7 Best Reasons Why Parents Should Join the PTA This Year [Infographic included]

Back to school is in full effect, because Yassss… It’s finally September! Everyone is coming back from summer vacation and preparing to toss (literally) our children right back into the classroom. It’s a busy and exciting time of the year as families prepare themselves with strategies to rearrange their schedules. This year, I wanted to share something very important that parents should be considering that will not only aid in preparing for the new school year, but it will also benefit the community, the children, and other families as well.

I’m talking about joining the PTA (or PTO) in your child’s school. PTA stands for, Parent-Teacher Association. This is a group of responsibly dedicated parents that have chosen to volunteer their time, skills, resources, and knowledge in an effort to support other parents, school staff, and the children of your child’s school.

7 Best Reasons Why Parents Should Join the PTA This Year

When you join the PTA, you play an important part in ensuring that the school’s policies and information are conveyed to others parents in a comprehensible/relatable way. It’s honestly hard as a working mother to stay on top of all the information the school dishes out almost daily.  It’s not easy remembering events and important dates, and even connecting with like-minded parents. We often get so wrapped up in our personal lives and our desire to stay on top, that many parents leave it completely on the school to parent, educate, and cultivate talents in our children for a full day. Many parents don’t have time to keep track of the massive amounts of documents being sent home in your child’s book bag. There are parents who don’t understand what’s going, forcing them to just go through the motions until June peaks its head.

As a member of the PTA, you have the ability to make it easier for those parents. You are given the knowledge, tools, and resources to be a liaison for parents who aren’t connected to the administration. You can build positive and supportive relationships with other parents, who get it. By joining the PTA, you are given access to a community of individuals who share the same desire to see that their children have an awesome school year. You play a role in helping other families by participating in activities that will help them grow and build relationships as well.

I joined the PTA with that same intention. I know how difficult it is to get through a school year, not knowing what is going on or finding out things at the last minute. I got frustrated with not having questions answered and feeling like a no one truly cared about the children having a fruitful experience. I strongly wanted to be a part of a community of parents who cared and an administration that valued the relationships with parents and students, and not settling by just “doing their job”. By joining the PTA, I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to play a part in making a change and support something phenomenal. We all have to give back in some way, why wouldn’t I choose to give back to the place that I leave my most valuable possession every day, my son’s school?

If you think that the PTA is not for you, what are your reasons? You may have something up your sleeve to answer that question, but bear with me. Do you not have an hour or two of available time once a month to talk about ways to improve your child’s school? If we can watch reality television or make it to the happy hour special religiously, I find that hard to believe. Do you realize that you won’t be alone? There are many parents who are making the time sacrifices needed to build relationships with other parents who share the same goals. The work isn’t hard, it just needs to get done. It’s a rewarding experience knowing that you are assisting in bringing not only your child, but everyone else’s children, a gift of your talents and services to make their school year even better. What else do you need?

PTA work is selfless. It’s about more than just you and yours. PTA is an opportunity for parents to play a role in supporting the school that teaches their child, the teacher that comes into contact with your seed, and the children and families that your child interacts with daily. Whatever you can offer or provide, can transform the school year experience for so many people that you probably won’t even meet. That’s a small task with a huge impact. As someone who always wants to make a positive impact, that’s all I needed to hear.

I wanted to share with you the 7 Best Reasons Why Parents Should Join the PTA This Year. It’s important that parents know how important their participation in the PTA is to their child’s success and the success of the entire school and community. If you can muster up the energy to be that solid supporter of the community, I know you won’t be disappointed.

Check out these 7 Reasons Why You Should Join the PTA and the conflicts associated with them. If I haven’t convinced you, let me know why or why not. I would love to hear from you.

7 Best Reasons Why Parents Should Join the PTA This Year

Use Your Voice. 

PTA can be a great way for you to effectively suggest change at your child’s school and in the community.

Some of you believe that you aren’t qualified or educated enough to speak up. You sit on the thought that past experiences or lack thereof, limits your ability to use your voice to make a difference. That is a complete lie! Our child goes to the school, your tax money pays for what’s there. You need to recognize your power and use it, even if it’s just making suggestions or reporting what you don’t like. It’s your voice, use it!

Get Great Resources For The Family.

The school system offers a variety of programs designed for students, as well as their parents.

Do you believe that you have no say in what your children do in the school? Are you just waiting on someone to come up with the program that you’ve been waiting for, so that you can get your child involved? PTA members help develop resources and programs for the school, that are valuable to all families. The PTA is one of the first to know about resources available and how to get that information out to the community. As a PTA member, you are responsible in making sure that other parents are privy to important updates and information that was specifically intended to aid and assist families in so many ways.

Be a Role Model.

By becoming a PTA member, you’ll be demonstrating to your child the importance you place on education and how you can effectively work with a team to make a difference. Your responsibilities in the school’s PTA, will be an awesome way to incorporate your child and his/her friends, making it a community effort.

Being a parent is a lot of work, but it’s not enough. Your kids deserve to see how their parent can collaborate with others, use their skills to change their circumstances, and give selflessly to their community. By joining the PTA, you are instilling valuable lessons into your child without interacting with them at all. You are teaching by example, showing that you are willing and able to be a leader for someone else outside of them.

Know What’s Happening.

Be one of the first to know what’s happening in your child’s school, then join the organization that helps create events and projects.

