Thursday, October 31, 2013

Domestic Violence Affects Everyone Involved

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I couldn't let the month come to a close without speaking on this issue.

More specifically, I've been thinking about who, exactly, is affected by intimate partner violence, be it physical, verbal, or emotional. No need to recount my own personal story of physical abuse from the hands of my ex because most of you have already heard it. (If not, check the link.) Heck, I still receive messages and emails in regards to that story from people who feel encouraged to share their story. Kudos.

But the statistics* are... frighteningly alarming.

One in four women (25%) will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime.  
Women account for 85% of the victims of domestic violence, while men account for approximately 15%. 
Women of all races are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner. 
Domestic violence affects people regardless of income.
Nearly three out of four (74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.  
Between 3.3 - 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. 
And children learn what they see. Although Aiden did not witness the assaults, it could have been otherwise. And, honestly, it may have only been a matter of time...

This right here. This is what drove me to leave the toxic relationship, even above my own desire to lookout for my own safety and well-being. Parenting. And parenting effectively. As best as I know how.

Because this relationship, this parent-child dichotomy, is the first experience that Aiden will have with the world. This is where he will learn about love and tolerance and peace and acceptance. This is where he will learn about hatred and violence and dysfunctional love (that's not really love) and all the ugly things that my mind won't even let me think about right now. This is where he will learn how to love and how to handle situations effectively and how to deal with stress when the going gets tough.

This is why parenting -- down-and-dirty-and-put-the-kids'-best-interest-first parenting -- is so important.

And this... is why domestic violence affects everyone involved. Period.

The circle of domestic violence is smaller than we think. Don't be silenced. Speak on it. And speak often.

Statistics source.

{Originally published on October 26, 2011.}

Monday, October 28, 2013



That's how old Aiden turns today. 

He woke up this morning and said, "Today is my birthday!" I shared in his excitement with a hug and a big smile.

I'm sitting here getting all teary-eyed that God has entrusted me to take care of and guide this intelligent, thoughtful, curious, funny, quirky, tells-it-like-it-is, joyful kid.

It was 2:10 in the morning on October 28, 2007, and my life changed. Forever. For the better. Through graduate school and single motherhood and climbing the career ladder and a slew of other obstacles, Aiden has made this journey so worth it.


Through good times and trying times and sometimes having more month than money... and sleepless nights and stressful mornings and sometimes worrying... and pushing myself to be better so that I can give him better.

Am I doing this right? Am I enough for him? Am I setting him up for success enough? Am I supportive enough? Am I setting enough things up in order to steer him towards greatness? Yes, I've asked myself those questions. Many times. But then I look at his smile and I see how happy and loving he is, and I know I must be doing something right.


When times get rough, I always remind myself that this one thing is true: It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Thanks Frederick Douglass for the constant reminder. 


He enjoys cultural outings and swimming and soccer and play dates galore. He likes superheroes and science experiments and hands-on learning activities and exploring his surroundings and asking questions. He challenges the status quo. A lot. I applaud him for that. He wants to start martial arts, like yesterday, and I can't wait to sign him up for it so I can see my little karate kid in action. He wants our next vacation to be at Disney World because he's in love with the hotel that we stayed at during our visited. Yes, the hotel. Not the rides, not Magic Kingdom, nor Animal Kingdom, nor Epcot. The hotel.


I feel so incredibly blessed to call him my son.

Happy birthday sweet Aiden. I love you with every fiber of my being. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

{Dating Tales} Guarded

photo via
I'm hanging out on the Lower East Side at happy hour with wo of my girlfriends and after a few five-dollar lychee martinis, I get started with some details about this thing I've got going on with The Guy.

Specifically the fact that I'm all screwed up when it comes to dating and relationships and that I might kinda, sorta, really benefit from seeing a therapist.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Sigh. Catch yourself up by reading this. And then bear with me as I share my theory, y'all.

I talk a lot about my past on this corner of the web -- my crazy, unstable, and very, very messy upbringing. At the age of five, I was a witness to my family getting evicted from an apartment that I lived in since birth. I was five-years-old. Five! Let that marinate for a minute.

That night (when I was five-years-old... five!), we slept in a shelter, which is where we stayed for the next couple weeks until my mother took us to my maternal grandmother's house. And so began the crazy, unstable, emotional roller-coaster that would be my life.

