I Don’t Want to Have a Black Mommy

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I don’t want to have a black mommy.

As I was handing my daughter her salami and crackers for lunch, she casually uttered these words.  The tone was the same as if she were asking me for water or a special treat or fruit snacks, but this statement sent a ripple through my spine and my heart immediately fell into my stomach.

The last thing I wanted was for her to feel like she was in trouble or that she’d done something wrong, and I was hoping this would be the start of a conversation I clearly saw we needed to have.

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What made you say that honey? Did you hear that somewhere?

She shrugged as she folded her salami into a tiny triangle and stuffed it in her mouth. I asked again gently and she said that her feet told her.  That, of course, was followed by uproarious laughter on her end. 

I, on the other hand, was using every bit of self-control I had to keep my composure and not allow the tears to fall. Especially as she continued.

I just want my mommy to be white.

The pit in my stomach grew and I had no words. I sat at the chair beside her and watched intently as she finished her meal. Her beautiful caramel complexion and features that are identical to her daddy’s. 

My gosh she is gorgeous.

When she was done I asked her to come with me to the bedroom.  We sat down, just us girls and talked. I don’t know what I expected to hear from her 4 year old mouth, but I let her know that this was a safe space and I simply wanted her to be honest.  

She didn’t have much more to say, but shrugged a few times and said that she didn’t know why she said it and she just wanted a different mommy. Then she mentioned her feet again and told me she was pretending they could talk. 

I told her that her words hurt my feelings but that no matter what, I loved her very much.

I prayed with her and we thanked God for making us so beautiful and so different. We talked about the people in our multiracial family and how we are ALL wonderfully made.  I stared into her pretty brown eyes and told her that my brown skin is beautiful. My black is beautiful.  

And I told her that her white daddy is handsome and that she is stunning in every way.

I said she should be proud that she is a mixture of her mommy and daddy. I told her how amazing it was that she’s a reflection of God and her parents, and like crayons in a box of Crayola there are so many different combinations but they all make beautiful pictures.  

I told her how important it is to rejoice in who God created her to be.

Dress: Potato Bug Shop
Dress: Potato Bug Shop

Children say all sorts of things I know, but I’ve yet to be able to remove the pit from my stomach or the sting of the pain her unintentionally hurtful words left.

My daughter is brilliant, inquisitive, observant, and kind. We’ve been visiting with my husband’s side of the family where she has blonde haired blue-eyed cousins, and cousins who are biracial like her but their mother is white. Perhaps she noticed her mama was different than the other mommies she’s seen, and that’s ok.

It’s ok for her to ask questions and notice differences but it is not ok for her to ever believe she has something to be ashamed of.

Our kids are not colorblind. We as people are not colorblind. Our eyes are wide open and we notice everything. Some may want to deny that, but it’s the ever present truth.

We notice the color of each other’s skin. The varying textures of hair, freckles, moles, height, weight, eye color, facial features. We notice it all.

We notice it and it’s OK to admit that we see it. Talking about it is a necessity.

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Whether you’re raising that brilliant redheaded cutie or your exquisite child whose skin is dark as night, it is your duty to tell your daughters and your sons that there is no shame in the beauty God gave them. And there’s no shame in the beauty God gave others.  And there is no shame in the beauty God gave you.

To be honest I’m still reeling from this conversation, and as I write these words the pit remains. I’m processing and that’s fine. But there’s one thing I know for sure.

I have to love myself, and we as parents have to have those conversations that lead our precious gifts into to the knowing that they are so incredibly loved in the skin they are in. 

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74 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Have a Black Mommy

  1. Tears are falling, and I feel hurt for you and for her, but I know it will be alright. I know that she loves and adores you in every single way. I know that even though you are still reeling from this, that you know Alex’s heart, and that this too shall pass. Now that this has come to the surface, we know what we have to do from this moment on…..we have to make sure that she knows and believes that she is beautiful in every way, as is her Mother, her sister, her Father, all her cousins, all her grandparents and all her aunties and uncles. I love that little girl to death, and nothing will ever change that.

    1. She is completely loved in every way, and I’m grateful for family like you to remind her of that at every opportunity!

  2. A part of me is curious about whether you had a blog post in mind before your daughter said this to you – or if it came after, I imagine that perhaps God wanted you to write this post and this was the best way of getting you to do so…or I could be dealing with horrific cramps, and writing this to keep me from eating all of the food…But seriously, I’m also curious to know if your daughter is in school, and how much of the news that she has access to? I wonder, because she might have subconsciously picked up on everything that is going on, and saying she doesn’t want a black mommy is her way of dealing with everything. IDK but you’re 100% right – we need to encourage our children to accept themselves and show them that they are absolutely beautiful exactly the way that God made them.

