Tell us your story. Who is Busola?
I am a Virgo to the core! Analytical. Loyal. Intuitive. Thoughtful. Seeker of knowledge (I am an avid reader). I enjoy space and silence, pastries, and a good latte. I enjoy my own company. I spent the first two years of my life in Miami, FL, 15 years in Lagos Nigeria, and 20 years in Atlanta, GA. I am a Georgia State University alumni, and a public relations professional. I am married with two children (ages 5 and 4).
You created the platform Black Boy Thrive, what’s your vision for it?
When my son started preschool at age 4, we had NO idea what to expect. And boy did we face the harsh reality that little Black boys are scrutinized, diagnosed and disciplined more harshly than their peers for behaviors that are normal for their age. Our experience led me to start Black Boy Thrive, with the goal of advocating for little Black boys in preschool and Kindergarten, to ensure that they’re allowed to learn without being discriminated against or labeled. This experience also reminded me that African immigrants are not exempt from discrimination and racial bias in the U.S.
What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood to me means getting up everyday and literally going with the flow, something that is difficult for me as someone who likes to plan. Motherhood is teaching me to be more flexible, and to not always insist that things go as planned.
What has given you the most joy as a #AfricanBoyMom?
My son is HILARIOUS! He literally makes me laugh, and it brings me so much joy. I also find joy in seeing him grow and learning. I enjoy watching his relationship with his younger sister – they’re best friends (when they’re not fighting), and that brings me joy.
What’s one activity you engage with your son the celebrates his boyhood?
I let him rip at the playground/park! I let him run around, climb, jump, move his body however he’d like (safely, of course). Boys tend to be more active and therefore need space to do so without too many restrictions. We also enjoy doing puzzles together, and he loves it when I play along in his pretend jungle.
As a #AfricanBoyMom, will the occasional lecture on systemic patriarchy become a part of the conversation? If so, what are the three things you want your Gambian son to understand about the system and the ways in which he can support the women in his life?
We haven’t had the conversation yet, but for now we model what we’d like to see in our household. For example, there are no chores that are for “girls only.” I frequently request that he do things for his sister, including taking her plate to the kitchen or helping her put her clothes away. And vice-versa, of course. The idea is that not everything is a “woman’s job.”
As we transmit different, new, and transformative lessons about gender to eliminate toxic masculinity, what’s one thing you want your son to know about being a man and displaying emotions?
I allow him to display his emotions, and teach him to do so safely. I let him get angry, cry, express himself without hurting himself or anyone else. The main message I try to convey is that even when we are experiencing strong emotions, it is important to learn how to feel them without being ashamed or without hurting anyone else in the process.
As religious people we are taught that heaven is at your mothers feet, what was the transition like when you went from being someone’s child to someone’s parent? And what lesson do you hope to teach your son about this?
I wasn’t ready! LOL! Honestly, I agree that nothing can prepare you for motherhood. It was a tough transition for me, and I’m still learning and growing. I am especially learning to adapt different ways to parent, without burdening my children with the task of gaining my approval. I hope to teach my son that when he has children of his own, his role as a father is to nurture, raise, love too. He is to be an equal parent to his wife however he can.
What is the best advice you were given on raising a boy?
They will do it when they’re ready, lol! Especially potty training. I spent so much time agonizing over him not being potty trained at a certain age, instead of accepting that he simply wasn’t ready. It is also so important to know your child, boy or girl. Know where they are and what they’re capable of, instead of measuring against someone else’s timeline.
The Our Stories, Our Way Fast Three!
1. What’s your favorite book to read to your son?
We currently enjoy reading “I Promise” by LeBron James.
He’s learning to read, and it has been an easy read for him which makes it more enjoyable.
2. If you and your son could have lunch with anyone who would it be and why?
His dad! He absolutely adores his dad (and I do too :-))
3. What’s your advice to other young moms raising boys?
There’s nothing “wrong” with them. Don’t let society try to diagnose them based on their unreasonable standards.