Self love as told by an ant, a hill and a house for sale

I am always looking for new books for the boy child and little madam. One of the great things about the internet is the access it gives us to books that are diverse, representative and reflective of different stories. So, I am always super excited when I hear of new books coming out. This one, Anthill For Sale by Johnny Ray Moore, is one for the holiday book list.

Anthill Mock (1)
In all honesty, I was skeptical when I first picked it up, but it’s a charming book with a great lesson about appreciating and valuing what you have, especially when others don’t. The book is illustrated beautifully, and the story is told in an upbeat and lyrical way, so kids will love it. Parents will love the nuisances of the book (in other words, you won’t fall asleep reading it).
The story surprised me, the pictures are so lively and the story itself is told in a way that is so animated. The sentimentality of the story surprised me too. Have you ever had to move? All those feelings of excitement and longing to stay where you are, worry about loosing the memories you made in your home, are all captured in this book.ladybug

But for me as a Black mom, I drew deeper meaning as well about seeing value in yourself especially when others don’t. Alvin the ant is shocked and upset that people won’t love his home and value the same things he values about his home in the same way. The story is about self love for me. It is about learning to value yourself and essentially protecting yourself, from other’s who may unwittingly bring you down. So deep right? Who knew an ant, a hill and a for sale sign could be so inspiring. That’s when you know you’ve found a good kids book I guess. When the message is subtle, but strong enough to leave kids with a beautiful lesson.
If you get a copy, let me know what you think. Drop a comment.

A chat with Black Moms Connection founder Tanya Hayles

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Tanya Hayles, Founder, Black Moms Connection

When the boy child was 5 years old, he called me ‘Blackie’ and proudly told me that his friend from school told him that ‘Blackie’ was another word for Black people.  To say I was shocked, upset, angry was an understatement.

That moment, that time the boy child called my a racial slur, was my awakening.   Aside from the racial slur, this was the period when the boy child decided he didn’t want to be black, that he wanted blond straight hair. It was the time he would cry anytime I came near his head with a comb.  It was also the summer I had to explain to a crying six year old that no, he couldn’t have the toy gun that someone had bought him for his birthday, because a little boy named Tamir Rice had just been killed, playing with a toy gun in a park.  And, it was the summer that I was kicked out of a mainstream moms group because I was looking for support and asked if any other Black moms wanted to connect. Despite all this…it was the summer I found my village…Black Moms Connection.

In the season 2 finale of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast, I chat with the founder of the Black Moms Connection group, Tanya Hayles about all things Black Motherhood….and Black Panther…just because.

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The Push for Work Life Balance

I-want-to-be-a-mother-for-more-than-just-one-hour-a-day-1024x576-1518045111I recently wrote an article about only having one hour a day to spend with my kids if I accept a full-time 9-5, no flexibility job. One hour. That is my reality, and for me, that is not acceptable.    Why is it that in a world (at least in Canada), where maternity leave has been extended to two years and where men are now being given the opportunity to take six weeks off after the birth of a child, flexible working once women go back to work and children get older, seems elusive.

In this episode of the podcast, I chat with Brainne DeRosa, authour of the Red, Round or Green blog, about a recent article she wrote for Motherwell Magazine, ‘On not leaning in, but not leaning out.’

This is a two part discussion.

Download  PART I of the podcast.

Woke Mommy ChatterSubscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

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Why Santa is ruining my Christmas

The boy child is 7 years old now. We’ve always enabled the belief in Santa and the magic of Christmas. But this year is different. The boy child wobbled. He wasn’t sure about Santa. He had questions. But they weren’t straightforward black and white questions like, is Santa real? He was too scared to ask that, I could tell. Instead he’d say things like, ‘I don’t believe in magic, just Santa.’ Then he’d wait for my reaction. Then he’d move on to, ‘elves aren’t real right?How does Santa get all the toys?’ Faces with my wide eyed little boy’s wavering belief in a Christmas- I panicked and did what my mother never would have done. I lied. I reinforced the charade. I made up stories about busy elves and Santa watching us and reindeer. And he believed me. Every word.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just Santa. But now there are these bloody elves on the shelves…Both kids are convinced that our elf at home is fake, because it NEVER moves- as in mommy can’t be bothered. The boy child is even asking for a real elf from Santa this year.

It’s sweet really that he believes so whole heartedly. He even wrote a letter to Santa asking for a house for his Auntie. Because you know…big city real-estate and all that.

School is the biggest perpetrator of this Santa BS though. There elf moves daily and writes notes to the kids. And letters come home listing al the toys each child would like for Christmas. So even though we didn’t visit Santa at the mall this year, I still have no excuse. I must partake in the Santa scheme. In fact I’ll admit to downloading an app that will ‘call’ Santa when your kids are naughty.

Through all this though, I’ve decided that if the boy child still believes next year when he’s 8, we will be breaking the ‘there is no- Santa news to him’. 8 years is a good run to believe in Santa I think. Right? And I want some credit for trudging through the snow searching for sold out toys.

Next year, I think we are going to trade in Christmas for Kwanzaa.

When your village gets in formation…

‘It takes a village to raise a child’

Today I spent the day with my extended village at the Alliance of Educators for Black Students​ Family Conference.

It was an amazing. There’s something really inspiring and uplifting about being surrounded by fellow black parents all trying to learn how to support and advocate for their kids…and black teachers trying to guide and do what they do best….’teach.’

There where parent workshops on how to navigate the hidden curriculum, family health and round table discussions on how to be involved and more importantly ENGAGED in your child’s education.

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Part of what I love about this conference is the priority and care they take in involving the children. This day is as much for them as it is for the parents. And for my little madam and for the boy child it’s one day where they are NOT different. It’s one day where they sit in a classroom with a teacher and students who look exactly like they do.

There really is comfort and power that comes from having a ‘village’. It’s not easy being a parent, particularly a black parent- when the odds are so stacked against your kids. You are ALWAYS questioning if you are doing the right thing, are you being too pushy, are you not being pushy enough. It’s wonderful to feel like you have people who understand and can carry you when you stumble, when you are unsure and when you need a little guidance.

#AEBSfamily2017

On Homeschooling…

The face of homeschooling is changing across North America as more and more black parents choose to educate their children in order to give them the best possible schooling possible.

On episode 5 of the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast, I am talking to Eva Greene Wilson author of  the blog  socamom.com and Yolanda Newton, Director of EducationRevolt.org.

We talk about the reasons why homeschooling works for their family, why black families in particular can benefit from homeschooling and what some of the limitations of the public education system are.

Last week, I wrote my own  piece for Today’s Parent magazine on how and why black parents to advocate for their children in order to help them succeed.  We’ve had great teachers so far and the education system seems to be working for my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about homeschooling, especially after talking to these amazing homeschooling mothers.

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Listen to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast….Episode 5 – The one where we talk about homeschooling.

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There’s more…..Want to know more about Charter Schools?  Listen to