    1. I had know intention of posting anything remotely close to this until this conversation happened. Part of it was me processing through it, but I also believe that God knew this needed to be shared, and I hope that in the process some solid conversations were had and He is glorified! I really appreciate your comment and know that I’m blessed with a beautiful and curious little girl!

  3. Patricia how gracefully you handled this situation and your voice of love is admirable. Reading this I just wanted to reach through and give you the biggest hug. Love is love.. ❤️

  4. Oh what a hard thing to have her say! I’m sure it was said in innocence. I think you handled that perfectly. Hugs to you mama!

  5. This is one of the most touching and beautiful things I have read in a very long time. You are one heck of a mommy! And your words here are beautiful.
    Keala

  6. You are an amazing mama and handled such a delicate (and personally hurting moment) with such grace with your little one. She is a beautiful girl and you are a beautiful woman inside and out!

  7. Wow, I’m sure that was a lot to handle, Patricia. But I think you handled it with grace and love. You and your daughter are beautiful and thanks for the reminder that we need to teach our kids about our wonderful differences.

  8. You handled this moment with grace and truth. Your beauty shines and I know as your daughter grows, she will be so proud of the legacy of her heritage. Love this post, friend.

  9. We are all beautiful in our own, unique ways. We can celebrate that! God is a creative God! My mixed sister would say she wanted to be white like me when she was 4 and 5 and it was always hard to hear. I wrote a post on this…. I’ll be publishing soon!

    You are an amazing example to her… She is blessed to have such a beautiful, Godly mom! Thanks for sharing this… We are all growing together as women to believe….we are perfect, we are beautiful, we are loved.

    1. Amen Jessica!!! Thank tou for your encouragement and for sharing as well. I’d love to read that post when it’s published!!

  10. oh that stinks to hear your sweet girl say that. kids do say crazy things & they just cannot connect all the different thoughts together. i know she loves you & perhaps someone said something . . . .? you are so beautiful to handle it by allowing her to voice her feelings without making her feel bad about them. good for you giving her a safe place to express what is going on in her little head. my daughter is asian and she is 10. the other day she told me that she wishes she were white like the rest of us – it broke my heart into a million pieces because she is so beautiful & perfect exactly as God made her. just like you are!!

    it’s my first time visiting your blog but i’m sure i will be a regular now.

    please keep sharing your heart – we all need to have these difficult discussions with our children. the world will be a better place because of them.

    xoxo ellie

    1. Ellie, thank you!! I’m so sorry for the heartache you also felt in regards to your daughter, but what an awesome responsibility it is to point our children to God and walk with them in this process of self-love and acceptance!❤️

  11. Thank you for sharing this very personal moment Patty. What a wonderful opportunity for conversation and learning, for both of you. And, honestly, for me as well. Just yesterday my 8 year old cried because he’s worried his friends won’t like him if he gets fat. Your post reminded me to talk openly to my kids. To accept and validate their feelings. And to teach them God made us all uniquely beautiful.

  12. I cried reading this. You wrote it so well and you handled it beautifully. I can’t imagine how it felt to hear those words and remain calm and loving when those words hurt. You are a strong woman who did the right thing. That was a wonderful way to understand and explain it, especially when it’s hard to understand where that thought came from or how she feels at her age. My mother is Mexican and has dark skin (along with my sister) and I have fair skin like my dad. Growing up in Utah where EVERYONE I knew was white was… different. I remember the kids teasing me that I was adopted or that my mom was my nanny and they didn’t understand that although our skin was different colors, that she could still be my mother. I often wonder what it was like for my sister to grow up in a white community, but have brown skin. It’s so crazy to me that even though she and I grew up with the same parents and in the same home and the same neighborhood, but had different experiences and perceptions because of something as simple as our skin color. It literally blows my mind.

    1. Kristen, when I first read your comment I honestly had to step away and digest it. It’s something else to hear one another’s experiences but to be able to clearly define and remember that moment when you feel different is something I don’t think we ever forget. I remember that moment for me came after a dance in middle school and my mom told me I was chocolate chip and sea of vanilla to ease my hurt when no one asked me to dance. But you are a beautiful woman that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, and it’s wonderful that we are here to raise our children with their eyes wide open.❤️

  13. Wow! It’s so honest and still so hurtful. A bit feel in my stomach too. Your strength and restraint are an example to us all because as kids do she was just saying how she felt, no filter. I’m praying for you and your family.

