A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. If you’re a homeowner, management of your home’s finances is critical to your overall financial health. A key piece of that is managing your temperatures of your home during all seasons. The following contributed post is entitled, Best Ways To Get Your Home Warm Weather Ready.
Warm weather is here. The clocks have gone back and sweater weather is a distant dream. Like many of us, your home upkeep has more than likely been neglected in favour of some more weather suitable pursuits, like curling up under the duvet for marathons of your favourite TV show.
Interior Design can be huge amounts of fun but many smaller exterior problems can spiral out of control if not rectified quickly. Now the weather is getting warmer, it’s an exciting time to get up and get motivated so you can enjoy the coming sunshine!
Ready, Set, Roof! Winter can wreak havoc on all parts of your home, none more-so than your roof. Wind, rain and other elements can leave your home open to a variety of safety concerns. Something as simple as cleaning rain gutters and ensuring pipes are secure can save you a huge hassle once the weather turns cold again. Before choosing a company ensure your contractor is legitimate, skilled and experienced.
Get Some Greenery City life means we may not all have the luxury of green space on our doorsteps. However, research has proven that plants and flowers within the home are good for us. So bring the outside to you! Not only do plants add colourful and uplifting decorative accents to the most sparse of living spaces, they also provide extra oxygen that can boost your mood and brain functionality. Browse your local garden centres and botanic markets for container gardens or floor plants that will bloom in the next few weeks.
Colour Chameleon Breathe a breath of life into stale and grey surroundings, with a fresh lick of paint. If you’re stuck for time, or just aren’t sure about making the commitment, consider an accent wall in a bold, zingy lemon or even a happy pink to refresh your bathroom or kitchen cabinets. Even a few sheets of printed contact paper can upgrade your interior in seconds. Stuck with magnolia walls in your rental? Consider a gallery wall instead!
Get Cosy Something as simple as a new set of soft furnishings or a new lighting scheme can make your living space feel re-balanced and refreshed. The benefits of LED Lighting can make a room feel inviting when it would otherwise be unwelcoming. A room with textures, patterns and prints, draw the eye in and can make your living space feel larger. Create a plush, cosy space with throws, pillows and blankets in warm and creamy shades. Want something a little more eye catching? Unique and one-of a kind geometric and abstract pieces are easy to find at flea-markets and garage sales.
Deep Clean The final step is to get rid of all the clutter accumulated over the colder months! It’s a great time take stock of what you have, to donate what you don’t want and even make some money by selling your unwanted goods. Invest in storage boxes, drawer dividers and shoe racks to ensure that the mess doesn’t creep up on you, as it’s sometimes prone to do!
A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. Homeownership is a key pillar to building wealth. It can also wreck your finances if you don’t understand the pitfalls of it. The following contributed post is entitled, 4 Questions About Homeownership.
* * *
Homeownership is for many the ultimate American Dream. Indeed, we have to remember that the Americans of today were once immigrants who had come – or been shipped – to the country in the hope of making a living. What Thomas Jefferson called the pursuit of happiness is, after all, nothing else than having a place we can call home. However, purchasing a home doesn’t come without risks. Indeed, it doesn’t matter how many of us dream of homeownership; not everyone is ready to become a responsible homeowner today. Indeed, investing in a property is a commitment that requires a change of mindset. Some might even refer to it as the first step of adulting. The truth is that you can’t buy a home if you can’t answer the following questions:
Can you avoid unnecessary expenses? Buying a home is an expensive adventure you need to budget. There is no secret; unless you’re lucky enough to have inherited a substantial income, you will need to embrace a frugal lifestyle to save ahead of your property purchase. Frugality being the art of living within your means, it’s an essential skill to develop at the beginning of your homeownership journey. Indeed, it allows you to save money without depriving yourself. More importantly, it’s the key to keeping your budget under control safely.
