Archive for March, 2012


So one of my siblings is the inspiration behind this post. We had a conversation not too long ago about the difference having a father makes in a female’s life. Some points we agreed on and some we did not. Overall, we were in agreement that it definitely does make a difference.

Unfortunately in a lot of black communities, not having a father in the picture is an all too common occurrence. I guess that’s why not having my father around while I grew up really didn’t bother me. I’m grown now, and it still doesn’t. Perhaps not having anything to compare it to is what keeps me from missing what I never had. If anything, I’d say it has made me a stronger and more independent person.

I can also look at it like my father loved me enough to stay away. What I mean by that is if he knew he couldn’t be there for me, be a positive example to me, and be a good father in general, then maybe staying away was the best thing he could do for me. I was spared the broken promises of visits or Christmas gifts that other children have to go through. Of course we’re not all the same. The same situations and circumstances affect different people in different ways. So I can understand the person who feels like they missed out on a lot by not having a father there.

On the flipside, I would agree that there are some areas where having a father in a female’s life is most beneficial. If a girl does not have that living example in front of her of a real man, a real provider, a real protector, a real father, a real husband, how will she ever be able to identify one for herself? If she doesn’t bare witness to the love and respect a man gives to his wife firsthand, how does she learn that that’s how she is to be treated too? A woman can tell her daughter the does and don’ts of dating and sex all she wants, but no one can deliver that same information from a man’s perspective like a man.

I would like to say to the fatherless daughters out there who are now grown, it’s time to get over it. Yes, we missed out and it’s unfortunate but harping on the past will not change or help anything. We can’t get that time back. Even if we could, you can’t force anyone to do something they can’t or don’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that the absence of our fathers made a difference in our lives. Acknowledge, accept, and move on.

Lastly, to my fathers out there: It’s about that time! It’s easy to make excuses. “I can’t stand my daughter’s mother”, “I pay child support so that’s enough”, “I don’t know if she’s really my child” and whatever other lame ass excuses dead beats come up with. Just stop it. I’m not going to take the time now to address every excuse, because that’s a whole other post. Just know for every excuse you can come up with, there is an action you can take to get through it and get to what’s important. That is being a father, a real father, to your daughters. These kids these days are getting more grown faster and faster. You will have no one else to blame if twenty years from now you walk into a strip club and find your baby girl swinging around somebody’s pole! I would like to end this on a positive note though. So to all my fathers that are out there really handling their business, providing for their daughters, being positive examples for them, taking time to converse with them, and putting that time in with them: big ups to you 🙂 !

As I have already pointed out in a previous post, I have a great appreciation for maintaining close relationships with one’s parents. We started out as sperm from our fathers. We grow inside our mother’s womb and bond with her for nine months. We carry both of their DNA. They are a part of us and we are a product of them. Even if a person is adopted, they have still been cared for and nurtured by their adopted parents growing up. So it’s understandable that we would be close to them…but is there such thing as being too close?

Ladies, we have all come across that mama’s boy. I personally dated a guy who was such a mama’s boy that he actually used to help his mother bathe – as an adult! And no, she was not old or handicapped. She was a full able bodied person. He thought it was the most normal thing in the world. Guys, I know you’ve probably come across that daddy’s girl that just won’t shut up about her father. She’s in a rush for you to meet him and, in some cases, even tries to turn you into him.

I see nothing wrong with talking to your mother or father often, being there for them when they need you, spending time with them, or seeking their help in times of great need for their wisdom and advice. However, there comes the time when the umbilical cord should be cut.

Most relationships whether romantic, platonic, familial, or whatever change at some point. Adapting to change is a constant part of life. Therefore, we should expect our relationships with our parents to change a little once we become adults and are out on our own. How can we expect to function as an independent, responsible adult if we run to Mommy and Daddy every time we run into tough times?

I see it all the time. Young adults, in particular, run into financial binds but don’t give it a second thought because they know they automatically have their parents to fall back on to bail them out. I’m not talking about getting laid off or situations where one may really fall on hard times for whatever reason. Although we have the option to be responsible and plan for a rainy day, no one can really plan for those types of occurrences. I’m talking about the repeat offenders who carelessly squander their money away knowing that they can just call Mommy or Daddy to help them out. I’m talking about that young lady who chose to buy a closet full of Gucci bags instead of paying the rent on time. She doesn’t have to fear eviction because she knows Daddy will either pay the back rent or let her move right back home.

