It sometimes seems hard to believe that people my age are having kids when half the time I hardly feel like an adult. But it’s happening. Us millennials are having kids and raising them on our own terms, taking into consideration the lessons we were taught as kids, of course. To celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s only right to feature some of the young, Black moms who are raising kids in the midst of dealing with all that comes with adulting and being a millennial in this crazy world.
What’s the biggest challenge about being a young, Black mother?
The biggest challenge I think is having the wisdom to raise your kids the best way you can. Making sure you keep them on the right path. Making sure you’re juggling work and home. A lot of black moms HAVE to work. Some work long hours night and day. I am blessed to only work the day shift. But when I’m off, it’s dinner, homework, and getting them ready for the next day. It’s hard but you do what you have to do.
The biggest challenges were raising my children alone as a single mom before marriage. But I managed to do whatever I had to do to provide for them and to make sure they had everything they needed. Another challenge would be making sure each child gets where they needed to be at a certain date and time. For instance, the specialist appointments or dentist visits that falls on the same day as my practical. Being at work getting a call saying your child is sick or the school has an early dismissal due to the inclement weather etc.
Not knowing if I’m doing well enough- will my children live up to their potential – be good citizens, get the same privileges of kids of other races?
The biggest challenge is trying to juggle work, life, personal time and kids. It’s hard when you want to be there 24/7 for your kids and it’s just not possible. Especially if you want to create the best life possible for your little ones. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights and dedication to make it work.
I’d have to say my biggest challenge is finding a balance between work, family time, kids extracurricular activities, time for my husband and me time.
I think the hardest thing about being a young black mother is coupling motherhood with the baseline challenges any minority potentially faces in a workplace. Whether it is something you are taught to believe as a child or something you learn to feel while working- there is this inner push to work twice as hard to prove that you are just as good if not better than those in your workplace. Then you top that with the responsibility of being a mother, and now you struggle to be just as good as you were before parenthood with less time for work, less time to think, and just..less time. And once you get back into the groove of work there is this voice in the back of your mind asking you, “Are you being present AND available for your child? Are you balancing work and motherhood the right way?” A lot of it is just an inner struggle with still excelling in everything the way you used to and fearing you are falling short somewhere. But when it all boils down to the truth/the reality of things- every mom is doing great. Every mom faces some kind of challenge and we can all relate to the fact that being a mother is just.. a challenge. But we are doing great.
What’s the best thing about being a mom?
When you have kids, they expose your strengths and weakness. While some moms will think they’re doing all the teaching. If you actually look at it honestly, your kids will teach you a thing or two. My kids help me to be the women I’m becoming.
The best thing about being a mom is….. hearing “Mommy I love you, you’re the best mom” after a long day at work or school, it just makes my heart melt. It makes you feel very appreciated and loved. I love seeing those exciting faces when either one notices I’m there picking them up from their after school’s or in the carpool line. Having a child with autism has really taught me to appreciate the small things. I love my mommy and me spa or do whatever we want days. Just being able to experience almost everything with them is so rewarding. Everyone always wonders how I’m able take trips, work 2 jobs, in college, married, attend baseball games, their swimming classes, dance, karate, award shows etc…..the answer is I just do. I enjoy being there when I’m able to. When I can’t make it, it makes me feel terrible. But I know they’re in good hands (my husband or parents). The Lord has blessed me with 2 great amazing, smart and understanding children. My daughter is such a big help when I’m not around. Knowing that she’s the youngest but handles and looks after her brother. It makes me feel so good hearing how she is with him or how she reacts if she feels as though someone is trying to mess with hee big brother. Moments like that….😍😍😍😍
The love they give me is so unconditional.
I love those rare moments when my kids do or say amazing things that completely catch me off guard. It shows me that although I think I’m doing the worst job ever my kids are learning and excelling and they think I’m the best mom in the world.
Everything! Seriously, every day I learn something new about my kids and myself. It’s true agape love!
Hugs in the morning. Every day when I wake up and walk to my daughter’s room she is standing in her crib with her arms wide open, ready for a hug. And when I pick her up and tell her she did a great job of sleeping through the night, she nestles her head in my shoulder and pats my back. It makes every day worth it. I’m sure these cuddles won’t last forever- but I guess in the grand scheme of things her appreciating me is the best thing.
What words of advice do you have for young, Black women expecting their first child?
Don’t go into the situation saying “I’m going to be a better mom than my mom.” Trust me you have no clue what Black moms go through; there is no perfect parent. Be a parent first and a friend second. It’s your job to prepare them for the real world. Discipline them while they’re home because trust me you don’t want the streets to do it for you.
^LaSheta J., Georgia, Mother of 2
Though motherhood may bring a few challenges along the way, I see it as gift from God. It’s a wonderful feeling to be apart of God’s many blessings. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. So don’t take it for granted! There are many women who would love to be in your shoes but can’t. Remember, he or she is your responsibility no one else’s. It’s okay to get a break every once in awhile because trust me, you’re going to need it. Sometimes you may have to give up things or you may even lose friendships. Life goes on make mommy friends! Be there for those memorable and unforgettable experiences. Listen to them and actually understand what they’re saying. If your child(ren) decided to give you flowers which are weeds in reality, YOU LOVE THE heck out of that bouquet (lol) because they will remember your reaction (from personal experience). Never discourage them. Always encourage them to do better and make good choices.
Patience… learn or practice it! Your child will absolutely push it!
^Shonda D., Apex, NC, Mother of 2
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Society makes us as black women feel that we have to do it all we have to work hard, support our men, take care of our kids, look our best and always have a smile on our face while doing it. Life is not about that and I am learning each day that you can only do what you can do.
^Shay B., Greensboro, NC, Mother of 2
Do you! Opinions are a dime a dozen. You’ll learn quick as a mom who really has your best interest and the best interest of your child at heart. You’ll learn fast that you don’t want any and everyone around your child. Get to know your baby, love them and be the best version of yourself for them. You will grow with them.
^Nkoyo R., Chicago, IL, Mother of 2
You got this. I cannot count the number of times I just did not know how I could do it- and I did it.