Parenting is Flying by the Seat of Your Pants


As for me and my Household, we are non-traditional clutch your pearls and hold your seat.

No, I didn’t do anything criminal, mostly because I’m not fit for jail (that’s another story for another day.) But “by the book,” I am not.

This is not the flowery, step-by-step guide to parenting.

In fact, when my Mamma reads some of this, there will be eye rolls and head shakes. It wasn’t until about age 10 years old, that I decided, no one really has the blueprint for parenting. Every child is different. Every home environment is different. Finances are different. It’s all just a hodgepodge of “can the kid make it out alive?” After 10 years old, I threw causation to the wind and we just grew up together.

I had David when I was 20; a child. The saying “babies having babies” resonates heavily. So, I had a dope mother and she had a dope mother, but the eras in which they raised children was much different. Yes, I could pick up the phone any time of day and ask anything I needed. But the belief systems were different.

Black mom with toddler sonFrom ages two to five, David had fever-all seizures, which is just seizures caused by fever. After the first one, we were extra cautious anytime he got sick. It happened so frequently and was so common that I was just like “oh, we’re going to the hospital.” I didn’t fret, cause why!? There’s no medication. No treatment. Nothing. It’s common and hereditary. They were supposed to stop at 5, and they did.

So yeah, I handled that perfectly. Bring on middle school. I can honestly say, I thought for sure, I’d have to do some things to send him to boarding school because I COULD NOT! While he didn’t do horrible things, he did enough things to make me wonder what was wrong with me. He was a terror. {He really wasn’t.} But for me, a single mother, who somewhat wants to maintain independence and never show she’s struggling, HE WAS THE WORST. So, now you’re like “well what did he do!?” Dumb sh*t like not turn in homework we spent all night completing. Or texting girls when he knew better. Be an angel in the classroom, but he was said to be everyone’s best friend which meant, “everyone is always talking to me.” STOP TALKING TO THEM THOUGH.

I went through all the things. If I hadn’t been a little rational in my deep thoughts, I would have had this boy groggy and drugged up on all the Adder-all and anything else.

Sex Talk: here’s where the pearl clutching comes in.

I am open and super transparent. We didn’t use terms like “no-no parts” and “down there.” In fact, I’m blanking on how long I even let “penis” ride. For me, you are hearing all the vulgar, horrible things on a middle school bus. It is my role to prepare you for combat. We all know, when kids appear to be the innocent, naive one, they are bullied and enticed to do all the wrong things. Being a middle school teacher gave me the wherewithal and notion to make sure I am always transparent, even if inside I am shuddering at the fact that I’m having the conversation.

To date, I am straightforward with my tender, sweet 18 year old because he’s in college. And you know what that means, he’s calling me with even the most embarrassing and scary stories and I’m cringy inside, but grateful that we have what we have. Drugs and alcohol? Yeah, I am open. We are talking at great length about them. College choices can make or break what you want your future to look like. He is aware that I want him to have fun and the best time ever. Explore. Take advantage. Live!!!!

But be smart homie! Go to class. Do work.

If you have a routine throughout the week, your weekend is a little more available for whatever. But be smart. Drugs are laced. Drinks are spiked. Be aware, be cautious and stay on guard with very little trust.

The girls. I won’t share, in depth, what I have said over the years. But I have always found a way to throw a baby in the conversation for good measure. Again, we are not traditional and he needs to know what all possibilities look like, should he make rash decisions. Additionally, he knows his mama is the female Inspector Gadget. There’s not been one young lady he’s shown me or sent their IG and I didn’t go down a rabbit hole and find out who their parents are, marital status, address and if we have mutual friends. It’s 2021 and so necessary; especially, when he started driving.

The world. I have a black son. An inquisitive, respectful, adorable, harmless, black son. The conversations we have had regarding the world have been hard but necessary. So, many of those conversations, I’m fighting tears (including right now) because he has to know that none of the characteristics I listed about him are going to matter to someone who sees him as just a color or a threat. This is a topic that I will never let up on, nor will I hide truth about.

He has to understand what, exactly, it means to be a black man in America and most of it is not warm and fuzzy.

Overall, I’d never have another child. But parenting hasn’t been the worst thing. I am grateful that I had him at 20 because being close to 40 has been the time of my life and I wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff I do with a younger child.

So, here are my tips for parenting by flyings by the seat of your pants:

1. Give yourself Grace, always.

2. Throw away societal expectations of parenting; they are textbook trash.

3. Be the parent your child needs, not what your friends and family would approve of.

4. Be authentically you, even in front of your parents. They will adjust.

5. Be honest with your children because who knows what they hear and receive at school and ON THE SCHOOL BUS!

6. Listen. Love. Learn. At all costs.

7. Tradition is what it is. But it also can’t ever be what it ain’t. So, create your own.

8. Legacy lies is the development of self and others. Give your children parts of you that you want them to always hold on to. And none of that lies in tradition or those parenting books you got at the baby shower.


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