To hell with the so-called mommy wars…my village is awesome!

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In the past few weeks, my timeline has been literally flooded with some of the most egregious posts and comments that served no other purpose other than to condemn, insult, embarrass and invalidate women who are trying their hardest to survive and succeed in this tough journey of motherhood. From the infamous attack on Mommy Bloggers a few weeks ago, to the current flood of judgy ass moms (and non-moms) who are too “perfect” to ever blink an eye and let their kids out of their sight. From the outside looking in, I would think that the institution of motherhood was this completely isolated universe with every woman left to fight and fend for herself.

But this is not my experience. And has never been! My village of moms has been awesome since the very beginning of my journey through motherhood. I’ve never been judged, criticized, or broken down by them. Instead, they have always encouraged me, educated me, strengthened and thoroughly empowered me to become the mother I am today. My village has taught me the most important tool (for lack of a better word) to succeed in motherhood – that is to love, care for, forgive and treat myself well; thus giving my children the permission and power to do the same. Although I am imperfect (as all moms are regardless of what they say or think), we are all genuinely doing the best we can for our children.

Today, my village really came to my emotional rescue once again. This morning, I dropped my daughter off at a LEGO/Minecraft camp. She genuinely loves LEGOs and building things and was very excited about joining this camp. However, as the class filled up, kid by kid, we slowly realized that she was the only girl AND the only African American in the camp.

She didn’t say anything at first, but her discomfort was so apparent and painful to me as a mom. I could totally read her mind. Her eyes started tearing and I know she wanted me to tell her she didn’t have to stay. This was her first time being in such a non-diverse group and I know how hard it is for anyone in that kind of setting, especially a 7 year old. Even more than being the only brown person in the room, I think she was nervous about being the only girl and feared that she would not find anyone to talk to in the program. My husband was concerned too, only because he also feared that such an intimidating experience could possibly break her already fragile sense of confidence.

I was actually thinking of withdrawing her from the program as well, but instead, I pulled her aside for little pep talk. I told her about how I too have been in places where I was the only girl and/or brown person and that I know it can feel intimidating and uncomfortable, but she will have to fight through her fears and shine. I reminded her of my last job at H-D where I did have to be the only women on board 95% of the time. I tried hard not to come off to her with a harsh “just deal with it” attitude, but let’s face it- this is probably not going to be the last time she experiences this in life and she will have to find her strength at some point.

The camp leader/teacher was awesome to recognize my concern and have an encouraging talk with her too. I ended up leaving her there with tears in her eyes and with a hollow pit in my stomach feeling worried about her wondering if I did the right thing.

I then reached out to my village on Facebook and sought a little reassurance that I’d made the right decision. I received a flood of comments, emails, text messages, and calls from my old friends I’ve had since pre-parenthood, my friends from my mom group, my family, as well as my fellow mom blogger friends.  They offered me an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement for both me and my daughter.

There were many sentiments, but here are just a few comments that helped me exhale today…

“Remind her of how awesome she is and how others want to know how awesome she is too.”

“Still praying she has an amazing time and gets through today (and the rest of camp) smiling.”

“Let’s add what an awesome opportunity she is about to partake in. Focus on the bigger picture, baby girl has got this…” 

“So sorry she had to feel that, but know that this situation will make her stronger. Good job mommy!” 

“I hope and pray she has a good experience. It sounds like an otherwise fun opportunity. Hugs to you both right now.” 

“I think you did a great thing by giving her pep talk and telling her to shine anyway… Life is one big lesson.” 

“If she is anything like her parents she will be running that camp by week’s end!”

“When I read this, the emotion that came across to me was that you are a strong momma and you are teaching your little lady to be strong in all different kinds of situations.” 

“You did the right thing. She’ll be fine and come out ruling those lil boys!”

“Great life lesson for your baby girl and great motherly advice.” “You’re an awesome mom!” 

“…So proud of you. I think she will shine brightly”

“The emotions I feel right now….. I’m with you all the way.”

“Part of protecting them is teaching them how to deal with the less pleasing things in life.”

“Don’t feel bad, feel happy and proud. {She has a} good role model as a mom.

“She will be better in the long run for pushing through and allowing herself to learn from and enjoy this camp experience.”

“Love her to pieces and you are an awesome mom so I know it will all work out at the end.”

“She’s a pioneer”  

I also really wish I could play back one message by another fellow blogger that brought me to tears with laughter and emotion. Minus a few well-timed expletives, the gist of the message was “You show her what a strong woman is supposed to do and that’s what she’s gonna model after.”

Mommy wars what?

I had to share these for no other reason than the fact that we see so many examples of how we break each other down as moms all too often, but my village lifts me up and I’m so appreciative of them!

With that said, the only fight I have or will ever engage in is a fight FOR my family and my children. Period.

Now to the update…

My daughter finished her first day at camp and, while she did not make any new friends today, she enjoyed her experience of learning and building things and she is looking forward to the rest of the week. She was a little disappointed that the boys wouldn’t talk to her, but I reminded her that they were probably just as nervous about talking to a girl. 10 years from now, she won’t be able to get them to stop talking to her (unless my husband has something to do with it). However, today, she is learning to be tough and to be about her business just like her mommy!

How do you deal with these not-so-ideal moments your kids have to experience in life? Do you have a village that supports you? Please free to share your experiences below!