Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do You Know Your Level of Self-Awareness?

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:

{Aiden, on the 1st day of Pre-K,
looking quite nervous}

I try to give him the confidence that he needs so that he can be his best self. Always. And forever. In fact, I often lean into him, give him the biggest hug and kiss ever, and let him know that I expect him to give his best. (Yes, you can say that to a 4-year-old. It's quite alright.) 

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? 


  1. I remember my parents encouraging good behavior in school and in general. I think all parents see their children as an extension of themselves and therefore they do succeed right along with them. I think its a good thing to be this way. I know it made me think when I was making choices as a teen. I wanted to make my parents proud and I think it stemmed from knowing this. Excellent post.

  2. I am very aware of the fact that I am a young mother, without a college education. I'm very aware of the fact that we aren't well off financially. I'm also pushing for Nolan to always be his best and do his best.

    Great post!

  3. I get super self-conscious when I go to my kids school. I am sure no one is thinking about me, but I can not help to think that everyone is watching me, the younger mother out of everyone. My kids know that the learning never stops. At home, I preach and continue the lessons they learn at school. Some other moms I know say I am too hard on them, but I am just doing what I know works.

    You are doing great! Your Aiden will be something mighty!

  4. I enjoyed your post, I use to feel the same way about my boys, even when I was not a single mother. Now as a Single mother I do take pride in raising my sons, and I feel proud that we have a President that was raised by a single mother, I tell my boys no more can they feel like that is a excuse for not being the best at anything. As long as we as Mothers give our children the best they will be the best! #confessionsofahomeschoolmom.

  5. I just love his little face. Alicia Aiden is so darn cute. You are doing so good. I envy you and your ability to pull off good parenting without a partner. You have given 100 plus %. I think Aiden knows that. When he grows up you will be his hero.

  6. This is such a great post.

    I feel self conscious about being a young mother and a young married woman. My husband and I are 24 with two children (20 months and 4 months) and sometimes I feel like I have to go above and beyond what I should have to in order to prove that we are loving, that my children weren't accidents, that we are happy, and the list goes on an on.

    I think it's great that you think about this. Especially since black boys are more likely to end up in jail :(

  7. Great post! I am often self-conscious about having a large family and a child with a disability. A day doesn't pass without some " well-wisher "
    asking why we hadn't got it right...meaning how to STOP having children! They think they are being funny. When my youngest was born, a friend said, "Kathy, God doesn't make mistakes." This baby was meant for you at this time no matter how the world defines what the "right" time is.

  8. First, I have to say that my heart sped up when I saw his little nervous face. I feel for the little guy. One thing I'm sure of is that he'll be better than fine. You're his mother and you're nothing short of fantastic. I know the statistics are enough to shake even the most confident of moms but I firmly believe - you got this. That means Aiden - has got this too. Easy? No. But when it's worth it - it never is.

  9. I have a feeling his teachers dont even look at you and see you as a young, single mom.... you come off as so mature, so confident, and so together. Faking it til you make it works!!!

    Hmmm, self-conscious about my weight. I hate being so thick and would love to go back to my pre-babies weight, yet not motivated to do anything about it.

  10. And once again, the comments outdo the actual post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts her in this place and space. I'm so glad I can "put things out there" like this and have you guys join in.

    High fives!

  11. awwwwwww, that shot of Aiden really tugged at my heart strings. Am a softie, on the first day of Pre-K I bawled more than my son, lol. Yep, it did not go well.

    As far as being self conscious, I used to be really shy. I still am a bit but I learned to fake it till I make it too. Somewhere along the way it became natural.

  12. I think you covered it here in this post. As an educator I expect so much more of KT. It is hard not to project the occasional feelings of failure in the classroom onto my son and not allow him room to make mistakes. I won't allow him to bring home Cs because I can't work in the school and not have my son on the honor roll, dressed nice and representing me + himself well. As he gets older I'm learning to cut back just so that he can experience a few negative things in life. Don't want him to be unable to cope.


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