Fantasia Barrino has a song called Baby Mama that speaks to how incredible mothers are and the amazing job they do to hold down the fort.
In the Caribbean, many families are still led by women; their courage cannot be questioned in any way but this does not mean that the task is an easy one. No one typically sees the frustrations, tears and the sacrifices made behind all the success so here are some lessons that those who are still in it to win it should recognise and draw strength from.
1. Just breathe: Whatever it is, you will eventually get through it.
2. It is no longer about you: Baby or babies take precedence over clubbing, smoking and drinking. Watch what you do and say around them because they are sponges.
3. You have to love the child more than you hate the child’s father: Not everyone gets along with their ex and some exes are difficult but do not act purely on raw emotion. Strategise.
4. Accept all the help you can get: Do not try to play hero. Children can be stressful. Take a break and allow someone trusted to be a babysitter ever so often.
5. A budget is a girl’s best friend: That new dress would look good on you, yes, but buying diapers looks even better on your kid.
6. Do not feel bad if the house is a bit messy: Don’t be overly critical of yourself. The space is lived in with tiny people so it is okay for it to not always look perfect.
7. Show up for the small things: Do not tell your kid(s) you have to work so you cannot make their sports day or dance recital. Go run the mothers’ race at the school and be the loudest cheerleader at the recital. Children remember these things when they become adults
8. When you make a mistake, own it: And learn from it.
9. You can never tell say ‘I love you love’ enough: Hug and kiss them and make them know they are special.
10. Love them enough to set boundaries: No one in the world thinks rude children are cute. Do not set them up to fail in life because you ignored or condoned actions that could have been corrected when they were little.