1. When did you first become a mother and how did you feel?
I was 29 when I had my son. I was single, so I was a little apprehensive about how I was going to handle this, but what I felt most was overwhelming love. I felt an awesome sense of responsibility. I told myself that what I do with him will affect the man he will become.
Erica and her son, Julian, 14
2. How do your feelings about motherhood differ now?
Well….I know I can handle it. I’ve got a good village. He’s 14 now, and I still feel that love. I stare at him every chance I get! He’s about to be a freshman (in high school), and I still have that sense of responsibility. I want to make sure he takes advantage of every opportunity that is presented to him.
3. What makes you a #goodmama?
My husband says: I’m loving, caring, and compassionate and hard-working. I’m fair, but I take no mess. I say: I realize that my child is not just my mini-me. He is his own person and deserves to be treated with respect. That said..I DO NOT take any mess!
4. Why do you think African-American moms get a bad rap?
Partly because of how the media portrays African-Americans.
Who doesn’t see some jacked up individual and blame his mother? But we contribute some also. When we’re not interested in our child’s life at school, when they have discipline problems, or bad grades and we blame the teacher. When we’re more concerned about how our children LOOK than what they are learning and what kind of people they are becoming.
Erica and her husband, Tyrone
5. Tell us one of your funniest mommy moments?
My son was about to enter kindergarten and we had just left the shoe store. I was talking about how big his foot was and I said I wanted my baby back. He said, “Mommy, sons GOTTA grow!”
6. What piece of advice would you give another mom?
Take the time to get to know your child as a person. This process starts from birth. The more you get to know your child, the easier raising them will be. You’ll know what kind of discipline they respond to, what quality time with you should look like to them. And I firmly believe that beyond the basic necessities, the most important things you can give your child are time and attention.
Erica also blogs at Mrs.Day.comwhere she is in the middle of a #Proverbs challenge that asks moms to read and reflect on the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Make sure you check her out!
Muffy Mendoza is an author, speaker and founder of Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a support group for nearly 4,000 African-American moms in the Pittsburgh region. To further fill the void Muffy has created a line of educational products focused on helping Black moms be the best moms, too. Her first book, The Brown Mama Mindset: A Blueprint for Black Moms on Life, Love & Home, was featured at the 2018 Essence Festival and is currently sold in various cities across the U.S. Muffy champions the beauty of Black motherhood everywhere she goes, even on the TEDx stage. Find out more about Muffy on muffymendoza.com.