I’m talking about that young man living with his girlfriend. Every time they have a fight, the first person he calls is Mama. Each time they’re having problems in the relationship, Mama knows about it all because he’s on the phone with her for hours telling all their business. He’s so used to being babied by his mother that he’s looking for his girlfriend to pick up where she left off. He expects her to be just like her.

I too have to catch myself sometimes. Being so close to my mom, she comes up in my conversations often. I have to stop and remind myself, “Jewel this man don’t wanna keep listening to you talking ‘bout my mom this and my mom that”. He’s going to start wondering is he dating me or me and my mama :)!

Parents should realize that they could be hindering more than helping their children with these types of unhealthy, overly close relationships. I say this because how can we seriously expect these Mama’s boys and Daddy’s girls to move on to become successful matriarchs and patriarchs of their own families if they were never allowed that transition period? When I speak of the transition period, I’m talking about the time during which we stand on our own two feet, solve our own problems, learn from our mistakes, and become responsible pillars of the community. Okay maybe “pillars of the community” was a bit of overkill but you get where I’m going. How can a man be a man, a husband to his wife, a father to his own children if he can’t pop his mama’s titty out his mouth long enough to tend to his own family? How can a woman be a wife to her husband if she never hopped off her daddy’s lap in the first place?

It goes both ways too. I’ve seen those who drop everything they’re doing every time their parent has a so-called “crisis”. I see this more with mothers, especially those with no significant other. I would never suggest a person not be there for their mother, but it becomes a thin line between being there for her and taking the place of her significant other. If he’s taking his mother out on more dates than his own wife, I’d say that’s an issue. If you can’t get through a movie without his mom calling three times, that may be a sign of being too close. If she invites her dad on the romantic getaway you planned, that might be a sign too.

In conclusion, being a Mama’s boy or Daddy’s girl might’ve been cute when you were ten but as an adult you may want to reevaluate just how cute it still is.

I chose this topic because I’m getting sick and tired of every time I turn around hearing grown ass people blaming their parents for mistakes they’re making in their own lives. At some point we must take responsibility for our own choices. I love when I watch TV these days and an interview is being conducted with some wild celebrity, serial killer, or some other type of “troubled person”. The sad music starts to play as they predictably start talking about how they came from a “broken home”, mother drank too much, parents argued a lot, or their father left the home when they were five. Then they try to make some type of connection with these events to explain why they’ve acted out or done something heinous as an adult.

Maybe I’m insensitive, but I feel like yelling at the screen “Get over it! That was like twenty years ago!” I am in no way negating the fact that how we are raised definitely plays a part in the people we become. However, we need to realize that parents are just people like us plain and simple. We can’t hold them to these ridiculously high, super human standards. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes. You’re grown now. It’s okay to let it go…seriously.

Besides, at some point in life we all learn right from wrong even if it’s not at home. So you didn’t get enough hugs as a child. Instead of going on using that as an excuse as to why you’re now not affectionate, become the opposite of what you experienced. Dad walked out on you and mom for his mistress? Guess what! It’s done! It happened and it’s over with. As much as we’d like to go back in time and change what happened, we can’t.

I can speak on this because I come from one of those so-called “broken homes”. My father was absent for the most part of my life and my mother did the best she could. Yes, I witnessed some things growing up that a lot of children may not. Sure, there were things I missed out on and some things my mom forgot to tell me. Then again, maybe she didn’t even know herself. So what! I learned them as I grew into an adult from other sources. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to say to myself “Hmm I didn’t know this was wrong because my father wasn’t around and mom never told me. So I’m just going to blame them and keep right on doing wrong.”

