Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
I don’t know what’s going on, but lately we have been seeing a lot of bugs. A few weeks ago, ants decided that they wanted to move in with us. Now, I'm not talking about one or two ants. I'm talking a whole freaking tribe! And they weren't the little ants either. They were the big black ones. Now, these ants are big enough that if you really wanted to kill them, all you have to do is either step on it or swat it with a newspaper. Easy, right? Well, not for my daughter. Whenever she would see an ant, she wouldn’t kill it. She said that she didn’t like the sound it made when she stepped on it. So instead, she would come and get me to kill it for her. I was her personal exterminator.
Eventually, I bought a can of raid and sprayed the perimeter of the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Thank God it was lavender scented because I over sprayed. I sprayed so much Raid that I had to open the windows to air out the house. It worked though. The ants were gone in a matter of days. I guess the scout ant went back to their colony and advised his fellow ants that this house was off limits. The only problem was that now I had little dead ants everywhere and I hate sweeping! Well, that wasn't the only problem. Any other bug that decided to check out my house as a potential home would turn up dead. Honestly, I never knew so many bugs in Brooklyn. My boss reminded me that the bugs were displaced due to all the construction going on in my neighborhood. They needed somewhere to go. I can understand that, but they didn’t have to come over here!
So, once the ants left, the flies came for a visit! Amazingly, my daughter had no problem killing flies. Apparently, they annoyed her more than the ants. She would go after the files like she had personal vendetta against them. It was funny to watch. She would get one of my magazines, roll it up, and start swinging in the air. I didn’t know if she was killing flies or playing tennis. Either way, she celebrated every time she killed one.
Oh, and we can’t forget the water bugs. IHATE water bugs. They come in all shapes and sizes. They scare both me and my daughter because they show up when we’re not expecting them, and they are so big. I hate killing them. You know, when you step on an ant, it makes a nice smallcrunch sound. Not water bugs. They make a loudcrunch sound. Yuck! My daughter will not go near them. In fact, when she sees one, she won’t even go back downstairs unless I'm with her. To be honest, I'm not too keen on going down there either, but since I'm the parent, and my son is now away in college, and neither my daughter or I have boyfriends, I have no choice but to go downstairs and kill it myself.
The one good thing about water bugs is that for the most part, they will eventually die on their own. The bad part is that they usually decide to do it in the middle of the floor, in the living room or in the kitchen. For the life of me, I don't understand why they just won't go outside and die. Why must they die inside? No one wants to see a dead water bug laying on the floor. If one is on the floor when my daughter gets home from school, she just leaves it there. Then, when she hears me come home from work, she will stand at the top of the staircase and yell, "Mommy, I don't want to alarm you (of course that ALWAYS alarms me), but there's a dead bug on the floor." No matter how many times I tell her that all she has to do is sweep it up and put it in the trash, she will not do it. I constantly remind her that next year she will be in college and have to deal with bugs herself. She just tells me that her roommate will have to deal with them. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when she and her future roommate encounters their first bug sighting.
Anyway, you better hope you don't have squeamish kids. If you do, you'll be the one stuck with dealing with the bugs.
So, now you know, and you can ... Consider Yourself Warned!
Parents out there, what are your kids squeamish about?
Did You Cry?
Since my son started college, people have been asking me how I have been doing. Did I cry? Do I miss him? Of course, I miss him. But, I realize that they are really asking me how am I adjusting to him being away from home. They ask about him too. But let’s be real. He’s a teenager who is finally free from his parents. He is doing just fine.
I am fine too. But, I have to admit, it wasn’t that hard leaving him at Syracuse. I knew that he was ready for college. I was confident that he was well prepared for this part of his life’s journey. It would have been selfish of me to try to hold him back. Besides, he annoyed me the night before I left, so I was kind of ready to leave.
