April 23, 2014

Do men really want an independent woman?

As a little girl I was raised to be strong, well educated and independent just like my strong, well educated and single mom.  While these are all traits we want to see in our daughters, I wasn’t taught or even told about how to be a wife.  One of my besties and I were having one of our heart to heart discussions which almost always leads to an “ah ha!” moment.

We were discussing her last few dates. She’s beautiful and doesn’t have a hard time finding men, but quality men who aren’t intimidated by her is scarce.  She is in management and has created a great living for herself, has her Master’s and owns property.  Like many young women she desires a man to share her life with.  Why then can’t she find him?  She doesn’t go clubbing and Lord knows I don’t want her to find him there…but what’s she to do and where is she to meet him.  She’s not my only beautiful on the inside and out, educated woman friend in this position.  I’m going to dissect her next dates in an attempt to determine why.  From her past ventures I’ve come up with a list of issues: he may think she’s unattainable (I’m assuming due to her confident air), he may want to control her (that won’t work with her independent trait), he may be too agreeable (responding with yes to everything with no mind of his own), he has no aspirations for more out of life, he may be a homebody or he may be insecure.

I asked her if he was a confident, good looking, kind hearted man who worked at a low paying job if she’d date him.  Her reply was yes, but has yet to experience that type of man “step to her.”  Right now I wish I lived in the same city as her…I’m sure I’d get into a lot of trouble but is it her or them?

I have to admit, I had to learn to tone myself down when I got married (my husband will chuckle).  I realized I didn’t have to be in charge of everything as I did when I was single.  It’s still hard sometimes for me and I wander if she’s being too tough due to past pains and being single so long. As a mom of daughters, I am raising them to be smart, strong, well educated, independent.  I know they see all those things in me…hopefully they see the compromise and sharing that comes with being married, too.

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

More Posts - Website

Sweet Tea Tuesday: Straight trippin’, Boo

Saturday morning, the leading man and I set out on a road trip to the California coast, sans children. This is the first time we’ve been away from the child/ren since 1997. (We were still a party of three until 1999.)This does not include them ditching us for slumber parties and the like.

There’s been much talk of weddings lately, and very little about making unions work, whatever the method of conjoining. This trip, although a business trip on the surface, was a study on why we’ve worked for 22 years and why we’ll work for many, many more.

Joseph and I talked for hours (Please give my darling husband a huge round of applause, this was quite the feat for him.) about everything from Katy Perry on Sesame Street to theories on the methodology of U.S. Border Patrol. These lengthy exchanges of thoughts and theory are an integral means for keeping communication open and healthy. Even in discussing and debating the most seemingly superfluous topics, we strengthen our ability to take on and tackle things that bring weaker unions to peril.

We mingled. We don’t get out much, er…okay we don’t leave home much, by choice. We’re fairly introverted, but something about getting out, even for a short spell recharges us. Admittedly, there’s something pretty flattering about watching women flirt with my husband, or with me for that matter. Nobody, and I don’t care what you say-wants someone that nobody else wants. So, in short, it feels pretty damn good to still “hook up” after 22 years.

We missed the children. I called. He texted, probably because it was more discrete than my incessant calling. Laughs. Although we were frolicking about this strange city, and melding nicely with the other frolickers, we were still grounded in this thing we started. There’s often the misconception among single folks that married people miss the lives we once had, this simply isn’t true. Balance in everything is key.

We had fun doing absolutely nothing. Whether walking down the street people watching, or sitting in the car each other watching, a smile, at times even a burst of laughter was just within reach. The energy was palpable, the space between the next word and the last was filled with the beautiful silence that people in love share.

That energy is still palpable, as is the joint pain from sitting in the car for hours, then dancing-of course, with added alcohol-induced flexibility, and back in the car for hours. And, totally worth it, every second, every acetaminophen- if nothing more than to slow it all down long enough to realize that all these years later, you’re still straight trippin’ over your “Boo”.

This week, make it a priority to seize a moment, light a spark, ignite a flame.

See our road trip at a glance on my personal blog: Tea & Honey Bread.

T. Allen-Mercado

T. Allen-Mercado

T.Allen-Mercado is a mixed media artist, award-winning essayist, student of anthropology, blogger, wife and, mother of two.

More Posts

No Wedding No Womb

Maybe you are old enough to remember Grease 2. Hopefully you remember the Fallout Shelter scene in which Louis tries to convince Sharon to sleep with him. He sings to her, urging to “…do it for your country” and promising that “your mother will approve.” His musical attempt fails as she realizes that he is setting her up.

I often think what would happen if Grease 2 was remade today. I imagine Tyler Perry rewriting the movie and turning Sharon into a “Baby Momma” who is being tempted to have unprotected sex with the man who will inevitably become “Baby Daddy” number three.

