“Life Is But A Dream”: My Thoughts On Beyonce, Motherhood, And The Search For Power


SOURCE: Still from HBO

SOURCE: Still from HBO

So, yes, I admit that because I do not have HBO, I drove nearly an hour to my parents house so I could watch the premiere of Beyonce’s Life is But A Dream documentary.

I was really eager to see it because 1) I have a girl-crush on Bey, 2) I love all things behind-the-scenes, and 3) I was sure it would be 88 minutes into a glamorous life and as someone who spends 90% of the day in leggings and slipper socks, let’s just say I would use a jolt of glamour in my life, even if it came through a TV screen.

As I watched it, a smile erupted on my face a few times: seeing Bey on stage at Revel in Atlantic City five months after giving birth; watching her swoon as she sings Coldplay’s “Yellow” to her husband, Jay-Z (and he sings back!); Bey working through morning sickness for a UK performance (been there…kinda); and FINALLY, getting the chance to see Blue Ivy live and in color, making baby coo noises and everything!

My thoughts are kind of all over the place, so here it is in sections:

Power isn’t given to you – you have to take it

I was really looking forward to seeing how Beyonce transitioned into being her own manager after splitting from her father a few years ago. In all the behind the scenes videos I’ve seen of her in the past two years, she’s taking control on video and performance sets and in no way do I mean it in a bad way. She’s got an opinion on the lights, the music, the set design, the costumes, the set list — if it’s a part of the show, she’s got a hand in it. And isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? For her upcoming Mrs. Carter Show world tour, she stands to gross an estimated $2 million per show. If you’re making that type of money, why wouldn’t you do your best to make sure everything is to your standards? You’re in the big leagues now and shy and demure doesn’t cut it.

It reminds me of when I got my first “real” job (listen to me sounding all old) I was 21 and right out of college. My boss and I were negotiating how much my salary would be. She went first and offered me $45, 000 a year. My mouth hit the floor because I was going to suggest maybe $30,000 and even then I thought it was too high! Now imagine if I had gone first. Do you think she still would have offered the $45K? Probably not. That taught me a valuable lesson about valuing yourself. Now, if I’m in negotiations with someone, I make sure my first offer is a strong one. Business is business.

Love is an absolutely wonderful blessing

Beyonce shared footage of a birthday toast she gave Jay-Z a few years ago, in which she seemed on the verge of tears describing how he has changed her life. They have been together since she was 20 years old and as we all know, there’s a lot of growth that happens in your 20s and if the same man is loving you throughout, well, that makes a huge difference. I know that firsthand.

In watching how they interact with each other, it’s clear the love is still strong. And that’s what we all want, right? Someone who is honest with us, who loves us even in spite of our flaws, who makes a commitment to our relationship and honors it. It does not make you any less “fierce” or any less independent because you found a man who loves you immensely and you feel the same about him. Contrary to some, I love the fact that Beyonce named her latest tour The Mrs. Carter Show for so many reasons. One, they are a power couple. Some may feel like she’s prioritizing his relevance over hers but let’s be real, they reached superstar status TOGETHER. Yes, Jay-Z was a popular rapper before they together but let’s not act like she has not influenced his career and given him more crossover appeal. Two, they’re in love and she doesn’t care who knows it. Prior to the release of 4 and the birth of Blue Ivy, Beyonce was so notoriously private that she wouldn’t even acknowledge the fact that they were married. Using her married name for her tour means, to me at least, that she’s ready to open up and share more of herself. I’m all for that.

You have a say in how your life is going to go

When Beyonce talked about becoming her own manager, she had to figure out what she really wanted in her life. And what she craved was freedom.

For the past two years I’ve been self-employed and I’ve been working to make my dreams a reality. I had to take a step back from the every day and think hard about what I wanted to do with my life. I decided that I wanted to be more available to my children. But I also wanted to contribute financially and make a career that would allow me to do what I love, which is helping people. And that’s what I’m doing. So often, we just move along from job to job, year after year, without thinking about our choices. Yes, we have choices. We have to work hard, of course, but those choices are there. Find them and make a choice that makes YOU happy.


  1. I loved this post Tara! I have truly been impressed by all of your progress over the last few years, I remember when you first started blogging and look at you now! I am inspired by the love you share with your husband, your family and the ability to balance a career. Although I haven’t seen Bey’s documentary (no HBO here) I can see how your lives parallel. Love that and love you!

  2. Tiffany Treadwell says:

    I haven’t seen the documentary due to me not having HBO..but I look forward to seeing it…they are a power couple and its great to see a African-American couple who does everything together besides our President….so thanks for the input Tara

  3. LOL at you for driving almost an hour to your parents’ house…I wish I could have seen it too, but your post filled me in:) Thanks!

  4. I believe we are apart of the same generation of women, you, me, Beyonce. Women who were told we could do anything, be anything, but by people who didn’t really understand what that meant at the time. Barriers have been smashed, but the realities of family, marriage and a unsupportive culture remains. We are the ones figuring this out. We are the ones trying to balance the demands of high-level work, children and personal growth and satisfaction. It’s a much more daunting task than our mother’s, perhaps, realized when they told us we could anything.

    We are a new generation of women.

  5. Tara, what a fantastic post. Thank you. I agree completely: Watching Beyonce act on her vision as the executive producer of her own show is the best possible lesson for us women in business: Show. Don’t tell.

    Bottomline: I am seriously impressed with these Knowles businesswomen. Smart, businesslike, with brands I respect. All of them. I’m here at SXSWi, where I will not be able to stay long enough to watch Solange Knowles perform, but there’s plenty of Twitter excitement about her shows. As I said in these videos (http://www.makers.com/moments/how-tina-knowles-did-it) as a mama of teenagers, I would love to meet Tina Knowles. I get the impression I could learn a lot.