Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On Tomorrow's Show..The Process

Last week a well meaning friend sent me a text regarding a job. My first thought was to be insulted. Are you saying that what I do isnt work ? I proceeded to defend myself.After giving it some thought, I came to realize sometimes people just dont understand.

Harlem Talk Radio is a collaboration of many great minds. A year ago, I walked into the studio and met the Executive Producer Nizer Saunders. Now Ive worked with MANY start ups. More than I care to count. I sit back and take note of a few things before I consider working with a start up. Have you changed the name of your company several times ? Is the phone working LOL ?? From day one, it was about a mission. In fact my interview turned into my first day on the job. The message was clear: EMPOWER THE HARLEM COMMUNITY. Certain media outlets will only tell one side of the story. When it comes to the underserved, the message is usually a negative one. "These people dont want to work, they are out to cheat the system..."
This is not true. 

Harlem Talk Radio gives an opportunity for our listeners to engage in a weekly town hall. We are working closely with many agencies. I was honored to talk to HRA Commissioner Robert Doar last spring.  How many times do you get to hear straight from the top what changes will be made. It was my pleasure to give feedback on what the HRA clients are saying and their concerns. Harlem Talk Radio listeners have a voice. We also spoke to the Office of Child Support Enforcement. What a difficult topic !! Our listeners had the opportunity to learn how they can collect child support from an unwilling non custodial parent.

When I first told people I was going to have a Talk Show they probably expected me to try to be the next Wendy Williams. I couldnt do that. But HOW YOU DOIN' WENDY !! (had to say that ...) They expected me to be my usual goofy, joke cracking self.

Perhaps if this was 2002, I would have been that way. However since 2003, I have experienced so many things I never thought I would experience. It has inspired me to help others face the same challenges. I have to take that back, since 1998 I have experience things I never imagined experiencing.

So each week, I reflect on something I have gone through especially as a single mother. If all I can do is enlighten another woman, then Im all for it. Many times mothers feel tremendous loneliness, shame and embarassment for different reasons. They need a place to feel secure. They need to hear, "I went through that too.."

Alot of thought goes into the process of planning the shows each week. The first step is getting the show idea approved by the Executive Producer. If he doesnt feel like the topic will help the masses, then its not a go. Try something else. Getting the guests is rarely a problem. Organizations are always willing to spread the word when it comes to meaningful projects. Once the guests are booked, the research begins. Wednesdays feel like Im back in school. I have to do alot of reading, studying etc. After all, would you want to call into a show and the host knows nothing about you ? A strong introduction is crucial. Can you imagine your first question is:"So...what do you do again.." or "For the third time..tell me your name..." After the research is complete, the questions have to be written. Good questions are extremely important. You dont want to ask questions such as: "do you like your job ?" Your questions have to reflect the research you have done.

Once all of that is done, its show time. The show goes faster than you think, and then its time to start the process again.  Tomorrow, we are re airing the interview with Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of Her message cannot be missed. We need to get healthy foods into EVERY neighborhood. I say we hold the media partially responsible. The media constantly gives the message skinny is beautiful, yet they target the minority communities with the McDonalds and KFC commercials. 

A few small changes make a big difference. In my household, I stopped buying white potatoes and white rice. I cook sweet potatoes and brown rice. I try to buy alot of fresh fruit. We only drink 100% juice or water. I still have a long way to go, but Ive tried to make some changes. My weakness is definitely fried foods and sweets. What tasty weaknesses lol.

Well gotta get ready to talk to you all tomorrow..Take care and tune in...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Party of One/ Girls and Friendships....

How do we teach our children especially girls about friendship ? My eleven year old is very eager to make friends and considers practically every girl she knows a friend. However, from the outside looking in Im often compelled to tell to ask herself "Is this person really a friend ?" How much should I say to her and how much should I let her learn on her own.

It seems as if girls are forming cliques at an earlier age these days. Everyone seems to get along up to the third grade. My first grader has no problems getting along with her peers. My third grader had a falling out with her best friend of three years. I tried to encourage her to talk out their differences and become friends again. They dont even speak to each other anymore and thats sad. At the beginning of the school year they were still attached at the hip. I dont know what happened but one day I was pulled aside by their teacher. She said that the two girls had been physically fighting. That turned out not be true, but the friendship has not been repaired.
They put up a good front for us parents for a short while, then went back to being sworn enemies.

