Mama J here thrilled to be a Contributing Blogger for The Pride + Joy Project to share a bit of my journey as a Black queer mama and what’s on my mind right now. Really...it’s #Lemonade 🍋 On repeat. 🍋 🍋 🍋 Yet, that’s for another post.
At the time of originally writing this post the Queer Mamas Facebook Group had reached 10k in 10 days!! Now the group is almost 14k! Amazing! In fact, the conversations moved so fast that this post will be the first introduction of my family and I. Being this late when being invited to a party is totally not like me, especially one that links two key dimensions of my identity: my queer identity and mamahood. All I can say is #MamaJuggle. However, I did read the intros and stories the first 48 hours or so before going deep into my own work on identity, healing, and clarity on my life’s work since becoming a mama. Thanks to The Pride & Joy Project we are visually represented in the group’s cover photo collage! We’re the transracial family on the upper row, second photo from the left.
My name is Jillian, or Mama J..
My wife, Stephanie (aka “Mommy” in our household or more recently, Ma-ma), and I have been together for 12.5 years (10 of which have been in The Bay Area - Berkeley, CA to be exact). We legalized our commitment first as domestic partners at a UPS Store in 2009 (The easiest place to get our form notarized and oh so, romantic! At least we received a Mazel Tov!). We had our first “wedding” in 2011. At the time, we resisted the term since it was not a legal ceremony, though lovingly that’s how our community referred to it. Then on July 3, 2013 we became legal wives* exactly two years after our July 2011 “wedding” and exactly a week after the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.
I love the synchronicity in our love story! Yep, I said love story! I know the cliche is the U-Haul or some variation of that in a gayborhood. And, when I stop to reflect...those double digit numbers above are significant of a lotta choice. A journey of self-love. The intention. All the choices. Revolutionary love. More intention. More choices. The kind of love that heals some of the past injustice. The time it took to do the work that leads to personal justice and freedom.
We live in a time of innovative promise and connected intelligence. We can choose hate or love. Fear or hope. Justice amidst the injustice. Love for the future. Wonder. Learning. Lovin’ and livin’. Unlearning. Building community.
Then there’s our daughter, Jaylin, who in the cover photo image is only 5 months old and rockin’ her Mommy’s childhood sweater. Jaylin’s now 18 months. She keeps us on our toes running almost everywhere she goes as she loves chasing our dog Badger, climbing everything only to then figure out how to slide down, often head first. Definitely our sweet lover of life, our light, our adventurer, and our gazer.
I could go on and on about our family. Telling our story or at least my perspective as a Mamapreneur, which I do over on my blog at www.mamajlove.com. I am a proud mama and wife just like YOU, so today I want to talk about Love: A Means Towards Freedom (my first EVER blog post written back on V-Day 2010!). Keep reading. You can always come back to it later ;)
Seriously, take a minute (ok, maybe 30 seconds since we’re all “busy”) to think about love. The kind of love...safe, honest, brave, truthful, (fill in the blank) that sets YOU free. Okay, now take another 30 seconds to think about how love, for better or worse, can set you FREE! I’m inspired just imagining what YOU are thinking about. If you’re struggling on how to identify with this kind of self love, take a minute to reflect on the love for which you are searching. When we give ourselves space to identify--to create the intentional love that we want and need we are able to find love for ourselves and our world.
How many incremental, bold, and deliberate choices did you make to be with the one you love? To start the journey of expanding your family? To keep going when the dream to mamahood feels out of reach? To have the pregnancy, the birth, or the family plan of your dreams? Just like our choices, our family of origin changes which affects our own future plan for our family.
So much choice + love + intent. Plus, a lotta will + courage + faith + truth + blessings.
We as queer mamas know firsthand the challenges, the bumps in the road, and the danger that can arise from living our truth. We respond by upping the ante when we add kids to the mix. We do our best. We have patience. We educate. We love. We explain. We show up - for ourselves, our families, and our community. We show how the choices we make affect our future. Then we love some more. We cry. We get frustrated. We may even feel like giving up. Then you rub your belly, take a breath, and get ready to try again or you look at your kiddo(s) in the eyes and know that there are SO many possibilities in the impossible.
This is Intentional Justice™:
Simple and deliberate action each day.
It starts with a choice. A mindset.
Learning. Dialogue. Reflection. Action.
A Mama Mindset: Choices of Self-Love + Intent
Similar to baby steps--putting one foot in front of the next.
Each step provides an opportunity to call attention to the struggle, challenge, and suffering (the injustice) in Y(OUR) lives.
In reclaiming Y(OUR) power, the desired outcome for YOU is with choice, love, and intent to experience the kind of justice that restores and heals.
Leading YOU through a wholehearted transformation of Intentional Justice ❣
This is my current working definition. As with any term or concept, it’s evolving. When I think about our community acronyms: GLBT to LGBT to LGBTQ to LGBTQIA-- it’s still evolving. Here’s what I know for sure as a Black queer mama, wife, daughter, aunt, sister and friend: we are in a time when space is needed both online and off to connect with like-minded individuals on a particular identity or a passion, cause, interest (really, you name it...it’s out there. I mean, case in point, the Queer Mamas Facebook group). From where I stand we yearn to see the love + pride + joy of fellow queer mamas and families like our own. In our complexity. Our evolution. Our revolutionary love. A #Lovelution of #IntentionalJustice ❣
What makes this group different is this: so much love + intent went into creating it based on a need for such a space to commune to share our joys and our challenges, to be seen and heard safely with love + intent. This, my future friends and fellow mamas, is justice or what I’ve dubbed Intentional Justice. To have meaningful conversations that matter. This is my why, my mission--to inspire a Lovelution of Intentional Justice. I don’t propose answers, just action. I love asking questions, holding the space, and sharing my toolkit as I continue to discover my truth as you uncover y(our) own. ♥ So…
I look forward to chatting and holding space for all that comes up in our epic love stories!
This is just the beginning. So much truth has been spoken! The discovery + connection, the love + intent, the joy + laughter and the plethora of feelings in between the ebb + flow of life + love that will ensue in the days, weeks, months, and years. Truly the possibilities are endless, so let’s connect and start circling amidst the daily injustice with a Mama Mindset!
Wanna learn more and Join the Mama Mindset Tribe?! Sign-up at: Mama Mindset Tribe
With love + intent ♥
Mamapreneur: Mindset Coach + Love Leader + Equity & Inclusion Consultant + Tech Maven
Mama J. Love Coaching + Consulting
Find me at www.mamajlove.com
Follow my #MamaMindset journey @mamajlove1 on Instagram + Twitter!
Find out more about Mama J & the Mama Mindset here:
Hi! I am Jillian “Mama J" Roth, multi-passionate Mamapreneur with an interdisciplinary approach to how I love + live + learn in Berkeley, CA. I am a Black queer mama + wife using the transformative experience of my own conception, pregnancy, birth, and Mama Sabbatical™ journey to inspire, support, and uplift mamas, mamas-to-be, and mamapreneurs + the soul-searchers to Be the Mama of Your Soul!
Read more: My Big Why: Inspiring a Lovelution of Intentional Justice