All posts by survivingmommywriter

I strongly believe that to raise healthy, happy children we need healthy happy parents and my website and social media pages are dedicated to this purpose. Follow me on Instagram @surviving_mommy Follow me on Twitter @survivingmommy_

WHERE IS THE SAFE HAVEN FOR THE BLACK MILLENNIAL MOTHER?

“You walk around as if you’re just a mom.”

The words echoed out of my husband’s mouth and pierced my heart. It was the response that his brother provided to him when he mentioned his own struggle with depression. His brother stated, “I think you are both depressed. Jasmine walks around as if she is just a mom. As if, this is it.” Although I was not present in the flesh to hear this dialogue, the words impacted me through the phone like a head on vehicle collision with no escape route. I felt my chest cave in as I sat in the Walmart parking lot and the tears began to stream from my eyes. In that moment is when I dialed a crisis hotline. I could no longer continue to bottle the emotions. To allow my mental capacity to deteriorate in silence. No longer would I victimize myself, or accept the narrative of those viewing my life from a distorted lens.

You see, this is not simply a mental health issue. It is not just a postpartum depression issue. This problem is deep rooted and culturally concerning. Never stop. Never cry. No time to be angry, to vent, or even rest. The ideology that the black woman must work endlessly and cater to the world with no room left inside to just be. To exist as we are without appeasing to the masses. One truth that I know is that the slavery of African-Americans in this country has caused traumatic wounds that run deep through many generations. As a black, millennial mother, I could not have fathomed the amount of disregard to my postpartum experience I would receive. Particularly, from my own “people.” Where is the safe haven for the black, millennial mother?

It is courageous for an individual to step up and check on a loved one. Yet it is dangerous to extend a hand of support with your own pre-conceived notions. The idea that words can never hurt you is dismissive and just plain senseless. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but those bones will heal. Those negative words and phrases become imprinted in your mind. Memory never fades. In the aftermath of this exchange was a time of deep reflection, acceptance, and generational differences. How could I expect a 24 year old single, black man with no children to resonate with my postpartum depression? I mean he witnessed the birth of his nephew, so is this not enough education? Too often as humans we project our experiences and help onto others without understanding how the individual truly needs to be healed. During slavery and for many generations to come, the black man was non-existent in the household due to the horrific injustices of slave ownership, violence, Jim Crow, and a false war on drugs that destroyed the black family. The black woman became the matriarch of the family and through the years I had no idea that the ramifications of this social concept would impose great harm on the mental state of the black woman. If she is to constantly give, where can she go in solace to freely discuss her own internal struggles? When she chooses to seek help, she is met with opposition and sometimes it may even be from those who share her complexion and ethnic descent. Sometimes it is the grandmother, the aunt, the cousin, or even her partner. The reality is that she cannot carry all burdens and uphold to all expectations.

After the calm soothed over my raging anger and sadness, I realized that I was not upset that my husband’s brother was concerned about my depression. Sometimes the person who is not okay needs that reckoning force, but that is not what I received. I was not allowed to be present for the dialogue. There was no way to defend myself. I was judged and placed into a box. When I expressed my frustration to my husband his response was, “I mean is it true? You are depressed, so why are you mad?” At the time I had no words, but later is when it began to make complete sense. I was in a box with no room to breathe and no space to cry. It dawned on me that society (and black men) expected me to get back to reality. You birth the baby and then you when you look for a place to rest your head, there is no safe haven to be found. You are met with a list of duties that you are expected to morph into with ease. The problem with this is that no one considers that healing takes on a whole new meaning as a mother.

That mom who is posting and sharing content about her baby on a daily basis is filled with love for her child (it is life changing). When she is dragging her feet down the hall to her crying baby, it is because her back is in excruciating pain as a result of diastasis recti. The leggings and t-shirts provide comfort and ease while they are ruined by vomit, poop, or urine. The dad hat is covering up mom’s bad hair day as you relentlessly tend to the cradle cap that is ruining the luscious locks your baby was born with. She left that career because she realized a job is always attainable, but time not spent with your developing baby will never return. When the mother discusses her latest social circle developments and play dates, she is basking in the joy of getting out the house to breathe fresh air and interacting with other people (moms) who get it. Understand that this mom is fragile because she is no longer who she once was, but she is also growing into a beautiful being. The next time you think about diminishing the black woman to being just a mom, ask yourself if you are providing a safe haven for her evolution into womanhood?

