Tag Archives: Family

It’s Hard Out Here for a Mom!

2 Nov

2013-10-26 09.24.14I cannot believe my baby girl will be six months tomorrow.  This past half year has been full of excitement, and I am truly embracing motherhood.  Prior to even becoming pregnant, some people would say with sarcastic tones in their voices , “Wait until you become a mother!” or ask, “Are you sure you want to be a mother?”  Though I thrive on being positive and have never questioned whether or not I made the right decision becoming a mother, there is no denying that it can be hard out here for a mom!  I think about how blessed I am to have a flexible teaching schedule  that allows me to spend most of the week with my daughter.  It saddens me to know that many mothers do not have that luxury.  In order to provide for their children, some mothers must work from very early in the morning until late in the evening only seeing their children for dinner, bath and bedtime, sometimes not even for those daily routines.

Having the support of my husband and extended family makes me have an even greater admiration for mothers who are raising their children alone and doing everything in their power to make it work.  Something that always amazes me is how some single mothers make raising children look so easy and almost effortless.  Kudos to you all, and keep putting in that hard work!  I am sure you will reap what you sow within your children 😉

All the best,

Tanya

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Still My Baby Big Girl!

5 Oct

2013-10-03 16.01.51“Ooo, look at the baby!” two women exclaimed with glee while I was in Target doing a little shopping.  I smiled of course but then immediately realized that these two women giddy over seeing a baby were actually referring to another baby, a newborn who was probably just a few weeks old.  They then said, “Oh, there’s another baby too,” referring to Quinn as though she was old news.  Though I know I have a tendency to overly analyze situations and actions, I like how this incident forced me to ponder.

Is Quinn already losing her newness? My little one just turned five months old on Thursday, October 3.  Though she is big for her age, nineteen pounds and a little over 28 inches long, she’s still new to me and has a long way to go with milestones and accomplishments. Even though it is only natural for people to dote over babies less as they get older and to dote over children even far less as they reach adolescence and then adulthood, why should we?  No doubt, I do not want my child growing up thinking the entire world revolves around her.  On the other hand, I definitely do want her to feel special and to know that she is significant and can make a significant impact on the world.

With this in mind, I do vow to not just point out any transgressions that she makes as she gets older but to be sure to recognize her accomplishments and milestones achieved regardless of how large or small they may be.  Who knew that I would already be thinking about these things well before she is a year old?   It’s interesting how one brief interaction had the ability to cause me to think about the importance of keeping the love and support going.

When is the last time you “oohed and aahhed” over something your baby did, regardless if he or she is a newborn or has children of his or her own? We all need a little doting over now and then…don’t we?

All the best,

Tanya

Lucky Number: Seven Baby!

21 Jun

Tanya Franklin and Quinn FranklinSince my last post, I’ve embarked on the ultimate journey: motherhood!  On May 3, 2013 at 2:20 am I gave birth to a healthy 8 pound girl named Quinn Victoria Franklin which was just seven weeks ago.  Within that time, I have learned so much and attained a great deal of knowledge from the many baby websites.  Somehow, I made this connection to the movie “Wizard of Oz” and how Dorothy did not want to go on her journey in search of the wizard on her own, and happily invited the scarecrow, tin man and lion to accompany her.  I am grateful to have my husband, mother, sister and dear relatives and friends to accompany me on this journey and offer guidance, but I am fully aware that there will be times when I will need to figure it all out on my own.  Being a new mother is rewarding yet quite challenging and overwhelming, so I’d like to share seven things I’ve picked up along the way thus far to hopefully help others not stray from the “yellow brick road.”