  14. But you are who God saw fit to give her to, to be her mommy. We can trust that He always gives us what is BEST for us. If she liked someone else’s macaroni and cheese better than your recipe, it would hurt, or that she liked another mom’s taste in clothes for her daughter, that would hurt. I’m praying that whatever is God’s reason for allowing those words, that He will also multiply the goodness from it and will make your daughters bond with you so great and then that He will give you each strength to bring glory to Him in all that you say and do. How precious that your daughter has a mom who really HEARS and LISTENS to what she is saying. Maybe engage her in deeper conversation such as asking “What do you think would be different if Mommy was white?”, and then address that. Maybe it’s even just something tiny that she perceived incorrectly. I’m praying that it is something small and “fixable”, and if not, that God will fill you both with His thoughts and words. Thank you for guiding us through this. God bless you. I love the tenderness of your heart.

  15. Like everyone I just about cried too when I read your post. You have shown her and will continue to show her the beauty of people and to see beyond skin color, physical limitations, or handicaps. You have indeed shown her God’s beauty that is in each of us. In a way I understand how your daughter feels, although both parents are white my mother was German with an accent and both parents were older by time I came along. I was ashamed of my parents and who I was. I only wish my mother sat me down and explained things as beautifully as you did. You are raising strong and faithful daughters.

  16. I’m so sorry you had to hear that, especially in light of the racial tensions in our country right now. To hear those words from your own child – I can’t even imagine. BUT – you handled that so well! Even though your daughter’s words cut deeply, you were able to speak this truth to her early on in life. Your daughter may not fully understand these things now, but one day, she will rise up to bless you! You are both so BEAUTIFUL!!! Love and blessings! <3

  17. You handled this flawlessly and beautifully. What an incredible teaching moment, even though it was so painful for you. So glad I read this today. ❤️

  18. Your grace and strength are showing. 🙂 Gods love is pouring through you, as I read this, I feel the hurt and processing you are going thru. Yet I also see the Holy Spirit with in you. You are such a great mommy!!!! Now spend time with Him to heal. ❤️❤️❤️

  19. Words can hurt. However you handled this beautifully. Our kids will say things that will hurt from time to time. (Even when they are grown).
    I always think of Jesus when this happens and how He loves us unconditionally. Keep loving, keep nurturing, keep on keeping on. You are a fantastic Mom
    God Bless!

  20. This was so beautifully written and as a mother I could feel the hurt for you. But like you said, she meant no intent by it. She’s is lucky to have two beautiful parents with culture and love surrounding her. Your way of handling it was beyond amazing. Keep it up mama.

  21. I really admire your grace in handling this situation. I know it couldn’t have been easy. You and your daughter are both so beautiful. Thank you for writing this!

  22. I do agree that she was saying this and not realizing what she was saying. At such a young age it really is inconceivable for her to fully understand who she is and her own worth. This reminds me of when I was younger (around 7 or 8 years old) as our parents would tuck us into bed and say “I love you” and “goodnight” I turned to them and said “I don’t love you”. Now to this day I still don’t know where exactly that came from, why I chose to say it, or even which parent it was, but what I do remember is their reaction. They absorbed it realizing I was young and not fully understanding the implications of my words. Now without a doubt I love both my parents because they are the best in the world, but looking back I think I asked that because all I knew was love and I was just curious to what the opposite looked like. Understanding the sadness and pain on their face when they left the room that night I NEVER made that statement again, or for that matter questioned their love for me. The statement came from observing other children and seeing how they had very little structure and parental support. It probably didn’t hit me until I was a teenager that the structure and motivation I had from my parents has propelled me to reach more of my dreams then some of my peers.

  23. What a beautiful post! A friend shared this and it’s my first visit to your page …and I’ll be following! Thank you for writing so beautifully from your heart! As a white woman married to an African American man and raising 3 beautiful bi-racial daughters, I could immediately relate to that pain in your gut feeling. And, I can also relate to the personal hurt and struggle to love myself, instead of wishing I was different so their lives might be easier. But, that is not the way God created us nor the life He called us to. I think you handled it very well by creating a safe place for her to share her feelings with you. That’s really what our children need from us….to know they are safe with us…and it sounds like your daughter does! Her comment was not personal at all! It was her way of trying to understand who “she” is. And you handled it so well! My girls are now 21 and 17 yo twins. Each has and continues to grow in her identity very differently, largely influenced by their school settings even though we live in a very racially diverse community. But, there were some consistent age or maturity related questions in how they tried to understand themselves in our racialized world…..and how to relate with each side of their extended families. Keep on keeping on, Momma! God will give you the wisdom and discernment for each of these moments. Cling to God and teach them to do the same!

