I always wish my confidence story could have been of my own making. You know, like one day I woke up, realized I was worth more and started making people treat me as such. That’s not what happened. I was 29 years old when I got pregnant with my daughter. It may have been the hormones, it could have been the shock of it all, but that’s when I became changed.
It started with making the decision to parent my daughter on my own. Once she was on the way, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to teach her how to expect to be loved if I was allowing the opposite to be a part of my story. I didn’t want her to think that being loved looked like inconsistency and lies. She wasn’t going to grow up believing that she wasn’t worth making time for or that work or any other obligations came before her.
After that, I had to figure out how to take care of her. I wasn’t going to be able to accept the same old substandard pay that I was receiving and still take care of her basic needs and some extras like tumbling class or trips to the zoo, too. I found my voice to ask for promotions and raises, and anything else that would help me to provide a carefree life for my sweet girl. While I was willing to be uncomfortable when it was just me by myself, I wasn’t going to put my daughter through the stress of not having what she needed.
My life is a masterclass for my daughter.
In everything I did, and still do, I think about my daughter looking at me and learning how to be. My life is her masterclass in womanhood. She is discovering what it means to navigate life as a woman, and particularly as a black woman through me. I don’t want to fail her. I have to be a confident mom.
That’s why I’m not afraid of what people might think of me when I ask for what I need. I don’t care how it makes me look to speak up about things that are unjust or just plain rude or wrong. I love myself intentionally, and out loud. It’s not because I’m bragging. I’m not showing off. I’m showing up for my daughter. She’s going to grow up knowing that she matters. She’ll know that her happiness is important, and that she deserves to win in life.
I know so many women who are afraid to be brave for themselves. Since I come from that same place, you’ll get no judgement from me on that. I understand where it comes from. Many of us weren’t taught how to stand up for ourselves. We were raised to take care of everyone else around us and taught that our needs should come last. As much as our parents loved us, they had no idea the harm they were doing to our esteem.
I’m not willing to let my daughter get to darn near 30 before she starts to believe in herself. As hard as it still is sometimes to put myself out there and be courageous and stand in my light, I’m going to do it for her.