As proven by the rise of Kamala Harris, women are capable of virtually anything. And The Real Housewives of Potomac star Monique Samuels is a power mom on a mission to help women reach their full potential and be their best by living healthy, happy and natural lives. She may be best known for her role in the drama-filled hit TV show, but in the real world Samuels has built a virtual lifestyle guide and online community where women can share personal stories, ideas and advice on every aspect of parenting, relationships, career development and self care.
Samuels understands that when it comes to parenthood, labeling mothers (or fathers) as good or bad is a corrosive way to frame one of the most challenging jobs in the world. She recognizes that we all make mistakes. So, she urges moms to avoid navigating the shame minefield, and accept imperfection, which puts you on the road to being a better parent. The most important questions to ask yourself are not ‘Where did I go wrong?’ or ‘How did I fail?’ They are, ‘Am I engaged?’ and ‘Am I paying attention?’
Our very own Tunya Griffin recently caught up with the Not for Lazy Moms founder and podcast host, who candidly opened up and spilled on everything from vulnerability and motherhood to success and life. Samuels spoke with passionate energy and palpable joy in her voice as she genuinely related her passionate feelings and we shared laughs throughout the conversation.
The following interview has only been slightly edited for clarity but left in its entirety so readers can fully appreciate the rhythm and flow of the conversation.
Hi Monique. This is Tunya. How are you doing?
Hey lady! I am working on editing a video from our vacation. On the Not For Lazy Moms site, I share tips with the article documenting our trip. How have you been doing?
I am well and I can’t complain at all. You know we are moms and doing other things outside of being a mom and juggling all that while at the same time making ourselves look good. It’s good to finally hear from you.
It seems like it’s been forever!
Yes, it does. I know that you are booked and busy! Even with all that you have carved out some time for us at Black Women Voices (BWV) to discuss “Not for Lazy Moms,” and everything in between. We love hearing from women who have been there, done that, and who can tell is going how to get there, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s you, so thank you.
First, can I say, you are Black Girl Magic personified: Your skin is always glowing, hair is always on point, each week, I feel as though you are giving us Hollywood glam, And no one can do it better than you, Mrs. Monique Samuels.
Tell me, what was the inspiration behind the name Not for Lazy Moms?
I always saw these platforms that are called Lazy Moms and I can remember one day I was doing my natural remedies and at the time my daughter was four and a half months old and she had a double ear infection and I did not want to give her an antibiotic that young so I used my natural remedies, my garlic, my oil, and it was around the clock and my mom was in town and she said, ’what you’re doing is not for the lazy. Being a mom is not for the lazy.’ I said, ‘Oh, my God that’s it!’ Not for lazy moms. It is my way of saying that being a mom it is impossible to be lazy! You have to be on your P’s and Q’s at all times. Now some of us may not do it the same way, but you can’t possibly call a mom a lazy mom. It’s my play on words! It’s my snarky way of saying that my website and my podcast are for everyone.
Wow! That’s amazing. I definitely would agree with you. I am a mom and I have raised three college graduates. For me, the role of mom is in a different capacity. I can certainly attest as you have well stated that it is almost impossible to call any mon lazy. We rise early and we are the last to go to bed at night. So, kudos to you! You are juggling much and wearing many different titles: Mom, wonderful and devoted wife to your husband, a wise business owner and a reality TV star. When I see you and all the hats that you wear daily, one word comes to my mind, and that is word BOSS. Can you share what BOSS means to you?
I break it down and use it as an acronym. So for me, it means Beating Odds and Setting Standards. It is about overcoming the fact that someone has placed you in a box…it is overcoming any type of fear. It sets a new standard of your own and not the standards that are defined by society. It is about what we want for ourselves and achieving that. Ultimately, it is about removing limitations. That is what being a BOSS means to me.
I would not think about it in that way of beating odds and setting standards but I love it. I am quite sure that to get to that place as you stated it starts in the mind. Can you share with us what steps you took to get to set your own standards and rules, establish your own boundaries and get to the point with saying, ‘this is who I am and I own all those pieces of myself?’
It is all about the mindset! It’s all about having all the dreams and desires that you wish for yourself and not allowing anyone to tell you that you can’t have it. With that said, I love making list. I love making a checklist I like to write down my dreams, desires, and aspirations and having a plan. I have a ten-year plan and I am four years into that 10-year plan. It’s not just a plan about reality tv, but pieces of my plan also includes my business Not for Lazy moms and the Not for Lazy Moms community.
