To all my mamas who miss their dearly departed daddies on Father’s Day:
I feel you. You are raising amazing little brown or black boys or a similarly amazing little brown or black girl, and while you do have lots of men in your life, nobody replaces your daddy. No one is stronger, smarter, more protective, funnier, wiser or able to discern how to help you fix your problems more than your pops. At least that’s how it was with mine.
My father was the first man to buy me gold earrings. They were tiny hoops, 24k gold, from Marshall Field’s. I was 14 when I got them on my birthday, and I never knew, until I was much older, that my father gave me jewelry for several reasons. One, so that I would of course be beautifully adorned, but also so that I knew the difference between trash and treasure. The situation of the creepy man on the street, hanging out at my high school and trying to give away cheap gold-plated rings or bracelets to girls in exchange for sex (which really happened, by the way) never happened to me. I didn’t need to trade sexual favors for gold from strangers. My pops gave me jewelry, not a lot of it, but enough to make it clear that I never needed to gold dig – not while I had a mother and a father and an entire extended family happy to help me get whatever I needed (and sometimes wanted) in life.
To grow and deliver a tiny human being is no small feat. The impact of pregnancy on the human body can vary drastically from one person to the next. Some women come out unscathed while others have lasting scars and/or conditions to remind them of their journey to motherhood. In fact many try, to no avail, to conceive spontaneously only to be faced with years of infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss. Some mommies have lovingly adopted children or welcomed bonus babies into their blended families. So, with families nationwide celebrating Mother’s Day today, I wanted to take a look at pregnancy and motherhood from the perspective of a few mom friends.
We don’t get out often, can’t you tell? We’ve been drifting in this thing called motherhood for a while now, some of us longer than others, and we get a little too excited when we get to pop out on the town. Why? Because of life, kids, motherhood…did I mention life? Getting in a quick date during the week after a long day of work can be a great way to break up the monotony. Weekends are even better! But rest assured, when we do get out we have a ball! And this is why moms should date their mommy friends.
It is not seemly to talk about sex. And I’m not trying to be unseemly. I also don’t want to scare anyone who is pregnant or in labor right now because you probably won’t wind up with a third degree tear like I did. At least, I hope you don’t.
Okay, this is a sweet little note for the fellas because I think you all need a little tweaking in this area. Now look, don’t be mad at me…I’m just the messenger! But every year, Mother’s Day rolls around and I listen to my mom friends whine and vent, totally bummed about not really getting what they wanted for Mother’s Day. And I think the main reason is that many of you men totally miss the mark on this one. Perhaps this isn’t your fault, you really do try to make a special day and for that moms are eternally grateful! But, what if I told you there was something else moms wanted more than anything…. something that may have never occurred to you?
As I watch my children grow, I often daydream about the life I want them to lead and think of ways I can prepare and expose them for what is to come. I won’t always be able to block them from negativity and I cannot promise everything will always go their way. But I will give them the tools to succeed and wish for the best.
I put my 18-month-old son in a traditional pre-school and he came home crying daily. The school also sent home reports –written in red ink– stating that he wouldn’t sit still at his desk and that he was “clumsy” and kept falling down during the five block walk to the park. He didn’t stay long at that expensive preschool.
427,910. The number of U.S. children currently in foster care. Do you know that more than half of those children are people of color? It’s real. It’s shocking. And it’s heartbreaking. The thought of so many innocent children drifting in this world without a safe place to call home is devastating. The feeling is so palpable that I felt compelled to do something about it. There is no doubt in my mind that I was destined to be a foster parent and do my small part in tackling this massive epidemic. I decided to venture into this world of compassion, service, joy and sometimes heartbreak and it’s worth every moment of my time.
Do you want to show your children how to love their African heritage? Part of providing a strong foundation for your child’s healthy self-image is teaching them about their origin and history. Today, African American children can turn on their TV, go to a toy store, or even visit Disneyland and find very few images of themselves in all of the fun and creation before them. I continue to experience difficulty finding toys, characters on t-shirts, even books at our local stores that depict images of brown people. I find even fewer that showcase brown boys. It is imperative that we continue to expose our children to positive images because it shapes how they view themselves in the world.
Many adults recite this statement and it grinds my gears. My response? “I’m sorry, ma’am/sir, but you’re confused.” What if I told you that pretending to be colorblind is a subtle form of racism? Let’s dig in.
We have been dodging and weaving negative stereotypes since the beginning of time. America loves portraying us in a negative light and we are so over it. Our narrative reads that Black moms are angry. Uneducated. Won’t work. Can’t find a man. And the men that we do hook up with are dead-beat dads. Call it what you want: lies, untruths, #alternativefacts, but it’s simply all hogwash…skewed perceptions of who we are and what we represent. Basically, Black moms stay chained to America’s whipping post, expected to stand still and accept a public lashing for the state of our communities, poverty, and greater society.
Okay, yall, it’s TRANSPARENCY TIME. Something that has really bothered me for a LONG time is this idea of the “Name it, Claim it” philosophy… Though it can be used as a way to be positive, I see it to be more harmful setting up a false ideal of God’s will for your life.
ABWS. But it’s a complete farce, an absurdity, a diagnosis that doesn’t exist. I’m not mean. Or angry. Nor do I have a terminally chronic attitude. In fact, usually when I’m accused of looking mean, for a brief moment my pleasant face actually does twist into an unflattering ball of confusion as I process the question. Here I am floating down life. Blessed, highly favored, on cloud 9, feeling myself, and then out of left field, someone hits me with the “mean” accusation. A total vibe-killer. My natural high hijacked by some stranger with a sudden concern for my mental stability.
I thought I was done with breastfeeding. No milk had come out for two weeks, and baby boy was two years old and on solids. YAY! My BFF had also gotten engaged and we were all packed and ready to head to Puerto Rico for a long weekend of celebration.