I’m not saying everyone should or can be like me. What I’m saying is that we have a choice to let our childhood experiences hinder us or let them help us. I know plenty of people who didn’t have ideal parents. Some had no parents at all. Instead of using it as an infinite excuse for all their shortcomings, they were able to turn it into positivity. Their parents were on drugs, they saw how it destroyed their home life, and so they never touched them. Their parents weren’t in their life so they make sure they’re at every dance recital, concert, and ball game, etc. for their children.

Please don’t go through life as one big case of “Woe is me, I had bad parents and they’re the root cause of all my issues as an adult”.  I can assure you that for every sad, sob “less-than-perfect parents story”, there is one out there ten times worse than yours.

“The only time you truly become an adult is when you finally forgive your parents for being just as flawed as everyone else.”

Douglas Kennedy

So we don’t get to pick them. Sometimes they get on our nerves. Sometimes they mind our business. Sometimes we plain just wish they’d shut the hell up. Yes, parents are who I’m talking about! Some say they can’t live with them, but can we really live without them? Just take a second and think about it.

Instead of focusing so much on how they should be more of this or less of that, have we taken the time to understand why they may be the way they are? People in general don’t turn out to be who they are by accident. There are reasons, factors, and events that help shape each one of us into who we are. Get to know your parents. I’m not talking about getting to know them as your parents, rather as just another person.

I am not talking about those with parents who have abused, neglected, or abandoned their children.  Although, I’m sure they too have reasons why they chose those routes. I’m talking about those of us who were blessed to be provided for and raised by our parents. I don’t have any children, but I imagine it is not an easy job raising kids. Some of us have no idea what types of obstacles our parents have had to face and overcome to raise us, especially single parents.

We don’t know because our parents have tried to protect us from some of the world’s ugly truths as long as they could. We don’t always see it at the time, but they try to keep us from making the same mistakes they did. If you are one of multiple children, then your parent(s)’ journey was probably even more challenging. Not only have they tried to care, provide for, protect, and love us, but parents with more than one child have had to do all of this while dealing with multiple personalities. If they were dealing with daughters, then those multiple personalities were multiplied even more (lol). Not to mention, I’m sure they had their own issues to deal with while still trying to maintain a household.

Lately I have heard from quite a few adults that they don’t even talk to their parents too often, let alone see or visit them. I have heard statements such as “I don’t have anything to say to my dad” or “I can’t talk to my mom too long because she starts getting on my nerves and I have to hang up on her”.  I think it’s hard for us to understand that even though we may be adults now, it’s hard for parents to just stop being parents to us. On the other hand, I’m also hearing “If my mom was still alive, we’d be doing…” and “I’m not doing anything for the holiday. Usually I would go to my mom’s but this is my first year without her here”.

What is my point here? As adults, we get so wrapped up in our own lives. Sometimes we need a reminder of who really loves us and who really has our back when sh*t hits the fan. If you have a close relationship with your parent(s), congratulations you’re ahead of the game! Maintain it! If you don’t have one already, develop a closer relationship with your parent(s) before it’s too late. I don’t care if you have to go to a therapist or pastor to make it happen. Just do it while you are both still able. They took eighteen years (in most cases more) out of their lives to raise you. You can take eighteen minutes out of your week to have a conversation with them.

For the month of March, I will be blogging on parental relationships. I thought of this topic because it has come up in several of my own conversations lately. Growing up having such a close relationship with my mother (excluding some of those teen years of course), I assumed everyone shared that type of closeness. I am finding out more and more that isn’t so. A parental relationship is one of the first relationships we develop in life so I don’t know why it’s not discussed more often.

Conversations like “I date all the wrong guys because I had no father around”, “Why does my spouse and his mom have so much to talk about”, or “I haven’t heard from my son in months and I don’t know why” are just some examples of what I’ve been hearing lately. Because I am not a parent myself, I can only speak from the offspring’s point of view but my hope is to make you think about examining your relationship with your parents, children, or both. We need to strengthen our family dynamic, especially in the black home, and stop taking our familial relationships for granted. So let’s do that!

“I also believe that parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you’ll never know what they endured, and you may treat them unkindly, in a way you otherwise wouldn’t.” 
― Mitch Albom

“Parents are like God because you wanna know they’re out there, and you want them to think well of you, but you really only call when you need something.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk