Is It Unprofessional To Bring Your Child To Work? Stephen Curry Doesn’t Think So And Neither Do I

 

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NBA MVP Stephen Curry made headlines last night for bringing his 2-year-old daughter Riley to the podium with him for his post-game press conference, after his team beat the Houston Rockets in game 1 of the Western Conference finals. 

As you can see, Riley was HYPE! She was full of energy (man, what time was the game over?) and ready for some Daddy time, which is probably why she was up there to begin with.

As the video has made the rounds today, some folks shared with a “Aww, how cute!” while others (Grinches) were insistent that since Curry makes his living shooting hoops, his daughter should have been elsewhere while he spoke to reporters.

My response to that? His team won the game, didn’t they? He scored 34 points, didn’t he? It seems to me like Curry knows how to do his job, both on and off the court, even with a little mini-me crawling around by his feet.

This video just illustrates how little kids DO NOT CARE who you are or what you do. You are MOMMY or DADDY and that is it! “F’ yo press conference, Daddy! Let’s play!” It’s developmentally appropriate for them to only recognize your one role.

But more than that, this video is a bold representation of fatherhood in action. I follow both Stephen and Ayesha (hi Ayesha!) on Instagram and love their little life. (Have you seen Ayesha’s blog?) I spoke to Ayesha a few years ago, before her husband seemed to appear in every third commercial on TV, but I never forgot how warm and caring she was. She is content in his space, but he is also content in hers.

Having Riley up on at the table with him is not unprofessional. He’s a dad. Sometimes your kid wants you and that comes first. The reporters might not have gotten all of the questions they wanted answered, but they got something else — a trending story about an adorable little girl who loves her daddy.

What’s your take? Do you think Riley should have been with her mom, or did you think it was cute that she was up there, stealing the spotlight from her dad?

#WeSaluteYou: Joyful Portraits Of Student-Parents At Graduation

There is nothing quite like the rush of relief and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies graduation day. For millions of student-parents around the country, that feeling is magnified by the fact that their kids are there to share in their celebration.

As someone who has done the student-parent thing twice (as an undergrad and a graduate student), I know first-hand the difficulties that come along with the role. I created this #WeSaluteYou campaign to give these women a platform for their accomplishments! Please join me in celebrating them and giving them a virtual high five!

[Three of the young women featured—Angeline, Kenedra and Jamila—are Generation Hope alumnae. The D.C.-based nonprofit focuses on college completion for teen parents.]

Angeline Palmer, mother of two, is a recent graduate of George Mason University | Read more student-parent success stories at TheYoungMommyLife.comAngeline Palmer, George Mason University

“Attend class, ask for help, do not give up on what you want to study no matter who tells you to change your major. Keep in mind that you cannot be unemployed so make sure that you have skills for a backup job that you enjoy. Take time for your children, because they grow up while you study. Remember that your journey is specific to you so do not think that the grass in greener in your sisters college experience, your best friends job, or the stranger’s life who just cut in front of you in line.”

Gloria Malone, mother of one, is a recent graduate of Baruch College of New York | See more student-parent success stories at TheYoungMommyLife.com

Gloria Malone, Baruch College

“All the hard work does pay off. It really does.”

Julissa Muniz, mother of one, is a recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley | See more student-parent success stories at TheYoungMommyLife.com

 Julissa Muñiz, University of California, Berkeley

“The beautiful little girl in the picture next to me is Amaris, my seven-year-old daughter. I took that picture almost a year ago as we waited in line hand and hand, ready to walk across the stage of the UC Berkeley RAZA Graduation Ceremony. Moments later, I had the privilege of sharing that stage and that accomplishment with the one person I have always sought to make proud—my little human being.

As I move forward with my academic endeavors, I realize that my lived experiences as a low-income, first generation, teen mom, student of color that have taught me just as much, if not more, than anything I could have ever learned in the classroom.”  

[Ed. note: Julissa is currently fundraising for tuition for Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Check out her GoFundMe page and donate if you can!]

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Lauren Kent, Chicago State University

“Even though it’s hard and may seem impossible, continue on knowing that you are doing something for the betterment of yourself and your children and that is immeasurable. You will need a lot of love,  support,  and BELIEF in oneself, but you can make it through. I had both of my children DURING my college career. Even went back just two weeks after having my second son. So if you want it badly enough, you can achieve it!”