As for me, I refuse to take responsibility for how others react to my presence. There is however, a space and opportunity for education. In the meantime, I will be unfolding and rewiring a social ideology that embraces the concept of the black, millennial mother to simply be. Because that is enough.

By Jasmine Ford

Hi! I’m Jas— eclectic, fun & bold are just a few of my best attributes. In the midst of raising my toddler son with my husband Bryant, I occasionally get to shower, wear jeans, & enjoy a cup of hot coffee. Oh, and wine (duh!) I live an uncensored mom life and have a damn good time while doing it! I creatively share my experiences and inspire others through writing. 

Bad Parenting Day

Today was probably one of the worst parenting days I’ve had in a long time. My husband just accepted a new job last month and it required relocation so while we decide where we want to live for the next two years we are living predominantly in hotels.

We have four daughters ages 2, 4, 10 and 16 and right now we are staying in two attached double queen rooms.

Our girls are going into their eighth week of being quarantined and everyone is sick of streaming services, school work and being stuck inside. All of this coupled with the fact that their schools closed abruptly and their parents moved them a few weeks later is taking a toll on them.

Yesterday was a really good day. I remember sitting on one of the beds with my daughters as we all laughed and chatted thinking about how wonderful that day was. The two and four year old laid down during rest time, they didn’t scream the times I told them screen time was over and they ate the food that was presented to them. The ten and sixteen year old did all of their schoolwork and listened to me when I was teaching them without incidence.

I remember thinking that maybe we had finally settled into a groove.

I had confidently started congratulating myself for all the sleepless nights, the countless grocery trips, hours of food prep, homeschooling the older girls at the drop of a hat when the schools closed, giving our children consequences for their actions and standing firm with them, limiting screen time and all sorts of other things that I consider hard work.

Today, those thoughts were nothing but a distant and disposable memory as I counted to three for the thousandth time and chased my two year old around with underwear.

Neither of the youngest would keep their clothes on and they ran back and forth between the rooms getting into things and screaming. An hour into homeschooling I was ready to call it quits but I plowed through and only had to leave the room twice to get away from the complaining and crying over school work. The older two argued with everything I tried to teach them and then proceeded to either refuse to do their work or simply pretended to do it while doing other things.

Around 1:00 I stared in dismay at the clothing, snack wrappers and actual food from lunch strewn across the floor mere hours after housekeeping had visited us. I started to pick things up and remembered that I needed to start the slow cooker meal that I had planned for dinner or it wouldn’t get done in time. I dropped the pile of toys back onto the floor and moved towards the refrigerator to start dinner and immediately my four year old showed up wanting me to hold her.

Holding my daughter with one arm and pulling things out of the refrigerator to prepare dinner with the other I heard raised voices from the other room as the older two girls got into a fight over a white, fuzzy blanket. As I rushed towards the doorway to their room to break it up with the four year old on my hip I trip over the two year old who was looking for me to wash her hands.

I realized that the two year old was covered from head to toe in chocolate and silently screamed because it didn’t seem possible to me that the tiny, gluten free, toddler granola bar I had given her had enough mini chocolate chips to make the mess I saw then.

I put the four year old down and picked up the two year old to deposit her in the bathtub which caused the four year old to start screaming because I put her down. The two year old had also begun screaming because while she was down for a hand wash she hadn’t requested a deeper clean. Simultaneously, I heard screams coming from the girls’ room and registered that in my delay the ten and sixteen year old’s argument has escalated into a full on brawl.

Frantic, I picked up the crying four year old with my other arm and hurried into the room to break up the fight. In the midst of this the phone rang and it was the hotel asking if everything was okay and that they’d been getting some complaints.

The older two thought this would be a good time to share with me that Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine haven’t actually affected me and their dad because he has an essential job and all I’ve had to do extra is home school them. They went on to inform me that they and their age group/s are the ones who have been affected the most because they had to leave their social lives and friends.

