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Baby: Zadie, 12 months old
What does being a Woke Mama mean to you?
Being realistic about shit, telling it how it is and embracing my privileged role as a Mother to Zadie
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?
It wasn’t a choice. Gentle parenting went against everything I’d ever read or was the complete opposite to most advice I’d ever received from friends and family. Gentle parenting found me, landed on my lap one night after beating myself up mentally, struggling to follow ridiculous routines from books written by childless nannys and men. I had this overwhelming feeling to surrender to my instincts. It was like going from years of eating artificial junk food to a healthy organic diet and feeling better for it.
Everything i need to soothe and care for her is right here as Mother nature intended. I don’t need a rocking machine to rock my child, I’ll happily hold my baby in my arms and rock her. Gentle parenting allowed me to simplify my life. I didn’t need to travel with bags and bags of props, plastic toys, gimmicks, bottles, formula and a heavy pushchair that costs more than a car. I can walk out my home with a cute medium sized hand bag, a happy baby strapped to my back and be hands free to get on with my day. I became a superhuman, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding activist.
My breastmilk alone provides all the nutrients she needs. A few drops of fresh breastmilk up her nose clears up her colds or runny nose in a flash. Breastmilk is so concentrated with goodness that I can use it on my face to clear up spots or to simply heal my cracked breastfeeding nipples. Having her attached to me 24/7 has awakened my senses, allowing me to connect with Zadie spiritually and emotionally, understanding her unspoken language and responding to her needs accordingly.
Most awesome moment so far?
I have to say, everyday has been awesome since the day she was born. The moment I had her in my arms, my brain exploded with love and I just couldn’t believe my luck. Even days when she really tests my patience with her screaming fits, I’m still in awe of her. I will never need a life coach because I can look at the world through her open and adventurous eyes. She’s pure inspiration for happiness. She smiles at junkies on the street, giggles with complete strangers everyday, spreading joy at every opportunity. This is a philosophy I need to adopt in my life.
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
The tantrums are pretty hardcore to manage sometimes but I try my best to never lose it with her ever coz she will only copy me. I need to be the perfect example of how I want her to behave. If I can’t be patient with her then how can I expect her to be a patient person?
If going back to work how will you juggle gentle parenting life?
As the Africans say, it takes a village to raise a child. The biggest challenge for me is not having Family support but the African way is to also involve your baby in many aspects of your social & work life. I’ll continue strapping her to my back until the time is right for her to start kindergarten therefore if she’s not with her Dad she’ll be attached to me, for work and leisure.
Any advice you would give to new mums?
Take bits of advice from others but always create your own method and most importantly follow your Instincts and you can’t go wrong.
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
Solange a seat at the table. A few days after Britain voted to leave the EU, Zadie was born. Somehow this album gave me a feeling of hope in the midst of racial politics. I wanted Zadie to hear Solanges observations & reflections on being pro black. The album inspired me to empower my Daughter and to raise her as a feminist. Teach her that she should never ever feel restricted by her gender, color or social background.
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