As a mother of three wonderful children who are now adults, I reflect on my previous years of motherhood with a myriad of emotions. There are things I wish I could do differently, words I could have chosen better, and actions I wish I could take back. But when I see my children living out their dreams, pursuing their passions, establishing their careers, and even beginning their own families, I breathe a sigh of relief—I must have done a few things right. One of those things is teaching them the power of positive affirmations.
Since my children were small, I spoke life into them and taught them how to speak life into themselves. I taught them that their words hold great power, so they should choose them carefully. I remember helping them to write notes to put on their mirrors and making sure they recited those affirmations every morning before school. I encouraged them to not just read the words on the paper, but to believe and fully embody them. The affirmations came in handy for them even as young children.
For example, my children have been in many situations where they were the only Black child or student in the room. This could be an uncomfortable situation for anyone, let alone a child. However, I advised each of my children to remember their positive affirmations whenever they felt nervous or worried about being brown children in a white world. I also made time to check in and ask how they were doing. I held space for them to speak openly and candidly about their thoughts and feelings, and I shared my own innermost thoughts and feelings with them.
Now Sis, if you are reading this and thinking that I did everything right or was the perfect mother… please think again.I most certainly was not. I distinctly remember a very difficult conversation with one of my children some years back. They came to me and asked, “Mama, why do you always yell so much? You yell at us all the time, and that does not make us feel very good.” I immediately burst into tears. I was under so much pressure, working to grow my brand and business, that I was living in fight or flight mode. Most of the time I don’t think I was even aware of it. Thank God for my children who had the courage to come to me and confront me about the way that I spoke to them.
There’s a saying, “Be mindful of the way you speak to your children; the way you speak to them will become their inner voice.” Although that was one of my most humbling experiences, I am so glad it happened. From that moment forward, I stopped yelling at them. I made a conscious effort to regulate my own emotions before speaking to my children. I would check in with myself and ask: Are you about to say this from a place of love or frustration? Taking a few moments to check in with me before addressing them was a game changer. I could immediately tell a difference in my children and in myself.
We are all working toward something, and it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life. But don’t forget to check in with your babies. Take a second to look them in the eye and ask, “How you doin’?” Listen intently to all they have to say. Be a judgment-free and loving presence for them. After all, they are your heart walking around outside of your body.
Our children are facing unprecedented times and pressures that previous generations could not even begin to fathom. It is more important now than ever to make sure we are regularly checking in with them and prioritizing their mental health. By being a safe space for our children to express their feelings and modeling the behavior we wish to see in them, we can equip them with the necessary tools and resources to be the best version of themselves.
This Mother’s Day, slow down and enjoy being celebrated (because you most definitely deserve it ALL, Sis). Take a moment of gratitude for this motherhood journey—the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Take a moment to reflect on the growth that you have witnessed in your babies—at whatever stage of life they may be in—and be thankful for the positive changes motherhood has made in you as a person. There is no formal training, and once it starts, the ups and downs do not end. Our children see us at our best and our worst, and yet, they still love us unconditionally. What an honor and a special bond we share with these little humans.
Sis, how will you commit to prioritizing your children’s mental health?Leave a Comment