Memorial Day Reflections

As I sit here sipping my coffee, I’m thinking of all of my plans this weekend. Appointments, family events, barbecues. So much running around to do. I also think of the men and women of the armed forces.

Countless, faceless people who have served our country over the years that I’ve never met, but still pray for. My family has been lucky. We’ve had several members (and still do) serve in three branches – Army, Navy and Marines. And thankfully, the ones who’ve served in the past are home. I still have family serving in different places around the world. And they’re okay too.

As a life-long New Yorker, I’ve known for the last 11 years the impact of September 11th. I’ve noticed changes in the city – the servicemen and women located in strategic places in the city or the police officers with their gas mask gear. Or the landscape of this city and how new buildings are slowly being built. But, one thing I don’t forget is the service and sacrifice made by American families. I pray for peace in the world so that soldiers and their families don’t have to suffer. And I am thankful.

So thank you to all of you serving right now, those of you home with your families and those angels who have given the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day, I remember you and am grateful.

Glam-Me Bronx Edition

MommysLinks GNO

Mommy’s Links is back with another edition of Glam-Me: Girls Night Out this time in my home zone of the Bronx! On June 9th from 6 – 10pm, ladies 21 and over will be glammed up with hair, make-up and more in conjunction with Zumba Mamas of Fusion Fitness. With over 25 vendors (and more!), Mommy’s Links with have the ladies fit, gorgeous and satisfied with a fun workout, drinks, giveaways and raffles plus a dj to give you some shimmy to your shake!

Come join Mommy’s Links in giving you the pampering YOU deserve. Get your tickets today and use code 5Off to save $5 off of your ticket! What a great way to celebrate Girls Night Out saving money and having a blast!

Make sure to purchase your ticket soon to guarantee a swag bag of goodies to enjoy at home. And make sure to let them know I sent you. See you there!

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Avengers – Review

Hiya readers! I’m back to share my thoughts on the Avengers movie. I LOVED it!

I’ve never been a fan of comic books and so don’t read them at all. I do love anything superhero-related. Growing up, I was a fan of “He-Man” and “She-Ra” as well as Wonder Woman and Superman.

As a kid with low self-esteem, I use to dream often of having superpowers. Those superpowers came from watching my favorite superheroes. Fast-forward to today being a grown woman and mom of a son, I get my superhero fix more often. The Avengers was a huge fix for me. I hadn’t seen a superhero movie in a long time and was so glad to see this one. I was not disappointed.

I had several doses of hot superheroes (except the Black Widow – sorry Scarlett) and a bit of jealousy with Scarlett’s bodysuit. Yes, I’d love to have a body like that, but I digress.

Each of the superheroes with their unique talents kicked butt. Although Chris Hemsworth only had to speak to knock me out (I’m partial to a man with an accent. lol). Not to mention all the eye-candy. Each character brings great flavor to the film and now I’ve got a goal of catching up with all of them. I still need to watch Captain America, Thor and Iron Man – Part 2. The Avengers was so good that I’ve been inspired to see them all.

So even though this is something for kids, teens and boys in general – this girl DEFINITELY had a fabulous time with the Avengers. So go see it and tap into your superhero! (And when you do, stay through until the final credits for some extras.) Can’t wait until The Avengers comes out on DVD!

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3 Single Mom Lessons from the Avengers

A few days ago, kiddo and I took in a matinee of The Avengers (check out my review). And we loved every minute of it! Watching it though left me feeling like a superhero and I noticed three things that could help single moms.

Avenger Lesson #1 – Know your worth. Each character had a specific and useful skill set. The Black Widow kicked butt. Hawk shot his bow and arrow with amazing accuracy. Hulk smashed. Dr. Banner calculated. Captain America was strong and tough with his shield. Thor knocked the wind out of his enemies. And Iron Man was techno savvy and inventive. Each superhero had their gifts and weren’t coy about being confident in themselves. Single moms, know that you ARE worthy and you are a blessing. Period.

Avenger Lesson #2 – Life is tough. The Avengers dealt with a tough situation. Being a single parent is tough. No doubt about it. Everyday will have its challenges and every day there will be something to deal with. This isn’t just a single parent issue, but life as it is. And know that while life is tough, you are tough also.

Avenger Lesson #3 – Get with your crew. The Avengers were brought together to fight a common enemy. Enemies that single parents can face are depression, isolation or loneliness.  You can fight back by having a support system in place. Build up your crew of people who back you up no matter what. I’ve got my team of fellow single moms (some not) and friends who love and cherish me. They remind me of how strong I really am and call me on my crap when I need it. They are my blindspot; that place in my life that I just can’t see because of my own hangups. The Avengers worked together to make things work and your crew can do the same for you.

