Howard University Alum and Mompreneur Yandy Smith Writes Children’s Literature Book ‘My Blended Family’
After facing and overcoming numerous challenges of being a ‘super’ parent, HU grad decided to use her platform to create My Blended Family, a book intended to help adults explain the concept of blended families to children.
The entertaining and colorful book includes two stories: Weekend Visit and Birthday Party, where Smith got the inspiration while explaining to her three-year-old son, Omere, why his brother could not attend his birthday party.
“My family is the modern day blended family, and at the time, my son was celebrating his fourth birthday party, and his older brother couldn’t be there, so I said to him, “Mendecees is with his mom”, they had a prior engagement to attend and he responded, ‘with his mom’ and it was just a total shock for him,” Smith said.
Looking at her strangely, Omere said “you’re the mom, what do you mean with his mom, I don’t understand?” Smith found herself trying to put in the simplest form for Omere that his brother has his own mom and why all members of the family may not live or be together at all times.
“Trying to explain that dynamic to a four-year-old was just not an easy thing to do, so that is a portion of where I got my inspiration from to write this book,” Smith said.
Another portion came from Omere attending a school where blended families are not the norm in the community and her never wanting him to feel alone or like something was ‘wrong’ with their family.
The business women explained that she created the book to give her children the opportunity to see people that look like them in a book and also for them to understand that their families dynamic was not something weird or out of the ordinary.
Just as it was not an easy task for Smith, My Blended Family, is a different way for parents to have those difficult conversations with their children in very plain and simple terms that a toddler can understand.
The philanthropist does not want there to be a difference at all between her children, even as far as using the words ‘step-brother and step-sister’, Smith says they prefer not to use those terms.
“Everyone knows what that means and in society that works, but for me, if I accept and love my husband, I accept everything that comes from him and it/they becomes my own, so I rarely use ‘step-child’ I usually just say ‘that’s my child’ or ‘that’s my baby’.”
Speaking of her babies, it is great when your supporters love your work, but when your baby loves it, the feeling is that times a million!
Smith says Omere absolutely adores the book, My Blended Family, and she has to read it to him at least once a week. “It’s like his favorite movie,” she said.
“He reads it all the time, over and over and over again, and although, the children in the book are not necessarily my children, he always points out “mom this is me, this is Lil Mendeecees, this is daddy, this is Skylar, and it’s just a young brown family that’s blended and each time we read it the characters change.” “It’s amazing!”
The love for all of her kids is beyond measure and she doesn’t make a difference between her kids and her husband’s kids, because she see’s them as all her kids.
“My first introduction to being a mom was with his children, so I actually loved him first, although it’s different when you birth a baby, I learned how to be a mom first with his,” she said.
Some of the cons include her wanting to spend time with all of her children, especially now that she’s grown to love the children the way she has. She wants every Christmas with her and each birthday, but she understands that having to split and divide the time is kind of the new “normal”.
“The holidays have not been a hassle, I just dislike when someone has to eventually go home to their mom instead of spending the day with us, so it’s a tug on your emotions sometimes, but never a hassle.”
She says one of her greatest challenges has to be dealing with the different cultures and upbringings when being reared by different parents.
“The different ways that you discipline children, can split a household.” “I always want to make sure that everyone in my house feels included with dinner time, trips, with fun activities and also with discipline,” the CEO Mom said. “It is challenging keeping a healthy discipline regimen when you split the time between once household and the other, being that everyone does not discipline the same and everyone does not agree that the same things/behaviors should be disciplined.”
“I’m not a spanker, I’ve never spanked my own children so, I would never spank anyone else’s children, I never really had to, I always threaten my kids, like don’t make me give you a ‘pow-pow’ or count to three and they straighten up really quickly.”
The reason why she parents this way is because even with her parents she never really got spankings and until this day her mom can give her ‘a look, like Yandy, don’t play yourself’ and she would know to act right, because her mom does not play!
For example, Smith has a four-year-old son, Omere, and a two-year-old daughter, Skylar, and her husband’s son had a cellphone when he was five. She says Omere will not have a phone until he can understand what all comes with a phone and the bill. Smith’s husband’s child’s mother wanted their child to have a phone, which is fine because that is what she feels is best, but there shows some of the small differences in parenting decisions.
She explained her feelings about the importance of respecting what another parent wants.
“I think the parents of the blended families getting along is very important, but as long as there is respect and boundaries, I think it can work,” she said.
“To get along would be great and would be amazing for the children, but that’s not always realistic and I think that as long as there is love for the children first and respect, it can happen, whether you get along or hang out or not.”
With Smith being an only child she did not get to experience a full blended family first-hand, but when her mom and dad got a divorce, her mom began dating a man who had a daughter and they became pretty close.
“I was just so ecstatic to have a sister, but then when my mom and him broke up, it was like I didn’t have a sister anymore, I haven’t unfortunately spoken to her since, so that was challenging because at that time I was about 11-years-old, so that gave me a sense of what a blended family was like.”
The new author also discusses women who make statements like ‘I can’t date men with children’.
“I think it’s a personal feeling,” she said. “I think it takes a huge responsibility mentally, physically and even spiritually to rear someone else’s child and you have to understand who you are and if you feel like you don’t have the capability of doing that, please say it upfront for sure,” she explained.
She went on to say she thinks it’s extremely important to know who you are and what you can do for someone else’s child because children love easy and they love quick.
“Children need attention, love, discipline, they need all of that,” she said. “So, I feel that it’s important to know that you are ready for that, and people that know upfront that that’s just not who they are, then that’s good, stay away, take a different route!
‘My Blended Family’ is available now on AMAZON and on YandySmith.com
UP NEXT FOR YANDY SMITH:
Smith has a book series coming up that will feature topics including bullying, single-parent homes, the loss of a family member, and more subjects that many have challenging times addressing.
She has already began working on the next book that is set to release next fall.
Fortunately, she was able to see a great turnout from her first book, with the last school she visited purchasing nearly 340 signed copies of the book.
Smith has also teamed up with Kandi Burruss to work on a book for working moms. The project titled Babies, Breastfeeding and Boardrooms will tackle the trials and triumphs of being a mompreneur.
CONNECT WITH YANDY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Heddrick and Smith knew each other from elementary school, so here they are thirty years later, he reached out to LaToya Bond because he found out that Smith was writing children’s books and he explained that he was a publisher and he would love to publish one of Smith’s books. LaToya not knowing that he and Smith already knew each other, set it up and they’d spoken on the phone maybe three of four times, but when they met, it was like a reunion because they knew each other from when they were children.
E'Vonne Gipson53 Posts
Follow E'Vonne: Instagram: @forever_evonne Twitter: @EVonneGipson SC: @byevonnegipson E'Vonne Gipson is an award winning journalist from Missouri City, TX. She is a graduate of Grambling State University where she received a B.A. degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism and public relations. Gipson has written for several publications including Sheen Magazine, HBCU Buzz, The Black Beat, The News-Star, The Ruston Daily Leader, JubileeMag.com, and Houston Style Magazine. She is a former business reporting intern at Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, TX and a current social media intern for MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Network. She first began her journalism career writing for her school's newspaper "The Gramblinite". In 2016, Gipson worked with the Web Department at Houston television station, KHOU-11 TV where she gained professional photography and social media skills. Gipson is currently a producer at USA Today Network newspaper, The News-Star in Monroe. She is a member of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.