Real-mom interviews : Meet Janay

Happy Mom Vox Monday! A space for moms and moms-to-be where stories are shared, experiences are validated and questions are answered. We’re not alone, motherhood is a sisterhood.

This week meet Janay, wife and mother of a daughter. This woman is beautiful both inside and out and it shows in her interview answers! I’m honored to feature her, as I’m a big big fan of her instagram page and business @generationaljoy

Cheers to 2020 being your most abundant year yet my dear! Thank you so much for participating, you have a way with words!

Tell me about yourself

To give you a quick snapshot about me, I love laughs, love and living life to the fullest.

I really try to get the most out of every day and try to instill that in my daughter as well. I got married at 21 on January 2nd, 2013 (junior year of college) to my best friend Maurice and the laughs and love have not stopped since. We just literally turned to each other one day and both were basically like this is a forever thing lets get married, and we did like a month later. Then on February 5th, 2014, in the midst of the last semester of my undergrad Leila was born. This time period was the most challenging and rewarding period of my life. At the end of this semester, I had to pull three all-nighters while nursing Leila to finish a project to graduate on time. I tell that story to paint the picture of how Leila’s presence has motivated me. I don’t want her to ever see me give up. I want her to know that she is and will always be motivation instead of a burden.

Have you always want kids? If not, when did that change?

Yes! I’ve actually wanted a big family!

I always thought that I would physically have 5 kids until I had Leila (lol). Not because she is a hassle, but it really takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to raise a child. With everything that her father and I have going on, we want to make sure that we are fairly bringing children into this world. I’ve always wanted to adopt too, so that is still an option for the future. I’ve always envisioned having big family dinners.

Tell me about the birth or infancy stage of your child?

Let me start by saying bringing life into the world is a beautiful thing.

But um, I have a punch list of things that I would change about my experience (insert dramatic face emoji). I was in the last semester of my senior year of college, so the last memory I have before going into the hospital is working on an assignment while watching the Super Bowl with Maurice. The next morning (Monday), I headed into the hospital to be induced because of high blood pressure. I didn’t have Leila until 12:14 pm that Wednesday. The doctor inserted and removed the epidural needle not once but three times because he put in incorrectly. An epidural that didn’t work. I laid in so much pain that I couldn’t even drink water. I also wouldn’t dilate, because of this (and the pain) the doctors had signed me up for a c-section. But! I had the best nurse who rushed in and said “Hey they are trying to give you a c-section, I’m going to open you up one more centimeter and I want you to push”, and that I did. After the birth, I passed out immediately.

Funniest memory?

I believe Leila was about three at the time and I was trying to get her attention.

To set the scene, one of the nicknames I called her dad is babe, but I would also call her babe from time to time. So I turn to her and I’m like “Babe come here.” She turned to me with the sternest look and said “I’m not your babe. Your babe is at work.” It just was so hilarious to me that this was coming out of that small face and how much authority she mustered up with her very calm demeanor.

What’s something you wish people knew about your son/daughter?

I wish people knew that much like her parents, Leila carries around the hurt of others.

She hates seeing people sad and takes it hard sometimes when she can’t help. Just yesterday we were at the mall and all I heard was “awww”, and when I looked down Leila was absorbing the sadness of this crying kid.

What’s something you wish people knew about you?

I wish people knew that I am a really emotional person.

I harbor feelings and don’t wear them because that’s just what I am used to. I have a hard shell to cut back on letting things get to me but when things get to me, they really get to me. It throws my energy off, I don’t sleep, and I kick myself for harboring the feelings until the next time.

What was the biggest sacrifice of motherhood to you? And how are you coping?

I would say the biggest sacrifice of motherhood is time for professional and personal development.

I have a great support system with my husband and family, but I didn’t realize how much of my life motherhood would consume until I was thrust into it. Yes, I could work overtime when my child is sleep. Yes, I could go days without spending quality time with her to accomplish a goal. I have done both of those things, but what I have been valuing lately is working towards goals at a pace that allows my daughter to have her mother in the moment. I would feel like I personally failed if my child looks back over her childhood and said all mommy did was work and I didn’t create memorable experiences for her.

What do you love most about being a mom? Name 3 things.

1. Leila prefers to hang out at home with us than anywhere else.

This is a major accomplishment for me to create an environment where my child finds love and joy. She has so many friends and family members that adore her (we call her the mayor now), but she would rather be with us.

2. I love seeing Leila happy! Her laughs and smiles make my day!

3. Even though it is a terrifying job, I love creating the example I want her to live by. I have the honor of sculpting a human being into being her best self and I really enjoy seeing who she is growing into.

They say it takes a village to raise them, who does your tribe consist of? (b) What’s something you wish they knew?

My tribe consists of an extensive list

parents (and in-laws), siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, as well as a group of very special friends who have so much love for Leila. It’s funny because Maurice and I were talking lately about how we could thank our friends specifically for their roles in Leila’s life because we wish they knew how valued they are.

What’s your favorite book and why?

My favorite book honestly changes often!

My favorite for a while has been Angela Davis’ autobiography. The first reason being I love African American history. I love reading about the struggles and triumphs of my people. I also love to read about strong figures who rebel against systems for motivation. Not necessarily to rebel against a system, but as a reminder to not take things how they are if you aren’t happy with them.

What lessons and values do you hope to instill in your child?

There are a few lessons that I hope Leila receives from me.

The first is ALWAYS put your best foot forward. Don’t count on a second chance. The second is always show kindness and compassion because a kind spirit is a true gift to this world. One more lesson I hope she gets from me is always go for quality, even if you have to wait a little longer to get it. That goes for quality clothes, relationships, and opportunities. Quality things and people not only add value but they last.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about motherhood thus far?

The best advice that I have received is: everyone’s right answer is not mine.

Everyone’s experience is different and implementing some else’s game plan may not work in my home.

What advice do you have for new moms?

My advice to new moms is to make the most out of the experiences with your little ones.

The experiences don’t always have to cost money but put the extra effort into finding what things you both can find joy in. Also, be great communicators to your little ones. The way you communicate with them shapes the way they communicate and resolve issues with the world.