- Parenting is one of the most fulfilling jobs a mother will ever have, but it's not without its challenges. Ultimately, parents want what is best for their child and a strong parent-child relationship can help lead to better outcomes for children. The parent-child relationship is one that nurtures the physical, emotional and social development of the child. This relationship lays the foundation for the child’s personality, life choices and overall behavior. It can also affect the strength of their social, physical, mental and emotional health.
- Licensed child therapist, Brandy Wells, hones her true mother magic by specializing in childhood mental health and teaching parents practical parenting skills through conscious parenting, sensory integration, and play. Children show love the same way they receive or observe it. Bearing that mind, Brandy Wells' method of parenting emphasizes that we, as parents, have to be purposeful with our actions in order to showcase healthy ways to bond with our children — and learn to love not only those around us, but also learn how to love ourselves.
- In honor of Women's History Month, we partnered with Brandy 7 Day Parent-Child Challenge to provide essential parenting tips + activities for mothers to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
I had the pleasure to speak with Brandy on the importance of practical parenting, how we can treat mental illness for both ourselves and our children, and what kind of legacy she aspires to leave behind for her children.
Check out our exclusive interview with Brandy Wells below.
21Ninety: How did the concept for My Motherhood Magic come to be? What inspired you to create an online platform centered around conscious parenting?
Brandy Wells: I began simply by sharing my journey in regards to motherhood. When having my 1st daughter, I begin to pursue my Master's in social service, social work, and child/adolescent therapy. As I begin to educate myself, it forced me to think of my own parenting styles and I begin to implement those gems into my very own daughter. I continued to share that online and found a huge amount of parents ready to also receive that information. Some of the ideas I shared, turned out, others had never heard before but we're ready to receive it. It’s been such a beautiful process seeing how impactful I can be with informing others on childhood mental health!
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: As a licensed child therapist and a mother of three, in your humble opinion, why is it important for Black Moms to engage in practical parenting?
BW: I also discuss breaking generational trauma, and bad cycles of parenting. Let’s be honest: there are things that our parents did, and their parents did that are outright wrong but came from a good place. I challenge parents of color to look at our own triggers and traumas to begin to rediscover how we can stop those curses. If it didn’t feel good to you when you were younger, why are you still doing it that way? And honestly, I want to make parenting easier by being a vessel for parents to be well informed on tricks and tips on how to do that. If you know better, you do better. And if it worked for me, it possibly can work for you and others. We all have values to share and learn from one another.
21N: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Mommy Wells? How do you actively balance motherhood and your career?
BW: My life is balanced because of my incredible village. If it wasn’t for my husband, Maurice Wells, along with my mother and others I don’t know how I could do it. My husband and I have a beautiful partnership. He is as vested in the cultivation of myself, himself, and our offspring. If he does drop off at school, I’m picking up. And if I cook, he does baths.
As far as a day goes, I am a mental health specialist with a local school district. By day, I am in classrooms, or pulling students out for individual or group counseling. I also do professional development about trauma-informed classrooms and schools, and how to understand the “whole child” not just one who needs to learn math and science. After my day job, I am totally immersed in my children. I have very strict boundaries in place because I am very intentional about being present with my children. So I am playing, educating, taking them to practices, and being their mommy.
My extra time is giving to my entrepreneurship goals. I have a small private practice for families in need of crisis services, and I recently signed a contract to begin treatment in residential facilities for young girls who have been human trafficked. And because of my online presence, I have started a consulting business where I support families around the country via Skype. It has been a beautiful, yet exhausting journey. But God has made my purpose very clear so I am here to serve.
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: Is motherhood something you’ve always desired?
BW: Absolutely not. I was a woman who had very vivid goals and none of them evolved around motherhood. But God has a funny way of letting you know He is in control. During my graduation year, as an undergraduate, I was gifted the birth of my now 11-year-old daughter. Motherhood then became an ultimate source thereafter.
