Rantings of a Single Mom

The joys, fears and most importantly - Rants of a single mother!

My rantings

What's that thing mom's say?

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 2:06 PM Comments comments (0)

Some days, I would forget my head if it weren't attached to my body. I know its because I juggle 712 things on any given day. Today I left my prized U of M water bottle in the freezer :( if it bursts open I will be quite sad. I forgot what time I'm supposed to leave to catch my bus (WTF??). I forgot my chemistry lab book. I forgot my sandwich for lunch (and food on college campus' are unnecessarily expensive). I did have a beat up apple. So I ate that and I had to buy a bottle of water. Sheesh. Yesterday was family bingo night for the kids school. Its an annual fundraiser that is pretty fun. This year, we won 2 prizes (out of 16). And I was one number away from cover-all bingo which carried a $100 prize. Bastards. But it was super fun! The kids' "Bigs" came out and it was a really fun time. I kicked ass on my Physics exam (hey, average is my only aspiration here) and have been playing well in tennis. And now its time to think about what sorts of ridiculousness I have to contend with in Spring (Calc 3, Organic Chem, plus some more foolishness). For now I need to find a quick bite and contemplate why my foot hurts (random 30 year old ailments perhaps??)

Breakdown of the Black Family

Posted on October 28, 2009 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (2)

I came across this last night and honestly, don't have anything to add. It sure gets you thinking...

“Recently, I had an epiphany. It was actually more like a frightening realization, to be honest. And it came to me on the television set of a BET taping, of all places.

During the taping, I was sitting next to a young black male who was just singing his mama’s praises. He spoke lovingly of how she raised him as a single parent, giving tough love and setting high expectations.  Then, he began to talk about how when his father left, his mother “didn’t miss a beat” and just got on with their lives. This struck me. I interrupted him gently, to remind him that that is just what he saw or what she allowed him to see, and that he didn’t know what happened to his mother when he went to sleep or when his mother was alone—she may have cried for hours.

The problem with what this young man saw, is that he was left with the impression that his father left his family and there were no consequences. No repercussions.  This is dangerous thinking for our young men. And in my opinion, dangerous behavior on our part as Black women.  My fear is that our Strong Black Woman Syndrome is unintentionally breaking down our families and creating a dangerous legacy.

I know saying this is tantamount to heresy, given our proud history of carrying the Black family (hope I don’t get banned from the Essence festival!). But what if our history and our future are at odds?

You see, I too, was caught in the Strong Black Woman syndrome when my husband left my family two years ago. I too, thought I was doing what was best for my children by putting on a strong front. By telling them I was fine, when I was really crying my eyes out every time they turned their heads. Telling them, we’d be just fine, even when I had no clue how I would maintain having recently left my six figure job to launch my dream business.

But on this day, sitting next to that young man it became clear to me that I was doing my children a great disservice. And perhaps millions of black women like me were doing the same. On that day, I realized that I didn’t want my son to think that a man walks away from his family and all is “fine.” I didn’t want him to ever even consider that there is no impact when a husband or father abandons his responsibilities. And even when a father is still present and involved, we, as women grieve the loss. We feel the loss. On that day, I began to share with my son, in an age appropriate way, that we are hurting and forever changed by his Dad’s departure.  I was hurting. Yes, we will survive. But we will have a few scars.

And then it occurred to me, that perhaps, just perhaps, black women across the country are doing themselves and our future generations more harm than good with our strong front-itis.  What happens when everyone thinks we can handle anything, shake off anything and we don’t care? I am also, now unequivocally convinced that my “wasband” can walk away or be negligent about child support because he knows “I got this.” He knows that I will do what I have to do and make it happen. After all,isn’t that what I have been doing all these years? When our men see us as strong women who handle everything thrown our way, or we always give a  “ I don’t need that ____” (enter favorite expletive here)—we send a message that we don’t need our Black men. And that our children don’t need them. And this is the farthest thing from the truth.

Are we shooting ourselves in the foot and damaging our families with our strength? What happens when a generation of young black boys and girls are raised by women who show no consequence to fatherless families? Who tell their children, thinking it is in their best interest, that we don’t need that so and so?   And what about how we are damaging ourselves? When we perpetuate the dangerous myth of Black women as infatigue-able, unshakable, and tireless, we are not allowed to be whole human beings with a full suite of emotions. Some of those emotions, which we, as humans are entitled to experience include being vulnerable, needy, and for lack of a better word, scared ___less.  We have a right to be that. We are not machines. (BTW, think about where that concept originated).  Sojourner Truth’s, Ain’t I A Woman? speech sure does come to mind. 

I don’t know if I have the answer. But I do know that Black women need to reclaim our womanness, our femininity, our right to be damsels in distress and the “weaker vessel” if we want to. Sometimes we do need help and sometimes we are not okay. I also know that Black families are in serious crisis. We’ve spent a lot of time and analysis pointing the finger to the other side of the gender line. Much of that is deserved. But maybe, just maybe, we can spend a little time thinking about the person behind the other four fingers.  Our families are worth the thought.

