The Beauty of Motherhood: A Reflection by Añuli CoFounder Kelechi Onyemelukwe

The Beauty of Motherhood: A Reflection by Añuli CoFounder Kelechi Onyemelukwe

Few things in the universe rival the beauty of motherhood. As I prepare to celebrate my 10th Mother’s Day this weekend (I was pregnant my first one), I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the countless mothers I've encountered along my journey, each one a testament to the unique beauty of being a mom.

Even before external influences shaped my standards, I saw beauty through the lens of my mom, her circle of friends (my “aunties”), and the other maternal figures in my life. Growing up in New Jersey in the 90s in a very large and close knit Igbo community, our social calendar was booked and busy. Whether it was weddings, Mbaise community events, New Yam festivals, or another at the Robert Treat Hotel or Saint Mary’s in Newark, NJ, our community never missed an opportunity to celebrate. Party would start at 6 and we would show up with everyone else after 9. And everyone would always look so good! The dads, uncles, kids, but the aunties? STUNNING. The colors, perfume smells, makeup, bespoke outfits, the hair, be it Patra braids, Whitney bobs, or a cute low cute. I just knew each of them took their precious time to get ready because I had a love/hate relationship of watching my mother  take close to two hours to bathe, do her skincare, makeup, wear her jewelery, put on her shoes, and then finish it off with a full photo shoot in the living room and by her flower garden out front. For those two hours and the rest of the night, you’d think my mother was a lady of leisure. You’d never known that she was cooking a pot of jollof rice and 3 pans of chicken in a hot kitchen as her contribution to the event or that she was stressed at work the whole week before. It was in these moments that reinforced the power and joy of savoring the self-care moments and enjoying the confidence it brings after. 

Outside of these events, my mom and aunties still prioritized taking care of themselves from head to toe as much as possible on a daily basis. It was always the little things like how one aunt always wore a beautiful red lip. Her red lip and overall style (she had the dopest leather jacket and hat) was her signature before, after marriage, and having her two kids. Another aunt of mine was tough as nails, sweet like honey, funny as ever, and always had her fingers and toes done. You could not catch her slipping. Looking back, I can see how these aunties' (now both late) beauty and style choices may have unconsciously influenced some of my beauty standards. 

They were amazing mothers who, from the outside as a young girl, made motherhood look beautiful and effortless. I now know that motherhood is far from effortless but well worth every ounce of effort. 

This Mother’s Day, Añuli celebrates all the joys and beauty of motherhood. For all the ways moms show up for themselves after showing up for everyone else. Even if it’s just in their daily skincare routine. We celebrate ALL the ways, they continue to pour into their own cups. And for all the ways they bring beauty to the lives around them. 

We wish all who celebrate a joyful Mother’s Day.