To say that the weekend experience at the #CantuCurlboxMasterclass was amazing would absolutely be an understatement. Perfectly executed and curated by Myleik Teele, CEO of Curlbox and Melissa Cantey & Demtria Kinsley, Communications Director and Global Market Lead, respectively, of Cantu Beauty.

My birthday this year, on September 9th, signaled the start of my ‘Year of Yes’ and when I saw the application opportunity to join this master class, I jumped at the opportunity. I always enjoy the chance to meet other amazing women, learn from their experiences as I create my own. Happily I accepted their invitation and flew from Los Angeles to Atlanta in eager anticipation of all that awaited me.

And let me say they did NOT disappoint. Divided in 3 main sections spanning mindfulness, finances and style while seasoned with booths for ear pierces, taro card reading and natural hair consults, I had an amazing time. I met awesome women and knew that many of the connections from that day would manifest into long term friendships. If the goal was to elevate our hearts and minds while communing with like minded souls, then I would definitely applaud the entire team for accomplishing just that!

London at 8 months old during the height of my ‘mom guilt.’
Photo by Giana Snell

I especially appreciated the Q & A sessions that Myleik was intentional about including at the end of each session. The energy was so awesome in the room that every one felt free to share and safe to speak their truth. Once all the presentations were complete the forum was open to any general questions. Having shared some of my own journey as a single mother, and as a business owner and mommy myself, I wanted to learn a bit more about the balance of business and motherhood and I asked Myleik one final question:

“Given the demands of running a successful business, what tips could you provide on your process to purge your ‘mom guilt?’ Understanding that the only way we can give to our children is if we maintain our selves fully first, what do you to keep that moving forward?’

The question I asked about ‘mom guilt’ at the CantuCurlboxMasterClass19

Now understand, I’m a single mother. I live in a city with no family and work a full time job. I run a small business on the side, plus am starting up a non-profit that supports my daughter’s passion and creates opportunities for minority children in our community. In short, I’m busy. I just got out of a very difficult personal situation and had to file bankruptcy because of it. In some ways, I’m in recovery mode both personally and professionally, but I am not embarrassed or ashamed of it. With that being said, I do sometimes feels guilty as my position (especially as a single parent) serves a lot of guilt for me personally. I sometimes wish I could give my daughter more of me, but that requires more than one me…which just isn’t possible. For me to travel to Atlanta, I had to leave my daughter with my mom and miss our weekly movie night. I have been able to create tools that work to purge my guilt as I move into this higher frequency of operating, but I would be lying if I said my purge was finite. However, as I learn to place myself on my priority list, I always looks to have the authentic discussion with other women about their journeys and what, if anything, they do in my similar situation.

When I asked Myleik this question I stood open. Open to whatever she was going say and whatever I could take away from it. In this space of comradry and safety I knew that honesty would be welcomed and her position would be appreciated by us all.

Her response was powerful and I summarize below:

"I do not feel mom guilt.  When I became a mom I understood that for my son to have what he needs it would mean that I need to work and make decisions to provide for him.  I have a mom helper that comes in twice a week to help me with laundry and plays with him so I can get a few hours.  When a person becomes 24-25 that is when they really need the money to begin their life and what I am doing now is preparing him for that, but I also want him to be independent and learn how to do things on his own.  Too many of us feel like we need to give up our entire selves for our children and that is not my personal position."

Later on, via Instagram, she continued her response:

"I recognize my privilege and access to resources.  (Being able to afford childcare is truly a privilege.)  I hire a mother's helper for a minimum of 6 hours a week at $120/week.  That eliminates baby laundry, toy sanitation and forces me to CHOOSE ME for about FOUR hours a week.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  It's me forcing me to BREAK weekly.  I'm better for it.  I don't have "mom guilt."

What Myleik said both times I have no issue with at all. I applaud her for giving herself exactly what she needs on her motherhood journey so she can be the best to her son. Even though she couldn’t add to the ‘mom guilt’ conversation from the place that I expected I learned so much about how I can take care of myself.

Truth is, I am not able to afford a child care worker in the same manner she can, but it doesn’t mean I can’t budget for a baby sitter or just find a friend I can ask for some help. What I learned from her response was that we all have different lenses and it taught me something about an area I can look at to get some relief for myself. I wasn’t expecting her to solve all of my problems because our backgrounds and circumstances are totally different, but the goal was never for her to feel bad for not feeling bad.

I work to help women purge and release their guilt and bad feelings. And shaming women who do not feel guilty is far from the answer that our motherhood and womanhood community needs.

I realized there was not way that Myleik could fix this issue that I deal with from time to time (oh yes, my guilt is all the way down…did I mention I traveled 4 times in the last 2 months), but it doesn’t mean that we can’t have the conversation or that I can’t learn something.

I thanked her for her response and took what could apply to my situation. I think that we all should do the same.