(Kimberly Seals Allers -  http://mochamanual.com/blog/tag/strong-black-woman/)


Doris  said:  

Single mothers is the bane of Black America’s existence. Black women have bought into the myth that we don’t need to be married to have children. In the case of rasing a child or children on our own is -or- never was what our fate was supposed to be. To understand our situation we have to remember our past.

In slavery our children were never “Our children” as African slaves brought to America we ourself were property. The master could rape women, have a child with said woman and sell the child if so pleased. The right of marriage and family was not a right. Many women had to raise other women’s children in addition to the master’s own white children. If African slave men wanted to stay with the family, it was never his option. In all these struggles, African slaves had to makes a family only as allowed. Today we use the broom as a symbol of our ancestors. Many people don’t know that this ritual was the only componet of marriage these slave couples were allowed by the master, and masters never reconzied or honored this cermony for slaves. In slavery men were taught they would never be the head of their family, he could be sold at any point and never be allowed to see his family again. The women who were allowed to keep their children, went to extraordinary measures to make sure their children were kept alive and not sold away. It’s difficult to break old habits, as today we as a peole still accept and continue to live as if we are still in slavery.

Many Black women claim not to want marriage, or need a man to have children. The question we must ask ourselves is, ”What does the child want?" Will our daughters want a father to love and guide her? Who will teach the son about being a true man, not someone ruled by his sexual prowress? I believe the disconnect and the actions of our present generation is a reflection of negative ideas of their mothers or fathers, or the lack there of. There is something to be said of marriage, 2 loving,caring and involved parents. There is validity to the nuclear family. There is something to a child seeing a man and a woman in love and committed to one aonther and to the family.

The super woman never existed, the strong woman wanted to be weak sometimes, the single mother wants a partner who loves her and cares for her and her children. Black women deserve love, marriage and family, its time we started rejecting that super single mother persona. Too many of us are confused about our life status and we’re passing it on to the next generation and truly, it’s not working.

A few things on my mind

Posted on October 22, 2009 at 6:34 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, really, there's a ton of stuff rolling through there and it may come out really disorganized.

First of all, I got a 99 on my Calculus exam...WOoooooo-HoooooooO! :) Ok, so I'm retaking the course, but it's an entirely different style because of the different professor. It feels like new material. I sucked on my first Physics exam and am hoping that the one I'm taking today/tomorrow goes better. One exam gets dropped so I hope that first one just disappears...

The other day I was watching The Biggest Loser. I've seen some episodes where you can just see the lightbulb moment for some of these people. Especially the younger folks. I remember one season, there was a young black girl, maybe around 19 or 20, college student. Oh my goodness, the expression she had after she'd gotten to her goal weight was just priceless. This girl came alive. Those moments are awesome. But then it's mind boggling when you have those select few that just are not satisfied no matter how much progress they've made. People in tears  because they lost 6 or 7 lbs...only... It's a week!!!! 7 days! it takes some people a month to lose that much weight! Sheesh. It's still motivating and I'll continue to watch, but I'm just saying.

The kids saw their father last Saturday after I don't know how many months. Maybe it was like January of this year?? I get so frustrated. So angry. But I have to, for their sake, put my feelings about him and the situation aside and allow them to form their own opinions/judgments/conclusions. And sometimes it really, really sucks to see them get all excited over any tiny little thing that he does for them. I know it's not a reflection on me; I know they are just hanging on to a thread. I mean, every kid wants/expects/NEEDS a dad. So again, I try not to personalize it. Bleh. I get agitated at how he wants us to be best buddies when he comes around. Do I want to come have pizza with them, naw man...you need to spend time with your kids. Will I have a beer with him, Hell no! Dude, I'm not your friend, okay?

My tennis instructor is going to make me stand outside his house at 5 a.m. waiting on him to come out so I can punch him in the gut. Class is 50 minutes long and this dude runs his damn mouth for at least 30 minutes. I WANNA PLAY TENNIS!!!!!!

I'm moving in 7 months. I've been in the townhome for 5 years. So the first issue with moving is that we have accumulated all sorts of shit over this time and I know it's going to be hellish to clear out. Second, my lease ends May 31. The planner (read: worrier) in me thinks ahead and says...wow...that's 2 weeks after finals for Spring semester; am I retarded or what!? How am I going to deal with packing, moving, etc AND final exams!?! BLEH, BLAH, BLEH!!!! My current plan is to be on super duper clean up mode the 4 weeks I'm out of school for winter break. Because I will not have the opportunity again! And third, It's time to start seriously weighing some options; 7 months will zoom right on by.

Which brings me to another topic...in 11 days I will be happily celebrating 6 blissful months with my sweetheart. And to hell with the people (you know who you are) who says that anniversaries are annual so 6 months isn't an anniversary. Bastards. It is too and we're going to celebrate it because it matters a really lot, so there!

I'm supposed to be doing my pre-lab quiz for Chemistry...and researching info on how to solve differential equations. Let me get back at it.