A Review… This is Real Life!!

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Honeytrap…

So its Thursday night (last week), and I have a broke down car and I decided to Netflix and chill by myself. So I usually watch a couple of shows, but I decided to try a movie I hadn’t seen before. Why did I pick this movie?

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I tell you why, because Jessica Sula’s cute face made me think this was going to be interesting. I loved her on Recovery Road, so I was interested to see something else with her in it. Interesting is not what I got. Instead I am left with my mind spinning on where I can begin to stop this from happening.

In case you all have never seen the movie, it came out in 2014 in the United Kingdom, its about a black teen named Layla who recently moved to London from Trinidad. Her mother left her with her grandparents, who were very touchy, to say the least. This girl comes to a mother, who you can tell knows nothing about being a mother. She doesn’t get her in school in time so she is shuffled to this school with metal detectors and babysitters in place of teachers.

She was destined to be with “gangstas”…  it was almost as if her mother left her to handle life on her own. She was able to be free and go where she pleased. She ran into Troy when a few fake friends used her to get into a video shoot. She was pretty, and they were a bit ghetto. You could tell she was pure, which led Troy straight to her. Her “relationship” with him and her so-called friends went down hill from that. She was jumped, abused and eventually left in the hospital after throwing herself in front of traffic.

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This movie was written because of true events, and even if that wasn’t written out, there are many situations like this everywhere. Young girls are having babies and have no idea what to tell their teenage children or teach them the right way. Many parents (and not just single ones) are so busy living their lives that they don’t think about what their children are going through.

It took a murder and police knocking at her door for Layla’ mother to realize this. Why? Why do we not see the signs of distress in our children? Children are committing murder, getting raped, stealing and being sent away because we aren’t watching. We aren’t paying attention. Social media makes it hard on parents, is one of the lamest excuses I have ever heard.

See social media and cellphones only become a problem when you let you children believe they have privacy. See me, I am all in my kids business. I know passwords and I will snatch a phone at the drop of a dime to go through it. We have to stay active parents, yes I know we all need a break here and there, but teenage years are the worst times to take breaks.

I have two teenage daughters and a preteen all under the same roof with a 1st grader. We make it work. They have their lives, but I am very BIG part of it. I know their friends and their friends know me. I am deemed as the cool parent, only because of my relationship with my girls.

See I am honest with my girls, I tell them the stuff that most parents sugar coat. I figure, why sugar coat? Being an adult isn’t sugar coated and its my responsibility to make them ready for the real world.

To get back to Honeytrap, this movies saddens me, because since its a black movie, half of America won’t watch, but the reality is, this happens everyday to girls of all race. Any young girl that is not confident in who she is has these predator boys lurking and plotting their move. We have to protect our daughters, AND we need to teach our sons and nephews how to treat and respect women.

If you feel you have a child going through any of this and you do not know what to do, there are resources and steps to take. Adolescents centers are not just for mental health issues, they are also for behavioral issues. And behavioral issues are anything that can lead to the destruction of themselves. Call your local hospital or outpatient therapy clinic for children. Depending on the assessment they can either go inpatient or outpatient. Stand up for your children, because if we don’t, how will they know how to for themselves.

17 countries in 30 mins!

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This morning my mother screamed my name because the news was about to discuss Snapchats update that supposedly all parents needed to see. Sooo… of course you know my review has to be on that, the new Snapchat feature!

“Did you know that Snapchat tells where you are to people and other people can find you?” Entering her room a commercial was on. When it came back on, I waited, because the news always have to put some story on first that most people probably wouldn’t be interested in. Finally, the story came up and I was so disappointed. They were discussing a new features, that to me makes Snapchat the best social media app at the moment.

So if you have Snapchat you know that when you first get on the app its the camera. Well if you pinch the screen a map shows up. If you don’t move it only shows you where you are and the people that are close around you. But go further, pinch the map so that you become a big emoji on the map.

Go close on another country, you can either click on a circle with a name or a red spot on the map, now you can watch videos from people who posted to “Our Story” in that location.

Before you have a cow, or get your kids to go ghost on the app, you don’t see the persons snapchat name, you only see the name of the location or city. Today I visited Riyadh, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Cairns, South Wales, Tasmania and Paris. 