 Jamila Williams, mother of one, is a recent graduate of Marymount University | See more student-parent success stories at TheYoungMommyLife.comJamila Williams, Marymount University (photo by Carla Lutz Photography)

“Fight the battle and win. The battle is the stigma that young parents will most likely not finish college; however, there are so many of us that are doing it! Find an excellent support system whether that’s family, friends, co workers, etc. My support system consisted of all of the above, in addition to my academic advisers, professors, and supervisors. It takes a village to raise a child and to continue this journey with patience and grace. It WILL NOT be easy, however there are many who have made it through and are waiting on the other side chanting and waiting for you to complete your college journey! This is only the beginning of blessings coming your way!” 

Kenedra Burton, a mother of two, is a recent graduate of Howard University | See more student-parent success stories at TheYoungMommyLife.com

Kenedra Burton, Howard University

 “You can’t get mad at people who say you can’t do it. You can only get mad at yourself for believing them.”

Are you a student-parent graduate and want to be featured? Send in a photo of yourself from graduation, along with details of your degree and one piece of advice you’d give current student-parents! Email me at tara(at)theyoungmommylife(dot)com.

 

How Just Three Months Of Therapy Has Changed My Life

black woman in therapy - what therapy is really like

It has been approximately two months since my last meeting with my therapist.

I had struggled for years to make the final decision to go. I felt like if I could just get through this season in my life, whatever that season was—new motherhood, home buying, graduate school, husband’s promotion—then the fog would lift and I’d be able to get through my days.

But for some reason, whenever I checked out the achievement that would supposedly help life get back to “normal,” I would still feel anxious and tired and depressed.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew that I didn’t want to keep living like I was. I was constantly cranky and tired and filled with resentment and fear. It was a horrible way to spend day after day.

Even looking back through the archives on this site, I can see where some of my posts are clear cries for help or when I’m exhibiting signs of depression. Honestly, I don’t spend too much time in my archives from 2009-2011 just precisely that reason. Too painful.

But late in December 2014, I decided that 2014 would be the last year where I felt utterly defeated. It would be the last time that I smoothed over my feelings for the benefit of someone else. Enough of the fake smiles and insisting to everyone that I was okay when I really wasn’t. It was time to find a therapist and work through some of my issues.

I found a great woman to talk to. She’s short and Southern and reminded me a bit of Ellie Kemper – red hair and a smiley face. She was one of the best listeners I had ever encountered and I thought I knew how to be a good listener. Nope. I had no clue. We’d chat and she’d nod her head, giving me the encouragement to say what I really needed to say. I’d blow past something I’d figure wasn’t really that important, and she’d reference it two weeks later, nailing the reason why it truly was important and giving me insight on how we can work on it.

Spending those months in therapy helped me make some important changes:

  • I am much more vocal about what I need. You ever have those moments where you just don’t want to be a bother to anyone? That was me, all the time. I’d bite my tongue so often it’s a wonder that it’s still there. But now I understand it was a destructive habit. I have to matter in order to thrive. Quite simple.
  • I have to release anger over what has gone wrong and focus on the lesson. Funny how I’ve been preaching this for years but it took an objective party to get me to live it.
  • I stopped RSVPing to issues that really, have nothing to do with me. I carry everyone else’s stress. It’s part of how I’m built as a supremely empathetic person. But I had to learn when my empathy was truly warranted and how I can’t save everyone. I’m a giver and I tend to give and give and give until I’m all worn out. No more.
  • I look to future with wonder versus being stuck on the past with regret. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. I’m human. But as a result of those mistakes, I’m wiser. I’m better. I’m stronger. So now I have the power to make better choices in the future and that makes the days ahead seem much brighter.

I don’t write this to seem like “I’m cured!” I will say that I feel better than I have in years. This entire process has helped me see that while I go to the doctor for physical aches and pains, I need to also pay attention to those mental aches and pains as well.

[In The Kitchen] Spicy Lemon Shrimp + Spinach Pasta

I made this dish on Friday as a “Congratulations, it’s the end of the week!” dish for me and my husband. It’s pretty affordable (especially if you catch the shrimp on sale) and comes together quickly. Try it for your next date night.

lemon shrimp pasta

Ingredients:

1/2 pound angel hair pasta

2 garlic cloves, chopped (use more if you really like garlic!)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

1 lemon (zested and then halved)

2 big bunches (handfuls) of fresh spinach

3 big splashes of white wine (I used pinot grigio)

1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken or seafood stock/broth

1/2 pound shrimp, tails off

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Take the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic cloves in the olive oil over low heat until softened. Add the red pepper flakes and the lemon zest. Toss in the spinach and cook for 5 minutes, or until wilted. Pour in the wine and cook for 5 minutes to let the alcohol cook out.