  1. Sleepless nights: If you are bottle feeding with breast milk or formula, make the feedings closer together in the evening so that the baby will sleep longer.  My baby was feeding every two hours twenty four hours a day.  After increasing the amount  and spacing out the feedings during the day by three to three and a half hours and making the last two feedings in the evening two hours apart, she has finally started sleeping better throughout the night.
  2. Upset stomach and/or hiccups:  Gripe water, which is available at a local drug store or on Amazon, works wonders.  Quinn tends to get the hiccups regularly making it difficult for her to sleep, and after giving her gripe water, they disappear immediately.  It also helps to soothe her upset stomach.
  3. Diaper Explosions: Quinn has already had her fair share of diaper explosions or decided to go as I was changing her diaper.  Yes, she’s my baby, and I love her, but I do not love dealing with poo.  My husband is really good about handling those diapers for me.  Even though one might argue that it is not eco friendly, I have been using throwaway pads available through Amazon.  It makes the cleanup process much easier and less messy than cleaning cloth covers.
  4. Cabin Fever:  Though I am still suffering some from cabin fever, I’ve found that just sitting outside on the porch or deck is a great way for both the baby and me to get some fresh air.
  5. Exercise:  Prior to having the baby, I worked out regularly and went jogging almost everyday, so now that she is here, how do I get back into the rhythm of working out when she requires my attention.  Taking a brisk walk for two or three miles pushing her in the stroller has been invigorating, but what about when it’s raining outside?  Though I intend on eventually joining a mommy and me yoga or exercise class, what can I do when that is not an option or if I just want to workout at home?  I ordered “Happy Baby Workout” through Amazon, and it is awesome.  I definitely feel it working to help me get back that pre-pregnancy body, and it allows me to interact with Quinn and to stimulate her development.  Though the baby taking part in the workouts is six months, much older than Quinn, I just modify some of the exercises to accommodate  her lack of neck an head control, and she seems to enjoy it.
  6. Support: I am a “type A” personality as well as a perfectionist and tend to want to do everything on my own.  I learned very quickly that it is okay to ask for help, and it is essential to have a strong support system when raising a child, especially caring for a baby.
  7. Share: I have been learning to share my experience with others and to listen to the wisdom of  others which adds to the support and helps to make  this journey smoother.  You never know how many people are going through or have went through the same thing and can offer advice.

My home has definitely evolved with the presence of a baby, but I know I have the brain, heart, courage and support to  travel this journey of motherhood.  Please feel free to share any advice you have as we take this journey together.

Best,

Tanya

He’s More Than Just A “Baby Daddy” Ten Songs Representing Different Fathers

19 Jun

Unfortunately, Father’s Day cannot hold a candle to Mother’s Day!  Father’s Day is comparable to the boy scouts trying to compete with the girl scout cookies by selling tubs of over-priced popcorn. (Side note: I purchased a small tub of popcorn to support the boy scouts for $10, and when I asked the troop leader why the prices were so high, he remarked, “The girl scouts have monopolized cookies and we don’t have a choice but to sell our goods for much higher prices just to make a small profit.)  Whenever I take my mother out for mother’s day, I must book my reservation months in advance and still endure that standing room only crowd at the restaurant’s mother’s day brunch.  Conversely, reservations are not always a necessity.  On one particular father’s day, my fiance, his siblings and I took his father out, and I repeatedly stressed the importance to him about making a reservation well in advance to ensure that we would not have a long wait.  Upon arriving at that restaurant, I was surprised to see so many empty tables and booths.  I thought, “Where are all of the fathers and their families?”

On Mother’s Day, I compiled a list of R & B and rap songs celebrating moms, so it’s only right to put together a list of songs celebrating dads.  There’s only one problem though; most R & B and rap songs I located don’t necessarily celebrate dad but acknowledge his absence and unwillingness to be a father.  Of course, not all dads are “dead beats” who don’t provide for their children.  There are many who are wonderful role models who even become father figures to those children and even adults who are fatherless.  Please be sure to praise your fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles, nephews cousins, best friends, etc. who are exceptional fathers.  Musicians do excellent jobs producing songs that reflect societal and familial issues, and this list of memorable songs representing the plight, journey and love of a father does just that:

  1. Father & SonThe Loving Father: “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross“When I and my mother would disagree, to get my way I would run from her to him. He’d make me laugh just to comfort me, yeah yeah. Then finally make me do just what my momma said.”
  2. The Unconditional Love Father: “Daddy” by Beyonce: “Even if my man broke my heart today, no matter how much pain I’m in I will be okay cause I got a man in my life that can’t be replaced. For this love is unconditional it won’t go away.”Father & Son
  3. The Wise Father: “Joy” by Talib Kweli featuring Mos Def“Unless your language is relating to what they going through so busy ignoring them, you can’t see what they showing you.  And you wonder, why we called baby-daddy’s and baby-momma’s when we grow up, we can’t act like adult mothers and fathers, yo. I’m so blessed to have a boy and a girl, everyday they bring joy to my world.”
  4. The Protector Father: “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith: “From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms I knew I’d meet death before I’d let you meet harm.  Although questions arose in my mind, would I be man enough?  Against wrong, choose right and be standin up.”
  5. The Grateful Father: “The Day” by Baby Face “It was like falling deep in love.  I heard the angels cry above.  I felt a blessing straight from God the day that you gave me a son.” 
  6. The Admirable Father: “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele: “No one loves me just like you do.  No one knows me just like you do.  No one can compare to the way my eyes fit in yours.  You’ll always be my father.  And I’ll always be your joy.”
  7. Father & DaughterThe Stand-Up Father: “Be a Father to Your Child” by Ed. O.G. & Da the Bulldogs: “Be a father; if not why bother son.  A boy can make ’em but a man can raise one.”
  8. The Cycle Repeater Father: “All for You” by Little Brother:  “So the next time it’s late at night and I’m laid up with the woman I’ma make my wife talking ’bout how we ‘gon make a life, I’m thinking about child support, alimony, visitation rights. Cause that’s the only outcome if you can’t make it right. Pissed off with your children feeling the same pain. So, Pop, how could I blame cause you couldn’t maintain. I did the same thing…The same thing.” 
  9. The Denying Paternity Father: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson:   “Billie Jean is not my lover. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one.  But the kid is not my son.  She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son.”
  10. The No Good Father: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations:  “Hey Mama, is it true what they say, that Papa never worked a day in his life?  And Mama, bad talk going around town saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.  And that ain’t right.

What type of father are you, or what type of father do you have?  To all of the positive fathers, Happy Father’s Day to you.  Please enjoy this R & B and rap father’s day playlist, and feel free to share your favorite song representing fathers with me.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris


“Momma Said Knock You Out:” Ten Songs Celebrating Moms

7 May

Every so often, a musician decides to write a song celebrating his or her mom, and I would like to provide a top ten list of my favorite “mom” inspired rap and R & B songs to acknowledge my mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends and any mothers with whom I have come in contact.  Here’s a playlist just for you!

  1. “Dear Mama (You Are Appreciated)” by Tupac Shakur“There are no words that can express how I feel.  You never kept a secret, always stayed real.  And I appreciate, how you raised me. And all the extra love that you gave me.”
  2. “All That I Got is You” by Ghostface Killah: “All that I got is you, and I’m so thankful I made it through.”
  3. “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men“Mama, Mama you know I love you.  Mama, Mama you’re the queen of my heart. Your love is like tears from the stars.  Mama I just want you to know lovin’ you is like food to my soul.  Yes it is, yes it is, oh, yes it is, yes it is, yes it is oh”
  4. “Super Hero” by Raheem DeVaughn: “Some think that super heroes climb buildings and fly through the sky.  Well I beg to differ.  Mama you’re the reason why.  Some may think a role model strikes a home run or a touch dow, but mama’s always been a soldier back then and right now.”
  5. “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell Pray God you can cope. I stand outside this woman’s work, This woman’s world. Ooh, it’s hard on the man,  Now his part is over.  Now starts the craft of the father.
  6. “Momma Loves Me” by Jay Z: “Momma loved me, pop left me. Grandma dressed me, plus she fed me banana puddin, what’s in the hood then.”
  7. “Hey Mama” by Kanye West: “(Hey Mama), I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I’m so proud of you. Let me tell you what I’m about to do, (Hey Mama). I know I act a fool but, I promise you I’m goin back to school. I appreciate what you allowed for me. I just want you to be proud of me (Hey Mama).
  8. “Momma Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J:  “I’m gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
    Mama said knock you out (HUUUH!!!)”
  9. “I Love My Momma” by Snoop Dogg:   “The first one to hold me. The first one to scold me. You never cease to teach me. And always try to reach me. Took me to school the first day. Taught me how to kneel, down and pray. You learned me how to count from one to ten. And never forget, where I’ve been Momma..
  10. “Sweet Sadie” by R. Kelly:  I Love you mama. I just can’t forget how you gave me love oh no If there’s a Heaven up above I know she’s teaching angels how to love. It’s a mean world
    Without ya.  And I surely miss you much mother. And now that your gone I’m gonna carry on

