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Brooklyn’s Bullets

Brooklyn's Bullets

The Holiday Anxiety

December 20, 2018 0 comments

Well it is that time of year that a lot of us have a love/hate relationship with. Even though Christmas time is my favorite holiday time of the year, for some reason it is also the time where my anxiety goes in to overdrive. I would be willing to bet that I am not the only one! It can range anywhere from just the pit in my stomach to full blown tears, chest pain, and wondering if I need to seek help! How to get through these new couple of month with all of my hair on my head? Well, here’s my game plan that I thought I would share!

–       First and foremost, keep in mind the true reason of the holidays! Regardless anyone’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I think we can all agree that the important aspect is being around those that we love. It could be blood family, adoptive family, step family, or friend family; point being whomever makes our heart happy, we should be celebrating with them!

–       Forget the flash! Often people, big and small, get caught up in the monetary gift giving/receiving part of holidays. This is so incredibly touch and go for me just because if someone can afford lavish gifts, it’s not our place to shame them for it. They have worked for their money and can spend it however they would like. So I kind of roll my eyes whenever I see social media posts saying that people should show off their gifts because someone may have a family that’s struggling. Yeah, I get it, but that’s like saying struggling families should post about their struggles because it could make other people sad. How about we all just accept where we are in our lives and who knows, the ones that have less flashy gifts might have the happiest of household where the flashy gift family might have some skeletons in their closet they’re trying to make up for with gifts!

–       Take time for yourself! If you’re like me and are very aware that this time of year has an effect on your emotions, be sure to make time for self-care. You can’t be present for those you love when you aren’t loving yourself to make sure to take care of numero uno!

–       For goodness sake, don’t be a jerk shopping! We get it, no one likes the lines, the crowds or basically ANYTHING to do with holiday shopping (or maybe that’s just me) but that does NOT give you a free pass to be less of a compassionate person. Seeing these Black Friday videos of people stampeding product displays is just sickening. We have GOT to do better as a country. I’ll jump off my soapbox on that.

I don’t want to take your valuable holiday time by reading all of my own ideas on what we can do to help ourselves in this stressful time, but I just merely want to remind you that we are setting examples for future generations and I really do hope that we keep that in mind when we are trying to cope with what should be a time of love and celebration. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Brooklyn's Bullets

Twenty Years and Some Score Ago

November 2, 2018 0 comments

I graduated *gulp* just over twenty years ago. Ugh, for only being six letters, that word “twenty” packs some punch! Thankfully, it is also jam packed with memories of an easier time where the next high school football game dictated our weekend plans. Where, for some, letter jackets were the winter time quintessential wardrobe accessory.

Having two teenage DNA’s, I often think how much is different these days compared to my own times. We didn’t have to worry about kids shooting up schools yet, we didn’t really worry too much about drugs, and we certainly didn’t worry about the type of car we had as long as we had wheels! Now, I panic when I get the school texts, especially after two kids were apprehended for a possible school shooting. Now, my daughter, which is my last DNA in high school, tells me about all these RIDICULOUSLY high value cars these kids are getting. Now, instead of marijuana being the “huge problem”, there are kids getting high on things I wouldn’t have ever imagined in high school.

So here are some things I want this generation to know, Brooklyn’s pearls of wisdom, if you will!

  1. Be a kid! Good god, be a kid and enjoy it! You will have the rest of your life to be an adult and there is noooooooooo going back! Go to the school talent show, go to football games, talk to the kid that doesn’t have any friends, and relish in the innocence and untainted worldly views you have now!
  2. Don’t be a jerk! This means to fellow classmates, teachers, PARENTS, adults, strangers, and regardless of what views have tried to direct you otherwise. Yeah sorry parents, but some of you have been molding your kids to hate others just for being different. Try teaching them that different values do not mean superiority over others. Mmmmk?
  3. For goodness sake, take advantage of the free education you are getting! It doesn’t matter if you have absolutely no plans of furthering your education, this is a life trait you need. Don’t just skimp by on your homework, give it your all! Don’t shy away from asking for help if you need it! Don’t be complacent with a passing grade if you could have really done better. Those that apply themselves, really do have a better chance of success in ANY path they choose to follow.
  4. Realize what you have, when you have it! This kind of circles back to the first thing but just know that life does not get easier after high school. I know I know, it’s the teenage dream, “I can’t wait to graduate and really start to live”. Chances are you are going to have bills, student loans, jobs, and a whole bunch of other things that suck to deal with. It’s not easier, it’s different and yeah some of it is great! But also, some of it makes you wish you could go back to high school. I’m not kidding.

