Content And Community For Black Moms


Shena Cox changed her ideas of community when her family moved to Houston. In order to make her busy life work, she had to expand her circle.

Samantha Bocage, Paula Osborne, Shena Cox, Klair Cox, Kevin Cox, Kay Cox, Rachel Semien & Xenia Garrett
Photo credit: Monica Terry

Shena Cox and her husband Kevin have called several major cities in the South home. Shena was born and raised in New Orleans, and they both attended college in Baton Rouge (Louisiana State University and Southern University of Baton Rouge respectively) before moving to Memphis.

But now that they’re calling Houston home, they’re farther away from the village they spent their life building pre-kids.

“I would say different phases of life change the tribe, too,” Shena says. “If they didn’t have children… we just kind of drifted apart.”

Between their respective careers—Shena is a full-time realtor and site director for Girls Golf Houston and Kevin is a project manager who builds Targets in their region—and their 6-year-old daughter Kay’s junior golf schedule, life can be pretty hectic. (Klair, who just turned 2 in November, keeps the family pretty busy, too.) 

Shena Cox
Photo credit: Monica Terry

They don’t get much rest on the weekends which include art classes, Spanish tutoring (both girls are in Spanish immersion schools), piano lessons, and golf practice. 

“You never know what is going to happen from day to day,” Shena says. “Emergencies come up and you need to have at least one or two points of contact outside of your immediate family where you can call someone and trust them with your kids.”

Being so far from her family in New Orleans, Shena learned quickly the importance of being creative and open in terms of whom she considered a part of her village. 

“When you start having these conversations and think about it, more people come to mind that may not be who you would consider off the top of your head, but technically are part of your tribe because they’ve helped or given you some type of enlightenment in other areas of your life,” Shena says.

Shena’s Village
Kevin & Shena Cox
Photo credit: Monica Terry

Kevin Cox

He brings organization to our daily schedules and lives. He’s a very structured person, which is an attribute of his that I admire and benefit from because it relieves us of a lot of chaos that could otherwise take place. I guess it’s the project manager in him. From packing the girls’ lunches, to making sure their school uniforms are out for the week, he adds so much support that allows me to catch up on work calls and meetings. He works 100% remote, so him being available at home helps so much. 

We don’t have nannies or au pairs, so there is no way we would be successful with carrying out these tasks without one another. (And on top of that, he’s also a firm believer in ensuring that we find time for ourselves, to go on dates, etc.)

Paula “Gigi” Osborne 

Shena’s mom

Although [she doesn’t live] here, she’s here pretty often—at least two, three times out of the month.

When it came to date nights, we would just plan around whenever my mom would be visiting. 

Date night happens when Gigi is visiting. We’re so on the go that most of the time when Gigi’s here, we’re like, “Let’s chill, watch something on Netflix, and take a nap. Let’s catch up on sleep.” 

I’m thankful for Gigi to be here so Mommy can get some sleep, Daddy can get some sleep, so we can both recharge. That’s the best type of date.

Samantha Bocage, Shena Cox
Photo credit: Monica Terry

Samantha Bocage

She’s my cousin that lives here in Houston. She has twin girls that are in middle school. We grew up on the same street in New Orleans. She went to LSU and is probably the reason I went to college. She’s my confidante. When I had Kay, she was at the hospital being a big cousin and a nurse. 

Anytime we have date nights and things like that, she would be the one that I would entrust with them. 

Danielle & Edward Delone, Shena Cox

Danielle and Edward “EJ” Delone

We met through our husbands. Our husbands are fraternity brothers and actually went to school in the same state college. We have kids that are the same age, typically a month or two apart. I rely heavily on them either if it’s a girl’s night out with Danielle or basically meeting up for playdates for our kids and ourselves. 

Kay Cox & Donielle Edwards, Shena Cox

Donielle Edwards

One of my very best friends resides in Dallas. She’s the godmom of both of my girls and I’m the godmother to her daughter. 

Anytime anything is going on, I don’t even have to expect her to be there, she shows up. No matter what happens, she is always thinking about me and my girls. If [Kay has] a tournament, she’s there. She’s graduating from kindergarten, she’s there. Any milestone, birthday for both of my girls, she’s there. And vice versa. 

Donielle Edwards, Shena Cox

Blood couldn’t make us any thicker. She is my sister from another mister. We actually went to the same junior high school in New Orleans, went to LSU together, and now we’re in Texas—dIfferent parts of Texas, but that doesn’t slow us down with seeing each other, talking to each other, and kind of just picking up where we last left with one another. 

