Author Archives: Darcel

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

18 Free and Cheap Homeschooling/Unschooling Resources

You don’t need to spend insane amounts of money in order to successfully homeschool your child(ren).
There are a ton of free or inexpensive homeschooling/unschooling resources right in your backyard.
It takes a little research and getting out to explore your city as if you were a tourist.

Think I’ve mentioned that I recently moved back home after being gone for a decade. I grew up in Ohio, but so many of these places are new to me.  I love having the opportunity to explore them with my kids who are 10, 8 and 5.
I think most of the activities I’m about to list would be enjoyable for any age.

We spent the summer and fall visiting different Metroparks, and I enjoyed our outings as much as they did.

1. There was the working farm/nature center

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2. Taking a trip back to the 1880’s at Carriage Hill.

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3. We had a self guided tour though the Historical Woodland Cemetery.

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4. We’ve walked trails at two of our favorite Metroparks.

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5. Visited the Children’s Garden

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6. And gone back to one of our favorite parks see how the landscape has changed with the current season.

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Most of the places we’ve been over the last four months have been FREE!
I paid $14 to get all four of us into the nature center.

7. I’ve pulled our telescope out several times over the last couple of months. We watched the lunar eclipse, and I’ve been able to get some amazing photos of a quarter moon and half moon.

8. You can get memberships to museums and a lot of them have reciprocity. If your child(ren)enjoy classes there’s the library, you can join a homeschool co-op, and sign them up for various camps such as lego, STEM, art, dance, band.

9. Join the email list for you local libraries, museums, and nature centers, and don’t forget to sign up for the ones in surrounding cities.

10. Macaroni Kid is a email list that you can sign up for and receive city specific emails about upcoming activities.

11. The Smithsonian has a free museum day every year. The Zoo and Museums in D.C. are free year round if you able to make that trip.

12. Take your kids on nature walks, visit a new park once a month.
Look at bugs through a magnifying glass, put grass or rocks under a microscope.

13. Join homeschool groups and set up Skype so your kids can video chat with other homeschoolers.

14. There’s painting, pottery, bakeable clay, cooking classes, baking at home, science experiments, video games,  Netflix and Hulu. 

15. Learn photography, drawing, music, musical instruments, volunteer at animal shelters, set up a lemonade stand, learn to knit, crochet, or sew. Thrift stores are another great place to find trinkets and treasures.

16. Visit a construction site, go see a play, go to the movies, have movie night at home and make popcorn and rice krispie treats.  Take them to a Safari park, Younger kids might enjoy Animal Jam, and don’t forget about Minecraft.

17. You can check out my Unschooling board on Pinterest. There are printables about the human body, links to science and math YouTube videos, quotes, and links to blogs written by various unschoolers.

18. There are also several group boards I belong to for multicultural homeschooling, and year round projects to do with your kids.

There’s a big world out there to explore, and you get to be their tour guide and explore it with them.
Be their partner, learn and have fun with them.
Make your lives as interesting as possible.

Any resources you would like to share with us?

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

5 Tips to Help Single Moms Through The Holidays

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Is it really November already?
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are right around the corner.
Even though I’ve technically been a single mom since the end of 2012, this is the first Holiday season that I haven’t lived with my parents, and we’re not going to visit them until after the New Year. I recently moved back home after being gone for a decade and I am LOVING it!

All of these tips have not been tried out by me, so we can try some of them together, and hopefully we’ll have a fun holiday season with minimal stress.

I can’t give tips and advice on co-parenting during the holidays… my kids are with me 24/7.
Whatever your situation, I think you’ll be able to implement at least one of these tips into your holiday season.

  1. 1. Buddy up.

This is not the time to be alone. We were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends and we’ll probably end up visiting several houses before the day is done. I’m glad we were invited because that meant I didn’t have to ask, but I would’ve. If at all possible, get with your friends and see if you can spend the Holidays with them.
You can bring a side dish, dessert, wash their dishes, something.

