Age: 24 years old
Son: Rome Zebulun St. Jean
Age: 2 years old
Tell us about yourself? (who you are, what you do, etc)
I am a woman of god, mama, actress; honestly a spiritual & creative being in a nutshell. I am very passionate, hardworking, full of love & humility. I have many talents/gifts. I recently pulled a Taraji P Henson and moved my son and I to Atlanta to pursue acting wholeheartedly. A lot of great projects and opportunities have blossomed since the move, my son is getting acclimated so nicely and I feel humbly favored & grateful.
Can you tell us about your experience raising your child without the father present? How does it impact both you and your child?
My experience raising Rome without his father has been verrrry challenging. Thankfully I have such a great support system to help out when they can. I, of course, through out the duration of this interview want to first off say I have no mal intentions or spirit towards my sons father. I mean this was someone who I was madly in love with and loved for about 4 years prior to having our son & the father of my child. However, not having Rome’s father present impacted us most financially & emotionally. Right now, I don’t 100% agree with child support through the system. I often feel like it may be a trap to imprison men (especially). But I also agree strongly, a parent should definitely take responsibility of their child. Which is why I hoped to always have the financial support from my sons father. I don’t know if this is me being young, naive or ignorant and I’ll soon will learn. But, that’s just my very vague reasoning of not having Rome’s dad on child support. A lot of people think all single parents, get all these benefits from the government. But because I chose no child support through the system, I don’t get food or financial assistance. I say this also while saying I have a well paying job. However, not a lot of people realize how expensive it truly it is to raise a child. You have rent, bills which I can effortlessly take care of but then there’s childcare. Especially being a single parent, childcare is so vital. Then there’s food, clothes and shoes which they grow out of incredibly too fast, hygiene products, extra curriculums, & then random expenses you didn’t think you’d have to spend on, like medicine not covered by insurance. But because I have to over compensate for the responsibility of the other parent I had to get a side job. Aside from my side job, I often take odd jobs & have a side hustle of providing acting coaching just to be some what comfortable. However, when I am not working it’s like Christmas! I take him out on adventures, teaching him (of course) and gift him new toys. I feel it’s unfair for him to not be able to have things a common child would have because of an absent parent. I guess that’s my mama guilt. I especially get mama guilt when sometimes I just want to feel and do things I like and enjoy as a person. I am an actor, a creator. I have to make sure I’m networking (which I hardly get to do) and bettering my craft, working on my craft. I have other desires of my heart and gifts I bestow that I would love to pursue but it’s a sacrifice I make. I am emotionally exhausted sometimes, I feel like the absent parent is sooo unaware of the emotional journey you go through especially when dealing with a sick child that’s super clingy so you give them all your best mama cuddles and attention but you have to miss work, and now you’re wondering how you’re going to make that day or days worth of income back. I don’t believe they know what it feels like to deal with your child throwing a tantrum in a grocery store because they may be tired or mad that you won’t let them take a bite out of all the fruit in the produce section, or simply throwing a tantrum because they are frustrated because they miss you so much because you work so hard to provide. There is a lot of emotional rollercoasters you go on as a parent, but when it’s not evenly distributed between the other parent it can take a lot on you emotionally, and those are just small quick examples. I could write a book LOL. This is how an absent father effects me emotionally. I never in my life imagined myself raising my son without his father present. A year ago, I used to often plead that I want my son to have his father in his life. I don’t want my son feeling like a fatherless child. But after a year, I stopped pleading that desire. I realized no matter what you say, a person won’t step up until they want to truly step up. Despite all of this I don’t believe it emotionally impacts Rome drastically much now because he’s still so young. But I mean, I don’t really know. I believe as my son is growing mentally rapidly, soon he will notice and maybe even ask questions. I feel a lot of mom guilt that my son isn’t being raised in a two parent home and he doesn’t have that father and son bond. But I’m praying his dad will become a present father and also that I am blessed with a husband that loves and cares for my son like his own.
What things led to the father not being present in your kid(s) life?
Without putting to much of my personal life out there, what led my sons father to not be in his life was a combination of things. Disobedience, lack of responsibility, lack of love & he moved away and etc.
What was your experience with your father growing up and how did that impact you?
My experience with my father was great. A much different story than my son which is why I feel so much guilt of him not having a present father in his life. My dad was very hardworking, he provided for all six of his children and my mom was a stay at home mom. My dad was very supportive of everything any of us had going on. For me it was every track meet, volleyball game, audition & theatre play. My dad was always very cool, silly and full of love. He was always so proud to be our dad. I was definitely a daddy’s girl. Everywhere my dad was I was. I know how to change a tire, fix my breaks, change my oil, fix anything that is broken in a house, I know a lot about electronics, fishing & multiple ways of making money all because I literally followed my daddy everywhere! My dad was so excited when he found out I was pregnant and then seeing him with my son is just so beautiful, all God. They have an incredible relationship. Having my dad in my life the way our relationship is impacted me in such a positive way. I’m beyond thankful for my daddy!
What advice would you give to other #WomenRaisingOurFuture?
My advice for women raising our future is to never ever give up. I know how hard it is to be a mother let alone a single mother and I know sometimes it just seems impossible to make it through another day but don’t ever give up. The best thing I ever did to keep my sanity and stay progressive is to heal & strengthen my relationship with God and create a schedule that works for me! Within that schedule, I make sure I have at least an hour of ME time a day. Whether that be a deep bath night, getting my hair done, or even allowing an extra hour of sleep. If we aren’t okay we can not be okay for our children/our family. Aside from these things I constantly remind myself of legacy. If I am away from my child it is to better the future of my child or to better myself which ultimately betters my child. Stay present, stay wise and always learn, and stay full of love despite the disparities of this sometimes cruel world. We are such incredibly strong beings, women. Truly God’s work, so powerful. Remember whose you are & God’s promise. Knowing that will help you realize your true worth, which is far more precious than rubies or any jewel.
If you could think of any resources that would help you through the process, what would they be?
One resource I recommend is joining a mom page in your city. If your family is toxic or you moved to a new city with no family sometimes the mom page is a great insightful page of wisdom, opinions, advice and just words of encouragement and relatable stories that could possibly help. I also say to please please please allow God to work on you, heal you. Stay strongly in the word and trust me he will guide you. Once you establish your relationship with God a lot of confusion, hurt, and etc will slowly bring understanding, healing and etc.