Mama Spotlight: Kaijah

Welcome back! This week will be the last Mama Spotlight of this season 😢. I have had the privilege of featuring some amazing moms over the last few weeks. I hope you have enjoyed their stories as much as I have. If you’ve missed any of my recent features you can find them here.

Today you get to hear from Kaijah! I’ve known this mama since she started dating my cousin in high school. Kaijah and my cousin are now married and raising a toddler in the Windy City. I know you’ll enjoy her perspective on motherhood and how she’s continuing to learn and grown as a parent.

Tell me about yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How many children do you have?

Hi there! I’m Kaijah, a 30-year-old mom to a rambunctious 2-year-old daughter, wife to my high school boyfriend, and a Chicago transplant adding to our family bucket list all the time. I have a background in public health, adore lists, planners, 90s TV, love to bake new chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I’m a Target lover (we’ve pronounced it Targé since I was a kid). I was laid off from a corporate administrative role due to COVID-19 this past summer. I’ve appreciated this forced time off while my little continues daycare as it’s finally led to a big breakthrough for me – I can be more than my professional aspirations. I’m currently restarting my job search – wish me luck!

How do you define motherhood?

This experience means so much, yet I’ve never thought to put it in words. Motherhood is the lifelong nurturing of a life that began in you, but is not your own. It is constantly nurturing, bettering, and evolving yourself, your children, and your relationship with them and your partner.

Describe the stage of motherhood you are currently in.

I’m boldly mothering in full-blown toddlerhood! It’s hard to believe I’m already in the midst of potty training, teaching new cup techniques – straws haven’t been easy – along with dinner table etiquette, cautiously and consciously never saying “terrible twos.”

What do you enjoy most about this stage?

The new phrases and word combinations. It’s incredible! More and more personality and loving nature seems to beam out each day. Whether with stuffies, the play kitchen, characters in books, I’m overwhelmed by how observant and emotionally aware our two-year-old continues to be.

What is most challenging about this stage?

There’s lots of questions at this stage. While they are not questions with difficult answers, I find myself narrating what’s happening right in front of us both. It can be exhausting, but I know it has helped word recognition tremendously so I will continue to answer.

What does self-care look like for you right now?

During the pandemic, self-care has looked like continuing daycare. As much as I’ve longed to get a mani/pedi in a posh salon, checking in with my therapist and other health professionals, donating to community bail funds, and listening to rom-com audiobooks has been my best self-care. 

What has had the greatest influence on you as a parent or your parenting style?

I can’t be sure that one singular thing has had the greatest influence on my parenting thus far, however, I have always known that I wanted to take the good things from my own childhood, leave the not so good, and parent my children the way that best suits them as their personality emerges. I want to do what fosters them into well-rounded, happy, confident people.

Tell me the most important thing(s) you hope to pass on to your child(ren).

The most important thing I hope to pass on is to be self-assured and aware. I want to raise individuals that know themselves, can ask for help, have high self-esteem, strong core values, and courage.

Where do you find support as a mom?

My husband has been so supportive whenever I doubt myself as a mom. I have been much better at recognizing that I have outside support than I have been at utilizing that support since becoming a mom. I am grateful to those that became moms before and at the same time as me because I can ask the questions “what did you do for ____?” and “are you going through ____?” at the same time. I’ve also starting following a variety of conscious, positive, Black, and anti-racist parenting social media profiles to have more resources.

Are there any resources that you have found helpful? Do you mind sharing what you are hoping to gain by tapping into those resources?

I greatly enjoy the tips and resources I get from:

My hope in following more conscious parenting social media profiles is to actively and passively tap into the type of parent I want to be. I want to raise well-rounded children, so my parenting style and resources should probably be well-rounded too.

What’s one thing you have learned as a mom that you would tell your pre-kid self?

Only one thing? I would tell my pre-kid self you’re going to have to recognize and unlearn some things to become better mentally which will make you so much more confident as a parent and person. Imperfection makes us human, makes us whole and you are whole – try, fail, try, practice, hone, learn, barely make it – you’re still whole. Maybe in summation, I would tell myself that becoming a mom adds to you, it doesn’t negate you.

What’s one piece of advice you want to share with other moms?

Your title as ‘mom’ bears a heavy weight, but there is no such thing as perfect, if you’re doing it with love, giving love, showing love, you’re doing great.

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