A place where Black Mothers can celebrate excellence and motherhood.

9:00 AM

New Mommy Monday! Jamie M. Williams, PhD, LCPC

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Happy Monday Mocha Moms! We're starting something new over here! I am a strong advocate of Ubuntu: "I am because we are." 
It is important for Black and Brown mothers to know they have a community behind them. Every Monday we will be shouting out a new Mocha Mommy! I've had my eye on some bomb ass Black and Brown moms doing their thing every single day and deserve to be recognized! My goal is to build a strong network for new Mocha Mommies so that us vetted Mocha Moms can shower them with love and support! With that being said, allow me to introduce our inaugural New Mocha Mommy: Dr. Jamie M. Williams! 

I've had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Jamie (Ashanti) for over three years! She is the epitome of Black Girl Magic! She is definitely one of the real ones in my corner and has become a big sister to me! 

Dr. Jamie originally from Oxford, MS. graduated from Mississippi Valley State University with a bachelors degree in Sociology. She received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University and Ph.D in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mississippi State University . Dr. Jamie currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland and works as a Clinical Milieu Manager at Sheppard Pratt. 

   Introduce yourselves! 

 Ashanti Williams and Marley Simone Williams

 How long have you been a mommy? 

  6 Weeks! 

  What is your favorite thing about motherhood so far?

    Learning something new about her everyday. Learning her personality, her likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn’t work. Everyday she surprises me.

   What are you struggling with right now? 

Get a load of this cuteness! Hi Marley! 
 My biggest struggle right now is my anxiety. I find that I constantly wake up in the middle of the night to check on her, she’s never out of my sight and I have a hard time entrusting others to care for her.

What is your goal as a Black mother?

    As a Black mother, my ultimate goal is to raise a daughter who is unapologetically black and proud. I want her to be outspoken, brave and a leader amongst her peers. I want her to carry on the plight of the people in the same way my mother and father taught me to do. She was named after two of the most influential entertainers of my lifetime: Bob Marley and Nina Simone. Both who were unapologetically Black and selfless in the fight for equality, using their platform to bring awareness. I want her to live up to her namesakes. Most importantly, I want her to always be herself regardless of what expectations society place on her.  It took me 19 years to learn that and my job is to cut her time in half.  

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

Thankfully my boyfriend has been a huge help. Whenever I have to perform any of my usual tasks, he quickly swoops in and takes care of Marley. I’m still on maternity leave, but I imagine balancing will get a lot more difficult when I go back to work as my job can be very demanding of my time.

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

 I have 5 older sisters, four of whom are moms also. I have watched them raise their children and I reach out to them daily for advice and support. My mom is my number one go-to. So, they have all been instrumental in my approach to motherhood.


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

" It takes a village. Allow your village to help you. "

Are you a new Mocha Mommy or have one in your life? Send and e-mail to barbara.sherrod@icloud.com with subject MochaMommyMonday for a feature! 
Have a great week Mocha Moms! 
#IllBeInTouch

1:27 PM

Me too

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The last two years, women have come forward about the sexual assault/harassment they have experienced within the industry.  Most of the women who are coming forward about sexual assault/harassment are white women. While writing this piece, I googled famous black women who have come out about sexual assault. My google result came up short and all that popped up was the ongoing investigation about Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault against women he worked with. Never mind that Gabrielle Union spoke out about her rape, never mind that Oprah Winfrey has come out about her rape as a child.

Not that this is shocking but the #MeToo campaign was created ten years ago by Tarana Burke a black woman, an advocate, consultant and blogger (Just So we're clear, Me too was started by a black woman ten years ago). Latina women have also come forward since 2016, with #NoEsNo (No means no)  and #MiPrimerAcoso (My first harassment.)

When we speak about sexual assault/violence we forget about one particular group that experiences sexual assault/violence more than any other group; Native American women and girls. According to a Huffington post article released back in April, 17.7 Million women have been sexually assaulted since 1998. Native American Women have the highest number of reported sexual assaults followed by Black and Latina women with white women  just falling 1% under black women. These are the cases reported, I am afraid to hear the number of incidents that go unreported.

