There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

How I Really Feel about Being a Single Mother on Mother’s Day and Every Other Day of the Year

This post about my Mother’s Day in 2017 is clearly long overdue. But you know how the saying goes … Better late than never. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother’s Day.

*Sidenote: This post features the opinions of a woman who, at this point in life, only has five years of experience with raising one girl. Just in case you feel that makes a difference in what I’m going to write.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

This past Mother’s Day was my first one as an official single mother. I didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers. That’s because my daughter isn’t old enough to cook by herself and I no longer have a husband to make those things happen. Yet it was fabulous, none the less. I had a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and enjoy quality one on one time with my daughter. It was awesome! We did absolutely nothing except lounge around the house all day.

But what about your Mother’s Day brunch!? Well since you asked… “Brunch” consisted of a delicious mix of “Let’s see what we can come up with from the fridge”. The truth is this was my favorite Mother’s Day so far. There were no expectations, no agenda for the day, no pressure. I loved it!

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Society has placed a grossly false stereotype on single motherhood. (More specifically, single black motherhood). We aren’t all surviving on welfare with six kids in the projects while our baby daddy is locked up. That is just a plain wrong viewpoint to put on all single black mothers. I know that is true for a small percentage but it’s not my story.

God has truly blessed me to have a mindset of gratitude. Although it isn’t easy to maintain especially when I see so much of what could be considered greener grass. When I first became single I was envious of the friends whose marriages and families were still holding together. At times I felt that there was something wrong with me for not sticking it out. And of course I worried about the effects of Lily growing up with divorced parents. I mean, come on, Christians don’t get divorced!!!

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Fast forward to now when I’m in a place where I have come to terms with my marriage ending. Yes, there was something wrong with me; with Terry; with our friends; with the world. That something is sin. I could have stayed but I didn’t. We were two sinful people who wouldn’t step out of the comfort of our selfishness to allow God to orchestrate the structure of our marriage.

So here I am, a single mother.

Let’s go back to God blessing me with a mindset of gratitude. I love my life! I love that God moves through and all around me everyday to constantly show me all that I have to be grateful for. The most important being my daughter. I know it sounds unbelievable but being a mother (and a single mother) is fun. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love my child.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Not that raising Lily is a slice of cherry pie a la mode. Motherhood requires much of me on a daily basis. Loving my child means I actively stay present in her life. It means that I allow her the space to grow as an individual with a strong personality, feelings, and opinions. It means that I guide and discipline her with compassion and understanding.

Discipline usually isn’t associated with compassion but that’s what it is. To let a child live in an environment where they don’t receive proper structure and direction is reckless. Children need to be taught how to function as upstanding citizens in the world. At times these lessons are not easy to teach. Occasionally I find myself irritated or upset because Lily behaved in such a way that warranted correction when I really just wanted her to “be good” so she wouldn’t get in trouble. In reality what I’m saying is Lily’s undesirable behavior is an inconvenience to my wishes for her to always be pleasant and obedient.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Unrealistic standards for anyone! Much more so for a five year old. She’s an imperfect person. Inevitably she will not follow my directions. She will break something when I told her not to touch it. She will throw a fit because I said she couldn’t watch tv. She will have to be told repeatedly to pick up her toys. And I will have to deal with each situation accordingly. That is my job as a parent. I would be doing Lily a grave disservice to overlook or ignore times when she needed correction because I just didn’t want to deal with doling out consequences. Being a good parent isn’t about  I want it’s about what Lily needs.

Also, speaking of “discipline” that leads me to another stereotype for Black America.

Black people do love their children. We hug and kiss them, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework, take care of them. We don’t spend all day giving them spankings, whoopings, beatings or whatever you call it.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Ok… Back on topic… For me being a single mother means accepting, with joy, the responsibility of stewardship over my daughter’s life as she, God willing, grows into adulthood. How dare I not cherish every moment that God blesses me to have with her! Now pause to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married, black or white, male or female, to make that lifestyle choice.

Choices. Isn’t that what it breaks down to? You as a person have the choice to live however you want. Just keep in mind there are rewards or consequences for everything. I choose to love my life. My single mother life.

Thank you so much for reading! If you liked this, there’s a whole lot more where it came from! Subscribe to the blog and stay connected to My City Adventures.

