The recent police shootings pierced the hearts of Black mothers across the country. We cried tears for the men we never met yet the men we saw our own children and loved ones in. We struggled with how to explain to our children that they live in a world that doesn’t cherish them as much as their moms do. A world where they can’t play with toy guns or blindly trust police officers. A world where the color of their skin could one day determine whether they live or die. My anger overwhelmed me, suffocated me. So many tears streamed down my face in the shower. I wondered if I even needed to turn the water on. At first, I wanted to cancel the activity I planned with my sons and niece. I was bummed. I didn’t feel like putting on a happy face when I deserved to be upset, irate even. I wanted to call off, climb back in bed and pretend the headlines in the news were nightmares. But I didn’t. I did these five things instead. Say a Prayer In the past, I used to call my friends and family and seek answers to my problems. I didn’t immediately call on God, unless I got an answering machine or a busy signal from my best friends. I believed in God. I just didn’t believe my needs should be at the top of his to-do list. Then, I developed a personal relationship with Him. I talked to Him daily, not just in times of crisis. So, after watching videos of Black men dying at the hands of police officers, I folded my hands and prayed. I played Psalm 91 and reminded myself that despite how chaotic the world around me appears, God is in control, and prayer is more powerful than a rogue police officer. I prayed that I wouldn’t cast all police officers, or all white people for that matter, in a negative light. That I wouldn’t take the racists remarks, made by complete strangers, personal. Make Plans Instead of canceling our outing, we enjoyed the day of museum hopping. We started out at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and played in the Daniel the Tiger exhibit, then bounced to the Andy Warhol Museum and made Muhammad Ali screen prints, and later landed at the Science Center to explore a world beyond the one we’ve seen on the news. Throughout the day, my spirit was lifted like the planets my neice played with. Turn the TV Off The kids didn’t want the day to end and asked to visit their grandparents, where my son drew a hopscotch board for his little cousin, reminding me to unplug from the news and plug into my family. We played hide-n-go seek, shadow tag and other games from my childhood that they never heard of! Shed a Tear Sometimes as a mom I mask my feelings from my children. But every once in a while, I can’t hide my emotions. Recently, when I cried in front of my niece, a little girl who was more resilient and compassionate than I thought. She hugged me and wiped my face, saying don’t cry, mommy. She jokes and tells me that I’m her second mother. She also told me she loved me more than stickers–her favorite thing in the whole wide world. She didn’t know why her aunt was crying, but she knew it was OK to cry. She’s learning that not every day is a good day, but that our good definitely outweighs our bad. Don’t be afraid to show your children your emotions. Take a Day Off My to-do list is never completely checked off. I always have a report to write at work, a chore to do at home or a bill to pay online. As moms, we generally put everything and everyone in front of our own needs, which can lead to running out of gas. Last month, my friends and I escaped from our daily stresses, literally. We went to dinner and to an escape room. We banned conversations concerning kids, ate dinner at a fancy restaurant and sipped champagne. In 24 hours, we felt refreshed and ready to return to our obligations. Join a Support Group The old saying, It takes a village to raise a child, was stated for a reason. As moms, we need a support system and a safe place to share ideas, get advice and even get away from the daily duties of parenting. It’s comforting to know we aren’t the only ones tackling tantrums or putting up with puberty. Here in Pittsburgh, you can link up with other brown mamas through Muffy Mendoza’s group, Pittsburgh Brown Mamas. You can also explore the city by joining Pittsburgh Momtourage. Hey DFTM Fam–How are you handling the latest police shootings? One Response Sandra July 8, 2016 Beautifully written Heather thank you so much. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.