If you ask any mother, I’m sure she would tell you parenting is one of the hardest jobs she’s ever to endured. The enormous responsibility of keeping another human being safe and raising him or her to be kind, productive citizens can be incredibly daunting. Now, add being Black to that heavy burden.
As a Black mother, I face challenges that my White counterparts won’t have to trudge through. I’ll have to have the conversation about how my daughter should interact with the police probably by the time she’s 10. My husband and I are toiling over which preschool to send her to because diversity matters. We certainly don’t want her to be the ONLY Black student in her class. And, let’s not forget the racial slurs or the classmate who will inevitably tell her that they don’t want to play with her because she’s Black. These, my friends, are the daily thoughts that go through your Black mothers’ minds. While facing our own trauma we try our hardest to shield our babies from the trauma that comes with being Black.
However difficult this journey of Black motherhood is, we do find joy in our parenting and today, I want to write about the joy that is in parenting while Black.
Black Fathers Matter
To start, our community has worked tremendously hard to fight against the narrative that our Black fathers are deadbeats and that they do not take an active interest in their children’s lives. Check out the hashtag #BlackFathersMatter to see the slew of positive images of Black fathers with their kids. It will certainly make you smile.
I am privileged to be married to an amazing Black man who is an even more amazing Black dad. He is an active participant in every decision we make for our daughter and is a daily help in her upbringing. I cannot fathom having to do this alone. This is a revolt against a system that has tried to paint our Black fathers as disengaged and without concern for their children. Black fathers are taking their seat at the table, the parent-teacher conferences, the basketball courts, the dance recitals, and pumpkin patches! They are present, and I am here for it!
Black Village Support
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Black mothers have found that village in each other. Black mom influencers, like Mama Fresh Chi, are building a community of Black mothers who are doing motherhood their own way. You will find so many Black mother groups on all your social media platforms, and life before COVID would bring in-person playdates, workshops, and mommy-only get togethers that have now gone virtual.
The joy in the collective is important in our community. We are in this thing together, and there is joy in knowing my fellow mother in the struggle is also having a hard time feeding her toddler veggies, but also understands how hard it is to find Black TV entertainment for our young kids. Finding another Black mother who gets it is priceless.
As we prepare for my favorite month of the year, Black History Month, Black parents can find joy in our ancestral past. Teaching my daughter about her ancestors has been a highlight of my parenting journey. We love finding children’s books that discuss Black History. Our favorite one is called Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. Each page is the story of a bold, Black woman who has left her mark in history. It’s beautifully written and the illustrations are adorable.
Black people have endured. We have to work twice as hard to just get half of what we deserve. There is a strength in our people that I love sharing with my daughter. She will always know how determined we are and there is joy in our determination!
Being a Black parent is not a curse. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard, it’s really hard, but intentionally finding joy in our journey is liberating. So Black moms and dads . . . CHOOSE JOY! We are fighting the fight of our lives, but our kids deserve joy! Choose it every day, and you will find the beauty in every day.