If you want to play hostess and invite people over you can get a menu together and ask each guest to bring an item.
Whatever you do, please don’t do it alone. You are not in the way, you’re not a 3rd or 5th wheel. Make plans with people who you enjoy spending time with.

2. Watch your spending.

I think this one applies more for Christmas, but applies to Thanksgiving and New Years as well.  I know it’s hard when you see all the adorable things people are doing on Pinterest and instagram,  and the decorations have been calling your name since the end of September, but DO NOT  SPEND A FORTUNE ON DECORATIONS.
The same goes for all you crafty moms, do not spend a ton of money on materials to get your house Pinterest and instagram worthy. There’s no need to compete with suzy homemaker and her decor that changes with every season in every room of her house. Our goal is less stress.

We don’t have cable so I haven’t had to worry about the kids asking for everything under the sun since August. Most single moms I know do not have a lot of wiggle room in their finances. This is what I’ve been doing for the last few years and it works well. You’ve probably seen or heard of different variations of the Three Gift Christmas.
Something they want, something they need, something you want them to have.
See if you can split the list with family members to help keep cost down.

3. Schedule Alone Time.

If you know another single mom, maybe you can swap babysitting services. Ask a friend or family member to take the kids for a day, or half day. Get out of the house, go for a walk, go see a movie, call a friend and meetup for coffee. Do something for yourself so you can relax and recharge. You’ll feel better and your kids will benefit from you having that time away.

4. Mix New Traditions With Old Traditions.

Keeping old traditions gives you and your children something familiar and can be comforting, but starting new traditions can make the holidays even more special for all of you as you continue to settle into your new life.
Involve your children in this process! You can make a list of ideas together and add one or two every year.
A few ideas to get you started…

Trying a new cake or cookie recipe.
Movie Night.
A letter to your children: hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.
Pick a different country and holiday every year then learn about that countries holiday traditions.
Go See Christmas lights

5. Allow Yourself  And Your Children To Feel.

Like I said before, this is our first holiday season “alone”. I’m trying to prepare myself for the mix of emotions.
And it’s not just my emotions I’ll be dealing with, but my kids as well.
Are you feeling happy, sad, angry, a mix? Go with it. I highly recommend journaling.
There’s something therapeutic about writing down your thoughts and feelings. If you’re on cloud 9, enjoy it and write it down. Are you having a hard time keeping it together? Allow yourself some time to fall apart.
No one will see what you write unless you show it to them, and it’s nice to have that record to look back on.

The holidays can be a happy and fun time, but they can also be sad and hard for a lot of people.
About a month ago, my son(5yrs) said to me “mommy, everyone else has a dad, mamaw, peepaw, uncle, and cousins. And it’s just us here”  That was a bunch to the gut. I wanted to cry because he looked and sounded so sad.
I didn’t invalidate his feelings by telling him that we have friends and a church that is family even though we aren’t related by blood. That’s not what he needed to hear.

Let your kids know whatever they feel is ok. Let them know you’ll be their safe space.
It doesn’t matter if they’re five or 15.

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I know these are simple tips but I hope they help.
Do you have any tips? Please share them in the comments.

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

10 Black Mommies of Special Needs Kids Who Are Documenting Their Experience on Social Media

The Mahogany Way https://www.facebook.com/TheMahoganyWay/

The Mahogany Way https://www.facebook.com/TheMahoganyWay/

As the mother of a child with special needs I know how important  it is to have a supportive network around you.
This list was a bit harder to put together than I thought it would be, but with your help(thank you!) I was able to compile a nice list of Special Needs Parents of Color for you to follow and connect with on social media.

Knowing there is a safe place for you to vent, share stories, or get advice can be a life saver.
Maybe some of these can turn into local community connections.

Some of the people on this list speak on special needs sporadically while others use their platform for awareness on a daily basis.

1. Ms. Brooks  is the Executive Director of the Mocha Autism Network.
An encouraging place for parents and children of color on the Autism Spectrum.
They focus on three area. Awareness. Advocacy. Alliances.

