Mothers are the cornerstone of our community, and anchor us all, as leaders. As forces in faith, guidance, support, and encouragement, they nurture and support us, regardless of what is happening around them. Our mothers are, in essence, the loadstone that keeps us navigating north.
To honor this truth, last year, my IVYinc SOARers Mentorship community declared May to be Mother’s Month, because one day is simply not enough to celebrate all that mothers are. This year, it is only right that I start things off by honoring the mother closest to my heart: my own mother – a strong Black woman, a single mother who thrived beyond the expectations of society. Throughout my mother’s journey, she has continued to stand in her authenticity, strength and power as a Black woman. Her drive and determination is what captures the attention of others, but her grace and wisdom is what epitomizes her title of mother, to me most.
Single mothers will always hold a special place in my heart. While they make up about 80% of single-parent households, they are still the backbone of our communities. They are in a constant state of duality, working to overcome obstacles and stigmas, while navigating through life with trauma, but unable to address their pain. Amidst it all, they strive to raise their children with a mindset that centers around thriving, rather than simply surviving. Every mother’s goal is to create a life for their children that exceeds their own.
After my parents marriage ended in divorce, my mom became a single mother raising five children. There is a vivid memory my mother recalls of a time the landlord came to collect the rent, she sat on the other side of the door, and listened as he knocked. Deep down, she did not want to answer, but she drew on her inner strength and resilience, and opened the door. These are the qualities I admire most in her. My mother told him with truth, courage and bravery, “My children’s father is no longer here, and I simply do not have the rent money.” In that moment, she was ready for whatever the outcome would be. This is a harsh reality for many divorced single mothers, who often feel the shame of a marriage not working. My mother faced her truth and all the emotions, battling through for us, her five children.
In a huge gesture of kindness that my mom has never forgotten, the landlord paid the rent and utilities in advance, and later returned with groceries. Before he left, he told her, “God bless you, and I want you and your children to be well.” A true display of the power of humanity. He stepped up and became a mirror of my mom’s pure heart, and her faith in God to protect her family. That day, the landlord was the instrument that faith was offered through.
My mom’s faith and conviction in the power of God, is the foundation in which she raised us; in kindness, compassion, strength and love. Motherhood is tough, and as we know, it takes a village to support and raise healthy children. Public assistance was the helping hand my mom needed during those early days, and why I believe accepting help, in any form, should never be looked down upon. At the time, it was a tool for her to put us in a better position until she could provide for us unassisted. This was an act of strength, faith, but also understanding, as she knew she would not rely on public assistance for long; despite the social workers who told her otherwise.
Eventually, my mother began working at a bank and, shortly thereafter she no longer required public assistance. My mom would go on to work at that bank until she retired; working her way up to one of the highest positions as officer. During her darkest days and her brightest moments, she has met people who poured into her, and in turn, she has shared that same encouragement with others. Motherhood, like womanhood, is an ever-evolving journey, and it is our collective responsibility to help others on this journey called life.
I am continuously in awe of my mother’s courage and ability to adapt to any obstacle placed before her. Her unwavering belief in God and the greatness of who we could become allowed us to grab every opportunity, and pursue our every dream. Each time I look at her, her honesty, integrity and vulnerability is sheer beauty that I hold dear to my heart. She is my greatest example of what it means to be a beautiful, graceful woman of strength, poise, whit, wisdom, character, integrity, humor and power.
Last year, to honor her strength and to celebrate her story, and to lift single mothers facing challenging moments, I announced a giveaway of $150 to four single mothers. This gesture was less about the amount, but rather acted as a catalyst to spark action. Within days of my announcement, that initial $600 had grown to $15,550. A small commitment became so much more, and we were able to increase our impact from four mothers to over 100.
The mothers were surprised to receive the monetary gifts electronically, but moreover felt seen and appreciated. There was so much gratitude for these timely tokens of appreciation, as it allowed them to buy essential items like food, medicine, gas, clothing for their children, and for some, cover household bills. These moms needed a helping hand in their moment of hardship, and I am thankful that my mentorship community was able to show up for them.
I know my mom’s story may not be everyone’s experience as a single mom, or mine, as a child of a single mother, but this is why it is critical to help and support all mothers. When we reach back into our own stories, we can make the burdens lighter for #EverySINGLEMother, to provide them with hope, and make their smiles a little brighter.
This Mother’s Day MONTH I salute my mother, and #EverySINGLEMother, for their strength, courage, and sacrifice. You are seen, remembered, and celebrated today and all days! Happy Mother’s Day!
Be a part of the conversation, by COMMENTING below, and/or celebrating #EverySingleMother you know.
JOIN US LIVE TONIGHT @ 7pm C/8pm E for Monday Mentoring Moments #MMM. It’s the kick-off of our brand new #May series and we will be celebrating mothers all month long and also looking at Mind wellness for Mental Health Awareness Month. You don’t want to miss a Monday in May!
More than 200K people viewed #MMM just within the first quarter – WOW! And MORE THAN 1 MILLION people joined us last year. #MMM: it’s far more than a moment, it’s a whole movement!
Source & Credit: greaterthan.bulletin.com