Add the stock/broth to the garlic-spinach-wine mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the shrimp and the drained pasta. Squeeze lemon juice over the entire dish and toss to combine.

 

#CelebrateEachMom With ProFlowers: The Surprise Gift That Shows How Much You Care

You know how each year, in the weeks before Mother’s Day, you have all these grand plans to do something nice for the mothers in your life? You want to throw a nice Mother’s Day brunch perhaps, or get them small, beautiful gifts to signify the love you have for them.

But inevitably, I always end up sending a weak “Happy Mother’s Day” text or a brief phone call, nothing that really gets at how much I appreciate them and all they do.

This year, however, I was fortunate enough to be able to send five moms—my BFF from childhood, my mom, my grandmother, my sister-in-law and my twin/blogger BFF—a beautiful bouquet from ProFlowers. They have each touched my life in a different way:

  • My childhood BFF has seen me through it all – from fourth grade until now. We’ve got five kids between the two of us and we’re exhausted most days. But when we talk, it’s all encouragement. She’s shown me that life is unpredictable and bumpy at times, but as long as you keep on swinging, you’ll be fine.
  • My mom has single-handedly kept me out of the nut house. She’s an enthusiastic cheerleader and she loves me so fiercely. I’m so very lucky to have her.

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  • My grandmother’s motto is “That has nothing to do with me.” She is the queen of self-care and showing me that I do not have to RSVP to every battle I’m invited to. Makes motherhood a lot easier.
  • My sister-in-law is one of the strongest women I know. She has raised three boys and lived to tell about it. She has never given up and I respect her so much for it.
  • My blogger twin/BFF has been a source of encouragement from day one. She always looks on the bright side of things and understands my womanhood is complex and ever evolving, and thus gives me room to grow.

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All five deserve flowers, without question. I arranged to have the bouquets sent the Tuesday before Mother’s Day—who’s expecting flowers then? Each of them called me, over the moon about their flowers.

“Oh my goodness, I thought the delivery man made a mistake,” my friend said, laughing. “I was like, ‘These couldn’t be for me!'”

My grandma called, tickled. “I had no idea who they were from! You surprised me!”

The fact that each of the women were so shocked and surprised lets me know that we need to do a better job celebrating each other. Don’t just wait until holidays or birthdays. Even small gestures count. Let’s not get to the point that we think there must be some mistake when we see flowers on our stoop. We’re hard-working women who deserve to be celebrated. Embrace it.

This post is part of a campaign with ProFlowers.com. All opinions are, of course, my own.  

 

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On Becoming A Great Mother: I Learned From The Best

Disclosure: This is sponsored post on behalf of Hallmark but the content and opinions are my own (as always).

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was so scared of what life as a mom would be like. I was terrified of screwing up because I was simply not ready and in no financial position to be bringing forth life. But I’ve made it this far because of the women who have come before me and the ones who walk beside me in the journey of motherhood.

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Me and my mom, circa 1986

My Mom: The first one to hold me and love me more than she loves her own life. As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m more like my mother than I thought I’d be. We have the same “love fiercely” parenting philosophy. I’m the first to holler when my kids make me proud and I work overtime to protect their childhood and allow them the room to grow and express themselves. I’m kind and generous, just like her. We’re nurturers through and through. She’s a willing (some might say “eager”) babysitter, a supportive voice in my ear and a fervent prayer warrior. Thank you, Mom, for all you have done and all you continue to do.

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My Grandma Marietta:

She is no longer with us, but man, did she teach me a lot about self-acceptance. She used to tell me all the time how perfect I was, how everything about me was just like God intended and that I shouldn’t spend a lot of time wishing to be different. My grandmother had a some rough periods in her life as a mother, but she managed to do her very best to ensure her kids got all the love they need. Add in the fact that she practically served as my second mom, as she watched us after school and on Friday nights and there is nothing I could say that would capture how much she meant to me. In her arms was home.

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My grandma Louise and I after my graduation from graduate school!

My Grandma Louise: 

I really need to sit down with her and get more of her life story, because from what I’ve heard from her and others, she was a tough cookie who worked hard and didn’t take no mess from other people. I remember when I was a newly pregnant college junior and I was nervous to tell her about the baby. She called me and that conversation really helped me turn the corner. “Don’t feel bad,” she told me. “Hold your head up. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. These things happen.” She went on to ask how I was feeling, if I was excited, and if I thought I was having a boy or a girl. She never passed judgment about me or my husband and she remains a supportive and engaged Gigi (great-grandma). She helped raise my dad into the type of man who could successfully parent three girls.

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My mother-in-law (right) helped shape the man I’m madly in love with. Will always be in her debt.

