The New Age Journey of African Motherhood
The Western world has a way of stripping people of their identities. Therefore, it is on parents to ensure children born outside of their home countries are taught their languages, traditions and cultures especially, at home. This connection to their origin, keeps them rooted to something bigger than themselves and at times, bigger than their western circumstances. When the world turns on them on, they know there is a place called “home”, where they truly belong and are welcomed with open arms.
Raising African boys as a member of the diaspora has its challenges. Meet Amie Dibba, a Texas born, Minneapolis raised, London living creative and midnight snacker! This is her journey!
The #AfricaBoyMom series shares the stories of young mothers raising African boys.
Tell us your story. Amie Dibba is…
I am a proud Black woman! I am a granddaughter, a daughter, a mother, a soul twin/wife, a sister, an aunt and a friend! I am ever-growing, and evolving!
I am the Assistant Project Manager, 1 Million Books for The Gambia project supported by Books for Africa. I was named after my beloved Grandmother Aji Amie Sowe – Faal, my Mother’s, mother. I create content to inspire, empower, educate and evoke thought as the Creative Director of Diray Entertainment Media Ltd.
Raising children in the Western world, far from home can be challenging. How do you plan to keep your son connected to his Gambian roots?
I, too, was raised far away from The Gambia. I am blessed because I have amazing parents that nurtured me, and all of my passion; they guided me every step of the way. They have been the ultimate example!
I was raised in a SeneGambian community in Minnesota, and had first hand experiences of what works and what doesn’t. Each child is different, but the fact remains that it is crucial to acknowledge your child’s experiences in the place that they are raised and find a meaningful balance. My goal is to have open and honest communication with my child about his roots. In celebrating our culture, we must be ready to acknowledge the realities, elevate the awesomeness, and be ready to leave somethings behind.
Traditionally, African boys are taught not to be “sensitive”. As a #AfricanBoyMom, how do you plan to help your son get in tune with his sensitive side?
To be human is to have emotions. There is no weakness in showing or feeling emotion. We encourage communication in our home and that will be a part of our son’s life.
When my son needs to cry, he will know that it is okay. And, if my son wants to express how he feels using words, I want him to do so freely, without shame. There is truth, and power in both. I will always advocate for his rights and the right of all people to express how they feel in the way that they feel is best. We need to stop telling people how to feel and how to express themselves. We should acknowledge people’s feelings and stop running away from them. I will not silence my son when he expresses his emotions.
If we don’t allow our sons to explore and understand emotions, we cannot expect them to relate to others that openly express them. We cannot expect empathy or compassion. Until, we allow boys and men to be normal emotional beings, we will be contributing to a world where communication is suppressed. We all know what happens when you suppress feelings for too long.
What was the best advice on motherhood you have ever received?
Enjoy every moment, because they grow so fast!
How do you balance external commitments (your businesses) with family commitments?
I, try to keep a schedule/planner. Balance is so important for all parties involved. Sometimes, unexpected things come up, so you adjust accordingly. I find that what works best for our home is to communicate when we need time. We communicate, what our schedules are looking-like separately, so that we can all thrive and also, have quality time together. There is so much peace and happiness in balance.
What was the most unexpected thing about motherhood?
What’s sleep! Ha! You do get used to it, but motherhood is not something you coast through. Sleep will come, but at first I was like yooo warisdis – that is all.
How do you or will you measure your success as a parent?
I try not to do this. I want to be as present, as possible for my child. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and that there are daily successes to be celebrated. When he smiles at me, when he looks for me, when he hugs me and sporadically yells Mama, that is enough of a blessing and reminder that I am on the right track.
The Our Stories, Our Way Fast Three!
1. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Viviane Chidid – Téré Doundou (The live version is giving me life right now)
2. What’s your favorite book to read to your son?
“Whose Toes Are Those?” by Jabari Asim
3. If you could have lunch with anyone with your son, who would it be?
My late Grandmother, Aji Amie Sowe – Faal. May she continue to rest peacefully.