Category Archives: Motherhood

The Web We Weave

By Lolita Penn

Women. We possess a power we apparently don’t recognize. Imagine what the world would be like if we bonded together as one. The web we are capable of weaving can be strong enough to change the world, but instead, we attempt to change each other. Acceptance of another woman’s choices in life is difficult for many women. Why do we care how another woman raises her children? Why do we care about another woman’s choice of career? Who she sleeps with or what she does in her spare time or even what she eats? Why is any of this a concern? Maybe because we see reminders of ourselves in her actions and it shakes the essence of our being while reminding us of our own faults and shortcomings. Perhaps if we publicly or privately (in our thoughts) spotlight their wrongs, ours won’t be as noticeable. Are we so dissatisfied with ourselves we have to belittle or gossip about another woman? 

Come on, let’s get it together.  It doesn’t matter how big your house is, how happy you appear to be in your marriage, what your profession is, your education level, your body type, how you fake your face on Facebook,  or how fashionable your wardrobe is, WE ALL HAVE ISSUES.  What matters is who you are as a woman and not what you have or what you do.

I have unapologetically ended associations with a few women because of the superficial world they’ve created for themselves that they, for some reason, wanted me to admire. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Life is too precious for insincere people consuming my time and sucking the energy out of me. Be you because I’m too busy trying to be me. Be genuine. Stop competing with other women! Instead of staying in our own lane, why don’t we stay in our own kitchen, mix our own ingredients and clean up our own mess which somehow accumulates daily. If we did this, we wouldn’t have time to be in someone else’s kitchen.

The journey to loving ourselves cannot bypass the road to loving one another. Although we are individuals, we are one in mind, body, and soul. Be a part of the web


Falling Apart While Keeping It Together Mental Health & Motherhood

Losing my job and being evicted was more than traumatic for me, but the constant stress of being the sole provider for my daughter put me in a place I never thought I’d be.
In the summer of 2018, I was Baker Acted ( a law allowing families and professionals to call emergency mental health services for those who may not realize they need it) and my daughter was physically taken away from me but not after a fight. We were staying at a local motel and when the cops showed up stating why they were there, I grabbed my daughter and ran for my life. Unfortunately, the cops saw us walking the streets at 4 o’clock in the morning. I had no place to go, no family in town, and my daughter was tired. I had no more energy to run. i broke down in front of my daughter and I felt hopeless watching her walk away with the police. I felt like a failure.
I was taken to a hospital and admitted. My daughter had nowhere to go and I had no family in the state I was living in to help me, so Children’s Services was called and my sweet girl was placed in foster care. In the hospital, I could hardly think straight and had difficulty figuring out what was going on and why I was there. I remember constantly asking the nurse if there was any word on my daughter and of course she didn’t know anything. Eventually, two caseworkers showed up and told me my sweet girl was placed in a foster care home and that she was alright. The thought of my child being with a strange family made me sick to my stomach. The thought of foster care made me even sicker. Thankfully, my family out of town was contacted and I’m grateful they agreed to take care of my daughter. Yes, she is with family (in another state) who loves her, but I want my daughter with me which is where she belongs. In April of 2019, I signed my parental rights over because I did not have a home; I currently live in a shelter. My family was in a better place to give my daughter the proper care she needed and they love her. I had to think about my daughter’s wellbeing instead of my own. With family, she can heal and live as normal a life (without me) as possible while I get the required help I need.
I felt like I failed her and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get her back. I felt broken – all we had was each other. I live with the guilt of all of this causing trauma for my child.
I cried a river of tears when she was taken from me and I am still crying. We’ve been together since her birth and have never been separated nor did I ever believe my dedication to her would end like this.
I never imagined being a single mom would be so hard. So many women do it seemingly without effort. I guess there are those, like me, who need some help and probably don’t know how to ask for it or maybe we don’t think we need help.
Financially, I sought all the help I could through various charities which I was thankful for, but too often I would go to places for help and was denied. I would cry at the bus stops I was so focused on taking care of my daughter’s emotional needs that I wasn’t aware of my own.
I ignored the signs of my mental health breaking down. Actually, I wasn’t even aware of mental health. I was just tired and agitated. I went way past my breaking point. To be honest, I thought I was going through what all single mothers were going through – the stress of just trying to make it work, trying to provide, trying to show my child I loved her by doing whatever was necessary regardless of how I felt physically or mentally. She was my priority.
In the evenings, my thoughts would take over and my lack of sleep would catch up with me. I knew something was wrong I just didn’t know what to do about it.
The court system ordered me to attend counseling and to get help for my mental health. I see a psychiatrist regularly. I’m going through all the steps necessary to get my daughter back.
It wasn’t easy to share my story of loss, but I hope it will help another mother pay attention to her mental health before it’s too late. Mothers are not supermoms, but we try to be. We try to be everything and everybody to our children and now I know that is impossible. Get the help you need and educate yourself about mental health awareness. I don’t know who said the following quote, but it’s true.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Empty, N’est-ceas?