I visited Paris in my PJs. I got to see how others eat, live, celebrate and lectures I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see. You can visit any place in the world through someone else eyes.

Why would this be a bad thing? To me its not. I am not going to ban SnapChat for my children, I know that I have taught the importance of internet safety and not adding strangers to their accounts. But I think they can learn so much from this app.

Technology is not as bad as some people fear it to be. Don’t miss out on something great because of the dangers that can come into you house without the internet. Just teach your kids and you yourself to watch your surroundings whether on the web or not. Enjoy Snapping!!!!… I know my Mom was ready to download it after I showed her, but thats a lesson for another day.

This weeks review was about an App.. have other ideas for me to review? I review movies, books, music, apps, ANYTHING!!! I tell it as it is… no chaser… 

 

Parenting tops EVERY horror film.

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Having children is scary, I mean worse than any scary movie you can watch scary. Its a different level of scary, not like you have a nightmare and the world is ok when you wake up scary. I mean scary because it makes your mind think of off the wall things that can happen and how to prevent them.

As I sit here trying not to panic with my six year old who has a deep cough, and a runny nose. Something normal right? Except when you factor in asthma and a possible allergic reaction to the cough medicine I gave her. Her and any medicine thats “natural” never seem to work. I am scared as I watch her chest rise and fall, as every deep cough and snot shoots out her nose. I am scared because I want to make her feel better with the snap of my fingers.

Having four girls is a nightmare, and not for the reasons you may think. I want to protect my girls with every inch of my soul. I never want them to experience any of the heartache and pain that I ever felt. I want to put them in a bubble and hope nothing every pops it.

I want them to have the lives we see on movies, where by the end of the scene all of their problems are solved. The “simple” worries. Its harder now than when they were babies because now, besides my six year old, I have two teenagers and a pre-teen. With those ages comes crushes, heartbreak, and the reality of true disappointment.

Now I have always been real with my girls and never made them believe that life was about rainbows, butterflies and cupcakes. I have told them about being aware of their surroundings and to not trust every smiling face. I told them that stranger danger is real and that monsters look like regular people.

So yeah, being a parent is scary. You have to raise these little people who completely depend on you and make sure they are tough, but compassionate; Smart but with an edge; Honest, fair and safe. You have to protect them from everything without smothering and sheltering them. Its an equal balance that no one ever gave you a manual for. There is no how to do books because every kid is different. What may work for one, may not for the next and DNA has nothing to do with that.

Now to go back and cuddle with my little one as she sleeps soundly. I know I won’t sleep because I will be listening to every cough and jumping with every movement. Being a parent may be scary, but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Review Time!!! A Kids Classic Tale!

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Moana – A Kids Movie With Real Life Problems.

I know, I know I am super late right, but hey… Here we go! So Moana is definitely a Disney movie that is all the glitz and glamour. It has the catching songs, bright colors and bubbly characters. Animals and all.

So here’s where to me the message stood out. In the beginning, Moana’s mother tells her that who she wants to be is not always who she is supposed to be. WRONG! The ocean continues to call her to her destiny, to be great! Everything that Moana was supposed to find out she did, partly because of her “crazy lady” grandma and fate.

See no matter how much her parents told her to be safe and go one way, the way that the family had been doing for years, she was drawn to her purpose. I know I have felt like that, like following the “rules” wasn’t meant for me. That I lived at a different pace. It seems when I go that different route, things happen for me. Like bread crumbs… follow the good feeling.

Now what would have happened if Moana listened to her parents who told her to ignore her urges and follow the way the tribe had been going for generations? The way of the land would have died off along with its people. Sometimes following rules and going by the book is not the way to go. Sometimes you need to think outside the box and follow your heart. Your dreams will lead you where you are supposed to go in life.

In life you cant live for everyone else, you have to beat your own drum no matter the odd beats that may escape. At first it wont be a rhythm that you will recognize, it may take a weird route and be hard times, but in the end it will be YOUR beat! Moana did what she set out to do, she delivered Mauwi to restore the heart of Tafiti. She did what her family thought she couldn’t do, and in doing so she was met with a sense of accomplishment and a better way of life for her people.

