Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It takes all kinds... of families

As long as I live I don't think I'll ever forget those first days when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I have never felt so many conflicting emotions so intensely in my life. All at once I felt jubilant, scared, overwhelmed, hopeful, and confused. I was 28 and working as a teacher. I knew that I always wanted to be a mother.. but I like most women had always pictured a husband coming along with the baby package. My feelings about becoming a single mother vacillated between becoming giddy about all the mommy things I would finally be doing to genuine concern about whether I would be able to raise a child the way a child deserved to be raised. I would lay awake thinking about how much different my son's life would be from the way that I grew up. My parents met in college and married shortly after. My dad was preacher and we were raised in a rather strict household.

However despite my concerns about what my son's life would be like I knew that I would never accept him becoming a 'statistic'. I knew then that I would do everything in my power to make certain that he went to a good school, valued education and got exposure to many aspects of life. I fully rejected the single-mother-victim mentality. I would not accept that because he was a Black male born to single mother that that meant a death sentence for him. I even managed to stay home with him for most of his first two years of life.

Since becoming the head of my little single parent family I have gravitated towards learning about other unconventional family structures. I started watching 'Big Love' and devoured Rebecca Walker's "One Big Happy Family" . A book that is a beautiful group of essays about different kinds of families. I really embraced the idea that families come in all shapes and sizes and that my little family of two was no less than anyone elses! And then the other day I watched a trailer for Rosie O'donnell's new documentary entitled, 'A family is a family is a family'. The film is about families with same sex parents, mixed heritage parents and single parents. I can't wait to see it.

And so I feel very excited about the future society that my son will inherit. I believe that it will be a future where people will be more accepting of people's differences and see those differences as assets.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Raising our sons

 I began writing my blog partly because I'm very intrigued by the way that relationships/marriages are heading in our society. It seems that more and more people are opting to 'shack up' . And that for those who do choose to marry some of them get divorced and still others cheat on their spouses. Having been a product of a two parent home I always thought I would be married by 25. I am now 31, unmarried and so are most of the women in my circle of friends. So, while I am fascinated with the way that the opposite sexes are relating to each other on the whole..I am even more intrigued by how we as African American men and women relate to each other.

Once I started my blog I started to search for blogs that were writing about issues that interest me. I came across some blogs that were by single Black women and those that promoted marriage in the Black community. And as many of you already know marriage isn't looking so good for Black women. I believe the current stats are that 42% of Black women have never been married. It has been my personal experience and that of my girlfriends that we have been able to find eligible black men to date..it has just been getting ring on it that has proved difficult. Therefore as a Black mother raising a Black son is it not my duty to raise a son who values marriage? And who also sees himself marrying a Black woman?

Should we as Black women who are raising the next generation of Black men be sure that we are steering them in the direction of Black women? I personally don't see anything wrong with that. While I am teaching him to be compassionate, go to college, and open doors for young ladies. I think its also my duty to make sure that he sees the benefit in choosing a Black mate and raising a strong Black family. The reason I feel strongly about this is that marriage is the building block of any community. And currently over 70% of Black children are born into single parent households. We as Black mothers are responsible for raising the Black men that we need more of in our community.

With all of that said we are also raising a generation that may not put as much weight on race as we do. While I was raised by parents who told me vivid stories of segregation and I can personally remember Nelson Mandela being freed from prison. I am raising a son who will have in some of his earliest memories a president that looks like him. So while I will plant seeds for the vision of his future chocolate family..at the end of the day I just want him to be happy with whoever he chooses.