Blogging about Random Thoughts, Rants, and Expressing my General Opinions

Every Wednesday evening, after Lily has gone to sleep and I finally have some quiet moments to myself, I ask the same question. What subject should I start blogging about for next week? Thus starts the laborious process of giving birth to a new blog post. That’s how I affectionately describe it because that’s what it feels like mentally.

At first I’m super excited with the idea of exploring the city and experiencing so much I can share with others, just like a couple who begins to contemplate having a baby. Just picture it! Won’t it be so wonderful! Next I go through the stages of searching, finding, and doing interesting things around the city much like women going through her 10 months of pregnancy. Did you think it was 9 months? No, it’s 10! 40 weeks = 10 months. For me it was actually 41.5 weeks.

 

Anyway, here I am simply glowing! I’m on a fantastic adventure and life is just plain amazing! Then the pains start. Uh oh! The weekend is over. Now is the time for me to buckle down, get to work, and push this blog post out. As I wheel myself into the blogging (labor) room I know what’s coming and yet I’m not ready. Come on, Kiara! Push! This post has to done by Monday night! Ugh! What did I do last week? How can I turn it into a story? Did I take enough decent photos?

Finally after hours and hours of battling through SEO, grammar checks, and photo editing I’m ready for one last push. The publish button. With sheer happiness I sit back for a moment and cherish all the hard work I just endured. As I look at my brand new beautiful blog post a sense of pride washes over me. I did it! Here’s my wonderful new story for the world to see. Then, as with all parents who have a slight degree of insanity, I think, “How about going on another adventure?” So the cycle begins again.

Back to what I was talking about at the beginning. Every Wednesday I start to think about what my next blog post will be about. This week I had nothing. Not exactly nothing. I did plenty. I just had nothing I wanted to write about. If you were hoping this story would be about my latest adventure simply head over to My City Adventures on Instagram. That’s where I share all our explorations everyday. While you’re there hit that good old follow button! 👍

When I got serious about blogging the focus of my several of my first posts was restaurant reviews. In trying to describe the foods I ate with more words than delicious and tasty I searched online for synonyms. These are my favorites. Ambrosial. Delectable. Gratifying. Luscious. Mouth-watering. Nectarous. Palatable. Piquant. Sapid. Scrumptious. Toothsome. I must use those words more often. Or rather, I should utilize such vernacular in my vocabulary at a greater frequency. See what I did there?

Please excuse me now. This exhausted mama of 133 is about to birth 134. Thank you for reading! Did you enjoy my random thoughts on blogging? Subscribe to My City Adventures so you won’t miss next Monday’s post. I’m sure you’ll find it most toothsome!

Seven lessons I am currently teaching my four year old daughter that she will need for the rest of her life. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

Seven Lessons I Am Currently Teaching My Four Year Old Daughter that She Will Need for the Rest of Her Life

Seven Lessons I Am Currently Teaching My Four Year Old Daughter that She Will Need for the Rest of Her Life

1. Always Keep a Straight Line When Walking Across the Street

This one is more common sense based than the rest of them. Yet, just as important. We live and primarily play in the midtown/downtown areas of Kansas City, MO. I also choose to live without owning a vehicle. As a result of constantly being in such highly trafficked neighborhoods, I’ve developed a heightened sense of fear about getting hit by a car. It doubled when my daughter came along.

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 1 Always keep a straight line when walking across the street. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

From the time Lily turned two and we moved to our current neighborhood I have drilled her on “rules of the road” and “car safety”. She knows to look to the left and right before crossing the street. She’s never tried to take off running away from me and possibly into oncoming traffic. If she’s playing in the middle of our street and sees a car coming she knows to get back on the sidewalk. (Don’t judge me on letting my kid play in the middle of the street. She’s being supervised. It’s a one way. Everything is OK.) She’s four now and pretty much gets it. Except for one thing. I recently started allowing her to cross the street without holding my hand. And sometimes she veers slightly to the left or right. When she does, I always yell out the same thing. “Keep a straight line!”

