Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Cyclical Discussion of Blaming Single Mothers for being Single Mothers

I know the title is a mouthful, but it is what it is.  I was on Essence.com, and read an article about the 72 percent unwed black mothers statistic and thought, geez, another article on why I'm a fuck up. Granted, this particular article wasn't as inflammatory as some others that I have read in the past, it just irritated me be being force-fed a fate for myself and my child that has not happened yet.

Apparently my son is more likely to end up in prison, perform poorly in school, use drugs, be poor as an adult and have his own children out of wedlock.  Great.  Thanks.  As if I didn't have anything else to worry about on top of finding a sitter to watch my kid after 6pm versus letting a 9 year old come home and stay in the apartment for the few hours before I return home from work.  I suppose having a husband would alleviate those problems huh? (I should note that I am not against marriage.  A majority of my friends are in loving marriages as I type, however I must also note that I am in my mid-30s and never been on the receiving end of the love that I have bestowed to some of the men in my past.  My problem, my issue of course, understood.  But end of the world?  Really?)

Basically I'm trying to look at this from a practical standpoint.  Remember those friends of mine who are in loving marriages... well the shit is hard too (even more so when I think about the fact that any decision has to be compromised with another adult).  The scheduling, the getting everything done in a timely manner, the career (since it's damn near mandatory to live in a 2-paycheck home in this economy), the loans (mortgage and college), establishing savings (for retirement, your child's education, your own if you want to continue your education), etc.

Basically (there's that word again), the grass isn't greener on either side, with brown patches sprinkled every couple of feet, so instead of articles constantly being written about how much I done screwed up for getting knocked up, how about some encouragement?  How about people - who decide to give their unsolicited opinion regarding my boy's deadbeat daddy with that 'how could you' look in their eyes step off?  What about the fact that my son's dad isn't even black (that stumps a lotta people when they find this out) - oh, you thought that us unwed, single black women only got knocked up by rolling stone black man?  I experience verbal diarrhea on purpose to show that this "issue" is neither black or white.  Because my boy, he's a good  student for the most part.  My boy is respectful, and if I even sense that he isn't behaving appropriately he gets a raised eyebrow and he corrects his behavior immediately.  My boy is still in that 'girls are yucky' state so I can't comment on whether he will be sprinkling his seed (I hate the use of that word - seed - by the way) and be a repeat of the absentee Y chromosome that helped create him. My boy doesn't like to spend his money (mine, well he's cool with that, until I give him the aforementioned 'eyebrow' again), because I gave him a nice little lesson when he wanted to purchase every toy in Target - I asked him how much of his saved money was he willing to spend in order to get those toys.  He cried, thought about it, cried some more, and left Target- toy-less.  My boy is my boy and even though I know I cannot teach him how to be a man, I can teach him how to be a good person.  Is he being short changed?  In some ways, yes.  But what am I supposed to do then, sit back and let him raise himself?  (I would think that those are the kids who are likely to end up in prison and use drugs)

I also share all of this to say that my son is not the exception.  I believe he is one of many- many of whom I know.  And I figure if there are statistics out there ready of willing to show me how much I'm a fuck up for having an unplanned child out of wedlock, there have got to be some statistics out there that show that despite the absence of a two-parent childhood, one can rise about that and go beyond even one's own expectations... right President Obama?

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