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Black mums carry weight of community on their shoulders

SUPERWOMAN: Mums are powerful people (photo credit: A Tribe called Curl)

WHAT COMES to mind when you think of motherhood? Is it sleepless nights, school runs and endless questions?

It is hard to stay positive, it is a struggle to stay strong and it is a struggle to get that snatched waist back. Motherhood is tough as Hell.

How many things can you do with a two-year-old, who weighs what feels like 30kg, strapped to your hip because she won’t be put down? What can you possibly whip-up for dinner when you’ve got half a block of cheese, a slightly dubious can of chickpeas and six strawberries?

Black women, especially mothers, seem to carry the weight of their community on their shoulders. We are expected to stay strong for our children and our men.

However, who is staying strong for us? All too often, many of our men are absent from the home, leaving us knee-deep in baby wipes and bruised hearts. With that said, I’m not here to bash all men, because there are some great ones out there.

Single mum or not, the black mother is seen as some kind of hybrid superwoman – as a black mum, I constantly feel like I have to be strong, even when I don’t feel it. That kind of pressure is not fair and it is a concept I struggle with.

I aim to ‘boss’ every morning – I’ll get up at 6am, put the clothes in the wash while I scroll through the headlines and speak to my radio show producers, shower and get dressed, get my daughter up and dressed and at school by 8am, research for work throughout my commute on the Tube, arrive at the studio by 9.30am and get on the air at 10am.

The reality is, it doesn’t always work out that way. Today, I’ve left my laptop somewhere between home and school, my daughter has forgotten her PE kit and the nanny has cancelled the school pick-up.

So, black mothers, let’s do ourselves a favour and support one another. Let’s not compare ourselves to supposedly ‘perfect’ mums on social media (it’s fake – it’s all fake!).

Try to be there for other mums like you – put yourself in her shoes, think of your worst day and the thing you wanted most. I bet it was something as simple as a listening ear, a hug or someone to say to you, ‘you’re not doing as bad as you think you are’. I know on my bad days, of which there have been many, I’d have appreciated another mum saying to me, ‘I see you. I’ve been you. You’re doing okay’, then passing me a glass of wine. It was, is and can be that simple.

Black mums, let’s practise self-care. Let’s build up our networks so that when a time out is needed, the village can step in to raise that child. Let’s give ourselves the measured breaks that we deserve – we don’t need to be strong until breaking point.

It is possible to revel in the joy that motherhood can bring, while loving and valuing ourselves, like we do our babies.

Afua Adom is a Glasgow-born journalist of Ghanaian descent. She hosts the Metropolitan Mix on ABN Radio, Monday to Friday, from 10am to 2pm, Young & Rising and Entertainment Weekly on ABN TV and Sustainable Energy on CNBC.

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