All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
What presumably started out as an innocent rally of parental encouragement, known as “The Motherhood Challenge” via Facebook, now has plenty of the social media sites users up in arms. Just as quickly as sweet and endearing photosets of women and their children began to take over newsfeeds, just as many of “The Non Motherhood Challenge” photosets began to appear. Everett, a writer for The Guardian, makes note that the challenge is innately flawed in that it is labeled a challenge at all.
“The most offensive aspect of this is the idea that it’s a “challenge” at all. A challenge is coping with grief when you wish you were dead, or pushing your mind and body to the limit in a feat of superhuman endurance. It’s not posting a few snaps of your toddler and waiting for your friends to type “aw gorgeous hun xxx” underneath”
Everett, and many other critics of the mommy trend highlight that these kinds of social media call to arms often do more damage than good glorifying carefully curated reels of one’s life, that leave posters feeling overly proud, and onlookers overly envious.
Historically, as a woman, being a mother has been donned the ultimate achievement one could ever really accomplish. Like, what’s being a self-made CEO, law firm partner or owner of a five star restaurant if you do not also carry the title of wife, and mother? There has been this fundamentally patriarchal notion that a woman cannot possibly be happy single, and childless, and “The Motherhood Challenge” played right into society’s insecurities. However, rather than seeing another woman’s kudos as a snub to your choices and accomplishments, let’s let the woman of the hour have her moment.
In the same voice #AllLivesMatter protesters fiercely shout at #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators, non mothers wanted to be included in a space that was not meant for them. Yes, all lives matter, but we are talking about Black lives at the moment.
Yes, not having children is awesome, and a perfectly acceptable choice for any woman, but we are chest bumping mom’s right now.
I would imagine that if one were truly happy with themselves, and their lives, they would feel no compulsion to divert the audience’s attention to themselves. Being pro-motherhood is never a snub on another woman, merely a tip of the hat to an unseen journey, or challenge, if you will.
Motherhood is more than cute pictures of children adorned in their meals and laughing pictures at the park. Motherhood is tears of frustration, depression, looming anxiety of inadequacy, and years of going unrecognized for sacrifices and innumerable amounts of patience. Why shouldn’t we give a shout-out to ourselves and others for what at times may seem to be the treacherous task of parenting?
Here’s to all the moms who participated in The Motherhood Challenge, and those that didn’t. To the mothers of one, 8, or even more children, by birth or other means. To moms with children of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, you are GREAT, you are ENOUGH.
More than ten years ago, when a home pregnancy test schooled me to the direction of my next life chapter, I made a few promises to myself and my unborn. First, I would always have her back. Always. Second, we would build our own special relationship — there was a bit of a generational and cultural gap with my own parents and I’d always felt like I wanted to avoid those with my kids. And lastly, she would forever be fresh, as long as her manners and grades were in order. She came along and I’ve kept my promises — to an extent.
My oldest daughter is smart, beautiful and a pleasure to be around. Her teachers leave that last one as a comment on her report card every single year. Speaking of report cards, not a semester passes without that one on the honor roll. I’m beyond proud of her but I say all that to say this:
Regardless of the floor plans of stores at the mall, I will not be putting my 10-year-old in crop top tees. Absolutely not.
I mean, as the mother, even a young mother, you have to draw the line somewhere. My daughter is tall for her age. She’s slim with long legs and a stomach that pokes out in the cutest way only after eating dinner. So it’s not that she couldn’t pull a crop top off…but is it appropriate?
As previously stated, I’ve taken pride in keeping her presentable since birth without putting her in hokey outfits with obnoxious amounts of glitter and frills. Never will she wear a tee that says, ‘I’m too pretty for math homework’ or a crop top that reads ‘I’m the lead singer.’ No, those grades and her mild-mannered behavior deserve crisp, smart, classic (and sometimes funky) wears and dope sneakers that fit her age group but still keep her looking good. It’s a task I take pride in — buying her clothes. And I recognize the blessing. We don’t spend a ton, but we do look for deals that make sense.
As my stomach grew bigger back in 2005, her dad and I would revisit memories of our own time in elementary school — his in Atlanta and my own in NYC. The things that stuck out about certain kids was universal. Spoiled kids were bullies. They tended to be rude to adults and failing every class but got by on their looks. Dumb as rocks, but fresh to death.
