A place where Black Mothers can celebrate excellence and motherhood.

9:00 AM

New Mommy Monday! Meet Crystal and Charlee!

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Meet Crystal Drakeford, the mother of Charlee Marie. Crystal is an active member of
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated (Hey Sorhor!) and a big advocate of
supporting our nation’s Veterans. Charlee Marie is a curious one-year-old who loves
making music with her mom’s pots and pans and enjoys bike rides with her dad. Keep
reading to hear about their wonderful transition from infant to toddler! 

     State your name and baby(ies) name

      Hello, my name is Crystal Drakeford and my daughter’s name is Charlee Marie and we are new residents of Charles County, Maryland.

     How long have you been a mommy? 

     I just reached the one year mark of being a mom. Yayyy!!! One down and a lifetime to go.

   What is your favorite thing about motherhood so far? 

   Something gets added to the list every day because Charlee is at that stage where she
is exploring and learning new things, and so am I. Charlee is teaching me to be the
best version of myself and she brings out the best in me!  It’s hard to pinpoint one
thing because motherhood is so pure and every moment is special.
From her warm hugs and excited eyes when I pick her up from daycare to the moment
she decides to share her favorite snack with me. As a mom, I cherish every second and I
look forward to our continuous journey. 

   What are you struggling with right now? 

 Charlee is a new toddler who is constantly exploring and experimenting, and it can be a
struggle with taking a proactive approach to the unknowns. We, of course, childproof
everything to reduce the opportunities for mischief and distraction, but Charlee somehow
finds a way to get into something. She laughs at me when I say “no” and sometimes it
hard for me to keep a straight face.

  What is your goal as a mother of color?

 My goal is to teach her self-love and provide her with the needed tools so she can be
anything she wants to be. I want to teach her that God directs her life and no one is
perfect; we are all beautiful creations of God and we each have a purpose. I want to
teach her our family history and keep her grounded in our culture and morals. I want her
to be reminded of her roots because even now, people ask me if she’s Asian due to the
shape of her eyes and skin tone. “No, she’s black!”

         How are you balancing your roles now that you have added motherhood?

I’m blessed to have a strong support team who is with me every step of the way. And you learn that you can’t always do everything, so prioritizing your to-do list definitely makes a difference. It gets hard sometimes because I work full time, I try to remain active in my sorority efforts, I try to stay in tune with my social life and I’m a fulltime, breastfeeding mom. I will always put my daughter’s needs first, so sometimes schedules can go completely out the window. I use to try to get everything done, and that’s not always the case when you have a little one depending on you. I learned that self-care includes saying “no” once in a while so you’re not stressed out and have more time for what’s important.

 Are there any experiences that are shaping your approach to motherhood?

   Every experience has an effect on what your next steps would be. Motherhood for me is full of the unknowns because I’ve never been a mom before, but I do my best in planning as much as I can. Also, being part of a mom tribe and reading blogs, such as this one, has helped me along the way. It has opened me up to a diverse way of approaching the different stages of motherhood.

  If you have any advice for a mother of color to be what would you tell them?

You’re not the first and you won’t be the last! Being a mother of color in today’s period requires being more than a mother. So continue to pray and remain strong. You Got This!

You can follow Crystal and Charlee on Instagram Here

5:33 PM

To Thee Only Sigma Gamma Rho.....or Delta Sigma Theta?

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Black Greek life is so beautiful; founded in the face of adversity and a climate that resembles our society today, they brought so much to the lives of young and old Black Americans. While they are sororities and fraternities they are still businesses and run like such. Money is essential to our existence yes but the biggest piece of our continued existence is the tradition. Yes! Tradition is everything in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) some of our organizations are over one-hundred years old while some will be celebrated 55 years this September.

I was blessed to join THE best sorority in the NPHC, that's right! Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. We were founded November 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven school teachers. We are the only sorority in the NPHC not founded on the campus of Howard University. We have over 600 chapters including Germany and Japan. I became a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated (SGRho) in 2012 at the age of nineteen. Being apart of my organization the last six years has been everything and more, it has also been a way for Tatiyana and me to bond as we have two junior organizations that are made up of daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins, mentees, the list goes on. Recently, Tatiyana was inducted into the 'Rhosebuds'; they are ages 7-11 and when she is twelve she will transition in the 'Rhoers' our junior sorority that serves ages 12-18 where hopefully she will attend college and become a member of SGRho.

