There’s no way to celebrate Black History Month without honoring black women, more specifically black mothers. From slavery to present day black mothers have endured pains and trials that no other woman or mother of any race have had to endure. They have been raped, to sold into slavery in a way that broke separated them from their families while still being expected to mother and care for their master’s, and have been discredited in by other women in business and by their own in the movement for social justice. Yet, in the words of Maya Angelou, still they rise.
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Today, I salute the love, determination, fortitude and beauty of black mothers by sharing with you 5 lessons (in no particular order) from my black momma, Regina A. North, that have helped make me the woman I am today.
- If they will lie, they will cheat. If they will cheat, they will steal. If they will steal, they will kill. You don’t need them in your life. I didn’t understand this when she shared it with me, but as I grew in life I understood it more. While it isn’t necessarily to be taken literally, what I have found it there is some truth in the literal of this lesson. Essentially, run when you see a liar. If they will lie they will go to many lengths to deceive you. Lying is one of the most selfish things a person can do it as it robs you of your right to make an informed decision. Moreover, it misrepresents who they are and often, if they are lying, they ain’t shi*t.
- If it ain’t in writing it don’t mean sh*t. My mom built a career in the law field. With this came an understanding that if you don’t have it in writing it didn’t happen. That said, always get it in writing. If they don’t put it in writing, you document it in writing. I always make sure I summarize meetings via email so that everyone has an understanding of what was said and what I understood. No reply means consent and at the time of discrepancy I have a note – in writing.
- Don’t take my kindness for blindness or my meekness for weakness. Basically, I am a nice person. Don’t think there isn’t another side. You really don’t want to see the other side. You’ve been warned.
- Be kind anyway. Even after they try you, be kind anyway.
- Love God. While not a Bible-toting religious fanatic, my mother has a deep love for God. She taught me how to seek His counsel in times of trouble and how to praise Him daily.
In addition to my mom, I was raised by a village of other strong black women – aka my aunties. Here are a few honorable mention lessons from them:
- F*uck’em and feed’em fish and beans. My Aunt Trish is one of a kind. The rebel of the family she often has the funniest lessons of all. This one simply implies that you need to feed people with a long-handled spoon. Disregard their foolishness, but keep them close enough to watch them. Feed them so they know it’s real – but don’t give’m the good stuff. Lol!
- Just do it. Aunt Agnes seemed to always be able to do it all. I asked her once how. I get so overwhelmed with life and just want to give up at times. She said, “You don’t have time to quit. Don’t think about all you have to do. If you think about it you will quit. Just do it.”
- Jesus paid the price; you are not the Lamb. Often in the struggle to show that you are worthy, we feel we have to do things that we don’t want to and shouldn’t have to do. Aunt Malia reminds me that Jesus paid the price so you don’t have to pay it. You are not the Lamb!
Note to mommy: Mommy, it seemed as if everyone else was taken the road often traveled and I was taking the road less traveled by following your direction, but I understand the value in it all now. Thank you for teaching me to always aspire higher and showing me how to sacrifice humbly and love unconditionally.
To my village of other mommas, thank you for caring enough to love me as your own. You didn’t have to, but you did and because of you my life is richer.
What are some of the lessons you learned from your mother or your village of black mommas? Share them with me on Twitter (@beawilliamsapr) and come back here to see them featured in a photo gallery.