26. Halfway There

 
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Hi friends, happy Friday!

It’s the end of June which means we’re halfway through 2019! Doesn’t it feel like the year just started?

I started 2019 by doing the things that I’ve been wanting to do, but was afraid to try - starting my Etsy shop, completing 1K1Day, and starting my consulting firm. I also made a commitment to myself to stick to a regular content schedule and I’m proud to say that I’ve followed through with that. It has not always been easy, but as I continue to push myself to write, I find more ideas coming to me, and it easier to write posts. I’ve been toying with the idea of increasing my post schedule to three days a week but I think that might be too much pressure, so i’ll stick with my Tuesday & Friday schedule for now, with an occasional extra post thrown in when I feel compelled to say something.

I tackled a lot of big stuff in the first part of the year, so for the second half I plan to stay focused on my commitments and and continue to grow my businesses. It’s summer but I need to start creating inventory for my shop, and also work on marketing plans for JTM Consulting. Beyond that, I’m going to enjoy this beautiful summer with my little family and enjoy some time at the pool.

Things I Read This Week:

Elaine Welteroth shares the highs and lows of her time as a Black editor in chief in ZORA Magazine

Did you know that hundreds of police officers in the US belong to racist Facebook groups?

If you're drowning in emails, Man Repeller has an email organization hack for you

Design Mom dug into the link between Alzheimers and menopause

A couple live streamed their "surprise" proposal...but turns out there was more to it

I learned how one of my favorite memes ("Homer Simpson Backs Into The Bushes") came to be

The Cut did a deep dive profile on the rise and fall of Babe.net

Glamour says we need to make double proposals a thing

Before Stonewall, there was the Compton's Cafeteria Riot

Reddit users shared a list of underrated women from history and I learned about some amazing women

This week's #lifetips: how to wash dry clean only clothes at home, and yummy 30 minute dinner ideas

Do you have what it takes to be Beyonce's assistant? Spoiler alert: I totally got fired :-(

For your next trip, why not try a surprise vacation?

Congrats Connecticut, you got a new paid leave law!

The Atlantic declares "The Boomers Ruined Everything"

Other Stuff:

Next week I’m taking a much needed staycation! Originally I was going to just take Friday off, since it’s going to be a quiet week I decided to take the whole week for myself. I’m going to tackle a couple of projects around the house, sleep and start knitting stock for JTM Knits.

Also my birthday is next Saturday! I’m turning 37 so I’m going to just have a chill, relaxed birthday lunch with my family, and then hang out with some friends in the evening.

I really want to get back into reading. I stopped reading because it became my knitting time, and I can’t read and knit at the same time. I was considering trying out Audible, and yesterday I learned they are doing a great promotion, and that was all the enticement I needed to sign up. The promo is 3 months for $5/mo (normally it’s $15/mo) so you’re getting 2 months free!

Enjoy your weekend!

Mom Guilt Is Bullshit

 
 

Yall know that I love (and sometimes hate) Facebook Mommy groups. Sure they cause my to roll my eyes 8500 times a day, but I’ve also learned a lot and gotten some good tips from fellow mothers in these groups, so I stick around. And everyday in these groups, I see some form of Mom guilt rearing its ugly head.

What’s Mom guilt? It’s rooted in the twisted idea that mothers cease to be independent people, and instead should spend every waking moment with their children giving them the absolute best things on Earth, so that they grow up to be the next Einsteins. Thus when a mother does anything counter to that idea, like go to work, take time for herself, or spend money on herself, she’s assaulted with intense feelings of guilt. Sometimes this Mom guilt also comes in the form of judgmental comments from other people - the guilt is multiplied if the comments come from a family member or close friend. Basically, it’s a constant feeling of “oh shit, I’m screwing up my child because I’m not with them 24/7 giving them organic foods and enriching activities”.

Yeah…Mom guilt is bullshit. And so it’s cousin, Mom shaming. I’m over both of them.

I have a lot that I could feel guilty about, as a Mom:

  • I dumped my daughter into daycare when she was only 12 weeks old, so i could selfishly go back to work.

  • I regularly go do things without my daughter, like Target runs, get mani-pedis and attend happy hour.

  • I dared to leave my daughter with her father multiple times while I traveled, including leaving her twice for international trips.

  • I sometimes buy things for myself without buying her anything.