I know you’re asking yourself, “Girl, what happened? How could he have annoyed you?” Well, let me tell you. After we move my son into his dorm room, after I take him to Walmart to buy him everything we thought he would need, and after we go out to dinner, my son told me that he wanted to spend the night on campus. I was fine with that. In fact, I anticipated it. Who could blame him? If it were me, I would have wanted to do the same thing. The next day we meet up for breakfast. At breakfast, we discuss that I would go to parent orientation and we would meet up later for dinner. Fine. The following day, his roommate and one of his friends from high school, who is also staying in the same dorm as my son, arrive. After we have breakfast together, I go to the parent orientation. Now, when I texted him after parent orientation and mention that I will see him after convocation, I am suddenly smothering him. Can you believe that? It took all my energy not to call him up and cuss his little behind off! I was smothering HIM! I intentionally gave him the space he needed. I could not believe it. When I calmed down a little, I sent him a text. I told him that no, I was not smothering him. If that were the case, he would not have left my side all week. I explained that he was just annoyed because now that his friend and roommate were here, he wanted to spend time with them. Let me tell you, I was so annoyed, I was tempted to return to Brooklyn that night! But, I prepaid the Airbnb for the week, and besides, this was my vacation. So, I went to the mall instead. Later, my son texted me back that he didn’t mean to be rude and that he still wanted to have breakfast with me in the morning. So I stayed.
Later, as I was riding the shuttle bus from the parking lot back to campus to go to convocation, I started talking to the two other moms who were on the bus with me. All of us had sons. None of our sons were with us. I shared how my son said that I was smothering him. One of the moms stated that she would rather that her son came out and told her that. She had been waiting all day for her son to return her texts. I have to admit, I felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only parent who’s kid was ignoring them. We all acknowledged that our sons were going to be fine without us. Then, we three moms went to convocation. It was at the Carrier Dome. None of us saw our sons there. After convocation, one mom got a text from her son saying that he was already outside and that he would meet her there (lucky her). The other mom finally got a text from her son saying that he was not going to stay around for the food. He had already left with his friends. My son. My son didn’t even bother to text me. I guess he figured that he didn’t need to since he had already established that he would meet me for breakfast the next morning. Honestly, a quick glance around told me that many of the freshman didn’t bother to stay and that the food was really there for the discarded parents.
So, when I left Syracuse, I didn’t cry. I was glad because I didn’t want to cry in front of my son. I didn’t want him to feel guilty or sad for leaving home. I did tear up in the car though. Unfortunately for his sister, who still maintains that she does not miss her brother, she gets to receive all of the love that her brother isn’t getting from me right now. Sometimes, I will just grab her, hug her tightly, smother her with kisses, and tell her how much I love her. I guess once was enough for her. Now when I do it, she laughs and tells me to get off of her. I just laugh and do it again. She’s my baby and next year, she’ll be gone too. She’s stuck with me for now.
Parents just know, when you drop your kid off to college, it may not be the sappy goodbye you expected … and that’s ok. Either way, your kid will probably be just fine.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you had the pleasure of dropping your child off to college, or to the military, did you cry?
Move In Day
The day that my son has been waiting for all senior year and all summer long has finally arrived ... Move In Day! Two days ago, my son, became an official college freshman! Can you believe it? I’m still grappling with the fact that my baby boy is now in college, and when I leave Syracuse tomorrow morning, he will not be coming back with me. That is a hard pill to swallow.
We arrived on campus Tuesday morning to a sea of excited teenagers all eager to begin their freshman year and to parents unloading cars full of stuff they all felt their kids would need to survive. It should have been a chaotic moment, but Syracuse had move in day down to a science. There were experienced college students assisting the freshman with their move in. My son’s belongings were out of his father’s car and in his dorm room in less than 15 minutes. I was amazed, and glad. It was less work for us to do.
My daughter organized my son’s clothes in his dresser and we went to lunch. Luckily for him, the dining hall is right in the dormitory. Luckily for us, there was a great selection of food, and it was healthy and actually decent. I was pleasantly surprised.
Afterwards, I took my son to Walmart to get him some things he needed. Now, for those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of dropping your kid off to college, here is a piece of advise, only bring your kid’s clothes and buy the rest of the things you need when you get there. You don’t want to have to bring the sheets, pillows, deodorant, toothpaste, blankets, comforter, iron, mini-fridge, etc. with you. Just get all that stuff when you get there. Besides, your kid needs to see for his or herself that the big screen tv, fridge, and PlayStation that they all swear they need, really won’t fit into that tiny space that they will share with someone else.
My brother and parents surprised my son by driving up from Connecticut just in time for dinner. I have to say, my brother is the best brother ever. Even though he lives in California and we live in Brooklyn, I don’t think he’s missed any major event in my children’s lives ... my daughter’s numerous dance recitals, my son’s high school graduation, some major holidays ... and he made sure my parents were able to be in Syracuse for their grandson’s move in day. That’s love! Thanks man!