Our organizations are a way for us to instill pride, tradition, community, collegiate excellence, etc. to our children. We purchase them cute paraphernalia adorned with 'future *insert org* and take endless pictures and gush with tingly feelings as their little hands hold up our sign. Tradition is important to us, we see in the age of social media posts of new initiates posing alongside an old photo of their mom/dad that joined that same organization 25+ years before. There is great pride in watching an older soror help her daughter march to the probate area or watching as she pins her now soror. I watch that and say, "I hope I get to call my daughters 'SoRHOr' one day. Jamal talks about how he can't wait until our son goes to Bowie and joins Eta Zeta (Alpha Phi Alpha) like he did because he wants to have a son in his chapter like his two older bros have. (First off...nvm LOL)

The question always comes up though, "What if Tatiyana and Jahara join Delta or Zeta?"  I'm not going to lie I always tense up a bit, or when someone from another org asks Tatiyana to throw up their sign and she declines with, "That's not my organization." *Proceeds to hold up Sigma* (That's my girl!) I tell people, I'd rather her be the best AKA they have ever seen than to be the worst Sigma and tarnish our name." It's dramatic but its real, I want her happy. Even if that means we will not attend the legacy luncheons at Regional and boule. There have been many children who have decided on another organization and their greek parent(s) are okay with it and then there are some who cannot handle their child joining another organization.

A few weeks ago, a mother who is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated published a lengthy backhanded compliment to her daughter for joining Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Many laughed at the post, many bashed her mother for even going to such great lengths and many said that she should just get over it. I could understand all sides of it, especially since two of my favorite cousins went on to join AKA and Delta, I chose SGRho. I understood this mother's hurt and I also understood how she was projecting her life unto her daughter.

When does it go from tradition to projection?

I am a firm believer in 'conscious parenting'; acknowledging your child as an individual versus an extension of you. Those who believe in conscious parenting refrain from things like "That's my mini-me." "you are a reflection of me." We take every opportunity we can to give space for our children to make choices and create their identity separate from ours. It is really a challenge; especially as a Black mother and one apart of an organization that thrives on tradition and legacy. It goes deeper than allowing for choice and creation of identity it is also a choice to be mindful of your interaction with your child(ren). How is your tone? what are your expectations? What is your self-regulation? So much of these things can truly improve the quality of the relationship with your child when you are mindful of your actions and remember they are human too. 

In fact, I hope that my decision to raise them with consciousness will draw them to SGRho or something that aligns with what I have encouraged them to adopt as their own values. Either way, life will go on and tradition will still continue...

I choose conscious parenting because I want for my daughters and me to have meaningful interactions. I want them to know that they have a reflective mother that will always prioritize the quality of our interactions versus making them following in my footsteps in everything. They may not go to college and that's okay. They may not be into Lacrosse or cheerleading and they may not join Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated and that's okay as well... I will support them but I only pay for ONE sorority lol. That's my boundary and Tatiyana knows that is the furthest I dare go...

As expected, you gain many friends being apart of a sorority in and outside of the actual organization. Many of my close friends are AKAs, Deltas, and Zetas (other NPHC Sororities) and I can count on them the same way I count on my sorors. Our letters bring us together and our character, personality, and love seal the bond. When I was pregnant, my closest Delta, Zeta and AKA sandz came all the way from New York just to help with the baby shower, finish up shopping and help set up the room for Jahara. It doesn't get any better than that. My kids refer to them as 'aunties' and I know that should anything happen to me (God forbid) my LS, sorors, and sister-greeks in my life will step up to the plate and be there for my family. I hope they're saving coins for their poodle nieces should they choose to join anything other than SGRho too, LOL.

As for those mothers who are heartbroken when their daughter choose another organization, that's okay. They have every right to feel that way it's how they express it which can make it damaging. I'm certain that the mother and daughter have a tight relationship especially with her daughter defending her which I respect. I hope that her mother finds peace in her decision and finds joy in her daughter being happy as a Delta than miserable as a Zeta. After all, our children are not our canvas to paint.

Are you a member of a Greek organization? what do you feel about your daughter choosing an organization other than yours?