I mean, what kind of mother does that?!? /s

I read posts from mothers almost everyday that reflects some type of mom guilt - the most common topic is around going back to work. I have never felt any guilt about going back to work; in fact, I couldn’t wait for my maternity leave to be over. I love my daughter, she is the joy of my life and my entire heart, but I knew (and know) that staying home with her was not the wave. So I made it my mission to find her the best environment while she was away from us, and her Montessori daycare has proven to be an excellent choice (and a key part of our village). Other mom guilt topics? Breastfeeding or formula; purees or baby-led weaning; when to potty train; doing anything that deviates from the parenting “rules” (like cosleeping); doing anything fun that requires you leave your child’s side or spend money on yourself. Basically if you can make a choice, you can feel guilty about it, yay! Doesn’t this make parenting sound like fun?

While I reject mom guilt and haven’t experience much of it, I did have to conquer my hesitancy to be away from Josephine, in the infant stage. I remember the first time I went to the movies alone, or a I went to get a much needed pedicure - both times William had to practically force me out of the house, and I missed my baby, but it was so worth it. Now that we’re in the throws of the Terrible Twos, I am more than willing to run out of the house for some time alone, LOL. I did not know how much fun it could be to run errands, until I had a toddler.

I really think more mothers would feel so much better if they simply told Mom guilt to get lost. It serves no purpose! All it does it make you feel bad about every possible choice you could make regarding your child, and it doesn’t actually make you a better parent. Your kid will be fine whether they breastfeed for 2 years or get formula. Daycare could actually be a good thing for your kid, but you aren’t terrible if you decide to stay home with them. Basically, this parenting this is a crap shoot, so all you can do is make what looks like the best choice in the moment. As long as they are clothed and fed and have relatively decent manners, that’s all we can ask for, right? So don’t stress if they spend the week eating chicken fingers and grapes, they will be fine.

Have you ever felt Mom guilt? How did you handle it? Sound off in the comments!

25. Learning Something New

 
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I love learning.

As a kid, I was a voracious reader - I always had my nose in a book and I read everything I could get my hands on. I love learning both random facts and also how things work, and I also love learning about history. I have spent hours going down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia pages. In my career, I’ve always taken roles that has required that I learn something new - a new technology, new programming language, a new methodology, etc. I love the “eureka” moment when I discover something new and it clicks in my mind.

My love of learning has also had an impact on how I’ve run my blogs over the years. It began when I moved over to self-hosted Wordpress - I was too cheap to pay someone to create and maintain my site, so I had to learn to do it myself. I spent hours and hours looking at Wordpress themes, and asking Google how to do things. I learned what the hell a cPanel was, how to add things via FTP (remember that?), how to find good plugins and add them, etc. But Wordpress is a beast to maintain and I got tired of all the upkeep. So I took my talents and site to Squarespace.

Squarespace is amazing. Yes there’s a learning curve, but that’s true for anything. Squarespace is really easy to get set up and start using immediately. I did have to spend a good chunk of time in the Help, and Googling various things, but I figured out how to do things in Squarespace much faster than I did in Wordpress. And Squarespace is so much easier to maintain, and to make changes as needed. I love Squarespace so much that I also created my business site on Squarespace, and I’m thinking of creating a third page for JTM Knits.

Along with Squarespace, I’ve also been teaching myself how to use Canva. I told yall before how much I love Canva and I’ve used it a ton, for all of my sites. Once again, there’s a learning curve, but they have really great tutorials and other tools to help you learn, and they even have experts you can turn to.

Beyond learning the ins and outs of Squarespace, I’m also learning a lot about SEO. I don’t want to game the system, I just want to make sure that more than 3 people read the things that I write :-)

Learning these new things have been fun, but it’s also given me a deeper understanding of my businesses and the inner working. And I can always use more tools in my back pocket.

Things I Read This Week:

The Iowa caucuses suck for Iowans (The Outline)

The Perils of Being ‘Office Oprah’ (The Root)

That ‘Sweatshop-Free’ Label in Your Clothes Is Mostly Still Just a Bunch of Bullshit (MEL Magazine)

America’s Job Listings Have Gone Off the Deep End (The Atlantic)

14 People on How They *Actually* Made New Friends as an Adult (Man Repeller)

These Millennials Got New Roommates. They’re Nuns. (NY Times)

One Day, All of This Will Be Embarrassing (The Atlantic)

Here's How A Christian Group Prevents Same Sex Couples From Adopting, In the Name of 'Religious Freedom' (Jezebel)

The dad from that viral baby video is demonstrating a crucial parenting skill (Quartz)

I Couldn’t See Myself in Any Book I Read in Prep School. It Changed Me More Than You’d Think. (Slate)

7 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Sugar (The Everygirl)

are these men hitting on me via LinkedIn or are they legit business contacts? (Ask A Manager)

Racism Is Not a Youthful Indiscretion; It Is a Deeply-Ingrained Mindset (Pajiba)

