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Momma’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe: Why I Prefer To Date Single Dads

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I remember being 22 and pregnant with my first daughter. The bold question from my uncle, "Are you prepared to take care of this child by yourself?" continues to resonate until this very day.


I assumed he was just being yet another pessimistic, overprotective male family member. Yet, I had no clue this thought-provoking question would become my reality.

Society trains us to believe that there is a "right" way to go about having a child.

Get your education, secure a career, get married, and then create a family. While this sounds all well and good, and does increase the opportunity for a stable foundation, what everyone failed to teach us was how to be prepared for the possibility of becoming a single parent. Even in the case of such "proper" prior planning. My uncle was probably the only person I've encountered to keep it real and suggest that the priority be to plan for the worst-case scenario.

As young ambitious partners, we don't always fully think about long-term parenting responsibilities, such as the financial demands of clothing, food, healthcare, child care, etc.

We also don't take into consideration the possibility of becoming the child's primary parent or, in worse circumstances, the only parent.

As mothers, we don't imagine ourselves one day possibly being the head of household who not only has to maintain this child's survival via food in the refrigerator, electricity in the home, and a roof over their head, but in addition, we are primarily responsible for all things relative to this human being and with little or no help from the father.

If I could have done it all over again, I would still have my children, just with someone different, preferably someone who was already a father.

When people are boasting the societal norm to do things the "right way," never do they take into consideration two people who are new to parenting and what type of parent they will turn out to be.

Most women are natural caretakers, thus parenting becomes something we dive into and master on our own or with some guidance from other women in our lives. Fathers on the other hand don't naturally carry the exact same parenting/caretaker trait that women do.

While there are some very hands-on and active fathers, many leave the majority of the parenting to the mothers.

Many of these fathers adapt to the role of the financial caretaker and, to them, that is parenting enough. The fathers described here possibly come from a background of learned behavior in which their father mainly provided financial support, was absent from the home, or the women in their life trained them to believe that the bare minimum is all there is to fatherhood and the rest is the mother's responsibility.

It is then that the child's mother, whether married or not, is left with the bulk of the responsibility.

The mother is the primary contact for school or daycare, the mother is first to leave work when receiving the emergency illness calls. She's responsible for the morning drop off and afternoon pick-up, she's responsible for the doctor's appointments, she's responsible for night and morning routines. She is the point person for almost everything relative to the child's well-being.

Meanwhile, the father is totally disconnected from much of the above and, in some cases, his parents are more connected to these matters than he is himself.

Again, this does not apply to all fathers, but unfortunately in my case and largely in the black community, there is a norm that the majority of parenting is a Mother's job. The proof is also evidenced by the mother's inability to partake in certain lifestyle events without having to secure reliable childcare first. Many fathers are able to come and go as they please without a worry in the world as to who will be responsible for the child they created, as long as the mother is involved and fit as a parent.

I've watched the elders in any given father's life take over his parenting responsibilities, training him to believe his role is separate from that of a mother's, and I've also listened to these women say that certain responsibilities are a "mother's job." Besides bonding with a newborn the first few days and breastfeeding, I do not believe any other part of parenting to solely be a "mother's job." Not only was I raised by a man (my father), I grew up watching the men in my family be very active in their children's lives and met male friends who too carried out just as much responsibility as the mother. Those elders who trained men to believe the majority of parenting is a "mother's job" are just further aiding the issue.

My hope is that society moves away from the idealized way of preparing us for parenthood.

Truth is, it's very unfortunate that no matter how much you prepare for a child or get married and make a plan, you simply cannot predict what type of father a man will be unless he already has a child, and even then, you still can't guarantee the ideal situation.

As a 34-year-old single parent of two, this is why I now prefer to date single fathers. Meeting a single father allows me to learn more about his parenting style and helps avoid getting into another failed attempt at establishing a 50/50 parenting foundation.

Being involved with a single father means I can learn more about his beliefs around the balance of parental responsibility, no matter if we're married or co-parenting.

For ladies that wish to start their family from scratch as two individuals new to parenting, I suggest you take into consideration your partner's upbringing and make sure he wasn't raised to believe that a child is momma's baby and daddy's maybe.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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