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by Emma Peters 6 min read

 

May is for Mamas: An Update

Driven by a desire to cultivate a community of care.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we donated a portion of online sales in May to theTender Foundation. This unique non-profit is focused onempowering single mothers by making essentials accessible during times of hardship, and equipping them with skills, tools and resources to help stabilize their families in the future. 

We donated over $1,300 towards their mission of family stabilization through bill pay assistance, monetary donations towards groceries and baby/child essentials. Our community has made a difference in the lives of 88 single mothers, 98% of which are Black. Your donation helped provided:

  •  24 mamas with rent assistance
  • 17 mamas with $150 each for groceries
  • Provided 3350 diapers and 53 packs of wipes
  • Covered 14 utility bills

Khadijah sat down with Founder Jaycina Almond to discuss everything from creative inspiration to finding time for self care while also being a working mom. 

Last year you launched your non-profit Tender, which provides assistance and connection with support services to single mothers in the Atlanta area. Can you tell us a little more about Tender’s work and what brought you to create the Foundation? What’s been the most rewarding? What has been the most challenging?

Tender is a non-profit committed to empowering all mamas by making the essentials accessible. We do this through our stabilization program which provides emergency bill pay assistance, grocery store gift-cards, and essentials. 

Once our mama’s immediate needs are met and they aren’t in “crisis” mode we connect them with other resources that can help them achieve sustainable financial independence. 

The idea for Tender was initially to sell curated subscription boxes tailored to each trimester of pregnancy, for every box sold we would provide a box to a mama in need. I basically got the business ready to launch and I realized that I didn’t care enough to sell a product. I was focusing on the boxes we would provide to underserved mamas more than our product. I got real with myself and decided to pivot completely to a non-profit. 

The “challenges” haven’t really felt challenging. Once I made my mind up about what I was doing, I just threw myself into it and meeting the mamas we serve makes it so worth it.

You have also been outspoken about specific issues around pregnancy and motherhood like childbirth and breastfeeding, particularly for communities of color. Can you share more about these issues and your desire to bring more awareness around them? 

As a woman of color, I feel like it’s my duty to always advocate for women who look like me with any platform I’m given. Black women are 3 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, not because of genetics or biological reasons but because of medical neglect. That statement alone should be more than enough for anybody to want to champion for Black maternal health. I gave birth 3 years ago, it was before a lot of these issues were at the forefront of folks minds. As I learned about my own pregnancy and the experiences of my peers and my ancestors it ignited something within me, especially knowing I was going to be raising a little Black girl.

For many working Moms, the “juggle struggle” is real. As someone who navigates this every day myself, I hesitate to use the word “balance” but how do you stay focused and grounded while tackling everything that needs to get done in the day?   

Personally, I’ve had to break my tasks into “must do today” and “must do this week” and honestly, it might not get done that day or that week. 

Knowing your family values and what’s important to you as a mama lends some clarity in this realm. Would I rather spend 30 minutes drawing every animal Syx requests or would I rather do the dishes? Dishes are gonna get washed regardless so since I keep my values close I can feel okay choosing to enjoy a moment with Syx. 

For work stuff, I get up early and stay up late and just bang it out. I’ve learned to let my perfectionism go. Syx is also at an age where she can play independently for a solid hour or two and I can work or I can read or wash my hair - just do something for myself to fill my cup back up in the middle of the day. Those moments are what makes it possible. 

For many Creatives and Entrepreneurs, COVID-19 has been a chance to either hustle or slow-down. How have you been spending this time? 

For me it's been a mix of both. As a single mama I don’t really get any breaks right now but I’ve also been able to remain present with Syx in a way that I wasn’t before all this happened! 

I recently just finished readingTiny Beautiful Things - I think everybody should read it during their early 20s! Before COVID-19 I was a DoorDash girl! I rarely cooked but that’s completely changed now! I’ve even been baking!

Your 3 year old daughter Syx is such a joy for you - how is this pandemic affecting your approach to motherhood and parenting? What’s working for the two of you right now?

I’ve been extending us both a lot more grace. Since Syx isn’t attending school her normal 2 days a week I’m pretty much back in like the postpartum stage! It’s tough for sure. She only has me to play with and I have to squeeze work and homemaking into the day but we are so blessed so I just focus on the good stuff. 

I let go of my need to complete my to-do list every day. I got rid of our TV 4 weeks ago! I love seeing Syx’s imagination come to life, I love doing little art projects and our daily dance parties! It forces me to be present and really give 100% every day. 

What goals do you have for Tender in the future? 

I would love for Tender to add some in-house long term resources for our mamas like a Workforce Development Program and affordable housing. In the short term I would love to expand our programming and provide Doulas or Midwives to pregnant people who wouldn’t necessarily have access to those services.  

You’re a mom, model and entrepreneur, someone we’d call a Fierce Chick.With fierceness often comes two other “f” words though – fear and failure. What have you learned from your own fears and failures? 

From my fears, I think I’ve learned you really don’t have anything to be scared of! The worst that could happen when it comes to most fears are somebody says no, you get something wrong or perhaps you become embarrassed.

Life moves on, you’ll laugh at it eventually. Might even find a lesson in it. I like to just go for it and work it out on the way. I tend to look at my failures super analytically and try to extract a lesson from each one. If I fail that means there is room for improvement. Failures make you great, they make you tighten up and pull shit together. 

I personally find the women I grew up with and my female friends as everyday inspiration. They really are the Fierce Chicks in my life. Who has been a Fierce Chick for you and why?  

My best friend for sure. Since Syx was born, she has shown up and shown out for us. I’ve really depended on her in some of my hardest moments. I also have a group of mama friends that I connected with online that are so badass: Tyra, Shia, T, Jasmine, Marz, Faith - I’m forgetting a bunch but yes! It’s so amazing to have a community. 

You are also a poet! What’s the last thing that inspired you? 

I just started readingHomie by Danez Smith, I'm most inspired by other writers usually! He is a great one! 


Finally, we asked Jaycina what particular mantra was helping her through these challenging times, her response—you’ve “gotta get through it to get through it.” What better sentiment to leave with our shared community? Mothers, moms and anyone who is like a mama know that courage, resilience and community are the cornerstones for a more tender future. 


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