My mother in-law, Theresa:

This is where it gets difficult, because I’ve never actually met her. She passed away the year before I met my husband and I can tell she was the biggest love of his life. I credit her for instilling such magnificent values into her children. My husband is a hard-working, humble, extraordinary man and I know that’s because of her parenting. I’d imagine she’d be very proud of the man her son has become and how amazing he is at parenting his own children.

#PutYourHeartToPaper

If you haven’t taken the time this year to tell the special moms in your life how loved and appreciated they are, you’ve still got time. (There’s always time.) Hallmark is running a “Put Your Heart to Paper” campaign to encourage you to share how you feel; I guarantee those women will feel amazing after reading your words. (This is one of my favorite videos from the campaign. Now, off to mail some cards!)

Follow Hallmark on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.HMKcsmr_Standard_Plum-L

[YML Gives Back] Inside St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital #StJudeBlogTour

I was planning on publishing a post about my recent trip to Memphis, Tennessee to tour St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as soon as I got back. But it’s been two full weeks since I’ve returned and I’m just now posting about it because I’m still processing the amazing things I’ve seen.

In case you don’t have any idea what St. Jude does, it’s quite simple: They deliver world-class care to children and families struggling with life-threatening illnesses. They have amazing doctors, researchers and staff who all work together to ensure that children feel safe and protected while they receive treatment and that the parents feel empowered and supported.

But the BEST part of St. Jude’s mission is that no family receives a bill when their child receives treatment at the hospital. Food, travel to and from the hospital, long-term housing, medication—it’s all covered.

As you can imagine, this kind of miracle work doesn’t come cheap. It will cost $885 MILLION to run St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2015. You would think that most of that money comes from huge sponsors and benefactors, but 75 percent of those funds must be raised by private donations. The average donation to St. Jude hovers around $30 a month. That’s people like you and me who are making a huge difference in the lives of families around the world.

The highlight of the first day of our blogger tour was seeing the St. Jude Target House up close and personal. For St. Jude patients that will be receiving treatment longer than 90 days, they are assigned a two-bedroom apartment at this long-term facility. As we pulled up, I noticed that it isn’t exactly a “house”—it’s a full, bonafide mansion.

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You walk in the front door and you see this:

This housing is so plush and modern that I could imagine it distracts you a bit from the real reason you’re there. As our tour continued, I continued to be impressed by the details. The Target House had:

  • Free Laundry Facilities
  • Library with Selection of Books and Movies
  • Playground
  • Small Child and Teenager Designated Playrooms
  • Music Room
  • Workout Facilities
  • Arts and Crafts Room
  • Large Communal Dining Room and Kitchen
Artwork on the walls of the DreamWorks Animation room

Artwork on the walls of the DreamWorks Animation room

 

The beautiful spacious music room

The beautiful spacious music room

To me, the Target House represented everything that’s impressive about St. Jude. It’s the small details (such as Target asking incoming families what their child’s favorite characters are so they can outfit the bedrooms accordingly) that make parents feel a little less burdened by the health challenges their child is currently facing.

Stay tuned for more St. Jude stories this year as I share how you can help St. Jude find cures and save children.

St Jude Target House

Me standing outside of the Target House by the elephant fountain at the entrance. Elephants are special symbols at the Target House, representing family and long life.

NEW WEBINAR: Blogging For Financial Freedom – How to Build Wealth + Gain New Experiences Through The Web

Blogging webinar

At least once per week I get an email about how to start blogging, the best way to promote your posts and how to make money doing it (quickly!). To help out all my curious readers, my next session of YML Live will be on Blogging for Financial Freedom!

Join me May 13 at 9 p.m. EST to hear:

  • The fastest way to get started with a blog
  • How to balance your blog with a full-time job
  • How to choose what to blog about
  • How to promote your posts on social media
  • How to pitch yourself to brands
  • How to travel the country as a blogger
  • And more!

You will get an email with all the details on the webinar after you sign up for the YML mailing list. I promise — no spam, only a weekly uplifting email designed to help you bloom. Deal?



Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed: What Do You Deserve That You Haven’t Asked For?

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In my early to mid 20s, I was a pro at “shrinking,” of making sure my needs and wants didn’t make anyone else uncomfortable or cause them any inconvenience. I was horrible at advocating for myself and giving myself permission to take up space in the world.

I recently realized my daughter, at 8 years old, was shrinking too. A few weeks ago,  she came home with a test that had an F on it.  I looked at the paper and in .03 seconds could tell it wasn’t hers. My daughter’s handwriting is still pretty sloppy and this handwriting was neater than her best day.

