March is Cerebral Palsy Celebration Month

As the shirt says. “Cerebral Palsy Is Not For The Weak” and my baby sis is definitely a winner. The odds were against her from the day she was born, but guess who prevailed? That’s right! Brandi Renea Ramsey did!

Meet my baby sis, Brandi. I know she looks like she’s 15, (she hates it when I say that), but she is actually 24. Brandi has Cerebral Palsy. If you’ve never heard of CP before, or have heard of it but don’t know what it is, it’s a condition that occurs when there has been some sort of injury or malformation of the brain, before, during, or after birth. In turn, it impacts the development and movement of the muscles in various ways. It also effects cognition, which is the ability to gain and process information. Some say that it’s difficult to determine the cause of cerebral palsy, while others claim that it’s due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. In Brandi’s case, it was most likely the latter.

On the day that Brandi was supposed to grace this world for the very first time, her mom stopped breathing while she was in labor, (we have different moms but we don’t do that half-sister mess around here). Fortunately, the doctors managed to save her mother’s life, but the effects that it had on this little baby bundle had already been set in motion. From that point on, literally, from the womb to the room, Brandi was sure to face impending challenges.

Brandi’s challenges living with Cerebral Palsy, as she began to develop, were very apparent. She wasn’t moving at the rate that other babies/toddlers would move at, nor were the muscles in her legs and back functioning normally either. Brandi didn’t walk until the age of five years old, but up until that point, she had multiple surgeries, one of which was to help straighten out her vertebrae. She went from wearing a body cast, to casts on both legs, which confined her to a wheelchair for some time, to leg braces and therapy, to a walker. There were so many attempts to improve her state, but the reality of her walking on her own was still uncertain. However, if you know anything about a grandmother’s love, then you know that they are like miracle workers sometimes, (at least that’s how we view them).

This feisty lovely woman right here is grandma Jean.

So, in addition to Brandi’s therapy, grandma Jean worked with her consistently until she was able to actually walk. That walker was simply a tool to help her balance as she struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Her legs were very thin and one was not completely proportioned or as erect as the other, which caused her to tilt a bit to one side, but she never stopped moving.

She knew that she was different early on, so dealing with name-calling, physical limitations, learning challenges, and bullying didn’t make it any better, nor help her confidence level much either. Brandi had some nice friends between elementary and middle school, but there were just as many, if not more, mean kids that would make fun of her by calling her names or teasing her about the way she looked. There was even one little jerk middle school boy that she told me about later in life, that pushed her down a hill one day as she was walking to get on the bus. What a bully! Some kids can be so cruel. I wish I had been around back then when that happened, I would have kicked his butt and sent him flying down that same hill, after I made sure she was okay. (But we didn’t live together, so I didn’t hear this story until we were grown). Needless to say, those were hurtful days for her, but she also had learning difficulties. It took her a much longer time than other students to grasp, retain, and understand information presented to her. Math was confusing, comprehension in reading was difficult, and because the muscles in her hands were very stiff, her hands and fingers were not aligned normally, they curved to the side a bit, therefore, writing was also challenging. And it wasn’t just limited to writing, imagine not being able to do some of the simple things that most of us take for granted like buttoning your own shirt, tying shoelaces, or gripping items easily without dropping them. It was a process, but like many other students with deficits that significantly inhibit learning on any level, Brandi received special education services and instruction to help her in those areas. But as her shirt says in the first pic in this post, Cerebral Palsy is Not for the weak. Meaning, you will go through so many physical, emotional, and mental challenges as a result of it, that it takes support, strength and endurance to get through those times so you don’t just completely give up. But as the shirt also says, my sis is a “Warrior” so let’s talk about the triumphs.

