It's a boy! That's what the ultrasound tech says. The excitement is there, but then reality sets in. It's not just a boy, but a BLACK BOY. My black son will mean the absolute world to me, but to the world... he'll be a threat. Not because of anything he has done, but simply because his melanin is seen as a weapon. He won't be given the same chances or choices as his non melanated peers. He will have to grow twice as fast becuase "they" wont see him as a child for long.
It's scary...I'm scared.
Not many days go by that a black man is not killed for being... just being. Slaps on the wrist are handed out, the community is up in arms, hashtags are created, and then the cycle begins again. Many have become desensitized . It's traumatizing watching the faces of black men flashed across the computer screen, phone screen, and tv screen with the words Rest in Peace. & the videos: I cannot stomach watching another black man get killed. The faces are too familiar.
As an aunt to 7 nephews, I've always beem hyperaware of how things could go. I do my best to remain positive, but the thoughts of how they are treated or may be treated in the future is unimaginable.
And now as a mom to be all I can think about is how can I protect my baby? What can I teach him so he's never in those situations? Why do I even have to think about this?
It's heartbreaking. It's unfair.
There are so many moms in my tribe who are raising black kings. I reached out to them and asked them to honestly answer these two questions:
What is your favorite part about raising your son?
What is the scariest part about raising your son?
Here are some of the responses:
My favorite part about raising my black son is shaping the way he will treat his wife/daughters and his acceptance of hugs and kisses. I love kissing him first thing in the morning and singing joyfully to wake him only to chase him around to dress him, comb his hair, and brush his teeth. I love boys clothing and dressing him up.
The scariest part about raising him is knowing it won't always be cute to see him running around because someone may mistake him for a criminal running from a crime scene and end his life. Im scared that the affection he grew up receiving is rejected or isn't returned from broken individuals that don't understand how healthy it is to love genuinely. I'm scared that one day what he wears will determine how society treats him regardless of his ability.
I absolutely love being a Boy Mom to *name hidden*! He loves me unconditionally. Even at my worst days, he looks at me and say "Mommy you are pretty". It just warms my heart. Ohhh so when I actually make myself look decent with a dress and makeup. He says, "Ohhh... Mommy you are so beautiful in your dress". If I am tired, he rubs my back or put his head on my chest and tells me he loves me. When he is being a sour patch kid.. he looks at me and say I am sorry, Mommy.
So of course being a Boy Mom, you have to get used to saying "get off that", "stop climbing on that", etc lol. I literally be on the edge all day every day. Unfortunately, we've already experienced our first incident with having to get stitches when *name hidden* was only 1 yrs old. He was running and hit his lip on a table. His lip was busted wide open. I was devastated. I cried for hours, though when he had to get the stitches .. he sat there like a big boy without a tear in his eyes. I already dealt with anxiety before him, but now I really deal with it.
I love being a boy mom! The best part is about raising my son is seeing his personality unfold. As he grows, I start to notice different things he has learned from my husband and me and how he applies it to his daily actions. At first, I was nervous about being a mom and trying to follow everything by the book, but I learned quickly that life doesn’t work that way. Therefore, my fear is not how I am raising my son, but it’s the fear of the world.
The most special part about raising a black boy is being able to look at him smile & laugh innocently every day. As his mother, I’m able to instill morals that will guide him into becoming an upstanding gentleman while also allowing him to choose his own path. It’s amazing to wake up and just observe him play and grow. He’s magical & I count him twice in my blessings because he’s the son I never knew I needed. I love seeing him light up with excitement when he finally learns something new like signing “more” & actually getting more food or how to put the blocks into the correct shape hole after struggling a bit. He’s literally the most amazing thing in my life!
The scariest part about raising a black son is knowing how so many people perceive black males; knowing that he could be stereotyped because of how he looks or wears his hair or with whom he’s friends; knowing that even if he defies the odds, he will likely still be viewed inferior; knowing he’ll continuously be compared to his white classmates and considered “difficult” or “hyper” because our boys learn differently; knowing that unless he has strong black men in his life as role models, he may go searching for that influence elsewhere. The unknown of it all is scary, so all I can do as his mother is prepare & educate him as best as possible. On a slightly lighter note, it’s scary to think that one day he’ll grow up and not depend on me as much & I try to forget that part so I can enjoy him now.
My favorite part is watching him explore the world around him and learning new things. Molding him to be a respectable and knowledgeable man who is self sufficeint.
The scariest part is wonderign if I am doing enough to prepare him for what this crazy world has to offer.
My favorite part about raising my son is watching him transform from once carrying him to nurturing him and growing up because they chance so much once they’re in the world.. to see someone so smart and happy that you carried for so long brings so much joy and peace to your life! The best thing is BOYS love and protect their moms with everything in them.. the scariest is to make sure he doesn’t become a statistic in this cruel world whether it’s racial profiling, police attacks, the typical thug or drug dealer.. I want my son to experience the greater things in life and not just be a stereotype because he’ll be a BLACK man in this world!
My favorite part is our little connection we have. The other day I was in such a mood and trying to hide it while taking care of mom duties. He came up to me randomly and said "I love you all day mama". Like seriously?! Too cute. Scariest part is obviously the fact that our race, especially our men, are basically being hunted. Racism is real prevalent lately and makes me crazy anxious.
One of my favorite parts about my son is the love she shows the women figures in his life. He's very Protective... His dad teaches him well.. Scariest part is him being influenced by the community or peers in a bad way.
My favorite part about raising boys is the love they show me. They say boys are mamas boys and it is so true for mines. They love their mom and they show me everyday. The scariest part would be of course one day losing them to gun violence or police brutality but also am I doing my part to raise them to be the men they need to be. Am I giving them the tools they need to be productive.
My favorite part about raising my son is that it truly takes a village!!! My son is so full of energy and he is growing up before my own eyes. Boys shy away from the hugs and kisses way earlier than girls. Boys crave their independence way earlier and they have to have that outlet to express themselves. I allow my son to express how he is feeling and if he cries, so be it. Boys are sometimes not motivated to say what they will be doing in the future, so we are living more in the present right now. I placed him in a school where he will not be stereotyped for being a black boy or assume he has behavioral issues or comes from a broken home.
The scariest part about raising my son Azarel is the conversations that we have about the realities of the world ahead. Police presence is strong everywhere but we live in NYC, Brooklyn NY and it is possible that he can be mistaken for a child who is causing trouble, even if he hangs out with his friends. We go everywhere together for now and I don't let him ride public transportation on his own and he is 12. We have gone through scenarios many times about what would happen if we are riding in the car and the police stop me. I also go through scenarios such as what if you are at the store or in a neighborhood or your own neighborhood and the police approach you. I am preparing my son for this world and we have to also instill joy and positive self esteem in our boys and increase programs for boys as there are more programs for girls than boys. I am a proud boy mom and my son brings me laughter and joy. Ensuring that he has all of the tools necessary to be successful is important each day.
Thank you to all the mamas who helped me with this post. You are appreciated!