There are many misconceptions and stigmas that come with sexual assault. We know the largest influencer of sexual assault is not only the men and women who inflict sexual violence but rape culture. Rape culture is telling women "boys will be boys." as a response to an incident that has left them uncomfortable and/or traumatized at the hands of a man/boy. Rape culture is saying that "The clothes you wear, will determine how much people respect you." Rape culture is telling women to "protect yourself and be more selective of who you are alone with." Even though more than 30% of all sexual assault survivors know their attacker (family member or close friend.) Rape culture is suggesting that men/boys cant be raped because masculinity has been tied to sexuality and the use of their penis.

Rape culture is telling little girls to change their shorts or flattering clothes because "uncle so and so" is coming over. Rape culture is sexually assaulting LGBTQIA women because they "never been with a man before." Rape culture is assaulting LGBTQIA men because "they need to feel what its like to be a woman." Rape culture is the violence women face when declining unwanted advances from men on the street. Rape culture is hyper sexualizing black and brown girls because they experience puberty earlier than their white counterparts. The list is endless. Speaking out against sexual assault/violence is another movement within itself that requires Intersectionality. Too often, women of color that are heterosexual, Cisgender and LGBTQIA are minimized, ignored and overlooked when it comes to sexual violence.

Women of color carry the guilt, shame and pain of sexual assault for all of our lives like our white counterparts except we are less likely to receive any support especially support that ties to our mental health with it still being a taboo in the black community. It is said that when you experience trauma that is life changing, you mentally remain the age at which you were traumatized. Its also important to know that there are two times in your life where trauma can be most significant; when you are age two and in your teenage years.


I was 13. 

I was two months in to my eighth grade year. My rapist was 16, he was close to me. My rapist was one grade ahead of me as he was left back two years. Prior to my assault he was my boyfriend which ended because of his mental and physical violence towards me. I was going through a lot of changes during my middle school years, to no fault of my parents I was ill-equipped to handle most of my close friends being sent to private schools, not being black enough for some of the black students and not being "good" enough for some of the white/non-black students. I responded with fighting, skipping school and at times stealing. I wanted someone to see me and hear me. The only thing every saw was my behavior. Even my own parents couldn't verbalize or make sense in my sudden change.

There is this idea that children who come from two-parent, middle class homes are don't experience wretched things like sexual assault but I did. I experienced bullying, intimate partner violence and peer pressure. Unbeknownst to me I was simple projecting years of racism, sexism and hyper-sexuality forced on me not by my family but from those around me. My parents were married and still are. My parents encouraged for us to come to them but I couldn't. I had been silenced so much that by the time I got to them at the end of my day I was depleted and was helpless.

I was 13. 

I waited two days and then I reported my sexual assault, it was eating away at me. I never wore those jeans again. I smelled my vomit on them every time I saw them, no matter how many times my mother washed them.

 I spoke up. Only my parents, my sister,  my three closest teachers and the school resource officer heard me. They believed me. My trauma went ignored by school support staff and I spent the rest of my eighth grade year up until February of 2006 skipping school, fighting, distancing myself from my family. I was ashamed. I was told that it was because of "who I was" that I called this onto myself. It wasn't until I auditioned and admitted into performing arts school in another part of the county that would allow me to distance myself and start over fresh.

I was able to start over fresh at 14. Everything was fine until the last part of our Young teen segment in Literature at the end of ninth grade. We read Speak which is about a 13 year old girl who was raped the summer before her freshman year of high school. I asked to be excused from watching the movie. "I would feel better just reading the book" I told Mr. E. "Why?' He asked confused. I just stared down. Mr. E caught on. "Sorry, just take your stuff and go next door. Don't worry about the assignment I had for the movie, you're excused and go speak to Mrs. Geigley if you need to Barb, ok?" I never went. I was too busy replaying that night in my head.

