Raising kids is an adventure and challenge, but being a black mom raising biracial kids is a different kind of challenge that requires love and flexibility.
Since February was Black History Month, I used the opportunity to teach my girls more about black history through books and conversations.
Now that my girls are 8 & 6, I feel like they are old enough to dig a little bit deeper. I’ve been excited to teach them about the well-known heroes as well as the underrated heroes in Black History.
As a black mom, this is important to me.
My daughter was excited about the books I ordered her from Amazon, but as she sat and read, the question she asked me felt like the breath had been knocked out of me.
“Mama, why do you like brown people so much?”
That question caught me off guard. And it stung.
“Because I’m brown!” I replied. “Aren’t you brown too?”
“I’m half brown.” She said it so matter of factly.
Suddenly my brain started racing. We’ve always had a wide array of books in our home. Books featuring males. Featuring females. Hispanic females. Black females. Families who have transracially adopted. Books about loving your skin and curly hair. Silly books. Books about feelings. You name it, we probably have it.
So what happened? Where did I go wrong?
Yes, I do emphasize the importance of loving ourselves and our skin. And no, I don’t think you can talk about race too much or discuss it too early.
But after my daughter’s question, it made me ponder. Have I been pushing too hard? And unnaturally?
My fears about her not knowing the brown half of herself worried me for the first few years of her life when people asked if she was mine.
I suddenly felt like being a black mom with a light-skinned biracial baby
I was personally offended and felt like I had something to prove.
It took me a while to not take questions like these so personally. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that she actually started looking like me, or I just became a bit wiser and less concerned with what others thought.
One of the hardest things about parenthood is second-guessing yourself. Wondering if you did a good enough job. And if your child will actually be okay…their success or failure (emotionally, physically, mentally) rests all on you.
I’m a black mom raising biracial kids and it’s tough.
My kids looks have changed as they have gotten older, so I don’t get the “Are those your kids?” question anymore.
People just tend to over-compliment.
“Your kids are so beautiful!!”
“I love their curls!”
“Their curls are so beautiful! I wish I had curly hair like that!”
“Mixed kids are always so beautiful!”
I’ve never had any negative interactions with people while out with my kids. Most people are super sweet and complimentary, but my kids have started picking up on the over complimenting and hyper-focusing on their physical appearance. Both of my girls have asked me why people say they are so beautiful all the time. I just tell them because they are.
When my daughter asked me why I liked brown people so much, it hit me hard because she has no idea how hard it is to raise biracial kids. She has no idea that I’m working hard to protect her.
I buy my kids books that represent them so that they can smash through glass ceilings. I want them to know that the world is open to them, no matter the color of their skin.
But on the other hand, I know that their brown side might hold them back. And sometimes they’ll get a no just for being brown.
It took me awhile to wrap my mind around our conversation, but soon I realized that it’s not about me or my feelings.
Teaching my kids about black history is important, regardless of if they understand the reason why yet or not.
One day they’ll get it. And one day, they’ll thank me for helping them understand more about who they are–and the people that fought for them to live freely and proudly.