  24. You are such an amazing mom. I am at work and had to stop and give you a cyber hug. You are beautiful inside and out. She is so blessed to have you. I forget how beautiful you are until I see a picture of you.
    And your recipe made your beautiful babies. You had such an amazing opportunity and nailed it! You inspire me everytime I read your words!

  25. As someone who has known you the majority of your life I’m not surprised by your grace, strength and beauty handling this tough situation. I am surprised by the comment and that pit goes right to my stomach too but of course the innocence and inquisitive nature of your amazing daughter is so pure, honest and real it deserves the attention and concern you gave it. And better for her to speak her truth now and like you said “we all notice and need to address it” then when she’s a teenager and could throw it out there in a mean way that is simply a projection of insecurity . Your daughter will not have that hurt and shame within her because she’s being taught to be open with her feelings and embrace the beautiful sprit God gave her. She is and always will be the biracial butterfly that spreads awareness wherever the journey of life takes her. To have a mother that loves herself and teaches her to do the same is a great gift. You have a courage inside you that has always inspired people. I am so proud to be your close friend , sister and observer to the strong lioness mommy you are! Keep doing what you’re doing, getting the dialogue on real issues out there with the grace passed down to you that you are no doubt giving to your children every day.

  26. I could not believe what I was reading. This beautiful innocent child has been tainted, at this young age, by the ugliness of bias that is destructive to America and the soul.
    Someone said something or she saw something, a look in a face or something, but you handled it beautifully, and to share it is even more Beautiful, and a testament to your strength.
    God made all of us. I pray one day we will get that we are all BEAUTIFUL, all with the potential to be Amazing.
    This country is so great. I wonder how GREAT it would be if Americans stopped being colors and started being people. It’s “We the People” not we the colors.
    It’s not colorblind, but Color Brave!

    God Bless You always. Have more talks with your children. I love you

  27. Oh my goodness, I’m crying over here! I have six siblings adopted from Ethiopia so I’ve heard so many heartbreaking things they’ve said, especially the youngest, about wanting to be white or wishing away their skin color. I just wrap them up in my arms and remind them about how beautiful they are and how God created them with as much care as He created anyone else! Praying for your precious little girl and whatever’s going on in her heart!

  28. Kids really do say the darndest things. it’s amazing what they notice that you don’t realize they know. You’re all so beautiful in your own ways and I think you handle yourself and the conversation rather well even though the words stung. xoxo

  29. There are so many beautiful encouraging comments! And I rarely comment, but this is what’s in my heart. Remember that it was God’s plan. There will be lots of times in her life when His plan might not make sense, so helping her see His plan in everything is important. I believe you are raising an extrodinary child, destined for great thing in Christ. I pray He lifts the sting and shows you His plan. You already clearly know His love! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  30. Your daughter is adorable and she’s has such a beautiful mother, not just because you’re gorgeous but also because your inner beauty radiates from the words and lessons and wisdom you share. You navigated such a difficult conversation with such grace.
    You’re right too, people, children included, are not colourblind and when we can admit that, talk about it and acknowledge the beauty in the differences, the world will be that much better for it.

  31. Thank you for sharing this. You dealt with this with such grace and wisdom. I have more to say but I want you to be certain that you are a beautiful and wonderful woman and mom. You are more than enough.

  32. Wow Patty! I almost cried reading this. As everyone has said, you handled this so well, but I know it still stings. This is something that will definitely be added to my regular prayers for her.

  33. Hi Patty,
    God bless you. Your kindness towards your baby girl jumped off the page for me. You handled that beautifully. I just finished up my BA in Human Development with an emphasis in Child Growth and Development. One of the courses for this major was Anti-bias curriculum, please check this subject out. What I loved about your post is that you understand that this is an ongoing conversation for you and your little girl , all children for that matter. You’re doing a great job of passing on you values to her. I love that you did not shy away from this conversation, make it an ongoing discussion . Just like talking about her hair or her clothes there is nothing taboo about it. You’re doing great Patty truly your response was right on!

