"HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER CHANGED YOUR LIFE?"

"HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER CHANGED YOUR LIFE?"

When mater mea launched in 2012, we knew that along with profiling women of color who weren't being featured in mainstream media, we wanted to ask them real questions: Questions that got at what it was really like to be a career- and family-focused woman.

The first question we start every interview with never fails to get a surprised laugh. "How has becoming a mother changed your life?" "How has it not?" replied pretty much every woman we've spoken to over the course of mater mea's two-year history.

The answers were just what we wanted the site to be: inspirational, moving, and most importantly, real. In honor of Mother's Day and mater mea turning two, we look back at some of our favorite answers to that big question over the years. Thank you for your continued support, and we can't wait to hear many more women answer that question for us in the years to come.

xoxo, mater mea

  Crystal Black Davis    author of  "Shaken and Stirred"  and founder of Savvy Food Marketing, with her son Elijah Davis   "I feel like now frivolity is not necessarily what I’m able to engage in anymore. Every moment and every minute has to have a purpose. Because I’m a mom, I want to focus on him, so there’s not a lot of idle time. I still make time for me, but I want to make sure that I’m balancing my time, and [that I’m] being a good mom to him and being able to devote the time that I have to my business."   "I always think the biggest change is just making sure that I’m managing my time and making sure that every minute has purpose, even if the purpose is to rest, and to be able to indulge in a little me time. But it has to have a purpose."    Read Crystal's story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Crystal Black Davis 
author of "Shaken and Stirred" and founder of Savvy Food Marketing, with her son Elijah Davis

"I feel like now frivolity is not necessarily what I’m able to engage in anymore. Every moment and every minute has to have a purpose. Because I’m a mom, I want to focus on him, so there’s not a lot of idle time. I still make time for me, but I want to make sure that I’m balancing my time, and [that I’m] being a good mom to him and being able to devote the time that I have to my business."
 
"I always think the biggest change is just making sure that I’m managing my time and making sure that every minute has purpose, even if the purpose is to rest, and to be able to indulge in a little me time. But it has to have a purpose."

Read Crystal's story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Zuhirah Khaldun Diarra   marketing director of the National Urban League, with her first daughter, Salimata   "I’ve become much more serious. There are higher stakes in life. I find myself more productive in the office, taking my career much more seriously. I’ve always been a high-obtaining individual, worked very hard, but I think being a mother definitely has helped me as a professional as well, in terms of a seriousness that I bring to my professional life and the work that I do, in managing my time. If I’m going to be away from my baby, it’s going to be for a good reason, and I’m not going to waste any time doing it either — the hours are going to be well-spent. I think that mothers are magicians, in terms of multitasking, and also in terms of having the seriousness and the focus."    Read Zuhirah's story.     Photo credit: Rog Walker

Zuhirah Khaldun Diarra
marketing director of the National Urban League, with her first daughter, Salimata

"I’ve become much more serious. There are higher stakes in life. I find myself more productive in the office, taking my career much more seriously. I’ve always been a high-obtaining individual, worked very hard, but I think being a mother definitely has helped me as a professional as well, in terms of a seriousness that I bring to my professional life and the work that I do, in managing my time. If I’m going to be away from my baby, it’s going to be for a good reason, and I’m not going to waste any time doing it eitherthe hours are going to be well-spent. I think that mothers are magicians, in terms of multitasking, and also in terms of having the seriousness and the focus."

Read Zuhirah's story.

Photo credit: Rog Walker

  Nikisha Brunson   co-founder of Urban Bush Babes, with her son Jaden   "It’s a journey and it’s taught me that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom. It’s taught me about love. I really know what it is to love another human being unconditionally."    Read Nikisha’s story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Nikisha Brunson
co-founder of Urban Bush Babes, with her son Jaden

"It’s a journey and it’s taught me that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom. It’s taught me about love. I really know what it is to love another human being unconditionally."

Read Nikisha’s story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Wangechi Mutu   artist and sculptor, with her first daughter Neema   "It’s made me very clear about my relationships and not in a way that I’m dismissive of my friendships. I’m way clearer about which friendships are truly meaningful and caring of who I am as a whole person because some people can’t deal with the part of being a mother. You’re not the person that stayed up with them to 4 a.m."    Read Wangechi’s story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Wangechi Mutu
artist and sculptor, with her first daughter Neema

"It’s made me very clear about my relationships and not in a way that I’m dismissive of my friendships. I’m way clearer about which friendships are truly meaningful and caring of who I am as a whole person because some people can’t deal with the part of being a mother. You’re not the person that stayed up with them to 4 a.m."

Read Wangechi’s story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Jamilah Lemieux   Senior editor of Ebony.com, with her daughter Naima Freedom Lemieux-Giles   "Being a mother hasn’t changed me as much as I had expected. I’m still very much Jamilah. I’m 29, I still feel very young. I thought that being a mom was going to make me 42 overnight.  (Laughs)  A lot of my values and thoughts and feelings are the same. [But now] there’s this little person who is the most important thing in my life. She’s my constant companion and the reason for me doing everything that I do. It’s enhanced my life. It’s a love that I’ve never experienced before. It’s amazing and new and different every day."     Read Jamilah’s story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Jamilah Lemieux
Senior editor of Ebony.com, with her daughter Naima Freedom Lemieux-Giles

"Being a mother hasn’t changed me as much as I had expected. I’m still very much Jamilah. I’m 29, I still feel very young. I thought that being a mom was going to make me 42 overnight. (Laughs) A lot of my values and thoughts and feelings are the same. [But now] there’s this little person who is the most important thing in my life. She’s my constant companion and the reason for me doing everything that I do. It’s enhanced my life. It’s a love that I’ve never experienced before. It’s amazing and new and different every day." 