I was in and out of foster homes, enduring emotional and physical abuse, not really feeling like there was someone around to protect me and look out for my well-being. (Well, not anyone other than my sister. But she's three years older than me so she didn't have that much power to be the grown-up that I needed in my life. She tried though.)

I learned a few things from that upbringing... Resilience. Heck, look it up in the dictionary and you just might find the biography of Alicia Harper. Faith. I had to trust in God to get me through those years of hell. (He never said the weapon wouldn't form; He said it wouldn't prosper -- Isaiah 54:17). Optimism. I needed to look forward to a better tomorrow in order to make it through my today. Love. Kindness. Joy. Hard work. Independence. Drive. And a slew of other qualities that makes me the Mommy Delicious that I am today.

For that, I'm thankful.

I managed to get a full scholarship to a great university and I truly looked forward to the life that I'd create as a grown-up, which, I proclaimed, would be nothing like the one I had growing up. 

Fast forward a few years to my first serious adult relationship. Aiden's other parent. After enduring emotional, financial, and physical abuse, we all know how that one ended -- not good. I still suffer from PTSD and have flashbacks of those incidents from time to time -- it's not easy to get through that kind of trauma. I went through a year of therapy after that and it really helped me to pick up the pieces of my life, learn some hard and heavy lessons, and move forward.

Resilience, at its finest.

What's crazy and freaky and mind-blowing is the way the cycle of events works. I left the drama of my upbringing only to create it once again in my adult life. And I barely escaped it in my adult-life.

See what I'm talking about when I say I need therapy? More therapy? 

I guess we have a tendency to gravitate towards things that are familiar to us. There's comfort in that, even if it's unhealthy.

The thing about the horrific events that have taken place in my life is, while they've helped me to learn so much about the great things about life, they've left me shattered. And guarded.

Extremely guarded. Abnormally guarded.

The scars of my past have made me very protective of my thoughts and feelings and situations in my life, and I don't know how to share them with others. (Except for when it comes to writing. I can put it all out there in an article or blog post.) 

Enter The Guy. He's nice and sweet and smart and handsome and honest and comes from a good family and wants to build something with me. He's the guy I've been praying for!

During the cocktail therapy session with my girls (hey, it's cheaper than a regular therapy session), I went on and on and on about my guardedness. (Is that even a word?) I've been guarded for so long, not really letting anyone in my heart for so long, maintaining these superficially relationships with folks that I genuinely care about for so long.


I'm finally at a point in my life where I don't have to be this way anymore... and I don't know how not to be this way. Here I have this perfectly good (and good-to-me and good-for-me) guy who just wants to love me and like me and go at this thing together... and I don't know how to let him. I want to be successful at this, but I, must admit, I don't know how to do this. (My Type-A personality is not okay with this, by the way.)

He's been patient, I guess. But we're at the point where he's starting to think that I'm hiding things from him. But I'm not. Not intentionally anyhow. I genuinely don't find it necessary to share certain things with him.

He's all like, "But... we're trying to build something together, why wouldn't you think to tell me about that?"

And I'm all like, "Uh... uh... I need more time to process your question and formulate a response."

I don't think that's gonna work for much longer though.

I take another sip of my lychee martini and I spill it all out to my girls. They sit there and listen to me, order more martinis with me, wallow when necessary, validate my feelings, and lean in for hugs when I need them. Then they give it to me straight and tell me that, yes, I do in fact need to speak with a therapist about my guardedness (It is a word. I'm proclaiming it.)

Gotta love girl talk.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

High-Five Momma, You Rock!

It was one of those days -- terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad. Like Alexander. But I still had so much to do, and the thought of my to-do list made this already overworked and overtired momma even more tired.


By the end of the day, most of the items on my list were scratched off. And I still had time to hang with Aiden, give him the energy he deserves, and be engrossed in his world. Then I felt like I was on top of the world, because, man, mommas can do things like that -- be tired and drained and spread-thin, but still get things done. Like a true boss!

Seriously, it amazes me at how mothers do all that they do. And so gracefully and seemingly effortlessly.

So this post goes out to you.

To stay-at-home moms: I commend you for being with your children all day and not go insane. You rock!

To working moms: I applaud you for giving your all at work, somehow re-fueling on the way home, and then giving your all yet again. You rock!

To young moms: I'm so impressed that you can take care of someone else while still trying to grow and figure out who you are. You rock!

To single moms: I admire that you can raise kids without having anyone to pass them off to when the going gets rough, yet still be able to keep your sanity. You rock!