I must add whenever you decide to go after any dream, wish or entrepreneurial desire it will always seem bigger than your own abilities to accomplish it or make it come to pass. There were times, I asked myself, “How will I be able to achieve all of these things?”
What I have learned is that if you pray and couple your prayers with action then you will find nothing is impossible or out of your reach. And know this, when you start moving, every little step will start attracting all the people and the resources you need to make the dream a reality. Moving will take you to another level in every area of your life that has been my experience.
When I started Not for Lazy Moms, I did not realize how the platform could grow. It started simply as a way for me to express how to use natural alternatives for people with young children. I had no idea that it would turn into a lifestyle that will allow people to thrive in every area of their lives: business, marriage, family, finances and everything else. It is important to remember that things will come into alignment as soon as a person decides to take that first step. That step can change the trajectory of your whole life. So yeah, I can’t think of any other way to put it.
That’s amazing! I agree if you want something to work in your favor then your prayers must be coupled with action. Oftentimes, we find in religious circles people say, ‘I am just gonna pray.‘ But the Bible emphatically points us towards faith if it hath not works, is dead being alone! Right! So even though we might have an idea about where we want to go in our lives we must put action behind a dream. In the words of Langston Hughes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore — and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over — like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just saga like a heavy load.
Or does it explode
And certainly, your dreams are exploding! And you are a great example of Queen Esther (Esther 4:14) And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” I love your idea about making a list and I know young moms who could use your advice about how do you go about creating a list?
There will be times that when writing a list of things you want to accomplish it can feel overwhelming. But this is an indication that it’s a God-given dream because God always gives us a dream that seems bigger than what we can achieve. So for me, I had to get my mind wrapped around the dream so that I could in some way understand and comprehend it. I started writing down everything that came to me, everything that I thought about Not for Lazy Moms as a podcast, website with contributors and community platform. I wrote, prayed and I took action and the God of the universe delivered the results.
Here’s how I developed the list. I would write objectives and broke them down so that I could have a step-by-step plan that would lead to the ultimate goal. So, I wrote my goals as they pertained to business, family and being a parent. When I started my list for Not for Lazy Moms, I had envisioned so many different things, but I had to pace myself. When I say our model is ‘we want it all and we do it all,’ that is true, but you also should know how to balance everything out so that you’re not trying to tackle everything at once and become overwhelmed. If you do, you will end up not accomplishing anything. I take that same approach with parenthood. I have desires that I want for my children as people, my husband and I sat down even before we got married and we discussed how we wanted to raise them.
Everything we discussed, we have checked them right off the list as we had children. Then you have to come back and regroup as they get older just to be on the same page. I take my job as a parent very seriously. And I remember my pastor telling me when our son was christened that Chris and I were responsible for how his life turns out. I said to myself that I was going to give him the best start possible. That didn’t mean just giving him material things. That meant instilling morals in him by making sure he is a good person. Making sure that I am a good example to my kids. And that doesn’t mean I am just showing them perfection. I also show them my mistakes. I am very transparent with my kids. When mommy messes up or dad messes up, here is how we fix it. Here’s how you move forward when you make a mistake because all of us will get to that point in life. It’s about being real about them.
I know growing up I thought my parents were superheroes…that they were not even human when it came to having emotions, because they didn’t show much of that to us. When my kids hurt my feelings, I tell them, ‘It hurts mommy feelings when you said that! It made me feel like you did not appreciate what mommy and daddy did for you.’
We have these conversations so that they know the same way that they hurt, the same way they feel emotional and get frustrated, and mommy and daddy feel that, too. I think that is so important because it allowed my kids to look at us as human beings. They don’t look at us as if we are perfect. That’s one of the biggest goals I had for my children…to show them real life and make sure they know how to navigate the real world as they get older.
Kudos for showing us what a real human looks like, even on television.
Thank you! I appreciate that! I tell people all of the time, but for some people it does not sink in that being a parent does not come with a handbook. That is the reason why I started Not for Lazy Moms, because I wanted people to feel comfortable sharing what they’re going through. There’s a section that is a confession wall and I love it because you are able to get things off your chest. You realize that although you are struggling as a parent, so is everybody else! And you see how others got through difficult moments, and see their tips and tricks. It is our way of creating a space where parents could be vulnerable, comfortable and encouraged to share, so they can help the next person to know that they are not alone.