Can you be part of a neighborhood? You never buy just a house or an apartment. You buy your entry into a neighborhood. It’s the ability to embrace living at the heart of a community that makes your home a safe investment. Why so? Because your property becomes part of an ensemble that shares common values and interests, such as keeping the community safe and clean, for instance. As a homeowner, you agree to participate in the local activities and to get to know your neighbors. Ultimately, active communities are a magnet to shops and other amenities. Additionally, they significantly improve your quality of life. But it only works if you are ready to become a part of it.
Can you fix things? Things break. As a tenant, you can call your landlord to get it fixed. As a homeowner, you have to roll up your sleeves and sort it out yourself. While some repair jobs should be left to the pros – such as electrical and plumbing matters – anything else could be fixed with some DIY skills. Prepping and painting a room, for instance, doesn’t require expert knowledge. Dealing with a door that sticks shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes in most cases.
Can you visualize your decor? Ah, the dilemma of decorating your interior! Many first-time homeowners feel confused when it comes to creating their own style. Indeed, for many, living in a rented place reduced their involvement in interior decor to a minimum. Therefore, it can be tricky to visualize all the options in a room. You’d be surprised to know that many home decor projects end up becoming a waste of money because people fail to take measurements and test their design ideas first.
In conclusion, if you can answer yes to the previous four questions, you are ready to buy your first home. However, if you’re still struggling with some of these elements, it’s a good idea to delay your purchase until you are more confident with your budgeting, community engagement, DIY skills, or decor planning.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Real Estate is a major wealth-building tool. Landlords who own property must understand how to maintain and even upgrade their residential home properties in order to keep them up to code and also compete with other landlords. The following contributed post is entitled, 3 Home Improvements The 21st-Century Landlord Should Make.
* * *
Nowadays, first-time homeowners are more likely to be in their 30s and sometimes even their 40s. Compared to our parents and grandparents, it makes no doubt that the real estate market has evolved dramatically. The price tag has increased tremendously, making it more challenging for buyers to secure the deposit and find an affordable mortgage. As a direct consequence, buy-to-let landlords find that their tenants are more likely to be interested in mid- to long-term tenancy agreements.
Indeed, the difficulty to enter the property market presents a valuable opportunity for landlords. As most tenants are keen to stay for several years, they also seek modern days comfort and facilities in their rented property. The shoe-box, dark property with a low rent doesn’t run the rental market anymore. Tenants want to feel at home, and they expect landlords to create a space that is fit for purpose.
No tenant wants to look after the garden The idyllic suburban house with a little garden is a home cliché that nobody cares about anymore. The truth is that your tenants work hard during the week to pay the bills and save money ahead of a deposit. They don’t have any time or interest in maintaining the garden. From lawn mowing to watering, a pretty garden requires a lot of effort – without mentioning money. Your tenants don’t want to spend their weekends clearing the lawn. They want to relax, and therefore, they prefer a front yard that is easy to manage. Consequently, it’s a good idea to work closely with concrete paving contractors to transform your yard into a smooth surface that can act as a cozy patio in summer. Additionally paving slabs are perfect as an impromptu parking space when your tenants receive guests.
Help your tenants save money on energy bills Windows that let the cold air in and inadequate attic insulation have earned a place in the top ten worst rentals in history, but they are nothing modern tenants are ready to compromise. Indeed, your tenants have no desire of being cold in winter. Many know exactly what to check when they visit a property, and therefore, no landlord can afford to run rentals that waste energy. As most tenants will pay close attention to your windows, your heaters, and the overall temperature in the property, they will quickly spot any issue. But you can also provide additional support towards energy bill management by installing smart technology, which tenants can control with an app. Smart appliances and systems offer a compelling control argument for budget-focused tenants.
Switch the carpet for eco-friendly and easy-care solutions What is the most common flooring solution? If you’re still thinking in terms of costs, you’re approaching the problem from the wrong angle. As a landlord, you need to consider flooring solutions that are easy to maintain – and therefore don’t require replacing each time you put your property back on the market. Concrete floors can be not only elegant, but they are durable, easy to clean, and non-traditional. Wood carpets share the same qualities and can be used for centuries!
