5 Things Millennial Mothers Should Know About Self-care - Lessons from The Momference

Opening session with 500 millennial moms and plenty of Black Mom Magic. Photo Credit: Iris Mannings (https://www.irismannings.com/)

Opening session with 500 millennial moms and plenty of Black Mom Magic. Photo Credit: Iris Mannings (https://www.irismannings.com/)

It’s been nearly three weeks since the 2019 Momference where 500 millennial moms of color laughed, cried, celebrated, shopped, learned, encouraged, and most importantly, invested in themselves. For those who are unfamiliar  The Momference™ is the premiere, one-day conference for motivated, magical moms of color boasting regionally and nationally acclaimed mom influencers, panels, celebrity keynote, workshops, vendors and top-tier, multi-cultural focused products (Momference, 2019). The Momference is more than a conference, it’s the epicenter of black mothers coming together to invest in themselves and sisterhood. As I scooted throughout the hallways (yes, I said scooted because I was on a knee scooter...saving that story for later. Lol) I could hear open and transparent conversations about cesarean sections, advocating for healthcare equality, postpartum depression, oral sex, communicating with a partner/spouse, supporting young teenage mothers, how to make an impact within our communities, and so much more. Honestly, I was not expecting such honest, yet informative and supportive dialogs.

Mommy In The Streets Panelist (From left to right: Gabrielle Corney, Lynne Lightfoote, MD, Regina Tucker, Anowa Adjah, Mikaela Pabon) Photo Cred: Iris Mannings ( https://www.irismannings.com/)

Mommy In The Streets Panelist (From left to right: Gabrielle Corney, Lynne Lightfoote, MD, Regina Tucker, Anowa Adjah, Mikaela Pabon) Photo Cred: Iris Mannings (https://www.irismannings.com/)

The panel discussions were also candid and moms were ready to engage in real talk and get answers on parenting styles, finances, sex, health, selfcare, and much more. I had the unique experience of moderating a panel discussion called Mommy In The Streets where five momma experts in fashion, hair, fitness, skin, and health provided selfcare tips for looking and feeling our best. This is where I realized that despite being educated, talented, and great mothers, millennial moms are struggling with caring for themselves. I don’t know why I was so surprised because as a millennial mom myself, I’m constantly struggling with forgetting to take care of myself and putting my husband and kids first.  It’s also no secret that there are huge racial disparities in mortality rates among black mothers being three to four times more likely to die during or after delivery than white women (Harvard Public Health, 2019). When it comes to heart health, its reported that 49% of African American females ages 20 and over have some type of heart disease (American Heart Association, 2019) What’s even scarier is that only 36% of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk (American Heart Association, 2019). You may be asking what do these statistics and The Momference have in common? Let’s stop and think. If 49% of African American females ages 20 and over have some time of heart disease, then that means that nearly 1 out of 2 women at the Momference have or will eventually have some type of heart disease! This is why I’m sharing my lessons learned on self-care at the Momference. I want to spread all critical information and self-care tips to black women so that we can see our children go to prom, graduate from college, and all the milestones a mother wants to experience with her child(ren). So below are my 5 biggest self-care takeaways from The Momference.

Xoxo,

Shauniece

Develop A Relationship With Your Healthcare Providers

This seems like a no brainer right? Well, not so much. If we as black women had relationships with our healthcare providers would we be dying after childbirth? Dr. Lynne Lightfoot, Obstetrics and Gynecology physician, put it all into perspective for me when she stated, “you remember all your boyfriends and sexual partners, but can’t remember your physician’s name”. OUCH!!!! The point is that we need to create a relationship with our healthcare providers. This means checking in frequently, scheduling appointments on time, coming prepared with a list of questions or concerns, speaking up for oneself, having your provider’s contact information readily available, or breaking up with a provider who does not value the patient relationship. We do this for our kids, husbands, and parents, but now it's time we do this for ourselves.

Drip Too Hard With Your Sunscreen

Regina Tucker, owner of CRU-MM Skin + Beauty and current Creative Director of BeautifullyYours Metro , put to rest the myth that black women’s skin does not need sunscreen. We do ladies! Our melanated skin is beautiful and popping, and to keep it that way we must wear sunscreen everyday. Sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, aging, and overall dull skin. Everyday we should be applying SPF 30 after our moisturizer.

Mommy In The Sheets Panel talking healthy sexual relationships and tips for keeping it spicy in the bedroom. Photo Cred: Iris Mannings ( https://www.irismannings.com/)

Mommy In The Sheets Panel talking healthy sexual relationships and tips for keeping it spicy in the bedroom. Photo Cred: Iris Mannings (https://www.irismannings.com/)

Self-care + Mom Community = Your Lifeline

Self-care and community are synonymous for millennial mothers. Millennial moms are experts at building businesses and professional networking, yet struggle to build a community of supportive mothers. Building a mom tribe is an essential tool in aiding in self-care because you have babysitters, confidants, cheerleaders, turn-up friends, and most importantly, a network to ask for help when you need it.

Turn On The Crock Pot and Your Partner

The talk of The Momference was the Mommy In The Sheets panel discussion where experts shared tips on healthy sexual relationships and keeping it spicy in the bedroom. One of the best tips I heard was from Katryce Pedro, better known as The Funny Momma (a DC based mom and lifestyle blogger) who shared how she uses her crockpot as a tool for quick dinners so she’s spending less time cooking, and more quality and sexual time with her husband. Sometimes making our sex lives a priority is difficult especially when most millennial moms are juggling 40-hour work weeks, side hustles, kids, cleaning, and much more. One way we can put sex at the top of our lists is to plan for it. So next time you’re struggling to find quality time with your spouse, try turning on the crockpot!

Make Time With Girlfriends A Priority

As busy millennial moms our schedules are jammed packed and we are always on the go. The Momference is like a huge mom reunion. I saw moms let their hair down, danced, go out to dinner, and drank (not drink). The takeaway is that moms can be so enthralled in momlife that we forget to connect with friends and the women we were before kids. Girl time will have you recharged, filled, and ready to return to your family with a renewed spirit. Don’t let too much time past without calling a friend, meeting for dinner, or planning a girls night out.

To learn more about The Momference visit https://www.themomference.com/


References:

American Heart Association (2019). Heart Disease in African American Women. Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts/heart-disease-in-african-american-women

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Pregnancy-Related Deaths Happen Before, During, and Up to a Year After Delivery. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0507-pregnancy-related-deaths.html

Roeder, A. (2019). America Is Failing Its Black Mothers. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/america-is-failing-its-black-mothers/