2. Cedar Hill Mom is a developer WAHM who advocates for her son’s Autism.

3. Autism_Times talks about how her son changed her life.

4. The_Yvolution  talks about Autism Awareness and healthy eating.

5. Dr. Karmon Sears specializes in Neuropsychology among other things.

6. Special Needs Radio is a wealth of information on many topics, including, Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, OCD, Aniety, etc.

7. The Hydrocephalus Association  has a great community on Facebook and many of the parents have been able to make local connections.

8. Reaching Beyond Autism  is a blog written by a mother with two daughters on the Spectrum.

9. DoctorNayaka sometimes tweets about Autism and she’s fun to follow.

10. The Mahogany Way  is my page and I talk about parenting a child with special needs and living with Dyslexia as an adult.

Extras!

These accounts and websites aren’t run by black mommies, but operate with the needs of black children in mind.

Djanai’s Angels  is a twitter and blog dedicated to helping parents of children with special needs.

Our Parenting Spot  is a online community with a section dedicated to special needs parenting.

Pragmatic Mom  is a blog dedicated to Children’s books on a variety of topics including special needs.

I know the majority of the people on this list speak on and advocate for Autism, but there are a few who speak on other special needs. If you or someone you know has a child with ADHD, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, etc please share the link in the comments so we can make a connection!

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

A Response to “Why I Reject Princess Culture”… Why I EMBRACE Princess Culture For My Black Daughters

A few weeks ago Baby and Blog writer Angele wrote a very popular and thought-provoking piece about why she rejects princess culture for her daughters. Here, Baby and Blog writer Darcel writes an equally thought-provoking response.

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I remember the way I felt watching princess films as a child and now I’m able to watch many of them with my children. I loved playing in the tub and swimming in the pool, pretending to be Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Sleeping Beauty was and still is my favorite Disney Princess. I’m really looking forward to seeing Maleficent!

I think we have to be very careful not to put out thoughts and feelings onto our children. I listen to and watch my girls pretend to be characters from their favorite films and it always takes me back to my childhood. We have collected almost all of the Disney Princess books over the years and they remain some of the favorites to be read over and over again.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

~Albert Einstein

These fairytales are about so much more than princesses marrying a prince. I see hope, friendships, and overcoming what can seem like impossible circumstances.
Maybe I don’t have a problem with the princess culture because I don’t give it any power. My girls enjoy the Disney Princesses as much as they enjoy Mario Bros. One isn’t better than the other in my eyes.
We have had conversations, read books, and watched documentaries on princesses all over the world. And you know what? I want them to grow up and be with someone who treats them like a princess!
I can see why people have a problem with the traditional princesses, and I do wish they had more ethnic diversity in their characters, besides Jasmine and Tiana. Even Disney has taken the hint a little bit and changed it’s view on the traditional princess.
It’s not all about beauty, money, and marrying your prince.

I’ve seen and heard so many discussions against the color pink, sparkles, heels, and makeup. How is trying to sway your child from that any better than forcing it on her?  My girls enjoy sitting with me while I put on makeup and they even have their own little makeup kits to play with at home. I mean if you really think about it, applying makeup is an art! I like the way I look without makeup but I also like the way I look after applying a little. I like dresses, high heels, my favorite color is pink, and have a small collection of sparkly lipgloss. My children know that I wear makeup and put on heels from time to time for me, no one else. I like the way it makes me feel and that’s what matters.

For me, the princess films are simply another part of their childhood, just like the museum, the library, and the beach. We can hang out together watching the movies the same as visiting the places I mentioned.
And since we’re being honest, I think they know that life doesn’t always turn out with the girl marrying the guy and living happily ever after..I’m evidence of that!
I do want them to grow up believing that they can create their own fairytale.