Then there were the kids at the opposite end of the spectrum, in old, worn-out sneakers and ill-fitting clothes that were clear knockoffs of the brands that were ‘in.’ Those kids were either really smart and unconcerned with fashion anyway, or really smart but lacking self-esteem, so you’d never know of their brilliance — ‘Maybe if I don’t draw attention to myself today, no one will make fun of my shoes.’ It’s a sad situation, either way. So he and I made a pact after talking — she’ll be able to focus on her work while at school, not what she has on.
And of course, as with anything, that plan can go either way. Sometimes, the fly kid in class will be so caught up in their wardrobe, they’ll forget about their classwork. We had something for that too: Nothing fly until the grades/behavior improves. So far, it’s worked for us. She’s never even made us have to apply that ‘punishment.’ Our girl is just now understanding what labels are and that’s only because of what her classmates tell her. Her grades are still amazing, so on and so forth.
But here’s the issue at the heart of things currently.
I don’t want to stagnate my daughter. That’s a real fear for me. I don’t want to baby her beyond her age. The day she turned 10, I hugged and kissed on her every half-hour. That weekend, at her birthday party, I loved on her even more — in full view of her friends. Then her dad and I sat and stared at each other, breaking the silence once every few minutes with, ‘Can’t believe she’s already 10. What the hell man…?’
I know that fashion changes with every generation, I get that. But sometimes, it feels like my favorite new stores for my budding tween, they’re all making me move too fast. I’m not ready. I’m not prepared for my first baby to be in stylish jogging pants and tees with snooty quotes. And crop tops. I can’t deal. It’s not that I don’t want her to grow up, but maybe, just maybe she could stay right here for just a little while longer in a full-length tee.
Is your daughter wanting to dress like a teen?
These black mommy bloggers are pretty awesome. They cover everything from motherhood to personal finance to breastfeeding activism to style just for moms. We love their unique spin, voices and points-of-view. Moms take note and dig in.
All images courtesy of featured blogs.
If you want lots of laughs, love and kiddie stuff dig into married Atlanta couple Lamar and Ronnie Tyler ‘s blog Blackandmarriedwithkids.com where they share their experiences parenting four children on their.They launched the blog to promote positive images of a black nuclear family and it has been successful growing with a staff of 10 and continuing to focus on family-oriented issues that also includes relationship advice.
If you’re on social media like we are, then you’ve probably seen this stunning trio in the past week.
Ever since Kaylan Mahomes posted a selfie with her twin sister, Kyla, and their mother, on January 28, the Internet has gone crazy trying to guess which lovely lady is the mom. The photo has been retweeted more than 18,000 times and received more than 29,000 likes.
With their stunning features, no-makeup fresh glow, and bone-straight hairstyles, the mother and daughters look like triplets.
Want to know which is which?
If you’re still struggling as to which one is the mother, the answer lies in the Indianapolis high schooler’s caption, “Mom, twin and me.” Mom is on the far left and the twin girls are on the right. (How we figured it out initially? The twins are dressed alike)
Now, the ladies are sharing more Instagram photos to their audience of over 17,000 followers!
Thousands of like, retweets and shares later, Kyla, Kaylan and mom uploaded another gorgeous shot with the caption: “Have you figured out who the mom is yet? lol.”
Seriously, Mommynoire audience, how many of us need a little of what mama is having?!
As a mom, you will develop your own belief system and collaborate with other like-minded moms; hence, creating your own “Mother Hood” mommy gang. There’s the baby carrying moms, breastfeeding moms, formula feeding moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, same-sex moms, mister moms, by-the-book moms, and go-with-the-flow moms.
In my six months of mothering, I’ve learned that there is a great divide amongst moms when it comes to raising their children. Motherhood (or “Mother Hood”) is indeed a gang, or sorority, that involves hazing, initiation, paying dues, and fighting for your beliefs and philosophy.
Let’s face it, when you become a mom, you become a member of “mother hood,” and consciously or subconsciously choose a mommy gang that matches your personal mothering/parenting beliefs and philosophies. It’s inevitable.
