How These Moms Embody Love, Kindness, and Pride

Zoe is honored to be a part of families all over, and this family is one of her favorites. Meet Kat and Erin McGonigle, who welcomed Zoe into their family as their daughters Madelyn and Mackenzie’s new best friends. 

What does pride mean to you?

To Erin, pride is being comfortable with her authentic self and comfortable in her skin. She said, “For a long time, I didn’t disclose my sexual orientation until I had to”. Now she feels comfortable and notices how important it is to live your life unapologetically. 

Kat explains how you do not come out just one time, that it is an everyday thing. Even in casual conversations, when she would say “my wife,” that is a small coming-out moment that does not go unrecognized. Living your life is what pride means to them.

What does it mean to be your authentic self? 

Erin has a unique experience working at a university. The school has an “out list” where faculty and staff can post who they are, so the LGBTQ community of students and staff can know who is a part of their support system. She expresses how she was afraid to put herself on the list. But people need to see the representation on campus and especially in her position.

Kat explained how being authentic means being very comfortable speaking about her family, spouse, and sexual orientation naturally in conversation with straight people and not feeling like she has to censor herself. 

How are you teaching your kids about pride? 

To Erin and Kat’s kids, Madelyn and Mackenzie, pride is just life. Kat and Erin explain how they have so many friends and family as a part of the LGBTQ+ community that their daughters love and enjoy their diverse family.

How do you teach your kids about what love looks like? 

Erin and Kat use different literature and family books to show them the different types of families. They also show them what love is through their interactions, surrounding them with the representation of love. 

They love to highlight how families are made, what constitutes a family, a parent, and who isn’t. They also express how families could be who you choose, not only biological. 

How does Zoe help with teaching your kids about love? 

“They love Zoe”! Kat loved dolls growing up. She made a tradition to give them dolls that looked like them every year for their birthday. The tradition started with baby dolls, and as they grew up, they got older dolls. 

Kat was super excited when she found Zoe because it was difficult to find an 18-inch doll that looked like them. Kat explains how “all the dolls you find you can’t style their hair,” so she had to get them brown skin dolls with straight hair and felt terrible about it. 

Out of all the dolls they ever had, they connected with Zoe immediately. They carry her around, ask to play with Zoe, kiss, hug, and express how much they love her all the time. For the girls, Zoe looks like them the most and teaches them to be proud of themselves in the way they look.

Any advice to parents to help them heighten their child’s self-esteem? 

“Positive self-talk as a parent.” They know kids watch how you talk about others and yourself. They try not to say negative things about themselves or talk negatively about people around them.

They also explain how they positively affirm their children daily. Kat tells her daughters how happy she is that they’re her daughters. These affirmations help their daughters see themselves in a positive light.  

Kat and Erin understand how important it is to build up their daughter’s self-confidence as black girls. They say, “We talk a lot about how families don't have to match. We have tried to make sure they have lots of people of color in their lives and that they have lots of opportunities to see themselves reflected in books and on tv shows (and in Zoe!)”. 

They always make sure their hair is nicely styled whenever they go out to feel confident. They love watching them learn how to care for their hair through playing with Zoe, stating how it “has been so amazing.” 

With Zoe and their beautiful parents, Madelyn and Makenzie know that their hair is their crown and that taking care of it is important. They do everything they can to help them grow into confident, beautiful, powerful black women. Zoe loves being a part of this family and families worldwide where curly girls learn this same lesson. 

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