Making your rental property appealing is all about putting your tenants’ needs first. Your tenants want something that is easy to manage, that provides great cost control, and that is durable – therefore, they don’t need to worry about it. From your curb appeal to your flooring solutions, it’s time to transform your rental.
The first principle of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A major component of everyone’s personal finances is their utilities. Depending on where you live, keeping your dwelling at the appropriate and comfortable temperature can be costly. It’s important to know how to control this cost. The following contributed post is entitled, Best ways to save money through efficient heating and cooling.
When you think about saving money, heating and cooling for your home would probably be the last things in your mind. It’s really hard to save money if you have your AC running during hot, humid days, or your heater going on cold, winter months.
But what if there’s a way for you to save money, even when you’re not depriving your home of heating and cooling?
The key to substantial savings is to keep your heating and cooling systems efficient, so even with prolonged use, there won’t be any wasted energy, and you’ll only get the right amount of coolness or warmth that you need.
If you’re really keen on saving every cent possible for your home’s heating and air conditioning, start by ensuring that your hardware is up to the task, and that it’s not wasting energy due to dirt build up or presence of leaks. Regularly checking the system that you have will save you a lot of money from repairs in the near future. Keeping them in top condition saves you more by ensuring that they don’t deteriorate with every use, thus the need for new units.
Here are some of the areas you need to consider if you want to see substantial savings.
Right-sizing the heating and cooling systems for your home.
This is easily one of the most overlooked factors when buying a new HVAC unit for your home. Instead of thinking about the size of your home, you were easily swayed by the price, as well as the big savings when compared to competitors. The right size will save you a considerable amount, especially if you’re using them regularly. You can also have an energy audit or calculation from your local dealer. With that, you’ll know exactly what you need for efficient cooling and heating.
Bigger is not better when it comes to heating and cooling systems.
As mentioned earlier, getting the wrong sized heating and cooling equipment would be wasteful and inefficient. They’ll cost a lot more to operate and maintain, so aside from the initial purchase price, you’ll also be dealing with the maintenance cost. Getting a unit that’s too small for your space drives up the utility cost as it will struggle to heat or cool your home. Overexerting to produce the necessary heating and cooling can also be taxing to the hardware, thus effectively reducing its durability.
Regular cleaning and maintenance is a must.
Now that you have the right size heating and cooling units installed, you’ll slowly begin to reap the benefits of what you’ve sown. You can also focus your savings efforts on properly maintaining your hardware. For example, by regularly cleaning the vents and filters of your HVAC, you’re able to prolong its life and keep it working optimally. Always follow your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, so that you’ll have it cleaned and maintained accordingly. The vents and piping of your HVAC unit are always clean and ready for anything. Any obstruction or dust build up in these can cause the efficiency of your hardware to drop.
A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. One of the most important purchases any of us will ever make is the purchase of our homes. One important consideration is how to personalize your home so that it’s unique to your tastes. The following contributed post is entitled, Adding Personal Touches to Your Home.
* * *
You probably spend a lot of time in your house. We start and end our days there. We entertain friends in our dining rooms. We rest and relax after a long day in our lounges. We feed our families from our kitchens. We enjoy a bit of sun in our gardens, and we look after our health and hygiene in our bathrooms. Your home is the one place on earth where you should always feel safe and protected. Your home should be somewhere that you love.
A lot goes into creating a home that you love, and feel safe in. Many of us stick to similar furniture, saving money by buying mass-produced flatpack from large retailers. But, none of us wants our homes to be exactly the same as everyone else. Even though thousands of people might have your sofa, you don’t want your lounge to look like anyone else’s. You want it to reflect your personality and speak for who you are. That’s the only way that it will ever become your safe haven.
Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to create a unique home, even without spending a fortune, making sure all of your furniture is one of a kind.
Get Something Custom Made
Yes, custom made large pieces can be costly. But, large pieces aren’t your only option. Find a local crafter that’s creating things like photo frames or small tables, or commission some metal work such as brackets for shelves, from https://naimormetalfabrication.com/ for something a little different.