Brandi is a Cerebral Palsy Warrior! After those crazy days in elementary and middle school, next came an even more challenging beast, high school. Do you remember what high school was like back when you were a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior? (I have some stories, but that’s another post for another day.) Even if it was too long ago to recall, think about what high school students are like and up against today, then imagine what it must be like for someone with preexisting issues. Students without deficits often struggle with self-esteem, bullying, peer pressure, self-identity, and other adolescent growing pains, so I’m sure this had to be a very scary new situation for Brandi with all that she was dealing with inside and out. After talking to her about it, she relayed that she didn’t have all the bullying issues that she did in middle school, rather, her main issue at that point was learning the information. While her peers were on their specific grade level for learning, Brandi was still on a 6th or 7th grade level in high school. She said her biggest struggle was grades, and keeping up with work. I asked her how she overcame these challenges, and she said, “They wanted to give me a certificate for graduation, but I didn’t want a certificate, I wanted a diploma. So I had to just buckle down and try to focus more. I got help from my teachers, friends, tutors, and family, and just did it.” And she did just that! Brandi graduated from high school on May 23, 2014 with her high school diploma.

Clearly blue is her color. It was high school graduation day!

Not only did she graduate from high school, but Brandi was interested in becoming a health care worker, so while in high school, she was enrolled in a program called Project Search. For those who have never heard of Project Search before, it’s a program that partners with schools’ special education department to help students with disabilities transition into the work force. This allows students to gain skills for work so they are employable. It also builds confidence and encourages skills for self-sufficiency. Students are set up with entry-level positions for a span of a year, and if successful, they have a graduation ceremony at the business site, where they are honored for their hard word and dedication, they are presented with a certificate of completion and a medal, and are able to either apply for a job at the site where they interned, or for other available positions elsewhere. Brandi worked at a hospital in the human resources department. Her duties were filing papers, basic data entry and answering phones. She was trained for a period of two weeks, before she engaged fully and independently in her position on her own. Brandi proudly completed the program a year later in May of 2015. She was excited to graduate and applied to the hospital for employment, unfortunately, she was not hired. However, she continued to apply for work elsewhere. She finally found and took a position at a movie theater, and has been there for almost five years. She was even recognized with an award for being the employee with the best customer service, in addition to customer compliments . She is currently considering going back to school for some type of trade, possibly in office administration, but is seeking out ways to become a motivational speaker and advocate for those with Cerebral Palsy. Brandi has a friend with CP who also graduated from the program, who is currently working as a special education English teacher, which goes to show that limitations can be surpassed and so can stereotypes.

There are different types of cerebral palsy, so the effects on each individual is different, and some are more severe than others, but in all cases, sufferers of cerebral palsy are people too, and this is a celebration of them and their journey, more specifically, of Brandi’s journey. She beat the odds of possibly not walking, of having someone do every little thing for her, or just simply being a stereotypical statistic. This once quiet child, with the big smile, won’t stop talking now, has had a boyfriend before, is able to do many things for herself, and is still building to learn more. I have been teaching her how to cook (grandma Jean had her spoiled rotten, so I teach her to do more things for herself when she is at my house…loll. That’s what big sister’s are for lolll). Overall, Brandi’s progress has been a group effort of family, (siblings, mom, grandmom, aunt, etc.), teachers, counselors, and friends, but ultimately, it has been a reflection of her effort as well.

So if you are the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, then I praise you for your hard work, dedication, love, time, commitment, patience, and diligence, because it is just as challenging for the parent as the child, and sometimes you get overlooked in the process. That is why You Are More Than A Parent. And for those who have Cerebral Palsy, continue to live life on your level and beyond, You are Amazing and You matter. Today is March 31st, the last day of Cerebral Palsy month, however, they live with it everyday, so to me, Everyday of their life is a Celebration.

*** For parents who need support for yourself or your child with Cerebral Palsy, search the organizations in your state and contact them to see what services they offer to help you.

As Always, Create A Good Day and Cherish Each Moment That You Have. Peace and Love Parents. ~ Kiyoko D.

A Child’s Voice

Who remembers what it was like staying at their grandparents or other family members’ houses for the weekend or during the week when their parents were at work? Some of you probably hold very dear memories of them, where there’s lots of laughter, good food, a house full of cousins running in and out of doors, and the elders are sitting around telling stories about the “good old days.” While others, either have no memories worthy of sharing, or the stories are so far stretched from the good old days, that they prefer them to be unreachable. I can attest to both.

