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9.23.2009

To Parent or not To Parent

You guys know what? I need to stop making promises on what my next post will be because rarely is it the right thing.

I'm trying to figure out how to end The Series -- I shouldn't leave you guys hanging, but I don't want to keep going all things considered. Maybe I will leave you hanging until I'm over it? Eh. I don't know.

Meanwhile, I do still have a post ready to go (in my head) to follow up my initial post about the Hofstra rape case; however, subsequent conversations are making me plan some serious alterations to it, so that's not what this is.

Also, I said on Twitter I was working on a post about my middle name. I was (in my head) but then I had a conversation on Twitter that gave me this:

I said (on Twitter - @ASmith86, follow me): "Also, at the risk of offending some, I think ppl who choose to have kids alone are selfish and didnt grow up in a single parent home."

Labor Day weekend, I went up to NYC to visit some friends. That didn't quiiiiiiiiittte work out the way I was expecting it to (which I may or may not expound on later), but it did give me an opportunity to spend some quality time with one friend I haven't seen in a while. One afternoon we decided to go to Central Park and on our walk there we started talking about kids. She told me about a woman she used to babysit for who has 6 month old twins and she's 52. She makes a lot of money working as a lawyer and she's well accomplished. Her children will be well provided for and probably have everything they need... except a two-parent household.

I grew up in a single parent home and I think I turned out great. However, I can tell you, the absence of my father was problematic. Now this conversation plays at the edge of "do children need a mother and father" and I have to say unequivocally that I think children need strong and consistent male and female role models, and that in a perfect utopia both of those models would be their biological parents, but I don't necessarily think that both role models need to be in the household -- even in my perfect utopia.

I don't think there's much about being a parent that looks like a one-person job. Hell, where do you think we get the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child?" A strong and consistent role model, in this capacity, is more than someone you know and admire. It's someone who can chastise you, give you advice, make major decisions that effect you. I had a lot of male models in my life, but none of them fit all those criteria.

There's also the fact that one person can only do so much. My beautiful mother could only make so many school plays and events; she could only cart me off to so many places; she could only be there so much. I don't blame her at all for whatever effects growing up sans a father had on me, because my father's absence was his choice, but I wouldn't wish that for anybody. Money is not everything, but my mom working wasn't about providing the finer things in life, it was about providing the necessities and time was sacrificed so she could do that.

My bottom line is, I understand that there are women out there who wake up one morning (proverbially speaking) and feel like they've accomplished so much but really want to be mothers. They have mothering instincts and it's what they really want and so they go out and use their resources to have their own child, alone. Someone asked me if my thought process applied to adoptive parents. It doesn't, because kids in the foster care system are far better off with one parent than with the foster care system raising them and that's a fact. I understand going out and finding your husband (or wife) right this minute is not an option for a lot of women who really want to be mothers, and I'm not suggesting you have to be married or in a committed relationship to adopt a child. In fact, I think if more people who were in that situation (single but wanting kids) would adopt or at least be a foster care home, a good one, there would be so many more kids who can grow up healthy and happy.

As much as I can help it, if I have kids, they will not grow up without two parents in their lives and fully committed.

3 comments:

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

You have a point. I think society has become way to comfy with 'marriage optional' lifestyles at the cost of cheating children. I give props to all the single moms and dads who are able to raise well-rounded kids. Now that I think about it, all of my family members with kids are married, so I wonder how much that influences other generations. I'd love to hear your perspective.

A.Smith said...

Oh yes... the effect growing up in a home with married parents... excellent point, CurvyGirl.

In short, I think what you see in your household has the largest and most important effect on what you will seek to recreate in your own household.

I should do a post on that...

Shawnta` said...

Hey, y'all.

@ASmith: Good post.

I was also raised without my father around. In fact, I've never met him. I plan to though. I have been saying that for years now but one of these days, I'll actually make the travel arrangements and go to meet him. My husband wants to meet him as well. I used to have reservations about meeting him because I didn't want to hurt my mom and make her think that she didn't do her best in raising me, but she supports me in meeting him.

While I won't knock the women that decide to have children on their own (and some men too although not as common), this isn't for me. With the help of my maternal grandmother, my mom did her best (and a very good job, I might add) in raising me and my siblings but it wasn't without struggle and a lot of sacrifice. I'm not saying that having a two parent home will lessen the struggle or sacrifice, but I do think it is a joint endeavor and as long as we work as a team with our child's best interest in mind, it will hopefully, be a bit easier. Caveat: We don't have children yet so I'm not speaking from experience.

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