31
Aug
10

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.

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6 Responses to “Is Single Motherhood a Wise Option?”


  1. 1 Monique
    August 31, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I feel two ways about it:

    1. Who are we to judge if someone decides to have children on their own?
    2. Who are we to judge if someone prefers to wait for marriage?

    I definitely wanted to wait for marriage before having my son and even considered single-motherhood by choice, however, God had other plans for me. although his father and I are not married, we are in this together. Was it easy getting to this point? Absolutely not but we are. Yes, it’s hard. Raising children with a spouse is hard. But I do think you have to be at a certain point in your life when you realize the responsibility and expectations that come with raising children and embrace them. there is no guide or manual; you just do it.

    I am a single mother by choice, per se, but I was ready. I look forward to the day having the same last night as my son but for right now, making sure that his well-being and that he is surrounded by loving people who want nothing but the best for him is my priority. My mother as the product of a single parent home and she excelled. My grandmother told me that God, love and family is what helped her raise her girls into independent women who are married with families.

    Those stats may be true but what they don’t show are the stats of successful people that come from single family homes. How one-sided is that.

  2. 2 dokemion
    August 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Making ends meet can be a difficult task for any single mom. With the endless flow of expenses ranging from your child’s tuition fee to their clothes, it can never hurt to have more money to cover such expenses. In order to enable yourself to receive a higher salary, you need to have a solid academic background. If you already don’t, it’s still not too late. Single moms might find it challenging to rear children and receive an education at the same time, but it is not an impossible task. Arranging finances for tuition can be difficult, but putting in a few years worth of hard work can result in life-long benefits. Benefits such as a promotion at your workplace, a better prospect for a job, and of course, a higher salary.

  3. 3 blackbarbiekj
    September 1, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Having a child with or without a spouse is definately a personal option.

    In this day and age, I think women are definately giving the possibility a good long thought considering the stats of marriage are not looking the best.

    My question is HOW if you decide to have a child by yourself do you afford it?

    1.) If you have articifical insemination, you will get NO child support from the baby’s father because you don’t know who the baby’s father is. I don’t think you get money for adopting a child either.

    2.) If you go “half on a baby” with somebody there is NO guarantee that they will help out.

    Alot of people do it but I don’t know how.

    Like the blogger, I too, graduated from an HBCU and i can’t afford it. Point blank. Not by myself. A college education of any kind does not guarantee a balling lifestyle 🙂 and MOST folks got student loans to pay back 🙂

    I know many may get assistance… WIC (Women and Infant Childcare), Childcare Vouchers, Food Stamps, medical, living assistance … but not me…..Its like you make too much to get help but too little to have a child on your own… how do you do all that ON YOUR OWN unless you are balling… Director, VP, status…???

    My clock is ticking. Loud and clear and although I have thought about it…. I can’t afford it… not on my own. My paycheck (when I was getting one. I just got laid off for the 3rd time in 10 years) was enough for me… to think about getting more money taking out of my check for additional health insurance, childcare, pampers, medicine is not an option.

    How do folks do it alone? Those that decide too? Childcare alone is $300-$400 A WEEK.

    Let me repeat that. LOL

    Childcare ALONE is $300-$400 a week.
    That is an extra $1K a month. Who has an extra $1K a month ALONE? Unless you getting a goverment voucher for childcare or have an understanding baby daddy or just a baller, I just don’t understand how people afford it.

    Sometimes in life, you have to come to terms with the “what ifs…”
    And “What if” I don’t have a baby (single or married) is one of them.
    Does that mean that you are negative? pessimistic or giving up? I don’t think so… its just coming to terms with life if things don’t go your way.

    But I give it up to ALL moms – single and not single. Its the word’s BIGGEST JOB!

  4. 4 Vivian
    September 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I think it’s better to have another person to rely on. Now whether that person(s)is the daddy, your gay best friend, your extended family is not the point, what is important is being able to depend on someone else. There are many things that I can do by myself, doesn’t mean that I should. I have a dog and cat who are starved for attention when I get home from a long day at work. I can’t imagine having to be “on” for another human being without having my husband or parents there for support.

  5. September 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I don’t like children enough to have one without a spouse. My family knows not to ask me about having kids (or even a boyfriend for that matter). Everyone has to do what’s right for them. Those that really want children should go for it. If you can provide a loving home and all that a child needs with just one parent, then more power to you. If you prefer to have a spouse in the picture, like me, even better. Maybe when I’m 40 I’ll consider having children. For now the only “child” I care about is me and my fish.

  6. 6 La
    September 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t think anyone should miss out on parenthood just for lack of a partner. Them not being in a romantic relationship speaks nothing about their ability to effectively parent. That being said, though, you have to be honest about how difficult it is being a single parent. I was raised by one and it was tough. Certainly, I am doing better than statistics would have you believe single parented kids are doing, but celebrating the right of people to have children free of the construct of marriage does not mean not being honest about it’s difficulties. I think it’s important to have a stable support group in place, even if it is not a traditional marriage structure. So if a man or woman wants to be a single parent, they still have people who can positively influence the child, who can help fill the gaps when necessary, who can provide nurturing to the child and support to the parent. But really, even in a 2 parent household, that is needed.

    Just my 2 cents.


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