The Struggle to Return to Work After Being Home for 9 Years #SAHM

Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Photo Credit: LinkedIn

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom now since December 2006.  Count the years, folks.  That’s almost 9 years.  I never planned to stay home with the kids.  It just sort of happened.  I also didn’t consider how hard it would be to get back in the rat race.

Friends who kept working after having children made it look so easy.  It could also be because they didn’t stay home as long as I have.  Some didn’t like being home.  Others had to go back to work to help with household finances.  Some went back to work and hated their jobs.  Others are telling me to stay home.

But now that I have both kids at the same school full time, I am feeling the need/desire to return to work….and bring home a paycheck.  My student loans don’t care that I am a SAHM and it’s no longer fair to my husband to have to pay them.  The agreement when I decided to stay home was that I would get paid the same time he gets paid and it’s worked just fine for the most part.  I never wanted to be that wife who had to ask her husband for money.  However, he has since left the law firm life and now works in-house as an attorney and his pay has changed. That law firm money was yummy, but I rarely saw my husband.  Now I see my husband more, but he’s working just as hard for less money.

11 Tips for Stay At Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work

I sit back and watch my friends who are in various fields. Finance Mom returned to work this year and found a job 15 minutes from home working under her boss who she probably babysat decades ago.  School Counselor Mom hates her job, but she has to work.  Teacher Mom tells me not to go back to work because your job won’t care when there are snow days and your kids have to stay home.  Brand Manager Mom has very little time for anything not family related these days.  Human Resources Mom is always tired. Lawyer Mom is always cancelling play dates and lunches because there is never enough time for anything.

I read here that very few people will care that you were a SAHM for years.  We think it’s a badge of honor while others may see you as a liability.  Remember that executive who has since become a mother apologizing to moms? How many others are out there like her? Scheduling a meeting at 4:30 p.m. will probably send me into a tizzy.  This is why we, moms, have to take matters into our own hands.  Start our own businesses.  Be our own boss. Set our own schedules. Call the shots.

Two snaps for that one, right?

I’m on the fence about moving forward with my own business and working for someone else.  The ideal situation is to work remotely and/or go into the office a few days during the week.  Thus far, I have interviewed with a mom-friendly company but have yet to hear back from them.  Not a good sign. Or is it?

Blogging Mistakes to Avoid + More Tips from Seasoned Blogger @THEAlishaNicole

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I recently read a post on The Sits Girls where blogger The Alisha Nicole was featured. The post caught my eye which had the title, “My Biggest Blogging Fail and Best Marketing Tips.”

If you’re a blogger, you have fails.  I have fails.  I’m currently trying to correct those blogging fails right now too.  After 4 years blogging (LinkedIn just told me that I just had a blogging anniversary on May 4th.) I have made several mistakes.  Actually, alot of mistakes.

After reading Alisha Nicole’s testimonial, I’ve decided to get back on track with this personal blog.  I’ve been consistently blogging daily on my other blog, but I feel like I’m drowning with it.  I’ve created a local niche I feel where my opinion doesn’t want to be heard outside of weekend events for kids.  It’s just not a blog for personal opinion on certain topics.

I’ve created a great local mom blog, but if I say something others don’t like, I feel like I’ve made enemies on every corner in my community where everyone pretty much knows everyone.  This isn’t a good feeling.

Mommy, The Queen is my original blog.  I have posts that go way back before I knew what I was doing. I’ve deleted the earlier years’ content.  That’s one HUGE blogging fail. Oh boy.

Blogging mistakes I’ve left out of the first four years:

I didn’t really network with others.

I didn’t attend many NYC blogger meetups.

I didn’t use a planning calendar so I was kinda all over the place (still am some days).

Twitter makes my head spin so I didn’t go on it often, but I am more active now (creating lists is KEY!).

I don’t really participate in Twitter parties (huge fail).

I didn’t tag or use categories so folks could easily find my content on the blog.

I rarely remembered the log in for this blog so I didn’t log in which means I didn’t write much content.

I want to be totally transparent but feel like I can’t because of my primary blog. It didn’t sit well with me knowing that my neighbors or class mom knows all of my inner thoughts.

But this is why I’m reviving this blog.  I’m going to take the time to rebuild and rebrand myself as Mommy The Queen and get this baby back up off the ground.

Follow me on my journey to self expression and sharing many of my personal stories. I have a lot of them.

I’m on Twitter. Facebook, and Instagram. Follow me!

How to Avoid the Side Eye: 5 Tips to Keep My Business

I need us to do a little better than what we’re doing.  The reason why we don’t get ahead is because we don’t try.  We don’t care. We think people will accept us because they know us and be okay with that.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

I recently rented a facility in my community for a fundraiser.  I had been to the venue before on other occasions.  It was the perfect size and location for my event.  I didn’t feel the need to stop by before my event to make sure things were in order.  I assumed the venue would be ready for me when I arrived.