Breastfeeding Moms – Moms who choose to feed their child breast milk. These mothers believe “the breast is best” and are committed to sacrificing their lives/freedom for their child’s feedings, as breastfeeding is time-consuming and can, at times, be limiting in lifestyle. Consequently, these moms portray superheroes because it’s not necessarily an easy task, yet it’s the most rewarding for both the baby and mother.
Formula Feeding Moms – Moms who choose to feed their child formula. I had a new mommy friend once tell me, “Girl, I feel like a horrible mom, but I so need my life back. I’m starting her on formula tomorrow. It’s just more convenient for me. I was formula-fed and I turned out fine.” I’ve heard of moms beating themselves up for not breastfeeding.
Stay-at-Home Moms – Moms who stay-at home with their child. With the ridiculous price of childcare, more and more moms are making this decision to stay home to care for their child. Don’t be fooled though. Staying at home is indeed a job. I was a stay-at-home mom for four months and I’ll admit, these moms don’t get enough credit, as they are in fact, the homecare provider as well as their child’s first teacher.
Working Moms – Moms who work outside of the home. These moms have chosen to work outside of the home, balancing conference calls and motherly duties. There’s always been friendly competition between stay-at-home moms and working moms – who’s the better mom. Personally, I’ve always said I wanted to be my child’s first teacher, yet never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom long-term. I’ve voiced several times to my girls, “Look! I didn’t get two degrees with Sallie Mae’s help, just to be a stay-at-home mom.”
Same-Sex (Homosexual) Dad/ Moms – Moms who are in same-sex relationships. These days, we live in a new world, different than our grandparents. With that, family dynamics look differently than it did before. It isn’t uncommon for a child to live in dual-mom or dual-dad households.
Mister Moms – Moms who just so happen to be men. They are raising their child singularly, or have chosen to stay at home with the child, while their female counterpart works and/or pursues her education. These men aren’t afraid to braid hair, host make-believe tea parties, or strap on the Boba baby sling to run errands.
Baby Carrier Moms – Moms who carry or wear their babies. These moms believe in convenience, but also are aware of the benefits of a baby sling or carrier. Research has found that wearing your child encourages physical development and stimulates bonding between the mother and child.
By-the-Book Moms – Moms who live by the book literally read lots and lots to learn how this mama gig works. They know the stats and the research behind the numbers. They’ve read parenting books and downloaded mommy apps on their phone. They’d like to consider themselves as well-informed and prepared for the unknown, if at all possible.
Go-With-the-Flow Moms – Moms who don’t operate by planners and books. They are more free-spirited and intuitive. There’s no milestone markers or bed times scheduled. Instead, they’re likely to enroll in mommy and baby yoga sessions or swim lessons with their child.
The funny thing is I find pieces of myself in several of these gangs. Since becoming a mom, I’ve pretty much done what makes the most sense for my family. Early on, I chose to breastfeed because I believed (and still do) that “breast is best.”
Despite the difficult start, I was determined to achieve it for a year (so far we’re in our sixth month). Additionally, I alternate occasionally with formula for additional weight gain. However, I plan to raise my child pescetarian/vegetarian, which is based on my own food philosophy. I’m also a baby wearer, and you’ll most likely see my son strapped on to me at the hip when out and about. Regarding my professional philosophy and fulfillment, it’s important for me to work outside of the home. Although, I do admire those who have the option/luxury/desire to stay-at-home. And as a new mom, I’ve read my share of books and websites on mommyhood and parenting, and have yet to master a reasonable bed time for my household. Maybe I’ll get better at it with time or maybe routine just won’t work for us. And contrary to my desire for a set bedtime, the intuitive side of me has already enrolled my boy in infant swimming lessons, and looking forward to Mommy and Me yoga sessions at 12 months.
You see, regardless of the gang you belong to, it all boils down to preference. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there’s no book that tells you the only right way to mother your child. But that’s probably what makes being a mother so sweet. Ultimately, what we all want for our kids is health, safety, and happiness. How we manage to achieve this is totally up to us.
Can you think of any other mommy gangs of “Mother Hood?” Which gang can you most relate to?