Test your creative and organizational skills by coming up with educational, purposeful, and morale building events for the school and the students. You know first-hand what your children and their friends love and how school makes them feel. By supporting the PTA efforts, you can make sure that everyone is pleased (school administration, teachers, students, and other parents). You play an important role in developing activities and projects that has the potential to get everyone connected. Who wouldn’t want that?

Connect with other Parents.

PTA events and projects are opportunities to meet other parents and teachers, building relationships by discussing issues that are on your mind.

Like I said, Parenting isn’t easy. It makes sense to want to connect with other parents in the community, who know and understand what you are going through. By building relationships with other parents, you gain insight on how easy it is to solve many of the challenges you probably face working, raising children, and being an adult. There are many different types of people, from various backgrounds that can teach you something, one way or another. The PTA is a small community within a community, of parents who all want the best for their children inside and outside the classroom.

Use Your Skills to Help.

By volunteering with your PTA, you put your skills and hobbies to use for a great cause. You get to put your gifts to use by helping your child and all children in the community.

We all have something special about us. Whether you are a digital content creator with awesome design and conceptualization skills (like myself, LOL) or you are extremely organized, patient and kind person, we all have our talents and gifts that make us special. Bringing that knowledge and those skills to the PTA, you provide an invaluable asset to your community. There are entrepreneurs, activist, and incredible parents among us that can impact the school and community, by simply sharing those skills. Our children are important parts of our lives, and I know that if I can use my skills to put food on the table; using my skills to make his school year awesome is nothing. PTA members contribute something huge to the efforts of the school, in return it’s great knowing that it is helping my child and every child that walks through the door, the teachers, and the school… which then comes back to my child. It’s a win – win!

Access to Exclusive Offers. 

Individuals and local units can take advantage of a host of benefits from PTA membership including discounts and offers from member benefits providers and sponsors, magazine subscriptions, leadership training, e-newsletters and much more.

If you knew you could get discounts, deals, and exclusive offers by joining the PTA in the beginning of this post, you probably would have signed up already. LOL

The PTA partners with area businesses and programs to offer exclusive opportunities for families, kids, and the community. By being a part of the winning team, yes I said that, you gain access that you probably wouldn’t have had, if you weren’t a member. There are perks! Enough said.

7 Best Reasons Why Parents Should Join the PTA This Year

So if you haven’t signed up for your local PTA chapter yet, what are you waiting for? If the PTA at your child’s school isn’t up and running yet or not on par, be that parent that turns it all around. The PTA isn’t for weak individuals who are insecure with their parenting skills or themselves, but it can definitely be helpful to parents like that. Why not be the leader and step up to the plate? If you have the skills, meaning you are an able-bodied individual and still breathing, then sign up. If you see changes that need to be made or you want to further support the efforts that have been going well, sign up. Your child’s school could use more hard-working, committed, and sincere parents to help make every child’s school year the best it can be. You are just the parent for the job.

To be corny and because I wanted to say this, this entire time…

“Ask not what your child’s school can do for you, but what you can do for your child’s school”

Tweet: “Ask not what your child’s school can do for you, but what you can do for your child’s school”

LOL, now that I got that out of my system… let the school year begin!

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Happy new School Year Moms and Dads!

For more information, check out The National PTA website at http://www.pta.org/

Do You Agree that Art Has Always Made Man?

Art has always been an important part of the human experience. Ever since the first cave drawing, man has been using his creativity to convey his emotions and communicate with his fellow-man. Somehow, mankind has forgotten the importance of art in this modern age. Art classes are being pulled from our schools and music budgets are being cut to minimal proportions. Do You Agree that Art Has Always Made Man?

Luckily, many groups, organizations, and people still remember how important all art is to us and are actively fighting to keep it alive. They do this through awareness events like the Street Pianos in New York event from Sing for Hope or by simply forming petitions and writing their politicians. Any little bit helps, and as long as we all work together, we can save the arts for our kids.

There are great advantages to keeping art classes and activities in our schools and lives. The obvious benefit is fostering a sense of creativity and imagination. Those are the two fundamental ideas behind every invention ever created. In order to think outside the box, you have to be taught it is okay to be different. Without art, our children will be missing out on key critical thinking skills that help in other areas of academics.

Life lessons can also be taught through the arts. A piece of art, no matter what medium, is subjective. Even though the artist created it with a vision and purpose, you and I may see it differently and have different reactions. This subjectivity helps children and adults learn about other perspectives. With the world shrinking day by day, being able to understand other cultures and see things from someone else’s perspective will be an integral part of everyday life.
In its simplest definition, art is expression. Teaching children to express feelings through art will help them become better communicators and give them another outlet for negative feelings. Everyone has bad days and just needs to cool off or vent. A great way to do this is through art. Taking away this release is only harming our children.

Let’s work together to give our children, and ourselves, a better future. The future without art is bleak and dark. Art brightens up that future and opens it up for the leaders of tomorrow.

I totally believe that art plays a huge role in my life, and the lives of those I care about. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if it wasn’t for loving art, creating art, and aspiring to be an artist in all facets of what I do.

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Do You Agree that Art Has Always Made Man?

5 Magic Ways to Get Your Mother in Law to Love You

If you are a bride-to-be or have been married for a while, you may be familiar with your husband’s mother in some way. If you’re lucky, she is either a very nice woman who respects your marriage and gets along with you at least most of the time (sort of like a second mom) or she is resting in peace somewhere. If neither of these apply to you, then you may be struggling with a mother-in-law who isn’t pleasant at all. Perhaps your mother-in-law is more like a monster-in-law, and you are literally two seconds from yanking your hair out from stress. Don’t do that, though… it’s not cute.

