Woke Mama: Leslie

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Name: Leslie

Kids: Hallie, 6 years and Mayla 7 months

How did you end up doing gentle parenting?

I was not raised in a home that modeled respectful parenting. I didn’t feel unloved in the earlier years, but when you grow up in a home with depressed parents who find it difficult to love themselves, you realize eventually that you will need to start from scratch if you want to parent different.

I completed child development programs in college and eventually graduated with a degree in Child Development & Family Studies. Through my studies about brain science and what creates healthy, resilient children, and my own reflective self-Mothering, I was able to commit to being a nonviolent (gentle) parent so that my children have the best chance of growing up confident and connected.

What does being a woke mama mean to you?

Being a Woke Mama means committing to your own self-love. It sounds cliche but the saying is true that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Children are very perceptive and they know when we are being unloving with ourselves and as resilient as they are, they also can’t fully ward off being affected.

Being a woke mama also means recognizing the need for supporting other mothers. This is where education, support, and advocacy come in. We need to support these networks of mothers mothering each other. This is healing for us and for our children and future generations.

Most awesome moment so far?

There are moments when I look at my husband with my daughters and our dog, in our house or yard, in the same city I was born and grew up in and I can’t help but overflow with gratitude, wonder and awe.

In those moments, I am fully present and can thoroughly enjoy this life and appreciate how far I’ve come in this human experience.

It is a reminder that I have everything I need right here and now.

Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?

Depression and anxiety have been weights I have carried since I can remember. I’m ALWAYS in active recovery from them.

I’ve been suicidal and I’ve had intrusive thoughts of self-harm and violence. I’ve really had to educate myself on what that is and develop healthy coping strategies.

Though I am pretty extroverted in my best moments, at my worse I fully isolate. I am learning to call upon my tribe more and more, even when it feels unnatural or when I’ve already convinced myself no one cares. Someone cares.

We’ve got to let people pull us out of our holes when it gets too hard to climb out on our own. Oh! And being under natural sunlight and around plants is also very, very helpful.

How do you juggle work with gentle parenting?

Oh my gosh! Is there a way to be prepared? Our workplaces need a Woke Mothering revolution. We need supportive work and work places to our roles as mothers, especially as conscious and intentional mothers.

It’s up to us to take notice when the balance is off. I have worked in mental health in non-profits for many years and have found that those spaces do not immediately equate supporting the mental health of mothering employees.

My new motto if entering the blue collar workforce again would be to proceed with caution for the well-being of the whole family!

Any advice you would give to new mums?

Constantly reflect but do not dwell. Practice unabashed self-forgiveness. Repair the ruptures and move on.

Follow the awesome Leslie and her new venture Comadre Wellness which shares education resources and puts on events for mothers of color, over on the gram, and check her blog Lesliepriscilla.com

Like what ya see? We’ll be introducing more awesome Woke Mamas. But we want to hear from YOU. Share your stories on social media using #WokeMamas or write your answers here. ❤

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