We dropped my son off back at his dorm and I went to my Airbnb. Alone. That was hard. But, I know this is hard on him too. This is the start of a new chapter in his life. Its both scary and exciting for him at the same time. Now, more than ever, he needs to know that I am always here for him to be a sounding board, to offer advise, to give him encouragement, or whatever it is he needs.
When your kids go off to college, join the military, or move away from home, just know that this is a period of transition for both of you. All you can do is prepare for it the best you can, let them go, and pray.
So, now you know, and you can ... Consider Yourself Warned!
For those parents who’ve been through this before, what advice do you have for first time parents dropping their kid off to college?
11 More Days!
Its finally sinking in. In exactly 11 days I will be taking my son to college. I can’t believe it. I mean, I knew it was coming, but I thought I had more time. I have been preparing myself mentally for it. But now that it is so close, I’m not ready. I know that this feeling is selfish, but I am not yet ready to let my son go.
They say that a sign of good parenting is knowing that you raised a child who is not afraid to go out into the world. If that is true, then my ex and I must have been exceptional parents. My son is more than ready to go off to college. In fact, he has been telling me all summer long that he is ready to go. Even my daughter proclaimed the summer before her freshman year of high school that she couldn’t wait to leave. I can’t blame them. I was the same way myself when I was their age. But now, being the parent who is about to let her firstborn child go out into the world, its scary. It would be so much easier if he would just stay home. Well, it would be easier for me. He would hate it.
As much as I am going to miss my son, I know that college is going to be a great experience for him. He will meet lots of people, make new friends, and enjoy new experiences. All this is wonderful, but I can’t help but feel a sense of loss. There are some things that I will miss when he leaves ...
Well, in 11 days, things are going to change. Its going to happen to me and some day, it will happen to you. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can only accept and roll with it.
So, now you know and you can ... Consider Yourself Warned!
Parents, when your child went away to college or moved out of your home, what did you miss the most?
Daughters and Clothes
I’m still in my nostalgic state. I guess its something I’m going through right now. This time, I’m thinking about my daughter.
When I found out that I was going to have a girl, I was ecstatic. After all, what women doesn’t want a daughter? Someone who will be their little confidant. Someone who will be a mini version of themselves. Someone you can dress in those adorable frilly dresses!
Be forewarned. If you find out you are going to have a girl, start saving money for her clothes fund, in addition to the college fund. Little baby girls are like living baby dolls you can dress up. You will buy cute little dresses, with matching accessories, and earrings. You will want to purchase cute little patent leather shoes and the lacy socks or stockings. Of course, they can’t play in those dresses. They are for church and other dress up occasions. So, you will need another wardrobe of pants and matching tops, along with the socks and sneakers. Just so you know, these clothes aren’t cheap! I once saw a dress that I liked for my daughter. It was over $100. The sad part is that the dress was so cute, that I actually thought about buying it! My daughter wasn’t even 1 years old yet. I didn’t buy the dress.
Next comes the preschool years. You still have control over what they wear, but now they start to express their opinions. During the preschool years, I would iron 5 pairs of pants and 5 shirts on Sunday. Every school day, my daughter got to choose which pair of pants and which shirt she wanted to wear that day (She went to a Montessori preschool. The teacher said that we should let the kids pick their own clothes). Sometimes, I had to “help” her choose. I couldn’t have her going out looking any kind of way. What would people say?
Luckily for me, she wore a school uniform during the elementary school years. But by then, she was no longer was she interested in dresses. She said that pants were more comfortable. I understood that, but I insisted that she still have some dresses for special occasions.
High school is pretty much the same as elementary school, except now, she buys her own clothes. She has pretty good taste in clothes and seems to pick out pieces that accentuate her figure and look good on her. Sometimes, when I’m shopping with her, I pick out clothes for her. You should see the look she gives me. I crack up every time. She tries to not offend me, so she’ll crinkle up her nose and say something like, “No mommy. I don’t think so.”, or “No mommy, that really isn’t for me.” Occasionally, I’ll get, “Oh. That’s really not that bad.” Really not that bad, is that the best I can get? Doesn’t this girl know how lucky she is to have a fashion conscience mother, like me? Luckily for her, she knows not to pick out any hoochie mama clothes. Although once, she showed me a dress online that she was thinking of buying. It wasn’t necessarily a hoochie mama dress, but I had to tell her that 1) she does not have the cleavage for that dress, and 2) there was no way in hell she was going to wear that dress at the ripe young age of 16! She laughed and told me that she knew I wouldn’t go for it. I guess she just wanted to get a rise out of me.