5 Magic Ways to Get Your Mother in Law to Love You

Dealing with a difficult mother-in-law is never easy. In a perfect world, you would be able to at least be cordial and see eye to eye for the sake of your spouse (or children). On the other hand, we don’t live in a perfect world. I know what it’s like to be in a tug of war for respect with your mother-in-law, and I can say first-hand the challenge that awaits you if you don’t learn how to stay respectful, but gain your respect as her daughter-in-law.

After over 16 years of being together and two children in, I still struggle with Mother-in-law issues very now and then. I believe there is something special about a woman who realizes that her son is in love, and instead of welcoming the young lady with open arms, she chooses to do everything in her power to make her miserable. Sometimes, it can be challenging to grit your teeth and continue smiling in your happy relationship, when all you want to do is scream. However, I’m going to give you five easy tips to get the monster… I mean mother of your darling husband, to not only like you but adore you in so many ways.

Tip #1

Be Yourself the First Time

Don’t pretend to be some innocent person who has never cursed, went without cleaning up the house, made mistakes, and blemish free; just to impress your spouse’s mother. Any real woman can see right through that, so who wants to eventually be exposed. If you want to impress her, be YOU right out of the gate. The worst case scenario, she doesn’t like you or your character. However, that’s a whole lot better than her realizing you were a fraud in the beginning, because true bonds cannot start with a lie. Start with honesty and grow from there.

Tip #2

Keep Your Business in Your Home

It’s none of anyone’s business what goes on in your home, especially NOT your mother-in-law. As much as you may want to confide in her about your relationship, finances, or personal troubles… DON’T. This will only be issues that she uses against you in the future. If you are having problems with her respecting you, telling her your problems, than being vulnerable around her isn’t going to soften her heart. No matter how she tries to play it, keep your hand close. Mind your business and keep yours to yourself. Even if she wants to call you (or your spouse, because some lonely moms do that) to gossip about her lack of sex, horrible friends, or the latest news about other family member’s, keep it short and simple. Let her know that she is welcome to come over for dinner or during the weekend, because she is less likely to gossip around the children or other family members, but don’t be her on call therapist. Mean mother-in-laws love to turn their son’s wives and girlfriends into their pet/sidekick/frienemy when it fits them… you’re better than that. Stay back.

Tip #3

Set Clear Boundaries with an Open Mind

Your mother-in-law shouldn’t just call in the middle of the night, unless something is wrong. She should not have a key to your house, unless it was something agreed upon between you and your spouse. Your mother-in-law should not be able to repeat personal conversations that you had with your husband. Nor should your mother-in-law have access to money and funds that you haven’t touched yet. She also shouldn’t think that it’s OK to yell at you, hit you, or have tantrums in front of your children. There has to be some boundaries in your relationship with your mother-in-law and your spouse. If you married a grown man, then everyone should treat him like a grown man. Your mother-in-law should not be able to treat you or your spouse like her children anymore… those days are over. That does not set a great example for your own children, if they constantly see you being chastised by their grandparent. Make it clear that your relationship and home are just that… Yours. Never allow her to impose on your privacy or life just because you want her to like you and are afraid to upset her. Don’t make your life miserable trying to impress someone else’s difficult parent. However, if you are blessed to have a very close and positive relationship with your mother-in-law, then continue to do whatever makes you comfortable. If she is helping you around the house, caring for your kids, that’s awesome. It’s beneficial for some families when the mother plays an essential role in a multi-generational home. No matter how much pride you may have, nothing beats another woman’s trusted and caring assistance in raising a family. If that your situation, count your blessings. Otherwise, keep an open mind but make those boundaries clear.

Tip #4

Never Show Fear of Standing Up For Yourself

I believe this advice applies to all types of people, but especially your mother-in-law. If she is consistently disrespectful, condescending, and manipulative… I say pray first. But then I believe it would behoove you to stay strong and stand your ground. Don’t match her drama with more drama of your own, because you run the risk of you both losing the love and respect of your spouse. Keep it classy at all times. However, explain to your spouse (not whine and complain) how challenging it is for you and how you want to keep the peace. If you genuinely want to get along with his mother, your actions must speak to that. He will eventually see who is doing what, and make moves to bring peace to his family himself. That’s what real men do. However, if after standing your ground, neither your spouse nor his mother is letting up on the misery, it may be time to reconsider your place in that weird depressing love triangle.

Tip #5

Kill Her with Kindness… until She Kills Herself

If your mother really wanted peace and harmony in the family, she would appreciate you being kind to her. Despite some mean comments and behaviors, you remain sweet and respectful to your mother-in-law, showing that you are the bigger person. Sounds awesome! However, I know many of you are like, “yeah, right! If it were only that easy.” It’s not easy at all. But it’s something you have to do. You can’t disrespect the mother of the person you love, no matter how nasty they are to you. It doesn’t look good, that you can’t show the person who brought your spouse into this world respect. It also says that you don’t want to keep peace in his family, something that should be essential to your future with your spouse. So when your monster-in-law is showing her selfish side, acting like a baby with a tantrum because her son/daughter needs to give her the attention that she has been used to their entire life, you have to keep a positive attitude and show respect. Be kind, let her know that you care and value her child, and that you will always be there for them. If you are lucky, you will eventually see that her ‘hate” for you has subsided and she realize that she has to let him be a man. However, if you are not so lucky, your spouse will have to realize that his/her happiness is not a priority to their mother and they will treat her accordingly. Either way, you get rid of a problem with the just the cost of being nice. Sounds like a bargain to me.

