Reflections on Baby Mama Drama and Dead Beat Dads
Have no fear; Sowhatiff is here. I present to you the third part of this thought provoking series. As indicated by the previous entries, and many of your comments, there is no disputing the existence of double standards between men and women. However, one that sort of flies under the radar centers around little snotty nosed cute children.
Baby mama drama. More than one baby’s daddy. Dead beat dads. Single parent homes. Single women raising children. Single men with children, but not raising any. Boyfriend and girlfriend with a kid, but no ring. Married with children. Once you reach a certain age, these types of scenarios become more and more likely to come up in conversations with friends, or potential boos. But fellas, what happens when you meet a woman with a kid? Ladies, what happens when you meet a man with a baby? While both people may share 50% of the genetic material of that baby, who is likely to carry the burden of responsibility?
Its not too often you run into a man raising his son or daughter. Let’s be honest. And when you do, he gets all kind of cool points…from women. “Aww, he is so sweet.” “What a good man, raising his baby all alone.” “What’s wrong with his baby’s mama. Shame on her.” Some women may even be turned on by this man, and may be encouraged by his potential.
Now flip the script.
Brenda had a baby. And no, Brenda isn’t a 16 year old girl barely out of the 11th grade. Brenda is a grown woman in her mid twenties with a job, at least 1 degree and a large sense of responsibility. And how is she perceived? “Poor her. Who’s going to date her now?” “Damn yo, I don’t want a ready made family.” Women may shake their head and say, “Damn, glad that’s not me.” Some men are willing to take the “challenge” and most others run in the other direction.
Baby Daddy Drama?
When you read that, you were probably like “What’s that?” That’s right folks, that term doesn’t come up often for a few reasons. It doesn’t surface in conversations because…here comes the kicker…he’s probably not around enough to create any. Now, this can be due to factors such as issues in the dynamic between him and the mother of his child. Or maybe because the term “baby mama drama” rhymes and such, it has snuggled its way into our lives.
Either way, the conversations about men with child(ren) versus women with child(ren) do not sound the same. Women tend to be pitied or judged for having a child out of wedlock, while men are dismissed and almost forgiven. Unfortunately, nature plays a major role in this. When a women gets preggers, she can’t just walk it out and leave that fetus to develop into a baby on its own. That little bun bakes for 9 months, and with few exceptions, sticks around for years to come. The child becomes a major part of that woman’s daily life, while Baby Daddy does what he wants for the most part. His anatomy and societal permissions allow him to get in and out…pause…and not look back.
::Gasp!:: Heaven forbid a women decides to relinquish the responsibility of raising her child to his or her father. She gets called all kinds of names and is labeled as irresponsible, and less of a woman in that she severely lacks “maternal instinct”. I can only imagine the raised eyebrows she gets upon sharing that she has a child that doesn’t live with her. If this were a man though, the conversation would carry on with no hitches. Smh.
In the spirit of intellectual discussion, I pose a few questions for you to mull over. If a man is not raising a child, is his dating life likely to suffer? If so, how? What about women? Why are there differences? What creates the varied expectations placed on men and women as it relates to having and raising children? Are these differences endemic of larger issues in society, and the black community? Or is this just how it is and how it’s going to be?