Windy Augustine | Instagram at @windymariea
Tell us about yourself? (who you are, what you do, etc)
I am a Social Worker that specializes in servicing the homeless and mental health population in New Orleans. My job provides me the opportunity to do something that I’m very passionate about, allowing people to always see the light and find hope. I am a single mother of two amazing kids. My daughter is an 8-year-old entrepreneur and my son is a 20-year-old college student studying Marketing. I consistently push both of my children to be the best version of themselves and to know that anything is possible.
Can you tell us about your experience raising your child without the father present? How does it impact both you and your child?
My son’s father has always been a part of his life. However, I have been the primary parent since he was a kid. My daughter’s father on the other hand, has not been consistently active in her life since she was born. Raising her on my own has been rough, but she keeps me grounded for sure. I was a daddy’s girl and I never experienced being without a father, so it’s really hard to play both roles. My daughter’s dad hasn’t been consistently in her life for quite some time. I try my hardest to teach her about life, morals, being kind and compassionate to others and to always value her worth. This is something that I didn’t know as I was growing up and it’s super important for me to instill that into her right now.
When my daughter was as young as 3 years old, there were many times she would hear her dad disrespect me in so many ways and call me things that I would never imagine that she should hear. Now, she may bring that up in random conversations like, “mommy, I remember when daddy used to say. ___.” Once that happened, I realized that I had teach her that it wasn’t ok and to never settle for anyone treating her that way. It was also that moment that really had me thinking and it made me toughen up and get more confident. I had to ask myself, “do you really want your children to remember you settled for this type of behavior?” Hell No!!! I knew that the moves I made directly impacted her on many levels.
We talk about her Dad when she wants to and I never talk about him in a bad way. I want her to know that no matter what happens, he does love her. Although he’s not around, I am here and I will make sure that she has the best life and we will create joyful memories that she will forever carry. I’m also at a place in my life where I have grown emotionally and spiritually. Therefore, I don’t even think about the “why” anymore. I used to think things like, “who wouldn’t want to see this beautiful face every day, why wouldn’t he want to know how she was doing?” When I realized that was beyond my control, I let go and let God. My daughter will always remember that I was there no matter what! I feel as long as she is getting all the love from me, her brother and the rest of our family; my dad, sister and aunt, she will always feel wanted and loved.
My mom passed away a couple of years ago, which was really hard on all of us. My children were her only grandkids and she was very close to them both. Navigating through parenthood without my mom has been really difficult and life changing because she was my biggest support system. We joked a lot because I would always call my mom and my sister my “baby mamas’ lol. I know for sure that God has been protecting us and that’s what keeps our family strong.
I will continue to motivate and encourage my daughter and that’s all that matters! She literally is my best friend! She asks a lot of questions and has such an inquisitive mind. Therefore, we talk about anything that she’s curious about, even when she asks why her dad doesn’t call or come see her anymore. Yep, she’s asked that!! I try to be as open as possible when there are things she wants to know. However, I do explain in a way without bashing her Dad because I don’t want her to remember me as the Mom who talked down about him because that’s not what I’m here to do. My first priority is to raise her with love and always demonstrate that (even when it’s regarding her dad) and to consistently teach her to always put God first. I encourage her to be open and talk to me about anything she desires. I’ve always wanted to be sure that we have an open relationship so that she’ll feel comfortable to talk to me about anything. My job as a mom is to make sure she is equipped with all she needs to take on this world. I tell her all the time that I can’t promise I will be able to take away all of her problems but I promise she will never have to face them alone. I am my daughter’s keeper.
What was your experience with your father growing up and how did that impact you?
My father was always active in my life as I was growing up. He was like Mr. Mom and did everything from cooking to combing our hair, picking out our clothes, and all of the things dads are supposed to do. My sister and I actually lived with him when we were younger. My parents divorced when I was a very young age. My dad had full custody of us and most of my childhood was spent with him. Although my dad ensured that my sister and I knew that we were loved and that we were his pride and joy, there were times when my mom wanted to visit us, my dad would be disrespectful towards her for his own reasons. I didn’t know back then that it was wrong because it just felt like the norm. I just remember feeling really sorry for my mom because she always looked so sad when he wouldn’t let her see us. Since I’ve carried that memory, I knew that I would never keep my children their father. You know, it’s never the child’s fault that the parents have issues, so I didn’t want to bring that on to them. I knew it was important for me to break that cycle.
I also didn’t realize that I was a daddy’s girl until I got older. I wasn’t around my mom most of my younger years because my dad allowed the issues between them prohibit my sister and I from spending time with her. As I got older, I recognized my resentment towards him for those actions. I think I felt like I just didn’t have a chance to have memories of my mom as a kid. I moved in with my mom when I was about 12, but I will never forget the bitterness my father had regarding their relationship. However, as they got older and evolved, they had a really good relationship and I am very thankful that I was able to experience some sort of family dynamic between them. But, I do know for sure that what you live through in your childhood will definitely influence you on some level as an adult. I keep that in mind when it comes to my daughter. I know how I felt growing up and I don’t want her to have to live through that experience. Because of her dad’s past behavior, in some ways it benefits her that he is not in her life because I don’t want her to grow up thinking it’s ok for a man to treat her that way. I work double time with making sure she is taught integrity, empathy, respect and worth.
What advice would you give to other #WomenRaisingOurFuture?
The advice I would give is always put God first and stay consistent in prayer because it REALLY works. My mantra is that a strong woman starts as a strong girl and It’s easier to build strong kids than repair broken adults. If the situation you’re in does not benefit you children, then GET OUT!! No relationship is worth ruining the memories your kids will have about their childhood. They repeat what they see, so I always keep that in mind when I think about the type of relationships that I present before my children.
If you could write a note to your father starting with “Dear Father,” what would it be?
You are a good father to me and I appreciate how much you go above and beyond your duties as a father. I thank you for letting me know that I am loved. However, I wished that you realized when I was a little girl that the way you interacted with my mom gave me a different perspective on how I viewed love too. It also impacted the way I have received the men in most of my relationships. Because I thought toxicity was the norm, I accepted things, behaviors and words that were not healthy for me. It wasn’t until I had my own daughter that I realized I would never want my daughter to experience that either.
I know that you did the best you could with what you knew how and that you didn’t intentionally mean to cause any hurt. I’m thankful to God that you and my mom were able to put the past behind and move forward. While I’ve witnessed more than I’d like to remember as a child, I have been a work in progress with putting my past behind and growing into a better version of myself. We all have made some good and bad decisions that effected our lives and I now understand that it’s just a part of the journey. I hope that you join me in continuing to pray that we continue to evolve and most importantly for us all to break the cycle of toxicity. While, I can’t tell you how to deal with your past, I hope that you’ve had some quiet moments to chat with my mom in heaven and just let everything out. Believe me it’s the best therapy for healing.
I appreciate everything that you’ve done and continue to do for me and my children and I pray that we continue to move forward with unconditional love, no form of judgment, strength and support.
I love you always, Win