This is an important message in life because we cannot live our lives for other people. We have to fight to make the best of our lives here on Earth, to not only make a name for ourselves, but to be able to look in the mirror after retirement and know that we lived our lives to its fullest. No one including your parents are going to change their course of happiness for you, so why do you need to do the same for them.

As parents our job is to raise you and prepare you for the real world, but it should also be to support you in all you decide you do in life. I teach my daughters the opposite of Moana’s parents. I teach them to follow their hearts and do what they know is right and what they can live with. It gives them freedom to make decisions but also the life lessons that comes with consequences and rewards on real life terms.

Be at peace and follow your heart, because living life as everyone else is boring. Be the best you that you can be.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/LKFuXETZUsI

Its Not Their Fault


I have been a single parent for almost 12 years now, minus a few “situationships” along the way, but  I’ve been mostly on my own. I had almost forgotten how hard it is in the beginning it is when you realize you’re doing it on your own until today.

Today my niece came to pick up her children from me. She had just left work and she was tired. She was complaining about all the things she had to do because “he” didn’t do any of it. Listening to her sounded so familiar, I heard my story.

I was her. I was a young mother of two children, both still in diapers. I worked a full time job where I commuted to work 45 minutes on the highway after dropping the girls off at a daycare 30 minutes out the way. I would come home to a husband, fresh out of jail, who didn’t know how to lift a finger to clean or cook. Yet he knew how to disappear.

I remember one time he left to go get milk for the kids cereal and came back 3 days later with no damn milk. Imagine how frustrating that is? Like why do I now have to call someone else to come get me to take me to the store, because you cant comprehend that the corner store is at the bottom of the neighborhood that you passed as you left. What did you have to go feed the cow and process the milk yourself. Its really not that hard.

Ok I’m getting sidetracked.

So anyways I remember being so frustrated and angry with him that the girls and I quit coming home. We would go to my Moms house, where he would follow, so I could have some help. I used to e so angry with everyone because here this low down bastard could help me take care of the family that he wanted to create.

I remember my AH HA moment. I was driving back to my moms house. It was late, and I was furious. My (then)husband had gotten himself arrested. He had dropped the girls off with his folks while he ran the streets, when he was supposed to take them to doctors appointments and spend time with him. Here I was late getting off due to a project at work, and I had to go find my children.

On the way back to my my Moms house, snow still on the banks from the blizzard and I was listening to Destinys Child’s new album – Destiny Fulfilled. (It was 2004). Their new album, in order, talked about a relationship from first flirting to complete failure. Somewhere between the song If and the song Through With Love I realized it. I was not his fuck up.

Now I dont think it was too much of what D3 was saying but more so the feeling I got when Michelle sang her verse on Through With Love. It made me realize that I was on my own and it was time to get over it. I couldnt let my happiness be determined by how he treated me. Hell he was happy, he was doing whatever he felt like, whenever he felt like doing it. I was the only one moping, but I was not the only one affected. I had two little faces that depended on me to tell them that life was going to be ok.

I say all this to say that we can’t control how someone treats us, but we can control how we respond. There is nothing harder than having to take care and raise children on your own. You will have other opinions to dodge, having no rest, cleaning and repeating yourself daily, but thats all part of being a mother. What difference will it make to complain? To be angry? You still have to do it. All I know is that at the end of the day I want to make sure my four little ones know that I am doing all I can for them. Because in the end, they are the only ones that matter.

Our Children, Are They Safe?

 Disclaimer: In no way shape or form am I condoning what police have been doing to our youth. I think it’s disgusting and it needs to stop. I am only talking from one parent to another about our responsibility of keeping our children safe. 

I know that the police killings and brutality have been a topic for a few years now, so as a journalist, my opinion is late. Yet this needs to be discussed on my blog as well. I have a different opinion that perhaps not to many people will be found of, but please just hear me out.
Everyone blames the shooters, the victims or the community where the victim was raised, but when do we as parents take a little of the responsibility? Now I know there are several instances where the parents couldn’t and shouldn’t have done a thing different, like Trayvon Martin for example (I mean the child was just walking home from the gas station, something my children do on a regular basis). But there are instances where we have to teach our children common sense, certain situations call for us to take on the battle, not them.
How do we teach our children to deal with authority? By this I mean school administrators, teachers, police officers – adults that can tell you child to do something without you being present. Can you honestly say that you tell them to be respectful? I cant. I can take responsibility and say that I have always told my children to stand up for what they believe in. To speak up and I will have their back.
  