 

Darcel White is the author of The Mahogany Way.
Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Your Child has ADHD, Autism or Other Learning Challenges

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There are many channels you can take if you suspect your child may have learning challenges such as ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Most people would say to start with your pediatrician. You can get a referral from them. Maybe your pediatrician has a favorite doctor or practice they enjoy working with. But what if your pediatrician doesn’t agree with you that something is up? Then you go around him or her and do what you need to do!

That’s what I had to do a little over a year ago. I love our pediatrician, but this is one of the things we did not agree on.

The process I took started at our local Dyslexia Center, where they did a full work up with IQ testing. The woman there referred me to an ADHD specialist because my daughters initial IQ results were very low and I knew there was no way those results could be accurate. You can read our story on how we came to the Aspergers diagnosis. It wasn’t on my radar at all.
We ended up with a Spectrum Disorder Psychologists and we can see him as often or as little as needed.
When I recently took the kids in for their yearly physicals, the pediatrician left it up to me to decide if I want the Aspergers diagnosis to permanently go on my daughter’s record, and I’m not 100% sure that I do. She also suggested that I use the people she prefers at our children’s hospital for further testing if I decide to go that route. I figure I can take my time and decide if/when I wish to add this diagnosis to her medical chart.

I think most people prefer the full work up that a Neuropsychological examine offers.
I also think doctors these days look for signs of ADHD, Autism, OCD, SPD, ect in children at their well visits, but that doesn’t mean your doctor will always catch it. They see your child once a year, or maybe a few times a year for less than 30 minutes at each visit. You live with your child and you know him or her better than anyone else.
You can get your child evaluated without an Individualized Education Program, without going through the school district, and without a referral from your pediatrician. You are the parent and this is your child. You may have to do a little digging and researching on Google or asking friends, possibly asking online if anyone knows local places to have your child tested. Some insurance companies will pay for all of the testing or a portion of it.

The main thing I want parents to know is that there are options. I’m not saying that doctors are ignorant and should be ignored. It’s great when you can work alongside your doctor to make sure your child gets the help they need. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to go about getting your child diagnosed if you feel something is up.

Darcel White is the author of The Mahogany Way.

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How I Make Ends Meet As A Homeschooling Single Mom

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You all know I’m a single-stay at home-mom and I homeschool. I’m sure you also wonder how in the world I’m able to pull this off.
There’s no way I could do it on my own…I have my very supportive parents and friends. They have been a shoulder to cry on, they watch my kids, they encourage me when I’m feeling down.

I’m sure many people thought and still think that I should put my children in school or daycare, get a 9-5 and keep it moving. That just won’t work for us. I guess I could make it work if I tried really really hard, but I’m not much for following the mainstream way of doing things. I like going against the grain.

Here’s a short list of the things I do to keep the cost of living down for us.

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I work from home doing several things – I work as a virtual assistant, helping to mange social media networks. I also make blog buttons/badges. My two main sources of income are writing and being a Independent Distributor for Itworks Global.
I’ve always wanted to earn an income doing what I love and feel blessed that I’m able to.

I‘m on government assistance for insurance and receive food stamps. The food stamps don’t last the entire month and they aren’t meant to. They supplement us. There have been a few months where the kids were sick for a week and didn’t eat much, so they lasted longer during  those times.

I don’t cook a lot of big meals. My kids graze throughout the day, so I keep lots of fruits, chips and salsa, crackers, etc in the house.
Grocery shopping usually happens once a week and I do my best to stick to my list.

My parents help me out financially when I need it, and honestly there have been months where the ends didn’t meet. We’ve never gone hungry, always had a roof over our head, and clothes on our backs. I have faith in God and believe that he is sustaining and taking care of us.

I do a lot of thrift store shopping, and also shop sales and clearance racks at the malls, department stores.
If you think you can’t shop at the mall because your on a tight budget then you need to get on your favorite stores mailing lists!
Some of mine are Old Nay, Forever21, NY&Co, Payless, Children’s Place. These stores always have great sales and will take coupons from your phone.

