Have a Parent, Be a Parent

Almost 4 months I did a post on people who choose to be single parents. CurvyGirl♥ posed an interesting point and asked for my take on it. Better late than never, right? Here's what she 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 friend of mine and I had a conversation about this once. It was more in terms of race, but since the reality is more white kids grow up in 2 parent homes than black kids, it still applies here.

I told her that J talked marriage early. His mother still calls me her daughter-in-law and when his dad caught us in bed together once (so not my fault, I told him to go to the couch) he didn't freak like my mom would have (sure, some of it's because J was a guy, but still...).

I have a lot of friends my age (early to mid-20s) who are married. 80% of them grew up in a two parent household.

On the flip side, I can attest to the fact that while I definitely prioritize marriage over having kids (that is, I will be married before I have kids) being in a relationship/working towards marriage is just not a priority for me. I attribute that to growing up with a single-mother who prioritized raising me over being in a relationship (she had one boyfriend while I was growing up, while I was young and I was much older before I realized "who" he was).

The point I'm making is that we emulate what is modeled for us. I struggle with my role in a relationship because I didn't have the "woman's role" modeled for me because I never saw my mom in a relationship. Meanwhile, J talked about marriage early because he grew up in a 2-parent home and that's what he believed should be prioritized (getting married and having a family). I even see this in a guy I look at as a younger brother. His parents have been married a long time (10 years before he was born and he's the oldest of 3 and in college) and he's been on the lookout for his future wife since he was 15. On the flip side, I know other young men who don't see the least bit intriguing about marriage.

None of this is to say that children of single parents are doomed. I'm the child of a single parent yet I want to be married first; my mother grew up with married parents and she ended up a single parent (the same can be said of a handful of my cousins). Who you grow up with is not the end all be all, but it is a good indicator of where you're headed if you don't make active choices to change it.

I've tried to observe married couples I respect, I've paid attention to my shortcomings when in relationships (and boy does that list just get longer and longer) but most of all I've noted that while my mother did an excellent job, there was nothing about her single-parentness that appealed to me. If nothing else, I knew from jump that it was not anything I wanted a hand in. In fact, it's that feeling that makes me upset with people who choose to be single-parents. It's not a good look for your kids; it's just not.

In the end, though, we play the hand we're dealt -- some of us, though, try to stack the deck before the cards are passed out.

1 comment:

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Hey lady! Excellent, crystal clear points. It's good to get your perspective, it's definitely a topic I've wondered about. You made me think of something else along the same lines. It dawned on me that while my parents showered me with love and had a solid relationship, I never had a conversation with my mom about the various stages marriages go through. I feel a post coming on...:-).

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