The bottom line? Moms rock.

With all its super-human requirements, at times it seems as though motherhood is not a job for mere mortals. And yet, you've somehow figured out how to get the job done. Gracefully. And lovingly.
High-fives all around.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

These Are The Moments We All Wish For

"Mommy, when I grow up, can we still be friends?"

That was the question uttered by Aiden this past weekend. We were walking hand-in-hand, heading to Central Park. We were talking about random things -- Aiden's upcoming birthday, what he thought his friends were doing over the weekend, when he'll be able to go back to summer camp, Halloween, superheroes. Anything. Everything.

Aiden and I always talk about random things and our conversations are mostly led by him. Those random talks... it's actually one of the best parts of my day.

There's no agenda -- just what he wants to talk about, what's important to him, what's on his mind. It helps me get to know him better, connect with him on a deeper level, and be totally engrossed in his world. Without interruptions. Without distractions. With lots of smiles. And lots of laughter.

No matter what happens before or after those moments -- meltdowns, tantrums, power struggles, you name it -- those moments are exactly the ones that I live for in this single mom life.

They are precious.

They are sacred.

They are everything.

It's great that those moments lead Aiden to associate the things that we do together with the things he'd do with his friends -- talk, laugh, tell jokes, smell the roses, enjoy life.

In those moments, he thinks I'm cool enough to be his friend, and that's a great feeling. There may come a point where Aiden no longer thinks I'm the coolest person in the world. There may come a point where his peers are an influential factor in his life. But, I'll always have this conversation tucked away in my memory. I'm bottling it up and holding on to it. Forever.

Sweetest little boy, we most certainly can still be friends when you grow up. Yes! A million times, yes. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Danger In Comparing Ourselves to Others

Don't judge your beginning by someone else's end.

When I read these words by Demetria Lucas (aka A Belle in Brooklyn) the first thing I did was say, "Wow!" These are eye-opening words, for sure. The second thing that I did was share it on the Mommy Delicious Facebook page. 

When I shared this quote on Facebook, one of my blogging buddies, Tara over on The Young Mommy Life commented with, "And don't judge your behind-the-scenes [life] by someone else's highlight reel."

And let the church say, "Amen."

How many of us look at our friends Facebook pictures and postings, Instagram photos, and status updates and feel a bit jealous? Or insecure? Or both? *Raises both hands*

They got a new job while you're stuck in your same old dead-end job. They finished school, while you haven't even applied yet. They accomplished their weight-loss goal, while you're still trying to muster up the energy to workout 3x/week and the self-control to put down the cupcakes. They went on a fancy vacation, while you haven't seen the inside of a plane in years. They're proclaiming just how in love they are with the most amazing spouse ever, while you're still single... and looking. Their children are always nicely dressed, smiling, and seemingly well-behaved, while you can't get your kid to stop the tantrums and use their words. 

This list goes on and on.

Here's the thing though: their journey is just that -- their journey. You see the glory, but you don't see the story. You don't see what's happening behind the scenes, behind the success. You don't see the sleepless nights, the long hours at the job, the power struggles with their kids, the disagreements with their spouse. You don't see all the things that you're also going through, the human things.

I'm not saying that some people are lying about their lives, but they are putting their best foot forward. Real life is not picture-perfect. It's messy. It's a roller-coaster with ups and downs, twists and turns.

You have your own journey to take, your own path to follow, your own mistakes to make, your own lessons to learn, your own goals to achieve. 

What's meant for you will come to you (with hard work, dedication, a little more faith, and a little more fight). When we start looking at everyone else's life, our insecurities somehow manage to triple and we focus less on achieving our goals and more on what we haven't achieved. 

Don't compare yourself unfairly to other people -- it'll steal your joy and rob you of your "happy." Stay in your own lane and stay focused on your own goals! 

You got this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

{Personal Style} Sporty Chic in Phillip Lim for Target

tank: barely there; black vest: H&M; sequined vest: AE Outfitters; 
sweatpants: Phillip Lim for Target; peep-toe pumps: Steve Madden; 
lips: Rimmel London Berry Queen
I normally wear sweatpants with sneakers and a cute top. That is, if I wear them at all. Which is hardly ever, to be quite honest. 
Never have I ever attempted to dress them up. But there's something about the Phillip Lim for Target sweatpants that's gotten me in a dressy, I-want-to-pair-these-bad-boys-with-heels type of mood. 
So I did just that. I paired the comfy pants with a simple tank, classic black vest with a deep V-neck, and a sequined vest. The three bow-tie peep-toe pumps gave it a very grown and sexy feel. The layered necklaces and bold, red lipstick gave it a very rockstar-chic look. 

