When we opened our kimono store on Grant Avenue in Chinatown, San Francisco, we knew we wanted it to be a place where folks could drop in and take a deep breath. Over the years, we have been so moved by the myriad of people who come into the store. From out of town visitors to our own neighbors, the community we see coming into our kimono store shopfront and those who reach out to us online are people full of compassion, love, and kindness.
And as is true in any community, we know it’s the mothers who nurture it the most. So this Mother’s Day, we want to honor and celebrate just a few phenomenal mothers from our community. Whether they’ve found us from shopping for wedding kimono robes for their family’s celebration or picked out a silk kimono robe for a friend who needed some self care, mothers are such an integral part of our lovely community. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we celebrate moms in all forms — biological mothers, adoptive mothers, mothers-to-be, women who want to be mothers, and mothers in spirit. No matter how you define mother, we hope the mama in your life gets a little something special for herself this time of year. Whether it’s a floral kimono wrap or a silk kimono robe, we hope the mother in your life can wrap up in a little self care she can wear and be well. And today, we’re celebrating just a few of the amazing women from our community with the best advice from Mothers. We’re sharing the way they’ve worn their kimono robes as well as pieces of advice and their thoughts on motherhood, coming from the most amazing people we know: mothers.
What did you learn about yourself when you became a mother?
Candice: Becoming a Mother has taught me about an intrinsic love I did not know existed. There isn't anything a Mother isn't willing to do for their babies, go without sleep, go without food, think of them first at all times. You become more hyper sensitive to all the dangers in our surroundings and want to protect them from everything. You become more patient and more loving. Staring at those little hands and feet brings so much happiness to my days. I feel so blessed that I get to enjoy the beautiful gift of giving life to my babies, and that I now get the chance to see them grow and become men of good.
In becoming a new mother, what made you the most proud of yourself?
Bree: Adaptation. 2020 brought a new kind of living for most people and especially new mothers. Some of us didn’t get to celebrate new life physically surrounded by loved ones, or joining new mom classes, or showing off that baby bump. Becoming a new mother during a pandemic has made me feel most proud of the ability I’ve had to adapt to this new role on my own. I’m proud of myself and my fellow mamas.
What is the most important thing you are teaching your children?
Queen: The most important thing that I am teaching my children that they can utilize now and throughout their lives is to embrace their power and utilize their voices. I am intentional about teaching them that though they are small they possess the power to make change and influence change big and small. I encourage them to stand up for themselves and others, speak up and share their ideas or concerns and to be proud of their accomplishments and celebrate the accomplishments of others.
How have you changed the most since becoming a mother?
Nikky: I’d heard many people say that once you’ve had a baby, you no longer matter. But it’s not until you look into the eyes of your newborn child that you fully understand what that means. It’s not that you don’t matter at all, it’s more that nothing matters more than your child.
You find a real sense of purpose. A reason to turn difficult days into easier ones and gloomy days into ones filled with light.
Your reality is no longer yours, its theirs. It’s a truly unconditional love.
I’m sure I’ll continue to change with each new beautiful moment or challenge that motherhood throws my way. My essence remains unaltered but I feel there’s a new layer on top, and some deeper layers that have resurfaced. I wouldn’t forfeit any of it!
What is the most joyful part of motherhood for you?
Ekiuwa: Motherhood is so beautiful, remembering their first movements in the belly to their little personalities developing daily. The older they become the more I find myself falling more in love with their little bodies and hearts. I am thankful I was chosen to mother littles.
What do you wish more people would understand about motherhood?
Jane: You don’t have to lose your identity when motherhood begins. In fact, every diaper explosion, sleepless hour, and terrorizing tantrum that you can get through is one stone more to building up the character of a person that is more patient, more resilient, and more loving.
Why is self-care so important for mothers?
Anna: For all mothers, the mothers in spirit, the mothers in waiting, and the mothers in loss; self-care is an embodiment of love that gifts energy, creates moments of inspiration, and strengthens our vitality to endure. It encourages a space to hold compassion for ourselves and others. Through physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual means we create opportunity to connect and align with ourselves. It is how we show ourselves self-respect, all the while modeling self-respect to others. Self-care freely ripples through us and out. It is in this fashion that when we put our oxygen mask on first, we can then assist others with theirs.
What important traditions or rituals have you passed onto your kids?
Audrey: The first is a life-hack: Never be afraid to ask a question, or to ask for what you think you deserve. In the best case, you’ll get what you want, and in the worst case, you’ll hear No. One example is when [my daughter] Hannah, as an aspiring author, approached a famous author and asked her out for coffee. The author responded, “I’m hosting a party in my apartment, why don’t you come?” And Hannah made some wonderful connections that night. Also:
- Playing Mah Jongg - it’s a game like gin rummy that an entire generation of post-war women knew. My mother taught me and I taught my children and we played several games a day at the beginning of the pandemic. We now play together online. Each child has taught many of their friends and play weekly games.
- How to be a good and generous hostess - also something I learned from my mother. Always have enough food and drink so no one goes hungry and no one feels like they are taking the “last bite” off a tray. Make guests feel at home. Both girls love to host dinner parties and get excited about what they will serve.
- Watching repeat episodes for Law & Order: SVU when you are not feeling 100% - there is something comforting about the familiar format of the show. When the three of us are together, at the end of a long day, we crawl into bed and binge on Olivia Benson - a smart female protagonist - what better role model for 2 young women!