As for my fifth grader, things have been pretty rough this year on the social front. Last year, the get together invitations were flowing like honey. It seemed like every other week, we were going somewhere with one of  one of her friends. I would grit my teeth , thinking cant I have a break for one weekend ? 

This year her popularity level plummeted. She acted like it didnt bother her, it bothered me. But I digress. In adddition to that, she spent a great deal of time being alienated this school year., All it takes is one person to say something negative and everyone else follows suit. For two weeks, she was calling me to come and pick her up early from school. When I arrived at the school, she was sitting in the teacher's lounge doing a puzzle. The sight of her sitting alone, made me want to cry. When this continued to happen, I spoke to her teacher about my concerns. I knew something was going on. My fears were confirmed. Things have improved, but the whole situation and the way she has been treated this school year has left a sour taste in my mouth.

What makes kids decide to alienate one child or suddenly decide they are not good enough to be around anymore ? I know she has had cruel things said to her because she comes home and says the same things to her nine year old sister. I have tried to tell her not to do this because she knows she doesnt like it when it happens to her. She denies anything is happening and says" "I made it up myself." Her solution to being picked on is to laugh at herself in much the same way the overweight person will make fat jokes,  I was the same way growing up. However when you laugh at yourself too hard, you dont value yourself. You begin to see yourself as a joke,.

One day my eleven year old asked me for over twenty dollars. I asked why. She showed me a list of snacks her friends wanted and that she promised to get them. Now she was buying friends. I told her that real friends wouldnt ask her to buy things nor would they accept such gifts knowing you dont have the money to buy it. I was surprised that she actually listened. The question still remains how do we teach our children what a real friend is ? A friend that you always call and they never call you back is not a friend. A person who smiles in your face and talks behind your back is not a friend nor is someone who wants to hang out with you only when they have no other options. As adults we often learn the hard way.

We dont want our children learning the hard way, especially when it comes to friends. I can honestly say my eleven year old doesnt have a mean word to say about anyone. She is certainly no phony. This is why it hurts even more when she encounters fair weather friends. I suppose I have to keep my mouth shut for the next eight years and let her learn who her real friends are.

Hey we can learn together because Im still learning who my real friends are...

Monday, May 24, 2010


Can someone tell me why Monday Mornings at the compound have to be so difficult ??? Children have no concept of time. They could care less if they are late for school. They dont even care if they even go to school. As parents we know better and try our best to get them out of the door on time and FULLY DRESSED.

Our morning routine always consists of some sort of shouting and wrestling match. For right now, the littlest one is no problem. She is always upbeat and ready to face the day. However my nine and eleven year old need to be threatened and forcibly dragged from one room to the other every morning.

My eleven year old loves school. She would arrive at 6:00am if you let her. Its getting started thats difficult for her. Once she is up, she moves fairly quickly. Its her mouth that never slows down. She feels its her civic duty to hurl insult after insult to her sisters. "BUM !!!" she yells at her little sister before snatching back the pencil she borrowed. "UGLY !!!!!!!!" she snarls at her other sister for daring to look at her.

Thats mild compared to the contempt she shows to me her own mother. " I WAS DOING IT...GOSH !!!" is her response to my every request and or command. Thats the last thing I need first thing in the morning. When she and my seven year old walk out the door, I breathe a sigh of relief. Then I turn to the battle royale.

My nine year old is the last one out of the house. Ive stopped holding up the other ones. Whoever is ready can leave, except of course my seven year old. The school is a few block away. My eleven year old is capable of walking alone or walking along with her younger sister.

So now its time to do battle with Hannah. She will find any excuse to be stubborn. Its not only verbal stubborness. She will sit on the floor and refuse to budge. This happens almost daily. What fun, especially on a Monday morning. I try to make sure every thing is together on Sunday night. Hair braided, clothes washed, etc. Still there is one member of the family that is determined to cause a disturbance. Whats a mother to do besides feel like pulling her out. Im sure the neighbors dont need an alarm clock, they know what time it is by my shrill voice  !!!!!!!! CALGON TAKE ME AWAY !!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What is MOM MADNESS ?????