Original artwork can also be very expensive. Prints can be a cheaper alternative. They won’t be one of a kind, but art is a very personal choice, so it’s unlikely that anyone you know would choose the same prints.
If you are looking for other ways to create quirky artwork, consider framing things like wallpaper samples, textiles, greetings cards and postcards and even pages from a magazine.
If you truly want a one of a kind area, create a gallery wall with family photos, pictures that you like, framed pictures that your children have drawn and even your own creations.
Creating your own home accessories and soft furnishings is a brilliant way to save money while making your home a little different. Even better, you don’t need to be a talented artist, create a piece with meaning. Check out https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ratkinson/home-decor-crafts/ for some ideas.
So, your sofa is the same as next doors? Add a colorful throw and some patterned cushions, and it’s suddenly completely different. Turn a boring nest of tables into a trendy surface with the addition of frames, candles and fresh flowers. Your accessories can completely change how your home looks, and are a cheap way to add your own unique style to plained areas of your home.
The modern world is much more minimal. All of your books can be on your Kindle and all of your films on your Fire Stick. You don’t need to buy books or DVDs, and you certainly don’t need CDS. But, having belongings on display shows visitors who you are. Your book collection says a lot about you, so why not let people see it? Even if you are downsizing and mainly going digital, keep a few favorites on display to add personality to your shelves.
Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Preventative maintenance is an underrated component of homeownership and business. This one category however can save you time, money and headaches going forward. The following contributed post is entitled, Three Reasons To Implement Preventative Maintenance In Your Home or Business.
* * *
If your home or business maintenance schedule is still run on a reactive basis, you need to get your head around Preventative Maintenance. Why? Because fixing problems before they get really bad will save money. What better reason do you need?
When it comes to fixing that clogged pipe in your home or business location, do you take a reactive or preventative approach? If you’re not sure, you’re probably being reactive, which is costing you money. While they might sound like similar practices, preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance could not be more different in approach. While reactive maintenance focuses on fixing problems when they happen, preventative maintenance is geared towards stopping those problems from rearing their ugly heads at all. (No prizes for guessing which approach is better.)
If you still need a little convincing, the following benefits of preventative maintenance will have you scheduling in those checks and services in no time.
Enhance the Longevity of Your Equipment
Not only will preventive maintenance save you money when you don’t have to perform pricey emergency fixes, it will also extend the life of your infrastructure, machinery or equipment. For example, getting your boiler serviced regularly, before it starts to give trouble, will delay the time when the boiler eventually needs to be replaced, giving you years more use, and therefore rendering that initial installation much more cost-effective. Whether it’s in the home or at work, your expensive installations will last you longer if you schedule in regular maintenance and upkeep to avoid nasty surprises.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that time is money. If you’re a business owner, or if you’ve had to take time off work to fix something that’s gone wrong in your home, you know that every day that an essential piece of machinery or equipment spends in a non-functioning state costs you money. Extended unplanned downtime can be a real disaster for your business which can result in ruin. If your business employs people who are responsible for operating the equipment that is acting up, you’re going to be paying their wages until the repairs have been carried out. And if you work in manufacturing, it goes without saying that you’ll be losing money when you fail to meet the required output because of mechanical faults. A little downtime once in a blue moon cannot be avoided entirely, but if you think ahead and implement preventive maintenance, you’re going to dramatically reduce the amount of downtime you have to account for in your business or work schedule. Whether it’s lubrication, hydro jetting, cleaning, repairs or replacing parts, the time and money you put in will pay off when you look at the downtime you’ve avoided in the long run.
The machinery runs most efficiently when it is in perfect working order. This means that when your equipment starts to function at less than optimal rates, your energy bill is going to creep up. You may not notice this right away, but if you let the problem continue, your bills will suddenly see extraordinarily high, and you’ll be wondering what has caused it. This is a really common problem, which can easily be avoided with a little forward planning. If you put in place routines that guarantee your equipment is going to be maintained, you will notice that your energy use remains constant, saving you money and reducing your environmental impact.
