Disclaimer: Tyler is not pregnant. Sorry, I let you down. Check the byline and enjoy this story by Nontombe!
My best friend just had a baby and I’m her godmother. Congratulations to me!
Now is the time when I try to prepare myself to be in a child’s life as more than just a passerby. I am excited to teach my goddaughter the things that I have learned in my lifetime as if she were my own child.
Despite my excitement, I have a confession.
I don’t have much experience with children.
Unlike most households, both of my parents were only children, so I have no aunts, uncles, or first cousins. All of the cousins I have are theoretically my parents’ cousins and are decades beyond me. So those Sunday dinners at Big Mama’s house where you find out that cousin Faith was effing the family over collard greens?
Yep, can’t relate.
The concept of babysitting is foreign to me. I have friends with kids, but I never interact with them for long periods of time. I am there just long enough for them to ask me the age-old question, “You got games on your phone?”, then we proceed to play Candy Crush together for 45 minutes.
After that..I’m out.
The fact that one of my best friends had a baby hit me like a ton of bricks. For the past 9 months, she has been preparing for her life to take a drastic turn for the better and it forced me into some serious realizations.
Am I ready for a child?
This is an internal battle that I face daily. I hope I am not alone. I struggle with knowing that I would be a good mother and wondering if it’s even the right choice for me. On one hand, I would be excited to buy them clothes, see if they look more like me than their dad, watch them walk for the first time, listening to all their inappropriate questions at inappropriate moment, admiring their wild imagination, and nurturing them to believe they can do whatever their heart desires.
Everything about the possibility of motherhood excites me.
On the flip side, I understand that children are way more than accessories, they are lifetime commitments. Like Auntie Nippy said (God rest her soul), “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.”
I can do my best to teach my child their history, respectability politics, how to keep their edges slayed, etc. But am I prepared for how society will perceive my children?
Will my dark genes overpower their father’s and become an unspoken curse when my child is faced with adversity? Sure, I will do everything in my power to prove to them they can overcome anything despite their skin tone, but given today’s climate, can they overcome being shot by someone that “feared for their life” in the presence of someone of a darker hue? I don’t know. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
Even though I know I’m pulling the cart before the proverbial horse, it doesn’t stop me from wondering.
Do I even want children?
This idea is on opposing end of the spectrum but in a society driven by putting your life on display, it doesn’t help keep societal pressures at bay. Every time you log into social media, you see a gender reveal here, baby shower there, and engagements pulling up the rear. It only makes it more difficult to determine if motherhood is meant for my life.
Choosing the right one to make a child with seems next to impossible, at times. My worst fear is becoming another stereotype; a single black mother, with the father on child support and never-ending drama . You know, your typical Love and Hip-Hop (Atlanta, New York and LA) storyline. I want to be married and allow my child to grow up in a loving 2-parent household.
I am also the youngest of two children with my brother being 9 years older than me. He has yet to find his Ruth in order to form my trio of nephews with the talent and finesse of the Migos, therefore the lineage of my family falls on my ovaries. In addition to the pressure I feel when my mother gets googly-eyed at every baby she passes and the health risks associated with pregnancy beyond 35, my biological clock feels ready to give up and go on to Glory.
When I was younger, I thought that I would have life all figured out by age 25. I’m talking great career, a fine husband with good credit, and a beautiful Hershey colored baby. Flash forward to 27 and I have a decent job that I enjoy, a love life taking more losses than the Carolina Panthers, and a light skinned dog.
Close enough, right?
Should I just keep on trucking with my dog in tow?
I often find myself wondering when it comes to the topic of children. A lot of people think the solution to filling the void of not having another human to love is to get a dog. My advice? Don’t do it.
Dogs are just humans that can’t talk and don’t have to go to college. If you like to travel and make spontaneous trips, you have to consider who is going to watch your dog or if you’re going to pay boarding fees at your nearest kennel. If you don’t like extreme hot and cold temperatures, guess what? You have to get over it. Lil’ Bow Wow still has to get their exercise and use the bathroom in hail, sleet, rain or snow, so be prepared to be out there with them. Don’t want grandpuppies? You’re going to need a health plan for Lil’ Shad Moss if you decide to get them fixed. Without pet insurance/plan, spaying and neutering are easily $1,000.
Sure, puppies are cuddly and cute, but they grow up, just like children. They are still expensive, they have their own personality and mimic human behaviors, like to eat your food and still require all of your attention. One minute they’ll be the best cuddle buddy and the next they’ll be chewing through the crotch of 3 of your favorite pairs of underwear (no, seriously) — in essence, they are real life sour patch kids. I imagine this scenario times 3,000 is what having a child would be like.
Live representation of my dog being all up in my face:
Ultimately, I have no real resolution to my thought process on children. I honestly don’t think I can give an answer. Life can change so much in a matter of minutes and even days, so what I want now, may not be what I want six months from now. I’m learning to remove the pressure and just live.
There are so many factors you have to consider when bringing another life into this world, so I can’t say when I’ll be ready or if I’ll ever be ready.
Then again, can you ever tell if you are ready?
What I do know is that having a child is not my ministry right now. I still have a lot of life left to live and a couple of continents to explore. For now, I will stick to the rivers and lakes that I’m used to and let my dog continue to provide me hours of entertainment. Whenever I feel the itch to have a child, I’ll just sit back and let y’all be my constant source of birth control as you complain about your kids on social media.