Now I am not saying that there is anything wrong with teaching children to stand up for themself; they very well should do that. What I am saying is that they should know how and why. If a police officer approaches your child, they should know to follow the law. These officers have guns and trigger-happy fingers lately. I want my children to stand up for themselves but I also want them to be alive. There are other ways to fight wrongful imprisonment, racial profiling and questioning your child without you being present.
No we don’t want our children to be attacked by police (like the little girl in the video in South Carolina), but in all honesty I think that situation could’ve been avoided. The teenager refused to leave class. Was her argument right? Yes! Do I blame the administrator, teacher and the police? Yes, but I think that the situation could’ve been avoided from all ends. In no way shape or form am I blaming the student, but I think this can bring up a good point for us parents to discuss with our children. If they feel they are being targeted at school, or if they feel the teacher is treating them unfairly, they need to leave the class if asked and let their parents know so they can handle it.
We need to go to battle for these children. It is up to us to let our kids know that we have their best interest at heart and that we want to see them come home every day safe and sound. So teach them to respect authority and the right way to fight. Don’t give them the ok that they can be disrespectful and get kudos for it. Think of what’s more important to you?
Now how can we do this? Attend parent teacher conferences, go to school events, volunteer. The school, administrators and teachers should know who you are and who your children are. Don’t wait until there is a problem before you go up to the school. Let them know that you are involved and want only the best for your child. Trust me the school officials like that and will work with you and your child with anything. I know its hard as parents to juggle so many things, but trust me its a lot easier when you do it this way than the alternative. ~Love Tichelle

Stop Bashing Single Parents

Being a single parent is tough. What can compare to not only having to struggle with taking care of yourself, but also having several other mouths to feed? I for one am proud to be a single mother. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be in a loving marriage so that my kids could have two parents at home and some of the stress could be lifted off of me, but I am not going to wallow in my ‘shoulda-coulda-wouldas’ instead I embrace the fact that I am doing the best that I can with what I have. Does that make me bitter? No. Does that make me lash out? No. I am just aware of my situation and moving forward.
With that being said I hate to see people lash out on single parents. It always happens around Mothers Day and Fathers Day where other people blame the single parent for “having unprotected sex with the wrong person.” Come on now. How many of us have been in relationships with people and didn’t know it was going to turn out bad? EVERYONE!!! No one can say that they knew everything about a person when you start to date them. Sometimes the true person isn’t revealed until several years later. After that you both are in love, kids may have been brought in the equation and there is no longer a relationship. [Side note: Not all marriages last either, so don’t bash the ones who had kids out of wedlock. Carry on!]
Here’s where the problem lays, just because you don’t have a relationship with me, doesn’t mean you cannot have a relationship with your children. I have seen several couples break up and both parents are active in their children’s lives. The parents can’t stand each other but they are happily co-parenting to make it better for their children. Yet there are those that chose to leave their child(ren) along with the other person. (Shame on you!)
Now every situation is different. Some people may have been perfect for each other but drugs, alcohol, or life changed them. At that point they can no longer be a good member of society, let alone a good parent. Is that the other person’s fault? No!
We all need to come together and uplift each other and look for each other instead of trying to tear someone down for their mistakes in life. Who on earth has never made a mistake? Don’t worry I’ll wait. Show me someone who says they haven’t and I will show you a liar. The only way we can get better ourselves is to embrace our past and move on, that includes embracing mistakes and learning from them.
I just think its time we stop bashing single parents. They have enough to deal with that are more important that being bashed from other people. Including other single parents, or those that used to be one! With that being said. Its part of life to love who you are, and to be happy with who you are despite your situation. Don’t let negative comments stop you from being the best parent you can be. Don’t forget there are little eyes watching you!

-Love Tichelle