A Breakthrough in the Mystery of Why Women Get So Many Autoimmune Diseases (The Atlantic)

Paris Is Burning Is Back—And So Is Its Baggage (Vanity Fair)

Open Thread: If Free Shipping Went Away, Would You Shop Less? (Man Repeller)

The Life of a Facebook Moderator Sounds Even Worse Than You Imagined (Gizmodo)

The Revenge of the Poverty-Stricken College Professors Is Underway in Florida. And It's Big. (Jezebel)

They Gave America 13 Goals—And Got a Lecture in Return (The Atlantic)

Other Stuff:

Did you catch Euphoria on HBO? It’s the new show starring Zendaya, and McSteamy from Greys Anatomy is also in it. The first episode was trippy but I liked it. I really like seeing Zendaya step out of the Disney star role and do something much more edgy. I can’t all the way relate to the portrayal of teenagers or the drug use, but I dig what I saw so far and I’m interested in where they take it.

My friend Rachel was a guest on The Nod this week! It’s a really good episode, and you should just add The Nod to your regular podcast list.

Also Rachel mentioned this game in her weekly roundup and it is addictive, which means you should play it immediately.

I’m actually finding time to read a book! I’m currently reading The Signal and The Noise for work, a part of my role as a data analyst. I just started but I really like it and I’m fascinated by the storytelling.

Have a great weekend!

Hollywood, Please Give Me More "Insecure" and less "Twelve Years A Slave"

 
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I told yall about how I grew up in a super pro-Black home right? In my house, it was all about Blackness: Black movies, Black TV shows, Black books, Black dolls, Black music, Black everything. In my house, I pretty much watch whatever if it was Black, which is why I saw a lot of Spike Lee and John Singleton films before I was probably old enough, LOL. And I was blessed to come of age in the golden age of Black TV, with shows like Martin, Living Single, In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, New York Undercover and more. I even grew up with indie stuff, like Sankofa and Just Another Girl on the IRT.

Back then, the good old days of 90’s film/TV, we had such a diversity of images and stories being told. We had some stories of struggle and violence (Boyz In The Hood, Menace II Society) but we also had carefree stories (House Party) , and even romcoms (Boomerang). And then we went through this drought, where we hardly saw ourselves on TV or in film, and if we did get a film, it was probably a Tyler Perry Madea special - no shade to those who like that sort of thing, but it’s not my cup of tea for a variety of reasons.

It seems now like the pendulum is swinging back towards what we saw in the 90s, with a greater diversity of creators and stories being told, which I love. But what I don’t love is the type of stories that I feel bombarded with.

Frankly, I’m tired of seeing Black pain and oppression presented as entertainment.

A few week’s ago, Netflix released Ava Duvernay’s powerful miniseries, When They See Us, which focuses on the Central Park Five and the unjust, inhumane way they were treated. I know folks who watched and wept at every episode. I know folks who only made it through one episode before they had to turn it off, never to watch again. But me, I’m not even starting it - I won’t be tuning in. This is not because I don’t love Ava Duvernay’s work (I do) or that I don’t find this story worth telling (I do). It’s because I don’t think Black folks should be the ones watching this story at all.

We know what pain and trauma and oppression look like. We live with it everyday. We’re the first ones to share stories of police brutality or yet another unarmed Black person being murdered by the police or of a Black church being burned to the ground. We live with these atrocities and we already know these stories. It’s not us who should be watching this story, It’s white people. They are the ones who need to see and internalize the pain these young men endured.

i’m so happy that Black creators - from producers to directors to screenwriters and beyond - are getting the opportunity to create their own projects and share their stories, and our stories with the world. But is it asking too much that we share less about our Black pain and more about our Black joy? I’m tired of seeing us as slaves, as second class citizens enduring Jim Crow laws, of us living in poverty. I don’t need films or TV to teach me these stories, or to make it more real for me. All it does for me is inflict more pain and more trauma. Sure I could watch Rosewood or Twelve Years A Slave or Mudbound, but I know it will end with me in tears and feeling such a…a heaviness and sadness. And I don’t want that. So I don’t watch.

I do however, watch Insecure. And I watch Queen Sugar. And I watch Blackish and grownish and Dear White People. I love to see Black people doing regular degular smegular things, like fix their broken relationships or try to fit in at work. I want to see all different types of Black folks, that demonstrate the diversity of the Black experience, and how there isn’t just one way to be Black. I’m engaged and invested in Issa and Molly on Insecure because in them, I see myself and my own existence. I loved seeing Zoe grow on Blackish and now do stupid college student stuff on grownish. It’s relateable but more importantly, even at the “worst” moments, it’s not rooted in pain and oppression. It’s simply Black people living their lives and telling their stories.

