(This is a guest post by Isis Spann, an educational coach determined to prove that “high poverty can equal high performance when we engage more with families.” She is a founding delegate of the National Parents Union, FUNdamentals of Learning owner, and author of “Taking the WORK Out Of Homework.”)
“I don’t have time to help with homework.”
“I don’t have time to cook dinner.”
“I don’t have time because I have to work.”
“I don’t have time because I’m too tired.”
My name is Isis Amelia Spann.
Isis is the Egyptian goddess of love, fertility, and motherhood.
Amelia is the namesake of my family given to me by the woman who gave birth to one of the strongest, bravest and honest women that I knew. It was the name of my great grandmother given to me by my grandmother.
Spann is the name God blessed me with when my best friend, who just so happened to be my husband asked me to marry him!
Why the history of my name? Because YOUR name like mine, is a compass, a road map of who you will become. It gives you something to live up to or carry on.
While I gave you an example of all of my names, I want to focus on Isis. I want to focus on MOTHERHOOD and what it means to me and what it means to my life.
I became a mother at the ripe age of 22. I wasn’t a teen mom according to my age, but I was according to my mindset. Growing up fatherless, longing for male attention and a sense of a fairytale love. I allowed myself to fall in love and become pregnant with someone who would’ve been better off as a friend! Because of my lapse in judgment, I became a single mom one month after my graduation, and everything I knew about life changed.
About a year into being a mom of twin girls, I noticed that one of my daughters was advancing and one wasn’t. After testing and doctors’ visits, my oldest twin (by 1 minute) was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
MY WORLD COMES CRASHING DOWN
Nobody I knew had this disability. Nobody in our family could relate to what I was going through. At this point, I was only 23 years old.
Fast forward, now I’m 30 years old and my daughter is 8 years old and in the words of Langston Hughes “life for me (us) ain’t been no crystal stair.”
Day by day, we conquer the normalcy of life. Our days start earlier and extend longer than most. I’m not the mom that can just pull up to the curb at the school and let my baby girl hop out of the car. I can’t just tell her to put her shoes on so we can head out. I can’t put in a simple request for her to come turn my room light off for me even though I’m in my bed closest to the light (I’ve always wanted to be that mom). I’m not able to sit on the bench or sidelines and watch her play with friends or family and I may never be that mom that can send her child away to college (not because of her lack of ability, but because out of my fear that someone may mistreat or abuse her).
You may be wondering: Why is this titled: Open letter to parents too busy?
I’ll tell you why. YOU ARE NOT TOO BUSY. I am a mom of four. I gave the story about my oldest because my relationship with her is a little more calculated and intentional than the others because she is conquering cerebral palsy. So no, I’m not the mom that can just let her hop out of the car because her legs won’t allow it. But I do walk her into school every day, help her buckle in her wheelchair, and tell her to “be confident, be courageous and be creative.”
I can’t just yell from my room and tell her to put on her shoes and let’s go because she wears AFOs, a special brace and shoes that take her about 10-15 minutes to assemble and put on herself. I give her those minutes. I plan departure with those extra 10-15 minutes in mind so that she doesn’t feel rushed.
I may not ask her to come into my room and turn off my light for me, but when she comes into my room, her presence lights up the room because she is my hero at just 8 years old.
And going out to a park, Monkey Joe’s or Chuck E. Cheese’s (LORD IT’S A TIME). Guess what? I’m there with her every step of the way. I don’t get to watch from the sidelines, but I get to hold her hand and jump and slide and play WITH her, which is more beautiful than watching the act itself.
And lastly, going away to college, trade school or whatever she may decide. It terrifies me because she is conquering cerebral palsy. I know that God will protect her and I have 10 more years, at most, to get myself together (lol)!
So, you! You parents, who are “too busy” – use me as a guide.
Think about all of the extra steps and time in my day that I spend assisting a child with a disability, while raising three others, being a wife and a full-time business owner and I want you to MAKE TIME!
Stop saying what you don’t have, because the power of life and death is in the tongue and “you have what you say.” Make the time today! If they don’t get the love and attention from you, they’ll find it in the wrong places and you don’t want that! MAKE THE TIME!
You are NEVER too busy for your own kid(s).
Yours in love,
Mom of Nia, Mia, Liara, and Princeton