Yesterday was my mommy-versary. On this day 12 years ago, I gave birth to a little me. I gave birth to my own personal do over. I gave birth to my chance to get it right. On so many levels, I feel like the adults responsible for my upbringing failed me. Not totally, of course. However, there have been some things that I’ve had to figure out on my own for myself that could have been handled differently. Things I wish had been handled differently.
I just want to get it more right or a better kind of right for my children.
For her birthday, my daughter requested blue box braids over her locs. My daughter has been getting color in her hair since she was 5 years old, either by extensions or temporary hair dye. As her mother, it has been important for me to give her the autonomy to express herself through her clothes, her hair, and other things she might choose for herself. I let her decide. I know as children we are not often granted that privilege; I know I wasn’t.
The people around her had many judgements. Fortunately, I’ve prepared her for that, too. I’m only 12 years in and I am so proud of myself as a parent. My baby girl is this amazing person who navigates consent like a boss, she’s respectful, assertive, and is an absolute beast at building boundaries. I take full credit. Even when I was afraid, I encouraged her. I didn’t want her to learn fears that I am actively unlearning; fears that I realized are inhibiting me in my adult life.
Every 12 years
For all who are not familiar, 12 years is the first Jupiter Return. It’s when Jupiter returns to the exact place that it was on the day you were born. Jupiter is the planet of luck and expansion. Great things are more possible when Jupiter returns. This happens every 12 years. You can read more about Jupiter Returns in this article.
As I was doing my daughter’s hair, it was a beautiful neutral situation to have an important conversation. I spoke with her about how important it is for her to make her own decisions about her life. You see, other people might see things about you and they might know you very well, however only you know your true thoughts and feelings. Only you have unrestricted access to that pertinent information.
“Only you have the best knowledge about you. Accept that guidance and advice with gratitude. Never base your decisions on what someone else thinks or feels… Not friends, not romantic partners, Not even your parents… Not even me.”
A Critical Milestone
My daughter is brilliant. I give her such advice because I know she appreciates it. It is advice I would have appreciated. The adults around me didn’t know what was best for me many times. I thought they did. They were sometimes very convincing and then I found out the hard way that they didn’t know what the fuck they were doing. Now, here I am 34 trying my best to undo it. I wrote a post titled Step-trauma that captures a bit of my first Jupiter return.
I gave her an example. When I was planning my trip to Guatemala, so many folks, family, friends, and acquaintances warned me against it. Guess how many of them have ever been to Guatemala or even out of the country? None. She guessed that right.
At the end of the day, people can only advise on what they believe MIGHT be good for you… Take it with a grain of salt and if it doesn’t resonate, reject it altogether. You must live with the decision you make whether you come to those decisions on your own or per someone else’s advice.
Honestly, I am still figuring a lot of shit out as an adult person living in a world that I am ill prepared to thrive in…I got surviving down packed. The people around me didn’t teach me how to thrive. They didn’t teach me how to trust myself enough to make good decisions on my own behalf which is an important component to adulting. I’m learning though and everything I learn, I pass that on to my children. Cookie cutter works for some and I want them to be able to navigate a world where cookie cutter doesn’t work for everyone.
I may be fumbling in the world of adulting, but I am doing beautiful work of parenting.
Happy mommy-versary to me!