“No Hood Like Motherhood” is a biweekly interview series featuring incredibly amazing & talented women who are raising their own versions of “Wisdom”. This series was created not only to share the highs and lows of motherhood but also to celebrate the woman inside each mother and all that she does/stands for. We are far from alone on this journey & my goal is to give more women a voice to share their experiences as they navigate motherhood while also applauding those who are creating their own rules and lanes along the way. My hope is that the more we share our knowledge and expertise as a community, the more we can learn & grow from each other.
For our very FIRST interview, we caught up with the beautiful & hard working mama-on-the-move, Ms. Eishia Brightwell!
Name: Eishia Brightwell
Location: Harlem, New York
Occupation/Bio: Model/Jewelry Designer
Children: Legend Pearl – 7
RW: Tell us your story & about your experience. How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
EB: Honestly it has changed me extremely for the better. I feel like I’m a different person now – I’ve never been this focused in my life. I was always a very carefree, fly by the seat of my pants type of person. A lot of my friends that knew me then and know me now kinda miss the party girl, the person that I use to be, but when I realized I was having a child, everything just shifted, I became so focused. My main goal was to raise this little being and to be the best mother I could be. Especially when I realized I was going to be a single parent, it became even more real because I knew it was going to be just me (specifically in our home because her father is in her life) and that’s a whole different ballgame. Like I said, I just became insanely more focused. My career (as a model) is much better since I’ve had Legend than the 10 years before I had her because my drive became different & the force behind me was different.
RW: What excites you about motherhood?
EB: Watching her grow… and then the way her little brain works! The questions and the things she comes up with are so new and organic. When you deal with adults all the time you don’t know if certain things are premeditated or whats the motive behind things they do or say but with kids its so genuine, right in you face, very blunt and so amazing to watch.
RW: What’s your biggest fear as a parent?
EB: There are two fears – the first, especially being a single income household, is not being able to provide. Maybe that’s what pushes me as well, with my drive, because I always want to be able to provide for her. The second fear would be screwing my kid up….and the crazy thing is whenever people are messed up, who’s the first person people usually blame – the mother! You want to feel like you are making the right decisions for them always. Parenthood is an everyday process – there are times when I feel like “Yes, I am nailing this parent thing”, “Yes, I got this” and then there are other times when I’m like I gotta regroup and get back to where I was because today was not the best day; it’s all a process though.
RW: How would you describe your parenting style?
EB: One thousand percent “attachment parenting” BUT not smothering. People automatically assume when you say attachment parenting that its controlling and smothering and it’s not in that way. It’s attachment where we have this amazing bond, we have a closeness that I never dreamed that a parent/child could have. I mean she’s 7 and she still sleeps in the bed with me (not every night, she can definitely sleep in her own bed) but if she chooses to, I have no problem with it. She’ll take a bath with me….we’re just inseparable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just want her to know that no matter what happens, there is at least one person in this world that she can trust 1000% and I think that’s important.
RW: How did you come up with the name Legend? What is the meaning behind it?
EB: Her dad came up with that name as soon as we found out I was pregnant. He was working on a film at the time called Legend 45 about a basketball player from Chicago that got killed (true story) and her name was derieved from that — we just loved it. It was something original and wasn’t common and we wanted a unique name. I have no idea what ultimately made us choose it because we had no idea she was going to be born with red hair and blue eyes and when she came out she was this insanely unique being so the name was just fitting.
RW: “Raising Wisdom” is all about encouraging us as adults and parents to strive at raising independent, free thinking children. How have you been able to instill this in Legend?
EB: I think it’s more so what I haven’t done than what I have done. I try not to impose my ideas or beliefs on her and give her options. I always tell her “well, let’s look it up and research this a little bit” when she asks me about things instead of just giving her my opinion. And I think that’s how she’s come to her own conclusions…. I mean, she’s pretty free minded. I’ve even had friends say to me “well see, this is what happens when you let her just speak her mind” and I always come back with “I’ll never stop letting her speak her mind because I’d rather have to reprimand her for going a little too far then having to pull her thoughts out of her and her not feel comfortable to say enough to me or be open with me.” I’d rather her be way too open than for her not to be open enough.
RW: What’s the most important lesson(s) that you want to teach your daughter?
EB: To think for herself. To do the research, for sure!
RW: What is the best advise that you would pass on to other mothers?
EB: To not be so worried about what other people think as much as you should be worried about how you are shaping and molding your child. I’m more concerned about my daughters feelings and how she sees me than anyone else.
RW: What‘s it like raising a child in New York City? Favorite things? Least favorite things?
