15 Things I Need My Brown Baby to Know

We’ve all read the “Things I Want My Daughter to Know” lists, and I was prepared to give you another one. Then I looked at Baby Bird and remembered the reason I started this blog.

This website is about her — my beautiful brown baby. I want her to have a record of my love and dreams for her. I want to do all I can — outside of coddling her — to help her have the best life.

I’d be doing her a disservice by writing a generic list.

I’m raising a little Black girl, and my advice needs to reflect that. Yes, people are people and women are women, so some generic guidance applies. But I want Baby Bird to be prepared for the situations she’ll encounter because of her race, and to embrace her #blackgirlmagic.

So here it is: Fifteen Things I Need My Brown Baby to Know.

15 Things I Need My Brown Baby to Know

  1. You’re not pretty for a Black girl. You’re beautiful, and your race isn’t a factor. Truth be told, your appearance isn’t a factor. You’re beautiful because of your heart and soul. Nothing you do to your outside will change that.
  2. You don’t have to represent all Black people, regardless of what others might think. Make decisions that will reflect the best you, and let the rest of us worry about ourselves.
  3. If a boy says you’re too (dark, light, short, tall, thick, or thin) for him to like you, then he never deserved your attention.
  4. You should make friends with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
  5. You shouldn’t try to hide your intelligence to fit in. Real friends will accept you for who you are, and they’ll love that you’re brainy.
  6. You must create your own definition of success. You’ll never be happy trying to live up to someone else’s expectations.
  7. What I said about success? It goes for beauty, too.
  8. You will fail at lots of things, lots of times. That’s OK. What’s not OK is to never try because you’re afraid of failing.
  9. I want you to learn to swim. I want you to try ballet and karate, math club and soccer. We might sign you up for golf or archery. I want you to get comfortable being the only Black girl in the room — it’ll happen more often than you think. Embrace those moments as your time to shine.
  10. It’s OK to cry. You’re allowed be angry. Go ahead — live loudly. Don’t let anyone write you off as the “stereotypical Black woman” because you’re not demure.
  11. Don’t apologize for saying no. It’s your right. Don’t apologize for being strong. It’s what you are.
  12. Society might not acknowledge your accomplishments. Don’t let that stop you from feeling amazing about what you’ve done.
  13. Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to ask me for help.
  14. You should smile from your heart every day. Don’t do it because someone told you to. Do it because you woke up. God gave you another day, and that’s worth at least one smile, right?
  15. No matter how far apart we are, if you call for me, I’m coming to you.
15 Things I Need My Brown Baby to Know



  1. This was really sweet to read. I’m a white mommy with two white daughters, and I agree with everything you said here. Embracing every shape, size, and color. It would be a perfect world to raise all our beautiful daughters to accept so much of these truths and appreciate the person they are, and who others are. Really precious list here!

    • Thank you! They really are universal messages. My hope is that if I raise my daughter to believe these things, and you raise yours to believe them, they’ll pass the truths to their children. It could spark an emotional change that would save a generation of girls from needlessly trying to be anyone other than who they are.
      It’s a big dream, I know. But if you’re gonna dream, dream big! 🙂
      Thank you so much for reading. I’m glad the post struck a chord with you.

  2. As mom to a girl who is perfect in every way and happens also to be deaf, I identify with this. This message is so important for our young people. Shine your light, BE you.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • I think it’s critical that we teach these lessons to our children. It breaks my heart every time I meet a girl who is burying her true beauty — her intellect, her creativity — to try to fit in.
      I l love hearing from parents like you, because it makes me believe there are lots of us trying to change the narrative. And that makes me really hopeful.
      Thank you so much for reading, and all the best to you and your daughter 😊

  3. Beautiful list! I’m white, but my husband is Cuban. Like most Cubans, he is very ethnically mixed. I’m pregnant with our first and we have absolutely no idea what Baby’s hair, eye, or skin color will be. Doubtless (and unfortunately), at some point someone will probably try to tell our child they’re not brown enough or not white enough or not Hispanic enough. I hope we can instill our child with enough confidence to realize things exactly like what you said here.

    • Thank you so much!
      It’s sad, but I believe you’re right about others’ judgments. I believe the best thing we can do to combat that ignorance is to teach our little ones that they’re wonderful, beautiful, and special exactly as they are. I hope this list is helpful for you, your husband, and your bundle of joy 🙂
      BTW: Congratulations!

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