We don’t do a lot of outside activities/sports. My kids are content to play at the park, visit friends, take a trip to museums every now and then. I get a discount for teaching two classes at our homeschool co-op and that allows me to have all three children attend. I do sign them up for an activity once a year, which usually runs about a semester and they’ve been happy with that

I drive a midsize car that is pretty good on gas. Grocery shopping at Krogers has helped with the cost of gas, and I recently filled my car up for $30 by using my Kroger card. One time I filled up for less than $30…I had fifty cents off per gallon!

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My ex doesn’t help us out much financially and it has been very rough at times, but things are getting better for us. I work hard to make sure we always have everything we need. It hasn’t been easy and I know it may not be the most traditional choice for raising children as a single mom, but it’s been soooo worth it.

I’m so happy that things are starting to pick up for me and I’m able to earn an income doing what I love. I’m very happy to be able to stay with my children and work from home.

If you’re a single mom, how do you make ends meet?

Darcel White is the author of The Mahogany Way
Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

6 Sources of Black Ballerina Inspiration for Little Girls

935109_525504434170873_1521888444_nDutch National Opera & Ballet dancer Michaela DePrince Photo Source

My 6 year old daughter looooves ballerinas. She took a ballet class a few years ago and fell in love with it.
Whenever I see Black Ballerinas I think of her. If you have a little dancer or are a fan of ballet then this short list is for you.

1. Ebony Ballerinas Pinterest Board: a short list of beautiful black ballerinas

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2. African American Ballerinas Pinterest Board: Images of strong black ballerinas.

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3. African American Ballet Dancers Pinterest Board: Stunning images of black ballet dancers

51adc2f56f036b5330ad98dda28a5336Dance Theater of Harlem

4. Misty Copeland: The first African American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.

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5. I also found this article that highlights the 5 most influential Black Ballerinas.

4f4e606323162.imageLauren Anderson

6. This is a good article Shannon Harkins – the face of  African American Ballet Dancers’ Struggles It goes into the costs and time commitment it takes to become a professional ballet dance, and the focus is on a young African American ballerinas.

Do you have any links to Black Ballerinas you could share with us? Link to them in the comments!

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Meet Our New Writer, Darcel

Introduce yourself.
D:
I live in Virginia. We’ve been here for 5 years this month. We love it! Beautiful weather most of the year, beaches, festivals, museums, so much to do.

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I’m a stay at home/work at home/homeschooling mother. If that sounds like a lot, it is! I’m still figuring out how to balance it all. I am in the health and wellness industry, running my own small business as an It Works! Independent Distributor. You may have heard of us…we have those crazy wrap things and much more.

What are your life interests and passions?
D:
I loooove to write. I think I can explain myself better through writing than I can speaking. I’m passionate about motherhood, unschooling, birth, breastfeeding. It’s fascinating how each woman comes to motherhood and I enjoy reading about others’ journeys, and writing about my own.

I also enjoy knitting and the beach. I learned how to knit after a friend encouraged me a couple years ago and now I’m hooked. The beach is my happy place. I love the sound of the waves and looking out into the ocean. It’s so peaceful! All my cares disappear while I’m there.

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Tell us about your children.
D:
I have three children. Nakiah (Na-Ky-Ah) or Kiah as she calls herself recently turned 9 years old, and is super high energy. She’s always on the go. I think she sees the whole picture of things in life and asks about, or figures out the steps later. She’s very curious, sweet, sensitive, and cares a lot about others feelings. She’s a very literal person. She also loves animals.

Ava is 6.5 years and she’s very sassy and spunky. She’s the craftiest one out of the three…always making clothes for her dolls out of whatever; paper, scrap fabric, yarn. She’s very logical in her thinking. Also sweet and caring. A perfectionist like me. She likes to try things that her friends or sister do, but she is very much her own person.

Samuel is 3.5 years and he is a spirited, sweet little boy. He loves to build with anything he can stack, but Legos have been his favorite for a while now. He enjoys making his own creations from the loose pieces. He likes it when we buy him the garbage trucks or race cars, but he’ll take it apart and remake it in a matter of minutes. He’s also a perfectionist, curious, and loves to cuddle.