EB: I debate the LA move often for work but the number 1 thing that keeps me in NY is I love the diversity; of social classes and ethnic backgrounds, all mixed together. I love that we could be walking down the street and there is a life lesson at least once a day. Her and I, we talk about anything and everything we see – from the homeless man on the street to the dope addicts (we live in Harlem)…. we see it all and I break it down for her. We walk and talk and I love that about the city. I love that I’m RAISING her here.
My least favorite thing about the city is it’s so dirty!!
RW: What are some of your favorite kid-friendly places to hang out with Legend in (or around) the city?
EB: We are 1 block from Central Park so that’s like our backyard – it’s everything. When I walk her to school, we walk through Central Park & venture all through the park since it’s huge. I love it! And the beach, we spend our summers in Brooklyn at the beach for sure.
RW: Let’s talk about co-parenting – what has been your experience? How have you made it work? How have you overcome the challenges of not having both parents in the same household?
EB: Since Legend was 9 months old, I’ve been coparenting. I was living in LA at the time and decided to leave Legend’s dad and move by myself to New York City where I lived before I was with him… and people thought I was crazy. Not so much because I was going to do it as a single parent but moving back to NYC with a baby. But I feel like you have to make the tough decisions that are the best for you because I’ve always said I’d rather do this parenting thing (or at least be in a single household) by myself, then do it in a household with two people that are miserable because they don’t want to be together… because that energy is so felt and it radiates and I never wanted that for my kid. So I realized it and refused to stay another day.
But we coparent well! He lives in LA, we live in NY (that probably helps :)) I think the biggest thing is just being respectful of one another. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our moments because I think when you’re the parent in the household doing it all, the other parent can never do enough. What they do will never add up to what you’re doing. Especially living across the country but I’ve come to realize we both have to do the best we can by her to make her the best she can be.
RW: Do you feel like you are putting Legend in a good place where she can build a great relationship with her dad?
EB: Yes, that’s probably my biggest thing and I’ve told her father this – that I want for her to see her father in the same eyes that I see my father, because there’s nothing greater than that bond. You want the best for your kids and I want that for her. I think I also have to do my part in building him up to her but also not making a facade or making it unrealistic and making sure to never speaking bad about him, which sometimes easy for people to do. If he can’t see her or if plans don’t work out, things happen…. and as pissed off as I may be inside, I try not to show her or let her think it had anything to do with her.
RW: How important is your support system? Who falls in this category for you?
EB: My support system is everything. I went right back to work, traveling, and nursed her until she was a year and a half. My mother, she’s first and foremost – she helps us tremendously. And my girlfriends as well would jump in whenever I needed. I had this core group that was always there and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I never had a nanny or anyone babysit Legend that wasn’t family or close enough friends and that’s a blessing. Some mothers don’t have a choice but to go back to work or put their child in daycare but I’m thankful that I was able to come up with this village and they’ve been there every step of the way.
RW: Tell us more about you personally… what do you enjoy doing outside of your work & home life?
EB: I enjoy yoga, I enjoy spinning – I love working out! Those are things I do in the little free time I have, but also developing and building my jewelry business & brand because everything aspect of the business is done by me. Honestly I’m with Legend a lot, probably more than normal, and I really enjoy being around her!
RW: You obviously are a busy, workingwoman with a thriving career, not only with modeling but also with your emerging jewelry business – how do you find a good balance between your career & raising your daughter?
EB: Balance – I’m not sure I’ve got that one quite worked out yet….I don’t really know balance lol. I’m fortunate that in my career, I don’t really have a 9-5 or somewhere that I have to be every single day and it allows me to be almost similar to a stay at home mom. When Legend was younger, I used to take her on castings and jobs with me, so I’m fortunate that I can be flexible and now that she’s older, she gives me the quiet time I need to get my work done.
RW: Tell us about your jewelry business – how did you start? How long have you been working on your line? Where can we go to purchase your collection?
EB: The name of my line is EBJ Gallery and I started my jewelry business back in January 2014. All of my pieces I’ve handcrafted myself and have created well over 10 collections of 1-of-a-kind pieces. Overall, I really just enjoy creating and growing my brand – it’s therapeutic, it’s a passion, and allows me to creatively express myself. I’ve been fortunate enough that most of my sales have come through friends, word-of-mouth, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
My website, EBJGallery.com, only carries 1 of my lines right now but most of my new pieces you can find on Instagram – either my personal page, @eishiabrightwell, or the business page, @EBJ_Gallery.
For pricing & inquires, you can reach out via info@EBJGallery.com.
Much love to Eishia for being apart of this series – definitely check her out ladies!!!