Read Jamilah’s story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Rene Syler   television personality, with her children Casey and Cole   "I remember someone saying, 'Once you have a kid, you can’t go to sleep before making sure everyone in the house is safe." That sums it up, you’re always thinking of someone other than yourself. You just have this understanding that there is always someone else that you would put ahead of yourself."    Read Rene’s story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Rene Syler
television personality, with her children Casey and Cole

"I remember someone saying, 'Once you have a kid, you can’t go to sleep before making sure everyone in the house is safe." That sums it up, you’re always thinking of someone other than yourself. You just have this understanding that there is always someone else that you would put ahead of yourself."

Read Rene’s story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Staceyann Chin   poet, with her daughter Zuri   "I think watching a human being come into consciousness makes you reconsider any monolith of consciousness you had prior. It forces you to question your own tenets, the things you thought were immovable and sturdy and steady. And invariably when you look at things that are fixed, you’ll find that they aren’t so fixed, especially when it comes to identity, humanity and human relationships. I mean, I have relationships that are changing as we speak based on what’s happening with my kid, how I view myself as an individual who will raise a kid, and how I might be looking at other people raising their kids. You find yourself bumping against people in spaces you never imagined."    Read Staceyann’s story.     Photo credit: J. Quazi King

Staceyann Chin
poet, with her daughter Zuri

"I think watching a human being come into consciousness makes you reconsider any monolith of consciousness you had prior. It forces you to question your own tenets, the things you thought were immovable and sturdy and steady. And invariably when you look at things that are fixed, you’ll find that they aren’t so fixed, especially when it comes to identity, humanity and human relationships. I mean, I have relationships that are changing as we speak based on what’s happening with my kid, how I view myself as an individual who will raise a kid, and how I might be looking at other people raising their kids. You find yourself bumping against people in spaces you never imagined."

Read Staceyann’s story.

Photo credit: J. Quazi King

  Makeda Thomas   dancer and choreographer, with her son Shiloh   "It’s made me firm in my convictions—all of which were up for rethinking with the birth of my son—and I’m more compassionate to all of the different kinds of people that there are. I used to be able to watch certain violent scenes in films or television, but I can’t anymore. I’m always thinking, 'That could be somebody’s child.'”    Read Makeda’s story.     Photo credit: Bee Walker

Makeda Thomas
dancer and choreographer, with her son Shiloh

"It’s made me firm in my convictions—all of which were up for rethinking with the birth of my son—and I’m more compassionate to all of the different kinds of people that there are. I used to be able to watch certain violent scenes in films or television, but I can’t anymore. I’m always thinking, 'That could be somebody’s child.'”

Read Makeda’s story.

Photo credit: Bee Walker

  Hannan Saleh   fashion photographer, with her sons Tesfay, Ayo, and Idris Saleh-Batts   "You’re dealing with a lot more responsibility, and the relationship with you and your partner just changes 1000 degrees.  (Laughs)  It’s really up to you to make sure everything is going to be okay for the little one, and most of the time you’re going to take more responsibility than the dad, of course. And for me, running my own business... It was very challenging trying to figure it out [while] being emotionally stable for your little ones and taking care of them."    Read Hannan’s story.     Photo credit: Hannan Seleh

Hannan Saleh
fashion photographer, with her sons Tesfay, Ayo, and Idris Saleh-Batts

"You’re dealing with a lot more responsibility, and the relationship with you and your partner just changes 1000 degrees. (Laughs) It’s really up to you to make sure everything is going to be okay for the little one, and most of the time you’re going to take more responsibility than the dad, of course. And for me, running my own business... It was very challenging trying to figure it out [while] being emotionally stable for your little ones and taking care of them."

Read Hannan’s story.

Photo credit: Hannan Seleh

  Inga Watkins   founder of etiquette program Modelquette, with her youngest daughter Brea   "I think being a mom just opens you up to sharing with somebody else. If ever you have to put someone before yourself, you’re going to put your children [first]. These kids mean everything to me. It’s just given me the capacity to see this other level of myself. If I have to say how it changed my life in one way, it’s that I feel I have grown as a person in my capacity to be selfless."    Read Inga’s story.     Photo credit: Rog Walker    ΔΔΔ

Inga Watkins
founder of etiquette program Modelquette, with her youngest daughter Brea

"I think being a mom just opens you up to sharing with somebody else. If ever you have to put someone before yourself, you’re going to put your children [first]. These kids mean everything to me. It’s just given me the capacity to see this other level of myself. If I have to say how it changed my life in one way, it’s that I feel I have grown as a person in my capacity to be selfless."

Read Inga’s story.

Photo credit: Rog Walker

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