BBM Revisits: Yasmine McMorrin

Spelman graduate and single mother Yasmine McMorrin made her writing debut on the Beyond Baby Mamas nearly two years ago in August 2013. Her first post, “The Sometimey Guilt of Single Motherhood,” about her experiences as a young mom and law student with an estranged co-parent remains one of the site’s most-read posts. She followed up with an inspiring post seven months later, “Journey to Better,” encouraging other single mothers to be open to positive change, as she challenged herself to do the same.

Today, Yasmine becomes our very first mom to be profiled in our new series, BBM Revisits. We’ll be checking in with many of the BBM Community Members who wrote for us during the blog’s first two years, to update you on their families’ progress, their personal growth in love and life, and to provide you an opportunity to encourage them as they continue to move forward.

Beyond Baby Mamas is proud to re-introduce Yasmine McMorrin, now a co-parenting, newly sworn-in lawyer. Please join us in congratulating Yasmine on her latest accomplishments in the comments section below! 

The author with her daughter and parents on the day of her swearing-in as an attorney
The author with her daughter and parents on the day of her swearing-in as an attorney

I’ve been a mom since I was 19 years old and a sophomore/ entering my junior year of college. Thinking of someone before I think of myself is such a natural thing, I don’t even think twice about it. My daughter is such apart of who I am and my story.

But because I was so young, motherhood made me feel less than. I felt like I needed to shrink and explain away my young motherhood because I was unmarried and still a teen. I shied away from my truth.

Now that I’m 26 (almost 27), I celebrate my me-ness and all my truths.

I now communicate with my daughter’s father’s wife to share photos and coordinate potential visits. Their contact with her is sporadic but she is aware that she has a dad, stepmother, and brother, and she loves them all. I actively co-parent with my amazing parents and my daughter is a spoiled grandchild. My family and friends are extremely supportive of my daughter and I as we journey on to accomplish our respective goals. (Yes, I’m one of those mother’s that makes vision boards with my daughter, lol).

That’s my truth.

IMG_4372

I balance my career as an attorney and single mom with lots of collaborative effort. My parents help me a lot with drop-off and pick ups. They show up at school events when I can’t make it. I’m so glad I have them as my proxy, because let’s face it: we can’t be everywhere all the time.

I believe my daughter is proud of me. She held the bible for me as I was sworn in as an attorney, which was a very exciting day for us.

The coolest part of being a young mom is that she has a front row seat to me as I grow. She’s seen me graduate from Spelman, then Rutgers Law. She watched me study for both NY and NJ bars and subsequently pass. By watching me, I hope she sees that nothing comes to you without hard work but that with hard work and determination you can have whatever you dream of.

I’m probably guilty of oversharing with her. But I share my ups and downs with her. Actually, we started sharing our “high and low peaks” at the end of our days when she was in kindergarten. This way, although we can’t go over everything that happens each day, we can check in with each other. I let her know about my work, where I’m struggling, and where I want to improve. She shares her updates about her BFFs and teacher.

We have a strong supportive relationship toward each other. I’m grateful as I grow in my career and mommyhood to have her as my teammate.

I used to compare my upbringing to my daughter’s, and I thought that she was lacking something because her father wasn’t as active in her childhood as mine was. I was speaking with a friend and I described the situation as “unfortunate.” My friend immediately said, “Is it? Your daughter looks happy, she’s well taken care of, and she is loved by so many. She is the definition of fortunate.”

That perspective shook me to my core.

A part of me growing as a woman and a mother is my journey of just accepting what God has placed in my life, acknowledging that his plan reigns supreme over anything I could’ve thought of, and thanking God for his grace during my low and high peaks.

Motherhood isn’t perfect. It’s often messy, unpredictable, and it involves a lot of feeling around in the dark (smile). But if your child is happy, doesn’t need for anything, and is loved by their family (who I define as the people you trust, who show up for you and your child and gives you and your child love/support), you are fortunate and blessed.

Never shrink or shy away from your truth. God doesn’t make mistakes.

Love and light to all the mamas! You can do it!

What to Do When You See Unaccompanied Black Children in Public Spaces.

houston_mom-800x430
Laura Browder/Source: Houston PD

This weekend, a black single mother was arrested for leaving her 6-year-old daughter and two-year-old son sitting unaccompanied at a table in the food court of  Memorial City Mall in Houston, TX. “My children weren’t even 30 yards away from me,” Laura Browder, a college student, wrote in a statement following her arrest. A potential employer scheduled a last-minute interview with her at the mall food court (the position itself was not located at the mall) and Browder was unable to secure childcare for her children in time for the meeting.

She decided to buy them a McDonald’s lunch and seat them within her view while she interviewed. An onlooker, seeing them unaccompanied, called police, claiming the children had been left alone and crying. When Browder went to retrieve her children, an officer approached her.

Browder has already appeared before a judge who ruled that she could maintain full custody of her children, but Child Protective Services is investigating the family. Local news affiliate KHOU says that CPS has also offered to help Browder, who is new to the Houston area, find suitable childcare for her children.  Read more

Single-Mom Squad Goals.

IMG_9193

When I started Beyond Baby Mamas in 2013, my daughter had just turned 3 and I was working part-time as an adjunct professor, trying to take my freelance writing career to the next level. I knew I wanted BBM to be an online support group for single mothers of color, and I thought I understood how very broad a category that was. I anticipated BBM drawing mothers of all ages with different professional goals and interests, different self-perceptions about being single mothers, and a common aversion to being called “baby mamas.” In fact, that latter idea was supposed to be a unifier; our point of common interest would definitely be that none of us enjoyed being labeled as “baby mamas.” No matter our other personal beliefs, we’d band together to turn that term and the stereotypes it connotes on its ear.

