Mother’s Day is here and I want to dedicate this post to all of the moms around the world who often feel as if they’re in this struggle of motherhood alone, I feel you!
Motherhood crept up on me and took me by surprise during my early years of college. Prior to getting pregnant I was a young girl from the impoverished city of Newark (hence where the name Urban Girl came from) who was excelling at Hampton University; my new home by the sea. I’d taken my deprived public school education and pushed myself to keep up with my peers many of whom received a top of the line private school education equipped with honors classes, no such thing existed at Newark, NJ’s Central High School. We had outdated books, a school littered with asbestos, it was no walk in the park, but I’d gotten through it.
I’d maintained making the Dean’s list every semester, lived in the honors dorm, and even landed an internship through the Louis Carr Foundation. Shout out to my friends at the time Morgan, Staci, Ciara, Denise, Darren, Shannon, loved them! Life was good… Until I’d entered into a highly stressful, abusive, and toxic relationship, with a man who was highly insecure and clearly suffering inside. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I can see why I attracted such a toxic relationship. My inner feelings of myself at the time weren’t in balance with my outer success. The relationship began to severely diminish my self esteem and my self love. Although I was excelling in school I felt negatively about who I thought I deserved to love me.
I eventually cut my college career short, to my parent’s disapproval and moved back to Newark and enrolled at Rutgers University. I’d become pregnant by the very man who had a negative way of showing me love, but regardless of the unbalanced relationship I knew I would love my daughter unconditionally. I became a mom at 22 years old, and put college on hold, had my daughter and with the help of my family, my sister Dee Dee, cousin Swiyyah, Chyrelle, my mom and dad, I was able to graduate from Rutgers with my degree in Journalism while still working full time. I broke off my relationship with my daughter’s father shortly after she was born.
I can honestly say that my daughter’s father is amazing to her, I often say he may of had a hard time loving a woman of his equal but he’s somehow able to make up for that short coming by loving her overtime.
Resilience was key during this time in my early 20’s. I’d put my dreams of owning my own magazine on the back burner and decided making a living was more important. Every time I would look at my daughter I would be reminded of the dream I’d deferred. How could I encourage my daughter to go after what she wants if I decided not to?
I’d spat out every motherhood excuse on why I couldn’t move on my dreams; because I’m a mom I can’t intern, or commute to NYC daily for work, or get into these spaces, and blah, blah, blah. It began to sound ridiculous as if I was fishing for excuses. I learned to stop looking at motherhood as a burden hindering me from accomplishing my goals and started to view it as a great opportunity to push me forward. In the words of Oprah “There are no mistakes in life…”
With the inspiration of motherhood I decided to move on my dream of owning my own media platform that would speak to women like me. I wanted the opportunity to give the urban woman a voice and I did that with the creation of Urban Girl Magazine. Programs like the Walker Legacy’s Moms Who Hustle now taking place in Newark, NJ that helps women like me and moms around the U.S.
Motherhood can be a challenging duty. It calls you to be a 5 star chef, a school teacher, a counselor, a life coach, doctor, accountant, and the list goes on. As moms and women we can not let the laundry list that motherhood requires to get us to the point where we give up on our dreams and goals. If anything lets allow this experience to inspire us to move on our dreams an take them to the next level. Urban Girl Magazine is still not perfect but it’s my creation, its the result of my own resilience. As I sit here enjoying my mother’s day breakfast made by my daughter and a new man who shows me unconditional love, encouragement, acceptance and patience, I conclude with one of my favorite poems by Langston Hughes.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?