Category: Mama J’s Story (page 1 of 8)

Using Love & Intention As Tools For Activism

Everyday Activism: Love & Intention

I had the pleasure joining Mercedes Samudio, LCSW on her virtual couch as we talk about family, parenting and Intentional Justice™

We dive right in to discuss what it means to be an activist today….and what it means to bring this activism into the family.

⇓ Watch the episode below ⇓

Resources Mentioned:

Transcript Courtesy of Shame Proof Parenting

Roth believes work begins with one’s self and expands outward.  It’s a continuous process.  She explains that in her journey to becoming a mother, and being a queer family, she had to go a nontraditional route.  Her identity was central to that.  She and her wife chose an anonymous donor whose identity will be released to their daughter when she turns 18.  This was important to them because they didn’t want to take away that part of who she is.  They have had conversations with their daughter about being a two-mom family and discussed what the difference looks like compared to other families so she can discuss it herself.  Roth feels that the best way we can love and honor ourselves is knowing who we are.   We next discuss how one can be an activist in her community on top of the demands of being being a parent. Roth explains that if it feels like a struggle, you can make it a long-term goal, and suggests tapping into what your heart is telling you-you want to do at this time.  Creativity flourishes in despair, and we can choose how we want to show up.  She suggests thinking about what it is you want for your family.  If you want more intentional conversations about culture and community, bring it into the home.  Roth suggests books as a way to do this.

For over a decade, Roth has been engaged in social justice work, and she reached a point where it felt like a grind and wondered at what point she would get to celebrate something that felt like justice.  She feels that there is justice in setting a goal or intention and moving toward it.  Her background is in sports psychology, so she really relates to setting a goal.  Roth defines Intentional Justice™ as bite-size  +deliberate daily action.  This means you take baby steps to get closer to your goal.

We shift into discussing how privilege can be a barrier to  Intentional Justice™.  Privilege can help or hinder attempts for  Intentional Justice™.  Roth advises that there doesn’t need to be shame around it–-own your story and know where you stand.  It doesn’t make you a bad person.  She poses the question of if you raise your consciousness and you know something can be different, will you choose to be different or settle and let it serve you?

Next, we talked about how you can model Intentional Justice™  for children.  Roth suggests going through an exercise that you can sign up for through her website called the  Intentional Justice™ Identity Table. She recommends having the parent or professional do it themselves first, and then as you get comfortable with your own identity, you can expand into a family identity.  It is appropriate for approximately fifth grade and up.  She feels that by this age you have a sense of who you are and how you want to show up to your classmates.

Finally, we discuss how to maintain  Intentional Justice™ when people in your support circle don’t understand your viewpoints or how to accept or respect your perspective.  Roth doesn’t feel like an expert.  She has had to make difficult choices and is currently not speaking to a few family members as a result of having to claim where she stands.  Roth gets support from a couple’s therapist, a support network of mentors, “besties”, and her tribe.  She explains that she can’t expect her wife, bestie, or other parents to show up at drop of a hat, though, and advises that you have to also love yourself like a mother.  It’s important to have a community but there are moments you’re by yourself, which can be empowering.  Intentional Justice™ doesn’t always mean you have to agree and stay around people who only agree with you and respect you.  Going through your own journey helps you turn the injustices into moments that are opportunities for learning, healing and growing.  It’s an upward spiral–as you get to know yourself, you may have some breakthroughs but the work does not end.

Thank Mercedes for the opportunity to chat with you!

Now let me share more about Shame Proof Parenting…

What is Shame-Proof Parenting?

When you’re led by shame-proof parenting, your family will understand each other enough that when people come against you, you won’t buckle under the pressure and you won’t turn on each other. You and your family can feel confident in saying, “This is our journey, this is where we are right now,” without worrying about others’ judgments.

~ Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

Mercedes is on a mission to #EndParentShaming and I accept! Will you join me?

In the Award-Winning, Amazon Bestselling book, Shame-Proof Parenting: Find your unique parenting voice, feel empowered, and raise whole, healthy children, Mercedes bravely and vulnerably shares opens the book by sharing her story to highlight the impact intergenerational shame has on our lives both as children and parents. Then with compassionate bite-sized + deliberate action, you are walked through 5 Ways Parents Recreate Shame for Their Children, which since has provided this mama with a powerful lens for Intentional Justice™ in my own life.