I sat there in a stunned silence and wondered which of the things it was that I did wrong to raise children who would be so callous and uninterested in their parents’ feelings. I started to explain all the many ways my life has been changed and affected by social distancing and quarantine and stopped when I realized they weren’t listening.

Was it just yesterday that I was feeling a sense of camaraderie with them and that I was crowning myself parenting queen? How could yesterday be so good and today be so bad?

I started to remind myself that after every good day of parenting there are some bad ones waiting for us. I’ve been a parent for sixteen years and I know these things already but no amount of knowledge can make those feelings of being a failure go away.

Before I free fell into mom guilt, a panic attack or even a week of raw depression I had to remind myself that my children are probably proving to be more normal than anything by their recently shared perspective because the majority of children are self-centered. Children spill things and make messes, they yell and they deny good things like bubble baths for no logical reason.

There’s something about a bad day of parenting that can cause us to really come down on ourselves in an unhealthy way. It’s good to remind myself that the reason they are the way that they are is because they’re kids so that’s what they’re going to act like.

If I’m really being honest, the fact that I had one good parenting day this week is amazing and I can’t hold every other day to that standard.

Jordyn Armour is refreshing with her authenticity and honesty when it comes to parenting and writes about anything parenting related, using sarcasm and humor to tie everything together. She is a stay at home mom to four girls and runs survivingmommy.org , Instagram @surviving_mommy and Twitter @survivingmommy_

I Didn’t Get To Go To Prom, So My Boyfriend Recreated prom Just For Me

By Jennifer Scott Pickett

I didn’t have a very traditional high school experience. Thanks in part to my dad and stepmom’s strict religious views, I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things like be a cheerleader (they didn’t think Jesus would approve of the short skirts) or go to prom (prom leads to premarital sex, I guess?). It was kinda a bummer at the time, but I never felt like my whole life was crippled because of it or anything. Mostly, it’s just always been a funny story I like to tell.

But, now, thanks to Chase, I have an even better story to share.

Look at him, he’s beautiful and magical.

Chase and I knew each other for a while before we dated, and then we became very close friends the year leading up to us becoming a couple, so he knew my (lack of) prom story. What I didn’t expect is what he would do with that information.

Fairly early into our official romantic status, he told me he wanted to take me on a very special surprise date. Turns out he was staging a prom experience for me. It doesn’t get much more fucking romantic than that.

Unfortunately -poor guy – I unwittingly threw a lot of wrenches into his plans.

For example, I begged him not to take me to some high-end restaurant, which was the way he was planning to get me all dressed up. At the time I was a single mom working two jobs, and I was always exhausted. What I did in my down time was very important to me. I just didn’t feel like playing dress up or ordering off a menu I could barely understand, so I made him promise he wouldn’t take me anywhere that required a dress or heels.

Then, to make things even more difficult for him, after work I came to his house to get ready – which is the same house he was decorating for the big event!

He’s a clever one though. He somehow convinced me not to leave his bedroom or bathroom without it seeming suspicious, and then, once I was ready, he got me out of the house and into his car without suspecting a thing. I’ll never forget how he got into the driver’s seat, drove us around the neighborhood… and then pulled right back up to the house hahaha.

Even though I was wearing jeans and a black shirt with red Converse (Chase dressed to match me, which I thought was pretty weird at the time lol) instead of a poofy dress, I can now proudly say I’ve been to prom. He even had someone there to announce us as prom king and queen – I know, I know. It’s such cheesy rom-com PERFECTION it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. Honestly, how did I get this lucky?

Do yourself a favor and scroll through the pics to see what an epic job he did pulling this off. I’m gonna be honest. I’m kinda glad I didn’t get the traditional prom experience, because this was so much better.

That’s a lot of balloons and lights. And in the corner he had a little DJ station set up, along with bubbles!

Obviously, he chose the best theme.

Look at all those freaking candles!

He had wine for me and ordered pizza as the main course, because he’s perfect (and because I’m one low-maintenance bitch.)

For our “after party”we went to downtown Nashville for ice cream.

And naturally, we wore our prom crowns.

Jennifer Scott Pickett is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting and lifestyle content. She is half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time –  Wait. She’s a mom of three. She doesn’t have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.