“You can’t expect respect and love from anyone else, if you haven’t first developed a love and respect for yourself.”

Tweet: “You can’t expect respect and love from anyone else, if you haven’t first developed a love and respect for yourself.” - http://ctt.ec/tklch+

Ok, so maybe these tips won’t necessarily make her adore you, but hopefully this will bring you to a mutual understanding. The goal is to bring peace to your family, keep your spouse happy and stress free, while still maintaining a mutually respectful and loving relationship with his mother. It can be done, but it takes work. It’s up to you to be the bigger person sometimes, and do something different. I would walk into it fearlessly knowing that what’s meant to be is already yours.

The truth is, there is really nothing you can do to make your mother-in-law like, you, love you, or even treat you right. There are just some moms in the world, that aren’t ready or are uncomfortable that their sons may marry a strong, opinionated, and independent women. Perhaps it reminds them of themselves or the lack thereof. Often times, by you just loving her son and being in a happy relationship with him, it reminds her of what she doesn’t have and how lonely she is. It’s not your man’s fault (unless he isn’t speaking up about the disrespect and lines being crossed), so you shouldn’t take it out on him.

Side Note: You ever notice some women with husbands and long-term relationships don’t spend too much time worrying about their kid’s relationships, when they children grow up? They’re too busy keeping their own man happy and tending to their own households. Just an observation.

Check out my Video Vlog of a Recent Experience I Had of My Own:

Note the fact, that we all have problems from time to time with our very own loved ones. There are no perfect people. I believe that as long as we continue to encourage each other and remain transparent, eventually we will all come to some compromise.

When Your Mother in Law Hates You | GaptoothDiva Life Vlog

Your responsibility is to continue to be a good woman to your man, responsible, honest and drama-free. If you maintain that level head and a cool attitude, a smart man would see that it’s not you and deal with it accordingly. Often times, you’ll find yourself being baited into arguments and tedious spats, and that’s because your mother-in-law is bored and lonely. Don’t take the bait! Show the person you love that you are capable of not allowing the behavior of his/her family members affect you to the point that it becomes detrimental to your relationship.

It’s never easy dealing with your spouse’s family, if they are mean and disrespectful. Nevertheless, your love for your spouse is far more important than someone you’re not sleeping, creating a family, or paying bills with, any day…. Period.

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How do you deal with issues with your Mother-in-Law?

Please comment below and let’s start the conversation.

Am I Really The Only Grown Black Woman with Mommy Issues?

With Mother’s Day rearing her pretty little head, I decided to talk about my struggle with celebrating motherhood. I know as a mother, this a great opportunity for my children to show me how much they love me in a creative and fun way. I love it! However, as the child from a strained mother daughter relationship, how do I let go of the past and finally show my mother how much I’ve healed?

I’m grown now. There is no doubt about it since my last birthday dropped in like it was hot. Yet, for the past decade I’ve admittedly walked around as “a grown woman with mommy issues”. If you know me or have ever been privy to my personal struggle, you know that I had battles with my family. Most importantly, my mother. We would bump heads, go months and years without speaking, and I was hurting because of it.

Am I Really The Only Grown Black Woman with Mommy Issues

People came in and out of my life, many of them trying to fill the void left by her absence. Yet, no matter how much time and energy was spent, no one can replace my mother. I struggled internally because of it. I wanted to believe I was over it, and perhaps I could live my life without ever dealing with my mother again.  As crazy as it sounds I was determined to try, busying myself with work and with people who were put into place to make me feel like nothing was missing. Nevertheless, I wasn’t right, my children weren’t right, and it started to become obvious.

Despite everything I was going through, stubbornness was preventing me from just letting it go. I had questions, I needed answers. I had things to say, I needed her to listen. Most importantly, I wanted an apology and for her to change into someone and something I always wanted her to be… my friend. It was my oldest son that begged me to be the bigger person. He asked me to make up with my mother for his birthday, because he missed her, my father, and his aunts and cousin. I knew I couldn’t deny him that effort because of my pride, so I submitted to reaching out. We talked, we cried, and we made promises. Emotionally, I was overwhelmed. To have your family back after almost two years, is an incredible feeling. After I let so much off of my mind and off my chest, finally opening up about my pain, hurts, and disappointments, I was finally heard. We made amends, something I’ve only dreamt about after all of that time had pass. We agreed that we would be more compassionate and honest. We committed to be better towards each other, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

For the past few months, I’ve been cultivating our mother-daughter relationship. Growing each week closer and closer to my own mother, something that was difficult in the past. Now that I’m older, it’s easier for me to take people for who they are, instead of what I think they should be. When I allowed enough time to go by, I realized that as a mother, you can only do what you can with what you have at the time. It’s not perfect every day, and even I had struggles that made me someone who I didn’t like. So far be it from me, to hold a grudge towards my mom for not getting it right back then, when we’re both capable of fixing it now.

Sometimes, I think I’m the only black woman with mommy issues. No one ever talks about the struggle to have that bond with their own biological mother. Often times, I felt alone in my tug of war of building a relationship with my mother and how it breaks me down when we aren’t connecting like we should. As little black girls, we’re taught that we should respect our mothers, be there for our mothers and never not speak to your mother. I held anger for her because of what I went through. I always had strong feelings about the challenges I faced as a child, and wished my mother stepped up more, did more. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone through so much at such a young age. I believed it was better to not have her in my life, than to have a riff between us that no one wanted to step up and fix. It’s ostracizing around Mother’s Day, not being able to share that special day with the very woman who brought me into this world. I just leaned on the fact that I was a mother, so I’m able to enjoy Mother’s day is that aspect.