It’s hard to be a parent these days, but I also wouldn’t change a thing because even though this generation has a lot more to deal with than we did *gulp* twenty years ago, it’s pretty neat getting to see what these kids will developed in to as adults, it changes in the blink of an eye, we might as well enjoy the ride as parents too!

Brooklyn's Bullets

Living with Chronic Pain

October 23, 2018 0 comments

When you think of aging, along with it we all know and expect some sort of body changes that lead to make things slightly difficult. However, at the age of 34, when I had the feeling of what I thought was just a knot in my neck, I would never have guessed four years later I would be facing daily pain.

It took going to countless Emergency Room visits and multiple Primary Care Doctors before I finally got my Neurologist referral. That appointment changed my life in a bitter sweet way. For the first time, I had a doctor almost finish my sentences while listing off my symptoms! I was so relieved to, most of all, not be crazy but also at least be on a way to a treatment plan. Next, it was tests, and a lot of them! Multiple x-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, you name it but I finally had a name for it; Occipital Neuralgia. According to the National Institute Of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Occipital Neuralgia is explained as “Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterized by piercing, throbbing, or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head.  Typically, the pain of occipital neuralgia begins in the neck and then spreads upwards…”. I, however, have bi-lateral Occipital Neuralgia. That’s right, double the fun! I was referred to a Pain Management Practice that I am still at to this day.

Since then, I have been diagnosed with progressed Degenerative Disc Disease in my neck (amongst other issues) which basically the normal wear and tear on discs that most people have, mine is further along, a lot. My C3-C7 discs don’t like to play well with others. More specifically, according to my last MRI during late last year shows my C5-C6 disc is herniated to where it is starting to press against my spinal cord. I know, the jealousy is overwhelming, it’s ok I get it!

I have multiple procedures that I get on a weekly and also every six month basis to help with the pain. Unfortunately, now things have gotten worse pain wise to where it is back to more tests to see if I need to have my disc replaced and possibly fused. Thaaaaaaaaat is surgery, pretty dang close to my spine. It’s a very common surgery but a surgery close to your spine has a certain something, that fancy French word I can’t think of!

I know this is probably well beyond the part where you say to yourself, “uh why do I care Brooklyn?” or “how does this effect me?”. It doesn’t. However, it could at some point or it could effect someone you know or love. Please know that people suffering from chronic pain have a whole slew of things they are dealing with on top of the physical. We may cancel plans, go MIA for days at a time, we may seem SUPER Debbie Downer sometimes, or we may just seem ok one day and nowhere near ok the next. That’s the way the chronic pain cookie crumbles unfortunately. So be kind when someone shares their struggles with chronic illness or pain. We definitely didn’t ask for this and we definitely are not enjoying our low times.

Brooklyn's Bullets

Happy Reading!

September 6, 2018 0 comments

Now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tap in to this dynamic of my life yet, but I do find this therapeutic! Plus, who knows, maybe someone out there can relate.

About a year ago I met my boyfriend and eventually his beautiful and beyond her years, 9 year old daughter. The very first time the three of us hung out she threw her larger than life attitude because her dad and I took a selfie together after she declined getting in the photo. Red flag? Not necessarily. Her dad has had custody of her since she was four months old because her biological mother chose drugs over motherhood.

Then the woman whom she calls “mom” helped raise her for about six or seven years. Now, I am going to leave my personal opinion of this woman out of it and stick to the facts. She has four children of her own, her oldest son is in prison, the next oldest, the oldest daughter, lost custody of her baby due to drugs, had another baby and lost her too. The youngest daughter started doing drugs with her older sister at about twelve or thirteen. The youngest son seems to have an okay grip considering his siblings. After their mom and my now boyfriend broke up, they eventually left the state and apparently have not been to school since.

Since I have been involved with DNA3 (my own kids are DNA1 and DNA2), she has told me terrible stories of being told to leave the room by her “siblings” because they were getting high, trespassing with them, and walking around parts of town that no child should be without a parent. I have literally been trying to be this little girls advocate because no child should have to deal with what she has. It has been challenging to say the very least!

Last school year, she had been suspended numerous times and finally was kicked out a week before the school year ended. I would watch her the majority of the time since I was out of work and the entire time she was with me she was a complete turn around! Telling me she loved me, asking if she could call me mom, hugging me, you name it! (If you don’t “awwww” at that, check your pulse for a heart!)

All up until a few weeks ago I took her to a family members house for the weekend because her dad works weekends. As we get out of the car, she starts showing signs of an attitude episode, not good! As we approach the front door, she stops dead in her tracks. Even worse sign! As I try to talk to her she starts crying and then BOOKS IT! I’m talking out of the subdivision, across a main road, and half way through a dirt field before one of the younger boys there caught up to her. Now one might wonder, “where were you?” little ol’ me was bringing up the rear in flip flops dying from the desert heat! I catch up (finally) and she is kicking and screaming! I swatted her behind after she kicked and hit me, to which she screamed “YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!” No kidding kid! No kidding. I never had to chase either of my kids anywhere! I yelled back “I know I’m not! But you’re being ridiculous!” I can only imagine what onlookers thought.

