In honor of February as both Black History Month and Parent Leadership Month, we are recognizing the sacrifices that Black caregivers have made for their children throughout history. All caregivers make sacrifices in their lives to be the best parents they can be and create healthy environments for their children. Today, throughout the month, and all year long, it is important to recognize the extreme sacrifices that Black parents and communities have made to ensure the well-being of the next generation. 

Recently, we had the chance to speak with Shana Shaw, Illuminate’s Circle of Parents Specialty Program Manager, about how sacrifice and parenthood go hand in hand, and how Circle of Parents groups provide safe spaces where caregivers can relate over their shared sacrifices, and grow together.

All caregivers are leaders, and every caregiver makes sacrifices.

Like we talked about in this blog, every parent is a leader in their own way, supporting their children, other caregivers, and their community. It takes leadership for a parent to see a better future for their children and then make the sacrifices needed to achieve their vision. Caregivers everywhere give up the ease and flexibility of a life focused on themselves in order to build routines and environments where their children can thrive. Sacrifice is the ultimate form of parent leadership – and every parent can relate to that.

Shana Shaw

Circle of Parents Specialty Program Manager

Across cultures, parenthood is about sacrifice.

While it may look different across cultures, all caregivers make sacrifices in order to create better lives for their children. Shaw explained that in Black communities, unthinkable sacrifices have been made by caregivers in order to ensure the next generation experiences less struggle and pain. She thinks about the sacrifices of her grandparents, which allowed her mother the right to an education, and then of her own mother, which have allowed Shaw to experience greater freedom in her life. Forward movement within systemically racist systems and social structures requires sacrifice, and is a gift that has been passed down through generations in Black communities in order to secure better lives for their children. 

Circle of Parents groups provide safe spaces where caregivers can connect over shared challenges

Although all caregivers make sacrifices, it’s crucial to recognize that these sacrifices aren’t simple or easy. It can be extremely difficult for parents to deprioritize parts of themselves that they view as essential to their individuality – such as their independence, their close friends, or even hobbies. Shaw explained that parents are also working through their own trauma, which is not a small task – it is a sacrifice in itself for parents to do the work of processing their past in order to become better caregivers for their children. Putting a child’s best interests above your own takes a lot of work, and it isn’t easy to get used to. 

That’s why it’s important for parents to have safe spaces where they can connect with other parents who are experiencing similar challenges. Circle of Parents groups offer safe spaces where caregivers can feel supported in their journey of examining themselves and exploring ways that they can show up as better parents for their children, Shaw explained. Caregivers often feel isolated and alone in the sacrifices they make during parenthood, which is why groups like Circle of Parents are so vital. 

Spaces where caregivers can show up as nothing else but their authentic selves, ready to learn and grow, make all the difference.

There’s a Circle of Parents group for everyone.

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