Last week modelpreneur Tyra Banks announced that she and her Norwegian boyfriend welcomed a baby via surrogate. For those of us who caught wind of her fertility issues it was exciting news. And right after wanting to know the baby’s sex – it’s a boy – comes the name. What did they name their celebaby?
York Banks Asla.
York BANKS Asla.
Banks is all I hear. Some names aren’t very tuckable, especially when they represent a woman who is worth an estimated $90 million, who became a supermodel in her teens and a successful entrepreneur not long after. Banks spells money and power, so when you name a baby that all other names disappear.
Welcome to the world Baby Banks!
So it makes you wonder how her man feels about that. Is he cool sharing his son’s last name with Tyra who is so clearly dominating the name game? It’s not very traditional considering a kid usually gets the dad’s last name (alone) if the couple is happily together like Tyra and her man.
I bring it up to one of my male friends to see if I’m making something out of nothing, and he’s convinced that her dude ain’t happy.
“Look, it’s about money and power. Tyra is going to get what she wants because the more money you have in a relationship the more demands you gonna make. It’s her man, her baby, her money, her agenda. You either roll with it or you don’t,” he says.
“Personally, as head of the family my kids will get my name alone. It’s just right because if there’s danger behind that door over there, I’ll be quickly reminded by my wife that I’m the man and I have to go check it out. Call it traditional or old fashioned, I don’t care.”
Okay, so there are still guys out there who care about the baby’s last name. I guess it all comes down to what you’re willing to trade. I think about Stedman who has been with Oprah over 20 years, they were engaged in 1992, but never married. She’s the one who goes around talking about how she doesn’t believe in marriage while Stedman is eerily quiet. I don’t think he’s the reason they aren’t married.
I mean, what man wouldn’t wanna wife Oprah? Even Dave Chappelle put a ring on it in one of his most hilarious Chappelle’s Show sketches. But hey, it’s the price you pay to be with Oprah. You can’t deny that the perks are good. What, are you going to give her an ultimatum?
But it’s not just celebs willing to trade. It’s the regular Joe Schmo, too. How much do you want to please the woman you’re with? I was reading about a case where a Korean woman was married to an American man and when they had kids she gave them her Korean last name to connect them to their roots. Now dad was supposedly happy to oblige, but it’s complicated. Dude has to get a notarized letter whenever he flies alone with his kids because airlines don’t know who the heck he is. The kids look Korean and they have a different last name. Did he kidnap them?
Okay, so getting back to my King Of His Castle friend and Ms. Tyra Banks, I have one last question…
“If given the opportunity to be with Tyra would you share the kid’s last name?
Deandra Coleman, CEO of Modern Mommas In Business, is a renaissance single mom, with a flair for event planning (her former bosses are Oprah’s party planner, Preston Bailey and former co-owner of BET, Sheila Johnson). Her lifestyle company empowers moms to press #RESET while redefining their purpose, post-motherhood. “My passion is to provide solutions for moms who want to have it all. I provide a sacred place for moms who need a break and give them the tools, confidence and avenues to get to where they want to be,” says Coleman.
Her signature services through her What Momma Needs brand include: “Momma Needs A Cocktail,” “Momma Needs A Makeover” and “Momma Needs A Vacation.”
It’s time to power up, sit back, channel our pre-momma “S” and tap into that feeling of putting yourself first. We spoke with Deandra about the importance of redefining motherhood, remixing setbacks and ultimately pressing #RESET to get courageous.
How would you define the pre-momma stage?
DC: The pre-momma stage is a term that I lovingly use to refer to the woman you were before you had kids. This is the woman who was carefree, traveled, shopped without care, made sure her hair was always done, nails were painted, wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of yoga pants unless she was actually doing yoga and never forgot to put on a bra. This woman was career focused, worldly and didn’t have to consider anyone but herself. Let’s face it, she may have been a bit self -centered and self-indulgent but she had dreams as to where she wanted to go in life and how she was going to get there.
What are some of the programs you offer?
DC: What Momma Needs empowers moms to start living out their dreams unapologetically. At times, as a mom, I’ve felt judged, isolated and misunderstood. My signature offering to clients is success and business coaching, whether in a personal, one-on-one package or in a group setting. I encourage moms to focus on the woman she wants to be post-delivery. Mothers must refill their cup, shift their way of thinking in order to take action to start building the life and/or business they’ve has always wanted.