I was reminded of these things throughout the course of the movie. It gave me such great energy and I was so inspired. Guess that’s why I’m going to get The Avengers on dvd as soon as it comes out. Hope these lessons help you single moms out there to remember your greatness!

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Yes, I AM Mom Enough!

Yesterday’s release of the Time magazine article incited outrage and comments from moms all over. Some moms were upset because of picture itself of a mom breastfeeding a toddler (who is standing on a chair to reach his mother’s breast). Others were upset because it showed a woman breastfeeding in public. It was all over my Twitter feed. Neither of those things upset me.

What DID upset me? The title. “Are you Mom Enough?” I could care less about what other moms do – breastfeeding in public (or not), breastfeeding a toddler (or not) or attachment parenting. I know what works for me doesn’t have to work for anyone else. Or vice versa.

But, the idea that I’m NOT mom enough because I’m not breastfeeding a toddler did spark my outrage. The title of this article is yet ANOTHER way that words have hurt the community of moms. Stay-at-home, Work-at-home or Work-outside-home, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding – these are all words that have caused divisiveness in the Mom community.

Rather than helping moms unite as a force to be reckoned with, this choice of words for the cover article title only serves as a way for us to pick at one another for our parenting styles. This mom wants to breastfeed her toddler? So what? She wants the world to know about it? Fine by me. Her choices do not mean that she is “more mom” than I am. Not at all.

I’m a single mom living in New York City. Not many women would freely choose to be a single mom. I got out of a relationship and am co-parenting my son with his father. Yes, a single mom I am, but it doesn’t make me any “more mom” than the moms featured in the article. This is just my experience. It does not make me braver than anyone else. It doesn’t make me stronger than anyone else. It just makes me – me.

So yes, I AM mom enough! Next!

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The Highs & Lows of Solo Parenting

Now that Mother’s Day is upon us, I’ve been thinking about my life as a single mom. For the most part, I’m happy. I’ve got a great kid who has been a blessing in my life, my education and a great home.

A couple of weeks ago, kiddo scored second honors (90 average)  at school for the first time ever. I cried, I was so happy and proud of him. Hugging him tightly I told him how much I love him and how proud I was. I also thought of all of the work it took to get him to earning second honors.

I thought of the hours of work to earn money for  tuition, uniforms, after-school. I also thought of the time and money spent on therapy, evaluations and finally medication to address his ADHD, which was severely hampering his ability to focus on his schoolwork. Even with very little support from family (who disagree with my parenting style/decisions), but great support from my friends, I kept going.

There have been many times I’ve wanted to quit, run away or stop the world from happening because things were so bad for me. And before my son, I did. I went from college to work to college to work and had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I had no direction and indeed not much love for myself.

And the voices of people who doubted me became my truth. Until kiddo showed up. I was a young mom, very naive and unprepared. And even though I was legally an adult, I was VERY immature. I’ll be the first to admit that. But, I learned. And learned and learned. I’m STILL learning. Every single day. I learned my own strength is very powerful. My love endless and boundless. And my son, precious.

One family member (an old-school person with old-school parenting ideas) told me that he wished I had kiddo later on in life. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant. My reply: I’m glad I had kiddo when I did. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today.

Here I am without a full time job, bills to pay and a child to raise – and yet, I KNOW I will be just fine. Kiddo’s being taken care of, I’ve got the resources to pay my bills (haven’t fallen behind) and I’m happy. No, life isn’t perfect, but being a mom, and now a single mom for two years, I’m happy.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. And Happy Mother’s Day to me, because dammit! I deserve to give myself a huge pat on the back.

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Country Guy in the City

Last week, I had the chance to meet a true country gentleman in the form of Clint Black starring in Flicka: Country Pride now available on dvd. “I’m a bit under the weather, so please understand if I don’t shake hands. I don’t want anyone getting sick.” My city girl heart melted at the country gentleman’s kindness on the spot.

Appearing reserved, Black lit up when asked about his family. He shared his thoughts on parenting (one pre-teen), working (filming) and how to balance both.

When asked about his family, Black shared how he chose to work on this project as it allowed him to work not only with his wife, Lisa, but also with his daughter (first acting job). He explained that working with family is a unique challenge (especially with his daughter) because he couldn’t threaten to take away her candy if she didn’t listen. Sprinkled throughout his interview were several anecdotes about his family life. Black was candid about his parenting style and how he and his wife work to ensure that their daughter is safe and happy.

His biggest concern?  “Will other people’s views of my daughter change her view of herself?” Black wants his little girl have a sense of self that isn’t elevated by other peoples. He stated that she needed to be prepared not to change in a changeable world.

And just like us regular (and unfamous) parents, Black experiences parenting struggles. His biggest? It’s hard to say no. Black has a difficult time to stop his daughter’s pestering.

