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Many of you have been messaging me saying you really want to be able to go on the Single Moms Cruise but you do not have $100 to spare at this time.  Well, worry no more. Here are ten ways you can make $100 pretty quickly:

1. Sell Unused Items. Look around and figure out what you are not using or wearing. You can take your clothes and kids clothes to a local consignment shop. You can also post them and your unused items to local Facebook groups. You can also sell your unused items on Ebay, Amazon, or even your local pawn shop.

2. Download and use apps such as TaskRabbit and Gigwalk. These apps have jobs that you can choose from to earn a few coins. We are living in a time where we are able to use our smartphones to make money.

3. Babysit for your family and friends. Everyone is always looking for a babysitter on Friday and Saturday nights and they'd much rather pay family or friends a little than to pay a total stranger a lot. Even if you only charged them $25 for them to go out for a few hours and you kept two kids, that's $50 for one night.

4. Open an account with a new bank that's offering a bonus. Chase is currently offering a $200 bonus for all new checking accounts. When I signed up with them a few months ago, I got a $300 bonus and was too happy! You simply have to change your direct deposit over to Chase, even if it's just a percentage of your check that equals the minimum amount they require.

5. Deliver food or groceries with Shipt, Instacart, Postmates, Amazon Flex, Door Dash, or UberEats. I've seen Moniqua work for Shipt with her baby and I know these are doable. If you have family nearby, you can totally ask them to babysit your kid(s) for a couple of hours while you do one of these as well. 

6. Donate plasma or platelets. You will be surprised at how much you can earn! Sometimes, it's around $50 or so and you can go back in a few weeks and donate again.

7. Do surveys and mystery shopping. These can be time consuming but can be well worth it. A few sites to get you started are Survey Junkie, MySurvey, & Inbox Dollars.

8. Sign up for Ebates. You get $10 just for signing up and it allows you to earn cash back on online and in-store purchases, especially since it's back to school season. I love Ebates!

9. If you are a working mom, find out if you can work overtime. Even if it's for a hour or two a day, it can be worth sacrificing the time. 

10. Cut back on some things that are unnecessary. I am talking about cable, getting manicures and pedicures, eating out, going to bars, etc. This will help you to save. You can also call around to see about lowering the cost of your internet, cable, insurance, etc. 

These are all legit ways to make $100. Some of them may need to be combined. Either I have tried them or other single moms have recommended them to me and I've decided to share them with you. Have you made $100 quick in the past? Let me know what you did in the comments. I want to hear from you!

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If you have been following me recently, you know that I was searching for an apartment for a certain price in Katy, TX.  Apartment searches can be so overwhelming but I am here to ease the burden a little and share what I have learned. Here are 10 steps to an effective apartment search:

These beautiful silk sunflowers pictured were sent to me by the sweet people at CSI Wall Panels. I can't wait to get a vase to use them in my new apartment!

1. Determine why you want to move and figure out if it necessary. Is it the school system? Can you negotiate your current rent? Can you switch units? Have you saved enough? Be sure to ask yourself the necessary questions before deciding to move.

2. Set a budget. Do you want to continue paying the same amount of rent elsewhere? Can you afford to pay a little more to live in a nice suburban area versus living in an urban area? Can you pay for a month or two in advance to have your rent lowered? If you are forced to relocate, can you make time for an at home side hustle? When I moved into my first apartment here in Houston, I worked for Arise and that helped me pay the rent until I was able to find a permanent full-time job.

3. Figure out where you actually want to live. If you have multiple options, make a list. Google Maps is helpful for seeing what is near the complex. If you are a working mom that has to commute, figure out the distance from your job to the areas you want to live in. Visit the them at night, if you are able to do so. This will allow you to see if there is any suspicious activity going on. You want to make sure that you are moving into a safe place as possible for you and your child.

4. Research the market rent in the area you want to live in. You can do this by doing a simple Google search for market rent in the city where you are moving to. Is the rent in the area fixed or does it have the ability to fluctuate? In Jackson, Mississippi where I lived, rent was pretty much fixed but here in Houston, Texas, rent can fluctuate daily until you sign the lease which was so crazy to me! If the rent has the ability to fluctuate, the best time to search is towards the end of the month after the 15th but closer to the 20th, if you have that flexibility. I found that the rent can decrease $50-$100 because they want to lease those vacant units. That is a $600-1200 savings per year. I'm not sure if this will work in the summer but it just worked for me and I signed my lease two weeks ago.