“Seriously? Mother’s Day is around the corner and I’m really excited. I always get the red carpet celebrity lifestyle of the rich and famous treatment on mother’s day, and secretly I’ll admit I’m not that deserving of it all. I’m a great mother and everything, but I get a little spoiled around this time. Funny thing when I was a kid, I never went that hard for my own mother. So, it’s surprising how serious my children take it. I must be doing something right.”

Am I Really The Only Grown Black Woman with Mommy Issues, Gaptoothdiva at the shooting range with her mom

My mommy issues are based on fear. I’m scared to get hurt. I’m scared to just let go and love my mother with no hesitation or regret. I often posted my mother on this pedestal that I constantly asked her to live up to. When she stepped down, showed me who she was (imperfect), or disappointed me, I went into survival mode and retreated. She may have been wrong, but after a while I stopped giving her a chance to fix it and make it right. After a while, I stopped putting myself in a position to get hurt. This affected my other relationships as well. I was convinced that if your mother could hurt you, so could everyone else. I lacked even a small iota of trust for anyone because of my stressed relationship with my mother. I couldn’t fathom myself committing to any serious friendship, when I don’t have that with my own blood. Despite, my encouragement to others, telling everyone to make your own family or to create your own family. The truth is you can never replace your flesh and blood. It took me taking that time away to realize how much of myself was missing. I didn’t have my sisters, my father, my nieces, or anyone because of a feud between my mother and me.

When I asked for advice from other black women, I was getting mixed reviews. Some said to reach out and just deal with her, as she is but with a long handle spoon. Others suggested that I let go, move on with my life without ever speaking to my mother again. A combination of pride and fear often took over, forcing me to fall into myself, afraid to look foolish. Being a mother and showing compassion to my children, is easy to me. They came from me and I want them to be happy children who grow into incredibly satisfied adults. However, being the child and asking for that love is challenging. As the years, go by and you start to get older, you start to feel stupid for still feeling like “I want my mommy!” That feeling of being foolish eventually turns to a productive anger that screams, “Fine, you won’t love me like I need you to, I’ll be ok without you.” As productive as I was, I still missed my mother. That feeling was too strong to hide.

Watching my friends and clients share moments with their mothers, it pained me. I’m happy to see that there are positive mother-daughter connections, but inside I felt the stings of envy. I yearned for the same fun, loving, and compassionate bond with my mother, too. We never seemed able to get on the same page to be that close, consistently, for a long period of time. We never made it long enough to just take each other for who we were, not forcing the other to change but comfortable to just be imperfect in front of each other. Looking back, I see how much time was wasted and I don’t want to continue to make the same mistake anymore.

Lately, we’ve been laughing and joking together so much that we’re in stitches all the time. Time is going by so fast, and we’ve realized that we’ve been talking for hours. We’ve been friends, and I’m happy. In the past, I would spend all this time afraid. Thinking about what you could or would say or do that would bring this gingerbread house of love and nurturing crashing down. I started to expect her to mess it up, believing that she wanted to sabotage a relationship with me and toss me on an emotional roller coaster of insecurity and rejection, just because she could… she was my mother. However, now I’m just learning to understand that she is who she is, and perhaps the pressure to be perfect for me or to make up for her mistakes from when I was little was putting her in a challenging position. Maybe, if I lightened up and gave her some room to be my mother in her own way, it would make it easier for her to come through like I need her to every time and not what I want her to some of the time.

Yes, I’m a grown woman who has had some mommy issues. My mother and I don’t have a perfect mother and daughter relationship. We are starting again after being estranged for almost two years. It was a conversation I was having with a young girl about her relationship with her mother. I was encouraging her to try to be honest with your feelings, no matter how vulnerable you are. She asked me if that advice worked in my own personal situation after writing my book. I told her, I hadn’t tried it yet. I needed to test it out for myself and see if I could let go of the fear of being rejected by my own mother. I feel better about motivating these young ladies about this, because I now know what it feels like to work towards making this relationship better, before I try to bury something definitely worth repairing. I can’t keep living in fear of my mother disappointing me, making me angry, or hurting my feelings, when I’m confident in who I am. I also can’t keep throwing away valuable relationships, just because it doesn’t fit my description of an ideal situation. I learned to accept her for who she is and to not put her on a pedestal to make the same decisions I saw other mothers make. She is who she is, and I can’t love someone unless I can accept them for who they are. There is no making up for the mistakes from yesterday, we can only do what we can now. If we try now that’s all that matters. Living in the moment is where we are.

 

Now that we are working on our relationship and starting anew, I’m taking advantage of opportunities to just enjoy the moment. What once was an issue, is now a budding friendship between a mother and daughter that has been through quite a few challenges, on a quest to turn it all around. This will be the first year that I can legitimately celebrate Mother’s Day, by doing something special for my mother. Repairing our relationship, I showed my own children that no matter what, you can always come home. I didn’t realize at the time, but I see how important it is to make that effort and how going through this experience has really changed me. This mother’s day I will celebrate my mother by sharing in the possibilities of where we go from here. How we can start an honest dialogue about our hopes for our new beginning. I’m looking forward to it. I’m not going to live in fear anymore. I’m absolutely ready for the ride.

