Next week my son turns 17 years old. Yes, I’m the Founder and CEO of Alpha Woman, and my only child is a beautiful son. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to mother a person who will soon be a man.
For, as with most parents of teens, I’m coming to grips with the unalterable fact that my child is approaching adulthood. The difficult years of babyhood feel light-years away as I reckon with the fact that I have limited time left in which to parent my child, as a child. It’s now or never to equip him with real life skills that will give him the best possible chance for a life well lived.
I fully admit to spoiling my son. For example, I love nothing more than making him coffee in the morning, bringing his first cup to him in bed to help him ease into the day. I love cooking for him; I adore seeing his face light up when he gets excited about the fact that I’m making something I know delights him, and brings him comfort and joy, especially this past year. During the pandemic I’ve become quite a proficient baker, all in a quest to fill our house – and his belly – with yummy smells and delicious treats. I hope in future years that the smell of cinnamon or fresh baguette will bring him right back to the feeling of love, joy and safety that our home has been filled with.
Of course, as the mama, I do all the meal planning, all the food shopping as well as all preparation. I clean the entire house, including the dishes every night, of course. I naturally take care of my car, get the gas, the tires changed, I get it repaired, I clean it. I change the kitty litter, feed the cat, and take her to the vet, deal with doctors, dentists etc. etc. etc.. And on and on it goes, relentlessly, but this is the deal when you’re parenting a child, specifically when you are a single parent completely on your own.
But things are shifting. Turning 17, that’s getting real. It’s time I face the commitment I made to myself to raise a son that will (hopefully) be a true partner to whomever he chooses to walk alongside with in life. I want to raise a modern man, a man who doesn’t wait to ask his spouse what needs to be done, rather as half of the partnership, he is already aware and ON IT.
I’ve had discussions with many women over the years about how the workload is parceled off at home, and I have never met a woman who doesn’t take on all of the mental load and a significant amount of the (unpaid) workload at home, and this is after her paid workday is over.
I would be mortified if I allowed my son to leave my home as a half-adult, a man who is looking to replace mommy. Yeah, I’m pretty great, but the reality is that my son will have the greatest chance at happiness with his partner if he can bring value and respect to the relationship by being an actual grown-ass man.
For this reason, and maybe to keep my hand over the fire, over the next year I’ll chronicle my journey with my son as he prepares for adulthood. I’m proposing a challenge for all mothers of sons out there reading this. Let’s see how we can send sons out into the world that understand the value of caregiving at a profound level.
For month one, we’re going to keep it pretty simple and focus in on keeping his room clean with the following tasks he’ll be expected to accomplish, without me nagging – and the no nagging is key!!
I’m sending out a clarion call to all parents to raise a new version of the Alpha Male. One in which caregiving is as valued a trait as it is in females. I’d love to hear about your own journey, good or bad, as you send your fledgling boys out there into the world.