6 Easy Rules to Create and Keep Your Babysitting Barter System

Let’s talk about the fundamental rules of the babysitting barter system amongst parents.

1. You should never initiate a barter system with someone you just met.  This appears like you’re out right using the parent when most likely, they’re really seeking a companion for their child. This may also discourage the parent from further interaction with your child in an attempt to avoid you.

2. Don’t be too pushy.  Initiating a barter system can benefit both parties.  The key is not to appear overly aggressive.  Some parents don’t need to be a part of a barter system, others may not feel comfortable.  No matter the reason, the last thing you want to do is turn into a mob boss and begin issuing threats.

3. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about the children.  Yes, you want to go out and have fun or relax, or take an uniteruppted guilt-free nap; but at what cost? If your child isn’t actually friends with the other one, or they are uncomfortable being with the other parent you may want to reevaluate that partnership. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

4. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I a good babysitter?” If you can’t keep yourself from yelling, swearing and snatching up your own children every minute on the minute, what makes you think that you’ll be able to handle additional ones?

5. Only use the barter system as much as the other person is using it. If you and another parent have agreed to a barter system, then it should be equally beneficial. Think about a Libra balancing their scale. The moment it tips more to one side it’s over and the system will collapse along with your child’s companionship and your “in a pinch” baby sitter.

6. Remember it’s business even when it appears to be personal. I don’t care if you’ve known each other since second grade! Believe me when I tell you watching children can take it’s toll. Always remain courteous and professional when engaged in a babysitting barter system. This is the only way to ensure that the exchange will continue.

If you follow these six easy rules watch your babysitting barter system flourish. Not only that, but more parents will likely want to barter with you. Any parent knows how crucial babysitting options and emergency plans are. Don’t blow it!

Being HONEST Can Save Your Life

I’m a firm believer in honesty.  I feel like if more people were honest with themselves it would be easier for society to have NONJUDGEMENTAL open communication about the things that really plague us.  Today, like most days, I’d like to be honest and share my thoughts with the public.  It is HARD being a parent. I know some may be thinking, no sh-t Sherlock!  No matter if you are single or co-parenting with a spouse, relative or close friend -the bottom line is it is hard to dedicate the majority of your life to securing another’s safety, finances, health (mental and physical), happiness and more. 

The thing is, the truly devastating and overwhelming part for me isn’t what if I can’t do this, but what if I successfully do this and this little ingrate still becomes a high school dropout, meth head prostitute who abandons her own bastard children for the sake of the next high? I mean you get what I’m saying; it could be any circumstance that doesn’t fall into my perfect vision for her perfect life.  It’s the unknown.  When your baby holds your finger for the first time and cracks a smile while sleeping so peacefully, you don’t know what they’ll be bringing to your life. 

By default you think they will be bringing all the wonders of heaven because at that time they are pure and beautiful and can’t talk.  Then they grow and you start noticing mischievous behaviors that someone has come up with clever dismissive labels like “terrible twos” to ease your anxiety and to reassure you that you are not raising Satan’s spawn.  But how do you really know?  As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20.  I’m sure plenty of parents saw signs early on of what their child was to become.     

The family in Ohio who recently returned their son to Child Welfare Services may be responsible for a paradigm shift in parenting.  They acted BEFORE it was too late.  Before children were murdered in their first grade class, before another high school was being featured on the news for a fatal school shooting, before parents lay dead from stab wounds to the chest because they said he couldn’t have the new XBOX for Christmas, before someone could ask where are the parents,  these parents spoke up!  They said he has shown signs that scare us and others.  We fear for our safety when dealing with our 9-year-old son.  We don’t know how to help him and rather than risk having blood on our hands, we want to be proactive.

Children today play games like knock out for fun.  Not even the new Grand Theft Auto can fulfill their quest for blood.  They are seeking the real thing.   It is a reality.  Why are kids crazier now than before?  Who knows!  Is it the media? Is it the music? Is it passive parenting?  Maybe.   No one can say for sure.  However, if you are being honest, and nonjudgmental, then you should be grateful that this family had the courage to speak up.  I don’t recommend we all go returning our kids to Child Welfare Services during the rebellious years, because as a parent it’s our duty to love even the meth head, prostitute daughter.  Nevertheless, if I ever fear for my life, my daughter will have to go. The only difference is it won’t be a surprise to her because she knows that already as we have these discussions on a regular basis.    

As I stated early, be honest with yourself.   

Daddy, Where Have You Been?

My guilty pleasures are the following: celebrity gossip, designer shoes and bad reality television.  Recently, two of my favorite worlds collided when semi-celebrity DJ Big Tigga invited Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s bad girl Mary Jane (stage name) on his show to discuss her very public, very steamy and very sexually fueled episode with a very publicly married man.  When she was asked why she engaged in certain sexual activities with this married man, her response was simple, “he took those vows, not me.”   *Gasps and grabs pearls*…No this b—- didn’t just say that!