Whether you’re running a massive operation or simply keeping your home in order, preventative maintenance is the key to saving money and preventing expensive call-outs.
Two key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. If you’re going to run a home business you want to make sure that it runs smoothly. There are a couple of keys to doing so. The following contributed post is entitled, How To Keep Your Home Business Running Smoothly.
* * *
Running a business from home certainly has its perks. You get to wear whatever you want, set your own hours, and don’t have a boss nagging at you every minute of the day. Plus, you save time and money by eliminating the commute. That being said, there are troublesome aspects of owning a home-based business too. With so much freedom and so many things around to distract you, it can be more difficult to stay productive and get your work done on time. With that in mind, here are ten things that you can do to keep your home business running smoothly.
1. Stay Connected To Business Although you run a home-based business, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be in the house all day, every day. Sometimes you’ll want to work in a cafe or restaurant, while at other times you’ll have to work on the way to a meeting. Because of this, it’s crucial that you have access to business information at all times. Instead of keeping important documents on your computer, you should store them on a flash drive, or, better yet, in the cloud, for access from anywhere.
2. Plan Out The Day The freedom of being your own boss means that you can work whenever you want to. However, that doesn’t mean that your business hours should change every day. Not only will this make it difficult for customers and clients to contact you, but it also leads to a lack of productivity. Your days need some structure, so choose business hours, create daily and weekly goal lists, and stick to them. If you don’t, you’ll waste a lot of time each day deciding what task to do next.
3. Create A Comfortable Workspace We tend to see our homes as a relaxing space. This can cause trouble when you’re trying to get your work done. The simple remedy to this problem is to create a workspace in your house. Contact a skip bin hire and clear all of the junk out of a room to make way for office furniture and equipment. Ideally, this room should be bright, quiet, and not too small. Once you have this area, make sure you do all of your work there. This will create boundaries between work and home.
4. Never Skimp On Necessities When you first start out in business, choosing the cheapest options or going without certain things seems to make sense. After all, you don’t have that much money to play with, and you don’t want to run out. That being said, you shouldn’t overlook the purchases that you need to make. High-quality internet services, for example, is vital for any home business. You’ll also need ergonomic office furniture, including a desk and chair, to stay comfortable and avoid an injury.
5. Dress For The Job As tempting as it may be, you shouldn’t ever work in your pajamas. You don’t have to dress in a suit and tie every day, but you do need to shower and get changed before heading to the home office. Like creating a workspace, this will separate your business and personal lives, making it easier for you to stay productive when working and relax at home. A jeans and t-shirt are usually enough to put you in the working mood, or you can opt for workout gear for extra comfort.
6. Set Office Ground Rules There’s no use in having an office if your family and friends think that they can come and sit in there whenever they like. Far too many loved ones make the mistake of assuming that, because you’re at home, you don’t need to be working. To break them out of that mindset, you need to set out a few office ground rules. For example, you could ask that they knock before coming in or don’t come in at certain times of the day. This would make it much easier for you to focus.
7. Build A Talented Team Working from your own home doesn’t have to mean working alone. Just like any other, a home business can become overwhelming if you try to handle it by yourself. When the workload starts to pile up, therefore, you should begin bringing on staff to help you out. Sometimes those employees will work from their own houses, but you might choose to have them come work with you in yours. If you opt for the latter, then you’ll have to set them rules for the rest of your house.
8. Outsource When It’s Needed Hiring employees is not cheap. In fact, it can be incredibly expensive. On top of the salary, you have to offer a competitive benefits package, advertise for the position, and spend time and money interviewing and training candidates. Plus, if an employee chooses to leave, you have to do it all over again. Outsourcing, therefore, might be the best option for your business. This includes many fewer costs but offers the same great service that you want for your company.
9. Network With Other Entrepreneurs Although it may seem like it at times, you’re not the only person running a home business or facing the struggles that come with it. There are thousands of other people who know exactly what you’re going through. These people can provide support, as well as advice with your troubles. They might also be able to help with finding providers, potential clients, and leads. For this reason, you should network with these individuals, either in a formal or informal setting.