Black also shared some parenting tips:

1. Help Kids stay grounded. He and his wife make a team effort to help their daughter be a human being before getting an image. Teaching her responsibility and giving her a sense of normalcy despite Black’s celebrity.

2. Help kids adopt an accurate self-image. Black talks to his daughter about privileges and why they (as a family) get them. He’s also talked with her about being a nice adult.

3. Look to the past. Black shared how his parents’ example gave him a great example on parenting and how to say no.  For him, it is hard to stop the pestering. Black was reminded of his pestering days with his parents and shared how he often pestered his mother until she gave in. Laughing, he explained how she did it to shut him up. Black also shared how his father’s one-two “NO” punch that usually stopped pestering in its tracks (and how it doesn’t work well with his daughter).

And after sharing his NYC adventures with his daughter (and his parenting stories), Clint spoke of his newest movie Flicka: Country Pride. The film is about – zany mayor Toby helps out a teen in need as well as an injured cowboy who needs a place close to town for therapy and to stable his horse. Mr. Black  stated that the teen falls in love with Flicka and with Flicka’s help (and love) heals.

I just wanted to thank TheMoms for inviting me to meet and chat with Clint Black as well as Coffee Bean NY for hosting such an awesome event! Be sure to look for Flicka: Country Pride out on dvd at Walmart now.

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Glam-Me Brooklyn Edition – May 10, 2012

Hello ladies! I’m back to announce that Mommyslinks first Glam-Me event was so successful, two more Glam-Me events have been scheduled.

Mommy’s Links has a great lineup of pampering events, ALL INCLUDED FREE with admission!  Plus, they are giving away some awesome door prizes and raffles!  If you are waiting for the last minute to purchase, the last minute is here!  Go to  http://bit.ly/GlameMeBKand enter code “MommysLinks” to get the last minute $10 off discount, so your ticket is only $25!  Where else can you get so many services, win prizes, mingle with old and new friends, have a few glasses of wine and celebrate National Moms Night Out for that price???  Be sure to mention that I sent you!

Visit Mommy’s Links for the most up to date info on the event, including vendors, services, prizes and goodie bag goodies: http://mommyslinks.com/events-2/glam-me-national-moms-night-out-51012/

I’ll see you on May 10th. Be there or be square! Cheers!

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Discovery’s Last Flight (and the remaking of a dream)

Today’s flyover of the world’s most traveled space shuttle marked the end of an era. And has brought me a measure of sadness. Not for the end of the space program as I (and many others) know it, but also an end to something my son hoped for.

When Atlantis flew for the last time, kiddo and I were both very sad. I recalled all of my memories of the space program. Shuttle launches were routine for me. The flights happened regularly and I didn’t think it would come to an end. I remember the Challenger and Columbia tragedies clearly. But, even in the face of these two disasters, I felt it was important for the space program to continue.

Kiddo has said for a very long time how he wants to go to outer space. I’ve long encouraged this goal, especially as he’s shown a great aptitude for science and math. I’ve told him that he can do anything and be anyone he wanted to be –  including an astronaut.

Since the last space mission in July 2011, kiddo and I have been rethinking his goals. He wanted to be an astronaut and physicist. He’s been very consistent on this idea for over a year. What I’ve suggested is that he include his love of space and become an astrophysicist. He’s slowly warming to the idea and I’ve been thinking of ways to keep encouraging his love of space.

So, while shuttle flights have ended, the closing door has allowed us to feel the breeze from the open window. I do believe that kiddo will get to space one day and I will be one very proud mom.

It’s my Momaversary

It has been 11 years since I’ve been a mom. I learned about this term a few years ago when a friend told me about it (Thanks pal!). She said that yes, while celebrating kiddo’s birthday is important – it is also important to celebrate the first day of motherhood.
I remember it so well. My water broke at 2:30pm on March 13th, got to the hospital at 3 and had kiddo at 4:36am on March 14th, 2001. And this after sitting at home for a week waiting for the butterball to show up. And he sure did! 8lbs, 7 oz of chunky monkey. The lead ob/gyn put him on my upper chesst and I was blown away at how heavy he was then.
Today, he is a healthy, nearly eye-to-eye with me, 5th grader who is smart, sweet and kind. – woke him early to sing Happy Birthday so he could blow out the candles on his ice cream sandwich. (Kiddo’s with his father from today til Friday evening so I had to party somehow.) After he got ready for school, I gave him his gifts – a telescope (science supergeek) and a new video game for his Wii console. My kid is awesome. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy being his mom, but he’s brought me so much joy. Kiddo helped me discover who I am and pushed me to be stronger than I ever thought I could. He has motivated me to follow my dreams so that he would have a role model. He has truly enriched my life and I couldn’t have asked for a better assignment (and gift) than to be his mother. So, happy birthday, kiddo (my love & joy) and happy momaversary to me!