Every morning, after hitting the snooze button for the third time, I drag myself out of bed, get myself together (like, all the way together), and wake my baby Aiden up. I always make sure that his clothes are neat and pressed, that his hair is neat and brushed and that his shoes are neat and cleaned. Oh, and I force feed him breakfast. Because it’s the most important meal of the day, of course.
Then, I take Aiden to school dressed in my business casual finest, with my "hair done, nails done, everything done" done.
I walk in his school building and then into his classroom with my head up and shoulders squared attempting to exude a confidence I’m not always sure that I have. And on days that I feel particularly doubtful, I feign confidence. Like it's nobody's business. Sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it.
I help him settle down and check in with him to be sure that he knows I’m rooting for him. Always. And forever. Especially on days when he looks like this:
Can’t lie to you, I often feel that as a young mother and a single mother, I need Aiden to be his best. The statistics against a child of a young, single parent ain’t pretty. And the last thing I need are for his Teachers to dismiss him as a statistic. No way. No how. Not for my baby. He will rise above it. Always. And forever. Even on days when he feels less than stellar.
As I make my way over to his Teachers to fill them in on anything we need to discuss, I can’t help but feel hyper-aware and super-conscious of the fact that I am a young mother. And a single mother. And that somehow Aiden is a reflection and extension of me. So much so that his "bad" days become my bad days and his proud moments become my proud moments.
I won’t expect mediocre work from Aiden. Not even at the Pre-Kindergarten level. He’s capable of more. Even at the Pre-Kindergarten level. I’m not talking about coloring in the lines or sitting still through a fourth reading of Eric Carle's, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I’m talking about having respectful manners and asking higher-ordered thinking questions and being caring towards his peers and being the critical thinker that I know he is. Always.
Maybe it’s because I’m his mother and I love him dearly. Maybe it’s because I want the best for him. Always. Maybe it’s because the statistics of young boys diagnosed with ADHD make me sick to my stomach.
Or maybe it’s because I’m just super-conscious and self-aware of the fact that I am a young mother. And a single mother. And a Black mother. And I don’t want others to only see THAT and use it to determine Aiden’s fate.
What about you? What are you self-conscious about?