10. Move Out The House For many people, working from home is a starting point. In the early days of running your business, money is sure to be tight, so the house is the best office space available if you want to keep overheads low. Once your company starts to grow, however, keeping your business in the home can hold it back. You won’t be able to build your team or client base, as you simply won’t have enough space to do so. It’s at this point that you should consider moving the office outside.
Running a business from home can be tricky, but, with these tips, you should be able to make the task a little smoother.
A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. The greatest purchase many people will make in their lifetime is their personal residence. Instead of buying previously owned homes, some individuals opt to have their homes custom built. The following contributed post is entitled, The Benefits of a Custom-Built Home.
* * *
If you’re looking to move into a new home, you might want to move away from the traditional way of searching the real estate market and instead opt for a custom build. There are many benefits associated with doing that, and it’s something that you should definitely consider. We’re going to talk more about those benefits and why they matter below, so read on to find out more.
You Have More Control Over Where You Want Your Home to Be
When you build your own custom home, you have more control over where you want the home to be. There are plots of land all over the place, so you’ll have lots of options. Sure, you probably can’t build in the middle of a city, but if you’re looking to live out of the city, you’ll have lots of options and control over the process. That’s not as easy when you’re simply buying real estate.
Work Closely with Top Professionals Throughout the Process
You’ll get the chance to turn your vision into reality with the help of some top professionals. They’ll include architects, builders and interior designers. You could turn to Mark Saunders builder, for example, if you’re looking for someone with a good track record on these kinds of projects. These kinds of pros help ensure the outcomes exceed your expectations.
Make it Specific to You
You can make sure that the home you eventually build is specific to you, your family and your specific needs. Everyone is different and everyone uses their home in specific and unique qays. If you want to make sure that your home is specific to you, it’s best to have a home custom built. That’s the only way to have complete control over the layout, size and shape of a home.
The Process Allows You to Learn a Lot and Have a Unique Experience
There’s no doubt about it; building your home is a unique experience and for most people it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience too. You’ll learn a lot about all sorts of things because there’s so much that goes into the process of designing and building a home from the ground up. Sure, there will be stress and problems along the way but that’s all just part of the fun.
Ensure the Right Standards Are Met
People tend to have different expectations of their homes and what they should be able to offer. If you’re going to get the most out of your home, you want it to be finished to the highest standards. When you build your own home, you can make sure all the little things and finishing touches are completed in the way you want them to be.
It might be a huge project to take on, but it could be worth it for you and your family over the long-term. You’ll end up with a home that’s perfect for you and meets the specific needs of your family, so be sure to keep all of this in mind as you decide whether or not this is something you should pursue.
Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business and Entrepreneurship. If operated correctly, a ‘home business’ can be just as lucrative if not more than a traditional business. There are some things you can do to add professionalism to your business. The following contributed post is entitled, Adding Some More Professionalism To Your Home Business.
* * *
It’s something we worry about, as home business operators: Is the business we’re running professional enough? Do the people around us – potential competitors, collaborators, and customers alike – take us seriously enough? Are we even an option for their business in their minds?
And these are all thoughts that come to us naturally enough; because we want to be successful, and we want to pave the way for ourselves. Of course there’s going to be some doubt along the way!
But the key is to not let that kind of doubt overrule you, and to instead take some steps to make sure we are seeing as being legitimate and professional. When you think of your company, home based as it is, do you see any areas of improvement when it comes to your appearance? If so, you’ve got something to work with!
And by that we mean you need to get yourself a new email address, a new phone and phone number, and a whole new list of details for the business you’re running. You’re doing so from home, after all, and that can get quite complicated when you think about it!
You already have an email and a phone number, and you have a bank account that all your personal savings go into, and it’s going to be very hard for you to try and establish a professional point if you continue on using these and these alone. It’s going to be hard to establish your monthly profits, seeing as you’re mixing the money you need for you and the money your company has been making. Thankfully, it’s very easy to open up a new account with the bank, and reroute your payments.