Quite often, my siblings and I stayed days with my maternal grandparents while my parents were working, and I can tell you right now that they had their own ways of doing things. They had very clear expectations of how they felt children should conduct themselves; and when they asked you to do something, you had better already be in the midst of moving as you were saying “yes ma’am or yes sir.” They were strict, and they subscribed to some very old school rules and ways when it came to raising children. Some were good and some weren’t. One in particular, that I remember clearly, yet never liked, was their motto, “children are to be seen and not heard.” That meant speak when spoken to, in the manner that you were taught to respond, and nothing else, and it didn’t matter if the grown ups were right or wrong, you better not utter a word that formed behind your lips. There was no room for any extra commentary, opinions, feelings, or anything else that may have been going on in your head. Now I’m not referring to being reprimanded for talking back to your parents because I do agree with teaching respect. I also believe that all that extra lip service when a child is in trouble for doing something wrong is disrespectful and grounds for a parent correcting that. Rather, I am talking about having absolutely No voice at all, or being able to express yourself. There was no room for that in their house, and I always felt like there was something wrong with shutting a child down like that. Some say that it doesn’t impact children at all, but I believe that it does, mostly because I was one of them.

woman placing duct tape on her mouth
photo by Maria Krisanova of Unsplash

The Questions: Now that I have my own children, I sometimes find myself critiquing and doing self checks to see if what I do impacts them negatively or positively. So here are some questions. How often do you talk to your child(ren)? Do you know what he or she is feeling or thinking about certain things like themselves, their friends, you, the things going on around them in the world, or school, and the possibility of a hopeful future? Does a child’s voice… your child’s voice matter, or are they meant to be seen and not heard?

If given the time to hear the responses to some of these questions, you may be surprised at the answers. An even better question to ask self would be, if they are not talking to you, then who are they talking to? Either one of a few of things are “possibly” happening if they are not talking to you: they are speaking to someone else they feel more comfortable with, (which could be good or bad, depending on who that individual is), they are not talking at all and trying to figure things out on their own, the best way that they can, based on what they see and hear from others, or they are not talking at all and are internalizing everything that they see, feel, hear, and think, which can also have unpredictable outcomes. Either way, at some point, there will be some effects to muting or disregarding a child’s voice, and the chances that they will not be positive are there in wait.

So why is this such an issue? I believe the issue may be that some of us, as adults, do not know how to communicate and express ourselves effectively, so how can we completely do the same with our children. Go back for a moment and think about how you were brought up. How did your parents talk to you and vice versa? Were you able to confide in them, and if not, how did that make you feel? Who did you talk to? Do you think these things had an impact on you? Okay, now fast forward to today. How do you communicate in situations with other adults now? What about other people’s children versus your own? How do you respond when you have to discuss something uncomfortable or hurtful, and what about when you have to admit to a wrongdoing or address one? Those can all be some difficult things to explore depending on who you are, your background, and how you process and approach situations. Everything is not always as simple as it seems.

Now I know that those are a lot of questions to consider and meditate on, and you are probably commenting to yourself on some of them right now, but it All matters. Hopefully your voice mattered when you were younger, but if not, I am hear to tell you that it should have, and I invite you to encourage your children to have a voice as well.

Their Voices Are Important, And it is equally important that we learn how to communicate with them in a manner that shows that they matter, while still making sure that they respect the parent- child relationship. So how do we do that? In an article published by a company called Benestar, they assert that, “parent-child relationships are complex” and “communicating isn’t a straightforward process” because “Too often, miscommunications and misunderstandings occur because the message received wasn’t the message intended… Many parents feel disconnected and unable to communicate with their children, resulting in frustration and even heartbreak for both parties. It’s crucial for parents to consider whether their communications — both their words and their actions — support or harm their relationships with children. Apart from the written and spoken word, communication can be non-verbal and expressed using body language, touching and even eye contact through giving someone a “look”, whether that be a loving, angry, quizzical or even that crazed look we sometimes see on a parent’s face when they are at their wits’ end. The key thing is that each of these forms of communication results in sharing messages and meanings. Do you know how your children interpret your conversations with them?” (McAlpine, “Benestar”).

