Before having children, when I was working in the corporate world, everyday I would make a list of my tasks and check them off as they were completed to help myself stay on track. I felt accomplished as I did this because I was getting things done. Sometimes, I would even receive an accolade; but, in motherhood, it doesn’t work like that. Some days are a STRUGGLE and the task list is never ending. Maybe, there’s a mountain of laundry to do, fold, and put away, and the little ones won’t stop fussing, and you’re witnessing tantrum #1201 of the day, and you feel wiped out from repeating yourself for the billionth time and you’re just about ready for bed, but it’s not even dinner time and there’s still dinner to be made AND the bedtime routine to get through. With all that to deal with and more, it can be hard to find things to celebrate; or so I thought.
Completing those domestic tasks doesn’t qualify your motherhood — it doesn’t define you as a mother. Yes, they need to be done, but that is more about self sufficiency (because everyone needs clean clothes and to eat) and less about the type of mother you are (often framed as good mom / bad mom). Shifting into this mindset has helped me embrace the challenges that present themselves because motherhood is one of the most important callings I could, and will probably ever, undertake in my lifetime. Motherhood is a lifelong journey, which is why it is important to celebrate the small daily wins. It is essential to our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical bodies that we create pockets of joy, and that we acknowledge and celebrate the growth, the mess, the mistakes, and the hardships; otherwise, the experience will consume you. Life is challenging. Motherhood is challenging. Black motherhood is in a completely different ball park. As Black moms, there are a plethora of obstacles that we face on a daily basis, ones designed to throw us and keep us off course.
Before I had children, I always said that I would raise them to be upstanding citizens who left an indelible footprint on this planet. Now that I’m a mother, some days, I’m just grateful to make it to the end of the day. And guess what? On those days, I celebrate making it through another day! Motherhood doesn’t come with a playbook and this journey has been one filled with tears, fears, lessons, setbacks, and more. Along this journey, I have had to unlearn (I’m still unlearning) and relearn things in order to be a mother on my own terms so that I can raise free, happy, self-aware, compassionate, and healthy children. In reflecting upon previous generations and being grateful for the opportunities and choices that I have that they weren’t afforded; I celebrate the progress.
To me, celebrating Black motherhood is acknowledging the past, parenting in the present, and creating opportunities for future generations to flourish. It means standing upon the shoulders of my ancestors and honoring the legacy of those that mothered before me because I didn’t enter my motherhood journey starting from ground zero. The way that I mother has been informed by the way my mom mothered me, which was passed down from how my grandma mothered her; the good, the bad, and the ugly. The beauty in being in this position is that I get to decide which teachings I will pass on to my children and which ones I will release.
Celebrating Black motherhood to me is paying homage to the collective of Black moms everywhere; past, present, and future. You are loved, you are seen, you are felt, you are celebrated.
Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Certified Transformational Coach | Wholesome Mind Health Coaching