Reading Speak brought some healing to me.

I still have my copy.

I spent ten plus years unable to cope and move forward. My senior year of college I glossed over my rape to my former therapist. I still did not want to address it, I just wanted it to be known.


I was 13. 

At 25, in front of my work colleagues when asked why do we do this work, I came clean. 13 Year old me was tired of living in shame. Little Barb wanted to tell her story. Little Barb wanted to speak after 12 years of silence. I gave her the room to speak, she shared her part and peacefully let go. I cried the tears that I wanted to cry 13 years ago, I clinched to some of my colleagues like I wanted to be held that night 13 years ago. Our facilitator looked me in my eyes and said, "You've been carrying that weight for a long time and I think you've been waiting so long because you weren't being heard." Avis was right and for the first time in a long time people were seeing AND hearing me. I remember when I finally spoke up and my father came home and asked me, "are you okay?" "Yes, I'm good." He knew I was lying, we both were too afraid to talk about it. For him it meant he failed me and for me I was embarrassed.


This past week, two months after I finally freed myself from my sexual assault I made a visit back to my old middle school. I spoke with the SRO (school resource officer) who I confided in,  became a father figure to me and we talked about that day and the pain that came with it. We talked about my growth as a person who I initially reported my sexual assault to and how relevant that experience is to my role as a mother and a role as a member of my community and my work. I spoke to my teachers that knew and responded accordingly and they spoke so much love on me and bragged about how they knew I would be the one student that would have the success that I have. They saw me then and they knew that I would be who I am now. I hadn't realized it but I had been avoiding that school, it brought me so much hurt. It also brought me resilience and people who have nothing but unconditional love for me. I am glad I went back, I believe that was a field trip 13 year old Barb and I needed.

I was 13. 

I understand how the weight of my sexual assault impacted my experiences with motherhood. My ongoing fear of someone harming my children. My agitation with people making comments about my oldest daughter breasts developing, her developing figure and the size of her butt grows daily, yet I remain patient as I ask family, friends and even strangers to not make comments or point out her growth. Not because I am denying it but because we need to understand how we inadvertently sexualize black and brown girls bodies, "that girls got a shape on her!" "Wow, where is the time going?! She has titties!" *cringe*

 We need to move away from that.

Why do I do the work of restorative practices and pushing for cultural competency in schools? My story- long and complicated is the answer. I want society to stop criminalizing black and brown girls while policing and mistreating our bodies. I want society to stop saying women need to protect themselves and instead say, "men need to understand that  regardless of relationship status you are not entitled to her body." I want women and girls who have experienced sexual assault to know they are not alone. I see you and I hear you.

I was 13. 

Kenneka Jenkins

LaVena Jackson

Charneshia Corley

Janese Talton-Jackson

My sisters that have spoke up

My sisters that remain silent

Me too. 

For more information about sexual assault and ways to help/educate you can visit these websites:

Me Too

Women of Color Network - Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

FORGE FORWARD

Sexual Assault and The LGBTQ


7:04 PM

Can we talk about the D(ating) and Motherhood?!

by , in


COMING TO YOU LIVE FROM THE BENCH......



Happy Cuffing season ya'll! 

 Yes that's right, your girl is single.  I have been single for about a year and a half now! It wasn't until this year where I started to date, even deeper it wasn't until this month your girl decided to stop being standoffish and be open to guys who aren't "my type" while trying dating sites (Gotta love my pushy ass LS and Best Sandz *rolls eyes*).  My type is cliche, yes baby; Tall, DARK and Handsome! I get that right but he usually comes emotionally unavailable, impulsive, has a history of  bread crumbing or ghosting. Needless to say, I may need to change my type.......

Or.....

Kidding, Kidding...I think.