Here we are, the night before she starts back at the school after a conference with the principal, vice principal, her dad, her, and myself. It was not the best of nights but I cannot help but hope on everything that she really takes this school year different.

Stay tuned y’all, this ride could get VERY bumpy!

Brooklyn's Bullets

Single Parents Top 10

July 30, 2018 0 comments

Welcome to our second date! Whew, just like any female after a first date, you just never know if it will lead to a second! For those of you wondering why the crazy lady is talking about dates, go catch up with my first blog! Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ok on to our second date, we went through some basics before, but we are still getting to know each other. So this round of Brooklyn’s Bullets is going to be *drumroll please* the motherload of single motherhood! Now instead of this trying to be informative because let’s be honest evvvvvvvvvvveryone has advice for single moms! So much to the point, we can see it coming from a mile away and prepare ourselves to tune out what follows and just smile and nod so we don’t end up in orange or stripes! Keep your advice and keep moving Karen! No, this time we are going to go celebrate everything that makes us bad beezy’s! Woot woot! (Yes, I just did that but get excited dammit!)

Let’s do this is in top ten fashion! So here are Brooklyn’s Bullets to Baddie Single parents!

#10 – We have become multitaskers overnight!

From the day/night that our little bundle of joy graced the earth, some like wrecking balls, we have juggled sleep, life chores, bonding time, and more often than not, careers! We have mastered the timing of loads of laundry we can get done while feeding lunch and still know how many minutes we can possibly shut our eyes for before the little spawn *cough* I mean, little coo’ing cuteness wakes up! It’s seven minutes. Seven glorious minutes of quiet!

#9 – We speak multiple languages! Oui!

Now, as amazing as it would be if we instantly could add another language to our resumes, I’m talking about the first couple years that we understand and sometime speak in sounds and unspellable words! We can tell a tooting sound from an “uh oh where’s the closest changing table?” sound! People without kids are left speechless!

#8 – We have become bargain shoppers!

Before kids, we did not care if we bought name brand jeans for ourselves, we deserved to splurge! Now that we have someone dependent on us and they just so happen to grow exponentially! Mo’ growing mo’ problems! Err..clothes! So we know where to go for inexpensive clothes for newborn, toddler, and so forth. Same for our own clothes because, let’s face it, it is collateral damage! We all know what that means even if you didn’t have the visuals flooding back like I did! *shutters* R.I.P. White blouse! I miss you!

#7 – We have mastered bill juggling!

I’m not saying we were racking in the dough before our new role of ‘head of household’ but we have new bills to factor in. That means we reevaluate what is needed and what is not. We sacrifice our daily Starbucks (or for me Dutch Bros!) because well…diapers. Need I say more? I didn’t think so.

#6 – We are more safety conscious than we have ever been!

Long gone are the days of ending up praising the porcelain god, swearing we would ‘never do it again’ after almost dying in some parking lot with people we really barely knew. We now are almost certifiable safety instructors with cabinets baby proofed even when they’re teenagers (don’t judge me!) and offer our wealth of knowledge when it comes to child safety in cars! Yes, sometimes our own names are Karen. We can’t help it!

#5 – We rule the world! OK at least ours!

We went from being the little birdie leaving the nest to guarding our own! We are the ones setting the rules! Who do the kids answer to? Oh that’s right! Us. Just remember with great power, comes great responsibility. Tidbit FYI! That was not even Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben that said that! #MyComicLifeHasBeenALie

#4 – We have a whole new relationship with our parents!

Ah yes, the pivot from child to parent that shifts our entire being! We then realize that we no longer answer to our parents and they have absolutely no control over how we parent! Pfffffffft! What no one, ABSOLUTELY no one tells you is that your parent NEVER get that memo! Like, ever. However, your parent will have a new appreciation for the human they raised when (not if) you have the epiphany that we sucked sometimes as kids and do phone call of shame to tell them you are so so very sorry! It’s ok, we all do it. Enjoy the bonding moment and just remember it when you’re breathing through the never ending “advice” they sometimes forcefully give! #NoOrange

#3 – We have more patience than we thought possible!

This one is not to say we don’t all lose it from time to time and cry in the shower! If we can make it through the “why” stage of even one kid let alone multiple children, we all deserve a little plaque with Mother Theresa on it declaring us Patience Saints! I’m not even religious but I feel slightly cheated that I never got one!

#2 – We have become more self aware!