It was the perfect combination of sexy and sporty. 

Hope you all are having a great week. Stay stylish!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rocking the Ugg Australia Runway -- petitePARADE Kids Fashion Show

I'm telling you, there's never a dull moment living here in NYC. 

Take last weekend, for instance. In collaboration with Vogue Bambini, petitePARADE presented Kids Fashion Week. I was already planning on going to the shows, but I was even more excited when Aiden was invited to walk in the Ugg Australia Fashion Show, showcasing their Spring 2014 kids show collection.

This kid... wow! He truly amazes me every single day. I was a bit nervous because, as quirky and outgoing and very life-of-the-party Aiden can be, he does get a bit self-conscious around big crowds. So I thought the kid would freak out, cry, and run off the stage.

Okay, I'm being a bit dramatic. But still.

The Many Faces of Aiden
Needless to say, he did a really good job. After the show, he admitted to being nervous, but he told me that he "just kept looking forward."

Great advice -- in a runway show, and in life.

My good blogger friend, Tiffany -- the mother of the coolest boy twins in NYC, Tristin and Tyler -- taped the show since her boys were hosting several of them. Check out her video! I spy Aiden around the 2.32 mark.

With just a few weeks until his 6th birthday, it's great to see Aiden accomplish something with such grace and confidence.

I'm one proud single momma!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

There's Strength In Vulnerability

Once in a while, someone will say to me along the lines, "I don't understand how you can be so open on your blog." That comment is usually followed up with something along the lines of, "Isn't it strange to put yourself out there?"

My response is always simple. "It's cool, you don't have to understand." And, "Nope, it's not strange at all."

I'm fairly open and transparent with lots of things going on in my life. (Within reason.) I don't share everything, but I do share things with a specific purpose in mind. And that purpose is you. I've noticed more and more that people who are going through things that are similar often email or message me to share their stories, to release, to feel comforted in knowing that someone else out there is getting through (or has already gone through) what they are going through at this very moment.  

That sense of universality... that sense of community... that sense of "If she can do it, so can I" -- that's why I share. It's certainly not because I think I have all the answers. Because I don't. But it takes strength to be vulnerable. And it takes strength to "go first," so to speak. It's scary at times, but you make it worth it. So thank you. I hope you know that you inspire me as much as you say that I inspire you.

Blessed To Be A Blessing
[Originally published on July 15, 2011] 

I often think about the mission of this blog and I how I want to convey my life for the use of this community. Some weeks more than others. This week was one of those weeks.

As I thought about where I have been in life and where my life is heading, I kept coming back to the same important thought -- I'm blessed to be a blessing.

I have been through a lot in my life. Trials and triumphs. Bad times and ugly times. Hard times and harder times. But when it all boils down, I know that I've had a lot more ups than downs. In my opinion anyway.


I've shared some of my most personal stories on this here place and space.

My struggles with dealing with an unexpected pregnancy.

My experience with domestic violence and the decision to leave the relationship.

My struggles with accepting my single-mom status.

The boundaries and privacy issues that have arisen as I attempt to use the bathroom sans Aiden.

My struggles with starting, sticking with, and finishing graduate school as a solo parent. #Winning.

The lessons that I've learned from being in an abusive, toxic relationship.

And much, much more.

My story is far from perfect. I've made mistakes. Lots of 'em. And I've even shared those mistakes with you. Because I've bounced back from them. Most of 'em anyway. And they've made me into the person that I am today.


It takes an immense amount of strength to be vulnerable and personal and lay it all out there -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.


When I think about the mission of this blog, the one thing that comes to mind is that I want to be a blessing to someone else. And I pray that I have been because, in reality, none of this'll matter if I am not a blessing to you in some way. If you are not inspired by this community that we've created, then it'll all be in vain.

But it hasn't been. Because you are blessed to be a blessing. And I am blessed to be a blessing.

So thank you. And you. And you. And you. For making Mommy Delicious the community that it has become. This is only the beginning. We've only scratched the surface. And it's never felt better.

High five.

[A portion of this post was originally published on April 12, 2012.]

Monday, October 7, 2013


I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but I can't help but feel a sense of gratitude these days.

