Those are just a few of the things I’ve had to hear and I’m sure other Black Mommies have heard from other Black Mommies who don’t really agree with the ways we parent our children; ways that apparently seem quite out of the norm.
“Ok, Mommi JPink, what do you mean by that,” you may be asking. Before I go deeper into this, though; let me give you a small list of what we do that’s so radically different from a lot of Black households. Our style of parenting can include:
2. Cloth diapering
3. NOT Spanking
4. Open communication
5. Allowing your children to be seen AND heard
6. Extended breastfeeding (for the sake of this blog that means anything past nine months–maybe–but definitely once you hit a year)
7. Anything you do to break Generational Curses, like going to therapy
8. Reading parenting books or getting support in parenting
9. Going against typical gender norms with your mate
(Yeah, I know that got you to thinking, so I’ll give you this brief moment to stop reading and drop any other different parenting quirks that y’all might have. I’ll be right here when you finish. … All done? Cool. Moving on)
OK. First off, let me say that I do understand that change is hard for most folks. Trust and believe, I do understand that what I do can look a little weird, especially if you never saw it done before. It can make you do a double take, real talk!
But please understand: there is a gigantic distinction between “different” and “wrong!” We don’t get called different. We get called wrong. That’s what I wanna address.
Secondly, we gotta stop this notion that our way is that only right way! I swear to God, if I hear one more Black mother tell me “My mama and dem didn’t do all that and we turned out fine, “ I’m going to scream bloody murder.
Back in the day, folks got beat with switches and racecar tracks and that stringy thing off of window screens! That wasn’t ok, sis! Like, maybe you should look at doing things differently, in ways that might not involve scarring and lifetime trauma?
Besides, who says that you and me turned out fine? Do you see how much trouble we are all having to raise this generation? And if you aren’t having trouble, what’s wrong with still wanting to excel even higher for the next generation?
If the goal is our own collective advancement, shouldn’t we as individuals be doing everything in our power to advance the collective? And wouldn’t that start with our own kids? Sheesh!!
You know what I love about us? I love that Black people are so freaking DOPE. I love our culture, I love our heritage, I like our ethnicity. I love our businesses and I love our institutions. We are some of the most innovative and creative souls, collectively, on the face of the earth. I love that.
What I don’t love is that, despite that dopeness, we sometimes have a collective tendency to attempt to pigeonhole our individual creativity. I cannot and will not be put into a single box–especially when you attempt to state that my not being in that box removes my blackness. Hell to the naw. Our very culture is based upon our individual diversity–and I don’t just mean our skintones.
We are doctors, lawyers, and CEOs. We are also dancers, artists, and athletes. We are also cops and firefighters and nurses and clerks. We are bourgeois as hell AND hood as all get out. Some of us are Taj Mahal ballers, and some of us are so broke we couldn’t spend a lovely evening.
We are, undoubtedly, the most diverse bunch of folks you’ll ever see. So, with all this diversity, how can you not learn from each other? How can you not grow individually from what we all put forth collectively?
I have seen mothers in the ghetto come together collectively to raise all the hood kids. I have seen educated sisters push their kids–and other kids–to level up. I have seen single mothers do miracles, overcoming death defying odds and scaling Everest sized mountains.
From what I have seen, we are too culturally rich and too ethnically diverse to be put into a single box–including when it comes to how we parent our kids.
Allow me to issue you a challenge. I want you, every one of you reading this blog, to try to do something outside of the conventional norms of “Black mother” parenting. Who knows? You just might find something that you really like!
For me, I would have NEVER thought–in a million years–that I’d want to homeschool a child; but here I am, looking forward to homeschooling my two year old.
For me, I had never even heard of cloth diapers with my first two kids; but when baby number three was coming, the way my budget at the time was set up I decided to give them a try–and now I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
Allow me to stress this with capital letters: I NEVER EVER EVER wanted to read a damn book about parenting–let alone take a class with somebody teaching me what in supposed to do as a mom; but now I can’t soak up enough information about children and child psychology.
(I’m still in constant prayer, fasting, and supplication for a book with the answers and the advice on how to deal with a teenage daughter. That’s another blog altogether, coming soon to a computer screen near you)
Now then, everything isn’t meant for everybody. I get that. But that never means that something new isn’t for you, you feel me? Look at the list. You men to tell me none of that appeals to you? You ain’t gotta lie, Craig. Give it a try! What’s the worst that could happen?
Lissen Linda: at the end of the day, we are all out here trying to figure this parenting thing out. Real talk, judge yo mama, not me. In this era that we live in, we as sisters got enough that we are fighting for. We really don’t need to fight each other over whether or not we are parenting the way a Black Mom should.
Furthermore, I gotta say that half of the things– no more than half, honestly–that we think are whytepipo stuff aren’t! Many of these things originated with us, if we are being honest; they just popularized it and made it profitable. Sound familiar? We miss out on dope stuff thinking it isn’t for us (that’s also another blog). Don’t let that include parts of your parenting.
Ok, since I challenged you, I also gotta hold you accountable! Drop those comments, and let me know one thing that you’ve been either secretly wanting to try; or something different that you are definitely going to try!