2. Only God is Truly Glorious

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 2 Only God is truly glorious. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

The definition of glory is:

  • worshipful praise, honor, or distinction, and thanksgiving
  • a distinguished quality or asset
  • great beauty, splendor, magnificence
  • a height of prosperity or achievement

The definition of glorious is possessing or being deserving of glory. I’m unsure of exactly where this lesson came from. It may have been Lily’s Sunday School classes or a song she heard that had glorious in the lyrics. But I do remember her asking me if she was glorious some time ago. I replied by saying that “Only God is truly glorious”. She laughed and said that she WAS glorious too.  Eventually it became a game where she comes up with silly things to call glorious. Candy is glorious. Minions are glorious. However when we read a bible story or scripture with the word glory I make sure to focus on it as a way to remind her that God is glorious.

3. Treat Others with Respect and Kindness & Require Others to Treat You with Respect and Kindness

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 3 Treat others with respect and kindness & require others to treat you with respect and kindness. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

Lily is full of love and happiness for the most part. I am so thankful for her sweet, cheery disposition. She does have a sassy side though. And she’s not afraid to show it. On several occasions I have been a witness her telling a friend what’s what when they try to take a toy she’s playing with. Which I love. I think it serves any person well in life to have the courage to stand up for themselves. However, after Lily got in trouble at school for pushing a friend down because they made her mad, I started teaching her other ways to express her anger. Ways that don’t include someone getting knocked to the ground.

Lily is a great communicator for her age. Particularly when it comes to how she’s feeling and why. Which goes hand in hand with her being able to express when she feels she or someone else is unfairly treated. Lily has also recently experienced “friends” at school being not so nice to her. So now if a situation arises we talk about ways she can show kindness to others. My daughter comes up with the sweetest answers! “Read a book to a friend” “Dance with them” “Give them a hug” “Let them ride my bike” “Share my fruit” We also discuss how to define the meaning of friendship and how a friend should and shouldn’t treat you.

4. Those Who Love You, Care for You, and Want the Best for You Will Do So No Matter What

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 4 Those who love you, care for you, and want the best for you will do so no matter what. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

My daughter is getting this lesson less with words and more in actions. And it’s mainly put into practice when she least deserves it. After a day of not following directions and multiple tantrums, occasionally we will still end up going out for ice cream. There have also been plenty of times when Lily’s naughty behavior warranted discipline, yet I would let the night pass with no follow-up on her misconduct. Why? Because her misbehavior makes me think of how often I don’t follow directions yet God continues sh merciful. How can I be a parent who lays the smack-down at every transgression when I’m being led by the example of God who is so graciously loving? So, even when Lily is at her worst I do my best to show her she is loved. The same as God reminds me all the time.

5. Please Use Your Good Manners, They Count for A Lot

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 5. Please use your good manners, they count for a lot. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

I believe exhibiting good manners are how you show respect and common courtesy to others. I wish I would see more of them everyday. I’m also learning that children will do what you do and say what you say. So I work to keep please, thank you, you’re welcome, and may I in my vocabulary. I have a rule, as well. If a please or may I isn’t said, Lily does not get whatever it is she wants. Period. But good manners go deeper than that. I’m teaching Lily how to wait patiently, not interrupt someone who’s talking, share her things, be quiet and still when the occasion calls for it.

When people see how my daughter behaves in public they often remark on how surprised they are. But I don’t think it should be a shock when children are well behaved. Children are capable of amazingly great things. Learning to say please, thank you, and sit quietly are the least of them. It just takes diligence on the part of parents and teachers. In turn, the rewards for Lily’s good manners are many. Everyday, we go somewhere fun, do something she likes, or she gets a treat.

6. You are Beautiful and You Look Pretty

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 6 You are beautiful and you look pretty. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

We live in a society where everyone is judged heavily based on outward appearances. Unfortunately most people never have the content of their inner character critiqued. I must admit I do think being attractive helps. I’m a visual person and I like a handsome face. But I also think that society allows so many to get by with just being pretty. A person should be required to be more than simply good-looking. Interesting. Cultured. Philosophical. Intelligent. Artistic.

Of course this mentality isn’t formed overnight. It starts when a person is young and the majority of compliments they hear are about their physical appearance. “You are so pretty” “I love your hair” “Look how cute your clothes are” Now, I am not at all saying children will become narcissistic jerks if they hear they are pretty or handsome. In fact, as a black woman with natural hair, I constantly advocate for little black girls and boys to grow up hearing they are beautiful. I also strive to raise my daughter to know that her worth goes farther beyond her pretty hair and face. Everyday, I comment on Lily’s wit, sincerity, compassion, intelligence, creativity, etc. These are the things that make up who she is as a person. And that is beautiful.

