Most women have been conditioned to ignore symptoms and just ‘tough it out’ and focus on taking care of everyone else before themselves. I am no longer one of those people.– Beyoncé
Forever My Beyoncé
If you know me well, then you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all things Beyoncé. For me she embodies femininity, strength, beauty, and authenticity. She is #blackgirlmagic and #girlboss housed in one fabulous female form. So imagine my delight when I began reading social media posts referencing her article in the January 2020 issue of Elle. Her commentary spoke to my soul, especially her thoughts on parenting, some of which I will share below.
Beyoncé candidly discusses the gift of creativity; exercising authority over her image, her artistry, and her legacy; and the inherent vulnerability that lies within mothering. She speaks of what I would affectionately term a #thismamatoo movement. Despite her global celebrity status, she is a mom; and, like you and me, she faces many of the same challenges. The article beautifully highlights this. And for every statement she made, my internal response was, “This mama, too!” Watch.
Beyoncé: “I think the most stressful thing for me is balancing work and life.”
This mama, too.
As an aside, I no longer subscribe to the notion of work-life balance and instead seek to practice work-life integration. I can never fully devote my mommy self while excluding my physician, entrepreneur, and wife self – it just doesn’t work; so I integrate, intentionally blending these roles into one another.
Beyoncé: “Making sure I am present for my kids … all while running a company can be challenging.”
This mama, too.
Beyoncé: “In moments of vulnerability, I try to remind myself I’m strong and I’m built for this.”
This mama, too.
Beyoncé: That her greatest joy is “Being Blue, Rumi, and Sir’s mom.”
This mama, too.
What I love is that Beyoncé reminds all moms that none of are immune to the pressures of parenting, no matter how much money you make, how big your name is, to whom you are married, your job, not nothing. Mommying ain’t easy. More importantly, she unapologetically proclaims a message of real self-care, not the tongue-in-cheek mantra we espouse but real REST. It’s a message we should all take heed of in our own way, in our own time. She says, “After having a difficult pregnancy, I took a year to focus on my health…My diet is important, and I use tools like acupuncture, meditation, visualization, and breathing exercises.”
While we may not have the luxury to take off a whole year to heal and recover, let us collectively promise to listen to our bodies and honor them and help other moms to do the same.
On Recognizing Our Power
The more I mature, the more I understand my value… We all have more power than we realize.– Beyoncé
Now this quote here truly resonates with me, especially as a woman of color. I mean, it was like five minutes of vigorous head nods and “yasss” chants as I reflected on this statement. The world tells loud women to be quiet and silent women to speak up. The world tells ambitious women that we need to focus our energy on raising children rather than fighting for opportunities in healthcare, tech, and finance or creating them. The world tells women that our treasure lies in our youthful beauty and that we no longer matter when their rudimentary definition of beauty fades. The world sends all kinds of uncouth and antiquated messages to woman, but Beyoncé and I are here to tell you with all measure of boldness and “cocky fresh” – YOU are valuable! YOU matter! You are powerful!
On Finding Freedom
As women and moms, many of us subscribe to what others say about us, whether consciously or unknowingly. We put sooo much weight on the opinions of others. Too often the inner voice we hear is that of a harsh critic. We have ignored our own voice so much that we don’t even recognize her which is tragic because she weaves stories of love, courage, and confidence when we feed her. And our children beautifully underscore this message because they love us just as much whether we are failing or succeeding at this parenting thing. This is why I am working so hard to cultivate the Dr. Leesha brand and why I started my Facebook group for moms aptly titled Motherhood Unapologetically. It’s also why I love what Beyoncé says here, “But children and maturity have taught me to value myself beyond my physical appearance and really understand that I am more than enough no matter what stage I’m in at life. Giving zero f@#$! is the most liberating place to be.”
Let’s liberate ourselves, mommas. We must free ourselves from how the world defines motherhood and, instead, do what works for our families. We must rally together and champion other moms because maternal depression is real and killing mothers around the world. We must change the current sociopolitical culture that advocates family values but refuses to implement policies and practices that actually support moms and healthy families. We’ve got some work to do!
Beyoncé got it so right!