One of the things I love most in the work that I do is being able to give a platform to fun, quirky, talented women to share their stories. Thus, I'm excited to be welcoming, Ajike Akande who will be blogging every Wednesday for my blog! Ajike is a wonderful, black queer mom of five kids, all under the age of six! Which include two sets of twins! And she raises these wonderful little kiddies with her amazing wife Lisa Silverman. They are a funny and exciting bunch and I know you will fall in love with this family as much as I have!
Please see below Ajike's first blog!
I haven’t had a non-parent related deadline in years. Seriously. I think my last deadline was in 2010. Given my vacation from non-parent related deadlines, you can imagine the panic that I felt when Trey asked me if I wanted to contribute to her blog. I allowed myself 60 seconds of “Wow, this is so cool! Yay, somebody (like a real funny, creative somebody) thinks I’m funny. This funny thing is big for me, because growing up my sister was the funny one and I was the cute one and while I’m totally still adorable, I’m pretty sure cute just doesn’t carry the same weight at 38 years old. Anyway, so after 60 celebratory seconds, I returned to my default setting – panic. Now what? You don’t say no when Trey Anthony asks if you will write something for her blog. I HAVE to do this. Up until this point I was riding on the fact that the only two things I HAVE to do, is stay black, and die. Now I have to stay black, die and write something for Trey Anthony’s blog. So from my dining room, wearing leggings and wool socks (Yes, leggings are legitimate pants for a grown woman and no, I’m not quite done with dressing like a 14 year old), I am writing my first blog post.
My name is Ajike Akande and I am mother. That’s not all I am. Don’t forget, I am adorable and a whole host of other good and less good things. But mostly, right now, I am a mother. Whenever I speak formally as a Mom (like once every few months at a course for lesbian and queer women wanting to raise children), I introduce myself as a bereaved mom, an adoptive mom, and a multiples mom.
The day I became a mom for the first time, I held our baby until she died. The second time I became a mom, our baby was delivered to us from a rural community two hours from our home in the city. The third and fourth time I became a mom I held my breath until I was wheeled into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to meet our twin girls. The fifth and sixth time I became a mom, our boy / girl twins were handed to me (not to my partner who had not just had two lives torn from her abdomen) as I was wheeled out of the operating room. If you are good at counting, you now realize that I am a mom of 6 children – five, who I hold in my arms every day and one, who I believe, is watching out for her brothers and sisters from a special place.
I didn’t include any timelines but I’m talking about a 6.5 year old boy, 4.5 year old twin girls and 2 year old boy/girl twins. That’s five kids, six and under. Not nearly as scary as the five under five we had when the littles were born which, of course, also meant that we he had four under three!
I hang with this cast of characters full-time and am so grateful when my partner Lisa returns home from work so I can glare directly at her with resentment in my eyes for having left me in charge of these small people all day!
I adore my kids and have all the appropriate Mama Bear instincts when it comes to keeping them safe and happy, but life with 5 small children is eventful. Things happen when we’re trying to get from 7 am to 7 pm in one piece. Things like being late. I could actually write a whole book about why we are always late for everything. When we’re trying to be on time (‘cuz we have goals like regular sized families) things go wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. The little ones discover the consistency of Vaseline. The middles find their individual and collective voice – vacillating between their whiny voice and their demanding voice. Both, equally perfected. Both, equally good at holding us up. And the big, who feels left out because he doesn’t have a twin, takes it upon himself to have the energy of at least two six year olds and chooses to pirouette rather than walk through the house. I write about these adventures in lateness and life in general with a lot of kids because on the same day that I call my partner to tell her that I can’t stand the kids and she needs to come home immediately, I sheepishly confess that I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have been there the moment each of my five kids discovered their shadow or heard their echo.
I can’t keep these stories about my mommy life to myself. If I did, thinking about them would scare me and keep me in bed for days! When the stories are more stressful than funny, keeping them to myself would make me feel alone and defeated. I share the stories of our wacky family, from my crooked perspective, because they’re funny and frustrating. And because being a stay at home mom is the most intense, boring, wonderful, isolating thing I have ever done. I write because I care about connecting with others who may be in their own personal trench – parent or otherwise, because it makes me feel less alone and because when I’m writing, my wife feels guilty interrupting so I actually get a few moments of peace – until she has a burning question about how to manage the inmates, I mean children.
So if you want to read my stories, I’ll be sharing them here. I hope you will check back and read about my life as downtown, queer, black mommy who loves leggings. I’m a looking forward to returning to the world of non-parent related deadlines.
Thank you, Trey for making it impossible for me to say no and introducing me to your blogging family.