With the dawn of another Mother’s Day, the AFRO has found some women who have discovered that, in addition to the time and energy required to be a mother, there are ways to handle the round-the-clock demands of mothering and cultivate a career.
Fallon Smith, 22, who lives in Prince George’s County, said she was unprepared for the rigors of having a baby while pursuing a degree in public relations. Then, during her junior year at Howard University, Smith found out she was pregnant.
After her son Mason was born, Smith said she found the transition from fulltime student to fulltime mother a daunting challenge. In addition to being a single mother of an infant, Smith is currently finishing up her senior year and an internship with Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“It’s hard, especially this being my last semester and me doing three things at once, you have to be dedicated,” Smith said. “What kept me going was knowing that I was making a better life for my son.”
Financially, Smith wasn’t prepared for the changes and sacrifices single parenthood forces. She credits her family and her son’s father for helping her during the arduous times.
“Kids are expensive, they are not cheap at all,” she said. “I have to always make sure that there is food on the table for my son.”
This Mother’s Day, however, is one Smith is bound to remember because she will be celebrating another milestone: College graduation and entry into a job.
“This year is a little bit more special for me because I have a little more experience of being a mother under my belt, and I am looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life with my son,” Smith said.
In a recent Essence article, blogger, columnist and parenting expert Natoya Green said she is aware firsthand of the challenges of pursuing a passion and raising kids. But even though being a working mom is hard, she said, it is possible to attain success pursuing your dreams while being a full time mother as well.
For GG Renee Hill, 35-year-old mother of three, parenting didn’t stop her from working in corporate America for 12 years, quitting, and focusing on her passion for writing. Hill, a blogger and author of two books, The Beautiful Disruption, and Wallflower, said becoming a mother before she had figured out what she wanted for her life was challenging at first.
“I wasn’t living in alignment with who I really was at the time, I was kind of just doing what I thought I was supposed to do,” said Hill. “When you are a mother, it is really important for you to have a strong identity.”
By the time she had her third child she was in a much better place because psychiatric therapy helped her squarely confront issues she hadn’t dealt with from her past. Around that time was when she decided to quit her job and began writing.
“The combination of therapy and writing changed the whole direction of my life and really forced me to go in and stopped paying so attention to everything around me and trying to please everyone,” said Hill. “I also feel like that’s the time I became a better mother.”
One thing for certain is that on Mother’s Day weekend, Hill doesn’t expect to be showered with flowers and cards. “Mother’s Day, I appreciate it, and I love the tradition but I am kind of those people where it’s more about the everyday for me, I don’t make it a big deal because I believe in treating people a certain way every day.”