As a single woman, this statement is scary for multiple reasons.  First, woman tend to think, no matter how lame, disgusting and deadbeat their guy may be, that you as the single woman are desperate enough to jump his dusty bones.  She just confirmed this theory.  Next, as a woman who plans to marry, it’s crazy to think that another woman will disregard the seriousness of the marital bond that I will share with my husband.  

But wait, she wasn’t finished.  “If he doesn’t respect his marriage, why should I?”  Things just got real. She continued, “My advice is for father’s to love their daughters.  I’m not condoning what I did or what I do but…”.  All of a sudden my chest tightened.  Immediately I thought of my daughters fathers lack of influence in her life.  Of course she has my dad to cater to her every need, but is that enough of a preventative measure to keep her from turning into a gold-digging, husband stealing, side-piece?  Am I underestimating the impact of his absence?

She’s at an age where questions are being raised on his where-a-bouts on a regular basis.  She often will say how she wishes he was here.  I’ve disregarded these things because I don’t fell like financially, her life is lacking.  However, it’s clear that she needs something  more.  She needs his adoration, his affection, his attention his presence.  As much as I hate to admit it, she needs him, just as I needed my father. 

I think I just had a break through. 

 

To hear the interview in its entirety listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKHgzaFZapE 

Can I Instagram that heaux?

I always struggle with how much to reveal about my life on social media.  As a mom, I feel like I have a social responsibility to be appropriate at all (photographed) moments.  On the other hand, as a fun, single lady I’m always tempted to show people what I’m really up to*inset evil laugh*.  I confess, as a viewer I am prone to judge.  I judge moms who post entirely too many pictures of their kid(s).  Yes I said it!  I don’t need to see your child daily.  Get over it!  On the flip side, I judge moms that are turning up nightly.  Pause-where is your child?  Then I don’t want to Beyoncé it and post shadows or props eluding to the fact that there’s a mini me floating around somewhere; I mean I’m just not that famous or important to the masses.

So, in a digital world, were social profiles determine your marketability, how should I brand my “mom” self? What message am I trying to convey?  Which side is my “best side” (as I will always want to photograph my selfies from that angle)?  I can’t be the only person with this dilemma, can I?  I want my Vines to be witty and fun, my Instagrams to be artsy yet relatable and my Facebook/Twitter rants to evoke an uproar of unsolicited feedback.

I think the real issue here is that I may be overthinking it.  Even though I judge, don’t judge me.  Maybe I just need to have fun, isn’t that the founding rule of social media anyway? 

The Double Standard

royalty-free-photos-we-love-you-dad-family-21115585

I am a single mother and I want to say Happy Daddy’s Day to all the great men out there taking care of their children and possibly someone else’s.  Now that that is out of the way, let me say this: To all of my single, bitter, resentful mother’s – it is not your place to denounce this day or make your PSA’s calling out the deadbeat you selected to procreate with. 

Spare us the paragraph posts about your pitiful plite and how you are wishing yourself and all the other bitter, resentful single moms a happy father’s day.  Do some dads fall short, yes.  On the other hand, aren’t there some moms that have fallen short as well?  I mean let’s be honest, I’ve encountered PLENTY of unfit single mother’s. So ladies, the next time you feel the urge to bash the next man, pick up a mirror and take a good look at the person who needs to be checked.

-We love you dad and don’t let anyone steal your joy today!

Dust Yourself Off & Try Again

Like many, my past isn’t squeaky clean.  I’ve hurt people and I’ve been hurt.  Over the years motherhood has definitely changed my outlook on life.  Post baby, I’ve tried to be more considerate of others and live by the golden rule.  However, you can’t outrun your past and today my past came calling. 

I’ve remained in contact with this old friend off-and-on over the years but I thought it was an unspoken truth that we would never be again.  I was excited to hear from him and answered believing it to be one of our annual “catch up chats” but I could tell by the tone of his voice that the conversation would be more serious. He began to speak about the old “us” and I feared what was to come next.  Again, I’ve hurt people in my past life.

As I listened intently awaiting my verbal lashing about all the irritating habits or inconsiderate and selfish things I did (yes, I’ve had this talk a time or two before) he surprised me with compliments.  He told me how perfect I was and how over the years he hasn’t been able to replace me or escape thoughts of the old “us.”  He expressed his desire to give “us” another chance, to do it right this time.  He outlined all of the qualities that had kept him checking in with me over the years and for once I was the “the one that got away” (score)!

Although I don’t know what the future may hold for us, I needed to be reminded that I was a good woman and that I had things to offer.   Becoming a single mother was a nearly fatal blow to my ego.  Over the years I’ve put up with more than I ever would prior to having my daughter because deep down inside I felt I no longer embodied the fun, fearless female persona that kept me demanding respect, therefor I didn’t deserve to receive respect.  I was ashamed of myself at times and the men I dated preyed on my vulnerability.

Hearing him speak of all that great things I used to do and how I walked and talked, how confident and passionate I was reminded me of who I am.  Sometimes its nothing like a good ole trip down memory lane to help you regain your focus.  I’ve issued enough second chances to people who didn’t deserve the first one.  Thanks old friend for reminding me that I deserve to give myself a second chance too.