Twitter told me that Octavia Spencer is producing a movie about the Tulsa race riots. While I hope it’s going to be better than that revisionist history presented in The Green Book, and while I love Octavia Spencer, I’m not looking forward to this one. It’s an important story that should be told, but I hope that we also get some films greenlit that show carefree Black people living their lives, and maybe some Black joy in it as well.

24. Party Girl

 
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Happy Friday everyone! We made it to the weekend!

Last weekend, I had a girl’s night out for the first time in…it’s been so long I don’t even remember. My line sister Amanda was in town, and she got together a group of her high school friends, her sister and me. I love her sister and it was nice to meet some new ladies - her high school friends were very nice and welcoming. Our night started with dinner, and then we hit not one, not two but THREE different night spots. I didn’t make it home until 2AM!

After my night out with the girls, I’m confident that I’m not missing anything out here in these streets, especially at the clubs/party spots. I loved doing that stuff when I was young and single, but I’ve gotten it all out of my system. I had a good time thanks to the company I was with, but I could have had an equally good time at a lounge spot, or just chilling at someone’s house. I’m past the days where I need to be seen at the latest spot - at this point I just want to be incognito and have a chill time.

One the plus side, I debuted a cute dress and I found a new chill spot for my next date night with William.

Also I was totally useless the next day, so I’m clearly too old for this staying out all night life.

Next weekend, when I’m knitting on my couch, I will have zero worries that I’m missing anything. I’m old and washed and that is ok.

Things I Read This Week:

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Have “Ideal” Marriage Where They Don’t Live Together (Vanity Fair)

Re-Parenting Yourself Is One of the Hardest (But Most Important) Things You’ll Ever Do (MEL Magazine)

Alabama allows rapists to share custody of resulting children. So does Minnesota. (City Pages)

Men Aren’t Quite Sure How to Be Abortion-Rights Activists (The Atlantic)

The Creator Of HBO's "Chernobyl" Would Love If You Stopped Taking Nuclear Disaster Selfies (Buzzfeed)

There’s Nothing Wrong With Posing for Photos at Chernobyl (The Atlantic)

No One Talks About Perimenopause—It’s Time to Change That (Glamour)

The Range: A Summer Sneaker (Capitol Hill Style)

Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure. (USA Today)

Re-Watch Your Favorite Movies With the Captions On (Lifehacker)

Drag Race Inc.: What’s Lost When a Subculture Goes Pop? (Vulture)

The scourge of millennial job-hopping is a myth (Quartz)(

Lesbians And Queer Women Do Not Exist For Your Entertainment (Role Reboot)

Are doulas the key to help save black mothers' lives? (Motherly)

The 25 Best Music Documentaries to Stream & Where to Watch Them (Highsnobiety)

24 Fashion Documentaries Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Watch (Highsnobiety)

Sick of traffic? Get cities to invest in bikes and mass transit, says report (Curbed)

Ava DuVernay vs. Linda Fairstein: Fact Checking 'When They See Us' (Pajiba)

The cast of Sesame Street offers the most heartwarming Tiny Desk concert ever (The AV Club)

15 Rare Photos of Black Rosie the Riveters (Stuff Mom Never Told You)

A Brief History of Doughnuts (Stuff You Missed In History Class)

Other Stuff:

A few months ago I visited The Coven, a women’s social club and coworking space here in Minneapolis. I loved it but I couldn’t justify joining considering that i have an office to go to during the week. The Coven clearly heard my desire to join because they added a Social membership, and they ran a special discount for the Social membership over the summer! That was all I needed to take the plunge and I absolutely love being part of this community. The Social membership gets me 3 visits per month which is perfect for me - on my no meetings days I can work from there instead of my office or at home.

I’ve watched 2 of the 3 episodes in the newest season of Black Mirror on Netflix - first of all, why are there only 3 episodes? That’s wack! I really liked the first episode “Striking Vipers” but I wasn’t a huge fan of the second episode “Smithereens”. I’ll probably finish it off this weekend.

And speaking of Netflix, you must watch The Black Godfather - it’s a documentary about Clarence Avant and his amazing life. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think you’ll be fascinated by his story and delighted by him. Go watch it and tell me what you think.

Also remember how I was on the hunt for some good ankle pants? I love the pair I got from Old Navy, so I’m going to get a few more. I also really love my NYDJ ankle pants.

This weekend is Father’s Day - do you have any special plans? William requested golf time and a home-cooked dinner, but I also got him a couple of things I think he will like.

Have an awesome weekend!