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: In addition to showcasing practical parenting skills on My Motherhood Magic, you mentioned that you also offer video consultations for mothers to book personal sessions with you. What are some topics you discuss with mothers during these sessions?
BW: This has been the most fearful goal I started. I was scared of allowing people to have access — I guess I didn’t feel equipped (the devil). I have had such amazing support from my online village who pushed me to do so.
I have completed my first consults and the topics have been so diverse. The main purpose is to just offer my heart: to encourage, to validate, and to motivate. I have spoken to white women on how to be allies, to pushing a mother to complete her goals she has set for herself, to offering solid parenting advice to parents who need more than a book. I am a therapist through and through. So, mental health is my bible. I want the consult to be as unique and personable as possible. That’s why it was created, to offer individuals the opportunity to set goals specific to their needs, and let's work from there.
21N: According to research reports from Mental Health America, Black Americans are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness due to the stigma and judgment prevalent in our community. What needs to change for us to eliminate this stigma for our children and future generations?
BW: We first have to unpack our own burdens. Mental Health is now the wave. With education being at your fingertips on social media, you gonna learn anything today. Once we begin to unfold our luggage, we can begin to be preventative in our own families we cultivate. I tell that to the parents I work with all the time. Before you go saving future generations, make sure you placed your oxygen mask on yourself first. Healthy parents raise healthy children.
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: Of the many beneficial parenting tips you discuss on your website, one, in particular, caters to early childhood development when providing discipline to children. Though discipline is vital for consistency, stability, and structure for children, what do you find is the most difficult when disciplining children?
BW: Most times we associate discipline with consequences, but very rarely do we understand that discipline means to teach. If your methods aren’t teaching long term skills and strategies, it won’t work. Fear-based parenting results in cycles of control, violence, and abuse. A lot the of times we use those tactics because (1) it's immediate, (2) it's how we were raised, and (3) because we, as adults, are frustrated.
That’s why the message of self-care is a common thread. If my cup is empty as an adult, then I will be more likely to use tactics that result from me being stressed. If I am knowledgeable, healthy, and have done some of those preventative skills, I come into every challenging moment ready to teach, and that’s what's necessary.
21N: We partnered with you to lead a 7 Day Parent-Child Challenge to provide essential parenting tips + activities for mothers to strengthen the parent-child relationship. What prompted you to select the tips that you did?
BW: They are simple, and adequate. People have this perception that this work is so hard. It doesn't have to be. Yes, it takes intentionality and maybe some extra energy. But the outcomes far exceed the cost.
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: As the mother of three beautiful daughters — Kennedy (11), Karter (4) and Kaiza (11 months) — what kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind for them? What role of motherhood do you aspire to teach them for the day they, too, become mothers?
BW: I want my kids to never have to look back and say it was because of their childhood that they don’t feel capable. They will know that my husband and I have laid a foundation of love, empathy, and understanding. They will know that life is not about perfection because I will allow them to witness by hurdles, but rather, they will know what it looks like to never be defeated. I just want for them to be happy within themselves, and to advocate for others around them.
When they become mothers, I will continue to be a pillar. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I know they will discover more of them, and they will continue that legacy. Ever evolving, always learning and forcing themselves to be wiser.
Photo: Brandy Wells
21N: Are there any projects you are currently working on? What can we expect to see from you in 2019?
BW: I am investing in my local community. I am born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. This year my goal is to have a sponsored event surrounding parenting and support.
My long term goal is to continue to educate those around the globe in any forum, and to open up a recreational space for children to play, parents to gather and receive resources, and to continue to build my local black community.
21N: Do you have any final words of advice or encouragement for Black Moms struggling to strengthen the parent-child relationship?
The goal is not perfection — the goal is to lead with purpose. All our motherhood journeys are sacred to us. Keep those generational values that make you feel good, and be strong enough to let go of others. Love on yourself first by doing some soul work, and your kids will thank you later.
And thank you 21Ninety for being such a powerful and needed voice in our community. All love.
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