In addition to the daily activities that keep all mommas running, the January 2019 Momma of the Month Cherinita Ladd-Reese also has the added responsibility of being momager to a bestselling child author.
Tell me about yourself.
Cherinita Ladd-Reese, age 46, I grew up as the oldest of 10 children in Mobile, Alabama.
I moved to Birmingham after attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide). I have been married to Ronald Reese for 14 years, momager to Nia Mya Reese (age 9) and Ronald Michael Reese (age 7), I am a senior director at a nonprofit and licensed minister.
What do you want your kids to learn from your life?
To live life in and on purpose. It’s where true joy is found. Purpose can only be discovered and sustained by a true relationship with God. Your gifts, skills, and talents, are never for you alone, but are to be utilized to better humanity at large.
What are the best and worst things about living in Birmingham?
- I live in Hoover so the worst thing that I see about Birmingham and our surrounding municipalities at large is sadly, a divisive mindset by several groups. The desire for one municipality to be “better than another” vs. working together. We could accomplish so much more because even our different municipalities have certain strengths that can help our county at large. God is not in any agenda that entails division. True story: my family was giving to a particular organization in Birmingham and the director was shocked to learn we did not live in the city limits of Birmingham because he said “no one really does that—they usually only support the nonprofit entities in their areas”. That’s sad because when one municipality in our area flourishes we all do-when one hurts—we all hurt. It also saddens me regarding the loss of life of our youth to violence. A number of them simply don’t know their purpose, so consequently the streets give them purpose because not enough of us, “the village” are stepping up.
- The best thing I like about Birmingham at large is that there are enough people in our city and surrounding municipalities at large, who are emerging in leadership, who understand that we can do more together if we would respect, embrace, and engage not only the diversity (the differences that we all bring in culture grids, skill sets, political views etc.), but who understand when you are inclusive enough to purposefully bring those skills sets to decision making tables and to neighborhoods, we can push this city light years forward and be an example to our nation on what diversity, inclusion, and acceptance looks like (even when you and your views are different from mine). I believe we can reverse the image of a city that was once known for hate and racism.
What is your proudest personal moment?
I was recently selected to sit as a board of trustee member for one of our city entities in Hoover. This is a big deal for me because I believe it’s a step toward integrating decision-making and policy making tables and that’s very important.
What is your proudest mom moment?
Whenever I am attentive enough to recognize different gifts in our kids, and take the time to hone them. Nia Mya is creative—and always has a unique perspective on things. This parental guidance, led to her writing her first book at age 7 and becoming a best selling author by age 8 and garnering international attention to inspire kids and adults all over the world. Not because she was some Maya Angelou, but because her creative mind processes information differently with great wit.
My seven-year-old son is analytical, agile, and a natural leader. He is being developed socially through classes like martial arts and we will also be honing that analytical side. Can’t wait to see how he will impact the world in his generation.
What is your proudest wife moment?
About a year and a half ago, my husband’s department at a company he led in for 18 years, was closed down. I was proud to be there supporting and helping him as he started his own company and new career in real estate and he is doing exceptionally well in a short time. Call him if you need to buy or sell a house 205-266-3297 (shameless plug—lol).
Your daughter, Nia Mya, is a published author. What advice do you have for mommas who have kids who want to write books?
Three “P’s” to remember: Be prayerful, be purposeful, and be patient.
Be PRAYERFUL—be prayerful about who you should be connected to during this process. All publishers, editors, illustrators, agents, and managers are not the same. Even after high profile agents courted me to bring Nia Mya under their wings, I knew (through prayer), that it would not be a good move for her nor our family at large-but your path may be different. Trust God in prayer that your specific help will show up at the right time and you will know who to connect to.
BE PURPOSEFUL—Steer your child/children towards their PURPOSE- steer them in the way “they should go”, not the way YOU want them to go. You will learn through observation what they are good at. You may find that they may not actually be good at writing but they may be great illustrators or great at developing “the concept” behind a great story-but not actually “the content”, so that will let you know what help you should get them. Steering them according to their individual gifts and strengths helps you to not frustrate them or frustrate yourself.
Be PATIENT—Be patient with them, and encourage them in their dreams-but again, make sure it’s not about you. Their aspirations will change and develop over time and that’s ok. Nia Mya is set on being a teacher but recently she has been obsessed with getting a dog (Maltese), and has added dog trainer to that list of “what I want be”. Ronald Michael, our 7 year old, recently attended a city council meeting with me and asked “will all of those people up there one day be replaced”? And went on to say that he thinks he can be up there too. Then not too many data afterward he wants to work at Chick-fil, because their food is so good—lol!
What’s next for Cherinita Ladd-Reese?
I would like to continue volunteering to help our city government push our city forward. I will also be publishing a book on parenting during first quarter 2019, releasing Nia Mya’s third book within the next few weeks (under my newly formed publishing company), getting Nia Mya on schedule to do a novel series that she wants to do, and enrolling our son into another activity to hone his gift sets (whew—we are parenting around here)!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Our youth need us, “the village.” If we want our communities to thrive, we must step up and mentor our kids, be present in the schools, financially support the kids and schools whether through our city foundations or you identifying children to personally invest in.
You see and know who they are in your sphere of influence—so let’s get to work.