Posted in C-Haze, Children, Funny, Humor, Single Mom

The Slow Burn of the Economy and Footwear

Like just about everyone else, I am feeling the burn of the economy.

Being a single parent, I was never exactly rollin’ in the dough, but I’ve done alright. I have a decent job and no credit card debt. I’ve had to get creative- or what I thought at the time was creative- a time or two, but overall it hasn’t been too bad…

Until now.

Between the cost of gas, groceries and everything else, it’s safe to say I am broke. Extremely, pathetically broke. After paying $4 for a measly gallon of milk the other day, I honest to God thought I was going to vomit… and I won’t even talk about what I did the first time I paid close to $60 for a single tank of gas.

That’s why I experienced something dangerously close to blind panic when I realized both of my daughters need new shoes. The Baby’s were getting so small she could barely fit her little feet into them anymore, and The Diva’s toes were poking out of hers.

Sigh.

Normally a thing such as shoe shopping is not enough to make me burst into tears, but considering I have no money (did I mention I’m broke??), that’s exactly what happened. I was so distraught I actually had to have a friend of mine review my (bleak) budget with me and help me figure out how in the world I could fit two new pairs of shoes into it.

After crunching the numbers, my buddy gave me the bad news- I could afford exactly $30, including tax- on shoes.

Yikes.

I typically spend more than that on one pair of shoes for one child… this is now my total budget?

Gulp.

I didn’t think it could be done- I realize I have instantly dropped from middle-class to poor. Similar to suddenly dropping 10,000 feet in an airplane during turbulence, the feeling is not a good one. It can make a person like me physically ill.

Ugh.

Alright, enough of the pity party. Poor or not, I had no choice. The kids needed new shoes, and I had to buy them. Period. So off we went, in search of cheap-yet-sturdy-yet-socially-acceptable footwear… the sort of thing I didn’t believe actually existed.

It wasn’t easy, and it took some bargain hunting, but I am happy to report I was not only able to purchase two pairs of shoes for the little ones, but 6 pairs of socks as well, all for the bottom-barrel price of $27.66.

And yes, that includes tax.

While I’m certain no one who reads this will find themselves nearly as excited as I am, this is never the less a small victory in a very large, very expensive, very jacked up world… and I’m feeling pretty smug. So maybe I can survive this recession the uber-rich politicians keep trying to convince me is just part of my imagination after all.

Time will tell, I guess. Until then, baby’s got a new pair of shoes!

Posted in C-Haze, Dating, Race, Relationships

Let’s Fix It

As I’m sure all mothers do, I worry about my daughters. Like everyone, my concerns range from their physical health to their happiness and emotional well-being.

By far, my biggest concerns are for their future.

I worry what we are teaching my daughters. Am I doing my part to teach them how to choose a partner that won’t abandon them when they get pregnant, or at the first sign of trouble? Or will my actions, my mistakes, result in their making the same errors in judgment that I did?  

Beyond that, what are the boys that will someday be men- and possibly their husbands- currently being taught? Are they being raised in abusive homes? Are their fathers present in their lives? Are these young men being taught to treat my daughters as Queens, with all the respect they deserve?

Unfortunately, it is a very real concern that my babies may wind up in some very painful, destructive life-relationships. The have several “risk factors”- they are the product of divorce, they have witnessed their father’s varying degrees of abusive behavior, they have seen me struggle and freak out as a single mother- and have witnessed more of my own mistakes than they ever should have. In addition, as beautiful black-women-in-training, they have the weight of a broken, wounded society on their shoulders. Not only will they have the responsibility of thriving in an unforgiving and unfair world, but they will ultimately be charged with selecting a man to share their journey with.

The men they will have to choose from are young boys right now, who by and large were born into unmarried homes- currently, that number is over 70% in black families. Boys who are being raised by over-stressed single mothers, and likely- MOST likely- have no fathers around to help with the load (according to the numbers, more than half). Boys who, like my daughters, struggle each and every day, next to their mothers, seeing a scary side of the world that they never should have had to experience.

My daughters are part of a generation in which black men are more likely to be shot than they are to graduate high school. This generation is one in which 10% of black males, aged 25-29 are incarcerated.

I love my heritage, I love my daughters’ heritage, and I love that as black women they will be among the most beautiful, gifted, strongest people on earth. I would never dream of changing their race if given the chance- only their circumstances- circumstances that both myself and this society allowed to become theirs. While I will love and accept my daughters no less, should they choose non-black men as their partners, I would be so proud if they were to choose a wonderful, loving black man. Studies show they’re likely to marry within their race… and that is one statistic that I am not disappointed to read. I love all people, and have the blood of no less than three races coursing through my own body. If my children choose to marry outside or their race, I pray that such a decision would be a matter of the heart, and not because all of these sobering statistics proved true, and they had little, if any, choice.

For them, for my daughters and your sons, we all need to do our part, and start fixing this.

*special thanks to Roland S. Martin, CNN.com for providing the numbers