  34. Such inspiring words mama. I am so amazed by the grace you showed during this situation, and how you not only used it as a teachable moment, but as a way to bring glory back to Him. Thank you so much for sharing your transparency with us. I know this wasn’t easy, but take comfort in knowing that you allowed God to use this situation as a way to touch others. Which is awesome!

  35. Hey Patty, you are so brave to share your experiences with the world. What you experienced I believe I can relate to because my own daughter has said similar statements over the years (I don’t like town people, I don’t want to be brown – that type of thing). It really showed me that she needed to see the value in herself and in us. So often she is surrounded by the same images, that all look the same and are exclusive of the beautiful diversity God has created. Now I am intentional with her concerning everything she watches, reads, and is exposed to. It’s important for our girls (all of us), to see there are beautiful people out there and they all look different. We have to resist the bias that says otherwise. Hang in there sis, the example you show her is her first world, first experience, and first form of awareness.

  36. Patricia,

    As I read I related all too well. I have two biracial children, one boy and one girl. I actually get the comment from the other side, me being their white mother wish I was black…or maybe light brown like them. They have said things as to I am the odd ball in the family etc. I always took these comments light hearted (unless I was in no mood to be “teased”) I think maybe now that they are teenagers they just wanted me to be like them?? Or maybe they felt safe enough to voice any and everything they felt. I know how frustrating comments can be especially when mothers carry so much of their children’s wants, needs and feelings and sometimes this mama just wants some acceptance. I know I am loved by them as I know you are too. She will come to appreciate not only the amazing mother you are but the amazing brown mother you are who teaches her how to live in this world as both.

    Love in Christ,
    Deena Sledge

  37. Wow! Amazing grace! Thank you for candidly sharing your heart and experience. I don’t remember if I shared with you, but my family has been bi-racial since the late 60’s…from siblings, nieces, nephews, our own grandbabies, and a sweet great-nephew and soon to be born great-niece! Love doesn’t have a color, except like in a rainbow… a symbol of a promise from God. You navigated that conversation with grace and I pray God pours His love into you as you continue to walk out being a mom. It’s not easy but so very much worth every minute!!!!! LOADS OF LOVE, Mama Dean

  38. This is really beautiful Patricia and I can imagine the pit in your stomach. Sometimes I really appreciate how honest children can be, but then their words can really rattle you too. I love that you had a sweet conversation with her and then prayed so beautiful and I bet you will leave a lasting impression on her.

    My oldest is very tan and she became aware of this at an early age. She got her daddy’s Dutch/Spanish genes and then her sister is more fair like me. So I do agree with you that we are aware of our differences, but it is our job as parents to teach them that God made us all beautifully different. Love your writing sweet lady and you are an awesome mom. ♥️
    xo, Nicole

  39. Patty, I’m so glad you were so intentional about having this conversation with her, and sharing it here on your blog. I cannot imagine how hearing those words would make you feel, and I’m so impressed with how you used it as a learning opportunity. You are so right…our kids DO see differences, and we need to have an open dialogue about it!

  40. What an emotional post patty. You are a beautiful soul. So lucky you to have you. Your words really speak to me. And I just love that sweet and pure love you have for your kids.

  41. Sounds to me that she hasn’t been around enough black people or black children. The beauty in being black has been lost in appropriation into the dominate society. I suggest that you begin to teach her about the beauty and strength in the African American race. Specifically point out to her Michelle Obama (There’s children’s books on her) and Lupita gracing the cover of Vogue magazine. Somewhere along the lines your daughter developed a sense of black being wrong. As a parent it is your job to help her unlearn that thought and replace it with a true and present reality that Black is Beautiful. Please visit my store and get her some self affirming books. http://Www.naomihbradley.com Teach her the beauty in her mom. Teach her the beauty in her self. Sending you both light and love on your journey

    1. Thank you for your feedback Naomi. During this time she was mainly surrounded by my Caucasian in-laws and it hit me that she is at the age of truly grasping the differences that she sees around her. Just recently she said the exact opposite, wondering why her skin was not brown like mine. You’ve given some great resources and we are definitely doing what’s necessary to make sure she appreciates her roots. All of them.

  42. Thank you for sharing this. I can so relate to her little emotions and feeling being biracial. As a child I had so many questions and feelings that were left ignored and/or left me feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. My mommy was not nearly as full of grace and wisdom as you. Thank you for raising your girls to love like Jesus.

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