xoNecole's Moms Who Inspire series highlights modern-day moms mastering all the tasks on their plate, from day to day responsibilities to ensuring their children are kind, educated and well-rounded human beings. Each mother describes their inspiration, their health and wellness routine, and how they maintain their sense of selves while being the superwoman we all know and love.
"I didn't have an ounce of patience in me prior to having my son. Having a newborn who can only communicate via cries and coos definitely helped me."
Today, Nyja Richardson has three parenting years under her belt and a very different perspective on motherhood from when she first became a mom. The 24-year-old Newark, NJ mom credits motherhood for her new outlook on self-care, strength, and endurance.
Unlike most Black young moms, the full-time social media influencer and content creator was raised vegetarian, so instilling healthy values into her son Nolyn wasn't a challenge. However, once Nyja became a mom she was forced to reconsider how she found balance and inner peace.
On what her mother taught her about health and wellness: "I grew up in a very holistic household. Some of my friends even likened my mama to Erykah Badu because our home always smelled like incense and we were vegetarians. She always instilled in me that you can't do for others if you don't do for yourself. Being able to pour from an empty cup is impossible, and it will not only hurt others... but in turn, you will also be drained literally and figuratively."
On why she became a mother: "I really didn't feel like I had any other option. It was definitely the worst timing ever - I was a senior in college, living carefree with no responsibilities and an 'on again, off again' relationship with my son's father. I felt like the odds were against me, but I knew that everything has a purpose. My son gave me a new life when I gave him life and I'm forever thankful for him."
"My son gave me a new life when I gave him life and I'm forever thankful for him."
On how she starts and winds down her most productive days: "Mornings are never really the same in my home! It really relies upon what we have to do on that particular day. However, we try to start the day with a daily prayer of gratitude and state our intentions for the day. We love to wind down with a nice and hot lavender bath to soak the stress away and get us calm for bed."
On the unexpected challenge of being a full-time social media influencer: "I'm still trying to master the art of balance. I often find work pouring into my home life, especially since I work for myself. Due to not having a traditional 9-5, it seems like my job is 24/7."
On how her definition of self-care has changed: "I remember prior to becoming a mother, I used to associate self-care with spending money: going on a spa day, getting a manicure, repeating affirmations, etc. Granted, they're all a part of self-care but self-care isn't limited to just those things. Right now, self-care for me is putting my child to bed early and getting in the tub with a glass of wine and good music on blast. Sometimes it's just having five minutes of solitude without hearing the word 'MOMMY!'"
"Self-care for me is putting my child to bed early and getting in the tub with a glass of wine."
On growing up while being a young mom: "I became a mother at 21, so I initially felt like I was missing out on things a 'normal' 21-year-old would do. For instance, instead of throwing shots back with my friends to celebrate being able to legally drink, I was breastfeeding. I planned on being a carefree 21-year-old with no responsibilities, but I was blessed with a little person and my interests and desires completely shifted. I lost friendships because I simply didn't find joy in going out and partying anymore. I had to come to terms with that being okay. I'm still the same person I was before I became a mother, just an updated and better version not only for my son but also for myself."
On the mother inspiring her to become a better mother: "I met a mother a few months ago on the subway and we instantly connected. We shared the joys and pains of being a mother. She in particular is very in tune with being active, and actually runs with her kids every morning. I haven't implemented a daily run in my schedule, but I was so inspired by her I set a goal to do hot yoga and mommy and me exercise classes three times a month."
On the unexpected life lesson her son is teaching her: "Patience! I didn't have an ounce of patience in me prior to having Nolyn. Having a newborn who can only communicate via cries and coos definitely helped me. But motherhood is everything to me. I honestly can say I don't know who or where I would be if I did not become a mother."