BBM did draw a wide range of single mothers of color. A Latina PhD student. An unpartnered black adoptive mom. A poetry professor with a special needs son. A web design entrepreneur and mother of two who strives to conquer her inner voice and stay trill daily. A mom of two preteen daughters with an aim to run for public office. A Spelman grad raising a small child while studying for the bar (which she recently passed!). A chemistry professor whose husband abandoned her while she was pregnant with twins. A creative writing MFA, like me, with a daughter just a few years older than mine who not only didn’t mind being called a baby mama but would also begin to build her own brand around it.

These women expanded my views about what my own single motherhood journey could look like. Through the reading and sharing of their stories, I learned that I had greatly limited my own ambitions and expectations, when I had my daughter. At the time of BBM’s inception I was feeling a bit sidelined. All my childless friends’ careers were soaring forward and I was low-income Disney Jr. diaper-land, trying to gather clear, concise opinions for essays over the din of Doc McStuffins.

Everyone says this; it’s widely known, yet I cannot stress it enough: there’s power in surrounding yourself with people who understand the landscape of their lives. For parents in the Beyond Baby Mamas community, unpartnered, unmarried, divorced, and/or solo motherhood is one facet of our landscapes. And it’s completely navigable, but it can also be isolating.

I took some time off from Beyond Baby Mamas because my writing career did, in fact, pick up. Last fall, my daughter’s dad relocated from California, where he’d lived since her birth, to Baltimore where we’ve lived since she was one. Long-distance co-parenting became right-up-the-street co-parenting. And my mother, who’d been my daughter’s alternative caregiver since birth, moved hundreds of miles south just last month.

Those big adjustments led to a much longer hiatus than I’d intended. But that hiatus gave me time to consider how this space should be used and who should benefit most from it.

We’ll still be called Beyond Baby Mamas, but we won’t spend as much time myth busting as we did before. Now I want most to center women’s stories. I think single mothers benefit most from understand how best to get from Point A to Point B, when Point B is a huge undertaking like finishing a degree with a breastfeeding baby, transitioning from an admin office job to a career as an executive, or starting a time-consuming business without much childcare support nearby.

I also want to continue taking the occasional look at media representations of nontraditional black motherhood. It’s worthwhile to examine those story lines and images, to discuss how they make us feel, and to challenge them when necessary.

And I want to resume community-giving initiatives like our Back to School Supply Drive, our Holiday Dinner Giveaways, and our Toy Drive.

But mostly, I want all our mothers to get their squads together. This space exists primarily to remind single mothers of color that they’re not alone, that their goals are achievable, and that there are women like them, overcoming the same impediments every day. Meet one another. Connect on social media. Make mom friends who understand your life. We’re out here, ready to roll deep, amped to support you.

I want people to revisit this blog and read, hear, and watch real women share their real concerns and conquered challenges, and my hope is that only two words spring to mind when they leave here: squad goals.

How to Help a Single-Parent Family Buy a Holiday Toy.

482143701

Looking for new ways to give to those in need this holiday season? Beyond Baby Mamas can help, by connecting you to a single parent who needs help buying a gift for their child.

Whether you were raised in a one-income household, had a few financially tight holiday seasons as a child, or have ever struggled to meet the needs or fulfill the desires of a child in your life, you can imagine how hard it is for some families to make ends meet at this time of year.

We’ve asked single parents to fill out a request form, noting their child’s age (between 4 and 12 years old), as well as the gift their child wants most. We’re taking requests and making matches until Friday, December 12. If you have not been matched by Friday, December 12 at 8 PM EST, please be advised that it is likely because we have already fulfilled all qualifying requests.

Once you are matched with a family via email, please proceed to Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com and place an order using the name, email address and shipping address that we provide. Order as soon as possible so that the gift will arrive by Christmas Day.

Just fill out the form below to begin the process.

In order to contribute, please note the following:

  • Your contribution is a one-time purchase shipped directly to a parent in need.
  • Should you choose to contribute, your purchase will not be tax-deductible.
  • Beyond Baby Mamas will provide you with the name, contact email, and mailing address of the parent in need and can follow up with him or her directly to confirm receipt of your gift.
  • Beyond Baby Mamas will coordinate matches and facilitate contact. We cannot answer questions regarding package tracking or personal details about selected families.

Single Parents: Need Help With a Gift for Your Small Child? We Can Help!

500047539
Read all details and fill out of the form below if you and your child qualify. Happy holidays!

Beyond Baby Mamas understands that the holidays can be a stressful, financially-prohibitive time for many parents living on one income, and no families that celebrate a gift-exchanging holiday this time of year should have to explain to their children that they can’t have what they most desire.

Beyond Baby Mamas would like to help 30 single-parent families afford toys for their children this Christmas — and you can help!

To apply for this year’s holiday campaign you must be:

  • a single parent with a child between the ages of 4 and 12.
  • in need of a gift that retails for $50 or less.
  • able to receive gifts via a valid U.S. mailing/shipping address (no P.O. boxes).

Beyond Baby Mamas will select families, based on their statement of need, the availability of the gift they’re requesting for online order, and their submission of the online request from below by no later than Friday, December 12, 2014 at 5PM EST.

All gifts must be sold via Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com so that our donors can easily order and ship them directly from the website to the shipping address the parent provides.

Parents: please check the availability of your child’s gift at Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com BEFORE submitting their online request form. 

Please note that Beyond Baby Mamas may not be able to match each requesting parent with a donor and reserves the right to deny requests that do not meet the requirements listed above.

Parents: please limit requests to one child per form. Or, if you are submitting requests for more than one child, the requested toy prices cannot exceed $50 total.