Confidence Comes With Competence

I’m so glad to have Alicia on board as a part of the YML guest bloggin’ crew. She tells it like it is and has a way with the words that always has me scrambling for more. Recently, she wondered if her son’s “Terrible Three’s” were normal kid-stuff or a sign of something more. Being the super-vigilant mom that she is, she explores it more here:

by Alicia Harper

I have a few insecurities about being a single parent. I’ll be the first to admit that. One of my biggest insecurities is that my three-year-old son, Aiden will turn out all kinds of screwed up because his other parent doesn’t live with him. I’ve read enough articles and books to know that living in a single parent household is a risk factor for kids’ emotional, social, and cognitive development.

Sometimes my insecurities get the best of me, especially on days when Aiden’s thunderous three’s behavior gets the best of him. On those days, I can’t help but wonder how much of his behavior is developmentally appropriate, and how much of it is because he lives in a single parent household.

This may not be logical to some, but it is how I think. Sometimes. In fact, I had one of those thoughts just a few days ago when Aiden was not having a good day, and I was not dealing with it too well.

But this time, instead of self-loathing for too long (yes, it gets that bad at times), I sat back and thought of a few things my baby does to show that he’s growing well. You know what? He’s actually learning a thing… or twenty.

He uses his manners without being prompted.

Scene: We were on the train once and the lady sitting next to us was playing a game on her phone. Aiden leaned over and said to her, “Excuse me, may I see that, please?” Sure he spoke to a total stranger and was really loud on the train, but he said, “Excuse me,” “Please,” and “May I?” If that’s not a trifecta, then I don’t know what is!

He problem solves like no other.

Scene: He recently developed a fear of the dark and thinks that there are monsters living in the bedroom closet “making a lot of noise.” And who am I to tell him there are no monsters in the closet? I’m terrified of dogs.! All dogs. Even the cute ones. But I digress. When I asked him what should we do about the monsters in the closet, he came up with several good suggestions including guarding the closet door, playing his baby Einstein CD’s, and sleeping with his Donald Duck and Elmo. Love these suggestions!

He expresses empathy towards others, especially me.

Scene: One day I told him that I wasn’t feeling well. His response? “Okay, Mommy, I’m going to sing you a song and then you’ll feel all better.” And sang a song he did. And then he gave me a kiss on the check and said, “See, now you feel all better!” And felt all better, I did. Maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally!

He has integrity and stands up for what he believes is right.

Scene: We were at a relative’s house and there was a dog barking. Our relative told the dog to “Shut up.” Aiden bravely stated to her, “That’s not a nice word. You have to say ‘Be quiet’ instead.” Let’s dissect this for a minute, shall we? He could have said nothing. After all, the relative is older and he is very fond of her. He could have started using that word too. But instead, he stood his ground and schooled her. #CEOInTheMaking. ‘Nuff said.

He feels confident in telling me when he misses his dad and/or letting me know when he wants to call his dad on the phone.

To me, this simply means that I’m leaving enough room in Aiden’s life for his father to be apart of it, and I’m leaving my feelings towards Aiden’s father out of my parenting. And it seems to be working pretty well.

Everyday, I push myself to model for Aiden admirable character traits. Everyday is another step in our journey together. I am a single parent. And this is the way it’ll be until I get married (Love Gods, if ya’ll are reading this… hook a Sista all the way up!).

Until then, I am learning to make the best of my situation with confidence, patience, and lots of love. And apparently, all my training, all my parenting is paying off. And so is yours. You see, as we become more and more competent in this thing called Motherhood, we’ll also become more confident in our abilities and know that we’re good enough Mothers. Period. And our kids? Well they’ll just go out into the world working it and kicking some serious ass! Figuratively, not literally.



  1. Chelsea says:

    It’s like you stole the thoughts out of my head! I have a 3-year-old son and am also a single parent who got out of an abusive relationship. What I always remember is that it’s better for kids to experience a little difficulty in their lives early, rather than to find out at some point in the future (maybe 20 years later, like I did) that there are some wrinkles in life.

    Your son sounds like a cutie. Enjoy him!

    • Wow… Chelsea. We really are kindred souls. Thank you so much for sharing your story here on YML. It is true… roughing-it-out a little here and there can only benefit our kids and help them be better problem solvers.

  2. I think what I love most about this post is how well you know your son! To remember these scenarios and reflect on how they’re shaping who he is becoming is something you are to be commended for! You’re paying attention and that’s what makes you a super awesome mommy!

    • Awww, Amber… tear! Really though, I think much of my super conscious-type of parenting has to do with the Psychologist in me and the fact that I’m constantly “assessing” how he’s developing. From the looks of it, he’s just fine. But I DO like to remember these scenarios. He’ll grow out of this phase before I know it and all I’ll have are the memories.

  3. It’s so easy as a single parent to get caught up in the “What Ifs” instead of focusing on the “what IS”. And you are doing an amazing job being a present parent to an inquisitive and loving baby boy! Congrats on your graduation!!

    • You just hit the nail on the head with that one — focusing on the “what IS.” Love that! It’s so going to be my new motto!

      And thanks!!! Before you know it, it’ll be YOUR turn to graduate!

  4. Love the fact that your son is able to express the need to see or talk with his dad with you. By you leaving that door open there’s no confusion or wonder about who his dad is or not feeling that he cannot reach out to his dad when he needs to. Therefore dad can never say that his son’s mother is keeping him from seeing his own son and dad has no excuses to not be a part of his son’s life.

    • Asha, AMEN! #thatisall

    • I agree with Asha. Mommys house and daddys house are big issues for single parents. I am separated from my children’s father but (for now) we are still living together for our children’s sake. Because I work nights, its better to have their father tuck them in than a babysitter (finances prevent us from living separate) but even so, until I find a lovely man, I don’t mind this situation because my kids are loving it. Though it will be a hard day when the time comes to move on on our own …but kids are more adaptable than we give credit.

  5. He sings you songs?! This little boy you have is amazing!

  6. love this, as i pretty much love all of your posts! my G*Baby is only 11 months old, but i’m already trying to brace myself for the questions she’ll have about her father [who is TOTALLY out of the picture]. the “what ifs” try to take over some days, but i gotta keep pushing them out of the way and looking towards what will be, because that’s all that matters :)

  7. this is awesome!!! i really liked all those different examples of how well-adjusted, happy, and confident aiden is. my favorites are the suggestions to conquer his fear of the monster in the closet, and also politely but firmly telling the relative that they shouldn’t say shut-up. go aiden!!! i want chase to hang around him – what a good influence!

    p.s. love your reference to the “good enough mother”

    • Yakini: The “good enough mother” is my Mothering Motto, especially on days when things are getting out of control. I’m just doing the best that I can do here so overall, if he’s happy and healthy, then that’s gotta be good enough.

      YES… play date with Chase. Let’s make it happen!

  8. Kick ass momma you are exceptional, fabulous post

  9. Aiden is so blessed to have such a wonderful mom. Talk about kicking ass, nobody kicks ass harder than moms. We take on so much burden and blame, especially when it comes to our children. I’ve had to learned that it’s what you put into your children that truly matters.

    So, don’t think for a second that being a single mom means that Aiden is going to turn out any less fabulous than the other kids in class. You’re training him right and teaching him wonderful things. Keep up the great parenting!!!