Well its 10:28pm and the house is quiet. I have survived another day of Mom Madness. What is Mom Madness? It starts first thing in the morning. Im usually up by 5:30am. I promise myself that the day will not be chaotic. I vow to have patience. I call my youngest daughter once. I hear a faint answer...I call again. This time a louder more enthusisastic. "YEEEEEES" ..The pitter patter of little tiny first grade feet. The water starts running. Mission Accomplished.
I have them scheduled to get up within fifteen minutes of each other. My youngest first, the oldest, then my middle child. I call my oldest answer. I call again. Silence. I tell the youngest to finish washing up.
"OKKKAAAAYY !!" she calls in her excited still innocent voice. The water is off. Within minutes she is dressed and ready to go. Book bag already on her back. After all she has to get to Munchkin Monday or the Morning Show, whichever is going on that day.
I call my oldest again. Still silence. I listen to the time on the radio. I dont own a clock. I start panicking. This time I march to her room. She is buried under the covers. I get close to her and call her. Still no answer.
I swat her blanket. Now she's frowning and complaining.  "GET IN THAT BATHROOM !!!!!!!!!" I roar.
She drags herself out of bed, making sure she has a scowl on her face. The water starts running...she settles into the bathtub. Mission somewhat accomplished.
Now its time to battle with my middle child. I call her once. No answer. I dont waste time calling her again. I immediately yank the covers off her. She sits up and rests her face on her hands.
She shrugs. "I dont want to..."
Me: "Why not .."
"Because you keep on being mean to me.." She refuses to budge...
Can you feel my pain here people ? This is a daily battle. Not to mention  the permission slips that need to be signed minutes before we leave the house. Or how about my middle child deciding she needs to START doing her homework at 8:00am when school starts at 8:15am.
The madness picks back up in the evening. Everyone walks into the house and throws their things across the livingroom, then demand food. I enjoy hearing their stories about school. Keeping up with their schedule can be overwhelming.  Singlemotherhood is a tough balancing act. Sometimes you'd like to have a break. However you know what it is that you need to do. Its simply a matter of making it all work. I would love any tips you would like to share....

Childhood Obesity

Yesterday we had a very interesting discussion with Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of Policylink , Matthew Green of Ingredients for Change, and Michelle Bouchard President of HealthCorps. What an invaluable discussion. Childhood Obesity is very high in the African American Community. I live in East New York Brooklyn and its very hard to find healthy food when you want to eat out. What is there to choose from ? Chinese, McDonalds..etc. The Chinese Restaurants around my way do  not even sell steamed vegetable dumplings..I love those.

Angela Glover Blackwell is phenomenal. Policylink is working hard to ensure that individuals in low income areas have acceess to healthy foods. This is crucial.

I grew up in Bayside Queens (yeah Bayside) there is a huge variety of restaurants to choose from, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Mexican. Very and I love all of them equally. I miss the restaurants in Bayside. especially the wonderful Chinese Restaurant on 48th. They have the BEST Sesame Chicken that I have ever tasted. Okay I dont think this discussion was supposed to be about my undying love for food.

This is about healthy choices. I was so impressed with HealthCorps. They work within the high schools and encourage students to make healthy choices regarding diet and exercise. Thats a very important time to encourage healthy eating habits. I remember when I was in high school,. I worked at Burger King and literally ate my weekly paycheck. I would fill an entire tray with french fries. EWWWWWWWW.

Mom Madness on Harlem Talk Radio

Welcome to the blog for Mom Madness on Harlem Talk Radio. Mom Madness is a weekly forty five minute show that focuses on advocacy and empowerment in the Harlem Community. Since we are an online radio station, we reach the Harlems Across America.

Mom Madness has been on the air for one year . Actually yesterday was the one year anniversary of Mom Madness. Our first guest last year was Angie Hancock, of Experience Harlem. My response to all of her questions was "Great..." LOOOL. I learned very quickly that hosting a show is alot harder than it looks. I am so thankful for the opportunity to reach an audience every week. Some of our past guests include:US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, Gov. David Paterson, George Soros, Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO of, Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, Authors: Mo Willems, Jeff Kinney, Melissa Stoller, Ntozake Shange...
I have also interviewed several NYC agencies such as The Human Resources Administration, NYCares, Children's Aid Society, Food Bank for NYC...Safe Horizons, and many more... We are growing by leaps and bounds.
I am so excited to work on the issues of Childhood Literacy, fighting Childhood Obesity, Domestic Violence and of course fighting for the rights of the underserved.
Oh yeah and the reason for the title Mom Madness. I am the mother of three daughters. ages seven, nine and eleven.b Life can only be summed up in one word: MADNESS !! LOL.
Its a good madness that I would not trade for the world.
My daughters are amazing. Did I plan to be a single mother ? Nope. But you gotta roll with the punches.