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Tell us about your births.
D:
I had a rough pregnancy with my first, ended up on bedrest around 30 to 32 weeks. Two days past my due date I had contractions all day that wouldn’t stop. My Rat Terrior, Patches, sat in the chair beside me all day while I rocked and rocked. Once they reached every 2 mins, we set out for the hospital… it was only 10 minutes away. That was the longest car ride of my life! Every time we hit a speed bump I thought I was going to pee on myself.

We (my then-husband and I) walked the halls for about an hour and then the contractions stopped. They did an ultrasound and my midwife told me that I could be induced or go home and probably be back within a day or two. I was ready to meet my baby, so I chose the induction. Never again. I made it 20+ hrs with no epidural and no doula. I finally asked for the epidural and after a while I was ready to push. There were some complications, and it’s a miracle that Nakiah is here with us today. She was 10lbs! I had a newborn the size of a 3 month old, ahahaha. Here is the entire story of my first birth.

With our second, we were living in the same state, but a different city. I saw a midwives group there and at my 20 week appointment one of the midwives told me they were going to schedule me for a cesarean at 38 weeks because my first was so big. I didn’t like that idea at all, so I left their office and never went back. I searched online for other options and came across homebirth. The thought didn’t scare me at all, it was actually exactly what I was looking for. After talking it over with my then-husband, we had a consult with the midwife. She agreed to take us on, and signed us up for birth classes with her doula friend.

I thought I was in labor off and on for weeks, but when the big day came there was absolutely no denying it. I called over one of the ladies I met in the birth class, we were due two days a part, and she is one of my good friends today. She brought food and sat with me for several hours. We were both shocked when my water broke on the couch while we were sitting there talking and laughing.

My midwife didn’t believe that I was in labor because I was able to talk through my contractions, but she was wrong. After sitting with me for several hours my doula left because I was able to fall asleep through the contractions for a few hours. Both women ended up missing the birth!

Ava was born in the bathroom shortly after midnight weighing in at 10lbs 10oz…. 20 days past her due date. It was the most empowering experience of my life. I felt like I could go conquer the world! Here is the entire birth of my second.

My third birth was very interesting. I had prodromal labor for weeks. I lost my mucous plug in the bathroom at the library with my two young daughters in tow. I didn’t think I was going to endure the ride home. The contractions were almost unbearable. My birth ball was my best friend and I walked around for weeks feeling like the baby’s head was just right there.

The last half of my labor was in the birth pool. The water was so warm, and I slept off and on for probably an hour or so. I remember Ava laughing at me during contractions… she thought the noises I was making were hilarious. She wasn’t even three yet, so I imagine that I did sound funny to her. Kiah wanted none of it, and she hung out with my dad. Samuel was born into the water and he was my smallest baby at 7lbs 10oz. I remember how tiny he felt and looked compared to the girls. You can read my third birth here.

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How did you balance breastfeeding and managing your household?
D:
I did breastfeed all three of my children. I knew it was something I wanted to do with my first, but didn’t really look into classes or resources. I would say I did half formula/half breastfeeding with her. She weaned at 10 months old.

My second nursed up until I was around 6 weeks pregnant with my third. She weaned at a little over 2.5 years old. I was much more bold with nursing in public, took classes, read books and had a good support network of like-minded women.

I weaned my third shortly before his third birthday. We attended La Leche League meetings often, and at one point I even worked towards becoming a leader.

I wore all of my babies and would nurse with them in the carriers when I could. It was hard keeping care of the younger ones, but puzzles, building blocks, cartoons, outings with friends helped me through it.

How do you balance work and motherhood? How do you carve out time for yourself?
D:
I don’t balance well at all! I am continuously striving for balance, and every time I think I’ve found it, something shifts and I’m figuring it all out again. Keeping a journal on my main blog of our daily lives is therapeutic for me, so is knitting. I’ve been making a point to have Moms Night Out regularly this year….and that is something I’m going to make sure to keep up with.