Listen, if you have a young daughter, get ready. One day, the days of the dressing your little girl in frilly dresses will disappear, and the days of the crop tops and form fitting dresses will take its place. Be ready. Its an adjustment. And just to be clear, its an adjustment for you, not for her.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have a daughter, what kind of clothing wars have you had?
What Are You Talking About?
I don’t know what made me remember this the other day. Maybe I’m still feeling a little nostalgic due to my son’s graduation, or maybe I was just bored, but this memory randomly popped into my head.
When I had my son, I was lucky. Both of his grandmothers were retired. They not only had the time, but they also had the desire to help us out. About a week after my son was born, my mother came from Connecticut and stayed with us for 3 months. After her 3-month stint was over, my then mother-in-law flew in from Nigeria and stayed for us for the following 3 months. They alternated 3 month stays for my son’s first year. It was good for everyone involved. Both grandmothers had bonding time with their grandson, and we could go to work knowing that our son was with someone who loved him.
But, we all knew that situation was not going to last forever. We knew that at the end of his first year, we would need to find a babysitter. Luckily for us, we found a good, kind, loving lady, within walking distance from our apartment who operated a small daycare in her family home. We are still friends with her family today.
The first day I dropped my son off at the babysitter’s, he didn’t cry. I was really surprised. I thought that he would at least have separation anxiety. But, ok. Whatever. I dropped him off and went to work. I had asked my mother-in-law to stop by periodically throughout that first week to make sure the baby was fine. She laughed when I asked. Somehow, I don’t think she took my request seriously. Thank goodness I was busy at work, so I didn’t have much time to worry about my son.
When I went to pick my son up from the babysitter’s that first day, I took one look at him and laughed. That little boy was sitting in the highchair with his head in his hand. He had a confused expression on his face that seemed to say, “Why am I here? “ After talking with the babysitter, I took my son home, and put him in his crib so I could change my clothes. While I was changing, that little boy stood up, looked at me, and then proceeded to give me a lecture for a good 15 minutes! For the life of me, I don’t know what he was saying, but whatever it was, I could tell from the expression on his face that it was serious. To this day, I wish I had a baby talk translator to translate for me what he said.
New parents, you won’t know what your baby is babbling about, but believe you me, what they are saying is serious to them. Make sure you respond to them and encourage the conversations. I used to talk to both of my kids all the time and I responded to their babbling. To this day, my kids and I still talk. I believe that those early baby talks helped to strengthen our bond. Hopefully, those talks will help strengthen your bond too.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have kids, did you spend time talking to them?
Well, it is official. I now am the proud mother of a high school graduate!
The celebration started Saturday evening. My brother flew in from California, and he and my parents (who live in Connecticut) arrived at our house to stay with us over the weekend to celebrate with us.
Sunday morning, we all went to church together to watch my son participate in my church’s annual Graduation Emphasis Service. At that service, all graduates, from pre-school all the way up to graduate students are recognized and honored. The participants march in wearing their graduation gowns and stoles. After all the graduates are introduced, the high school students line up in front of the church, state their names, and then open their gowns to reveal what college they will be attending in the fall. You can just imagine the cheering that takes place. Afterwards, there’s a reception for the graduates’ family and friends.
After church, we had a cookout at home. That was a time for me to thank my village that has been so instrumental in helping me raise my kids. My village consist of men and women of various ages and life experiences who have shared their wisdom and provided lots of guidance, advise, ears for me to vent, and shoulders for me to lean on. I am truly thankful for my village. I could not have done this without them.
Monday was the actual graduation. For 3 hours, we sat through speeches, speeches, and more speeches. I am so thankful that the speeches were short. If they hadn’t been, the graduation ceremony could have easily lasted a few more hours. After the speeches was the time that we were all waiting patiently for, the distribution of diplomas! My son’s class had 1600 kids in it. Instead of calling the kids in alphabetical order, the class was subdivided by majors. Each major was announced, and the graduates were called up to receive their diplomas. My son’s major was Law and Society. So, we had to wait through all the other majors before getting to LAS. That was long and painful! When LAS was finally called, my son’s name was one of the last ones called. But, when we heard his name, we cheered him on as he walked across the stage. I was proud watching him. And, you all would be so proud of me, I didn’t cry. Although, I must admit, I did tear up during the processional. After that, we all met up at our predetermined rendezvous spot and took pictures. When I saw his father at the rendezvous spot, I reminded him that around this time 18 years ago, we were planning our son’s naming ceremony (his birthday was the 18th and his naming ceremony was held 7 days after his birth). Now, instead of celebrating his birth, we were celebrating his graduation. Those 18 years flew by!
