We value the importance of celebrating Black History Month and the impact of teaching black history to children all year round. For the month of February, we’re highlighting black parents and their families and encouraging them to share their story of their parenting journeys on our blog and social channels.
The other night as Ryann sat on my lap while I was taking out her cornrows, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is like one of those vintage photos of Black moms doing their daughters’ hair. This is really my life.” I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wrap my head around actually being a mother. That for nine months I carried my daughter and three years later, I’m actually doing a decent job.
Making decisions on behalf of a whole other human being and parenting MY way.
If you’ve been following along my journey for some time now, you probably already heard this story. But, if you haven’t, here’s a short synopsis that will help you understand why being a mother means so much to me.
Growing up I didn’t have a relationship with either of my parents. During my pregnancy, I had an emotional breakdown. I didn’t know the first thing about being a mother. The thought of not having a relationship with mine, while preparing to bring a life into this world, was indescribable. Mix that feeling with all the emotions of pregnancy, and it was too much to keep in my head. So, I used writing as an outlet and somehow, I got this crazy idea to start a blog. I thought it could be helpful to share my journey navigating marriage and motherhood while creating my own family traditions. Three years later, I’m having conversations with my daughter I never thought I would have with her—at the shy age of four.
My childhood and story are the reasons why building a healthy communication and relationship with Ryann is extremely important. As we’re going into year four, I can honestly say that becoming a mom taught me many lessons.
One of the biggest lessons as a parent, is you are 100% learning right along with your child(ren).
Allowing Ryann to express herself, while assuring her I am always there to support her decisions, is vital. As Ryann becomes knowledgeable about the things that she likes and dislikes, I enjoy giving her the freedom to make her own decisions and emphasize the importance of confidence. Which isn’t hard because confidence? She’s got that! LOL.
As a Black girl, especially being the only one in her classroom, representation is a big part of my style of parenting as she builds confidence within herself. I always make sure Ryann has Black baby dolls with textured hair, books with Black characters, and watches shows with Black children.
How do you explain what confidence is to a three-year-old? Two things my husband and I are sure to do with Ryann is give her compliments and allow her to make her own decisions when she can.
- Compliments: We always tell Ryann she is beautiful! Whether I just finished doing her hair or it needs to be refreshed. Or if she just got dressed or had a long day playing outside and her clothes are filthy. We make sure she understands none of that defines who she is or how beautiful she is.
- Making her own decisions (when she can): Ryann loves to have a voice in what she wants to watch, wear, eat, and everything else. Of course, she can’t speak up for herself in every situation, but when she can, we allow her to. For instance, when we go out to eat, we talk through her options, allow her to choose one, and she’ll tell the server her order.
One thing Ryann is currently into is her style. She loves when her hair is done, and she’s all dressed up. (Dressing up to her is not always being in a dress or skirt but anything that makes her feel stylish.) She’s recently shown interest in picking out her outfits and her coordination is not bad. Before she heads out, she does a mirror check. If she’s impressed with her outfit she goes, “Ouuuuu fashionnnn”.
Me every time: “That’s my child!”
The other day, we got a package from Gerber® Childrenswear, and she was so excited about her new pieces. So, of course we had a photoshoot! I asked Ryann what three things she enjoys doing and one of them was taking pictures and videos. She’s absolutely a better content creator than me.
Every day I learn something new about Ryann and motherhood. Whether it’s something as simple as a new show she’s into or deciding to avoid an argument and letting her wear whatever it is she wants, motherhood is truly a journey, and I am loving every bit of it!