Archive for August, 2010


Is Single Motherhood a Wise Option?

I stumbled upon this article today, and several things came to mind. Not the least of which was, “Really? Haven’t I been seeing articles like this since second grade when I was using the newspaper as my finger painting canvas?” Sigh.

The article, like many before it, offers statistics on how poorly many blacks are doing achieving the “American Dream.” According to a study done by a Harvard professor, male incarceration, lack of educational opportunities and single-parent households are factors that have led to or are a result of our community’s troubles. According to the scholar, 70% of black children are born to single mothers.

A second study, this one from the Educational Testing Services’ “Black-White Achievement Gap,” is quoted in the article and suggests that “increasing marriage rates and getting fathers back into the business of nurturing children” is one way to improve the chances of young people in our communities.

The studies’ findings made me wonder: for the SIS who is more interested in Baby Right than Mr. Right, is planning to have a child out of wedlock a wise choice?

I am not “over the hill,” but even at my youthful age, I’ve been asked whether I’ve considered having children on my own. Just last year my younger cousin, an HBCU undergraduate, not-so-subtly hinted that it was time for me to pop him out some new kinfolk. I responded that I’d like to be married first. His comeback: “That’s antiquated.”

I know several successful and healthy adults who are products of single-parent homes. So, while the study results included in the aforementioned article are depressing, there is living proof that one person – especially with the help of extended family – can do a fantastic job rearing a child.

However, as one close friend of mine consistently tells me, “It’s hard.” She remembers her mom’s struggles and doesn’t recommend it.

So, there you have the SIS’s dilemma.

Should she miss out on motherhood just because there’s no marriage? Does she forge ahead and have a child on her own when she’s ready, or is that the selfish decision, realizing that her child might face more struggles and disadvantages being raised in a single-parent home?

Some suggest adoption is the answer for the SIS, but this option doesn’t solve for the single-parent household issue. If both parents raising a child is the Holy Grail, then adoption still falls short of that ideal.

Honestly, my biological clock is ticking very softly. Having children is not something I spend lots of time thinking about, but I don’t doubt there will come a time when the alarm sounds, and I think I’ll hear the bells loud and clear whether I’m married or still single.


When the Male BFF Finds Love…

Sometimes I miss my male friends. No, I don’t mean guys I dated, and I don’t think they were guys who wanted anything romantic from me. They were just friends of the opposite sex. We could call each other at God-awful times of the morning to bout insomnia. We went to movies together and pimped one another for valuable relationship advice. They were fellas available to help move heavy loads and change the oil in the car.

That was before she came along.

I don’t mean to hate on my male friends’ S.O.s. Most of them are lovely ladies who’ve made my friends’ lives better, but when your male BFF gets tied down, it changes things. You can’t call him at 3 a.m. The two of you can no longer chill on the couch and watch a movie. My oil changes are now done by strangers at the Jiffy Lube.

Friendships change and evolve. That’s part of life. When my girlfriends married, that required some adjustment, too.  They had to check hubby’s calendar before committing to specific dates, and they were a little more reserved on our infrequent nights out. So, it shouldn’t be a big deal or much of a surprise that my relationships with my guy friends also change when they marry.

However, it feels a little different. Maybe that’s because when you’re both single, it doesn’t matter whether outsiders think there might be something romantic going on between you and your platonic male friend, but once he’s committed to that special someone, it most certainly does.

Now, part of your friendship includes making sure his girl is comfortable with your relationship. You make sure you don’t hug him too long or too tight. You make a point to add her name to all invitations. You find someone else to take you to the airport, and when you have insomnia, you don’t bother dialing his number; you blog.


3 Signs He Wants a Jump-Off

Sometimes a SIS is just looking for someone to hang out with and keep her company for a while. Other times, she may be in search of something more substantial – something that might lead to a real honest-to-goodness relationship. However, just because she may be ready for something serious, doesn’t mean the guy who’s showing her interest is. More times than not, he’d be satisfied with something less meaningful.

How can you tell if he’s serious, or if he’s just looking for some fun? A mature guy will be upfront about it, and let you know. Of course, there are also those who like to play games. So, to help decipher what you’re dealing with, here are three ways to distinguish if he’s trying to put you in the jump off category.

Vampire Complex: You call him at noon. He calls you back at 9:30. You want to talk about his day. He wants to discuss plans for your night. When a guy is interested in entering into a serious relationship, he usually won’t mind communicating with you during daylight hours. If you only hear from the new guy while the sun is down, then it’s possible he’s trying to put you into the “booty call” category … or he might be a vampire, but the former is probably more likely.

Mono-Communication Complex: Most folks these days communicate several different ways. In one day, I may talk to a friend on the phone, send e-mails, text and maybe even chat online. If you’re only getting brief text messages, especially if they’re non-specific — like “what’s up?” — then it’s a good chance he really doesn’t care what’s up, and is not at all interested in making any sort of lasting connection with you. With all the different ways to reach out and touch someone, if he’s limiting contact, he may truly be interested in touching you, but not much else.

Homeboy Complex: As two people get more familiar with one another, they often start spending more time together at home. The trips to movie theaters, restaurants, parks and comedy clubs decrease. However, if the new guy’s idea of dating is limited to having you sit on his sofa or visit him in his bedroom (‘cause his roommate is in the living room), then he’s making it pretty clear what sort of activities he wants to share with you. As far as he’s concerned, why bother even getting dressed?

So, if he’s showing some interest, but it seems mild at best, he’s likely indicating that he’s not looking for anything serious. Whether it’s late-night contact limited to one form of communication, or “dates” that allow him to lounge around in undershirts and stretch out on his bed, consider it a sign that he’s looking for something to jump off, but that “something” probably isn’t a relationship.


The Church Factor: Helpful or Hurtful?

I participated in an online discussion recently, and this question was raised: Is the church one reason so many black women are single?

The answer to this question should probably be determined on a case-by-case basis. It’s possible that someone’s devotion to religious activities might keep her too busy to worry about romance, but I doubt that’s the norm. I’d argue that any divide between the church-going SIS and a fulfilling romantic relationship has more to do with that Christian woman’s spiritual standards and less to do with the actual church itself.

In my experience, the church doesn’t encourage women to remain single. I’ve found most focus the majority of their ministries on supporting marriage and family. However, it does advise Christians to live in a way that’s often contrary to society’s norms. The most obvious example would be that of premarital sex. While, it’s a popular and accepted practice these days (so much so that even adolescents on Teen Nick are with child or visiting the clinic for STD vaccines), many Christians believe that sex should be saved for marriage.

How many single men wanna hear that (… or women, for that matter)?

I’ve also met women who won’t date divorced men because these sistahs don’t believe the Bible condones it. Then, there are the lifestyle differences. If a woman is giving the church 10% of her income, it’s probably best she marry a man who also participates in tithing. If she doesn’t drink alcohol or listen to secular music, these lifestyle choices based on her beliefs, will likely greatly decrease her dating pool.

So, a Christian SIS may have certain standards that others, who have no spiritual expectations for their partners, might not have. The same goes for members of any religious faith.

While it may be true that one’s preference for a partner of a specific faith may limit her dating options, this SIS doesn’t think that the problem is with any particular belief system or religious institution.

It’s just another thing that helps determine when you’ve met “the one.” It’s something else you’ll share with your partner that indicates he might be Mr. Right.

August 2010
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