For those of you with young kids, cherish the time that you have with them. Don’t wish for when they are old enough to do certain things in the future. Once today is gone, you can’t get it back. Live in the moment. Soon enough, they will be graduating from high school and moving out and on to college. And then you’ll be wishing that you had you could turn back the hands of time.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
Well, it is that time of year. Prom. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a high school prom, and apparently, some things have changed.
Initially, my son didn’t even want to go to his prom. He said, “Why bother, we can just go to the after parties?” I was appalled! Not go to the prom? Are you kidding me? I told him that he had to go. I didn’t want him to be a 50-year-old man regretting his decision not to go to his prom. This is the last big party that he will have as a high school kid. After this, its graduation and entry into the real world. Besides, I’m pretty sure his girlfriend wanted to go to the prom.
So, after speaking with his girlfriend, my son realized that he was going to the prom. Next, came the Promposal. I have to admit. I had no clue what a Promposal was, he had to explain it to me. Now, just in case you are ignorant like me, a Promposal is when the boy makes a big ceremony of asking the girl to the prom. It’s almost like a staged wedding proposal, except its for the prom (side note, I realize there are various other relationships, but since I am speaking of my son, I will use the traditional boy/girl scenario). Apparently, the boy should to be as creative as he can be in setting the stage. Unfortunately for my son’s girlfriend, my son is not very creative. He had one good idea early on, but then they broke up for a brief minute and his Promposal idea didn’t happen. Then, when I asked him about it a few weeks ago, he said that he would just invite her over to our place and do the Promposal there. Dude. I don’t think so. I had to explain to him that I had the feeling that his girlfriend would want him to do something big at school where all her friends could see it. She needs to have something to brag about. Well, prom is this Saturday, and he still hasn’t done his Promposal yet.
Now, I know kids like to stay out all night and party after the Prom, but when I was a teenager, you either spend the night at your friend’s house, your friends spent the night at your house, or everyone went to their own house and you saw them the following Monday. Not this generation. According to my son, he and his friends plan to rent an Airbnb, crash there after the after-prom parties, and all go out to breakfast the next morning. Wow, these kids really know how to live it up! At first, I wasn’t down with him spending the night at an Airbnb. First of all, the Airbnb they rented is in Brooklyn. You can come home and sleep for free. Secondly, I watch the news and can imagine all sorts of things that can go wrong. On the one hand, I had to give him credit. He did tell me about his plans. He could have just not come home until the next afternoon. On the other hand, I know that I have an overactive imagine and am still an overprotective mom. So, I spoke to his father about it. I knew that he would have a more realistic viewpoint. His father reminded me that our son will be 18 this month and will soon be off to college. We have to let him go. Intellectually, I know this. But emotionally, its hard for me to let him go.
So, this Saturday, my son, his friends, and their girlfriends will be going to the prom, hanging out all night, staying in an Airbnb, and then going to breakfast the next morning. I have a feeling that I will not sleep well Saturday night. I may as well start planning which movies I will be watching.
If you have kids approaching their teenage years, get ready. You’ll have to cut the strings soon.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have kids who went to their proms already, how late did you let them stay out?
If you live in New York City, you are bound to have an encounter with a mouse. It doesn’t matter how clean you keep your place, eventually a mouse will find its way in. In my neighborhood, there is a lot of new construction going up. Houses are being torn down and apartment buildings are replacing them. Within a three-block radius of my house, there are currently four new apartment buildings being built. Needless to say, we have had an unwelcomed visitor or two.
Luckily for us, a friend of mine referred me to a great exterminator. He came in late November, did what he needed to do, and we had been mouse free since then. That was, until last week. I was on my way home from work when I received the following text from my son: “Hi mommy, can you come home with mouse traps please? There’s a mouse dying out in the open. I caught it.” I didn’t ask any questions. I just bought the glue mouse traps. Although, as I was walking home from the bodega, I did wonder how hard is it to catch a mouse that’s allegedly dying out in the open? My next thought was, “Where exactly did this mouse choose to die? And why did it have to die in the house? It couldn’t wait until it made it back to its nest?” Then, I thought about how I didn’t want to stumble upon it as I walked into the house. So, I called my son to find out where exactly this mouse was dying. He’s not yet an adult, but he gave me the typical “man” answer, which was basically not an answer to my question. He just told me, “Don’t worry. I’m downstairs.” In my mind, I was thinking, “What the hell does that mean?” So, I asked him again. And I received the same response. Eventually, after restating the question several times, he finally told me that the half dead mouse was downstairs in the living room. Man, I feel sorry for my son’s future wife.