It’s not too far-fetched of an idea. It’s impossible to believe that it is when staring at a glaring statistic such as 70% of children born in the Black community are born out-of-wedlock. The status is glorified in movies, in videos, and by newspapers and other media outlets. We have to admit that having children out of wedlock has become so synonymous with Black women, that it is assumed we all wear the title of Baby Momma  even when we don’t. Remember the  FOX- First Lady Michelle Obama drama during the campaign?

But how do we change this? What do we need to do as a community, a culture, to ensure that our children do not repeat the damaging behaviors of their elders? How do we protect our children when we are so lax in protecting ourselves?

These are tough questions, I suppose. Single-parenthood is not new nor is it isolated to the Black community. The stigma, however, is gone and what we have gained is a legacy of negative statistics that have plagued the Black Community more than racism ever could.

The fact is that we have been fostering a culture of “love ‘em and leave ‘em.” We encourage our young Black boys to play the field and to explore. We tell our young girls that they are responsible for their own sexual actions as well as those of their male counterparts. Butfinding someone to blame is not important.

What matters most are the children. What matters most is that children need two parents to guide, love, and provide. They deserve to feel love from those who created them. They deserve to have a chance. If we want to escape this cycle of poverty and anger, we have to stop the cycle of acting without thought.

This is OUR problem.

Check out the No Wedding Now Womb Movement. It only takes a spark …

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

More Posts - Website

What we tell our children

My mother used to introduce me as the “athletic one”. My oldest sister was “the pretty one”.

My mother tried everything to make sure that people thought I was prettier. She forced me to wear traditionally girly clothes and did not like that I was so athletic. She wanted me to be a princess, but I just wanted to be me. She would tell me that  I needed to “soften my appearance,” because my dark skin and very Black features were harsh, I guess. Within the Black non-Community, there is a serious color complex- the lighter you are the better- and even as a child I knew this. I was the darker skinned of three girls. I never heard that I was beautiful. What I was told was “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” or “You would be so pretty if you weren’t so dark.” Those comments were enough to make me hate myself- and they did. Years later. I engaged in behavior that I thought would make me prettier- promiscuity and bulimia. Lying and hiding.

I do not like boxes- being put in one. Boxes hide the whole. They force people to only look at a small portion of a person. I look at my daughter and want more for her. I want her to be herself without fear. I don’t want my child to have to choose one of two races. I don’t want her to be the short one, or the fat one or even the smart one because those tags are so limiting.

What we tell our children is so important. We may not see the results right away, but words have a way of burrowing down deep inside and festering away at one’s self-confidence. There are so many things in this world that can beat our children down, but parents should not be one of them.

What will you tell your children?

*Originally posted on Mom on the Rise on 6/30/2008

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoo_babele/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

More Posts - Website

Dating Abuse and how you can help

This post was written by my friend and former colleague, Erika Miller who is a part of an amazing project that needs your help. I wanted to share this with MOM OF HUE as dating violence is too common within our community.

In almost ten years as a Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) Social Worker and as part of the staff at a NYC High School, I saw first hand how many students had been impacted by domestic abuse, whether they lived in abusive homes or were in abusive relationships themselves. I saw the other factors that shaped what youth thought were relationship norms and ideals, such as peer and pop culture influences. One thing was clear, teen dating abuse is a serious issue facing our youth. But we can do something about it. We can model healthy relationships for our youth, and we can educate our youth about whats healthy and unhealthy in a relationship.

I met an educator last May during the annual “A Call to Men” conference at John Jay College. After he overheard me talking with other participants about the work I do and more specifically, the work my peer educators do he informed me of a documentary he was working on completing. He thought my program would be a perfect addition.

After 16 months, I am proud to say that this film is up for a Pepsi Refresh grant. We need your support to ensure that this very important film will be completed, and then shared across the country to educate our youth.

Below are some disturbing statistics about teen dating abuse:

  • 1 in 3 teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • 13% of teenage girls who said they have been in a relationship report being physically hurt or hit. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • 1 in 4 teenage girls who have been in relationships reveal they have been pressured to perform oral sex or engage in intercourse. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship (26%) report enduring repeated verbal abuse. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • 80% of teens regard verbal abuse as a “serious issue” for their age group. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • If trapped in an abusive relationship, 73% of teens said they would turn to a friend for help; but only 33% who have been in or known about an abusive relationship said they have told anyone about it. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.)
  • Twenty-four percent of 14 to 17-year-olds know at least one student who has been the victim of dating violence, yet 81% of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it is an issue.
  • Less than 25% of teens say they have discussed dating violence with their parents.
  • 89% of teens between the ages of 13 and 18 say they have been in dating relationships; forty percent of teenage girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. (Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll, December 1995)
  • Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. (City of New York, Teen Relationship Abuse Fact Sheet, March 1998)
  • Of the women between the ages 15-19 murdered each year, 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend. (City of New York, Teen Relationship Abuse Fact Sheet, March 1998)

In a study of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents, youths involved in same-sex dating are just as likely to experience dating violence as youths involved in opposite sex dating.  (“Prevalence of Partner Violence in Same-Sex Romantic and Sexual Relationships in a National Sample of Adolescents,” Halpern CT, Young ML, Waller MW, Martin SL, Kupper LL. Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 35, Issue 2, Pages 124-131, August 2004.)

