Every morning I jump awake as soon as I hear the girls’ door unlatch and then locate where my three year old daughter, Aliyah, has ventured off to. In television and movies you always see the kids running into the parents bedroom and jumping in bed with them waking them up…in reality it’s the furthest from the truth. I scramble my only very slightly conscious self and my nine month old, Ameliana, and book it for the front room before Aliyah releases mayhem on the house. If I’m really being honest though my presence won’t prevent the chaos, I’m just witness too it, but once I get the morning routine of diaper changes, filling sippycups with water, turning to a channel on the tv that may hold their attention for 5 minutes at a time, and after the first hundred “no’s” and “hands to yourselves ” I have several questions that circle in my head like vultures. First off who do these kids get this morning person persona from?I know it’s definitely not their father nor myself, although my mother may say otherwise of me as a child but I always remember being night owl and only a morning person on Christmas or Easter. Second, Is there some unwritten kid rule where you must poop right after you are changed into a fresh diaper? Or do they look at each other and be like “I bet you can’t make her change your diaper twice in 5 minutes.” Then it’s a blur of other questions like will I ever not be tired again in my life? Do they really have caffeine patches like in Meet the Robinsons? I need like 10. What is the appeal of a bag of baby wipes to these kids? Can I run to the bathroom fast enough so it doesn’t turn into baby fight club in the front room?
My eight year old, Audrina, on the other hand is cut from the same cloth as myself; she can sleep through an earthquake, fire alarm, utter chaos, and someone specifically trying to wake her up. She could sleep for a full eight hours and be ready for a nap after breakfast but she usually wanders into the front room about a hour after all the crazy begins with the all familiar face of being dazed and confused. That bring us roughly to 8 am where the chaos really begins but I’ll leave that for another post.
I’m very fortunate to have the co-parenting relationship that I have with my oldest daughter’s dad and girlfriend as well as the rest of his family. It makes my daughter’s world structured, loving, and surrounded by support. I wasn’t always so open, when we first separated I was jealous, we would argue a lot, and I was hurt…and you know what they say ” hurt people hurt people.”
After years of repairing relationships by giving space and boundaries and focusing on loving and being there for our daughter as individuals, I can’t imagine not embracing this wonderful blessing that is our family.
Sure it may not be the regular run of the mill coparenting relationship in that it is nothing like the horror stories you hear about, it is honestly one of the most natural and cooperative relationships that has come to be. The main focal point being our daughter but the fact that we can embrace each other’s other children and family members is something that you just can’t put into words just how valuable it truly is. It is never a negative situation for a child to have more people to love them and that is the beauty about coparenting.
Let me just say I love my children but I am 100% ready for school to start so Audrina and Aliyah are out of my hair at least part of the day.
Summer seems so long and they girls literally want to do nothing but then complain about being bored…I have told Audrina to go read a book so many times, go play, write a story, make an art project, clean up toys, do chores, and so on…All they want to to is eat and lounge around and go swimming every once in awhile….my sanity is fleeting.
The majority of women don’t dream about being a single mother, that’s just not what they invision when think about children, family, or motherhood. Everything your children need is dependent on you from emotional support to discipline and everything in between; it’s a monumental responsibility but it is one of the most powerful self affirming positions to find yourself in. I’m very fortunate to have the support of my family (parents) and their help to provide stability for my children and myself while I’m working towards being able to provide that for them myself. It is extremely exhausting and comes with mixed emotions but is rewarding beyond all measure.
Being a parent is challenging and a heavy commitment, knowing you are responsible for how these little humans grow up, instilling values, building them up, teaching them how to do the things they will need to know how to do to care for themselves one day. My wish for my children is that they won’t question their self worth, be confident in themselves and their abilities, and to be kind to others.
I will never ever consider any of my children as burdens or mistakes because that is the furthest thing from the truth; they were born out of love and my love for them will unconditionally remain for eternity. Sure I’m tired 24/7, sure I feel like I always have to be the “bad guy” because I am sole disciplinarian in our household, sure they drive my to the brink of insanity on a daily basis but that’s the life I love and I would choose motherhood over anything and everything else.
Part of my personal promise to them and myself is to never compromise myself again with a toxic or codependent relationship and to display self worth, self confidence, ambition, and confidence. Teach them to choose their partners wisely and that they absolutely deserve to be treated with respect and to accept nothing less.
Today I came across a video on Facebook of a woman getting her hair braided in box braids to be specific but there were far more negative comments than positive ones all because the woman was white. Some of these comments were down right hateful and gut wrenching; so as a mother of girls, two of which are biracial here is my own unsolicited opinion on the subject.
I personally believe cultural appropriation is not a bad thing. How could it be negative for a person to want to embrace, respect, and integrate elements of another’s culture into their lives to enhance their own human experience? After all that’s the beautiful thing about diversity right? Appreciating and appropriating cultures other than our own…now I acknowledge that there is a major difference between cultural appropriation and cultural misappropriation and any instance that an element of culture or a culture as a whole is mocked, disrespected, or otherwise dismissed as being inferior is completely wrong and against my personal values.
I believe I can celebrate and express myself in a various of styles and experiences without assuming the identity of another person. As for my children, I want to encourage them to explore multiple cultures as their identities are not singular or binary but are a combination of a multitude of cultures, creeds, and backgrounds that I want them to embrace and be proud of. I want them to be comfortable to share their cultures with each other and I won’t restrict any one of them from appropriating elements of each other’s cultures, styles, or learning about each other’s heritage.
I share and model these important fibers of the tapestry that are their identities; they will grow up knowing that they are beautiful, strong, and important regardless of what their hair looks like, the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, and who they identify themselves as is exactly who I will accept them for.
My girls and I all can all rock box braids or dhukus or moccasins or whatever it may be. There are not limitations on defining and exploring ones identity through cultures, creeds, religious beliefs as long it comes from a place of respect and love.