It was not. I was livid.  I kept my crown on folks, however I was thoroughly disgusted beneath the surface, but didn’t make a big deal out of it.  My action will be felt when I no longer use this venue again. Ever.

I won’t even recommend it to my circle who is always leaning on me for referrals.

When I arrived, there was a class in session that ran over into my set up time.  The place was filthy with half eaten food and food wrapper all over the tables.  The table cloths were dirty, it was hot and stuffy from the group whose class ran over.  The windows were sweaty.

If you don’t already know, I have high standards.  The were not met.  I didn’t require much for such a place.  I just required a clean facility ready for me when I and my group arrived.

In my community, there are few businesses where the owners are minorities.  This was one of them.  I try my best to give other minorities my business, but when you give me THIS mess, you are telling me that you neither care about my business nor do you care about growing your business.

I can’t and from now on I won’t.

Tips to Get and Keep My Business

1. Greet me at the door

2. Have your facility ready when I arrive

3. Please ask your previous client to vacate the premises BEFORE your next client arrives/begins their event.

4. Thank me for my business when I leave.

5. Send a follow-up message, email to thank me for using your facility.

Then maybe, just maybe I’ll consider coming back. Or not.

Life after “So You Think You Can Dance” by Bianca Revels

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Remember Bianca Revels, first tap dancer to make it onto So You Think You Can Dance? I’ve known her since she was about 14 years old. She was one of my Queens when I directed pageants years ago and I have watched her from afar as she transitioned from a young lady into a neew mom. What has she been up to lately? Take a look….

This has been a constant question I’ve been asked since my departure from the show so let me explain it using three words, my life began. Since the show I have had the pleasure of traveling all over the world, pursuing my dreams. I’ve gone from one extreme to the next, from living in China for six months where I got to hang out with macaques monkeys on Monkey Island, where I almost died in traffic (the cars have the right away), and  performing in front of millions of people was an everyday job, to driving an 8 million dollar yacht around the Sydney. Australia Opera House after performing in front of thousands of screaming Rihanna fans.

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Life as a professional dancer for me has been a memorable, life changing roller coaster ride filled with lights, laughter, and mind blowing moments I will forever be grateful for.  And with all of these experiences came lots of mental, physical, and emotional growth. I went from a young 20 year old, fresh in the industry representing my city (Detroit) on a national television show, to now being a 25 year old woman who has had the pleasure of performing for some of the most iconic musical figures while navigating myself through what I have to say is the beginning of my forever.

No one ever told me that life off of the stage would be just as gratifying and just as difficult as life onstage. Even if they did I wouldn’t have believed them. The journey my life is now taking has not only shaped me spiritually, but I am standing in the present moment more fulfilled than ever before. I am not just a dancer, or tap dancer. I am defined by so much more.

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I have been able to explore so many different interests that to be honest I didn’t appreciate or pay attention to while competing in the rat race I call Hollywood. Even though there is no feeling like walking out onstage behind Mary J. Blige, Neyo, Jennifer Lopez, etc., I felt that it wasn’t enough for me to have all of these memorable encounters and not give back. I knew that I had more to offer others than what they simply experienced from my performances on stage.  My goals now are to use my talents and blessings to impact young people in an inspirational way.

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Aside from continuing my dancing career, I am starting a new chapter in my life by becoming a mother. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on July 18th, 2014.  A lot of people have asked me how I will continue in the entertainment industry with becoming a new mom? My response , watch me and watch how God works! I will be promoting and selling my original art pieces, continuing to teach world-wide, and documenting all of these new ventures along the way on my website/blog. 

Life is moving in a different direction at a whole new pace for me but I am grateful, humbled and I couldn’t ask for anything more. So when people ask me what  life is like after So You Think You Can Dance all I can say is, it’s better than before it.

Follow Bianca’s journey on her new blog Bianca’s Rhythm and on Facebook.

Monday Rant: When It’s Time to Show Folks The Exit

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I’m flabbergasted yawl. I’m an Ohioan from birth and from time to time you will hear it come out. My mind has been spinning lately from the actions of people I have found myself engaged with now and in the past.

And they are all teaching me a lesson in one way or another. It has become a bit overwhelming so I need to vent, release, and move on because the stress is building and I can’t let it take anymore power.

Who was that who said people may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you make them feel?

Let me first start by saying that my memory is horrible. I have to write everything down. If I see you after meeting you previously and forget your name, please don’t take it personal. I am bad with names but usually not with faces. I meet a lot of people in various settings and find it hard to recall at times.

One reason I don’t gossip is because I can never remember the story to retell it. I messed something up one time as a kid, it got back to her, and I lost a friend. I learned my lesson and I didn’t feel good about what I did. So I stopped a long time ago. #LessonLearned

But this post isn’t about gossip. It’s partly about how some people have made me feel lately. I have some very lovely friends in my circles who have been in my life for sometime. They love me for who I am and not what we can do for each other. They are genuine friends and when you’re in the world I am in, you need genuine friends.