Now that was a lot to take in, but I like it, because I know that there are times when we say something to someone, and they take it completely different than we meant it or vice versa. Consider coming home from a really long and crappy day at work, (which I have experienced on more than one occasion), not wanting to be bothered at all but unintentionally take your frustrations out on whoever is around, either through attitude, speech or body language. I have definitely been guilty of doing that before, but I am imperfectly human and it happens. I think the problem shows up, when it becomes a damaging habit to those it is directed at, our children.

So back to the question posed prior to the information from the article, what do we do? How do we exercise positive communication with our children, and still maintain that parent-child respect level at the same time. I think that being aware is the first step in anything before you can consider ways to correct the issue.

One thing you will hear me say often is, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to parenting. You can always find some similarities and differences between people, however, what works for one, may not always work for another. Therefore, in my opinion, some practical tips to examine are always a good starting point.

I read a lot, and outside of what I have learned as a parent myself, or from other parents, organizations, and even children, (because remember, there are things that can be learned from “their voice” as well), there was always something beneficial that I could apply. I may not agree with everything that I have seen and read before, but life is like that, you pull from the things that serve you in great ways and the ones that don’t, you leave them where they are, because it may work for someone else. So I am going to post some of the tips that I found encouraging in this current article from Benestar, and you may find some of them useful as well. I will also attach the link for those who are interested in reading the full article.

Below are Tips from Dr. Rosina McAlpine’s (Benestar) article “How to Build a Healthy Parent-Child Bond Through Effective Communication”:  

– Focus your words and actions on proactively educating your children about what to say and do, rather than putting them down and labeling them

– To help your children develop good self-esteem,you can use your communications to create opportunities for your children to reflect on their own achievements and on their beliefs about themselves

– Help your child understand that communication is about an exchange, so there are times when they can speak and times when they need to listen. One of the main ingredients of good communication is active listening. Research shows, however, that most people are not good listeners. People want to be heard and understood and it is for this reason that active listeners tend to have more successful interpersonal relationships. Give your child opportunities to practise their listening skills. You can also practise your listening skills by asking your child if they feel they have enough opportunities to share with you what is going on in their lives and if they feel that you share openly what is going on in your life. Relationships are about open communication from both sides, so these kinds of activities help parents and children become closer.

– Instigate a short daily talk with your children to “catch up” and share what is happening in your life and theirs. This activity opens a regular communication channel between parents and their children, supports relationship building and trust and, most importantly, provides the opportunity for your child to share their concerns and for you to discover any difficulties before they become big problems. It’s best to simply listen rather than jump in to fix things or offer advice and solutions. Ask if they need help first and, if so, offer a variety of ideas they can choose from rather than provide “the” answer. This will help your child develop problem-solving skills for themselves and feel that it is OK to reach out for help without being “lectured to” or told what to do.  

– Invite them to observe a person’s body language and to learn to trust their instinct when they feel a person is not being truthful with them. By being truthful with your children you model trustworthy communications.  

– Help them identify the qualities they are looking for in a friend so they are more likely to attract and nurture supportive friendships. Helping children know what it means to be a good friend and to develop communication skills will help them make and keep the right kind of friends. Research shows that having even only one good friend can be a major support and can reduce the incidence of depression and suicide when times are tough and children need someone to lean on.