What do you think a mom needs?
DC: Momma needs a break, and on occasion, a cocktail! But seriously, moms need to learn the art of saying “no.” At What Momma Needs, we don’t believe in being around your kids 24/7. We must train our family and loved ones that momma needs a timeout occasionally. We need to replenish our soul, to nurture our passion and reconnect with who we are at the core.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
DC: My biggest challenge to date has been accepting and learning from my thoughts – negative and positive. I had to really work on myself and learn the power of positive thinking. Once I was able to realize that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react, my life started to change for the better. My journey has been challenging. I had no help – physical and financial – from my son’s father for much of his young life. Not to mention, a steady income and had to rely on public assistance. Although these stories are common among single moms, it was really hard for me to accept them.
How did you press RESET?
DC: What I’ve learned is that if you can’t change your mind and your thinking, then you can never change your life. “I think therefore I am” said by the French philosopher Descartes never rang truer in my life.
I thought I was a failure, I thought I was never going to be able to change my circumstances and that is exactly the life I led for quite a few years. When I finally got fed up with my life and who I had become, I realized that it had to start with changing my mind. Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This is now my new normal. The extraordinary life I conceive in my mind is exactly what I am achieving on a daily basis now.
I learned to become non-negotiable. Happiness is now a non-negotiable. Daily abundance meditation and affirmations is now a non-negotiable.
Proudest moment to date and how did you celebrate?
DC: Living and exceeding my potential through positivity. I started working on my mindset, getting clear on my goals, non-negotiable and started my company, What Momma Needs. Five years later, after sitting in a homeless shelter, I am building my first dream home, raising a respectful, witty and all around great little boy. This is my proudest moment to date. For a long time I didn’t know when or if I was going to be able to dig myself out of that hole and give my son some stability. When I close on my house later this year, I plan on celebrating with a housewarming for all of the people who have supported me over the past six years.
What can moms do to press #RESET?
DC: Step 1: Remember the life you had pre-children. Step 2: Write down your feelings – past and present tense. Step 3: Accept the challenges and create a plan to rewrite your dreams to win as a woman, mom, lover and expert. Step 4: Stop with the excuses and mental blocks. Do something exclusively for you as a woman and not a mom. Step 5: Repeat as often as needed.
Karen Taylor Bass, an award-winning, PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing, public relations and strategic coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.
They say never say never but there are just some things I cannot and will not do. But let’s face it – in life there’s always something we won’t do. So mommyhood is no different. So there’s nothing wrong with having some non-negotiables. As a mom, you’re in a new league of high regard and expectation, and I intend to carry the title well. And trust me – I’ve given this list a lot of thought, and it’s all out of respect for my son and my own desire to keep life simple without the extra chaos.
So here’s my list of things I’ll never do as a mom:
- Breastfeed past 12 months. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting down the days that my boobs return to me (They’ve been my son’s for the past 11 months). I’m so ready to get my body (and boobs) back. Don’t get me wrong, a nursing mom and her child share a special bond and I’m forever grateful for it but let’s be honest – your body changes. So my goal was always to nurse for a year, and nothing more. Besides, doctors agree that there’s no true benefit to breastfeeding past a year. And I won’t EVEN mention the fact that my son has two teeth with two more on the way.
- Use baby talk. In my household, there’s no use of “baba” or “binkie.” Honestly, hearing baby talk makes me cringe. It’s so unnecessary.
- Dress my son in any outfits with monkeys. Call me an extremist when it comes to being Pro-Black, but I cringe when I see little Black babies wearing clothes with monkeys in the same way I cringe when I see Black men shine shoes at the airport. It bothers me.
- Tell my son to stop crying. Adults do this – tell kids not to cry – not realizing the damage their potentially causing. I’m a strong believer in the power of words. So if you tell a child enough times to disregard his/her emotional expression, his/her emotional issue will eventually become psychological, which will ultimately impact his adulthood, stunting his/her emotional growth.
