Category Archives: family
Prioritizing Marriage, Family, and Career
Three years ago I ran across this Facebook post, “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” written by Admin khuy, and I read it, before I got married.
What is interesting is reading it three years later and my mouth kept dropping, because it felt like I was reading it for the very first time. It’s been 6 years into a relationship, three of those years have been as a married couple—and I think this is a great article for those individuals who are career driven and/or mission driven, and think they “got it handled” when it comes to marriage and family.
Today I share this post with those of you contemplating marriage, engaged to be married, newlyweds, and even those of you married 8-40 years. I share this with the married ones who place their careers before their marriage (knowingly or unknowingly), and ignorantly think there will be harmony in that arrangement.
I share this with those of you planning to start a family, currently pregnant, have a newborn, and of course to those of you with multiple children of various ages. I share this with those of you who put your children first and your marriage second, or even last. Before your first child is born, it’s just you and your spouse. When your last child leaves the nest, guess what? It will just be you and your spouse. Your partnership deserves more than being placed second or worse, last to anything and anyone.
These three things that Admin khuy writes about sound simple, but oddly enough, many couples aren’t doing these things and that’s why current statistics are showing high divorce rates by or before year 8 in the marriage. It’s not money causing divorce, it’s disconnection, and as khuy wrote, “unawareness” that is the root cause. The byproduct ends up being money, adultery, abuse, neglect, etc. But before these things took place the roots were formed by one or both people being unaware of what marriage requires, and then the two who were once connected became disconnected—and as they grew farther apart the “issues” took center stage.
Please read this husband’s post (below) and try these three things for at least one month, and see how it can positively change your life, your marriage, your family, and even your community. If you can then see the possibility, maybe then you will embrace it as your way of life.
Marriage isn’t about living happily ever after with that one person who “completes” you, it’s about the journey of transitioning into a better, more selfless you.
Read Admin khuy’ post and then share your thoughts in my comments section…
Dear Chump Lady, Am I an insensitive jerk because my husband wants to date?
Dear Chump Lady, Am I being unreasonable for having a problem with my husband’s ongoing relationship with a woman he tried unsuccessfully to seduce? One night about a year ago, we both got home from our respective jobs and my husband burst into tears. I’m talking, deep, rasping sobs. With his head on my lap…
Women it’s Your Time to Act and Woman Up: A Call to Action, Part One
By Natasha Foreman Bryant
Teacher. Corrector. Nurturing. Supportive. Caring. Loving. Tender. Warm. Patient. Understanding. Healing. Healer. Fixer. Graceful. Delicate. Strong. Respectful. Kind. Brave. Meek. Humble. Courageous. Lady. Love.
These words and more describe the traditional woman. These are some of the words that we think about when we think of mothers.
Baby Mama. B*tch. Baddest B*itch. Side Chick. Side piece. Breezy. Butter head. Barbie. Chicken head. Dime. Cougar. MILF. Ho. Jump off. Queen Bee. Diva. Gold digger. Vixen. Trick. Slut.
These are some of the words that are being used to describe women today. These are some of the words that women and young girls are using to describe themselves. These are some of the words being used by mothers to describe themselves and other women. The list continues to grow each year.
Something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Painfully wrong. Females. Women. Ladies. Mothers. Sisters. It is time that we step up and act.
We must Woman Up!
I wrote a two-part letter to the men (see the links at the end of this post) asking that they step up and do their part to help bring about positive change in our households, schools, churches, and neighborhoods worldwide. I wrote and asked them to do their part to help young men and boys learn what it means to be a real man, a protector, nurturer, teacher, provider, father, husband, son, and friend. I asked men to do their part to help young women and girls learn what a real man is and is not, why they need to shake their fixation on finding the daddy that left them, was never around, or hardly noticed.
But this change requires us too!
Young men and boys learn how to treat a woman by looking at and getting directions from other males, but they also learn by watching and interacting with us. The kind of woman that you want your son, grandson, brother, nephew, or cousin to marry and raise a family with will either be the woman he sees in you, or the image he sees somewhere else—maybe on television, in magazines, or on the streets. You can either help present an honorable image, or you can carelessly allow him to seek out and connect with the next “jump off”.
It is our responsibility to change the image and view of women. It is our responsibility to not sell out for money, affection, fame, or perceived power.
Your Image: Healthy or Destructive?
Here’s the problem. If your model image of womanhood comes from what you see on television or view in magazines, then you yourself have not been exposed to any positive female role models. You have allowed the media, designers, corporations, and airbrushing experts (all mostly men) dictate to you the epitome of beauty, sensuality, and strength. I just watched an amazing video that reveals what Jean Kilbourne and thousands of women have been trying to make clear for over 40 years—the images we see of fashion models, actresses, and female celebrities are mostly altered and airbrushed in an attempt to entice and seduce men, and embed a message in the mind of women and girls, that only leads to our diminished esteem and an increase in eating disorders, suicide, and heightened destructive sexual behavior. Please watch this video and share it with others, males and females, old and young. We have to change the way we see ourselves and other women. We have to change the way men and boys see us. We have to change the way designers and corporations see and depict us.