– Help your children manage and express their anger in a way that does not hurt others. Feeling anger is a normal and natural part of life. Things can go wrong and people can get angry! However, some people take their anger out on others and this can destroy relationships. Ask your children if they’ve noticed that when they’re angry they often say or do things they feel sorry about later. For example, when they’re angry they may say hurtful things to a friend or family member and then have to apologise when they calm down. Help your children understand that they are smarter when they are calmer because anger affects the mind. Using age-appropriate language, explain how the process works. When people get angry (adults and children), certain processes occur in the body: the heart rate goes up, blood pressure increases, body temperature rises and hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) enter the brain. Anger is associated with the fight, flight or freeze response to a situation when the person feels threatened. When that response kicks in, the part of your brain responsible for making decisions, the conscious brain (logic and sense-making), takes a backseat to the unconscious, primitive part of the brain responsible for reacting quickly to stress (running, freezing or fighting). It’s good to help your child remember that it’s their primitive brain functioning when they’re angry, so what comes out is usually not very smart! That’s why it is best not to act or speak when they’re angry except, of course, to get out of harm’s way. Help your child understand that it’s best to calm down before responding. That way they will have less to apologise for as they will be able to respond from the smarter “conscious” brain rather than the primitive “unconscious” brain.

To read the full article go to: https://benestar.com/articles/parent-child-bond-through-communication

My Final Thoughts: I think Dr. McAlpine is onto something in her strategies here. I hope you discover something beneficial between the things that I have relayed in this blog, and the research based information provided from Dr. McAlpine. Keeping in mind that each child is unique and that there is no “one size fits all approach to parenting” doesn’t it feel good to know that, even if you don’t agree with everything you hear, it is most definitely a plus to have something to reference from. Communication is important, and in that, we must be able to give our children a “Voice” while we maintain our own as we parent them. I know first-hand that Parenting can be just as challenging as it is rewarding, and that is why We Are “More Than a Parent” that continues to learn as we teach while raising our children. – All things done in love. Thank you for reading. I welcome you to please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, or tips in the comments; and if you are interested in reading more, Please Like, Subscribe, Share, and don’t forget that You Are More Than A Parent.

~ Peace and Love,

Kiyoko D.

Featured photo by Chinh Le Duc of Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/TV1QYUtTxJ8

Every Parent Needs A Village

Photo by Megan Soule on Unsplash

Parenting is like a marriage, once it starts, you’re in it for better or for worse. It’s not like packaging; you can’t just stamp a “return to sender” label on your children and send them back where they came from, (at least we hope not). Rather, it’s a commitment, one that some see all the way through with success, despite the challenges, while others, unfortunately, miss the mark. It’s an immense responsibility. We are responsible for the guidance, molding, safety, overall health, and nurturing of a tiny human. And while there are a plethora of books on the market for parenting, many active parents don’t have the time to sit and read them. Not to mention, even if they do, there is always that one moment when you think you have this parenting thing down to a science, then here comes that next child to derail everything you thought you knew about it and send you right back to the drawing board; but it’s because they are their own unique individuals. And it is for that reason, and many others, that I believe that Every Parent Needs A Village!

When I say village, I mean a support system. You know that old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well it’s true. Think about those grandparents and great grandparents that are there to watch the kids when you have to go to work, or even when you just want to go out and let your hair down because you haven’t been able to in months. They are the village. Consider that one sibling, aunt or uncle, good friend, or trusted neighbor that you call when you feel like you just need a peaceful moment to yourself before you explode or fall apart, they too are the village. In this high stress day and age, we as parents have so many things to deal with outside of parenting, that when we get to the mommy and daddy part of life, we have to be in the proper head space to be loving and effective parents. I keep in mind though that not everyone has a solid support system that they can readily turn to, but wouldn’t it be so much easier to cope with situations if everyone did.

