Brandy Norwood knows the transformative reality of becoming a parent.
The actor has a daughter, Sy’rai Iman Smith, with her ex-partner, Big Bert. Over the years, she’s shared how motherhood changed her life and inspired her to become a role model for her daughter.
In honor of her birthday, here are 10 quotes about parenthood from Norwood.
On The Lessons She Wants To Teach Her Child
“I love being a mother because having a child inspires you to be a better ‘you.’ The hardest thing about being a mother is that you realize you aren’t perfect and you’ll make mistakes. But you do the best you can. I teach Sy’rai to always be who you are. Sometimes you can lose yourself if you don’t have a strong foundation, so I talk to her about knowing who she is.”
On Dating As A Mom
“When I was dating Wanya Morris, my mom was afraid of me getting my heartbroken, so she was cautious. But with Sy’rai, when it comes to relationships, I’m going to be a little more open and allow her to make her own choices.”
On Her Daughter
“It’s beautiful to have her around and in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I don’t even remember what life felt like without her, so she’s definitely an angel.”
On Getting Her Life Together
“I have a 12-year-old daughter that’s looking for me to set the example. I have people who love me, and I have fans out there that are looking for me to get it together. And I almost didn’t get it together. I almost gave up. But my mom always says that I always get to the edge of the cliff, but I never fall off. So I just said I’m not gonna keep going to the edge anymore. I’m just gonna get it right. And I’m just going to decide to be the best version of myself. And when you’ve been sad and have dealt with depression so deeply and so darkly, [you get] tired of feeling like that. I felt like that for so long and I got tired of my daughter seeing me like that and I wasn’t setting a great example. So through prayer and changing my mind and disciplining myself to get to where I needed to be, I changed my life. And now I know why I’m here. At 36, I know it now.”
On Her Own Mother
“She has always been there for me. She has always shown so much strength in so many different circumstances in both of our lives together. She’s always tried to remind me that I’m here for a reason and I’m here for a huge purpose. [She tells me to not] let anyone try to diminish just why GOD created me. It took me a while to really get that. But, I have it now. I am grateful and humbled and thankful to her for waiting for me to get to this point. Because it’s hard to watch your daughter go through things and then watch her have to be strong for herself. And then when [I] finally get that strength and get that power [I’ve] been working so hard to get, it’s a relief for her. She can exhale knowing that I have my best interests at heart.”
On Being A Young Mom
“I’m going to let people know that it’s cool to have a child and be young and still be a good mom. It’s really tough, but I’m doing it. It may not be the best in someone else’s eyes, but it’s the best I can do.”
On Setting An Example
“Being a mother has completely turned me into an example. You can’t be a hypocrite. You can’t teach your children anything if you’re not doing it yourself. I lead by what I do. I remember what it was like to be a child. Mixing those two things together means you can get a great relationship with your children. You can help them to be strong and help guide them.”
On Empowering Her Daughter
“One of the things I teach my daughter is that her life is not my life, it’s her life. Her intuition is something that she’s gonna have to learn how to trust. It’s my job to help her to trust and to love herself by using examples of what I’ve gone through and then using examples of what she’s gone through to help her make the best out of her life. I’ve gone through so much and she doesn’t have to go through it because I’ve been through it for her. I just want to continue to be understanding, not abuse my authority, but still be firm enough to check her and help her go down the right path.”
On Her Daughter’s Potential Interest In Acting
“Of course, if [it’s] something that she wants to really truly do I will encourage her and support her. I’ll show her the ropes for sure.”
On What Motherhood Taught Her
“My daughter has really turned everything into me being the greatest version of myself. I strive every day to be the greatest version of myself because of her existence. I don’t think I would be here today if my daughter didn’t come into my life when I was 23. She made me see what was real and what was not. I am so thankful for her life. And I’m so equipped to be everything she needs me to be for her life because she’s done so much for mine. I’m just gonna keep going and going and keep showing her to never give up on herself.”
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