One actualization I had over the past 7 months was that I need to change my inner-self to attract who it is I believe I deserve. I also need to change how I spoke about myself and work on my confidence. Now, hear me out I ain't no "Pick Me" (See: thirsty jawns on twitter who willfully perpetuate patriarchy) but I do believe you call experiences and people onto you life for wherever you are in your journey. My last serious relationship didn't go/end so well. The beauty that came out of that was Jahara, life lessons and most importantly I learned how important it is to love yourself. I also understood and saw firsthand how toxic my own actions/words are. I realized how insecure and jealous I was because I had no definition of self. I was the relationship. Point. Blank. Period. This year has been the first year where I proudly show my inner and outer self (all 284lbs) off to the world! With that being said, I found all of this confidence to be myself and yet none to open up to date. So with all of the journaling, meditating, self-reflecting, working out and striving to be a better, kinder, more loving and gentler person to ME; I know that sooner or later my soul will call out to the soul that will love me the same way I love and honor myself. 

I also realize that I am naturally a lover and nurturer. I  attract men who need healing and love. These are the ones who typically have no clue how to reciprocate said love. It is up to me to identify them and choose how to move forward..meaning do I want to teach them or do I want to leave them for the next woman who wants to take on that project.

I also attract Virgo men and for the life of me I cannot understand why. One thing is for sure and two things are for certain...

1. A Virgo man is the demise of a Gemini woman. 

2. Ya'll are sociopaths. Don't @ me and do better. 



Bitch, as bomb as you are! What's the deal?

First of all, I don't even like meeting people family! I'm slowly getting over that and once I get over that I THINK I should be okay. Picture this, it took my ex's mother to run up on me while I stopped past their house one day and we were 3 months in....I still think he set me up but whatever. It's just weird and I've been in those relationships where mom (hell even dad once or thrice) doesn't like me and it makes for an awkward situation. I just didn't want to go down that road again. I was wrong about her however and now me and Ladybug (thats my nickname for her) are tight as ever and I love her soooo much!

(Actual footage of me trying to escape the day his mom pulled up.)


Okay, its not a dance team but you get it.
Second, I have internalized that men will be turned off or shy away because I have two children. I also get anxiety when I think about the possibility of bringing someone around my children and the heavy WHAT IF it doesn't work out. I know ya'll, Kimora Lee Simons has a whole Bring It Dance squad and is married once a year so it is safe to say that there is someone out there for me. At 25, I understand why it is important to date to figure out whats best for you and I also understand as a mother how exhausting it can be on the dating scene. 

I also have two little girls that I need to protect and I'm afraid that I will miss the signs and put them into harms way. For example, a good friend of mine invited me to her birthday party a while ago and I went with my youngest daughter. While there, one of her guy "friends" *more on that later* and I sparked up a conversation. He slid in with the whole "Your daughter is so beautiful and has such a great personality she gets it from you I can tell. [Inner Barb] Boy, you full of sh*t. [Outer Barb] "Awe, thank you!"

We did the typical ASL (Age, state, location for you post AIM kiddos *eye rolls*) and talked about our careers, family, how we knew our mutual friend. He even offered to take me out and teach me about football since I have little knowledge about it. If I had a 1.00 for every time a man led with "teach me how to follow football" line I'd be rolling in dough. This is the part where some of ya'll who know me are like, "Barb...Didn't you.."

Yes I dated a professional football player and I still dont' know shit about football, I just know the man ran the ball and dassit.

Speaking of which:

But Anyway...

We exchanged numbers and he walked me and my daughter to my car, said goodnight and off to Baltimore we went. A few days later we texted and it was nothing deep. 

My friend later asks if I had talked to him and I said briefly, at this point I'm not totally open to dating but I felt that God was pressing pause on things with him and for good reason. A few weeks later her and I catch up in-between our snapchat, text, IG convos via FaceTime.

YA'LL

This man had turned himself in that day for having sex with a student at the high school where he was coaching football. Both of us in shock and in disbelief, he initiated a sexual relationship with a girl 13 years younger than him. My friend kept apologizing and was so upset that she had let him in her home where all of those young girls were running around. We were so grateful that God had covered me, her and those babies in her house. I kept thinking what IF I would've pursued something with him? Luckily, that was the first AND last time I saw him but we were both in shock. Disgusted, angry and in shock. 