I mean, it's not every weekend that Aiden gets to be a part of NYC Kids Fashion Week and walk in the dopest show there is for children's fashion -- petitePARADE. Mind you, this is right after Heidi Klum wows the crowd with her new line, Truly Scrumptious, and P Diddy's daughters steal the crowd's heart as they strut their stuff down the runway.

It's not every weekend that Aiden walks down the runway, showcasing what's in store for Ugg Australia, with such grace and poise and sweetness. It's not every weekend that we rub elbows with designers and photographers wanting to know who's that adorable and funny little boy with the mohawk.

But this weekend it happened.

And in the midst of backstage chaos, and the mad dash to hair and make-up, and fittings and outfit changes, I stopped. I took it all in. And I felt extreme gratitude for our lives right now.

Aiden and I, we're blessed. Beyond measure. 

Aiden. Number 3.
The next day we went to Sesame Place to celebrate trick or treating at The Count's Halloween Spooktacular. We missed Opening Day/Media Day last weekend, but were able to make it this weekend. Aiden had a blast -- yet another reminder of how blessed we truly are and how far we've come.
If anybody knows how hard this single mom life is, it's me. Believe me, it ain't for the whimpers and whiners. And if anybody knows how much more I've got to accomplish as a single mom, it's me. I've got goals and hopes and dreams that need to come to fruition. And that takes work. Hard work. Smart work. 

But I've come a long way, and for that, I'm thankful. I remember rough, sleepless nights as a student-parent in grad school; I remember being so tired that all I wanted to do was cry; I remember when I first began this single mom journey and my financial problems left me with more month than money; I remember feelings of helplessness. But... there was always something to be grateful for.

Gratitude. It's what helped me to push forward.

At Sesame Place with my little ninja turtle

My life now? I'll never take it for granted. I'll never let events like this past weekend become so commonplace to me (to Aiden) that we forget how far we've come. I'll never forget to stop... and reflect... and give thanks.

Surely it's the season of thanksgiving for me.

This weekend Aiden was singing one of my favorite gospel songs by J Moss, "There's a praise on the inside that I can't keep to myself..."

I second that, kiddo. Wholeheartedly.

Friday, October 4, 2013

This Part of Parenting

While walking to school one day last week...
Aiden: Mommy, you know that the earth is spinning around so slowly that we can't even feel it spinning? You know that?
Me: Oh yeah?
Aiden: Yes. See! *Stands still for about three seconds* We can't even feel it!
Me: I see.
Aiden: The only way we could feel the earth spinning is if we spin around and around and get dizzy. THEN we could feel the earth spinning. 
This is Aiden. Very funny. Very curious. Very much a critical thinker. Very much a seasoned and quirky five-year-old.

He's turning six this month, and I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on motherhood and raising Aiden and growing pains. 

apple picking
I spend a lot of time thinking about how I'm raising him, the values I'm instilling in him, and the greatness I'm trying to steer him towards. I spend a lot of time thinking of the non-academic skills I'm trying to develop in him -- optimism and kindness, grit and resilience, joyfulness and a strong work ethic.

I spend a lot of time planning activities for him -- exposing him to different people, places, and experiences.

I spend a lot of time talking to his teachers and people educating him to be sure that he gets what he needs from them to be his best self everyday. I spend a lot of time thinking about the best educational setting for him and making sure that he gets it. 

I spend a lot of time telling him that he has to use his voice to do what's right and that his voice matters. I tell him that he needs to remain calm, cool, and collected when he's speaking because that's how he'll be able to command attention from others.

He listens. Sometimes. (But he forgets sometimes too. After all, he's five.)

I spend a lot of time wrestling with this part of parenting. The part no one tells you about -- the planning and plotting and worrying and advocating and fixing things (or showing your child how to fix things). No one tells you about the incredible amount of patience and practice and pep talks and preparation that it takes to raise a child into a socially-competent, self-sufficient, well-adjusted adult. 

But I think about it. Often. (I blame single motherhood and all the statistics that I read about it. Sigh!)

But, something happened as we were walking to his school that morning and having a conversation about the earth's rotation, which Aiden initiated, by the way.

I realized something: I already have a pretty great kid so all I need to do is keep doing what I'm doing.
As the quote by Glennon Melton reminded me, "Don't let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one."

This single mom journey has been a beautiful struggle thus far -- a lot more ups than downs and a lot more successes and lessons learned than I ever thought possible.

All is well. And Aiden will be just fine.


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