Let me give you personal example. When I was pregnant with my son, his father and I were at odds quite often. His father’s mother had just passed away suddenly, which was only a year after her husband passed from cancer. So needless to say, he was not mentally there and couldn’t handle life very well, nor a baby on the way, (he actually even suggested that I terminate the pregnancy, which I was definitely not going to do), and so that led to him also being physically non-existent. So there I was single, pregnant, working, and stressed. During the first six months of my pregnancy, I went into preterm labor three times, (my son was obviously very eager to come into this world). My doctor kept putting me on medication to stop it, which had me shaking like I had Parkinson’s disease, and the little one felt like he was doing the “Harlem Shake” dance in my womb every time I took a pill. It was terrible. I mean, imagine sitting at the dinner table to eat, but your hands tremble so much that you can barely hold your fork. It was embarrassing in public, and downright annoying at home. I was adamant about coming off of them and exploring other avenues to prevent preterm birth. I eventually ended up on bed rest, however, after my son decided to stay put for awhile, I wound up with pretty bad acid reflux for the last three months of my pregnancy. I couldn’t keep anything down that was processed, contained milk, or was saucy. It was truly miserable. No more french fries drowned in ketchup, no more burgers, or sub sandwiches packed with all the goodies that I loved so much, because if I did, I quickly regretted it. Ok, now I am certain that someone is reading this and thinking how unhealthy those things are, so let me just add that I ate plenty of veggies too. Those just happened to be a few of my pregnancy favs that I craved, but that burning feeling in my chest and not being able to keep those favorites down was much worse than giving them up, so the sacrifice was a necessary evil. Then, a miracle happened, as soon as I gave birth, no more reflux! I was beyond happy, and if memory serves me, I think I danced a little in my hospital bed after the first time I was able to eat, and actually keep everything down, but it was short-lived. People, when I tell you that life threw me a swift curve ball and decided to introduce me to the world of irony, it did so in a cruel way.

Just as sudden as my reflux ended, my son’s began. For exactly, the first 3 months of his beautiful little life, (the same amount of time that I had it), he had acid reflux. What are the odds of that? Not only did he have acid reflux, but he also had colic. For those who are unfamiliar with colic, basically it is trapped abdominal gas in babies. If you have ever experienced trapped gas bubbles in your stomach, chest, or back as an adult, then you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be. Yet, as adults, we can take gas-ex or some other aid to help minimize or alleviate it, but when it relates to infants, you are limited in what you can give them for it, if anything at all.

So he cried practically all day long, almost every day. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Picture this… I was a nursing mother who had just given birth, naturally mind you, so I still needed to heal, and I was so exhausted from lack of sleep that I was delirious. When I fed him I had to make sure that I always had him somewhat elevated during and after feedings because the reflux caused the milk to come out of his mouth and nose at the same time, which scared us both, and he didn’t sleep long through the night. So I was constantly rocking, walking, rocking some more, putting him in the car and driving him around to see if that worked, rubbing his belly, patting his back, moving his legs back and forth, and anything else that I could think of to try to relieve this baby and myself. I was on the brink of insanity, and I use to think to myself, “is this what postpartum depression feels like, because I think I’ve got it?” When he cried, sometimes I was crying too, frustrated, and not knowing if I was going to make it through or not. I truly wanted that “return to sender” label once or twice.

I needed that village, and one day, it came to town in the form of my friend’s mother. Bless her beautiful, calm, and loving, “took pity on me” soul. She saw me going through the struggle life and said, “let me have the baby, you go upstairs and rest for awhile.” I was hesitant because I didn’t want to stress her out too, but at the same time, I was so out of my head, that I was also overjoyed inside that someone else even wanted to try to help out. As soon as I heard him crying, I felt a little guilty, so I started to go back and get him, but before I even made it all the way downstairs, the crying stopped. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know what kind of magic this woman did, but I am grateful for it.” It was the best sleep ever. Of course, I awoke to him crying again, but at least by that time, my body had a little bit of what it needed to face the night ahead. She stayed in town for a week, and while she was there she was such a valuable blessing to me. She had grown children of her own, as well as grandchildren, so she was far more experienced than I was in child rearing. She gave me tips on how to hold him and comfort him to ease and move the gas, and she even passed a couple of much needed old school remedies for him and for myself. When she left, he still had the same issues for awhile, and at times, it was still very stressful, but I felt a bit more equipped to handle it and be ok.

That is just a small glimpse into why it is so important that we as parents have a support system. Whether you are a single parent, a two parent household, a teen parent, an older parent, a grandparent raising kids, or even one who is raising siblings, that network of support is crucial for many things.