So yes, I'm unpacking a lot as I finally relish in my singleness however the anxiety of what ifs often paralyze me and I shut down knowing that I have all of this love to give. Also, I hardly have the time to date. You only get me one day a week and every other weekend. I don't know what kind of relationship can be built with that limited time but God bless you if you are willing to try it out. I've been trying to figure out how to write this for awhile because I was like, "how can I do this without airing my business." But shit, ya'll know I ain't perfect. Especially if you've been reading and subscribed (side eye if you haven't thus far.) I haven't given up on love, I am still unlearning the idea that when it comes to romance, I am no longer qualified to be someones girlfriend, fiancé or wife. 

I also am learning that there is more to me than being a girlfriend, fiancé or wife. Even now, as I see many friends becoming girlfriends and wives I remind myself that I am not in that part of my journey. Right now my journey is to define who I am while discovering my likes and dislikes. I made the mistake of putting my life on hold for a relationship that didn't have a solid foundation and spent more days bad than good.

 I was playing wife to men who didn't  feel comfortable with making plans with me let alone making me their girlfriend.


I realized I was so invested in a relationship that was no longer  because that was the only identity I had and I clung it to like my life depended on it.  I wanted to be married and hadn't even seen let alone imagined the power, success and life I could have just being ME. I realized that was my biggest lesson to be learned. So this year, I made it a point to be uncomfortable, share my insecurities and stories to the universe, as one of my favorite black women says, "It is your story to tell and it is the universe's to own." Now, I dress up, do my makeup and take myself on weekly dates. I hang out and travel with my best friend(s),  I openly take advice from black women around me that I consider aunties, sister and extended mommies. I don't shrink myself to make men feel comfortable in my presence. I don't apologize for "knowing it all." I'm just living for me now and I wasn't doing that when I was in relationships.  Out of all I have been through in the last 18 months, choosing to pick me everyday has been the best decision ever.

 I know that there is someone out there for me and when he comes it will be beyond everything I imagined. 

Right now, I am dipping my toe in the dating pool. So far, the temperature feels just right. 

Oh yeah, If you have a brother 27+, 5'10+, successful, Black as a pit from pole to pole,  stable job, emotionally secure and loves children...send him my way.

What's your dating life like? drop some comments/love below.

#IllBeInTouch

6:04 AM

Octobers Affirmation

by , in

Ya'll....I disappeared again! I'm sorry! I've been *Whispers* working and playing! Okay, no excuses. To be honest, I haven't been sure about what content to provide that would be super helpful for Millennial mommies. However, I woke up this morning and realized it is October 1st and its a new month which means it is time for new affirmations and a new opportunity to speak things into your life!

What are affirmations Barb?
Affirmations are positive assertions. Affirmations have been around for like ever and go hand in hand with meditation, deep breathing and other spiritual/self-care actions. Author Alexandra Elle (who has a bomb podcast: theyheygirlpodcast) posts daily affirmations everyday. Her IG can be found here (Alex_elle).

Alex_elle


How long do affirmations have to be?

Affirmations can be a list or or just one sentence. The goal is to say/think them everyday and speak them into your life. To be clear: your actions have to match your words. If your affirmation is: I honor my body internally and externally, ask yourself what does that look like? Are you eating right, wearing clothes that make you happy, taking time for your mental health? Do just talk the talk, walk the walk!

Pray, affirm, do the work and manifest!

God cannot be the only person in your life that brings change! There is power in your words, thoughts and actions!



Here are my Five Affirmations for October:

I am honoring my body internally and externally.

I am slow to speak, faster to listen.

I am healing.

My actions are intentional and they bring me closer to my goals.

My presence brings love, light and joy.


I will write them in my affirmations book and with every journal entry I post! Still need more inspiration? You can look here:
Affirmations on Pintrest

Happy October!
#IllBeInTouch

What are your affirmations? Post them below!