- Deem him as “bad” when he gets rambunctious. Again, it’s all in the power of words. So I’m not a fan of the “B-word.” Kids will be kids. Speak light into them.
- Allow him to be pushed in a stroller past age three. C’mon, let’s be real. This has more to do with the parent, and less to do with the child who doesn’t want to walk.
- Put him on a leash, literally or figuratively. “The Leash” is all about boundaries, or the lack thereof. So apparently, the literal device was intended for parents to keep an eye (and hold) on their child in public places. For me the device is just as irrelevant as “time out” – just not my thing. Besides, it looks really weird (and humiliating for the child). Figuratively, I will not put him on a leash. Instead, I’ll encourage boundless possibilities. I want him to be his own person, and create his own norm. Everything else is already taken, and boring.
- Avoid the sex talk. It’s one of those things I’ll just have to do. The day I have the talk with him will be the day that confirms my baby is growing up. There will be more than one “talk” and more than “one day,” but he’ll know it’s all coming from a trusted place.
- Wear a scarf/bonnet or pajamas to his school. I represent him as he represents me. We will not go out like that. Ever.
- Give money for every A he gets on his report card. I never grew up like that. Despite graduating with honors (and on honor roll as a child), my parents never gave money for A’s as reimbursement. Their logic: You go to school to get good grades. Why “pay” you for something you’re already expected to do? This logic also applied to chores. Their response was why pay you to do certain tasks in the house when you should want to live in a clean, well-kept home. Granted, I was indirectly rewarded in other ways, yet monetary was never the expectation.
- Let his girlfriend spend the night. Seriously! Do I really need to explain this one?! Trust – I will be/am one cool mama, but I’ll never be that cool. I will always be his mother first, and friend second. And because of that, he’ll know better and won’t even dare ask.
- Let a day pass without telling, and showing, him that I love him. May he never doubt my love for him.
Ever been curious about what’s going on in there? You know that the little ones love to move around (you can see it too!) and get their kick on. But they do a lot more than “kick” back and relax, waiting for you to pop them out. They’re quite active. They figure out what foods they like and don’t like early on, learn how to make faces, learn languages, freak out when you do, listen to the music you do (yes, the little ones jam out) and a whole lot more. They’re more advanced in the womb than you think. With that being said, get ready to be blown away by these surprising things babies do in the womb.
They Taste What You Eat
By 20 weeks, babies can “taste” what you eat through the amniotic fluid. And they have a sweet tooth! Babies swallow twice as fast after you eat something sweet and slower when you eat something sour.
I’ve dreamed of becoming a mother for as long as I can remember. Since childhood, I’ve known that I desired to become a mom and wife someday. However, it wasn’t until my 25th birthday several months ago that I realized how truly terrified I am by the thought of being someone’s mother. I can’t really put my finger on what changed. Perhaps, in the past, I was just too young and dumb to be afraid. But the closer I get to this dream becoming a reality, the realer it gets and the more nervous I get. I tend to think about it the most while I’m preparing dinner in the evenings after work or rushing out of the house like a crazy person in the mornings.
“How would I fit a baby into this schedule?” I’ll ask myself.
While I’m sure the answer is that I’ll make time, this doesn’t stop this heavy question from constantly hanging over my head. And then, there’s the dependency thing. My mom is my everything and the thought of anyone depending on me as much as I depend on her—even as an adult—can be very overwhelming at times. It’s such a huge commitment. I don’t know how she does it now, and I definitely don’t know how she did it when my brother and I were small. Like many of the other moms I know, she makes it look so easy.
Another primary concern is whether or not I’ll be terrible at it. I tend to encounter these thoughts the most when I’m procrastinating on doing things I know that I should be doing like washing the dog or occasionally forgetting to fill her water bowl. I once went as far as to ask my boyfriend at the time if he thought I would be as lazy or forgetful when my children get here. Will I screw up my kids? Having one child of his own already, he laughed at my question and told me that it doesn’t work like that. Other parents also seem to have similar reactions to questions like these. Clearly, they all know something that clueless, childless folks like myself don’t.
Don’t get me wrong; I’d still love to become a parent someday. Thankfully, I have some time to sort out these thoughts and feelings. Anyone else feeling intimidated by parenthood?