XOXO,

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How to Overcome Obstacles and Move Forward

In the video I talk about overcoming your obstacles, living through your past, getting rid of everything that is bothering and dealing with life challenges.

I'esha gaptoothDiva delivers Steps to How to Overcome Obstacles & Move Forward

Steps to How to Overcome Obstacles & Move Forward | GaptoothDiva Advice

Own you part in the challenges you face and determine how you can avoid them in the future. Find out what part you played in your situation.

What Lessons Can I learn from this? Ask yourself what are the lessons that you get from the challenges and hardships.

Can I seek help or should I go through this by myself – You can reach out to unbiased friends or a counselor, if you need someone to talk to.

Obstacles are challenging but never isolate yourself from other people in order to deal with you problems.

Avoid depression, by not putting yourself on ice. Talk with trust-worthy people who uplift your spirit. Continue to pray.

Spend time with a loving family

If social media is making you sad, jealous, or upset and try spending some time offline.

Have faith in yourself and your ability to overcome.

Prayer and meditation can give you that free peace of mind you need.

Write down goals and solution to your problems, take some time to research opportunities to look for ways to deal. Use the resources available to you.

Build a Village of supportive people

WATCH THE VIDEO:

Get The Book:

Flawesome …Because God Don’t Make No Junk! Available on Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Flawesome-Because-Dont-Make-Junk/dp/0615980287

 

What Are Some Ways You Get Over Obstacles?

7 Undeniable Ways to Show Your Kids How to Have the Best Life Now

Now that spring is peaking her little pretty head around the corner, we’re on the spring cleaning, let’s get right for the new weather/season phase. In our home, we’re always running around purging closets, filling up new seasonal stock items in our cabinets, redecorating, and preparing for dinner parties, cookouts, and lots of events/festivals. With all that’s going on I wanted to make sure that I instilled some serious lessons into my boys, which I learned over the years about valuing life and where we are currently. I’ve been really into growing things, gardening, and DIY, so it’s about time I put what I learned into practice.
I find that life offers a fresh start everywhere we turn. Most recently, many people used the New Year as their fresh starting point to jump into 2015. I like to look at spring time as yet another opportunity to refresh, if your life needs it. However, this time why not include the kids on this journey? I’ve been blessed enough to connect with some new and amazing people, I’m learning new things like gardening, art, nutrition, and exercise… and it would be great if I could teach my children about it and get them as excited about it all as well. I could definitely use the support from my outspoken bunch, so if we all came together with the same mission in mind, I believe it would easier for everyone.
Lately, I’ve been talking to the children about taking care of our home, doing the things that we enjoy, and challenging ourselves to come up with some cost effective ways to add new experiences and projects to our calendar. I wanted us to all add some things that our whole family could enjoy. I know so many parents who work so hard on their fulltime jobs, their own small businesses, and in their community, that the time it takes to sit down and come with ideas of new things to do or family projects is almost impossible. Nevertheless, it’s important that we take the time to really do the things that we want to do, rather than settling for what we may or may not have time for.
I came up with a list of ways to show our children how to enjoy their lives right now, no matter what their current situation is. This was an effort to explain to them, that no matter what challenges we may face down the road (or if life seems amazing and nothing could go wrong at the moment), we still need to take advantage of opportunities to live, laugh, and love regardless. I wouldn’t want them to grow up believing that their happiness and quality of life is dependent on how much money we have, if we come across a bump in the road, or our ability to overcome setbacks or reach our goals. I want them to understand that now is the time to celebrate life as a gift.

Here are 7 ways to show your kids how to have the best life now:

1. Take care of home – whether you live in an apartment in the projects or a two story home in the most beautiful suburban neighborhood, teach your children to value the place where they rest their head. Keep it clean, maintained, loiter and negativity free.

– Try do this on the inside AND outside of your home to have something you can be proud to come to everyday. It’s easy, inexpensive, and the kids would enjoy helping you. The reward at the end could be ice cream and cake or dinner out on the town.
Clean
Paint
Decorate
Maintain

2. Like Date night, everyone should write down three things they would love to do in the next three months. Then place everyone’s idea in a jar. Get out the calendar and start posting everyone’s idea randomly as you pull them out the jar on the calendar. This is about goal setting and sticking to a schedule, a lesson that everyone in the family could learn. If you lock in a date for the calendar, everyone has to make an effort to meet that day to do that activity.

Here is an example of what was in our jar & what we’re adding to our calendar

– Mom – Museum, Beach, Picnic, & Gardening
– Dad – Fishing, Bowling, Amusement Park, Paint Ball
– Son #1 – Go Cart Racing, Fireworks, Bike Riding/Hiking the Trail, Atlanta Road Trip
– Son #2 – Beach, Cookout, Children Museum & Zoo

 

3. Having some sort of spiritual foundation has been extremely important to my family and I. Once we were baptized and connected to a church, it seem like our challenges subsided and we knew that we had an automatic extension to our family. Encourage your family and your children to get more involved in the church or in the community. Sign the kids up for classes, groups, field trips, or local organizations that can motivate him/her to be a positive individual. Encourage them to look for opportunities to be leaders among their peers and always make time (even if it’s 20 minutes) to listen to them about their day, their concerns, or just hear about the highs and lows of their experiences.