5. Consider contacting an apartment locator if the area you are interested in has numerous apartments and you don't have the time to do your own research. As single moms, our time is very valuable and we don't always have time to do research like we want. The apartment locator will want to know your budget, how many bedrooms & bathrooms you want, what areas you are considering, and what features you are not willing to do without. For example: I wanted a two bedroom, two bathrooms (because one bathroom just got old), without carpet in the living room and dining area because it's much easier for clean up. Who wants to scrub stains for carpet?? Not me! Just in case you are wondering, using an apartment locator is FREE. They get paid when you list them as a referral. Sometimes, they are able to find you deals with a free month of rent, no deposit, etc. All apartments will not pay referrals and your apartment locator will normally let you know. If you don't end up going with the apartments they recommend, don't feel bad. It happens! Just try to ask if the apartment complex that you are interested in does referrals for apartment locators and at least you will have done your due diligence.

6. If you have the time to search apartment sites and drive around to look at apartments, begin to make a list of apartments that you are interested in. I love Google Sheets or Excel for making comparison lists! You are able to make headings such as apartment name, rent amount, bedroom and bathroom numbers, square footage, notes, and so on. When I went to tour the first set of apartments, I happened to find more apartments riding down the street of a few apartments I was initially interested in. I quickly entered them in my notes app on my iPhone and when I got home, I looked them up and added them to my spreadsheet. Read reviews on Google, Apartment Ratings, Apartments.com, and other apartment sites that are trustworthy. You can also do this if you are using an apartment locator.

7. Narrow your list down to the top five and schedule apartment tours. When you meet with the leasing agents, be sure to ask necessary questions such as what is included in the rent, what amenities are included, how they handle pests, what security features do they have, and any other necessary questions you might have. If you think it, ask it. It is the only way you will find out. If you happen to come across some residents before or after touring the property, ask them about their experience. I happened to come across an older couple and they were happy to share their experience during my last move.

8. Choose the best apartment based on your needs and budget. Some apartments will allow you to negotiate if they are really trying to meet their quota by the end of the month, especially if they are a smaller complex. I was able to negotiate savings of $15 a month by moving into an apartment that was vacant for some time. It never hurts to try. You are probably thinking $15 is not a lot of money and it's not but if you multiply 15 by 12, you too will see the savings for a year.

9. Sign your lease and read over it carefully. Make sure you become familiar with all the fees so there will not be any surprises.

10. Prepare for move-in at least two weeks in advance. This will allow you to pack a little each day. I know. You are probably thinking that you do not want to pay pro-rated rent before actually moving in but it is so worth it! I have given myself seven days to move. If you do not have family or friends near, check with your new apartment complex. They may have a promo code for movers! If you do have someone available, consider renting a U-Haul and having someone else to drive it so that you can also drive. If you are moving across states and the drive is over eight or nine hours, you may want to look into shipping your items in boxes. Amtrak, Greyhound, and FedEx are the most popular. You may also want to consider if selling your big items is a better choice than shipping them. You may also want more time to move.

BONUS TIP: If you have someone that can watch the kid (s) while you move, I'd totally recommend that! If I would've had my daughter while moving, it would take much longer!

What tips do you have for an apartment search?? Share them below. Also, let me know if you found these tips helpful!

P.S. I shared my story about relocating to another state on the podcast. Click here to check it out

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My daughter turned five at the beginning of this month and I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on the biggest lessons I have learned in five years as a mother.

1. Take care of me first. I was always trying to do everything I could for my daughter but not really stopping to take time to have "me time" or some self-care. I would often feel burned out and irritated.  I quickly learned that in order to have me time, I would need to either get up early or stay up later.  To me, having "me time" meant being able to do simple things for me such as reading a few chapters of a book in silence, having a long bubble bath, being able to paint my nails without worrying about her picking up the polish and dropping it (yes - this happened), etc. People are quick to say your child comes first and that's what I thought until I learned! If I do not take care of me, who else will? I cannot pour into my daughter if I'm feeling empty. Remember, self-care doesn't always have to require you spending money at the nail shop, spa, or retail stores.

