24

How can you teach your child(ren) who they are, if you have no clue who you are? A question I struggled with answering since separation from my child’s father. As shared before, being alone is something I never had to experience. From teen-adulthood I formed an identity around my relationship further losing sight of a person I didn’t know in the 1st place. Being able to recognize an identity struggle comes from a place of pain. It isn’t easy and I’ll be the first to admit that it may come with extreme breakdowns. I’ll also admit that this is not my first time trying to explore who I am. However, in order for me to teach my African American son who he is in this world, I know the importance of this personal journey I’m exploring.

One would think that spending 48 hours with no human contact in 2019 is next to impossible, but I made it my reality last month. I spent time going back through the last 24 years and beyond. What was learned is that I have struggled with who I am because I was not taught how to be who I am. Instead, I spent most of my child and teen years covering up certain parts of me to avoid judgement. When your friends and family spend time criticizing you “acting white,” or “being weird,” or the world criticizing you “being  ghetto”, as a child it is easy to revert to hiding. As I have struggled, it has led me into a space of knowing how important it is that I help and support my child as he finds who he wants to be.

Year 24 was undoubtably a great year for my personal development as a mother. As I walk into the milestone year of 25 in the next 17 days, it feels amazing to finally be able to accept myself. I know exactly who I am and can embrace every inch of me. It isn’t for anyone else to understand and knowing that, makes this journey so much easier. Sometimes I like twerking and rapping songs that correlate to my life in no way. Sometimes I’m a book reading nerd who gets fascinated by learning. Sometimes I irritate everyone around me because I don’t know when to stop playing. And sometimes I like walking around in oversized clothes, meditating, and thinking about how I’m too deep for any living being. I am all of these faces and I wear all of them extremely well.

I no longer feel the need to go out of my way to prove  that I was born on the south side of Chicago, I grew up in the struggle, I fought on a regular basis, and that I came from a toxic household. I no longer feel the need to go out of my way to prove that I read for fun, I’m fascinated with school, and that I enjoy conversations about social change. I no longer feel the need to go out of my way to prove that I meditate or that I’ve experienced out of body experiences connecting me to the universe. I am all of this and more. It’s so easy for the world to tell us who we are and what’s wrong with who we are, because the world only sees one body. This entry was so important for me because I am the groundwork for everything as it relates to parenthood. So I challenge not just mothers, but any parent going into this next decade, ask yourself, how can you teach your child(ren) who they are, if you have no clue who you are?

 

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Re-Learning Them!

Have you ever taken the time to try to re-learn your child? Maybe not, because it is not often that you are given enough space to even think about re-learning them, but maybe it is time to start creating that space. In a world that makes it a crime to take a break as a mommy, it may be hard for you to purposely take space away from your kids. However, you may be amazed at how healthy and helpful doing so could be for your job as a mommy. Since inviting Aiden into this world, I have been shown how much positivity comes from being given a break and accepting those breaks. It has always allowed me to bring my mind back to my body, care for myself, and replenish the parts of me that are needed in order to be a great mommy. For this entry, I wanted to share what has been a reality for me after having a 3 month break from Aiden over the summer. Once mommies have “learned” their child, it is rare to make this an ongoing thing. So often, we as parents will “learn” our children and tag them with this idea that we have of them, even knowing that we are a changing species.

When Aiden returned to me there were obvious differences within him from when he left. It was not the point of me noticing those differences, that I believed that I needed to re-learn him in order for our relationship to be in it’s most healthiest space. It was not until I was listening to a video of Les Brown speaking and he said something along the lines of, “as long as you have something to learn then your business here on earth is not finished.” It made me think about the fact that life is a continuance of learning. And if something as precious as life is meant to be continuously learned, then what makes your child(ren) any different.

It was within the first two weeks that Aiden had returned, that I had heard this quote and thought about it. I thought about how hard re-adjusting was, I wondered if the changes were taking a negative tole on him, I was feeling overwhelmed, and the list goes on. I had been working to fall back into a routine with a kid who had went through changes whether acknowledged or not. I started to focus less on the things I knew about him and instead focused on what seemed to be different and how I could find ways to adjust to those things. How I did this was by acknowledging what he likes and does not, giving options, and learning his new communication styles. As crazy as it may seem, there are many mommies who understandably struggle with something as simple. Not because they are not qualified, but instead because it is easy to fall into the mindset of believing that once you know your kid, you “know your kid.”

I hear mommies especially, say all the time, “I know my kid.” This separation from my own kid and coming to a new realization, makes me want to ask the question though, when is the last time you attempted to learn a new part of that kid that you believe you know so well. I had to realize that there was no routine for me to fall back into because we both came back together new individuals. I understand that not everyone is afforded extended breaks, but that does not mean you cannot apply the practice. It doesn’t matter if you have a toddler, a pre-teen, or an adult child, attempt to re-learn them as PEOPLE, and watch the growth. Do not fall into the normalcy of being ok with re-learning a work system, re-learning your intimate partner, re-learning your friends, the education system, and not giving the same space for your child(ren) mommies!