4. A family that prays together stays together. I’m also learning that a family that works out together stays healthy together as well. When we wake up early to workout, we’re including the kids every now and then also. It turns out that my children are more active when they see that their parents are as well. If gives them that competitive spirit to move more become faster than us, but I hear a lot less whining and complaining throughout the day. They aren’t bickering and teasing each other out of boredom. When they get really quiet, I know that all that physical activity wore them out, so nap time is so much easier. It turns out that exercise is making everyone in the family much happier with better attitudes. I encourage all parents to get outdoors with their kids and allow that positive energy to surge through your bodies, raise those endorphins while you watch your family have a spectacular workout and lots of fun.

5. Projects aren’t just for school. During spring break and the summer break, we decided to all come up with a selfless project that we have to work on in our free time. We will present them to each other at a certain deadline and explain how it all came together. Something similar to what my husband and I did when renewing our vows, but this includes the whole gang and it’s about helping others. I’m really excited to see the kid’s project, because they are collaborating on it together. I like to see everyone commit to something and work persistently to see it complete. Of course there is a prize, but the actual effort put into each person’s project will be priceless.

6. Cultivating positive relationships with family is very important. No matter what you’ve been through, if have the ability to create a family now, if you refuse to limit yourself to what family truly means. Spending quality time with our loved ones, sharing special moments and stories form our family’s history, and gaining new experiences with one another is precious. Some people don’t have that kind of access, so to explain to your children how blessed they are to have family is a lesson that you shouldn’t put off. Go visit that aunt, grandmother or cousin that has been heavy on your heart. Show your children where you grew up, played, and got your first kiss, so that they can see the experiences and people that made you who you are today. Take a day where you go a tour around your old high school, church, your first apartment, or even where you and their father/mother met to connect the dots for them about your lives before they were born. Those kinds of history lessons are so valuable to truly understanding where you came from.

7. Show your children how to show gratitude. I encourage my children to show gratitude for all things big and small. They shouldn’t start eating until they say Grace. They should never walk away from someone who complimented them or did something nice without saying “thank you”. I show them that everyone doesn’t have it as good as they do, so be grateful for it all. Some of us know what it’s like to have life just snatch some things right from under you, but by instilling gratitude in my boys, it is my hope that they understand that they are blessed. Enjoy the life you have now, not when you get to where you want to be or when things start to look better. My sons say “Thank you Lord” now, sometimes I don’t even know why. I’m just happy to hear them give God the glory. Show your kids that having goals and ambitions are awesome, keep it up and continue. However, if you don’t do anything about the blessings you have today, I doubt it if you should expect any more tomorrow.
Let’s show our children how to celebrate and have an awesome life now, without someone saying that they’re qualified to do so. They will learn to appreciate and value their lives for many years to come.

Any ideas you would like to add to this list? Tell me how you plan to show the young people in your life how to live their best life now.

Joseph Fountain on Faith, Getting Started, & Stepping Up | GaptoothDiva Motivation

From the talent showcase titled Motivate, my previous Flawesome Academy workshop, husband, father, and motivational speaker Joseph Fountain has been an incredibly inspiring man about town in Richmond, Virginia. I had the wonderful pleasure of chatting it up with him before the New Year as he talks about being a motivator for those in the community. It wasn’t until today, I was able to get my hands on the audio file to post this, but I believe it is just as powerful now as it was a few months back.
From his own testimony, he used to work as an engineer. He was laid off before his son was born, and after being rejected by many jobs while trying to get back into the workforce, he felt led by God to use his gifts to work for himself.

Joseph discusses not growing up in the most pristine of environments, describing his upbringing as rough. He was torn as a young man to make money and provide for his family. He talks about learning new avenues in life to provide for himself, his wife and children. He believes that God has better for us all, and that God saved him to go down an enriched path to motivate and help others find better ways to live.
Joseph wants to inspire those who have endured struggles and obstacles in life.

“We think we need a whole lot to get started. The most you need is having faith and belief”

Joseph encourages people to start where they are in order get started in their dreams and goals. He states that we will never really ever get our ducks in a row, in order to make a difference. He firmly encourages others to start moving and to make things happen no matter where you are in life.
Like me, he credits self-education such as Google, reading books, and networking as a way to propel him into a direction of being a self-starter, an entrepreneur, and a motivator. He chalks that up as his faith being the size of a mustard seed to jump from nothing to something incredible.

He says that most sit with the “I don’t have this…” mentality, and that’s the reason why they aren’t where they should be or even where they want to be.

He list some of the things he has done to motivate himself:

– He admits that he learned from the temptation that he faced often
– He prayed to God for a different life and different circumstances, he desperately sought change and a way out of his situation
– He got on a right path towards working & getting out of school
– He encouraged more prayer and understanding for the plan that God had for his life
– He read biographies of wealthy and influential people who possessed the type of success that Joseph wanted for himself and his family, in order to learn the lessons that those people have overcame
– He learned that the process is not our business but God’s business. He teaches that our reactions to life’s challenges is our business. “What are you learning from this?” is the question you should ask when you’re faced with challenges and life’s adversity.
– Realize that “its” bigger than you!
– If you don’t try or pursue what’s been on your heart, who will?

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned was how to trust God”

Listen to Our Full Interview on the GaptoothDiva Show Here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gaptoothdivaradio/2015/03/23/joseph-fountain-faith-getting-started-stepping-up-gaptoothdiva-motivation

Interview with Joseph Fountain on Faith, Getting Started, & Stepping Up | GaptoothDiva Motivation

Check Out Radio Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with GaptoothDivaRadio on BlogTalkRadio

When you learn to trust God, you can get over hurdles. Joseph definitely encourages everyone to surround themselves with people who are equally encouraging and positive. He says steer clear of the haters and naysayers just because you fear being alone. He says avoid secluding yourself from the world when you’re going through something, instead fellowship with others on the same spiritual level and positive direction as you.