2. Do what I feel is best. Often times, people try to tell you what you need to do for your child and that's okay. People love to give their opinions without being asked. They will even go as far to tell you that you are not being the best you can be.  I actually like hearing the advice of others. However, each child is different and what worked for your child 5-10 years ago may or may not work for my child. Who deemed you the child expert anyways because you have a child or  multiple children?  It is totally okay for me to go through trial and error and figure out what works and what doesn't. With each day comes a new lesson.. 

3. My daughter values my time and presence. At first, I used to be so caught up in working two jobs to make sure bills were paid, I was able to get nice things, and go where I wanted to go. People would say, do it now while your child is young. I thought it was okay until my daughter used to start whining when I had to go to my night job and it really bothered me. I was only trying to work to make extra cash. I soon found out that no money compares to the happiness of my child and she really values the time we spend together. As my daughter grows older, she is becoming more aware. She had began to realize that I am always working and we rarely have time together.  I remember my last time working two hourly jobs. I would literally work my day job, run in the house to warm up her food or just take out the fast food I had purchased on the way home, and log in to start work again for my night job before I would give her a bath and put her to bed, then finish up the night's shift. I did that same routine for nearly six months. It was terrible and I knew it couldn't be life. A few months ago, she asked me if being a mom was hard because I'm always working and don't have a lot of free time. I was thinking what does this child know about free time... It was in that moment that I knew I had to become more present at home. This meant putting down my phone when we eat, talk, play games, or even when we watched her favorite YouTube videos. This is still a struggle since time is so limited in the evenings. I want to get things done but I also know I have to make mommy and daughter time a priority.

4. Consistency is key in terms of parenting.  Your child will only do what you allow. Sticking to routines and rules will help with consistency. Your child won't have to wonder what to do in the morning or at night. This is also true with discipline because they will test you! Two things I am struggling with is limiting screen time and making sure she's in bed on time every night.  Sometimes I allow my daughter to have her iPad whenever because it allows me to get things done. My tasks vary from day to day so she may or may not be in bed at the same time.  I figure I need to just stop what I am doing and make sure that she's staying on schedule. If you don't have a routine, I highly encourage it. You can also check out my morning routine for inspiration! I'm still working on the night time routine but I will definitely share when I have it together!

5. Being a single mom is okay. Sometimes, people act like it's the worst thing ever! It gets very difficult sometimes, but it's not the worst thing ever. I am sure we could list many pros. Personally, I have learned many lessons and gained many skills that I probably wouldn't have if I wasn't a single mom. Throughout this journey, I have learned that women become single moms for many reasons such as divorce, breakups, death, in vitro, and the list goes on. 

6. It's okay to ask for help. This is probably my greatest struggle! My mom was a single parent and I knew how hard it was for her, especially having to end up getting raised by my grandmother due to my mom's mental illness but that's another story!  I got a working permit at 15 and had my first official job at 16. Did I have to work? No. We were blessed to have the necessities. I realized that if I wanted anything extra, I would have to work for it and I have been working every since! When I went off to college, I didn't have anyone to depend on financially and I also didn't feel like most of my immediately family really understood the college struggle since they had not been. I never wanted to ask anyone for anything and tried to figure things out on my own.  It took some wonderful ladies taking me under their wings for me to realize that it was okay to ask for help in college. I am truly thankful for them to this day!! Now that I'm an adult with a kid, I felt like I was going through the same process of not wanting to ask for help, whether it's financially or just to ask someone to babysit. I don't feel like it's their responsibility so I don't like asking, especially being in a place where my immediately family does not exist. Even when it comes down to asking my daughter's father for things, I struggle. A lot of you may be like it's his responsibility just like it's yours, so why should you even have to ask? Don't think about it, just do it. I can't tell you why. It's just a struggle. However, I have found that there are a lot of people who are willing to help. It is just a matter of asking or bringing up the topic!

What are some things that you have learned on this single motherhood journey?? Please share. I love reading and learning from you all!