Lara McKnight

It finally happened. Our third child has flown the nest, leaving his lonely little sister at home as the single remaining object of our attention and affection. (She’s already asked him if he has a room she can rent.)This Other Woman here has been so excited – washing my towels in scented detergent again (the perfumes make him itch), running around the house without a bra, and envisioning life with an actual “spare” bedroom … but the process hasn’t been a clean break and my nest isn’t really empty – it’s actually a bit of a mess.
The move has taken him a great distance – three whole blocks away – to a house that needs quite a bit of work, so the “moving out” part has been rather slow. His dad and I wandered down to help pull up carpet, rip out 40-year-old contact paper, and scrape up linoleum hoping to hasten the transition of his belongings. Thanks to the thick glue residue on the floor, I was stuck in his kitchen for a couple of days, so I also organized bins and canisters and turntables with his all of his fancy spices. I finally managed to peel up my flip-flop and get out of there.
The first couple of kids hit their eject button at 18, with #2 exiting the Chez ON the afternoon of her 18th birthday. However, #3 decided that, unlike his predecessors, he was in no hurry to move out and would rather save the rent money and buy a house. For the last several years, I’ve been fielding the comments from well-meaning family and friends (“If you ever sell your house, tell the new owners it comes with a built-in squatter!”) and reiterating that he’ll move out when the time is right … followed by a quick sign of the Cross for good measure.
There has been plenty of time for me to save up all sorts of furniture, dishes, and geegaws to set up his household – my garage has been like a hope chest of sorts. When I cheerfully began to list this inventory for him, he put his arm around me and said, “Uh, thanks, Mom. But that’s not really the style I’m going for … I’ll just buy new stuff.”
“Wait, what? You don’t need this ugly lamp, my mis-matched butter-container version of Tupperware, or the coffee table shaped like a surfboard? What am I going to do with all of this stuff?” I looked at his younger sister. “Don’t look at me – I’m not going to want it either!” She’s no help.
Suddenly emptying my nest took on a whole new meaning – just because the kids are leaving doesn’t mean that all this stuff is going with them. The horror!

I turned to my handy social media marketplace for help. So far, I’ve netted a tidy sum by unloading the coffee table, several chairs, a few dishes, and our unused hot tub, which I referred to in my ad as a “cauldron of contrived closeness” – hey, somebody bought it. Another couple of sold items and one last trip to the donation station and I may actually be able to park a car in my garage again!
Still, his departure is bittersweet. Moments like this give me pause and I reflect on the velocity of raising littles into bigs. It just went by so fast … so for this part of it to go a little more slowly is okay with me. And he is only three blocks away … in a house that will soon be freshly remodeled and filled with stylish new furniture and fixtures.
Shoot, maybe I should see if he’ll rent ME a room!