For those of you that have decided you just don’t have time for people anymore, well it’s your loss. Regardless of your personal and professional growth in life, the same folks you toss to the side on your climb up will in fact  remember how you made them feel. Forever.

Any of these folks in your life?

1. People who have reached a level of celebrity in their industry and forget how you were there in the beginning. #WeArentGoodEnoughHuh

2. People who immediately judge you based on a single conversation and don’t feel you are on their level professionally. #YouAintAllThatEither

3. People who you’ve worked with in the past keep information from you because they simply don’t want to help you with necessary resources or information. #NotSharingYourHairStylist

4. People who pass judgement based on what they read on Facebook without calling you to ask, “What did you mean by that?” #SplainThatPlease

5. People who simply say, “I don’t like you” without giving the reason why leaving you wondering what YOU did to them…especially when you rarely speak. #Really?

I have to remind myself that not all relationships are meant to last. It takes work on both ends and if you’re not maintaining it, it’s going to fade. One of my bridesmaids was happy enough to share her engagement with me but never invited me to her wedding.   #What’sThatAbout

I am realizing that people will be people. It’s a part of life and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m going to have to learn to appreciate people who show me who they are. It will keep the guesswork and hurt feelings down.

I will simply remain who I am, remain cordial, and continue to keep my mind focused on what’s really important in my life. #GodFamilyRealFriends

Vagina Cookies For Your 2nd Grader’s Class Anyone?

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Photo Credit: Elite Daily

Celebrating the vagina in 2nd grade is not what most normal parents are teaching. I would hope not anyway. Most girls know what it’s called but do they know what it looks like?

I would think at this stage the girls know where it is and that it’s where pee pee comes from, which is okay for now, and that no one is to touch it.  They can learn the particulars at a later time. A MUCH later time. #scared

My daughter will anyways.

This mom who went a little too far in pushing the sex ed talk and curiosityup a few years needs to be evaluated in every way. What makes her think this is okay?

While it’s certainly one for PTA gossip and blogger fun, no mommy hug for her in this cookie thing.

I now appreciate my school districts ban on outside food.

Mom Bakes Vagina Cookies for 2nd grade class

What I’m Seeing & Doing While Vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard

It’s Illumination this week in Martha’s Vineyard and we’re here with two other families having a great time. We’ve been friends for some time, and all have kids around the same age.

If you’re familiar with the movie “Inkwell” then you know a little something about Martha’s Vineyard. The President and his family also vacation at The Vinyard annually. However, we have yet to cross paths with POTUS and FLOTUS but their presence is definitely being felt.

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After a 45 minute ferry ride from Falmouth, MA we were on historical land. The kids enjoyed the ferry ride and didn’t complain once. The sights keep their attention, there were snacks, and the option to go inside from the cool air. Perfect combination for smoothie sailing. I preferred riding outside. I felt every wave while indoors eating clam chowder, which was delish by the way.

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If you’re planning to travel to Martha’s Vinyard during Illumination Week, plan early. We made our ferry reservation back in January and they were pretty booked then. You should book a house now as well. They one we booked fits 12 but was not up to par for many reasons. We made it work but felt baited and switched and will definitely give the owner a less than royal review.

Thus far, we have been to The Black Dog souvenir store for shirts and other paraphernalia commemorating our vacation. After, we stopped by Mad Martha’s for the BEST brownie hot fudge Sunday and other ice cream flavors. OMG!!!!

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Both the Black Dog and Mad Martha’s can be found on Circuit Avenue along with other shopping, food, and entertainment. There’s even an arcade!

Tip: There’s a Black Dog outlet and kids stores behind Nancy’s in Vinyard Haven/Oak Bluffs.

The beaches are clean and most have easy parking. However, we tried to pull up to what is known as Long Point/Hidden Beach and parking was filled at 1:15 p.m. Get there early. We have concluded that State Beach is calmer than South Beach but State is rocky. We felt South was safer for kids but we are still touring various beaches So check back for an update.

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We have been cooking family dinners nightly thus far, but will soon sample one of the more famous restaurants before the week is out. Monday was Spanish night, Tuesday was Soul Food night, Wednesday will be left overs and the remaining days will be BBQ, couples night out, pizza, and clean the fridge night.

Tip: There is a YMCA in Vinyard Haven with a skate park, pool, and playground for kids.

Illumination is the 3rd Wednesday in August which was a cute event. The word is to arrive early because parking is hard. It was crowded, but parking is available steps away for just $10 in a large, open, grassy lot.

Lights adorn what is known as Gingerbread Village illuminating the night. The houses look unreal but they are definitely real and ave residents living in them. 

The kids should love it. It’s all for them, isn’t it?

Have you been to Martha’s Vinyard? What are your “to do’s for kids and couples?