What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
D:
Expecting too much of my children. They are still quite young, still learning the world, learning to manage their emotions, and I’m too hard on them. I’m 34 and still trying to figure life out. I yell to much and have realized that when I do that they only hear my loud voice, not my words. I’m working on yelling less. I yell less than I did a year or two ago, but still more than I would like to.

I can easily get caught up in what society says my children should be doing, what they think children should know, how they think children should behave. Society isn’t in my home, and society isn’t living our lives. It’s important to me to check myself on why I believe what I do and to make sure my children enjoy their childhoods.

sensory and truck play

Who is your child-rearing support group?
D:
I have a fantastic group of amazing women in my life. We are like-minded in some areas and not at all in others. I love them because they’ve always been there for me and my kids. They’ve been there when I was depressed, happy, confused, and when I needed someone to tell me that I’m a good mom, but also call me out on my stuff.

The ones who are local, I get together with as often as possible, and the ones back home, I talk to on the phone either every day, or as often as our schedules allow.

What is the most important value, ideal or philosophy that you want to impart to your children?
D:
I want them to know that being different is ok and perfection is not required.
I want them to be kind and loving.
I want them to draw their own conclusions about why they believe in something.

What advice would you give to a new mom?
D:
Find like-minded mothers. They don’t need to believe everything you do, but it makes motherhood easier when you have people in your life who share similar values/philosophies. Don’t read these books by so-called experts. Most of them don’t even have children of their own. Chances are some new advice/research will pop up in a few months anyway.

If you have newborn, sleep when the baby sleeps. Seriously. The laundry and dishes can wait. Ask for help when you need it…your friends really do enjoy helping. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t really mean it. If your children are preschool-elementary age. Let them play! Let them be children. Accept your child for who she is, not who you think they should be. Make time for yourself. Hang out with your girlfriends. Chat on social media if you can’t get out, call them, text them. Make a point to stay connected with them.

Where can we find you online?
D:
Get updates whenever I post when you subscribe to my email list.
Let’s build community with Facebook.
Chat with me in a 140 characters or less about the craziness of daily life on Twitter.
Get sucked into all the goodness of Pinterest with me.
Are you on Instagram? Me too!
We can’t forget Google+ and Bloglovin.

You can read Darcel’s articles for Baby and Blog here.

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

7 Black HomeSchool Bloggers You Should Know

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Homeschooling has always been thought of as a ‘white-privilege-thing’
Maybe because people think you need a lot of money to homeschool, or you need to live in the best part of town. Not true. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that you can tailor it to suit your families needs, whatever they may be.

As a black mother and parent, when I come across another black parent that homeschools, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot….doesn’t matter if I meet the parent in person or online.
If I meet you online or in person and find out you’re online – I probably stalk you follow you on at least one or all of your social media networks.

There are a lot of Black families that homeschool, and here is a list of several for you to follow.

The Blessed Heritage Chronicles is written by Belinda

“The fact that we home education has, over the years, changed every single aspect of our life, and for those who find themselves here as possible new homeschoolers, or brand new, you’ll find that the same is true of your home as you embark on this journey.”

An Academy of Our Own is written by Julia

“I believe every person is a unique individual. Education should be tailored to suit both the strengths and the deficits of the individual.
I believe the learning environment should be relaxed, stimulating, and most importantly, safe. “

A Perfect Homestead is written by Latrecia

“Schooling at home is a wonderful blessing! This learning never ends! We live every day like this and have no “set schedule” to when learning can or will be done.”

A Little This…A Little That is written by Latonya

“I have been given the privilege to teach two awesome girls at home. Our girls are both elementary aged so our days are still filled with fun activities and outings. I actually love homeschooling, and the chance to be such a dynamic force in our girls lives. “

Mahogany Homemaker is written by Mahogany Homemaker
She also runs the Google Plus group Mahogany Homemakers.

