Persistence, resilience and an intense focus are characteristics often paired with creating a successful career or opening a new business, but what I’ve found is that it takes the same commitment to success to raise children and nurture a relationship.  Each time you’re lifestyle and family gets an upgrade (whether its a new kitchen mat, getting a family pet or a new car) it’s the direct result of a conscious decision your family has made to continue to do good and progress as a unit.  It’s not accidental.  Here are some of the commitment my hubby and I have made over the last decade that I believe are ushering us into a future filled with unconditional love and dedication to, not only our current immediate family, but to our lineage.

1. Commitment to Never-Ending Improvement

Looking at our life everyday with fresh eyes, always being willing to question the beliefs and ideas we’ve been raised with and have gained during our life journey and never saying never, are just a few of the ways we (as Jay-Z says) plan to hold down like 5 generations.  Mackell and I are always open to change, and we’ve learned to stop fighting about it.  Last year, I personally asked God to take everything from me that did not directly benefit my family.  I didn’t know that would mean my car, my job and pretty much the normalcy of the lifestyle I was used to.  But what I did know was that I wanted to be better.  I wanted improvement in the way I felt everyday.  So now, Mackell and I are happily on the bus.  I”m starting my own business and I FEEL GOOD!  I’m committed to being more frugal, more loving and more open to understanding that I don’t know it all.

My family is commitment to improvement over progress because progress is a false ideal which can be very misleading when it does not consider the emotional and spiritual state of the being it wishes to move forward.

2. Commit to a Compelling Vision for Your Family

Being frugal, being Earth-friendly, creating and renewing tradition in our community and inspiring friends and family to live a liberated life are all part of the Mendoza family vision.  Mamas you’ve got to have vision for you’re family, and it must be fun and manageable for your children.  Whether you are married or not, a family without vision will parish. Our families must develop a vision that is energetic, proactive and self-sustaining.  That means take the money out of it.  What do you want your family to FEEL like.  How does this vision inspire your children.  At the end of the day, no mama wants to work her butt off providing for her children just to have them enter into someone else’s vision once they become adults.  If you are a community activist, how can you pull you’re child into liking this line of work.  If you are an accountant, is you’re daughter a math wiz.  If not, why not?

A woman once said to me that the biggest problem with our communities right now is that we don’t raise our children to solve our problems.

If you’re community has 200 abandoned lots, why aren’t we teaching our children to garden, or how to build and rehab vacant lots and houses.  Yes, keep your vision simple, but make sure it is in line with what you want to see in your future.

3. Commit to an Optimal-Performance Team

You’re vision should be attracting people.  As my dad would say, What does your program look like?  Is you’re vision like the flu, everybody can get it.  Is it contagious.  You can give a pretty fair estimate of you’re family’s performance by how it looks to outsiders.  That doesn’t mean you wanna keep up with the Jones.  It begs the questions: Are you doing what YOU DO, so good that other people are amazed?  Our communities can’t afford mediocre families.  I don’t believe in giving work, politics or any other outside entity more than I give my family.  Furthermore, my husband and I need our children to internalize our vision.  In order for that to happen you (or you and your mate) have to commitment to peak-team performance among the adults.  That means if one of you puts clothes in the washer, the other shouldn’t have to be told to put them in the dryer. If Lil’ Johnny is on the chess team then dad and Lil’ Johnny should commit to one-hour of chess daily, Lil’ Johnny should know the history of chess and who are the current world champions.  It’s about always showing you’re kids that daddy and mommy know best.  You’re home should work like a well-oiled machine and that will breed not only your outside success, but it will draw in the people necessary to materialize said success.

4. Commit to Execution Excellence

Establishing accountability, keeping score and constant self-examination are ways to move toward execution excellence.  Make these family commitments a fun, family competition.  If we are going to execute excellence anywhere in our lives it should be with our mates and children.  Jobs come and go, businesses open and close, but family is forever.  (Literally, if you don’t do a good job now you might be getting abused by the girl down the street in the hospice home in 40 years)  Commit to constantly reviewing your vision, performance and ability to improve. Question EVERYTHING and commit to looking at everything with a fresh perspective if it’s not directly benefiting your family.  And lastly as Jordan says: Just do it!

Make being mama and wifey you’re first priority and I promise you, you’ll never regret it.


Cynthia Mendoza

Hello. Welcome to BrownMamas.com a blog for Black moms looking to thrive while raising kids in this hectic world and the headquarters for Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a Pittsburgh support group for Black moms. Here I write about raising my three boys, living in and loving Pittsburgh, dating my husband, gardening and all kinds of other stuff. Thanks for visiting. Stay long & come often!

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