He recounts the time when he was laid off, how some people wanted to reach out to him, not to be friendly or caring, but to be nosy and see how he was dealing with those struggles. We both laugh at this, because we both understood the feeling of mistaking such people as friends interested in some new gossip, while we’re trying to be optimistic about our circumstances. He chalks that up as people, not interested in seeing you succeed ahead of them, so they remind you of your obstacles. He encourages us that some people are bitter because they don’t believe that you should make it. When we decide to step up and do greater, we force those around us to get their affairs in order and step up as well, or get left behind.

“At the end of the day, this is your life… it’s for you. God didn’t give them the vision, He gave it to you”
Joseph admits that this positive mentality isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. He stated that anyone hating or blocking you, believes in you just as much as a fan and a friend. That’s why they’re mad, because they see greatness in you as well, if not more than what you can see.

When it comes to the state of our country and the awfully apparent racism still prevalent amongst certain groups, Joseph touches on his feelings about the senseless deaths of African American men all over the country. He admits that one part of him is angered, yet another part of him is inspired. He is a father and a family man, who feels pressured to help our younger generation more. He thinks about his son and the world that he has to raise him up in, and he ponders on ways to combat this.

Joseph is a firm believer of us treating ourselves with the same respect that we want from those outside our community. He knows first-hand how certain things like racism, classism, and other forms of prejudice can thwart a community. He says using each other, our knowledge, and or resources to make a difference will be a huge positive impact. Collectively, we both agree that there is definitely work to do. He says to do the best we can to show that we are working and standing together in general. He presents a call-to-action to more black men showing leadership and making a difference. We have to be more thoughtful, and ask men to stop playing childish games and stop concerning themselves with the temporary things in life.

Joseph encourages our leaders to come from a place of experience and transparency. He states that many leaders don’t realize that they are talking “at” young people, instead of to them from a place of empathy and understanding. He tells about his own experiences to convey a message to our youth that he isn’t too far removed from the life that our kids know about now. He shares alternatives, instead of preaching what you should and shouldn’t do, to help them understand that there is a better lifestyle waiting for you.

He is currently working on a foundation with his wife, whose efforts will be to help families in need of resources and guidance to steer from the wrong path. Joseph understands how people judge others based on the outside appearance of what someone’s situation might seem.

He plans to put together a men’s empowering event, to educate men on ways to deal with their emotions and decision making. He wants this event to help through life, relationship, and families decisions and strategy for all men alike.

“Time moves so fast… take life serious. Ask God ‘what are you trying to show me?’ Whatever God gives you, use it. Ask God to guide you.”

Joseph strongly encourages others to find your purpose and do what you are gifted to do. A message that is insanely powerful, delivering what I like to call high level motivation.

Check him out at JosephFountainonline.com
He’s on also on Facebook.com/josephLfountain and Instagram at @Takeovervisions

Did you agree with the powerful message from Joseph Fountain? If so, tell us how this has impacted you and what you took from our conversation.

10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

My views on Valentine’s Day and romance are very unusual according to some of my friends. However, one universal fact for anyone who is currently in a relationship… Valentine’s Day (the commercialized version of it anyway) should be celebrated every day, not just February 14th. However, for the sake of entertainment and pure culture tradition, let’s all get hype and excited because it’s the season to do so.

Nevertheless, I firmly believe that with the romance bug in the air and everyone desperately seeking to get shot in the butt by cupid, there should be some healthy truth being pointed out. Not the kind of truth that haunts your mind like knowing that the majority of the people you know will all be having sexual relations at the exact same time on February 14th. I’m talking about the reasons why some of you shouldn’t celebrate this holiday. I’m so serious. Whether you are making yourself look crazy, you’re hating on others, or you are just not a good person, I’m listing the top 10 reasons why you should have a seat on V-day, probably permanently.

Continue reading → 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Join the #DeedADay Movement to Bring Joy to Yourself & Others.

It’s important to me to do some good in this world. I know what it feels like to have nothing and to have no one to turn to, when I needed help. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you’ll understand the kind of pain that you experience when you’re in need. After everything that I’ve went through in my life, I feel that in what I call my “borrowed time”, I would like to spend it doing more good for others and being there for anyone who needs it. Isn’t that why we go so hard every day, to be able to provide for ourselves and others? Well thankfully I discovered a cool and interesting way to give back daily and to remind myself that every little small selfless act is enough to change the world.

Gaptoothdiva discusses Join the #DeedADay Movement to Bring Joy to Yourself & Others. Continue reading → Join the #DeedADay Movement to Bring Joy to Yourself & Others.

Interview with Empowerment Speaker Aynoit Ashur on Surviving Domestic Violence and Unhealthy Relationships [LISTEN]

I always want to encourage people, especially those that have suffered abuse and unhealthy relationships in the past. I figured who better to give them advice and to tell their story than Aynoit Ashur is an empowerment speaker. She is someone who now uses her experiences to inspire and educate those needing support transitioning from abusive relationships to a lifestyle full of self-love.

Continue reading → Interview with Empowerment Speaker Aynoit Ashur on Surviving Domestic Violence and Unhealthy Relationships [LISTEN]