An Unfiltered Mom Vlogger Bares All
The (nsfmg) Quarantine Queries: Lillian Jamfar
by Julian Alessandroni
Welcome to The (nsfmg) Quarantine Queries, where no topic — while in the middle of a goddamn pandemic — is off limits.
Mom vlogger Lillian Jamfar is a mother of three, and an unapologetic truth-teller. Lillian consistently proves that there is no point in hiding who we truly are inside, and that vulnerability is where beauty lies. We love how she inspires her audience, and brings them along for the ride (AKA her non-stop life) — especially while mothering amidst a global pandemic. Not even quarantine can stop her from sparking excitement into her eleven-year-old’s birthday — like when she woke him up at the time he was born just to celebrate — 2am, to be exact.
Her unfiltered nature attracts those looking for authentic product reviews, and pro-parenting tips, where no topic is off limits. No wonder so many quarantined SAHMs are visiting her blog, her Instagram and YouTube channel — to deeply connect with another mom who is figuring it out along the way.
Just like we are.
We checked to see how Lillian is doing in the midst of HER new normal. With a new living space, children running around, and a partner who won’t pick up his shit (Lillian, you’re not alone!), we discovered how these experiences are bringing about a shift in mindset, and some exciting new goals for this incredible mom..
(nsfmg): Hi Lillian. How are you today? Like — how are you *really*?
LJ: Hi. I’m doing okay — like most days. Other days I’m trying so hard to stay patient with my children. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed because I can’t seem to find [enough] time for myself. And then when I do, my kids guilt me. They feel like I’m “ignoring” them. It’s like my normal SAHM mom life, but with a little more work added to the mix. I can’t seem to find a balance and I’m losing my patience a lot more these days.
(nsfmg): Since quarantine was placed into order, you’ve had your two eldest children home with you (a lot more than usual). How has that transition been? Is your youngest thrilled? Is she missing solo-mama time?
LJ: At first, the transition started out well. I’ve always wanted to homeschool, but I didn’t realize how much work it would actually be. I have a 5th grader and a 1st grader currently ‘homeschooling’. I have my toddler home, too. I have to find a balance to entertain/help them all at the same damn time without them distracting and interrupting each other. I’m pulled back and forth — trying to help with a math problem and trying to figure out why the page isn’t downloading correctly — WHILE trying not to burn breakfast.
Raising my third — and last — daughter during this time has tested me in many ways. This whole change has been a process. I really am having a hard time dealing with being a SAHM now more than ever. For this reason, I’ve concluded that after almost 4 years, I will quit being a [stay at home mom]. I’m going back to work or school to find ME again; to find the joy of coming home and taking care of my children and house, because right now I just can’t seem to find the satisfaction in our current, longer than ever, days.
(nsfmg): You are no stranger to unapologetically writing — and feeling — what exactly is on your mind. It’s clear that your authenticity is rubbing off on your children, and it’s beautiful. For those (nsfmg) members who are currently home with their children, struggling to show vulnerability with their family, what advice would you offer?
LJ: I would say that what you feel inside is valid. What you feel, but yet can’t say out loud, is actually really important. Don’t ignore your feelings. It might feel so scary to be open and share things you might not be used to showing, but when you do, you’ll feel this sense of relief. Because you’re actually being your true self in front of your children and family.
When I’m vulnerable with my children, I show them, yes I’m your mommy but I’m also human: I make mistakes, I’m cranky, I’m annoyed, I feel pain and hurt and love. I show them it’s okay to express how they feel — even if what they feel is not the same as others.
You should no longer let fear keep you from sharing your story.
(nsfmg): Lillian, as a woman of color, how are you talking to your kids about what’s happening right now?
LJ: I have to say I have not been doing enough. As a woman of color with a bi-racial background (Mexican and Persian) I feel ashamed for not doing . . . more. I need to educate myself in regards to the injustice going on in the world towards BIPOC, and how white supremacy works. I’m not being responsible enough, simply by feeling that this does not affect me and my children.
My children are of mixed color. Maddison, my daughter, is the darkest of the whole family. The one thing she always tells me is how she hates the darkness of her skin and how she wishes she had light skin — like her brother. In that kind of situation, I will sit down with her and tell her how beautiful her skin is TOO, and how she doesn’t need white skin to feel beautiful.
Maybe it’s also my fault because I buy white Barbie dolls and let her watch movies with only white kids with beautiful blue eyes. I am at fault for thinking that my seven-year-old would somehow learn on her own to love her skin color and respect POC and Black people when I don’t even talk enough about it. She’s watching me! They all are! I have to discuss how our world treats BIPOC and whites differently. I have to also do more than just small talk: I have to find resources in my community so we can contribute by donating, whenever we can, to organizations that are supporting Black lives.
