5 Reasons You’re Not Ready For Your Little Boy to Grow Up

by Tracie Jackson

I have two sons. For awhile I thought I’d have just one son because I’ll admit it, pregnancy was not my friend. I suffered from an incompetent cervix that placed me in a high-risk category and required some additional measures to assure I made it to full-term. That alone didn’t dissuade me from wanting to experience pregnancy multiple times. It was the variety of horrific symptoms of morning sickness, excess amount of saliva, swelling ankles, constant peeing, and the lack of sleep, for several months.

When my husband began bringing up the idea of having another child, I was resistant for the reasons above and also due to other fears I had around raising children in what seemed like a world going from bad to worse. Ultimately, I relented, more so for the sake of my marriage than anything else. What I initially perceived as a difficult option became one of the best decisions of my life. I love having two sons. I love their relationship—even with an eight-year gap between them, they couldn’t be closer.

From the moment your little bundle of joy is placed in your arms, your heart beams with an unconditional love that will forever consume the space. As much as you relish each birthday and bask in the changes he makes as he grows, secretly you wish you could grab Marty McFly’s time machine and hold him hostage at the perfect age of childhood dependability. You think you’re ready? Here are five reasons that show you may not be:

1. Dating Becomes Real
As the mother of 12 year old and 20-year-old sons, trust me when I say you’re not ready. As puberty hits and girls become an engaging interest, you start concerning yourself with the question of if you equipped him with the perils of premarital sex adequately, because abstinence is your goal and prayer for him. But you also live in reality and understand he has free will, so you hope he chooses the “right” partner, and that he remembers a few minutes of pleasure aren’t worth a lifetime of carrying around a disease, and you hope that you do not become a grandmother prematurely. Who’s ready for that?

2. They Don’t Always Heed Your Advice
As they grow, they make their own choices and decisions about various challenges in life. You want to protect him from hazardous wrong turns, but that is a part of life and try as you might, you just can’t live his life for him, nor should you want to.

3. Racial Profiling is Inevitable
This one I really hate, but unfortunately as mothers and fathers of children of color, it’s a necessary evil to teach them how to behave and handle themselves in public. As much as we want to pretend that we’re in a post-racial society, the truth is we are not. Filmmaker Kiri Laurelle Davis created a PSA about racial profiling, in an interview she stated, “Many of today’s young men of color are aware that they are targets and could have easily been in the shoes of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown or, Tamir Rice. How many of our unarmed youth have to die before this is seen, not as an isolated incident, but as a national crisis?” I tell them, “Son, keep your hands at 10 & 2 when pulled over.”

4. Financial Unpreparedness
As high as childcare costs are, the cost college is unbelievably more. With the other responsibilities of managing a mortgage, household expenses, family vacations and let’s not forget retirement for self, the additional expense of college no matter how early you’ve tried to prepare, is still a scary reality. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post Financial columnist, gives solid advice for parents in relation to college costs,
"Life is about limits," she says. "I see far too many families [taking on debt]. And then the kids can't handle the debt. The parents can't handle the debt because not only are they taking on the student loan debt, but they're not saving for their retirement because of this debt. And then just everyday life expenses. You need to put limits. You say, 'I want you to have the best in life, but I want to have the best in life that you can afford.' That is an awesome lesson to teach your child going forward."
5. Your Relationship with Him Might Change
There will be some days that you wish you could simply stop time and place him a time warp, to keep him 10-years-old forever, before he becomes prepubescent, mouthy and no longer interested in holding your hand or getting kisses from you. Yet, as with all things in time, he grows and matures and that dependency leaves, and ultimately you want it to, because it is the natural progression of life. Don’t despair because as he grows, so will his love for you.

With all of the above said, when you view being a parent either preemptively or in retrospect, it’s an overwhelming phenomenon. But it is one that is well worth the charge, even with the trepidations and concerns you may have, those warranted and unwarranted. The joys most certainly outweigh the fears. I take great pride and responsibility in the privilege of raising two black sons along with my husband. I want the very best for them and I do not want any of my own fears to hold them back from becoming the very best boys-to-men that they can be.

Photo: Shutterstock

Tracie Jackson is an educator and writer living in Northern Virginia navigating through this journey called life with her husband, and two sons. She is a passionate advocate for educational equity and her other passion is helping others realize their greatest potential by fulfilling their dreams and living life to the fullest! Read more of her musings on the blog at: www.traciejax.com or connect on Twitter @traciejax.

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