7. Most of the Time You May Get By with Simply Walking but Occasionally You Will Have to Run

Seven lessons for my daughter. No. 7 Most of the time you may get by with simply walking but occasionally you will have to run. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

It frequently occurs that when we head to the bus stop when we see the bus coming up the street. We break out in a full sprint so we won’t miss it. My daughter hates this. Running to catch a bus is Lily’s least favorite thing on Earth. Once on the bus Lily, usually upset and in tears, exclaims how mad or sad she is. I always say the same thing. “Sometimes you have to run”. This lesson is simple enough at first but is applicable to many aspects of life. Whether it’s something you love and are passionate about or it’s something you want to get away from, sometimes you have to run.

What God taught me in 2016 is that faith in Him brings light to the darkest of days. Here's how God's extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

How God Carried Me Through 2016 with Extraordinary Love and Grace

Cheers to 2017! Also, as of January 1st, I’ve been a blogger for three years! Everyday I am so amazed and excited at all the richness that blogging brings to my life. What amazes me even more is how blessed I am, by God, to do what I love. Last year was full of growth, challenges, love, and lots of beautiful moments. It seems like a cliché to say that 2016 had its ups and downs, but it did. However, with the roller coaster that it was, I learned that faith in God can bring light on the darkest of days. Here’s how God’s extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016.

Out with the Old

The year started off with me seeking a new church to call home. After moving across town in 2014, it became a struggle to keep up regular attendance at my former church. I choose to use public transportation so the commute was increasingly hard to keep up. Sadly I realized it was time to move on. Leaving the church I loved and all the meaningful relationships I had formed with fellow brothers and sisters in God was heartbreaking. The time I spent there was a groundbreaking part of my life as a bible based follower of Jesus Christ. I miss them.

Without the security blanket of constant love and fellowship from my old church, feelings of loneliness, resentment, and anger began to form. Loneliness because I needed people in my life who I felt truly loved and cared about me but had lost that. Anger because I thought that it should have been easier to keep up those connections when it wasn’t. Resentment because of the season of life I was in at the time which caused to have to move. In 2014, I separated from my husband of four years.

Terry and I got married in 2010. The foundation for our marriage wasn’t as good and strong as it should have been but we managed to make it work. I gave birth to Lilyanna in 2012, which, as it should have, completely changed my life. And my way of thinking. Terry and I both had fierce tempers. Our arguments were mentally and physically abusive. Eventually we sought counseling and things got better. But not for long. After Lily was born I began to think about how I conducted myself as a woman, wife, and mother would affect her.

Then, with the fighting already too much to handle, Terry told me he had cheated on me. This revelation left me devastated. We ended up separating that spring. It just so happened that the lease for the house we were living in was also set to end that summer. At the time I was a stay at home wife and mother. I had no income of my own. I no longer had a husband to support me. And soon I and my daughter would have no place to live.

Finding Comfort in the Word of God

Matthew 6:31-33. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Those words had never rang truer for me. My church family really came through during that extremely difficult time. They rallied behind me, helped me get a job, provided counseling, and were just plain and simple a wonderful support system. Not to say that I didn’t worry because I did. But God certainly used all that to show me that everything in my life works according to His will and in His time. I started my new job just in time to afford a deposit and first month’s rent. In August of 2014, I became a full-time working mom with a job outside of the home for the first time in a little over two years. 

Fast forward to 2015. After several months of still being married yet living life as a single parent I learned a few things. I learned that the fear of being stigmatized as a “divorced Christian” was not worth the trauma I had subjected myself to. I learned that in order for me to really be committed to having a successful marriage I would have to let go of demanding that things go my way. (This may seem like a forgone conclusion but you’d be surprised at the things that being married will show about your natural inclinations.)

I learned that through God, I can do amazing things. I went into marriage with the belief that I would fight and stick it out, no matter what. Marriage is for life. Period. However, as I grew a woman, I realized that the circumstances rendered me unable to thrive as the wife and mother. I know I could have stayed. God had certainly given me enough strength to endure. But what existence would it have been to merely survive being married? Instead, I had to let go of my ideals of what marriage should look like and trust God in leaving a broken and abusive relationship. I had to trust God that I would be okay even though I had no idea how.