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In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness month, I thought it would be beneficial to share these steps.  There are several benefits to getting your yearly checkups.  Your OBGYN can perform exams that are specifically for women.  You want to make sure that you are staying healthy as possible, not only for you but also for your child.  If you don't take care of you, who will? THIS IS SERIOUS. Your yearly screenings can help prevent Cervical Cancer, find out if you have any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other beneficial information. If you are unfamiliar with Cervical Cancer, one of the leading causes is by the Human Pappilomavirus, also known as HPV.  HPV can be detected from your yearly Pap and now there is an actual HPV test. Hasn't technology come a long way?? If you have children age 9 and older (boys and girls), they can get the HPV vaccination.  HPV is so popular today that there are claims that every one that is sexually active will have it at some point.  If this is your first time hearing of HPV, take some time to do a quick Google search to read more about it and find out whether it's curable. You can also discuss it with your OBGYN or your child's pediatrician. I encourage you to ask questions any time you have the opportunity. It's very important that you become educated about your health and your child's health. I first heard of this when I was a teenager and found out a lot of us are clueless about it since it's not really talked about in the black community. I even had a discussion with a cousin of mine two months ago and she had never heard of it.  Her daughter is 12 and I encouraged her to discuss it with her daughter's pediatrician.  Most of the times the guys don't know they have HPV. They can give it to the girls but they won't know either, unless the virus is active because it can lie dormant for some time. Today, I will be sharing the steps I used to find the best OBGYN for me when I moved.  I have also realized that just because one OBGYN is good for someone else doesn't mean they are good for me. So, choose wisely.

1. Decide whether you want a male or female, or if the sex of the physician actually matters.

2. Decide if you want to have a woman or male of color.  I personally feel that women of color are more likely to be able to relate.

3. Ask friends, family, or colleagues for referrals.  If you do not have anyone that you trust to get a referral from, start with a Google search.

4. Make a list based upon reviews. Google Sheets are my fav.  Yes, I am the one who has a spreadsheet for everything. Pay special attention to wait times and whether the physician was able to make the patient feel like they had a chance to talk, or if they felt rushed during their appointment.  I prefer someone who is willing to listen and break things down, if necessary.  If you are pregnant, you may want to check and see if the OBGYN delivers at the hospital you are interested in delivering at.  You can normally find this information on their website or by simply calling the office and asking.

5. Narrow the list down to the top five.

6. Visit the state's medical board site. To do this, go to google and type in "your state" medical board and the website should appear.  You can see if the physician has had any board orders (this shows if he or she has had an legal issues) plus find out where they completed their training, how long it took, and whether they are board certified.

7. Enter the physician's first & last name in the search fields.

8. Review education.  Here are some questions I like to ask myself while reviewing the license information.  Was there a switch in specialty? If so, was it something extremely off? (Example: General Surgery to Family Medicine) Did the physician get board certified? This means the physician went above and beyond the minimum requirements.  Otherwise, a medical degree just means they met the minimum requirements to graduate.  How long have they been practicing? I personally prefer someone who has at least five years of experience and no more than 35 years of experience. This means they are usually between the ages of 35 and 60. (If you are wondering how I know this, this is related to my day job and I just want to help others become aware of information that is public.)

9. Narrow the list down some more and contact the physician's office that you are most interested in.

10. Make your appointment!! During my initial appointment, I always like asking the physicians how long they have been in practice and for them to tell me the thing they love most about practicing medicine.

These are steps that I've tried in helping me find a wonderful black female OBGYN when I moved.  Have you tried any of these steps? Let me know below and don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them. Also let me know if you try the steps. I won't know if the information is beneficial if you don't tell me :)

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A lot of you are probably wondering why I decided to start a platform for single black moms.  Even though there are tons of mom bloggers out there, I still don't think there are enough single black mom bloggers are there.  Things get rough and times get tough and we all need people that can really relate. Some people cringe at the thought of the term "single mom."  For me, it doesn't make me any less of a person.  I believe it's just fear and being closed minded.  I haven't came up with a concrete conclusion yet, though...   

Where did the idea start?

