Thanks so much for being my first mommy blogger interview! First off, since you are a mama, I have to ask, how many kids do you have? Is there a husband?
I do the same, my daughter’s name is “Little Miss” on my site. We have to protect our little ones, especially when we are so open as you and I are. So how long have you been running your blog? What caused you to decide to start, and what was your inspiration?
It's been almost 3 years since I started my blog, when I wrote my first post. My friend, Niki, who is the creator of http://mamaofmanyblessings.com started a blog as a way to make money at home. So I started one thinking piece of cake. I got this! Boy was I wrong. Blogging is a lot of work and you better be willing to work for free for the first year.
Haha! I can relate. Anyway, on your blog you write about your family being biracial. Our culture has come a long way, as far as racial prejudices, but we still have a long way to go. I know your children are all biracial, you are white, Shawn is black. I have heard you talk about the prejudices your family has faced as a result. Where do you feel these prejudices are strongest? Is there anyone close to you who has hurt you, either unknowingly or on purpose?
Somehow it got out around my high school that I was carrying an African American baby. The cruelty and racism I experienced from some of my classmates was unreal. I will never understand why they did the things that they did. The names: zebra baby. Ouch! That stung. I remember one day, some boys walked by my locker wearing a white sheet over their heads and chanting, "white power."
My daughter also faces prejudiceness at school. She goes to school in a predominantly white high school. I have found the kids in her school are some of the most prejudice I've ever met. I'm not sure they necessarily mean to be, but the comments that come out of their month really shock me sometimes! I'm not sure if my daughter is offended, but it sticks in her mind enough to tell me about it.
I know you have also had another challenge to your everyday life as well. One of your children has autism. When did you realize that he had autism? How has this changed your life? How has it affected your family?
In response she shared with me a blog post she wrote with her daughter Kylie, back in 2012: http://mommaof4cuties.com/2012/08/tys-story/ Here are some exerpts I found interesting:
Even from the very beginning, I had no trouble discerning the fact that my son was…different…than most other little boys.
Up until the time right before his fourth birthday, when TY needed something, he would point or gesture silently at the object of his desire, sometimes impatiently, but mostly with a rather vacant or good natured expression.
Every word was stumbled, and water-logged; murmured and hardly repeated.
(...) my best friend (...) opened a door up to us. She mentioned the words “sensory processing disorder” to me, otherwise known as SPD. Her son, Ethan, was diagnosed with it.
I began researching anything and everything I could possibly find on the subject. It all seemed to click. The delayed speech, the mouthing everything, the clumsiness, the not liking loud sounds and crowds and being around a lot of people, the spinning, the hanging upside down, the flashing lights that bothered him. I was convinced he had SPD, and had my doctor refer me to an occupational therapist for testing.
The testing did confirm the diagnosis (...) As time past I still felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing. He was improving in some areas, but other issues started to pop up. I actually felt like things were starting to get worse around here.
(...) I myself made the connection between Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. They can be similar, and about 90% of children with Autism have SPD. You can, however, have only SPD, and not have autism. (...) So once again, I decided to do what I do best; research. (...) When I was pretty sure we may be dealing with Autism I set up an appointment with TY’s pediatrician. She then referred me to a neuropsychiatrist.(...)
(He was eventually diagnosed with high-functioning autism) I remember that day clearly also. It felt like a death inside the family. My hopes and my dreams for my son’s future seemed to be flushed down the toilet. (...) (That was her initial reaction, then she realized)
God gave us TY for a reason. He gave me His eyes so I could “see” ever so much more clearer. There was things I was missing that now I see. TY has brought immense joy to our family and those around him. All you need to do is ask anyone who knows him. He has taught me patience beyond what I ever thought was possible. He’s taught me to love everyone of all abilities. People that have disabilities feel hurt, pain, and shame just like us. People tend to ignore these people, but TY has taught me to love them and seek them out instead of just passing them by.
I wake up every morning to TY rubbing my hair saying, “the sun is shining, it’s wake up time mommy.” What could possibly be better than this?
I decided to homeschool for a number of reasons. I think my main concern was what my children were picking up from the other children.
One day it was "bring your stuffed animal to school day." My daughter was riding the bus when a little boy stuck out his foot in the aisle while she was getting off the bus, causing her to trip. He then took her stuffed animal from him. After many calls to the school and the bus garage and nothing being solved (it felt like they didn't want to do anything about it.) Nobody was punished. The school said, it was the bus garages fault and the bus garage said it was the school’s concern. It was then that I said I'm not doing it anymore. I packed up their things and pulled them out the next day.
I knew you way back in high school! If you would have asked me back then, I would have said, by thirty years old I wanted to be a mom and a writer. I'm both! Back then, where did you see your future self at 30ish?
Yes, we have known each other since high school! All through out grade school and high school I wanted to become a nurse. I was fascinated with medicine, ER's, doctors, and nurses. I actually went to a technical center in high school to earn my degree as a CNA. I didn't expect to have kids at an early age, but there it is. I had "Kylie" when I was a senior. If you would have ever told me I'd be a blogger, working on websites, and working with public relations as a social media director (I didn't even had a hoot what a blogger was back in the day) I would have told you you were crazy.
With four children, two in the teenage years, what advice would you give to those who are just starting their families?
Oh boy. Wait until you've had time to enjoy each other and travel and do the things young newlyweds do before you even think about having kids. I really wish Shawn and I would have had the chance to experience alone time. Another piece of advice: let that baby sleep in his crib from day one! Do not give in. Trust me, you don't want to have a 6 year old kicking you in the back on your queen size bed in the middle of the night. Yes, Jr. still makes his way into our bed nearly every night.
Learn to pick and choose your battles, especially with the teenagers. In a way, teens are just as needy as a two year old. Spend time with them. Show them you care about their feelings and problems. And most importantly, pray for them daily.