We did not have to go through a midlife crisis to find out who we are! Thank goodness because balding like men would suck, although they do get a convertible with theirs, hmm. We have discovered our ever changing bodies and went through the “I’m beautiful dammit” stage of accepting it. Strike that, we keep going through it. Most importantly, we have evolved so freaking much that while taking in our child’s milestones, we miss our own sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate them! Scrapbooking then might be a little much though! To each their own though!

#1 – We love so fiercely!

My absolute favorite one! As women, we have this super human ability to love beyond words, beyond measure, and beyond any other type of love we will ever have! We created a life and gave ours to someone with the tiniest of hands. To be a piece of our heart walking outside of our chest! The only people we willingly give our last French fry to! The one feet we kiss obsessively because they’re just so yummy! They posses the ever healing giggle that even when we are about to burst into tears, regardless if their voice is little or sounds like a grown man because they’re eighteen and going into the service (gah help me! Sniffle) with those three little words they can make us ready to take on the world!

Ladies and gentlemen, I applaud every single (pun intended) one of you for being or having ever been a single parent! You are more than rock stars, I guarantee that you are someone’s hero!

Brooklyn's Bullets

A New Beginning

July 30, 2018 0 comments

As we embark on this new adventure together; you, me, The Official Mom Bomb (TOMB) staff, I thought we would start with something near to my ticking time bomb heart, the teenage age years! Yes, I said it, that coming of age that as children we couldn’t FOR and as parents we can not wait for it to END! Now hear me out, we are starting out written word romance, this is kind of like our first date! As with all first dates, it is about getting to know each other and since I’m on the writing end of this budding new romance, I thought I would share part of my familial dynamic. Not one, but TWO teenagers, not preteens or newly teens, we are talking about my oldest (boy) that is eighteen and my youngest (girl) which is sixteen.

Now, for those parents reading this that have children not quite to those ages, I’m sure you thought “oh how nice” or “I can just imagine mine getting older”. Parents of teenagers probably thought “Oh *bleep* NO! TWO driving?!”. Yes, not only do I have the extreme pleasure of trying not to MMA fight my daughter once a month but my two, working, social, and driving teens share one vehicle. Did I mention that I’m technically a single parent? No? Oh, yeah then there is that.

The homicide scene has been set, ok just kidding, but in all honesty my young humans are pretty good at being genuine humans. We are as normal as any other family, we fight, we love, we fight again, lather, rinse, repeat! With every new stage in their lives, or as I like to call it ‘leveling up’, we seemingly end up at square one on the communication scale. Communication and bonds between a mom/daughter and mom/son vary but in our house, my communication and bonds with both are pretty similar. The basis for keeping everyone out of jail? I keep it to the basics. So I’m going to share with you, what I try to implement in our home.

The basics I draw from are listening, using productive vocabulary choices, and staying open (minded and ears). Author Joseph DeVito breaks up the steps of listening into five stages: receiving, understanding, remembering, evaluating, and responding. This is method is super informative and what I tried to model my simpler version after for our family. Do we always make sure to work the steps like a program? No. However, I can tell you that regardless of the emotions that are whirlwind through our house, it helps tremendously to keep the peace from spinning to World War III.

Listening is probably the most difficult to do, because pride likes to poke its head in and say “Oh I already know how to do that! Pffft”. However, so many of us listen to respond, not to actually hear. So instead of hearing the words they other person is saying, trying to understand their feelings behind the words, etc. we are hearing accusations and building our defense. Parents do it just as much as teenagers. When I need to listen, I consciously empty my mind and any surrounding distractions. Learn from my mistakes, apparently this does not mean duct tape your teenagers mouth, lesson learned! (No I did not duct tape any children’s mouths in the writing of this blog). I can honestly say this first step alone is a game changer! All too often, parents and teenagers do not feel heard.

In my Brooklyn’s Communication with teenagers method, using productive vocabulary is the middle step and used for both sides, of course. This is where my linguistics obsession plays, essentially you want to be aware of the words you use. For example, “always” and “never” are no-no’s with us because they are typically untrue over dramatizations. Then as cheesy as it may sound, the good old therapy sentence starter of “when you *blank* I feel *blank*” I started it with them younger because it is easy to remember and it helps to keep the conversation from the blame game.

Lastly, stay open minded and keep your ears open. Be willing to hear and be willing to respond consciously. Once you have gone through the first couple of steps, this last one is almost like communication muscle memory.

Everyone may have their own plan of attack when it comes to the language barrier between parent and teenager, but I also believe any constructive feedback or new ideas should be welcome! Hopefully even just one struggling parent reads this, having some positive impact in their home and any progress is good progress when you’re dealing with teenagers! This has been Brooklyn’s Bullets on the teenager tip!

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