When I get home, my son showed me how he “trapped” the mouse by creating a fence around it with my yoga mat. I was not happy. Now, I have to get a new yoga mat. Anyway, the exterminator must have left some fast-acting poison in his mouse traps because from what I could see from the chair I was standing on, that mouse really was half dead. It wasn’t moving. My son used the mouse trap to pick up the mouse, disposed of it, and I climbed down off the chair. My son was my hero. I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him that I don’t know what I am going to do when he goes off to college. He just smiled and told me that I would have to do it myself. Yeah, I don’t think so.
I know by now you may be wondering what is the point of this story. The point is this, when this kid goes off to college in August, I am going to need someone else to come over and take care of any other mice that find their way into my house! My daughter definitely can’t do it. That girl is terrified of mice. Whenever she sees one, she screams so loud that she scares the poor mouse. Then, she and the mouse have a race to see who can get out of the room the fasted. I’m not exaggerating. That actually happened.
So, if you are like me, squeamish when it comes to mice, and you happen to live in New York City, you either need to have more than one son, get a cat, or have a good neighbor who will help you out.
So, now you know, and you can .... Consider Yourself Warned!
What things do you have your kids do that you don’t like to do?
I attended Spelman College, an historically black, all women college. I loved and cherish my years at Spelman. The friendships I have with my Spelman sisters have lasted a lifetime. I have even developed friendships with Spelman sisters that I didn’t even know in college but have met years after graduating from Spelman. My children know many of my Spelman sisters as their aunts and they have been instrumental in their lives. Tonight, I am traveling with my daughter to Atlanta. She is going to with me to my 30th college reunion. This is a big deal for me as first, I can’t believe that its been 30 years since I graduated from college, and second, I can’t believe that my daughter actually agreed to go with me.
When I mentioned to my daughter that I was thinking about taking her to my reunion, I thought that she would tell me that she didn’t want to be bothered. Instead, she surprised me by saying that she wouldn’t mind going. I later discovered that she really wanted to go because she knew that we would be staying with Aunt Cassie (my Spelman sister) and she wanted to play with her dog (my daughter is an animal lover. I am not). But hey, if that’s what it takes to get her there, I’ll take it
As much as I try to impress upon my daughter that she should attend Spelman, she keeps telling me how she does not want to go there. I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. I remember being her age and my mom telling me about her alma mater, Livingstone College. She told me that it was an AME Zion school. Once I heard that, I knew I wasn’t going to apply there. I was probably wrong, but in my imagination, I saw myself being forced to go to church every day. No thank you! The fact that the college was in North Carolina didn’t help either. I was 16. I wanted to go to parties, not church. Anyway, my daughter keeps telling me that she wants to go to a college that is diverse and co-ed. On the one hand, I don’t blame her. She attends an all girls Catholic high school (her choice, not mine), and does not have daily interactions with boys other than her brother. I remember being 16. So, I understand her desire to have a boyfriend and date. But I keep explaining to her that Morehouse College and Clark/Atlanta University are both literally right across the street from Spelman. She can take classes at both of those colleges as well as at Spelman. By attending Spelman, she can have the best of both worlds! But, she doesn’t get it.
So, tonight we will be flying to Atlanta for our Mother/Daughter weekend. I hope and pray that she feels the Spelman love so that she will want to join our sisterhood. I would love to be able to call her my daughter and my Spelman Sister (and hopefully one day, my Soror).
As much as we want to guide our children to do what we think is best for them. All we can do is offer guidance. As one of my classmates reminded me, as hard as it is to do, we have to let go and allow them make their own decisions. Let me tell you, that is sooooooo hard to do.
So, now you know and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
Did you want your child to attend a particular college? If so, what happened?
College Decision Day
If you have a kid applying to college, or know someone who does, then you know that yesterday was decision day. For those of you who don’t know, May 1st is the date high school seniors need to inform the college of their choice that they will be attending, and the deadline for parents to make the down payment to reserve their seat. When I was in high school, this was not a special day. You just quietly made your decision and maybe told a friend or two. Not anymore. For this generation, decision day is a big deal where kids wear the paraphernalia of their future college to announce their decision, and parents post it on social media.
