TV Host Tanika Ray Launches Relatable Podcast Celebrating Working Moms
Tanika Ray, host of the reunion shows for Ready to Love and Ladies Who List Atlanta on OWN, has developed a podcast called Mamaste, meaning the “mommy in me sees and honors the mommy in you.”
The name is a derivative of the yoga word “namaste” but for mothers. It’s a platform where mothers can unite and have transparent conversations about motherhood.
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“So we live in a world [where] the narratives are starting to fall, we see that the way the structures of our society is set up has benefitted some and it doesn’t benefit others, this comes with a patriarchy, right,” she says.
She continues to stress the importance of women’s roles in society at large, especially as mothers:
“We birth children, we also have 1,001 different jobs that we do in raising and nurturing human beings. So to pooh-pooh it and think that it is what women do is crazy to me because we create the world. Yes, we have help, but when it comes down to our duties, whether you think it’s your job as a mom to do all the raising of the children or not, we have been conditioned to think it is. If we truly believe that it’s a family thing that requires a man and a woman to make a baby, I believe it requires a man and a woman to raise a baby, and it shouldn’t fall solely on a woman’s shoulders.”
Ray logically observes that it is beneficial for a patriarchal society that women are tasked with the duty of rearing children as a measure to keep them out of the boardroom and other positions of power. However, she remains steadfast that motherhood is a noble status to attain, and she wanted Mamaste to serve as a sanctuary for women to “express their frustrations” and gain “tips, tricks, jewels, and gems on how to navigate the tricky waters of mommying.”
The former entertainment reporter with Extra decided to leave her day job when she felt she had hit a wall. The former professional dancer transitioned her on-air journalistic skills into placing her energy into deconstructing motherhood and the various approaches to raising well-adjusted children.
“We all have a common goal to nurture empathic, loving, kind, smart, brilliant, change-the-world-children. So I found that it is a really fun place for me to live and breathe and to bring these incredible moms to a collective that’s needed right now,” Ray says.
However, Ray doesn’t want mothers to forget themselves. She understands as a mother everything is constantly taken away—her time, her energy, her identity.
Ray believes that women’s purpose is not solely to surround themselves with motherhood ideals. Instead, women must remain meticulous in ensuring their needs, wants, and desires are fulfilled, which Ray recognizes frequently brings up “mommy guilt.”
“We have to look at why we feel the way we feel. Is it because it’s organic to how we feel or because we’ve been taught? As a society, we’ve been told you have to give all to your kids. Who does that benefit? Sure it benefits our kids. But doesn’t it keep women out of powerful positions at the same time? We have to be conscious of why we believe the things that we believe. That’s part of self-care, too, it’s getting rid of the noise,” she advises.
As a Black American woman, Ray rejects the concept that as a mother she must completely immerse herself in her child. She wants mothers to question their purpose, how they are helping humanity, and that they are not overextending themselves for their children. Sometimes, she rationalizes that in the beginning a mother is quick to respond to a child’s cries, then the parent-child relationship transitions to where a mother is of service to her offspring. The mother is depleted when the child grows older and ventures into their life.
“We have to get clear about what is now 2022 is very different than even [What] it was in 2020; it’s a different world. So, yes, it’s great to pour into your child, but who’s pouring into you?” Ray questions, noting that the Black perspective of parenting is also evolving.
Today’s Black parents are appraising how their families raised them and the detrimental effects they still live with, coupled with the yearning to break generational traumas as they nurture their children. For Black parenthood, conscious parenting is necessary to unpack the history of oppression that often presents itself in Black parenting. It forces parents to analyze how they continue to eternalize white supremacy and center whiteness in their homes. In addition, as a mindful parent, a child is given autonomy over their feelings without the fear of severe consequences, allowing them to grow into “emotionally well, liberated, free-thinkers.” Ray subscribes to this mode of parenting promoted by Dr. Shefali Tsabary and allows her seven-year-old daughter the freedom to be open, transparent, loving, and communicative.
“We are only here to protect and to lead. We are not here to change, to manipulate; none of that is what we are tasked to do by God. God wants us to be in alignment with our children. I’ve been able to raise this super-loving, super-observant, super-conscious child by the mere fact that I’ve been intentional on parenting her that way,” she says. Ray is also deliberate in raising her child with immense self-love and racial pride by displaying a menagerie of her reflection in her home.
She is also taken aback by the explosion of positive images for young Black girls in media, on products like school supplies and clothing, and describes this era as a renaissance for Black children.