Starting a New Chapter

I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I got plenty of experience at learning the art of contentment with where I was in life. Not just content, as in satisfied, but happy. Back then, I felt as though I shouldn’t feel happiness considering what I was going through. Being Happy is still a situational juxtaposition I grapple with at times. But I didn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead I sought the good out of my circumstances. I found joy and peace in living in a home where I was safe. My daughter now had a mother who was able to live out the best her possible everyday. I continued to take pride and excitement in my hometown.

Thankfully I had moved to a wonderful neighborhood in which I slowly began to grow new roots. For the first time in my life, I became friends with my neighbors! And I found a new church body of believers. Most important of all, I received continuous lessons in trusting God for everything that I needed.

The change of atmosphere in my home was immediate. The air of tension and anxiety was gone. My focus shifted from being ready for whatever battle might arise to enjoying my home life. Lilyanna may not have known exactly what was going on between Terry and me but I could tell she noticed the change too. She adjusted well to life without a two parent household. Our relationship as mother and daughter was also refined as I became the sole provider of the household. Being responsible for the first and most important example Lilyanna has of womanhood is something I take quite seriously.

Terry and I managed to get on good terms with each other for Lilyanna’s sake. Which was and is a huge blessing. I was also in counseling for guidance on this transitional phase. On one hand, divorce was a serious consideration. On the other hand, reconciliation with my husband wasn’t out of the question. My former beliefs on an ideal marriage still had a strong place in my heart. After time in prayer and meditation, bible studies, and counsel; I reconnected with my husband.

Change Is Good

Unfortunately neither of us could have foreseen how much we would change and grow in opposite directions during our time apart. I wasn’t the same person as a year earlier. I had come to a place in which I knew that my life could still be meaningful, valid, and fruitful without the coveted titles that society made me believe I should work to keep. Wife. Stay at Home Mother. I knew that God wouldn’t cast me away if I wasn’t married to Terry. Our life as husband and wife went downhill once again. The old yet familiar destructive patterns resurfaced and I discovered he had been unfaithful again. The difference this time was that there would be no period of reconciling our marriage. I am no longer the kind of woman who will accept being abused, cheated on, and undervalued.

Throughout my days of being a blogger I have always loved sharing my stories of adventures in Kansas City. Hence, the name Kiara Loves KC. However I began to long for exploration outside of the norm. Halfway through 2016, I started thinking of ways I could join writing about other cities and places with a blog dedicated to Kansas City. The answer was I could but it wouldn’t make much sense. In November of 2016, I re-branded as My City Adventures.

Blogging is a great passion of mine but it isn’t always easy. I sometimes struggle with comparing my blogging to someone else’s who I admire. But again, as with many areas of my life, I have learned that I am enough. There are and will always be bloggers who could be deemed better than me. I can’t blog with them in mind. Comparing myself to others won’t do anything except cause me to downgrade my ability as a writer and photographer. All I can do is produce the best work I possibly can.

One fact remained constant in 2016. My life would not be what it is without God. In all the good, bad, and ugly that transpired God showed me that my life is in His control. I am so appreciative of who I am and how God is transforming me. I love the new friendships that are forming at my new church. I’m grateful for the relationship Lilyanna has with her father and I cherish every single special moment I have with her. The opportunities that blogging and photography will bring in 2017 are thrilling. Through God’s amazing love and grace I can and will thrive!

Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to My City Adventures for adventure stories, special giveaways, and more!

Indian Head Test Pattern. Fall Clean Up for Kiara Loves KC

Fall Clean Up for Kiara Loves KC

With the summer of 2016 in the history books, I’m taking some much-needed time off from social media. There are so many things that I’ve wanted to do for months with my blog and photography that I’m finally going to buckle down and get done! ✔ This will be my spring cleaning, so to speak, but in the fall because I have issues with procrastination. 😏 Oh, speaking of Kiara Loves KC, it’s a hot mess right now so please excuse the mess if you happen to visit. Thanks and see you in December! (Yes, I’m giving myself 2 months to complete my to do list)