I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my four years as a black stay-at-home mom. My original blog post was written two years ago, and as I am coming up on my fourth year at home, I now realized I should have titled this blog post, “Things No One Tells You About Being A Black Stay At Home Mom”, because being a first-time mom is uncharted territory, but being a black mom especially one who stayed home felt significantly foreign.
Deciding to stay home kind of by accident. I was let go from my corporate job five years ago. Working in a corporate setting didn’t make me happy and knew I did not want to return so I became a waitress until I figured out my next move.
While waitressing, I became pregnant and months later, my husband’s job relocated us to a new city. So I found myself seven months pregnant and relocating to a city where I didn’t know anyone.
Given our situation, I felt it was best if I stayed home to raise my new baby. I wanted to be very involved in the upbringing of my daughter, especially in her early months of life.
If someone told me that there will be times that I will want to drive off a cliff, I would have laughed at the dramatics but after experiencing four years of sleep deprivation and mom life, I understand those feelings.
Being a black stay-at-home mom it isn’t all play dates with your mommy friends and drinking wine while watching HGTV while the little one’s nap. There are definitely no bubble baths and hardly any quiet time to read (let alone think some days). And forget about eating hot food or drinking hot coffee again! Motherhood is a real sacrifice for the woman you once were.
Reflecting back on the past year has allowed me to see my role as the matriarch of my family very differently.
The 10 Lessons I’ve Learned from Being a Black Stay at Home Mom
Motherhood Isn’t About Perfection
Trying to be perfect, will cause you to lose your peace. I had an unrealistic picture in my head of what motherhood looked like. I looked at my own childhood, my friends who had babies before I did, and thought I could do this better!
I am a perfectionist by nature and the need to get everything right has caused me to feel anxiety, stress, overwhelm, disappointment, and more negative feelings I won’t list.
If I could go back, I would tell myself, “get over yourself hun, parenthood isn’t picture perfect. It’s messy, difficult, and is meant to be challenging. So start going with the flow.”
Although four years have passed and I cannot go back in time, learning that lesson sooner than later has saved my sanity.
Stay At Home Moms Aren’t Superwomen
Ask for help.
- It’s ok to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you less smart or capable. It simply makes you human. Mothers cannot do it all by themselves. Whether you have a spouse or a support system of any kind, it’s important to ask for help and lean on them in times of need.
- I tried to do everything by myself which left me extremely sleep-deprived, irritable, and feeling defeated when I couldn’t do it all (well duh!) Now I realize how detrimental that was to my peace and happiness these past four years. I am looking forward to the future as I am letting go of the supermom idea.
Hire A Babysitter.
- Find a reliable babysitter ASAP. After four years, I still do not have a reliable babysitter, but this lesson is here because I wish I did. Having a babysitter helps you get some time alone, do work or clean the house uninterrupted, or take a nap. You deserve naps! I didn’t take naps in the early years but now I try to take a nap at least once a week. If you can, get a babysitter asap and if you have a family that lives nearby, do not be afraid to use them! Also, do not be
- Being a stay-at-home mom feels very lonely and isolating. I did not hear any of my mom’s friends talk about this enough. Being at home is probably the loneliest I’ve ever felt in my life. Not only are you at home with a baby or babies all day long, but there is no one to talk to! I felt that I could only talk to other stay-at-home moms because my working friends didn’t understand. I often got responses like “well you chose to stay at home!” which is true but not what I needed or wanted to hear when I needed friendship and a person to vent to. I could not talk to my friends who didn’t have kids because they really just wouldn’t understand how spending the days with a cute baby could drive you crazy.
- Depending on the age of your little one, and if you have a babysitter or family to help babysit, you won’t have a social life. My non-talking babies literally became my best friends for a time. I’ve cried to them many times, prayed with them when I felt weak, made promises to them to be a great mommy, and confided in these tiny people. Funny looking back now, but babies are great listeners.
Do black stay-at-home moms work?
- It’s ok to want to make money while being a stay-at-home mom. There is a debate on these internet streets, that if you work from home you technically aren’t a stay-at-home mom. I disagree. When I decided to stay at home, I knew that I didn’t want to give up my career ambitions. I had ideas and skills that I wanted to use in starting an online business. Mothers should make their own money. I love my husband so much and in no shape or form is this a disrespect to him, but I believe women would make their own mother. Because you cannot predict the future and having your own money is not only empowering to you but it’s added security for life’s what-ifs. If you have been thinking of starting your own business, read my recent blog post on how to choose one that’s the best fit for you.