Up until Saturday, we were still not sure which college my son would attend. But, after reviewing his options, it was decided. And the winner is ......... Syracuse University, my son’s first choice of the colleges he was accepted into. So, Saturday night my son pick out a hoodie online. Tuesday, Amazon delivered it. And yesterday, my son proudly wore his Syracuse hoodie to school.
My son is so excited. He hasn’t stopped talking about what he’s going to do once he gets to college: what he will major in, the parties he will attend, the new people he will meet. He’s already received a welcome email which informed him of his move in date. When he told me, I just wanted to cry. The little baby I brought home over 17 years ago, the little baby that I loved, cared for, and nurtured for over 17 years is really getting ready to leave me. As much as that saddens me, I look forward to seeing what this new chapter of his life brings.
Look out world, here comes my son!
So, now you know and you can .... Consider Yourself Warned!
Since I’ve been going through this college process with my son, the recent college admissions scandals really hit home. Now, I’m not in the position to pay people off to ensure that my children get into the college of their choice, but after going through this experience with my son, I can understand why parents were doing this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it is the right thing to do, nor am I condoning this bad behavior. All I am saying is, I understand.
The competition these kids face is fierce. My son is a smart kid. He attends a specialized high school in New York City and makes good grades. Yet, he didn’t get into his first-choice college. I can understand that. That college was his reach school. He didn’t get into his second-choice college either. I don’t understand that. That school was well within his reach. Now, he gets to choose between his third-choice schools, which are still good schools. But not the ones that he had his heart set on.
I know that he is disappointed that he didn’t get into some of these schools. I’m disappointed too. I know that life is unfair and that we can’t sugar coat everything for our children. I know that our kids have to learn how to deal with disappointment and rejection. But, the Emotional Mom in me wants to give him everything his heart desires. I would love to spoil him. However, Rational Mom in me knows not to do that as it will only set him up for failure. And, the Financial Mom in me says, “Girl, I don’t think so.”
Once these kids get into college, you need to look at the financial aid package that’s offered. When my son was applying to college, I knew that there were some schools on his list that were not financially doable. But, I encouraged him to apply because hey, you never know what kind of aid package he would get. Two of the schools he got into gave him over $20,000 in scholarships and need based aid. I was happy and relieved. It doesn’t cover all the tuition and fees, but it’s a big help. Now, here’s the reality of all of this, the total tuition/fees of one school is around $73,000 per year. That’s right, per year. The other college’s tuition/fees per year is around $47,000 per year. Bear in mind that tuition will keep on increasing each year. So, after you deduct the $20,000, that leaves roughly $53,000 and $27,000 left to pay. Per year. Guess who gets to figure out how that will get paid? And don’t forget, next year, his younger sister will be applying to college.
Of course, of the two schools, the son wants to go to the more expensive one. How do I tell him that he can’t go? All I can do I show him the numbers. Its all a number game. We knew that from the beginning of this process. This college process sucks.
My son is not alone. I’m sure there are thousands of high school seniors with awesome grade point averages who will not be able to attend their college of choice because they can’t afford to pay the tuition. So many future lawyers, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc., will not get the opportunity to attend. Yeah, I know that these kids can attend community college and still achieve their goals, but its just not fair (I know, life is not fair).
So, if you have small kids, I suggest that you start investing in a 529 college plan the day after they are born. At least you will have some money to help them out. It will most likely not be enough, but at least it will be something.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you’ve already been through the college process, what advise do you have for parents who are now going through this process?
Senior Year Blues
If you read my last blog, you remember that I wrote about all the expenses relating to the whole college application process. If you haven’t read it, go back and read it. It was very informative (if I do say so myself). Since money has been on my mind, this blog is going to look at other costs related to the senior year of high school.
When your kid starts out his/her senior year of high school. The first few weeks, all you can think about is how fast the time flew. You reminisce of when you brought your kid home from the hospital. Your child was so cute. You were so tired. Then, you remember when you first left your kid with the babysitter for the first time and the guilt you felt because you couldn’t afford to stay home full-time. It goes on and on. You reflect on the first day of preschool, the first day of kindergarten, the first day of first grade. Where did the time go? Who knows? All you know is now, this school year, your child is about to graduate from high school and go off to college. You will have one less child in your home.
