Updated: May 11, 2020
Motherhood can be so rewarding, but also so incredibly lonely. The comparison trap will isolate you and leave you wondering if you are doing it right, if your kids are going to make it and why anyone let you leave the hospital with a little human. It's easy to think that there's a secret society of perfect mamas that exists that we haven't gotten invited to, but the truth is for a lot of us, we are all bumping our heads along the way trying to figure it out.
When I first became a mother, the learning curve was steep. Growing up in foster care without a mom, didn't make that any easier. Although my needs were met, I realized that I was never mothered. I didn't get the nurture and care I needed that would make it easy for me to model after someone for my own maternal instincts, so when it was time for me to step into my own motherhood, the shoes were WAY to big.
I had to learn to become a mother.
Every day I had to put those oversized shoes on and make them fit until one day I could walk and not trip over my own feet. Looking around, watching other mamas I admired, some mentors, some friends, some family members, helped me see the kind of mother I wanted to be. I would borrow from their experience, take the meat that made sense for my table and throw out the bones that didn't. I would listen to and interview kids who loved and adored their parents and ask what made them admire them so, and then I would adopt those ideas and principles into my own mothering style.
It takes a village.
They say, to raise children, but I am willing to argue it takes that same village to birth a strong and confident mama. That it requires us coming together as women and encouraging, building together and gleaning from one another on this journey we call "motherhood."
"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child." - Sophia Loren
I recently got the opportunity to connect with a few mamas I respect and admire in prep for this blog post. Some of which I have known for years and years, while others I have just encountered recently, but the one thing that they have in common is that they are phenomenal, real, authentic mothers who are raising real children and doing it with class and grace. When I compiled a list of mamas I admired, it was long, but each of the women featured in this blog came to mind for the way they commit to not only raising brilliant children, but also the way they serve their community, follow their dreams and keep it real along the way.
I hope that their answers to my questions provide both insight, encouragement and inspiration for your own motherhood journey.
Practical Advice For The Every Day Mom
I took the time to ask each of these mamas some of their best advice about motherhood, questions I had for them and things I am sure as mamas are always sitting at the depths of our heart. As I read their responses, I let out the biggest sigh of relief to know that I am right on track and the things I have learned about motherhood are exactly "right." I hope as you read their answers you will find a little bit of yourself in each of their responses.
Define "motherhood" in your own words?
To become a mother truly is a conscious decision to watch your heart grow outside of your body. It challenges you, changes you, grows you, and molds you. It brings self-introspection, requires intentionality, and XX accountability. Motherhood is a commitment that doesn't require you to be the best, but to give your best. It is a selflessly giving, constantly evolving, and endless act of love. - Shay
Motherhood, in my opinion, cannot be defined. It can only be described. For me, it’s the wildest, craziest, most rewarding, challenging, most beautiful job I have ever had to do. One that I won’t be able to actually know if I’ve done my job correctly for many years to come. Hopefully, I’ll look back and pat myself on the back for giving it my all :) - Melinda
When I entered into Motherhood, I put in a request for the “Motherhood Manual,” only to find out that there wasn’t one. I quickly realized that I would have to create my own unique recipe of Motherhood, which meant that I would have to add a cup of my Mother and Grandmother’s teachings, blended with instilling my culture and pride into my children so that they could establish a strong sense of self and feel empowered by the legacy and resilience of their African ancestry. I would sprinkle a little of this, add a dash of that and make the main ingredient love! Love would conquer everything! - Tracy
I met Tracy through her teenage daughter, Trinity who I found on Instagram. Meeting and getting to know Trinity (a brilliant entrepreneur and owner of Black Vibe Tribe), listening to her vision and dreams made me want to know who her mother was. When you meet a young person as well-spoken, driven and smart as her, you want to know the stock she comes from. Tracy is an incredible mother, who has raised self-assured, cultured, and incredibly talented kids. She is committed to supporting her children in any way she can and has rooted them in a way that I admire and aspire for. Tracy is one of the most brilliant mothers I have watched and if I raise children half as amazing as hers, I will feel successful.
Connect with Tracy
Being a mother is so many things. It is at the core having your heart exist outside of your body and needing to protect it with your entire being. It’s loving unconditionally, it’s feeling pain as you equally feel love. It’s hard and repetitive but the most rewarding work of any lifetime. Motherhood is community, because it takes a village to raise a child. It is organization and mess, happy and sad, loud and quiet but THE BEST DAMN HOOD I’d ever want to be a part of. -Melissa
Motherhood for me is a partnership between God and women. Our purpose in this divine partnership is to nurture and perpetuate life. What a privilege to realize that there is NO OTHER MEANS for bringing or sustaining human life to our planet (since Creation) except through a woman! God made us to carry, birth, nurture, educate, empower, and then unleash those we've raised up.
Motherhood is a series of hard-won victories. Motherhood is resilience and strength and compassion in motion. And motherhood is not just reserved for the child-bearers, it is a purpose far greater. If you are nurturing a budding relationship, career/business, mentoring a young mind, unlocking potential in up-and-comers, pioneering for those coming behind you, you are mothering. Motherhood is my highest calling, a fulfillment of God's greatest intention for me--to nurture, love, and champion all my children (natural and supernatural), so they are able to do the same for themselves and others. - Jamila
Pastor Jamila lived in my city for several years, but our relationship developed online via Instagram. Jamila is one of the most God-fearing, caring thoughtful women I know. She is raising spiritually sound and grounded young women and I love her heart for serving the Lord and the example she instills in her girls. She is tinder and wise and committed to following the Lord and raising children who do too. She does this by leading by example and its a joy to watch her steward the call of God on her life and that of her children.
Connect with Jamila