As a part of our celebration of kickass single moms this month, we are featuring single moms that are kicking ass in all kinds of ways, and Desirae is at the top of our list! Between her no-nonsense accounts of her dedication to her health, honest sharing of the most vulnerable moments of her custody battle, and, our favorite, precious moments of her irresistible daughter we can’t stop watching her Instagram stories and talking about them!
We’re pleased to present Desirae Harper to you as the first installment of our #singlemomhustle series! We know you’ll enjoy her honest and meaningful responses as much as we did!
1. When did you become a single mom?
I would say that I have been a single mom since the day Malia was born, it just took me a while to realize it and then even more time to admit it. I was in an on and off relationship with her father for almost four years. From the beginning, I had to do most of the parenting on my own since he lived over an hour away from us and worked a lot.
The fact that we literally broke up every 3 months didn’t help matters either. I wanted so much to raise a family instead of being a “baby mama” that I accepted many behaviors that today would have me hitting him with a “Boy, bye!.” My relationship with him was a HUGE lesson though. You can’t make anyone love and respect you. That’s especially true if you don’t love and respect yourself first. If the respect isn’t there, it won’t matter how much love you try to give a person, it won’t make them stay. Unfortunately, the situation has become hostile and we don’t hear from her father too often now. I do my best to stay positive when she asks about him and remind her how much I love her. I don’t know what our future holds but I know she won’t ever go a day without knowing how much her mama loves her!
2. What does #singlemomhustle mean to you?
#singlemomhustle is #life to me at this point! My baby’s entire life… Her happiness, her health, her general wellbeing is on my shoulders. I carry that responsibility as a single mom with pride but it also means I have to work my ass off to make it all work. I do the grocery shopping, the daycare drop off and pick up, the doctor’s appointments, the clothes shopping, the furniture assemblies, the cuddling… It’s all me!
She’s also got dance class and gymnastics on the weekend so every day I’m hustling! There have been several times where I have had to take my sick baby with me to the office. My commute to work is over two hours each day in the worst traffic in America (LA) but babies ain’t cheap so mama doesn’t have a choice. Well, I do have a choice but my choice will always be to hustle for my baby! I listen to audiobooks to help keep me calm because we rely solely on my income right now.
I have made personal development a non-negotiable because growth is SO important to me now. Wiser people have lived life and figured this shit out so instead of trying to figure it out on my own, I learn from others. Gabrielle Bernstein is one of my favorite authors right now. I used to love reading but my kid is busy and LOUD so audiobooks save my life!
3. Tell us about a time you surprised yourself by how kickass you are!
My entire journey as a mom has been surprising to me. I didn’t consider myself strong before I delivered my daughter. I would never have guessed I could handle all of this.
A messy “Love and Hip Hop” style break up and being a single mom is enough to send any woman to bustin’ windows out his car but I struggled with severe depression growing up. I would shut people out and spend my days crying in bed listening to sad music. This situation I am living is literally my worst nightmare but here I am… Thriving and happy to be Malia’s mom! I thought I would be curled up in the fetal position crying my life away. I endured a lot of pain trying to build a family for my little girl. I still cry in bathrooms so my baby doesn’t see me cry. My heart is still healing from being broken over and over by the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. However, I keep pushing. I never miss a beat because my baby needs me to be strong. I WANT to be strong for her. SO I AM!
4. What is your next goal for yourself?
I have SO many goals for myself. The biggest would be finally being able to afford a home for Malia and I. We currently share a room in my mom’s house because I can’t afford anything on my own.
I am working to pay off credit card debt and student loans so I can finally give my little love the home she deserves. Another goal I am constantly setting for myself is staying consistent and committed to my fitness journey. I started it after I had Malia and I lost 50lbs. As the custody issues were being mediated and our family continued to fall apart, I let my emotions get the best of me. I gained most of the weight back but I am fighting to get back on track and lose 80 lbs overall. I also really want to build my own successful online business coaching other women in health and wellness so I can have more time with Malia. I want to call my own shots and make my own rules and decide my own income. I want to LOVE what I do instead of tolerating what I do for a paycheck. I write my goals down every morning to remind myself of them.
5. What do you think your kid thinks about your hustle?
Malia is crazy intelligent! She picks up on things that most 3 year olds aren’t even thinking about.
I remember one day right after my ex and I split for good in January 2017, I found myself crying on the floor. My baby walked up to me and said “Mama, did Daddy hurt your feelings again?” Her intuition and insight amazes me everyday. She has started to tell me that she would be okay with just me. Hearing that breaks my heart and heals it at the same time. She’s telling me that I am enough… That she will be fine if it’s just me and her even though I never wanted it to be that way. She tells me I am the best mama ever and I know all kids say that to their mamas but I believe her when she says it! LOL! I think she knows that mommy works hard for her and she pays me back in kisses and cuddles!
6. What is the best advice you can give other kickass single moms?
The best advice I can give to other moms in general is “Remember to take care of yourself first.” As moms, we get so caught up in making sure our kids are okay that we give and give and give until we find ourselves on empty. I am the best mom to Malia when I meditate, workout, eat clean, and care for myself. Neglecting yourself is the same as neglecting your baby. They need us at our best. We need us at our best.
7. Tell us about a time someone didn’t realize how kickass you are.
My daughter’s father failed to see how kickass I am for FOUR FREAKING YEARS, OBVIOUSLY!! At first, I didn’t complain about having to do things on my own because he was working to move up in his career. I supported him through the beginning stages of his career while caring for our child mostly on my own. I did that because I believed in him. I’d drive over an hour every week with our baby to see him. I was exhausted all the time but it was important for me to be there for him and for us to have time to grow closer as a family. I wanted that… To be a family. I wanted to help him grow into whatever he wanted to be but for some reason, he never truly appreciated me or all that I did to support him and our family.
I think some years down the line, he will regret giving me up. Regret all of this really… Because I am going to make some fine ass man really freaking happy. Getting to know and love Malia is the best gift God has ever blessed me with. It would be a blessing for anyone who came into her life. I think many of us lose the best things in our lives trying to chase down trivial things that won’t matter in the end. The sooner we pull our heads out of our asses and realize what’s important in life and FIGHT for those things, the better off we will be! Pride is man’s worst enemy.
8. Tell us about a single mom who you think kicks ass.
My sister in law Quiana kicks all types of ass!! She’s been raising her son on her own since she was 17. She is the strongest woman I know. She takes care of everyone she loves, no questions asked. She sacrifices and gives so much of herself to make sure her family never goes without. She goes above and beyond!! I am blessed just to know her. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for her love and support.
9. No kickass single mom is an island… Who do you rely on to keep you afloat?
My family is the BEST!! My dad, my mom, my brothers Brandon and Cameron, and my sister Quiana are my squad!! They love Malia so fiercely that I would never ask for a better family. They all contribute in some way to making sure I don’t lose my shit on a daily basis. Malia and I also have the love and support of her paternal grandparents. The love and support that our family gives Malia and me is unmatched! Our village just continues to grow in strength and love.
10. Where can our readers find you online?