You’re happy for your child and sad too. This kid is going to soon be off to college. We all look forward to that day, but you can’t believe that it is really going to happen so soon. What happened to that sweet little face that used to look up at you adoringly? I’ll tell you what happened … (s)he grew up! Now, that sweet little face looks down at you and asks for money for everything! Mom, can I have some money for food? (No, there’s food in the house). Mom, can I have money to buy my girlfriend a birthday gift? (No, she’s not my girlfriend. Besides, you didn’t get me a gift for my birthday.) Mom, can I have money? I want to go shopping with my friends (Wait, are you going to buy me something? What no? Never mind then).
You get the point. But during senior year, there will be some expenses that you will just have to suck it up and pay. There are two that I have already dealt with and one that I know will be coming soon. So, let me help you get ready for when you have to deal with this. Trust me, if you have kids, your day will come.
The first expense that took me by surprise was the graduation fee. Seriously, there was a graduation fee. My son’s school had various packets. After consulting with him, he chose the middle tier packet which set me back $275. Yes, $275 for this kid to walk down the aisle. I understand that it costs money to rent the graduation gowns and that someone has to pay to print the diplomas, but come on. Does it really cost that much? Doesn’t the school get a group rate? If not, they should. There are over 900 kids in his class. Someone should pay me to sit through the graduation ceremony! That $275 got my son a yearbook, graduation cap and gown, his major stole (his high school has majors), a diploma case, and includes some unspecified graduation ceremony related expenses. In fairness, the graduation ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held at Barclay’s Center. I guess that venue isn’t cheap. But, maybe if Barclay donated the space, they could write if off on their corporate taxes? Oh well, all I know is that I paid $275 for this kid to participate in the graduate ceremonies. What was included in the higher package? I’m glad you asked, for $325, you got everything I mentioned above plus a yearbook name plate, a senior t-shirt, a Class of 2019: blanket, duffel bag, travel mug, and charger. I was willing to get my son that package, after all, you only graduate from high school once, but thank God he didn’t want it.
The next expense is the senior picture. I must admit, one of my co-workers forewarned me about this one. But you don’t fully appreciate it until you see it for yourself. A few weeks after my son took his senior pictures, I get an email with a link to view the pictures and to place my order. The picture company is so kind. They had pre-set packages in varying price ranges. I elected to order a la carte. I really don’t need an 18 x 20 picture of my son. I know what he looks like. I have been looking at him for the last 17 years. All I need are a few 5x7s and some wallet-sized pictures to give away. Just know, at these prices, everyone will not be getting a picture. They are pretty much reserved for grandparents and me. Well, I guess I could give his sister a wallet-sized picture.
The last expense I must anticipate (I hope that this will be the last one) is prom. According to my son, those tickets will set me back around $300 (I just checked the school’s website. Single tickets are $235. If he, or rather me, pays for his girlfriend, that’s $470. They may have to go dutch)! I don’t know where this prom is going to be held, but it better be at a fantastic location with a 5-course menu.
So, get ready for senior year. As my son told me at the beginning of the school year, this year is going to cost you money!
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If your kid has already graduated from high school, what types of expenses did you have to pay for?
For those of you who have kids in high school, let me get you ready for senior year. Senior year took me by surprise. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew that my son would be applying for college. After all, I had been taking him on college tours for the last two years. What I didn’t anticipate was all the expenses that came along with applying for college.
Let me tell you, the costs associated with applying to college, so that you can be prepared:
So, if you have kids entering high school, start saving for the college application process now!
Now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you have already gone through the college application process, what advise do you have for other parents?
Things Only I Can Do
When my kids were little, they had to depend on me to do things for them. Let me tell you, it can get so tiring being the main person that kids depend on to do almost everything. I’m not taking anything away from their father, but let’s be real. We all know that kids tend to gravitate to their mothers more than they do to their fathers. The list is endless: Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I need you to buy me a book for school. Mom, I can’t find (fill in the blank). Mom, I need a gift for the birthday party. Mom, can I have some money. Mom, I need a ride to (fill in the blank). Mom, can you (fill in the blank). Mom. Mom. Mom. I used to hear that day in and day out. Even when they were at their father’s. If they needed or wanted something, they called me.
I couldn’t wait for my kids to become self-sufficient and a little more independent. I welcomed the independence that would come with age. But, now that I have two teenagers, I now realize that there are still some things that only I seem to know how to do. Let me give you some examples:
This list can go on and on and on. But, I think you get my point. No matter how old your kids are, there are certain things that apparently only you can do.
Now you know, and you can …. Consider Yourself Warned
What are some of the things that only you know how to do at your house?
SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.