In an easy to read format, Mercedes guides us in unraveling the parenting style gimmick and the trap of the Dr. Parenting Expert with a first-class permission slip to choose our own adventure as parents by creating our own elusive parenting manual. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to talk about the underlying issues that stop the process of shame-proofing. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to talk about the underlying issues that stop the process of shame-proofing before diving into the how-to of bringing shame-proof parenting into our lives. Plus, there’s an entire chapter on the Shame-Proof Emergency Kit and our need for Shame-Proof Village. I love, love, love that Mercedes doesn’t shy away from addressing the gender divide with this inclusive intro…

For the purposes of this book, we are looking at gender as both biological gender classifications and how you identify your own gender.

The book wrap with a chapter on “Bursting The Shame-Proof Parenting Bubble,” which further highlights cultural influences as the most important aspect of shame-proofing parenting and protecting families from shame. In this section, I appreciate the simple yet practical paragraph on Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation. All this is to say that I felt included and seen in this book as a queer mama.

As I wrap my review of this book, I’ll share that my favorite part was the timely quotes sprinkled throughout. My favorite is how the book ends with Mercedes own words of wisdom…

Being wholly, authentically human is a lifelong journey that no one ever truly masters. Give yourself space to be imperfect, and make a commitment to shame-proof your parenting identity so that you can give that same space to your children.

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now, it’s your turn. I invite YOU to consider:

  • Where could you give yourself to be imperfect?
  • Will you join me to #EndParentShaming ?
  • How has shame had an impact on your life?

👇Please share your thoughts below in the comments 👇

It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY!

In lovelution 💕

⇓ Ready for Intentional Justice™ in Your Life?! ⇓

Lesson 11: You are the Mama (Guardian) of Your Soul

♥ Part of the Series 35 Lessons at 35 Years of Life ♥

With a commitment for bite-sized + deliberate action today, tomorrow, and every day that I keep putting one foot in front of the other to create what I believe in.

♥   ♥   ♥

Have you ever considered that you are your soul’s keeper?

The holder of your essence, the magic composition that is you.

The one who can open you up to your uniquely you inner knowing.

The one you can depend on, who will hold your heart on the darkest nights.

The one who can teach you, how to walk your own path.

The guardian of your soul.

♥   ♥   ♥

As I shared in Lesson 10: Identity is Nurtured, it has taken the first half of my 30s to learn that we/I am the guardian of my soul. To learn this lesson, it was my job and mine alone. In fact, it’s each of our jobs to learn how to love ourselves. No one else’s.

While most of us can say, or at least we hope, came into the world loved, we often spend a lifetime journeying home to what’s been inside of us all along. This is to say regardless of our experience with love as a child, it’s our job to uncover for ourselves what makes us tick, what makes us whole, and how we can love, nurture, and accept who we are from the inside out.

To choose to lead with our identity front and center. Yet, first, this needed to happen (or least it did for I)…

Step 1: Name Your Inner Critic

The very first business workshop I attended was when I learned of the concept that we each have an inner critic. The voice (or choir, which is often the case) that calls for perfection to meeting others expectations, as well as our own and pushes our buttons like only someone who knows you best can.

That’s why I think it’s essential that to love ourselves the way we dream and deserve that we must first name the voice of perfection that’s being that gossipy group of critics. Your personal panel of pundits. A representative caucus of all the commentators, backseat drivers, and judges that tap into your fear and countless rejection you’ve experienced in your lifetime.

Yolanda was my first named critic, Yo-Yo for short because that’s how she makes me feel. There’s a lot I could say about her, like any dear friend in terms of the good, bad and ugly. I’ll focus on the good, right now. Yo-Yo is currently on vacay. Yep, you read that right. Her antics got so out of control that I informed her that I would buy her a one-way airplane ticket to anywhere in the world. This permission slip for my soul made it easy to then move to…

Step 2: Self-Compassion is an Act of Self-Love

In my own journey of learning to love myself, I can recall countless times when I allowed my inner critic, Yo-Yo to be my decision-maker. As Adichie shares in her new book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, “‘Allow’ is a troubling word. ‘Allow’ is about power.” That said, I can clearly see now because hindsight is 20/20, right?

I had given Yo-Yo permission to take the wheel. With Yo-Yo in the driver’s seat, I then found myself striving for perfection, someone else’s way, or being harder on myself than those who love me most would EVER be. In January 2013, when I began exploring how I wanted to feel instead of creating more lists of what I wanted to accomplish, compassion was one of the many words that I explored.

What began as an experience of feeling “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it,” which makes sense I am an ENFJ, “The Giver,” soon became a dance of doing so for myself, for my heart, for the 3-year-old inside of me as I watch my own almost 3-year-old daughter. This is why I believe self-compassion is an act of love. Because I needed to learn how to give this to myself like I have for all those I love.