“One of the blessings of home education is that you have the opportunity to study various different world cultures without limitations.
You can use unit studies, lapbooks, living books, textbooks, workbooks, videos, field trips, apprenticeships, interviews, reports, notebooking, interactive notebooking, anchor charts, board games, card games, puzzles, computer games, video games, interactive websites, flash cards etc…”

Child of the Nature Isle is written by Terri

“Our kitchen (and probably yours too), is really an unschooling classroom where we learn just through living and enjoying ourselves.”

The Squishable Baby is written by Lisa

“Life is a learning process – and I choose to learn every day in every way. I also choose to look at the bright side of things – even when there doesn’t seem to be one.”

I found this article interesting. More than 100k African American Parents Are Now Homeschooling Their Children.

“Our children need their parents to take an active role and be involved, regardless, because the odds, stats, and system isn’t stacked in their favor. They are going to need us to show mad love and involvement, which is clear to many. Love is important in education, which is why home schooling really works.”

Are you a Black Homeschooling Blogger, or do you know of any that aren’t listed?
Share in the comments!

Darcel is Single Mama to three – Writing about Parenting, Homeschooling/Unschooling, Autism, Dyslexia, and Knitting on her blog – The Mahogany Way.
You can build community with her on  Facebook.
Chat with her in a 140 characters or less about the craziness of daily life onTwitter.
Join her in the visual goodness of Pinterest and  Instagram!

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

7 Black Birth Pros to Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Black women and children have different needs when it comes to pregnancy and birth. Our infant and maternal mortality rates, and our cesarean rates are higher. Some of the theories on the reasons why are racism, diet, economic standing, not having enough of the accurate information.

Today I’m sharing with you a list of 7 Black Birth Pros You Should Follow. These women love what they do and are experts in their field. They share their knowledge on the birth plan myth, teen pregnancy, bedrest, doulas, and how we can improve our mortality rates among other things. Check them out, show them some love, and pass them on to your friends and family!

blackbirthpros

Nicole Deggings AKA SistaMidwife is a Certifies Nurse Midwife, Educator, and Advocate for Black women within the Birthing Community. She passionately writes about maternal and infant mortality in the Black Community. Her website – Sista Midwife Productions contains a great list of Black Midwives and Doulas from around the world.
You can find Nicole on Twitter, Facebook, and on her Blog.

Darline Turner has tapped into a market not often not talked about in the birthing community as a whole. Mamas on Bedrest is a fantastic resource with a list of articles on surviving bedrest, green living, preterm labor, and  videos for exercise while on bedrest.
Find Darline on Twitte, Facebook, and YouTube.

Black Women Do VBAC is a project that exists to share our stories and inspire others.
You will find a collection of homebirths, hospital births, women having vaginal deliveries after 2-4 cesareans. Their stories and pictures are amazing! Also find them on Facebook.

International Center For Traditional Childbearing
Run by Shafia Monroe, ICTC is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promting doula and midwife training institution.
Their mission is to increase the number of midwives and doulas of color and to return power to birth by reclaiming our culture as birth workers.

Midwives of Color is another great resource. This website keeps up to date with all of the latest conferences, webinars, videos, statistics in the Black Birthing Community.

Black Women Birthing Justice is a collective of African-American, African, Caribbean and multiracial women who are committed to transforming birthing experiences for Black women.

Lovebirth, LLC offers Childbirth Education and Doula Services – specializing in teen pregnancy.

Know of any other black birth pros? Add them to the list!

Darcel is Single Mama to three – Writing about Parenting, Homeschooling/Unschooling, Autism, Dyslexia, and Knitting on her blog – The Mahogany Way.
You can build community with her on  Facebook.
Chat with her in a 140 characters or less about the craziness of daily life on Twitter.
Join her in the visual goodness of Pinterest and  Instagram!

Darcel

About Darcel

Darcel is a single Mama to Three. She writes about her Motherhood journey, their Unschooling lifestyle, and raising a child with Autism at The Mahogany Way. You can follow along with her behind the scenes at MahoganyWayMama on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.