Dear Diary,

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 daughter and nephews. 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 video 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 racist remarks, made by complete strangers, personal.

Science Center

Make Plans

Instead of canceling our outing, we enjoyed the day and museum hopped. 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 Caitlynn played with through my daughter and nephews smiles and laughter.


Turn the TV Off

The kids didn’t want the day to end and asked to visit their grandparents, where J.R. drew a hopscotch board for Caitlynn, 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 daughter. But every once in awhile, I can’t hide my emotions. Recently, when I received a notification from the court that my daughter’s dad was seeking full custody, I cried. In front of my four-year-old. A little girl who was more resilient and compassionate than I thought. She hugged me and wiped my face, saying don’t cry mama. She also told me she loved me more than stickers–her favorite thing in the whole wide world. She didn’t know why her mommy was crying, but she knew it was OK to cry. She’s learning that not everyday is a good day, but that our good definitely outweighs our bad. Don’t be afraid to show your children your emotions.

Denny's 5

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 best friends and I refueled and took a weekend road trip to Atlantic City. We banned conversations concerning kids (and the men who fathered them!) We ate dinner at a fancy restaurant and sipped champagne at a beachside lounge. In 24 hours, we felt refreshed and ready to return to our obligations, our little princes and princesses.

MOm Group 1

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?


About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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