Step 3: Self-Care is a MUST (especially when healing)

In my early 20s, I believed self-care was pampering. A massage, mani/pedi, or facial. You know, a spa day?

My relationship to self-care began when my wife and I marked the beginning of our family conception journey. It began with acupuncture to aid with my intense periods with a dream to slowly and methodically decrease my bipolar medication because one thing was for certain–I did not want that medicine in my body when I conceived. This simple act to try something new led to my first commitment to my own personal dose of…

Soul Medicine:   an act or experience that feeds your soul to be present with your essence and inner knowing

Because as Audre Lorde reminds us…

Radical Self-Care is Justice

When I was reminded of this quote for one of my favorite writers, I exclaimed a big Hell YES! This!

Just a reminder I needed that a daily dose of self-preservation is a MUST!  radical Act is no more than bite-sized + deliberate daily action towards the life you dream and deserve.

Now, I recognize that “It’s a Journey, Not a Race” that “Identity is Nurtured” as I’ve embraced the reality that “Coming Out is Not a One Time Event.” As a result of my own journey to Love Myself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice™ this is why I have created this…

Mama J’s Top 5 Restorative Practices: In 5 Minutes or Less…

This is the type of soul medicine that gives YOU permission to be the mama of your soul in our ever-changing 24-hour news and notification cycle. I invite you to try 1 or all 5 in the week ahead to restore andLove Myself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now it’s your turn, as I now invite YOU to consider:

  • What wave are you riding on your journey of self-love?
  • How do you practice radical self-care?
  • Which 5 minute or less restorative practice will you try?

👇 Share your intention for today or the week ahead 👇

It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY 👣✨🌈

In lovelution 💕

mama-j-sig-.jpg

Wanna Join the Lovelution?!

⇓  Sign-up below to receive Mama J’s monthly Lovegram ⇓  

includes Mama J’s insights, a roundup of these posts directly to your inbox,  and ways to take bite-sized + deliberate action

Lesson 10: Identity is Nurtured

♥ Part of the Series 35 Lessons at 35 Years of Life

With a commitment for bite-sized + deliberate action today, tomorrow, and every day that I keep putting one foot in front of the other to create what I believe in.


Simply put, my identity has felt under attack.

Not in the personal struggle, owning my Truth kind of way. Instead by the very leaders who took an oath to protect my freedoms and uphold our vision of democracy as we respond to ever-changing culture. On Monday I shared this on social…

Today’s Truth 💔😶I am feeling worn down.Every day it seems there’s an attack.On my identity…On my body…On my mental health…These are the narratives currently circulating:I can be shot while Black.can be harassed, assaulted, or violated as a woman. ➡️Then add the reality that I am raising a girl who can trust her inner knowing, set boundaries, and own that she’s the only one to give consent over her body.And now, 45 and Mr. VP thinks hanging me for who I love is a joke. This Black Queer Mama + Wife is not laughing 🤷🏽‍♀️

While I refuse to play the game of self-doubt, I’m just owning how raw and vulnerable I feel today…how about you?! I’d love to know, so please do share 

In lovelution 💕

Via @mamajlove1

As I am writing this post, it’s first Friday as I draft and craft this chapter, (and then, Sunday as I finalize + edit) all in the same week. What’s clear as look in the rearview mirror of this past week and feel into the rawness and vulnerability I felt, it’s with the clarity of working through the muck and owning my experience with resistance, inner critic mixed a dose of holding myself back while simultaneously taking bite-sized + deliberate action to uplevel out of a scarcity model with my biz and how I show up to be of service in the world. It’s with this lens that I lead into a fresh perspective on nurturing identity.

Nurturing Identity: What do I mean?

Let’s begin with a definition of nurture…

(verb): care for and encourage the growth or development of

In Identity: Why the Focus? I define identity as

Who we are (how we show up in the world to ourselves and others) and how we are seen (who the world perceives us to be), as well as the experiences that result have an impact, often defining us.As an individual who has been on a journey of personal growth and discovery,

Identity is the lens that has helped me make sense of who I am and how I view the world. While I came to understand this more philosophically in college and more poignantly in graduate school, my lived reality exposed me to it much earlier. It’s a toss-up of which dimension I experienced first—race or gender; yet what is now clear is how I am seen in the world has greatly influenced my experience.In other words, identity is also a tool to reveal and unravel the stories we tell ourselves and one another.

