Doing it for the Single Mamas
“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” -Malcolm X
Malcolm X made this bold statement in 1962 and it still rings true for Black women in America today. I mean let’s face it, being a Black woman in America is no walk in the park. But what is it like being a Black, young single mama in America?
Feast on this: 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised without a father, 40% of which live in poverty. Black women make up a quarter of single mother homes. Among these single mother homes, 27.5% are jobless. (source)
As a 27-year-old, Black single mother to an exuberant five-year-old, I face stereotypes on the daily. Some people hear “single Black mom” and immediately assume I’m uneducated, jobless, and headed for the Jerry Springer Show.
But, I am not a victim. Instead of letting these untrue stereotypes define me, as they unfairly have for mothers who came before me, I am speaking UP and saying enough. I choose to define myself – I am a bada**.
You might be thinking, “motherhood is a choice” and you’re damn right! I chose to be a mother, just like I choose to be an Upspoken woman. So for Women’s History Month, I’m sharing my secrets on defying the stereotypes and living my best life.
Kick it without guilt
I am not a “Party Mom”, I am human. Despite the traditional expectations that define “successful” mothering, I strongly encourage mothers to have fun without guilt and here’s why: “A happy mommy, makes a happy baby.” Mothers should be modeling the one thing they wish most for their children: happiness. A mother’s happiness should be at the top of her to-do list, by penciling “fun” into her schedule. I have no shame in my game and you shouldn’t either!
Cry a whole river
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“Big girls don’t cry.” If reading this sentence makes you laugh ruefully, you’re probably one of the many stressed out mamas who have yet to discover the nonexistent key to single motherhood. I know, we are hard-wired to be strong and resilient but sis, you gotta release all that pain! I am here to tell you, it’s okay to cry. Allow yourself to feel.
Follow your dreams
Do you mind if I brag a bit? I became a single mother my junior year in college and single-handedly fought all of the obstacles parenthood painfully strikes, punches, and kicks one with. Despite all that noise, I am pleased to report that I have stacked degrees and certifications, snagged a dope job, and my edges are laid. Tuh! Take note, life does not end when you have a baby – it begins. I am fervently committed to following my dreams. Why? Because loving my daughter starts with loving myself. I must be my best self to be her superwoman.
Lean on your baby
Please cue the violins and grab me a tissue. I am always haunted by the resentful thought of, “What would my 27-year-old life be without a child?” Of course, these thoughts are followed by many countless nights of crying, praying, and Netflix watching. But then I imagine how the trajectory of my life would unfold if I didn’t have my daughter. My daughter saved me from myself. The moment I became a mother, I had to pull strength from the deepest places to make the impossible possible. I might not be able to twerk in the club incessantly and make fun adolescent mistakes. But because of my daughter, I have found myself. Every day I lean on her for direction and motivation. She is my reason, my angel, my survival, and my living proof that I am a strong, powerful, self-determined Upspoken woman.