A place where Black Mothers can celebrate excellence and motherhood.

Family Matters

 My daughters do not share a biological father. Tatiyana's father and I met/dated in high school until my freshman year of college. We grew up and apart, and spent three years struggling to find peace with one another. We clung to the word 'co-parent' as if it shielded us, masking the pain and baggage that we had accumulated over the years. We both went into a spiral, he and I both dating questionable people that none-the-less taught us a lot along the way.

At the end of 2013, there was a shift. Both of us found peace and begin to see each other in a new light. We begin to communicate with one another as a family, not 'co-parents'. I was still struggling from three more failed relationships and him from what I observed, in a good place. Still, there were bumps, but not as large and I noticed he had an eagerness to compromise more than previous years.  Being family has always been important to him but over the last few months, it had really become his thing. Then the conversation came that helped it all make sense:

Shawn: "Hey, so I just want to let you know that I'm dating someone."
Me: "Okay, cool?" *Awkward laughter from both of us*
Shawn: "I was telling you because I'm going to introduce her to Tat soon and we talked about letting each other know when brought people around her."
Outer Me: "Okay! What's her name?" Inner Me: "Welp, I'm being replaced." (As if there's a factory that you can return used moms to LOL)
Shawn: "Myesha, her and I have been dating for awhile and I think its time she met Tat."
Me: "Ok, cool! Let me know how it goes."

Myesha and Tat hit it off of course and the rest is history. In 2014, Jamal and I started dating and that meant having the conversation with Shawn about introducing Tatiyana and Jamal. Shawn, of course, was okay and Tatiyana and Jamal hit it off (what kid says no to ice cream and the playground?!) With us both having partners that we saw long-term interest in that meant when Tatiyana had events we would come together to support her.

When I first met Myesha, she was reserved and for a second I didn't think she liked me and I had all these horror stories in my head where I wondered if Shawn had told her I was crazy, deranged and just downright awful; I later learned she has to warm up to people. Our conversations were always light and friendly. Same for Jamal and Shawn, conversation light and friendly; I think sometimes it was awkward but we were all there for the most important reason -- Tatiyana.

The end of 2014 I found out I was pregnant with Jahara and beginning of 2015 Myesha found out she was pregnant with little Shawn. Our relationships continued to grow organically, me sharing tips for morning sickness, both of us venting about school and work while meeting to pick up/drop off Tatiyana. We got to a place where we would hug, rub each other bellies and laugh. There was so much unspoken and spoken excitement about how these two babies would be three months apart.

So here we are five years later - an engagement, a restored relationship, the loss of a mother figure, a nine-year-old and two almost-three-year-olds later and we couldn't be happier.

Recently, Myesha shared a photo of all of us from Tatiyana's lacrosse game and we got nothing but positive comments - some people even asking if they could share the post.  Her [Myesha] and I talked about our journey as a family together and we both are relieved and grateful that we have the bond that we have. My own mother commented on how close Myesha and I are one day saying how she wished she could've had that with my older siblings mom. " I have two girls and a son by extension. No, they're not twins, they're three months apart. We're a blended family." I get the confused look and then a relieved smile. "Oh, I get it. You both have different partners." Yes, Jan! You're correct! lol...

"Grown women shit." As people tell us both. Certainly, it can be but I don't think that it can be simplified to that one statement. I had to heal, forgive, let go and begin to decide what works for me individually and as a mother with/without other peoples approval. I had to learn to take some critiques for what they were and some as just information. In order for me to have the amazing relationship that I have with Myesha, I had to unpack a lot of shit, one of them was receiving critiques on how I raised Tatiyana pre- Jahara. Not many knew but at one point before Myesha, before Jamal and I started dating, and before Jahara and little Shawn I was working two jobs, going to school full-time, running a chapter with my Line Sister and studying for the LSAT. Spoiler Alert: I ended up in the hospital after passing out from exhaustion.

During that time, I struggled with balancing it all and being a mother; looking back I'm proud of what I did at 20/21 because most couldn't, now here I am at 26 working full-time, running a business, a blog, a youtube channel and raising two children *WHEW*.

Prior to me being unapologetic about how I raise my girls, someone (especially on her dads' side) always had something to say about her hair, clothes, etc. and it would make me feel so small. I would stay awake crying convinced that I was the worlds worst mother.  I realized my biggest fear is that she would come around and critique my motherhood as everyone else did. I felt like I failed because I couldn't do XYZ instead of surrendering to the truth: I can't do everything all the time but I will give my best effort to what I can.

After a while, I began to notice little things: Tatiyana would come home with a style that lasted for weeks versus my typical Minnie mouse ears and ballie hairstyles that I sent her in and her folder would be organized and I could just go through it quickly.

 I realized that Myesha wasn't, in fact, judging me, she was instead helping me. That helped me to open up more (it's also part of why I curated Millennial Mocha Moms). I realize that Black motherhood is what we say it is and sometimes you may need a little more help from your village than what you're saying. Even if that means a finger wag from the old-school super Black woman who cooked, nursed 6 babies on one breast simultaneously, read the bible and still found time to press her husband work pants.  I realized that sometimes it can be a struggle to not even get yourself together but other people as well and that its okay to just let your daughter rock a puff for a week or two, hell even a month, fuck who has something to say about it.

All of this time I feared she was going to judge me for where I, in my eyes couldn't measure up and here she is helping not once pointing out (at least to me) where I had fallen short. For that, I love her even more, not just for what she does but for who she is. When people ask me how I feel about Myesha and Shawn I light up with joy because how happy they are with each other. One thing I always say and it's very true, I'm so glad that God made Shawn and Myesha for one another. It's amazing when we are loved by many but it is extraordinary when we are loved by those created with us in mind.

Our blended family works because we all love each other very much. We all want the best for one another especially Tatiyana, Jahara and little Shawn. We make sure that we show gratitude to one another and do things together. I talk the talk about loving and putting fellow Black women first and making sure Tatiyana understands that. What better way to show her that by having a healthy, respectful and organic relationship with Myesha, the other Black woman she looks to for Momance (Mom + Guidance). I never once questioned Tatiyana's emotional, physical or spiritual safety with Myesha, I know she cares for our daughter as though she had given birth to her as I feel the same about little Shawn. Tatiyana knows that Shawn and I will always be there for her and she knows that Myesha and Jamal will always be there for her. I couldn't have asked for a better mother figure outside of me for Tatiyana.

I love our little family -- I wouldn't trade us for the world.


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