Black Queer Mama + Wife Igniting Intentional Justice

First and foremost, this is how I see myself showing up to myself and the individuals and community I show up to and for, with and among, playing the dance of authenticity and mystery, public and private. Amongst all the ways this is how I define myself for to the world and to me.

How I experience the world within and around the playful intersection of being a Black queer woman, who is a mama to a nearly 3-year-old mixed-race girl co-parented with my wife who identifies as a white gender non-conforming queer mommy + wife.

While my wife and I have done the self-awareness work for various social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural responsive efforts and initiatives, this is simply one lens of how we show up in the world. Amidst the dominant narrative that many of us are being called to help shift. This is where my professional identity statement comes in…

I am a Love Leader

It has taken the first half of my 30s to learn that we are the guardians of our soul, which I’ll be marinating on this week as I move into a full week of giving, supporting, loving, and leading. Walking the talk, resetting for the lovelution.

> hot tub + steam room: how is it that I’ve been a member on/off for nearly 12 years, and this was my first time being loved by the steamy haze 💨
✨🌈🙏All made possible with Tiny Waves swim time with Mommy

Via @mamajlove1

While this Sunday of rest for the lovelution is not always possible with our love for Sunday adventures. I was reminded that loving yourself the way you deserve looks like finding a family rhythm for practicing radical self-care as it was just what our individual + collectives souls needed 💕This is one example of bite-sized + deliberate action. One way I bring Justice into my daily life with Intentional. This is Mama J Soul Medicine in Full EFFECT! Leading with love in my life.

I Am Mamapreneur

I am also the leader of a biz. A mom boss. Turning passions into a dream that becomes a sustainable reality to meet the intersecting needs of my family, wife + daughter, and self. For me it also means juggling tuning my dream into a reality alongside working as a Data Goddess (aka Instructional Data Manager) from 9am – 4:30 pm M-Th with Fridays to focus on household needs/errands, biz tasks (planning, writing, promoting), and self-care.

Resetting for the Lovelution in the Everyday

Reflecting on how identity is and has been nurtured within myself over the last week, 3 years since becoming a mama, and in my lifetime boils down to finding ways to practice care, encouragement, and growth for myself. As a multi-passionate human, caring for ourselves (aka self-care) can often be the last thing I check off my endless list, despite there being plenty of 5minute or less restorative practices I do throughout the day. The Truth is what it takes is bite-sized + deliberate restorative practices that prioritizes caring for ourselves without the guilt or shame of the endless to-do list.

For this Love Leader, I am choosing to lead with my identity front and center. This means nurturing all the ways I show up and want to be seen because identity is nurtured. And, it’s taken 35 years to name this as so.  This includes falling silent on some days or what I am framing as the practice of…

💕 Resetting for the Lovelution 💕Turning in…

Integrating the week’s lessons + breakthroughs…

Staying in your pjs until 1pm…

Giving love to yourself, your family, and the house that’s become your sanctuary 🏡While in hindsight it can feel like magic, I find that it can often feel like a struggle in the moment. An tug ‘o’war that’s calling for doing more when doing less is what’s needed to progress 👣This said, consider this my heartfelt reminder to us all that just like our phones and computers, we too need a weekly reset at the very least.

And, I invite you to do the same 💕Nurturing My Identity

It’s time that I name and claim it. Nurturing my identity as I continue to stand in my Truth to do so.

So, who I am?

I am a girl loves the water, it calls me (Yes, I’m taking the opportunity to reference Moana! and share a previous lesson). In all seriousness though…

I am a 35 year old Black Queer Mama + Wife Igniting Intentional Justice

I am a Love Leader + Mamperneur embracing the juggle of Data Goodess & Organizational Leader while building a life of Intentional Justice as a strategist, coach, and writer.

I am also much more…

This is what’s unfolding as I write the book of my dreams with weekly posts that act as chapter of book: Lovelution–A Journey to Self: One Seeker’s Guide to Intentional JusticeIntentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now it’s your turn, as I now invite YOU to consider:

What bite-sized + deliberate action will YOU take in your life today or the week ahead to reset for the Lovelution?

How are you + your loved ones practicing radical self-care?!

👇 Share your intention for today or the week ahead 👇It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY 👣✨🌈In lovelution 💕Wanna Join the Lovelution?!

⇓  Sign-up below to receive Mama J’s monthly Lovegram ⇓  

includes Mama J’s insights, a roundup of these posts directly to your inbox,  and ways to take bite-sized + deliberate action

Older posts