Eating disorders are not just a “white girl” or wealthy girl issue. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. They can reach all of us. Starvation, forcibly vomiting, binge eating, and emotional eating are actions taken by females around the world from every socioeconomic background, race, color, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.You can have a seemingly “perfect” life living in a two-parent household, beautiful home, fenced yard, with one or more cute pets, and still have an eating disorder. You can live in the projects with your grandmother or aunt, and have an eating disorder. You can be a straight A student and star athlete, and have an eating disorder. You can be a soccer mom, juggling your demanding career and back-to-back playdates for your kids—and have an eating disorder.
Either we think we’re too skinny, too fat, too wide, have too much cellulite, don’t have big enough breasts, or have some issue with our butt (too big, small, lumpy, flat, or too wide), whatever it is we aren’t happy. This unhappiness turns into us using exercise, food and other substances to drastically alter our bodies. Someone planted this seed in our minds. Someone told us we’re too fat or too skinny, and that seed rooted and grew quickly. We then fixated on this and it became our reality. Then our pain must be inflicted on others, because hurt people hurt people. So we then see the flaws in other women, and we do our part to share with them and others our opinion of these flaws. There is the chain reaction.
Then there’s plastic surgery and this obsession with becoming a barbie doll—thinner, uplifted always-smiling face; big and even bigger breasts; perfectly sculpted legs and arms; toned and rounded hips and butt; and a teeny tiny waist. Women are spending one to six months of income (theirs or someone else’s) to achieve their ideal barbie doll image, and then when they still aren’t satisfied, they spend another one to six months of income to make corrections.
That is why honorable plastic surgeons inquire in advance your true intent for wanting plastic surgeon, what outside influences may be encouraging this decision, and if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for this change. You can make all of the physical corrections that you want with the help of a surgeon, but if you aren’t spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy, happy and satisfied, then you will never ever be happy with yourself or your looks. We must accept this for ourselves and we must explain this to the young girls and teens who are growing into their bodies and ingesting the toxins delivered by magazines and on television. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with friends and family. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with young school-aged girls and those young women ages 18 to 25.
It is our responsibility to tell the media, fashion designers, advertising and marketing companies, and other corporations that we are not inanimate objects, we are not objects. Period. We are women, ladies, girls, daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, cousins, teachers, entrepreneurs, and bearers of life. We are not to be dehumanized and exploited. To make this point clear that means that we have to also refuse to audition and interview for roles, assignments, and jobs that negatively portray us as objects of desire, and we have to stop carrying ourselves (and behaving) like mere objects.
Tune in for Part Two coming soon!
Your Sista girl,
Natasha Foreman Bryant
To read the two-part Call to Action for men visit:
Bad Girls, More Like Hurt Girls: Woman Up!
By Natasha Foreman Bryant
I admit that around 2006-2007 I watched the earlier seasons of the Bad Girls Club. I wanted to know what Oxygen was bringing to the table, so-to-speak, and what made these young females so “Bad”. I soon discovered that droves of females claiming to be real women, were lining up to join this show to prove how devious, violent, ruthless, and spiteful they were. They wanted to prove to themselves that they were the hottest, sexiest female on the show, and the one who could curse the most and the loudest, while pretending that they really wanted to fight one or more of the other cast members.
Yeah I got bored of it quickly because I know that the women who aren’t to be messed with don’t go around advertising it for the world, or tooting their own horn. They just confidently sit back and relax.
Little girls throw temper tantrums, play childish games, and do petty things. This is what I saw on the Bad Girls Club, and this is what I saw when I decided to check on the show the other day (now in it’s 11th season). It’s disappointing to see these girls, obviously in pain, obviously battling some childhood or early adulthood trauma, taking out their pain and frustration on others.
Someone let them down early on in their life. Someone didn’t give them a healthy dose of love, attention, affection, and structure growing up. Someone didn’t teach them how to be ladies and mature women. Maybe there are daddy issues, mommy issues, or both. Whatever the problem it runs deep, and when not properly redirected, hurt people will ultimately hurt people.
I always wonder if the cast members from all eleven seasons look back at the episodes they starred in and really reflect upon how they were portrayed, how they acted, and the image that they have left in the minds of their viewers—and the young girls that I’m sure tune in regularly.
The episode that I have shared at the end of this post is a small reflection of what Bad Girls Club has recycled and evolved into after 11 seasons. I tell those so-called “bad girls” and those who walk around thinking they are “bad” to woman up! Your attitude and false image won’t get you far in life. The high you feel tearing others down will still leave you feeling lonely when the cameras aren’t on you, or when your entourage isn’t hanging around egging you on.
Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
Sean’s Thought of the Day: Keep Your Personal Business in Your House
Another post from childhood friend, Sean…
Remember when you kept your personal business in the house? Your kids knew that you didn’t tell folks about what went on in the house. A husband spoke to his wife and a wife spoke to her husband. Posting how you done with men or women on Facebook only makes you look foolish and desperate. Maybe it is time to stop proclaiming love, giving yourself over and praising these men and women before you know them in the first place. Keep your business in your house and the world won’t be all up in it. It is time for grown-ups to start acting grown.
Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Girls are Still Being Told They are Too Pretty to be Smart
So I wasn’t surprised to read that more retailers have suffered from major foot-in-mouth or foot-in-rear syndrome as they have pressed and marketed t-shirts and other novelty items to young girls that basically tell them that it is more advantageous to focus on their looks than their intelligence. These messages also tell them that they aren’t as smart or smarter than boys, and guess what? It sends the same messages to boys who grow up to be men who think this way. Then women like myself have to deal with this ignorance throughout college and our careers. I’m in my mid-30s and I still have to prove that I’m intelligent and capable of playing with ‘the big boys’, while a man with a fraction of my intellect just needs to show up.
So what are retailers up to now? Well a few months ago it was the “I’m too pretty to do math” t-shirt by David & Goliath and let’s not forget the “Trophy Wife” t-shirt; I’m sure every parent sits back and hopes that their daughter grows up to be a trophy wife (yes, I’m being facetious). The more we struggle to break down these stereotypical images of females, the more guck and muck that flies up from companies that know better, but see the benefit of earning the buck more than doing the right thing.
So why would J.C. Penney get caught up in the cross-hairs of this nonsense with their “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” t-shirt? I’m not sure. Obviously they missed the memo that said gender stereotyping is a big no-no. They were smart enough to pull the shirt from stores once the backlash from consumers gave them whiplash. Lesson learned? I hope so.
Here’s the crazy thing, retailers could actually make MORE money by producing and marketing positive images and messages of girls and women than they do with this other nonsense. Think of how many t-shirts you would buy for every young girl (or even boy) you know if it read, “I work hard in school so I can have the career of my dreams“, or “Need a tutor? I get A’s in Math“, or “You can have sexy, I’ll be your boss soon“. There are so many ways to show young girls and boys that being intelligent is smart and is a highly attractive quality not only for a future spouse -which they shouldn’t be concerned with until their in their 20s, (but realistically we know they obsess over as young as age 13) but also for future employment opportunities.
Of course I’ve included the link (see below) to the article that shares the J.C. Penney story and more. I’m thrilled to read in the article that entrepreneurs are jumping into the business to produce positive images and messages for our children to see and model, such as the “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it…Redefine girly” t-shirt.
If we are truly concerned with the future of our world and the children who will be tomorrow’s leaders, then we must take responsibility for the images they see and the messages they hear…we are all role models!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Paradigm Life.
Some of our Leaders Seem to Have a Problem with “Brain-Mouth Disconnect Syndrome”
By Natasha L. Foreman
Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.
This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.
Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…
Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?
Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”
See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:
I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?
If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?
What are your thoughts?
Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo
And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy
By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.
What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.
I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.
I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.
These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.
When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.
We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.
We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.
We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.
We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.
I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
>Natasha’s Love and Life Thought of the Day for 2.8.11
>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Some of us strive for excellence only in our personal lives content with the belief that at least there we have some control, since we have none at out Just-Over-Broke Situations. Then there are those of us who are more focused on prosperous careers and we could care less if we have a hodge-podge relationship, dating a handful of people (and probably being dishonest to all of them), or running through life single and alone.
I believe that you can be successful in both love/family and career.
What’s the sense in having a prosperous career and you have no one worthy to share your accomplishments and setbacks with, how is that a successful life?
I strive for excellence in every aspect of my life and I truly believe that I can have both a successful personal life and career as long as there are two things constantly present that I’m focused on: God, and that I BELIEVE even when I’m scared, and especially when no one else does (or they are too self-absorbed to care).
I believe that I can be the wife who cooks, cleans, stays up late helping my husband meet deadlines or work through issues; the wife who loves him to the level (and intensity) that makes others jealous; that I can be the mother that other children wish were theirs (and my children soak it up); that I can have the loving, respectful, supportive husband, and the well-mannered, giving, caring, highly intelligent and gifted children- all nestled in our warm, inviting and beautiful home (with a well-manicured lawn, my Land Rover LR4, and a happy dog). Yes, I believe this with every fiber of my body.
At the same time I believe that I can have that demanding yet rewarding career doing all of the things that I love doing, and getting paid handsomely. I also believe that I can do all of this and still serve the least of God’s children around the world…
…while still having precious alone time to do whatever I want to do for me- even if it’s a two-hour bath with tons of candles surrounding the tub, or taking the time to read and reflect on the Word!
It all requires balance. It requires believing in myself and believing that I’m NOT doing this alone. There is a greater power out there- God- helping me along the way- opening doors, windows, vents, and more so that I can walk, jump, crawl, or wiggle inside and make a difference in my life and the lives of others.
We must be about action. There is no limit to what we can or can’t do. We can either make things happen and DO something, or we can spend our lives coasting by TALKING about our dreams. You can find your calling at any age between 20 and 90, but it is up to you whether you do what you are called to do or waste the time making excuses why mediocrity is the best you can produce.
We must remember that there IS a time limit on life; tomorrow is not promised- so we have to seize the moment and learn each day to LIVE OUR DREAMS!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.