Rachel Semien

When I had my youngest, I had just dropped off my oldest at school. I was actually going to the hospital to have my pre check-in, because I was having a cesarean. I’m like, “I’ll pick up my daughter at school at 3.” I’m just doing my check-in, I’m not supposed to deliver for another couple days. 

Well, my husband [is] with me at the hospital, and I’m actually having contractions as I’m there. The main thing I’m thinking about is, No no no, no, I’m not having this baby today. I have to pick up my child from school! 

Lo and behold, I had a friend [Rachel] who I was able to call. Her son goes to the same school as my daughter and I built a relationship with her that if anything ever happened, we would be the point of contact [for each other’s kids]. 

So I called her and she was like, “Whatever you need.” 

She picked up my daughter, brought her to the hospital, and kept her for a little bit.

Xenia Garrett, Shena Cox
Photo credit: Monica Terry

Xenia Garrett 

She’s one of my best local mom friends. Xenia is also from New Orleans, but we didn’t meet until LSU. We both reside in Houston. I was the matron of honor in her wedding and she was a bridesmaid in mine. 

She is extremely crafty. They need a shirt for whatever occasion at school and we’re not able to find a shirt or get it shipped in time, I can always count on Xenia, like, “Hey, the girls need a shirt, can you make it?”

But also, I would trust her wholeheartedly if there was anything last minute where I needed a babysitter or anything. She would be a go-to as well, she and her husband Sheldon. They have twin boys and the girls are like, “Oh, my cousins,” although we’re not technically related.

Dr Rixney Reed, Shena Cox

Dr. Rixney Reed 

I’ve known Rixney for over 20 years. We also attended the same junior high and high school. I’ll be in her wedding May 2022; she was also a bridesmaid in mine. She’s a pediatrician and is like an aunt to my girls. She resides in Dallas with my other best friend, Donielle. 

I call her with any medical questions regarding my girls. Three weeks ago, both of my girls had a fever. Klair’s fever was higher than anything she ever had; it got up to 102, 103. We’re freaking out, but thankfully one of my closest friends is a pediatrician.

Any type of sickness or any fever questions I have, she’s my go to. Or if they’re having a rash, I’ll send her a picture and she’ll help me identify it.

Ciji Mitchell

We have girls that are the same age. I believe we met when our girls were in dance years ago. Back then, we weren’t as close as we are now. Now we’re always talking, updating each other on what’s going on. Her daughter just started with my daughter’s golf coach. Although we don’t see each other a lot, it’s cool that our friendship and bond grew stronger through social media.

Kay Cox, Shena Cox
Photo credit: Monica Terrry

Black Junior Golf 

My oldest daughter is a junior golfer. She had her first lesson July 2020. She was five, and she was the Tour champion for the Girls 8 and under. I knew by the third lesson; we had something. At 6 years old, she’s well on her way to becoming an elite junior golfer.

I don’t play golf. My husband plays golf leisurely. The junior golf world, it’s a whole other arena; having an elite junior golfer who’s in first grade, we’re still making sure she’s not burnt out and tired. So I would look at the other moms, other parents that have walked this journey before us, [to give] us the ins and outs of what to expect and what to do. Especially Black parents that have their kids in junior golf. There’s even a huge platform on Facebook, Black Junior Golf. 

Instagram Friends

I have made some lasting connections to other mom influencers. You feel [like] you’ve known [them] for years and you haven’t met them in person once, but you know them on a personal level because you connected just from different things I would post and vice versa. 

It’s crazy how a hashtag can bring moms or friends together and build a tribe just from social media. You build this community socially on the web where you can inquire and share the joys of motherhood and even kind of share frustration sometimes. 

Jessica Jones (@KKJ_JTN_)

We’ve never met in person—she lives in Orlando—and I literally talk to her almost daily, either through social media or text. She has two girls, same ages as mine. Her oldest is also a golf phenom. Anything dealing with golf, we’re the go-to people for one another.

Erika Piggee (@Erikapiggee)

Erika lives in Dallas now, but when I went to LSU with both her and her husband, we were not close. Almost 10-12 years after college, we connected based on social media and mutual friends. I was a beauty blogger, and she was a beauty blogger. She was pretty big in the influencing world. I used to read her blogs regularly. 

Thank you for introducing us to your village, Shena! Check out this link to see as more moms share their village with us in partnership with buybuy BABY.

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Brenda Fadeyibi is an occupational therapist, writer, aspiring novelist, foodie, and mama of one. She can be found in Brooklyn, New York with her 4-year-old son who is learning Kreyol and Yoruba, a nod to both families’ cultures and a way to foster an environment where he can grow up being free in a Black body.


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