Things I want my Daughter to know: Self Reflection


As the spring semester nears end, I can’t help but reflect and look back on the progress I’ve made this semester. Professional progress, academic progress and even personal progress have made this semester one of my most memorable since I began my college career. I have reached heights I never thought I would see and have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people, both friends and mentors. I also want to thank all of my readers, the people who have reached out to me and told me that my words helped them, reached them or made their day a little bit better, having people read my words is truly an honor. So in light of the semester coming to a close, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned this semester or that have made a lasting impact in my life.

1. Friendship winds its way into our lives when we need it the most

When I began my journey at City Tech I was mainly focused on academics, and being dedicated to the course work. I was reminded however that community is a huge and necessary ingredient in the recipe for success. I met three wonderful ladies that opened so many doors for me. Together we have conquered our major and encouraged each other when one of us was down, overwhelmed or confused. On our many lunch dates, study sessions and collaborations we have become lifelong friends.

2. Failure is a component to success

This may sound odd but it is true. I heard this at least 4 times my first week at City Tech by a Professor who has offered numerous resources and strategies to me. At first, I was confused as to why a Professor would tell us we’re going to fail, I’m sure some people will, but why put that idea in our heads? Well as time has progressed I can attest to the trueness of this statement. As emerging professionals and academics, we need to know that everything we do won’t be right on the first try and that it’s okay to try again.

3. Unplug before you burn out

Sometimes no matter how devoted, focused and determined we are we can reach our wits end. With all that goes on in our lives and all the things we have to sift through and deal with sometimes we need to step away to turn off the phone, close the laptop and recharge. It is okay to give yourself a time out and refresh yourself before you continue on with life. If you can’t do yourself justice and give yourself a break you’re not doing the people and obligations you have in your life justice either. Take a breather and ask for help if you need it.

4. Be open

To new people, to new ideas, new food or even a new color lipstick! There’s nothing more exciting then finding some awesome new dish to share with your friends or eating at a new brunch spot you found on groupon. Similarly be open to learning something new, read a book from a new genre, take a class on something you’ve never heard of or be spontaneous in your travels. The best thing in the world is growth so don’t stunt yours because you’re apprehensive of the unknown.

Time has taught me that nothing stays the same, not my daughter, not my weight, not my taste in books and most certainly not my knowledge. All of that, is okay though, maybe change can be good. I can offer you this advice Ava, roll with the tide, don’t fight it because you’ll tire yourself out trying to overpower a force that is beyond you. The universe has plans carved out for us, plans with pit stops and scenic outlooks where we can see how far we’ve come on the path of life. My advice to anyone who feels they’re stuck or that change hasn’t come fast enough, or even too fast, that it is okay and nothing lasts forever, you can get through this. If I can go from college drop out to pursing my second degree anything is possible, you are possible remember moms, we have the greatest audience in the world cheering for us, our kids.

I want to thank all my readers, the people who have supported me all semester long as I learned the ropes of blogging. I hope to be right back here in the fall blogging away! Stay tuned for more!

Virtues from Motherhood: Cookie cutter moms don’t exist

In the age of social media and popular opinion, it’s easy for anyone from any corner of the world to have something to say. The categories of controversy are endless, and amid them is the subject of parenting and what a “proper parent” should look like. While celebrities are often the target of these online feuds and keyboard wars the “popular opinion” tends to trickle down into the most average newsfeeds. So I thought to myself, firstly who makes these pointless cookie cutter visions of a mother and secondly why is it anyone’s business what I look like or indulge in so long as my child is healthy, fed and well cared for? I see such outdated ideals on what women in general should look like or how we should speak and quite frankly, hilarity aside, it’s appalling. In 2016, there should be no right or wrong way to be a mother especially in terms of appearance.

I was eighteen when my daughter was born so I was told that “I looked too young to be a mother” or “I can’t be a day over 16” or my personal favorite “Babies having babies”. That statement made my blood boil to no end, how dare anyone gage my ability to be a mother solely on my age or by the actions of other young women? Though I may have gotten off to a rocky start to adulthood there was never a time Ava went without, suffered or was harmed, she was always my number one priority and still is. I worked 14 hours shifts at a hostess job when I was 19 to make sure I could give Ava the best of everything, I worked a retail job I despised just to ensure I could throw her the best birthday parties. I did all these things as a teenager, as a young 20 something, as a mom with tattoos, as a mom who likes rap and hip hop and as a mom who wasn’t really concerned with what motherhood should “look like”.

I’ve seen some ridiculous articles about how children of parents with tattoos are more likely to be abused or more likely to live in poverty. Things like that make me chuckle because there’s zero validity to it, none, nada. On the other hand though there is a statistic that estimates teen mothers have less than a 30% chance of getting a college degree before she turns 30. That statistic has been proven and the fact that it has is saddening. While motherhood is no easy feat in itself, it’s not impossible to obtain a degree, teen moms just need more support in order to accomplish it. Instead of condemning these young women for not having kids at that “ideal age”, lets support their dreams and provide hand ups instead of just handouts.

