WOMEN MATTER: COMING OUT & UP FOR AIR
mom of four here, if anyone can relate…
My Saturdays are stacked; Forensics at 8:30 A.M., Dance at 10 A.M., Dance again at 1 P.M., and a whole lot of driving in between. I spend a lot of time at my daughters’ dance studio, but I don’t subscribe to dance mom culture. I mostly sit quietly in observation and ear hustle on conversations until space clears for me to Chime in on a riveting topic.
This week was a little different. There were fewer moms in the waiting room which gave space for the regulars to share truths that might otherwise travel back home in the form of frustration.
We talked about crazy exes, abusive relationships, deadbeat dads, and raising children. The shushing of toddlers and whispers of tired littles faded in and out like motion detectors; The moment a conversation got too good there came the children to remind us that there is no rest for mama..
then it hit the fan. A mother instructing her 5-yr-old son was challenged by a tiny hand raised in opposition in a room full of black mothers.
culturally, there are only two ways for this to play out: One way is for baby boy to get flewed out to oblivion with a first-class whooping in front of an audience. the other option is to get tagged at home with no one to ring the bell or call the fight.
“Her Belt came off so fast nobody was shocked.”
Whomp! Whomp-whomp! Whack! The judgment was coming down. The rest of us mostly looked around, looked away, & then looked at our own kids with eyes that said: “Try Me”.
“You embarrass me in public. whack! You gon’ get checked in public. Whompity-whomp-whomp.” The worst part wasn’t the syllable-ridden smack down, it was his cavalier response and invincibility towards her rod of correction. She became tired with every lash.
I felt bad for both. I knew the feeling she was experiencing, torn between overlooking the slight and appearing like a weak mother who didn’t know how to handle her rambunctious son– and being seen as a zealot, willing to pass down judgment in strikes, blows, and heaviness that is only manifested in a woman who has had enough of everything & everyone.
He couldn’t have known the gravity of his offense and yet we were there witnessing a showdown and a meltdown in real-time. It was over in no time. she was out of breath and fuming because one thing you not gon do is embarrass a black momma in public…twice.
The in-session classes dismissed and the room transitioned from Awkwardly quiet to buzzing with dancers at the peak of their energy.
I quietly asked the mother if she would be okay with her son coming to sit with me and draw. She didn’t think twice.
He joined me at a table and we sat in chairs made for tiny bodies and played some variation of tic-tac-toe, a few games of hangman, and drew some animals with silly faces.
Did You know you hurt mommy’s feelings today? I asked.
He doodled aimlessly and nodded yes.
Why don’t we write her a letter and say sorry and I love you? Would you like to do that?
Please forgive me. I won’t embarrass you like that again. I love you. You are my favorite mom. Love, your son.
He was so proud of himself. He wrote the note with little help and he meant every word.
I folded the letter and handed it to him for delivery.
He walked over, placed the pint-sized paper in her hand and jumped in his mother’s lap without hesitation. She received and embraced him without so much as breaking the stride of her conversation because naturally, that’s what you do when your heart returns to you.
As classes finished up she came to me and asked if I was a teacher. I said no, not in the classroom, but I’m a mother of four, and motherhood makes teachers of us all.
She thanked me and I insisted, "Don’t mention it, I'll be here next week too."
That moment was emancipation of our womanhood from the prison that motherhood can become when we don’t take space to feel our feelings. At that moment I was able to shoulder a burden for her that was too heavy, too palpable, and too close to the light.
“Tell moms that perfection is more dangerous than vulnerability.”
How often do women do that for one another; douse flames with grace and empathy instead of fanning them with judgment and fake wisdom?
We follow many recommendations to become better at parenting, from how to fasten the seatbelts securely to when to talk birds and bees, but where is the conversation about how to keep the woman in us alive once we become somebody’s mama?
It's really sad that we don't talk more about what has the potential to shame us because when women emerge the world is spared from heaps of dead dreams that stifle generations.
Moms are often overtaken by silence and isolation making it impossible to actually live what we pray for and envision.
Tell me, what living thing thrives in malnourished conditions?
We can't expect to feed off our own flesh and survive on familiarity so that the glory days of our past never have to hear us say farewell.
Tell us moms that perfection is more dangerous that vulnerability. Reassure us that we are not kryptonite when don't have all the answers or any answers at all.
Make us know that even if we feel like the ends of the bread or the broken crayon in the case that you would still pick us.
We need to know that, so we can feel safety in acknowledging our feelings without the added fear that we are inflicting harm just by being human.
We'll emerge when our soil nourishes us.
We will come up for air, break new ground, and blossom without second guessing citizenship in our own life stories.
And we'll reciprocate your care by continuing to save the world, just with a lot more energy and a lot less disdain.
Ashley littles is a brand story coach for small businesses and the creator of moxiedMamaMedia™. She created this platform to elevate bold feminine Excellence. Ashley is married to her high school sweetheart Wardell, and they have four amazing littles.
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