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Project MotherHOOD with Alyra McKenzie

I am a full-time Social Sciences Teacher, full-time dreamer/aspiring mompreneur and an even fuller-time single mom :) My biggest goal is to be an extremely active participant in my daughter's life so my dreams have continued to grow with me. Currently I am developing a curated online shop devoted to moms and women 30+. (plug-- @limmandfawol) I realized for me, that there was a gap between still wanting to feel sexy and beautiful but without having it all out. I love to see women who are confident, comfortable and beautiful, it inspires me.

1. How would you personally define what MotherHood is for you?

Motherhood in one word... INTENSE. Every feeling, every emotion, whether good or bad is amplified. I have never felt so happy-frustrated-accomplished-scared-LOVED-worried-proud in my whole life! There's this little human that is relying on you and looking up to you. It's the most concentrated dose of self-growth that life can give. Even if you weren't ready, you find your balance and get your sh*t together. No single event in my life has ever made me feel that way, only motherhood.

2. What is something you wished something would have told you about Motherhood?

I wish that someone would have told me in the beginning that in order to be a great mom and constantly fill my daughter up, that I must first be filled. I noticed I would feel a little depressed at times without any clear reason why. Giving without replenishing will do that to you. It felt like I was running on fumes at times. I think especially being a single mom there's a huge lack of sleep and time for self. I would throw on my comfy jeans, not care if my nails were polished; as long as she was clean, nicely dressed and cared for. I had to give myself a reality check. Like if you don't do the little things to look your best and feel your best you will burn out. As much as our kids love us they don't have the cognitive ability at 3 to say, you know what mom looks tired, I'll save this tantrum for another day. They just go. So now I make sure that I am constantly refilling myself with all the love and happiness that I want her to have. Filling my cup sometimes can be as simple as waking up early enough to do my devotional readings or an eyebrow wax. I'm a much nicer person when I read my bible, eat properly and wax my brows. If I want her to grow up knowing how to properly deal with frustrations and how to react with love and courage in any situation, then I have to be that example. I will be honest, it definitely didn't start out that way. I am just getting a handle on all of that and when I feel like I'm about to be impatient with her, I'm like fill your cup boo, fill your cup. I love that she is such a great reminder for me to keep myself and my spirit in check. I cringe every single time she gets frustrated and does my loud grunting noise or yells "Come on MAN!" at the top of her lungs. Its hilarious in the moment, but also a reminder that I have to do better if I want her to be better.

3. We do our best and can't do it all. Where do you allow yourself to be unapologetic as a Mother?

I am unapologetic with my parenting choices. There was a period of like 6 months last year where it felt like she was sick every other week. People would literally get upset or tell me I'm being ridiculous if I'd cancel a play date or outing because she was sick or if the weather was bad, like doesn't she get wet when she takes showers or just put a jacket... But I know what it was like to have her on the nebulizer at 2am because she was severely congested. I won't ever apologize for things like that.

4. How has Motherhood inspired you?

Motherhood has inspired me to be every amazing thing that I want my child to be. It goes back to me wanting to be that example for her. I see the way she looks at every challenge or the way she excitedly explores new things. There is nothing that she thinks she cannot do. It's my job to continue to make her believe that once the world starts trying to place limitations on her and box her in. It reminds me of a quote I read once, "In order to raise fulfilled children, we ourselves must first be fulfilled". (something like that)

5. What's your favorite beauty must do when you are feeling exhausted on the inside and on the go?

My favorite beauty must do is at home facial masks because I have very oily skin. It makes me feel pampered even if only for 10 minutes. If I'm on the go-- then its mascara and a little bronzer, instant wake up call.

6. One of two: A note of compassion you want to offer a Mother reading this. Preferably something that might/could have been comforting to you at one point of time. OR Note to self.

Note to all mothers, myself included:

Don't stress yourself trying to be perfect and make your kids perfect. The quality of a mother and her children cannot be quantifiably measured. It isn't about hitting every milestone on or before its purported target. What makes a successful mother isn't offspring that is potty-trained by age 1 or can read by age 3. Motherhood should only be measured in the quality of human beings that you put out there in the world. Children need love, not things. They need guidance more than scoldings and examples more than rules. Show me a kid that is confident, who has a couple scrapes from testing boundaries and taking risks (perhaps from jumping off the top of a sofa, Oy!), who laughs when things are silly, who knows that they can still come to you and admit when they broke something because they know you won't over-react and I'd say mom, you're doing a pretty damn good job. Give yourself a break.

Thank you Alyra


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