I told my daughter that I didn’t think this was her paper and I attached a post-it note explaining as such. A few days later I found out that my daughter did not return the paper to her teacher, but instead put it in the recycling bin. She told me she was scared to tell the teacher that she gave her the wrong paper.

I told her, “Everybody makes mistakes. Yes, even teachers.” She seemed to understand, but I wanted her to know that she can stand up for herself and expect fairness.

But I realized I am not modeling that for her. I still struggle with opening my mouth and saying, “I don’t think this is fair to me” or “I would prefer it if we could do this a different way.”

2015 has been the year where I pursue what I want. And if I’m going to pursue things that bring me pleasure, I have to get comfortable with having needs that need to be met. I have to get comfortable with asking for things and expecting fairness.

So take a minute to think of one thing that you really want but have never vocalized. It could be as small as asking your partner to get up with the kids on Saturday so you can sleep in, or as big as asking your boss for a raise.

Whatever it is, how can you make these things happen if you don’t open your mouth? Be assertive and remember that by speaking your truth, you automatically increase your chances of living the life you want.

8 Reasons I Want To See YOU At The 2015 Self-Care Retreat

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I’ve been talking about this retreat for the past three months and everything is finally official! Block off September 18-20 in your calendars and gas up for the car to meet me in Alexandria, Virginia for a weekend of relaxation, empowerment and sisterhood! (Get details on the retreat HERE.) For some of you, there might be some hesitation on your part:

“Can I really afford to go?”

“I’ve never been away from my kids for a whole weekend before.”

“I never take time for myself like this.”

Believe me—I hear you loud and clear. But when I thought about creating an event like this, I thought about what I hear most often from women who reach out to me:

“I feel like I’m either working or taking care of the kids. What’s ‘me-time’?”

“I haven’t had a vacation….ever.”

“I’m so tired of being tired. When am I going to get a break?”

Out of these concerns, the YML Self-Care Retreat was born. I wanted to give women a chance to put themselves first. To invest in themselves, to get some space to just be a woman without all the other titles.

Here’s eight reasons breaking down why your presence is necessary at the retreat—read it through and get your ticket!

1) You need a break from your family.

I know you love them. They make you light up and give your days purpose. But you need a break. For your sake and for theirs. Take one weekend away from the family to recharge your batteries. Being “on” 24/7 has the tendency to drain even the most devoted women. We’re so busy tending to them that we don’t have enough space to say, “Okay, here is how my life is going and here is where I’d like to see some changes and here is how I’m going to achieve it.” That’s what you’ll get at the retreat.

2) You need a chance to see new sights.

If you’re tired of seeing the same five places every week (kids’ school, home, grocery store, gas station, etc.), you need to be in the room when we kick off the retreat on September 18. There will be wine. Nuff said. Alexandria is a beautiful city, close to our nation’s capital, and the scenery gives me that simultaneous big city/small town luxury feel.

3) You need a chance to sleep by yourself.

Y’all see this room? It’s all for you. PLUS, the guest room block for this retreat have whirlpool tubs. Get in and soak away your stress.

Tower King Guestroom

4) You need to eat some delicious food that someone else cooked.

Don’t tell me you want to pass up a chance to have breakfast, lunch AND dinner prepared by someone else, just the way you like it.

5) You need to get inspired.

If you’re anything like me, it’s been way too long since you’ve taken the time to get in touch with yourself. I’ve got a quite a few inspiring speakers lined up and they know your life because they have been in your shoes, they have walked the path you’ve walked and they’re here to share how much joy they know you can have!

6) You need to look toward the future.

We will be offering FREE 30-minute life coaching sessions to each of the attendees so you can feel good about where your life is headed once you leave. Come, unwind, get clarity and return to your normal life feeling like a rockstar.

7) You need to meet women who get you.

You are not the only one who needs a break. So many of us are strong and tough, but even the best piece of technology needs to power down from time to time, lest you wear the battery out. Join the sisterhood that supports you and lets you know it is okay to do what you need to do to feel emotionally healthy and balanced.

8) You need to make a strong declaration that you will focus on your self-care. Choose yourself.

I talk about self-care so much that I’m almost annoying myself, but I don’t really think y’all hear me. Taking care of yourself—ensuring you get enough rest, you nourish your body, you feel at ease in your skin, etc.—is your number one priority. It’s no one’s responsibility but your own—not your spouse/partner, friends, kids, parents, etc. It’s on you. Coming to this retreat is a bold declaration that you are important, you matter and you will always strive to treat yourself well.

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