If You Raised Kids, Get Your Life!

Mama, the song by Boyz II Men, is the national anthem from a child to his
or her mom. Though moms can only be moms, we teach our boys and daughters our best—the best we know at the time.

My Mom, a widow, received gifts from us on mother’s and father’s day. She was all we had, and, not knowing any better Chanel Nº5 received toilet water twice a year. She hid it in her closet (I would be the one to find the stacks).

We’re a family of girls. No brothers. No uncles nearby to talk to us about anything, and there were no males running around our house—uncles—????.

Who Has The Parent Rule Book?

I’ve raised children. It is only now that I understand I could not teach a boy to be a man, but I thought I was.

Rule one: Men work.

He started his employment history early. This way, he’d know what type of work he wanted to do. Sitting around on women was not an option.

Rule two: No womanizing. I was teaching him how to be a good husband. Don’t go around breaking women’s hearts just because you can. It will come back to bite you. Be a man. If you’re interested, don’t play mind games? That’s not being a man. It’s being a boyman—grown body—boy mind.

Rule three: I’m Black. Give a sister a chance. If you don’t want her, let it be because you don’t like her—not because you despise her race—don’t slap my face. Don’t hate yourself.

It was important that he be a man. Work hard and contribute honor to society—be honest, kind, and loving, but at the same time, any child of mine is not allowed to let people walk over them. Stand up for what you believe. At this point, your life is yours.

I wasn’t a perfect mother.  Who is?  We all want to fix something that our parents didn’t do right.

When I listen to Mama, I cry. I raised a daughter by myself and with God’s help. We can’t forget God’s help. When she married, I didn’t get a dance or an honorable mention. All I really wanted was a mother daughter dance. I couldn’t walk her down the aisle in the house of God. It’s untraditional. I accept that. She chose the venue. I watched her absent father and her stepdad (she was already raised when I remarried) walk her down the aisle.

A beautiful scene to many. When the venue is the house of God, I GET it, but at the reception, I stood in the back and watched her honor two men who didn’t raise her. All I wanted was a dance. Dance with me daughter. Remember Me?

I danced by myself dangling a rose in the air—a rose. Swirling it with happy heart. I danced. In my red dress, I danced. I heard someone ask: “What’s she doing?” Daughter response, ‘She’s dancing.’

No two step for me. I partied because I earned that dance through my blood, sweat, and tears. I earned that dance. I raised her from infancy and instilled values into her. Her contribution to society will be great if she wants it to be. I didn’t put me first. She has skills, ability, and dignity.

Being a mother is the hardest position I’ve ever held but lowly esteemed by society because it’s not a dream job—a career. How much does mama get paid? Some kids get it. Some don’t. But a good mother is there. If she wasn’t, she may be respected like the Disneyland parent. We all know about them. They don’t give a care. They didn’t raise you with blood, sweat, and tears. Get up in the night with you. Take you to school, help you with your homework and feed you. They don’t have an attachment to you. All the work is done when they show up with fun—a trip to Disneyland, and that’s if they show up. Let’s not forget the telephone calls.  “Hi baby.” Most Disney parents buy love and, too often, it’s accepted. They’re the better parent. If you notice, the kids can’t say anything about them. Cause they weren’t there.

Mamas kiss yourselves and thank God for helping you raise your children See, some kids who have their parents only remember negativity, but you can only remember the person who was there. “Hi baby,” failed. If they were there, their children may be complete—know how to be what the missing parent failed to teach. And that’s a maybe. Some children raised in a two parent household are often raised by one parent—the one who shows up.

I earned that dance, and so I dance and thank Boyz II men for the anthem of respect to mama. It’s a beautiful song. Think about it. What would you be without your mama or the person who raised you? Mama, what if your kids are not what you taught them to be. What if they’re living a life contrary? That’s a reflection of them. Let ’em be. You can’t do anything more.

Think about it again. Mama! Get Your Life if you raised your kids. Get you some Chanel Nº5 or whatever it is that makes you happy. Get Your Life.

5 thoughts on “If You Raised Kids, Get Your Life!

  1. This is what happens in most cases when our kids do not appreciate the parents when they are alive. The one parent ends up caring for the children past adulthood. Parents put their lives on hold and the children are un effected by their parents efforts. For example: I have a neighbor who lives with her (2) adult children. The young man sleeps most of the day and the girl goes to work. However, they are living under the mother’s roof holding on to her skirt. From what I have observed, they are not productive adults and cannot survive on their own. In this case, my opinion the mother wants a caring relationship with the daughter and just asked for “one dance”. The dance was denied the mother. One daughter, one mother, no dance for so many years is truly disturbing an unwarranted. What i’ve leaned from this story is not to put so much time and effort into my children(child), and live life to the fullest on my own.

  2. This poem touched my heart deeply. A single parent is the hardest job in the world. It’s made even harder when your child grows up and doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made on their behalf. They don’t remember what was done for them or what was given to them. They instead lament what they weren’t given. The things that were superficial and not beneficial to them but they thought they wanted more than anything in the world. My son doesn’t call. I don’t know why. It used to hurt. A lot. It doesn’t any more. I got my life and am living it to the fullest. I’ve cried my tears. No more. I’m living my life and loving me. If no one else loves me, I will at long last love myself.

    1. Self Love is the best gift we can give ourselves. I’m ready to live my life. I raised mine, right or wrong. It’s a lifetime gig to some extent. Time is moving forward and so am I. I’m happy to know you related to this piece.

      We will ‘at long last’ love ourselves.

    2. Wanda,

      I have so much to say about being a parent. I have to speak on this subject again. My childhood was nerve-wracking. I am grown. When I think about my mom, I see a rock. Did she have emotions? Was she human? She was tuff. I didn’t get away with anything. My mom doesn’t sit around worrying about how she raised us or what I think.

      I recently read something about being anxious. In summary, it said, when you are anxious think about a pleasant memory. So I was having a moment, and I thought I’d give the technique a try. To my surprise, I saw my mother giving me blue flowers.

      Years ago, I was in a play. When it ended, all the thespians received a blue rose except me. I went home and told my mom. She didn’t say anything. The next day, she handed me blue flowers and said, “You did a good job.”

      I love flowers. The thought of them make me smile. I can choose to remember my mom as an ‘ironclad,’ or accept her for what she was and who she is. I wasn’t the perfect mother, but I was there. I paid my dues, did my time—as some would say—being a mother is not the easiest thing.

      I can’t live in yesterdays. We’re reading the same book. I have to live the rest of my life.

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