I saw a friend the other day while I was at my third job. We spoke and caught up cause I hadn’t seen her in a while. She proceeded to tell me that she had just moved back to the area with her three kids. She went on to say how she was recently divorced and her ex just wasn’t do his due diligence. It’s funny cause after that she said “Do you still work at the hotel?”.  I laughed before I answered thinking, “She must watch my snaps” lol, but I said, “Yes I do.” She went on to ask, “Don’t you work from home too?” I nodded and replied “Yep”. She then gave me a blank stare. I looked at her like she was crazy because I’m trying to figure out what her problem is lol. She finally said after a long pause, “Monique you work like you have 5 kids”, I laughed because this wasn’t the first time I had heard this or something to that effect. I simply said this, “At the end of the day I want my daughter to know that nothing in this world is free and if you want it, you gotta HUSTLE to get it.”

That small encounter made me think, I’m a single parent (Why did it make you think about that so in depth?) . Now I won’t lie I have help (financially) but only from three other individuals, my great grandfather,  and my parents. They always pick up where I lack,  and I thank God every day that they even have it to help. Now on the other hand I get a few coins on that Georgia Debit Card with the flowers on it and I ain’t talking about eat better today (EBT). But those coins don’t go very far. So the rest is left up to me.  Would I like to work so hard cutting into the time I could be spending with my baby, no but at the end of the day I don’t ever want to put a strain on those that always lend a helping hand.

So that brought up the next thing, what message am I sending my daughter? How does she perceive me knowing how relentless I work just to be able to make sure she never wants for anything? What message is my hustle sending my kid? Once you have kids that kinda ends all your wants and desires (Does it truly end it or does one need to prioritize?). When you used to walk in a store and spend all your money on yourself you don’t do that anymore. Hell I walk into a store now and if I happen to pick up something for myself I end up putting it back before I even make it to the register because I have found at least 5 things that she needs and that shirt I wanted clearly isn’t important. I have even spent my last on a meal and ate cereal just so she wouldn’t be hungry. Sound familiar?  Well I know some of you have experienced that and if you haven’t…as My great grandmother would say “Keep on living”.

So what is that message I’m sending you may ask.   That message to that beautiful kid is this: Never give up on your dreams.

I work so hard because all the opportunities I had to earn that degree I didn’t. Not because I didn’t want to but I needed more money right now to take of her. I want her to know that nothing in this life Is free, and those dreamers yea all they have is those dreams. I’m showing her that sacrifice is something that second nature when you have a plan, a goal and another mouth to feed. I’m showing her that hard work pays off and like Cherie says, “It won’t be like this always”. The message is clear work hard and play even harder. Take the opportunities afforded to you, use them to your advantage, do what you love, and you’ll never work again!

Perception can be tricky. Mainly because most of us don’t care how people see us.  Keep in mind  there is that one person who views us as a superhero, jack of all trades, seamstress, cook, taxi, magician and most of all HUSTLER. When my daughter looks back over her life I want her to say, “My mama worked hard to my things happen”.  “I never went without”, “I got everything I ever wanted and then some”, and “If she taught me nothing else she taught that if I wanted it I had to HUSTLE to get it”. May not seem like much but that’s definitely the perception I’m trying to give her. I want to be perfect in her eyes.

So for those of you who are sending any other message to your kids, chew on this, will they appreciate and respect you for your hustle? Will that hustle make them into the person that you desire for them to be? These are real questions and we should really ask ourselves that. My father being absent lessened my respect for him. It made me proud of my mom, how she took such great care of me with little funds or resources.  Along with gratitude, It also showed me what I didn’t want to be. I promised myself on December 6, 2003 that my baby would have the world and I would sacrifice everything to make sure she has it.  So that’s it… I’m working hard on my plan, my goals and that mouth I have to feed for one reason and one reason only.

I want my HUSTLE to be the best story she ever tells for the rest of her life.