At the beginning of 2017, I got into Apple podcasts.  I searched for the things that interests me most and oddly began searching for single mom podcasts.  To my surprise, there were no single moms of color that were currently podcasting and maybe they are but not speaking specifically about motherhood.  I thought about it for a while and continued to listened to those that were available...  I often get asked questions about my own journey.  How did you move so far on your own? How do you do it? How do you afford to travel? How do you find time to get things done? You get where I'm going...  I revisited the idea in June and told my close friends about it.  They agreed and said that it would be good to start this kind of platform because a lot of women do not know what they are capable of doing with the resources that they already have.  They also said I've always liked to talk anyways and have such valuable insight.  What did I do with this feedback? I start working on the idea, researching how to start a podcast, and looking for a designer to put my podcast image together.  Time got away from me and I didn't do anything else after I got the podcast image and research done.. Can you relate?  Fast forward to October and Briana of BrianaWhiteside.com asked to me share my story about single parenting while pursuing God on her YT channel and that was the turning point for me.  I thought if she was interested in hearing my story and knowing how I get things done, others are too.  After the interview, I got quite a few text messages & DMs about how my story touched them or how they were amazed. At that moment, I knew I had to make this happen and share my journey with the world.  My friend reminded me that so many millennial women like us don't think they are capable of doing half of what I do and most importantly they don't have the support system. So, I SAID YES to sharing my single motherhood journey, tips, and tricks! 

Why the blog?

People consume content in various ways.  Even though I may enjoy the ability to consume content by audio on-the-go, others may prefer reading.  I figured I could still provide quick helpful tips that don't need a whole lot of explanation through the blog.

What is your mission?

My mission is to educate and empower single black moms, especially millennials, to go after whatever it is that their hearts desire without making excuses, whether it's moving to another state alone without a support system or traveling the world.  There are so many other people doing it and you can too!! A lot of times things are not being done simply because people don't know.  I feel that in the black communities we don't take a lot of time to read and do proper research.  On top of that, we don't have the encouragement that a lot of other communities have.  I want to step in and show other moms how important it is to educate themselves and become knowledgable so that they too can apply that knowledge to make things happen, not only for themselves, but also for their child(ren).  By building this community of supportive, like-minded women, I believe that we are capable of doing anything.  WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER!  My hope is that mothers will learn from things that I share and be encouraged and motivated to take action! It's nothing like hearing someone say because of you, I did x, y, and z... It's one thing to be inspired but another thing to actually be inspired and take action!

If you have made it this far, introduce yourself below and let me know where you are from.

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The new year is here and you may find yourself still trying to get it together... Calm down. Breathe. You still have time.  Here are five tips to help:

Plan & Schedule Your Day

Studies have shown that your day is much more effective when you have it planned out.  Make sure every hour is accountable for.  Lately, I've been studying successful people and one thing that they all have in common is scheduling their day and making routines that they actually stick to.  Don't worry.  It won't happen overnight but you can give it a try.

Journal first thing in the morning or before you go to bed

Journaling allows you to dump your brain.  It also gives you a place to reflect. You are literally releasing emotions on paper.  Some say it gets the creative juices flowing.  Journaling also makes you more accountable in terms of reaching your goals. 

Read more

Reading has so many benefits.  I'm a sucker for self-help books. It's always good to feed our brain.  I always preach that you can learn so much by picking up a book and reading.

Stop procrastinating and set realistic expectations

If you are anything like me, you say you're going to do something and put it off for whatever reason.  Maybe you don't put it off... Maybe you just have too many things on your list.  Realize what's important and what you can actually get done.  Don't beat yourself up about not being able to accomplish every single thing on your list.  It is okay. I promise.

Practice self-care and put you at the top of your to-do-list

Take time for you, whether it's first thing in the morning or after your child goes to bed.  If you don't take care of you, how do you expect to take care of your child? How do you expect to pour into someone else if you are empty?  We do so much on a daily basis that  the truth is we can easily get burned out and burn out can cause us to start fussing at the kids for no reason.  I'm guilty.  My daughter loves to talk and I can easily say, "please be quiet" because I need that time alone.  Whether we realize it or not, negative energy transfers over into our kids. As much as we want to be supermom, we are not. It is very important to allow ourselves some time alone to re-energize. What does self-care look like? Maybe it's being able to read a book alone, a nice long bubble bath, or having a spa day with a friend on a Saturday.. Whatever it is, plan it out, and make it happen. YOU deserve it.

What are some things that you have done to jumpstart the new year?  Let me know below.

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