Similarly, you need to have a professional sounding email address for someone to reach you at, that is never used to contact friends and family on social bases. It needs to be representative of your business, and not something you came up with when you were 16 years old that you’ve been using ever since!
Get Yourself a Reception Desk
Your home business isn’t going to have a receptionist sitting at the front door, waiting for people to come in and out for 8 hours of the day. No, you’re just going to have your normal front door, that you’re going to have to answer yourself whenever someone knocks on it!
But that doesn’t help in making sure you look like a professional business that knows what it’s doing. So why not invest in a virtual address instead? If your a home business, most people are going to call you on the phone, or email you, and this way, you’ve got an intermediary to meet and greet the people who come to you. Plus, you don’t have to hire on an employee with wages you might not be able to manage either! You might just get the best of both worlds here.
The original version of this piece looked much different then this published version. After much consideration, I cut it down. I realized that as a storyteller/writer sometimes less is more and more is less.
With a million and one things on my plate right now, I wondered if I’d have time to craft something for Mother’s Day 2019. After creating pieces in 2017 and 2018, I’ve decided to continue the ritual. If you’re a man and thinking about marrying someone and paying for it yourself, you should read my 2017 piece. It may save your life and sanity. The 2018 piece is a tribute to my maternal and paternal grandmothers. In this 2019 piece, I’m going to reflect on the home my mother created for me and my brother early in our lives.
In the process of discussing my upbringing and some of the tools I had to develop after leaving my home ecosystem, I may have sounded unappreciative of my parents which was an unintended effect. Regardless of how ungrateful I may have sounded of my upbringing as a child, I’m actually VERY thankful for it. As I got older, went away to college and started dating, I slowly realized that everyone’s home wasn’t like mine. I can discuss numerous examples, but I’m just highlight a few.
I’d say that Mom masterfully walked the line between “grace and legality” as Dave Ramsey said in one of his Financial Peace University modules. She established discipline and a behavioral standard that lasted all the way through adulthood for both my brother and me. I picked up on this early in the company of my best friend, who either didn’t have as tight a ‘leash’ on him at home, or he just rebelled against it. I hope reflecting on this doesn’t get me in trouble with him. In a way I admired his rebelling at the time, but it had consequences.
Mom always made sure we were well fed and that we ate together. The first time I realized that all homes weren’t like ours was when we spent the night over one of her close friends’ home who also had boys around our age. After a night of playing around and doing what boys do, I woke up the next morning expecting our typical ‘royal’ Saturday morning breakfast. At our house, breakfasts usually consisted of homemade pancakes or waffles, a meat, and scrambled eggs. Instead we had only had cereal that morning. It was better than nothing, but it was different than our home.
Yes, the pancakes were homemade and they were good. Sometimes we had French Toast instead. On Sundays before church we had donuts from “Tops Friendly Markets” instead of the pancakes. Mom also made those breakfasts for us on Wednesdays before we went to school and before she went to work. We had cereal the other four days, hot cereal during the long Buffalo winters.
“You all had privileges growing up that I didn’t have.” A cousin told me this at a family gathering within the last year. I’m going to keep returning to this revelation because in my community, there’s a fixation on ’white privilege’, but there are in fact ‘privileges’ that black families have over other black families, many of which are driven by the personal choices of the parents.
The cousin who told me this is black, and I agree with her assessment. Yes, my mother was college educated and hers wasn’t, but let’s strip it down even further. As kids, this particular cousin annoyed the hell out of me in terms of her behavior, and she always wanted to come over to our house and stay a while. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood the depth of her situation, and that her coming over was good for her.
I’ll just say that our house was safe and there was a lot of love there from my mother and grandmother. There was no cursing (except when my Uncle Poo-Dee came to town), violence, no abuse of any kind, and there were no illegal drugs being used or sold. In general, there was a certain level of peace normalcy there. Without going into detail, my cousin’s house was the exact opposite of ours which is why she always wanted to come spend time with us.