Happy mother’s day to you.  Please enjoy this R & B and rap mother’s day playlist, and feel free to share your favorite song celebrating mothers with me.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris


Ten Things: A Celebration of Women

31 Mar

Tanya Harris, mother and sisterDuring Women’s History Month, most people acknowledge well-known actresses, political figures and activists for their accomplishments and all that they have done to help women in the past and present, but what about the others who often go unrecognized.  It is the last day of Women’s History month, and though we should celebrate women year round, I could not allow this Women’s History Month to go by without celebrating women who have made a direct impact on my life.  Unfortunately, I cannot name everybody because it would be never-ending, but I would like to pay homage to some that immediately come to mind.

PS.  If your name is not on the list, please note that it doesn’t mean that you haven’t positively impacted my life or had a major influence on it.  I have much love and respect for everybody who has ever supported me directly or indirectly.

  1. My mom: She has always supported me and instilled me with values and ethics.  Also, she knows the importance of a good education and kept me motivated about all of my endeavors.
  2. My sister: Even though our personalities can be night and day at times, we’ve developed such a strong bond over the years.  She has been there for me, gives me sisterly advice when needed and accepts me as I am.
  3. My grandmothers (Maternal and Paternal):  It was such a blessing to be able to grow up knowing my grandmothers.  Interestingly, they were polar opposites, but I learned a great deal from both.  They taught me so much about life, struggles and overcoming obstacles.  Also, I learned how to bake cakes and cookies from my paternal grandmother.  I miss them both dearly.
  4. My best friend: Since grade school when we realized we had the same beauty marks between our eyebrows we have been like sisters.  It’s great when we get together and share goals or just have girl talk.
  5. All of my female relatives (Aunts, Cousins, nieces): Yes, I must group these relatives because I couldn’t dare exclude one.  They all have either had a hand in raising me, growing up with me or making me the person I am today.  Family is important to me, and I love when all of us women and girls are able to talk and enjoy each other’s company at family functions.
  6. All of my female teachers and professors:  Without them, I would not have such wonderful people to emulate.  Many of their teaching strategies and techniques I have employed in the classroom.  Something that most of them have in common is that they love what they are doing and display a caring nature.  Even though many of them may have retired, I’m sure they still expound wisdom.
  7. Former Supervisor at Rosemont College: She taught me so much from my time as an undergraduate  student then employee of Rosemont College.  She has always been encouraging and made it very clear that she was proud of me when I received my Master’s degree from the college.  I’m glad we still have a relationship today after my departing from Rosemont.
  8. Friend from my former place of employment (I’ll refrain from naming the place as a courtesy):  When the environment became extremely toxic and I found myself in an emotional turmoil, she really supported me and prayed with me regularly.  Though it was a difficult situation, I didn’t feel alone, and I thank her so much for being a friend and confidante during my time of need.
  9. Former direct supervisor at Delaware County Community College:  This woman is so sweet and caring and genuinely wants what is best for the college, especially the students.  She took a chance on me as an adjunct instructor with only a year experience, and within a year requested that I come on as a temporary full-time faculty member.  Without her, I would not be in my current position as an Assistant Professor of English for which I am so grateful.
  10. The Mystery Women:  There are so many people whom I have yet to meet or have met briefly who will have a positive impact on my life.  I would like to thank you all in advance and hope that I have been and will be as influential as these wonderful women have been and will continue to be for me.

Please feel free to share your comments.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya Harris