These Black Women Are Crushing Motherhood and the New Work-Life Balance

Black women are the fastest growing demographic of new entrepreneurs while also being the backbones of their families. Here’s how five enterprising Black moms get it done while taking care of themselves.

Headshots of Elyse Fox, Dr. Wendy Osoef, and Jaimesha Thomas
Photo: Jocko Graves/Mark Clennon/Jaimesha Thomas

It's no secret but if you didn't know, Black mothers are superheroes. We are doing it all. Sometimes because we want to, and sometimes because we need to. Either way, we are getting things done.

As a Black mother, I find myself surrounded by other phenomenal Black mothers. My village includes Black women who are amazing examples of balancing motherhood and personal challenges yet still walking in their purpose and pursuing their passions. For encouragement, we often don't have to look much further than the people we call friends. If you're wondering how to handle being a present mother while having a hectic schedule, these women have some great advice.

Prioritize Your Autonomy

Elyse Fox, Founder and CEO of Sad Girls Club

Elyse Fox
Jocko Graves

Who says you can't be a CEO and a bomb mom? Elyse Fox constantly proves through the success of her mental health organization, Sad Girls Club, that she is a mom who can do it all.

Fox is a director, activist, and tastemaker who has created access to mental health resources, and community support, through partnerships with big names like Nike, Harvard University, The U.S. Intelligence Community, Instagram, and others. As the founder and CEO of Sad Girls, it's evident that she has to be on her A-game running her company and brand. When asked how she balances overseeing an essential organization like Sad Girls Club with creating moments with her little one, she says, "Prioritize your autonomy. Yes, you're a mother and wear many other hats, but it's important to nurture your desires guilt-free. Trust me, it takes practice but in my experience has created a positive ripple effect in my home." For mothers who are thinking about starting their own businesses, or are already running them, Fox's approach is life-saving.

It's OK to Phone It In Sometimes

Dr. Jessica Clemons, M.D., Board-Certified Psychiatrist

Dr. Jess
Mark Clennon

Whether you're running a business like Elyse or work for a company, your mental health should always be a priority. As a mother, I've learned that the only way to operate at my best is to take care of my mental health. I'm no expert on this, but I was glad to have the chance to speak to board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Jessica Clemons, M.D., Her work in mental health advocacy includes educating the Black community through #BeWell, her community-based conversation series. The series has featured prominent guests like Swizz Beatz, June Ambrose, and Tobe Nwigwe with the intention of inspiring attendees to normalize conversations about mental health.

This event led to the recent release of her first Audible Original, Be Well: A Guide to Better Mental Health for All, which debuted as a part of the Audible's Well Being collection alongside Deepak Chopra. I wanted the absolute best tip on how moms can prioritize their mental health while balancing work and motherhood.

Prioritize what's most important to you. "For me, it's my family, so I don't mind investing less time in being the 'outstanding employee' by setting firm limits between time with family and time at work, as well as letting go of the concept of being available for every opportunity," says Dr. Clemons. "Also, take care of yourself—eat well, exercise, and prioritize adequate sleep and rest, which means you may have to be open to accepting help in caring for your home life responsibilities."

She also wants moms to know that "phoning it in" once in a while is perfectly acceptable. "It's OK to have a take-out night! Get comfortable with showing up as the best version of yourself, and worry less about that image being perfection—which doesn't exist," says Dr. Clemons.

Remember You Were a Whole Person Before Motherhood

Jaimesha Thomas, Comedian

Jaimesha Thomas
Jaimesha Thomas

We all have ways to prioritize our mental health and indulge in self-care. Especially during the pandemic, finding content that's good for my spirit, and that makes me laugh has been important. New mom and award-winning comedian, Jaimesha Thomas, is on my shortlist of people to check in with for a good laugh.

From her posts on Instagram to her spot on MTV's Wild 'N' Out, this mother lifts my mood. One of the unique things about her is that everything is original, which means a lot of time and preparation goes into what we see as the audience. I wondered how Thomas is able to have fun while balancing work and being a stay-at-home mother. After speaking with her, she says, "Finding time for yourself as a first-time mom or even a mom of two is crucial when maintaining inner peace while balancing a busy work environment and still finding time for home life. But who says being a stay-at-home mom, you can't also enjoy being who you once were before?"

Thomas says being a good mom sometimes means putting yourself first. "If you aren't taking care of yourself, how can you expect to care for anyone else well? I've found it essential to find time to relax and recharge, which allows me to be the best mom I can be to my little one."

Relaxing looks like being intentional with your time. "Reading, writing, catching up with a friend, and even showering—because most of us don't get to do that alone—are all ways to wind down and release last week's stress. With whatever time allows, remember you are not alone," Thomas says. "There are millions of working mothers trying to balance the life of a SAHM while making ends meet. Grab that drink, buy that dress, go dancing with a friend because you deserve it, mama."

Show Our Children What it Looks Like To Achieve Dreams

Dr. Wendy Osefo, Ph.D., Political Commentator, Professor, TV Personality & Philantropist

Dr. Wendy
Domo Jenkins

Some mothers have one job, and others, like Dr. Wendy Osefo, Ph.D., have multiple jobs. We have the opportunity to see her and her family throughout the year—she s stars in Bravo's Real Housewives of Potomac. And that is just one of Dr. Osefo's jobs. She is also a professor, political commentator, author, and creator of Onyi Home Essentials. We've seen her powerful presence on networks like MSNBC and Fox News, and through speaking engagements at prestigious institutions like Harvard University.

Even with all the fantastic work she does on screen and in the classroom, Dr. Osefo's most important job is being a mother. An Instagram post, shared how she was booked to host a day on The Real talk show as a part of a RHOP promo run. Unfortunately, her daughter got sick, and Dr. Osefo was forced to cancel her appearance.

This form of sacrifice spoke volumes to me as a mother. We find ourselves guilted into having to work, but Dr. Osefo, despite her crazy schedule, still puts family first no matter what. When I spoke to her, I wanted to know how mothers can commit to their careers the way she does, while also staying present in their children's lives. Dr. Osefo shared these wise words: "A key component of being true to motherhood is being true to yourself. As moms, we must center our wants and needs. That means achieving our own goals and career aspirations," she says. "The greatest gift we can give to our children is showing them that anything we dream can be achieved. Who needs a superhero when you have a mom juggling home life and motherhood."

Always Make Time for Family and Fun

Felisha Noel, Fashion Designer

Felisha Noel
Jade Tillman Belmes

After following fashion designer Felisha Noel of Fe Noel, I realized that it is possible to balance it all. Fe's clothes have been worn by notable women like First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, and Tessa Thompson. Of course, I had to wonder how she's been able to have such a successful business, travel the world, and be such an awesome mom.

Noel helped me realize it can be done when she graciously told me, "While I'm blessed to be doing what I love as my life's work, it's still very important to me that I keep a healthy balance," she says. "When I travel for business, I always make time for fun and try my best to include my family. The times when I get to do all three are very special."

In some way, all of these women help me get through daily as a mother. Whether through encouragement or advice, these women play a crucial role in my success as a career woman and mother. When they say it takes a village, it's not only to help children succeed. The village is there for you as a parent as well.

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