20% of surveyed male students report witnessing someone they go to high school with physically hit a person they were dating.  (Tiffany J. Zwicker, Education Policy Brief, “The Imperative of Developing Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Intervention Programs in Secondary Schools.” 12 Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies, 131, 2002.)

  • 17% of teens have been threatened or manipulated online or via text
  • 22% teens feel their significant other checks up on them too much
  • Young people who have been cyberbullied are more than twice as likely to have considered quitting school.
  • 14% teens have been victim of impersonation
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teens of sext recipients have  passed sext along to someone else
  • More than 50% teens who shared a sext shared it with multiple people
  • 29% teens have had rumors spread about them online or via text
  • 15% teens complain their significant other checks up on them too often
  • Over 10% have had significant other demand to know password
  • Over 25% teens say their bf/gf has read their texts without permission
  • Over 25% report sharing online password with someone else
  • 14% teens said they were threatened with physical harm to avoid a break up – stats in italics from athinline.org
Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

More Posts - Website

Sweet Tea Tuesday: After the playground

Earlier this week, Catherine asked, “what have been some of your parenting ah-ha’s around helping your young children learn how to initiate and maintain meaningful friendships?” Upon reading her post, I smiled a little at the fond memories of playgroups and playdates-I certainly felt a tinge of nostalgic longing, envy even for the simplicity of parenting young children. But my reflection was short-lived, interrupted by the reality of a new set of circumstances, my “a-ha moments”, these days seem to be mostly replaced by “oy vey moments” as I teeter the tenuous line of parenting a young adult.

At times I feel superfluous, other times my strident teachings are quite poignantly displayed as the sinews of our little family. There’s something far greater than anything I’ve consciously observed and/or absorbed which powers me to meet repeated rejection with resilience and even more love.(Thanks, Mother Teresa) Greater still, is the restraint displayed in not wavering, enabling or otherwise justifying unacceptable behaviors just to avoid said repeated rejection.

This weekend, our resident young adult behaved in a way that was unacceptable. He was not a good friend, and in turn he was called to answer for it both by the person he wronged, his girlfriend of two years, and by us. At eighteen, surely we handed down no punishment, we didn’t force the two to grimacingly serve up apologies and a handshake with all the willingness of handling a dead fish, but I did seize the opportunity to address sound judgment, character and propriety.

As difficult as it was for me to witness his fragility at the shameful recognizance of what he had done, I did not swoop in to coddle him. Instead, I looked upon him lovingly and acknowledged his pain as I encouraged him to be accountable and seek resolution even if reconciliation was not ultimately the outcome. Despite the criticism of well-meaning friends, I did become “involved”, just as I had in the playgroups, the playground and at recess. This time, I did so not only as his mother, but as a woman, and a trusted friend.

Admittedly, as the words and tears were streaming, I played those playgroup, playground, recess days over in my mind and wondered- if only for a moment- where we, where I missed an opportunity. Only to find, we hadn’t-the opportunity just hadn’t presented itself until now. Much like the other mothers cited, I hadn’t thought much about what he’d be like as a boyfriend any more than they thought of their barely autonomous children as friends. But now that I knew better, it was my responsibility-my duty even to do better, and that meant teaching. And, I did and we spoke and we spoke some more, and some more after that.

We exchanged war stories and he laughed at some of the antics of the far-less-refined-before-his-time versions of his dad and I. As he chortled in sympathetic embarrassment, I saw in him the makings of a great man, friend and partner with some experience and tweaking of his own. We then moved on to forgiveness and the the importance of being sorry and not just saying sorry. Of course not forgetting to touch upon egos, elephants, and the dreaded self-esteem. It was our moment, and it was nice, it was very nice. Although I still writhe en sodade for my little playground cherub, the look on the fuzzy-faced-raspy-voiced-tower-of-tan-skin-perfect-curls-and-gorgeous-teeth before me assured me, if just for a moment (Hell, who am I foolin’ y’all know the first real break-up can go on for days, weeks, months even!) that I was far more super than superfluous, and with that I too, once again, get to say, “a-ha”!

T. Allen-Mercado

T. Allen-Mercado

T.Allen-Mercado is a mixed media artist, award-winning essayist, student of anthropology, blogger, wife and, mother of two.

More Posts