The point I’m trying to make is that my mother made conscious choices to create a safe and love-filled home environment for us. Had I been born to a different mother, my nurturing at home could’ve easily been very, very different. Check out my YouTube video on the concepts ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ if you don’t understand the interplay between these two concepts and how they impact who we become later in life.
I could expound further on some of these things, but I’m going to shift the discussion to the concepts of love and positive affirmation. How important is it for parents to tell their children that they love them? How important is it for parents to tell their children that they’re proud of them? They’re very important. Some kids never hear these two essential words from their parents.
They’re critical as hearing them impacts our socialization and also the adults we go on to become. As I transitioned into adulthood, I discovered that not every one of my peers received positive affirmation at home, and in most instances, it impacted their abilities to give it to others. In my home, we heard these words all the time.
Why would the parents not give their kids positive affirmation? Well maybe those parents didn’t get it themselves. Maybe those parents received it, didn’t appreciate it and didn’t pass it on. In some instances, maybe they endured some life circumstance that beat it out of them so they couldn’t pass it on. As we get older, we do start to see that our parents are people themselves with their own experiences, flaws, shortcomings and vulnerabilities. They have their own scars and have made their own mistakes.
In terms of our upbringing and home, yes, I think both my brother and me did win the ‘lottery’ of sorts in terms of growing where we grew up and growing how we grew up. My Aunt Adele told me several times when I got old enough to understand things that my brother and myself were ‘sheltered’. When she came to town to visit us, she was frequently amused by how my mother seemed to ‘baby’ us in the mornings as we headed off to school.
As a pre-teen and a teen, yes, I did intuitively see that the other kids knew about more mature things than we did early on. Many of them were more ‘street smart’ and there were pieces socially that needed filling when I left our house to go to college. The lack of some of this ‘Consequential Knowledge’ definitely manifested in the dating arena, and that’s all I’ll say. According the great Dr. Thomas Sowell, Consequential Knowledge is knowledge for which there are consequences if you don’t have it.
As a man being raised mostly by a single mother, many of these gaps have taken years to fill, and for some it’s an ongoing process. A part of my personal message now is that single mothers can’t do everything. Many have their hands full just paying the bills and keeping food on the table. They might not be able to come to every basketball game for example. They might support you playing and may make sure you’re nourished enough to go to school and to participate in your sport of interest, but to succeed at the craft, you’ll likely have to find the expertise you need elsewhere, and you might not find it at all. I’m working on a book project on that right now.
“Of my eight children, your mother is my most loving child Anwar.” My grandmother told me this frequently when we talked, and it might be the thing I remember her saying the most. Not taking anything away from my two aunts and five uncles, but I think myself and my brother did win the lottery in this case because we grew up with a lot – not necessarily all the material items that my best friend and other peers had, but a lot of things you can’t buy with money. And those are the most valuable things in life.
I’m more careful these days about discussing the tools I did and didn’t get in my home ecosystem. If I do venture into those waters, I’m sure to do it with an understanding mind as it’s never to demonize anyone. For ourselves and for our community at large, some discussions with my contemporaries and peers need to be had, and interestingly many of us black ‘Generation X-ers’ have common experiences.
We’ve realized that there was some consequential knowledge that we somehow arrived at adulthood without knowing. Wealth-building and relationships are examples, and we’ve still had to line up with everyone else and run life’s ‘marathon’. Our parents, like all parents, could only teach us what they knew, and it’s up to us to make up as much ground as we can in the race using the tools we have.
I’m going to close by saying that I’m thankful and grateful for everything my mother did for us. Everyone’s home is not the same. At the end of day, it’s about being grateful and content about what you do have. What are you grateful for that your mother did for you? Happy Mother’s Day 2019.
Thank you for taking the time out to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:
If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment. To receive all the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site. Please visit my YouTube channel entitled, Big Discussions76. Lastly follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, on Instagram at @anwaryusef76, and at the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.