Mother is not a “one size fits all” or cookie cutter persona. We do not all fit under one umbrella, and we never will. Like snowflakes like fingerprints we are all unique, diverse and wonderful. I got my first tattoo two months after Ava was born, I got my most recent last week because tattoo art is something I’m drawn to, it intrigues me, I like it. Last year I got a half sleeve piece dedicated to my grandmother and to Ava, it’s my biggest tattoo to date. At first I hesitated at the idea of getting it because I feared people’s opinion but after expressing my concerns to someone close to me he said “Sam you’re the same great mom with or without it and if you love it get it, all it changes is the outside not the inside”. I love my tattoos, Ava loves them too and she’s always so excited to tell people the tattoo on my wrist, of her name, is in her handwriting. Ava doesn’t remember me without tattoos and she doesn’t think anything of their presence, she has no bias. At the end of the day I am still her mother, her provider and her protector. The same goes for other moms, moms who are tattooed head to toe, without a single tattoo, covered in piercings or rocking some awesome hairstyle, we are all mothers! Not one stitch of our appearance can change how we love our kids and that is something people need to realize.

Things I want my Daughter to Know: Self Love

I think it goes without saying that we want to raise our children to love themselves, accept who they are and believe in their own potential but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone tell a child how or why it’s so important to love who you are every single day of the year.


One day you’ll be a big girl, a young adult, a teenager looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to the Scarlett Johansson’s or the Michele Obama’s of the world. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever be that pretty or that ambitious, and the answer is yes. Yes, over time you will grow into a beautiful polished woman but in the mean time appreciate the time you have to grow. Realize that you will never have all the answers and that’s okay, part of growing up means asking for help and admitting you’re lost. People respect honesty and needing help doesn’t mean you’re any less capable. You will never have all the answers but you’ll have some and the company you keep, friends and mentors, will fill in the rest.

Remember to always love yourself, remember that you are your best investment. Never discount your own abilities because they are as strong as you believe them to be, practice makes perfect baby girl. Don’t seek to grow up or see success over night because you’ll be disappointed. Instead take small moments to look back at the small victories and the progress you’ve made. Every time you look in the mirror smile, smile at your beauty, your luscious curly hair, your dimples and your infectious laughter. Love everything that makes you who you are because one day it will be those very things that someone will love so much about you, that friends will enjoy so much about being around you. Nobody can ever take those things from you, no matter how mean or unkind they may be. Remember that the things that make you who you are, are embedded in you and they will always shine through, let them.

Finally Ava remember that perfection is a state of mind and not a reality, nobody is perfect not even me. I have made my fair share of mistakes and messed up opportunities and failed even after my best attempts. These things do not define you or your future I promise. These are merely stories to pass onto your own daughter or tools to inspire others. It’s so easy to blame yourself and slowly begin to resent who you are or what you’ve done or lack thereof but don’t give in, don’t let fear win. Fear will turn you into a wallflower and someone who is afraid to take leaps and bounds. So remember even in your darkest hour you are the light in someone else’s life, mine, your friends and even someone you’ve never met, you inspire someone. Loving yourself is so important for your own success it is important to acknowledge your strengths as well as your weaknesses and know that sometimes you will win and sometimes you will loose but success is a journey not a destination and you should love yourself at every step of that journey.

All my love,


Virtues from Motherhood: Strength

Strength is a well-known and wildly used word and like many other words in the English language, it is easier said and defined than it is done. It is not until you’re forced, tested and down to your last fighting step that you discover your true inner strength.

My first lesson in sheer strength came when I brought my newborn daughter Ava home from the hospital. It’s expected, of course, that newborns come with no sleep and little time to function outside of changing and feeding. At eighteen years old however the virtue of patience was still being cultivated and I was at a loss. Never before in my life was I forced to operate on next to no sleep and make major life choices for another human being. It was terrifying.

When Ava was one week old she was readmitted to the hospital with a case of jaundice. Not only was it scary to have a baby that needs to go to the hospital it was even scarier having to talk to doctors, sign papers and navigate the healthcare system to make sure Ava was getting the care she needed. Everything seemed like this big blur and my head was spinning I had to do this alone. As I held Ava fast asleep in my arms in the triage area, I remembered how quick my own mom sprang into action when we were sick or hurt. I tried to think of all the questions she’d asked and how she asked them and I started to feel as if I wasn’t totally clueless. After I’d taken a deep breath, or twenty, I asked for a patient care representative and I got information about Ava’s treatment, her rights as a patient and mine as her mother. As soon as I got my hands on that information I felt better because I’d asked for help.

Ava ended up staying in the hospital two nights and I barely slept the entire time we were there. All I had in that room to sit or sleep in was a recliner and one white sheet, we weren’t at the Hilton and we weren’t there for me. I don’t remember caring much that I was uncomfortable I just wanted Ava to be OK, I stood next to her incubator most of the time watching her tiny chest rise and fall with each breath. When they finally said I could take her home I was so relieved, emotionally, mentally and physically.

If you’d told me on my eighteenth birthday that in 10 months I’d be sleeping on a chair in the Pediatric ICU I’d have rolled my eyes. My life was all about me then, my mom still made my dentist appointments; the biggest test of my strength was deciding what dress I wanted to wear to graduation. It wasn’t until I was wholly responsible for another life, a defenseless little life that needed me that I discovered I harbored that same inner strength my mom had. I don’t know how I stayed up for nearly 48 hours but I did for my daughter and it taught me that even when you feel you’re lost and you don’t know which way is up, you do.

Looking Ahead: Thank you so much for reading! Each week I’ll be posting about my struggles and triumphs of being a mom while working and going to school. This week I debuted my “Virtues from Motherhood” which are personal stories I want to share with my readers so they know they’re never alone in what they might be feeling. Next week i’ll debut “Things I want my daughter to know” where ill be sharing some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned that I want to pass on to her. I hope you’ll keep checking back and sharing your thoughts and comments with me!