Once Upon a Time When We Were Mothers


"Mama" by Chidi Okoye

“Mama” by Chidi Okoye

Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs one can ever take on. The rewards of motherhood are substantial, but speaking as a mother myself, motherhood is tough; motherhood is tiring, motherhood is demanding; motherhood is at times overwhelming….

I could go on and on about how hard being a mother is, but that may give someone (somewhere) the inkling of a thought that the fact that motherhood is tough gives anyone the reason to be less than a mother.

Over the last couple of years I have seen story after story on the news of mothers taking their children’s lives, mothers being arrested for abusing or attempting to sell their children and honestly it disgusts me. As I type this I glance over at my 8 month old daughter and wonder how anyone could purposely hurt a baby? It is something I will never understand, and I know that in some of the cases we hear about in the news the mothers suffer mental illnesses, but what about those that just really intentionally do harm to their children….just because?

This blog entry was not really aimed at those mothers that have hurt or harmed their children due to some mental illness (known or unknown). This entry is about the irresponsible, selfish, ignorant mothers that choose men, material things, money and basically anything that is gratifying to them over the welfare and wellbeing of their children. These are the mothers who leave their small children home alone so they can go to the club. Then when a neighbor finally reports her to Children Services (because she does this almost every weekend) she figures she knows exactly which neighbor it is so she goes to the neighbor’s house to pick a fight. She curses the neighbor out in front of her own children and the neighbor’s children and gets even more enraged when the neighbor refuses to fight. She only leaves the neighbor’s yard after the neighbor threatens to call the police.  These are the mothers who didn’t buy their children any school supplies because she spent her money on a new weave and getting her nails done. THEN they went to the school crying and asking for uniforms to be donated to her children because the school sent a note home on the first day saying that the child must be in uniform THEN after she was told that they had no help for her she got mad and cursed out the secretary, guidance counselor and school security officer. THEN she patted her ass and told them to kiss it on her way out the door. These pitiful inconsiderate mothers that I speak of are the ones who would tell their children that they are stupid and ugly because to them the child’s father is stupid and ugly and since she is mad at the father, the child is mistreated.

Whatever happened to doing the best you could for your children? We all know that times are rough and that oftentimes there are more bills than paycheck; we all understand that. But what about the children? What about doing your very best for them regardless of what you have or don’t have.

I remember sitting down on a Sunday night waiting to have my hair pressed by my mother. This was a weekly routine that I dreaded but according to my mother it had to be done. I would sit there waiting for the aroma of the sizzling hot comb to fill the room. I knew then that it was time to squinch my neck up because the heat was coming. As I grew older I realized that this was a part of my mother’s “take care of your child, make your baby look pretty” duties that she felt was a part of her motherly duties. She would press my hair, iron my clothes for the week and make sure my backpack was packed every Sunday night.

Nowadays you see little girls with their hair matted to their heads and you wonder, hmmm is her mother unable or disabled in some fashion? Is that the reason this child’s head is in this condition Because styling a little girls hair is not costly and is something that does not require talent. Then you see the mother and she has a bonnet on her head…. And it immediately hits you, this mother could care less about her child’s hair, hell she is walking around in public with a bonnet on her head, pajama pants on and a Black & Mild sticking from her mouth, she is just ratchet.

Whatever happened to mothers raising their children, and even if they need assistance, they love their children and do their best. Nowadays somehow, somewhere, someone has given mothers the go ahead to have baby after baby and just MAKE the grandmother raise them. She knows grandma won’t let the state take the babies away so she continues to have children then live her life as if she is the child/ren aunt or godmother instead of the mother. She will sometimes call to have the children come and spend the weekend with her and every once in a while she will buy them an outfit or two, but on a daily basis she lives her life carefree….child free.

Once upon a time we were mothers; loving, caring, nourishing MOTHERS. We did the best with what we had. If we had a little, we stretched it, if we had none we prayed about it and used whatever resources we had until we could do better. Once upon a time we weren’t too proud to catch buses to get from point A to point B, hell we rode buses, transferred to another bus, stopped by the store, lugged the grocery home and was there in time for the children to come home from school.

Once upon a time we took pride in how our children looked. If they only had two pair of good pants we would wash them and crease them up real nice so they looked presentable at school.

Once upon a time when we were mothers we didn’t allow every man we met to move in with us. A man had to understand that we had children and “Wasn’t no anybody going to be around my kids and my kids don’t need to know nothing about no man that I associate with”

Once upon a time when we were mothers we loved on our kids. We weren’t too cute to hug and kiss on them. We weren’t too independent and grown and sexy to hold their hands to cross the street. We weren’t too professional to give them the eye in public to let them know that they were getting out of line and that a whooping was to follow if they continued. We  weren’t so selfish that our shoes had to look better than our children’s shoes. We weren’t too fierce to tell our children that we didn’t have the money for a new coat right now BUT we would save up to get them one. We weren’t too much…now we are so much that we are becoming nothing.

Once upon a time when we were mothers we were boldly pretty with just our little roller sets and home done manicures. We were smart enough to be quiet yet smart enough to speak up. We prided ourselves on being good mothers because being a good mother was a good thing and it was not just what you were expected to do, but what you wanted to do.

Once upon a time when we were mothers….lets open our book back up at the beginning and start back at once upon a time.

About Black Girl Thinking

One black girls blog about everything

Posted on August 13, 2013, in About Women, African Americans, BLACK (history, life, culture etc), Family & Friends and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I often read articles like this which compare the present to some vague past “once upon a time” or “back in the day” or “time was”.

    But the more I read and research, the more I find that: There have ALWAYS been mothers/ parents who treat their kids like commodities, dolls to be attended to at a whim and dropped the same way.

    People are alive today who tell their own childhood stories reflecting this fact.

    People are dead, some long dead, who have left behind books and stories of describing similar stories.

    Seems the world’s population is greater than it was.

    Some believe EVERYone has more worldly goods and fewer difficulties than in the past. An interesting viewpoint.

    As for the woman who cursed everyone out – not taking responsibility and passing the buck of fault and pain to everyone else? Not sure what the answer to that is. What lightening bolt will wake her up? Don’t know.

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