I Don’t Do It All. I Can’t Do It All: The Misconceptions of the Strong Black Woman.

My day starts at 6:30 a.m. with me waking my children for our morning Bible Study. By 7:15 my kids are out the door, and heading for the bus. I start my day. Depending on the day, I will get dressed for my morning workout, which lasts 30 to 35 minutes, head home to get ready for work which I work until 2:00 p.m. I head to my son’s school to volunteer twice a week, and once class is dismissed I drive to the neighboring middle school to get my 6th grade son. We head home, I question the kids about their day, and once we arrive in the house, I have everyone take 30 minutes to relax.

After 30 minutes, I help the kids with homework, cook dinner, and clean anything that is afflicting my ability to walk. After homework, I have the kids change for karate where we spend the next two hours. After karate, we head back home to eat dinner if the kids did not have a chance to do so. Once dinner, homework, bath times are completed, my seven-year-old son wants a book and a bedtime song. By this time,7 p.m. has peaked its head into my view. I rush through bedtime stories, maybe some play wrestling with the kids, and if they had a tough day, a long lecture is scheduled in.

As I write this narrative, I have completed this entire schedule by 10 p.m. to only wake up (Thank God) to do it again. No assistance, no breaks, no nothing. When I tell people that this is my schedule and life as a single black mom, I get the astonished look of, “Wow.” When trying to date, the men often ask, “how would I fit into your life.” To that I respond, “I don’t know.”

For ages, black women have been considered strong, resilient, tenacious, and fearless. I sometimes balked at this title, because I do not always want to be strong, resilient, tenacious, or fearless. In fact, sometimes I’m the opposite. I sometimes feel awkward, alone, unsure, and tired. Just plain tired. I am far from depressed, because I overall enjoy my life, and I cannot complain. Yet, for the moments when it seems unbearable, I become frustrated and state, “I don’t do it all, and I can’t do it all”. My kids think I am the best, and I am blessed to have boys who are mindful, and cater to the whims of their mother (Alabama, country upbringing, I guess). Nonetheless, when I am viewed as the fearless black woman who “don’t take no stuff”, and it becomes exhaustive.

Yet, my narrative is not based on what I must be, but rather, who I am becoming. To counteract the nagging of being persistently strong, I treat myself with compassion. Yes, I step over my son’s batman underwear on the floor (not too long though). Yes, I stay in the house an entire weekend, and sleep while my boys prepare hotdogs and pizza (my oldest boy is 11, calm down). Yes, I treat myself to root beer floats and chips after I have worked out. And finally, yes, I am okay with not always being okay. My plan may not be perfect, but at least I have something in place.

Remember: Keep in mind, if your kids, house, and life are safe life then you are on the right path. If not, check it, adjust, and just keep swimming.

Peace and Love