I’ve shared many of our mamas stories over the last few months, and have finally decided to share mines. Here’s my motherhood journey. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more stories of amazing mamas of color from Pittsburgh. My motherhood journey is not all roses and lollipops, but I’m still kicking and I’m pretty sure I’ve tried my best and have, hopefully, earned the title of a certified #goodmama.
1. What makes you a #goodmama?
Just the fact that I decided to be a mom makes me a good mom. I think being a Black mom is unique in that we go into motherhood knowing that we are up against insurmountable odds. I’m a good mama because I choose everyday to put the kids first and to live my life with optimism for my children and myself despite what I know the world would have me do.
the Mendoza clique
2. How do your feelings about motherhood differ from when you first became a mom?
When I first became a mom I was so scared. It’s like my brain was anxious all the time. My first child is a boy, so I knew that not only did the world not want him to grow up to be a success, but I wasn’t sure about it myself. I’d never experienced a successful, happy, emotionally stable and intelligent Black man. So I had no idea how I would raise one. But, thankfully God put all the right people in my life. Through the wisdom of my mother, love from my sisters, encouragement from my dad and the acceptance and unconditional love from my husband I’ve grown to know that I can do this. I’m very confident in my mothering abilities now. Even when I mess up, I know that another day awaits and that as long as I’m committed to my children and make a conscious decision to do right by them, the universe is always conspiring in our favor.
3. What advice would you give to a new mom?
I would tell a new mom to do it her way. Let her intuition guide her. Don’t be ashamed to mess up because you never know how those mess-ups are going to define your child in a positive way. Most of all be patient with your mothering abilities.
4. Name one thing America would be surprised to know about African-American mothers?
Most people would be surprised to now that African-American mothers are the best mothers. I truly believe that. Many of our sistahs are just out there with swords and Ak-47s trying so hard to get this thing right. When we mess up it’s not because of who we innately are, it’s because one of us lacked the intrinsic and earned knowledge to make the right decision. I remember when I had a 6 am class in college and I would ride the bus downtown. That bus was full of us sistahs getting up going to work to support our babies. There were no white moms, Asian moms or men on that bus. It was sistahs ONLY. We work hard to give our kids the best we know how and we should be proud of that!
5. Why did you start the #goodmama movement?
This movement was born because I recognize that Black moms don’t get enough credit. You only hear from Black moms when tragedy has struck. You don’t get to hear our everyday stories of triumph. We don’t hear from Black moms who are working 2 jobs to pay for private school or our stay-at-home moms who are dedicated to their kids. The #goodmama movement was born out a need to give Black moms a voice. Black moms deserve to be heard, not because their son has been shot, we deserve to be heard because we cook dinners, clean bathrooms, go to PTA meetings, pick up kids and drop them off.
Black moms deserve to be heard because we’ve been good moms to so many for so long, that now it’s our turn.
6. What is the number one lesson you have learned from motherhood?
Through motherhood I’ve learned that I can’t change other people, and that it is their God given right to be who they are. I believe that’s why we are on this Earth, essentially. In my opinion, that is how each person glorifies God is by being who they are deep down, when all layers are removed. My kids teach me everyday that I can only guide them and that I don’t have a right to try and make them something they’re not. They deserve the opportunity to sift through their own stuff and become what they feel makes them the best they can be.
Are you a #goodmama? Do you have a motherhood journey you’d like to scream out to the rest of the world? Join our over 20 moms who have already told their stories through the #goodmama campaign. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.