Now I know there is someone out there that is probably asking what do you do if you don’t have a village to go to, or a family or a friend support system. My suggestion is this, consider creating what you need. Meaning look for people that not only have similar issues as you do, but ones that do not have those issues, and are doing better in their situations. The benefit to that is having others present that you can share information with to help build one another up. It serves two purposes: 1) letting you know that you are not alone in whatever it is you are going through, and 2) the possibility of gaining resources and tips for either coping or maneuvering your way through your situation. By doing so, you have now created the “village” that not only you need, but possibly others as well. One way that this can be done is by simply starting a small group meetup with a few people to network, discuss, and share out. It can be informal or formal, and does not cost a thing to do. You can meetup at someone’s house, a restaurant, or a public park, whatever suits you best.

I know for some it is uncomfortable to talk to others they don’t know, but when we step outside of our comfort zones, that is usually when things begin to manifest for our benefit, but you will never know unless you give it a shot.

Depending on where you live, there may be few or many resources available to you. Google can be your friend in instances like these. Conducting a google search can help you determine if there are organizations in your area that offer free to low cost group sessions, workshops, or even hotlines that can be used to simply release. These places are also part of the Village. Whether you have a support system in place, you seek an organization to fill that need, or you create one, I believe that Everybody needs somebody. And if you just happen to be that person that says, “I don’t need anybody but myself, because I know that I can always count on me,” (as I have said once upon a time in my own life), then in my opinion, you are the main one that will benefit from it. It may very well be, that in turn, you become the village that someone else needs, even if it is just by giving a kind word that was given at the right time to uplift someone.

I thank you for allowing me to share my experiences, thoughts, and suggestions with you. I am not an expert on parenting, but I am a parent and I hope that someone was able to take something positive from my post today, so until next time, Remember, “All Things Done in Love.” Peace!

~ Kiyoko

You Are “More Than A Parent”

“Good parenting is subjective and the same tips don’t work for all people.”— Brandi Rossi.

Who really has the formula for what it takes to be the perfect parent? If you find that person, give them my phone number, address, and all of my social media contacts so they have no issues reaching me, because I am by no means anywhere close to the perfect parent. A Pretty Amazing Parent?… Yes! Made my share of mistakes?… Absolutely! But perfect? Not by a long shot. The truth is, in a perfect world, there would be perfect parents, but in this day and age, even the best of the best meet with challenges and learn along the way in the journey of parenting, and I am no exception. So let me tell you what happened to me one day.

I was scrolling through sites on the internet to get some new ideas on fun stuff to do with kids and ran across this parenting site. I don’t remember what it was called, but I do remember the quote I saw on it. It read, “Ever had a job where you had no experience, no training, you weren’t allowed to quit, and people’s lives were at stake? That’s parenting.” All I could do was laugh as I thought about how, once upon a time, that related directly to me, and probably still relates to so many others. I interact with kids and parents all the time at work, so I know first hand that some days parents feel like, “I got this! Piece of cake,” and other days, it’s like trial and error, and you just hope and pray that you get it right.

Well, what I do know is this, the role of parenting isn’t limited to just wearing the title of mom or dad, making meals, or getting them ready for school.  Parents are protectors, counselors, entertainers, nurturers, accountants, listeners, teachers, and the list can go on and on.  If you think about it, we are the “jack of all trades” because we play multiple roles; and that is why we are More than just parents. My name is Kiyoko Demings aka todae2luv1, and this is the first of many posts to come. This is a place where I will be sharing experiences (some funny, some serious), tips from other parents, discussing issues, joys, some research-based information and resources that may be helpful. Most of all, I would like to build, connect with and hear from you, and hopefully you will gain something from my posts, even if it is just knowing that you are not alone in whatever it is that you are experiencing as a parent. I am not the authority on parenting, so this is not a blog to tell you what you should or should not do as a parent, and there is no parent bashing or negativity in this blog home, just building. And as I like to say often, “All Things Done in Love.” So stay tuned for more, and don’t forget to Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates. Peace!