I also want them to hear me talk about racism and know what it means to be a racist, and what it means to be silent when the world is loud. I have to educate myself more about racism and make sure I’m not blinding my children from believing that we are all equal and that all lives matter, because Black lives matter more right now. So, no! NO MORE TELLING THEM THESE LIES! It’s not true. Black people are walking around our world afraid they will die because they are BLACK. My children, being of color, will be treated differently in this world just because of their skin. My dark skinned daughter might even be treated worse than her siblings. They need to be aware of what’s going on in our world.
For the first time I sat down my 11 year old son, Josh, and discussed what happened to George Floyd. You know how he reacted? He was angry! He said, “I would have ran to the cop and pushed him off, so [George] could breathe.” I told him, “but don’t you think the police would have stopped you first?” and he said, “no because I look white! They wouldn’t see it coming.”
Every day, since that day, he’s been asking me, “what’s going on with the riots and the looting?” and, “are more people dying?” and, “have they arrested the officers that killed the Black man who died on the ground?” He wants justice! He wants answers! As open as I am with my life and emotions towards my children, I want to be the same towards racial injustice and discrimination.
It starts at home. It starts with us. Don’t feel afraid to say, “I don’t know much about this,” or “what can I do?” Because right now we have the privilege to learn more, to educate ourselves to be aware of what’s going on, whether it’s actively learning through reading books, media consumption, or peer communication. We should have no excuse to stay silent. It’s never too late to start talking about it. Let’s do more and teach our children better! As a woman, mother, POC with a bi-racial background, I will be doing more.
(nsfmg): Have conversations regarding race led to you and your partner to reevaluate your lifestyle in any way? Like who you work for, where you live, or the friend/family circles that surround you and your children?
LJ: The other day I asked my boyfriend Mauri (who’s 100 percent Mexican) if he had ever been in a situation where anyone racially discriminated against him. Oh man, he told me story after story. I then asked him if he had ever felt (especially when our family walks into a public space, like a grocery store) specially targeted because of how we look. We sat there talking about how it feels to be a Mexican family — for being targeted just because we don’t look like the kind of family to shop in these stores. We are POC and we are automatically labelled by racial biases. We are pointed out and followed because of how we appear, act and talk. To be honest, you would think this would stop us from shopping in stores like Sprouts, but it doesn’t. I walk into that store knowing all eyes will be on us — on my family; on my screaming little Mexican children.
My boyfriend works for a huge company and sometimes — I’m lying, all the time — I tell him he works too hard for this job. With overtime hours and NO overtime pay, plus making less than a white man who works less than him yet is getting paid more, I always ask, “WHY??” I remind him not to give extra to a job that doesn’t appreciate HIS extra as much as they should.
Being with a Mexican man, I’ve seen how difficult it is to find a place of employment that would appreciate all of his hard work, not just because it’s expected of your skin color and race. I’m truly opening my eyes now more than ever. In the end, we are a Mexican/Persian family raising our children the best way we know how to by doing more when we find the opportunity to do more — for all the BIPOC families out there.
(nsfmg): Lillian, you’ve been with Mauri for just short of a decade — how has isolation affected your connection? Whether that’s the good, the bad, the ugly . . .
LJ: It’s difficult to ignore when it’s clearly a choice to be in a relationship, compared to when I’m expressing my motherhood journey and having no choice but to be better — because I can’t, and won’t, leave. That just isn’t an option. I will always be their mother, but I don’t always have to be his girlfriend.
I’ve always complained about doing all the house work alone because he works, and is TOO tired to do anything more. Let me say he didn’t or chose not to keep up with our home, I mean why would he, I’M STILL HERE. I do a different kind of work than him, but sometimes I can bring income in and last I heard “money is money”. It’s not consistent money like him but I will always appreciate any extra income I can bring in for our family.
I also work while I juggle being a stay at home mom. But somehow, I get my shit done.
I’m just tired.
If anything, our contrasting lives have shown me that even when the world comes crashing down, and we are stuck at home together doing the same things, I am still left with the same bullshit — and it’s killing me.
Even though I don’t have an option to change him to help me out more in our home, I can control my environment to avoid feeling like everything is left to me BECAUSE I’M AT HOME. So I told him after quarantine, I’m going back to work/school, I don’t know what this will do for our relationship; but I know mentally for me it will be good, a breather, maybe a change is what we need in our relationship.
Lately, to avoid fighting and arguing about the same shit, I have been letting it go and just doing it myself, like I always have.
I enjoy [my boyfriend’s] company; our movie nights; sex (if I’m in the mood); having someone here that makes me feel safe at night, but I’ve always sacrificed a lot of myself for the comfort of others. A traumatic habit that I’m learning to undo is to put myself and my needs first, because I matter.
For years I’ve forgotten about me.
Even though I yell on the top of my lungs and ask for help, cry, yell, ignore, try working out, I’ve finally understand what I want in life and what I actually have and for now I’m still here trying to find a healthy balance in our relationship and I’ll hold onto that until I don’t want to anymore.