Make Mom Friends.
- Don’t be shy and join mommy groups: Which brings me to my next lesson. I quickly learned after being nudged by my husband that I needed to get out of the house and join a mommy group. I needed a mommy village. Being a Sagittarius, I’m naturally a social butterfly but the introvert in me makes me anxious in social settings, but despite my fears of being in a new city raising my babies, I ventured out and ended up joining three mommy groups! Those mommy groups saved me in the early months with baby number one. Listen, set your pride and fears aside and go get you some mommy friends in a mom group. You need them!
I Am A Unicorn.
- Get used to being the only one in the room: As a black stay-at-home mom, I felt sort of like a unicorn. I know I’m magical but it was odd always being the only black mom or one of two in the room at mommy and me groups, or mommy stroller workouts, or any other mommy/baby event I went to. I’m learning that all the black stay-at-home moms I’ve met on social media don’t exist in real life! But it made me proud that I decided to do something out of the norm for my culture and be a positive representative for black moms everywhere. It also made me hyper-aware that my daughter was the only little brown girl in many of these rooms too. That’s another blog post for another day.
Pray for Guidance.
- You have to live on your knees: I did not learn this lesson until my pregnancy with my second daughter. It is so tough being pregnant and having a high-spirited toddler to take care of. There were many tears and many prayers. Our second daughter’s middle name is Fe, which is Faith in Spanish. My faith in God grew so much that year because I could not have gotten through this without Him. Motherhood requires prayer and for you to realize you weren’t meant to do this alone not only in the earthly sense but in the spiritual as well. God never meant for you to mother without partnering with him, consulting with him, leaning on him, so why do we try.
Prioritizing myself isn’t the second option.
- Mom care is self-care – Taking care of yourself is very important for your health, mental clarity, your patience, and helps you show up better as a mom. Most moms complain that they are too tired to do just about anything. I’ve found that to be true especially when I am not caring for myself as I should. Easier said than done, but giving yourself 30 minutes a day, even if it’s broken up in 15 min intervals throughout the day is all you need for a mommy reset. In 15 minutes you can read the bible/devotional, workout, eat a real hot (or cold) meal, take a power nap (if you combine the time), take the baby outside for a walk, or simply sit in silence and take deep breaths. These are simple, easy, free forms of self-care but they are necessary to be able to show up as the mom you want to be. You decide what that looks like for you.
Mom guilt is a waste of precious energy.
- Ditch the mom guilt – Being a stay-at-home mom is a huge sacrifice. Your time is no longer yours. Your life is planned around your baby’s needs, wants, nap schedules, etc. Simple things like drinking warm coffee or eating warm food are taken for granted. When you are a stay-at-home-mom it’s a 12-hour shift of being a chef, childcare provider, teacher, playmate, and house cleaner. Now imagine doing that for a few years.
- If some days you are just too pooped to care, it’s ok if your little ones get the TV so you can get a few minutes of quiet, no one gets a bath that night, and pizza is on the menu for dinner. No guilt. No shame. It’s called life.
After reading this, you may come across as if I am complaining. This list seems kind of negative but it isn’t meant to be. This is my truth. Being a black stay-at-home mom has not been easy. I battled postpartum depression and did not want to confide in anyone for fear of being ungrateful for my blessed life. Simply put, it’s hard, but it’s a life I would choose over and over again.
Being a black stay-at-home mom, in my opinion, is a form of activism against traditional societal norms of what a stay-at-home mom looks like and what she does. I didn’t grow up in an environment where black women stayed home. In my world, black women worked.
No one is going to tell me how I can raise my family and choose to make money.
To be able to design a life that allows me to be at home raising my daughters the way I want and make money doing something I love and on my crazy inconsistent mommy schedule is my way of sticking it to the capitalist man, who wants to tell us that the only way to be successful is to have a J-O-B working for someone else.
If the global pandemic taught moms everywhere anything, is that working for an employer while caring for your family is almost impossible. This is why millions of women left the workforce in 2020.
Self-employment is the answer to being able to earn money and raise your family at the same time. If you need help making that happen, start by taking the quiz to find your best business match.