Thursday, February 16, 2012

PSA: Children Are Not Joysticks

Until recently I looked at the single mother journey from one angle: the one I could see through my eyes only. I have two children whose fathers refuse to be a part of their lives. My oldest son's father says he doesn't have to take care of our child because he was a high school student when we conceived him. Therefore, he didn't know any better and should not be penalized as a result. He also told our son not to call him ever in life and cut off all contact with him. My ex-husband, with whom I conceived my youngest son, told me he couldn't take care of our son after our divorce because it would hurt his girlfriend's feelings. She felt him paying child support, calling our son, and spending time with our son was disrespectful toward their relationship. While I pray often the two of them will come around, I think I deserve a badge of honor for not killing either one of them. Because of them, my view on being a single mother is that she is a hero. Recently, though, I found out that every single mother doesn't deserve to be celebrated.

I never subscribed to the theory that women become single mothers because they chose the wrong men. The phrase, "She knew what she was getting into" always sounded like rubbish to me. Then I was introduced to a whole new world. In this world women have ten and eleven children, all with different fathers, and they spend their days making the fathers' lives living hells. These fathers are paying child support, yet the mothers don't allow them to see the children. The minute they get into a relationship they make their children call the new boyfriend daddy. This means that at a minimum, the oldest of eleven has called eleven different men daddy in his or her lifetime. Not cool. The minute the relationship ends the mother bashes "daddy" to all of the children. Also not cool. These things could be prevented, but in a quest to be loved they have these children in order to become attached to someone who may not necessarily be worthy of or desiring to be tied down. At the end they're left with a child. They try to use the child as a set of puppet strings. When this doesn't work they become infuriated. Their nights and days are spent harassing their children's fathers. This leaves little room for them to live their own lives. Instead of taking care of the children that they refuse to let know their fathers, they spend their days stalking the fathers' social networking pages, stalking the fathers' new girlfriends, and trying to figure out how to get more child support from the fathers. It's rarely because they need the extra money, but they are using it to hurt the fathers. This is especially true if the father has improved his life since breaking up with her.

The sad part is that this way of life is based on bitterness and the inability to control men. "Daddy issues" may play a part in it, but it's mostly because they thought their children were going to keep these men doing what they wanted. They live with this idea that as long as they have these men's children they'll have control over what's in their pants. When they find out this isn't true they become outraged.

Making a baby is a two person task. If it is in a woman's mind to have a baby with a man because she wants to control him, she should first take into consideration what she will be gaining control of. If she wants thousands of dollars in child support, she probably should find somebody who brings home thousands of dollars every pay check. It makes no sense to have a baby with the guy who laces the sneakers at Foot Locker and then try to get $1500 a week in child support from him. It ain't gonna happen. Then she says she won't allow the father to be a part of the child's life because he's not a "good, Christian man." Okay, if she didn't meet him in church she shouldn't be surprised by that. She met him in the club, on "the block," or at some party where they traded shotguns and shared a bottle of Hennessey on someone's couch all night. If she wanted some wholesome man she should have gone to church and gotten pregnant by a deacon or a saint. Then no matter how things ended between them, regardless of who was at fault, she doesn't feel he should move on. It's okay for her to have ten or eleven children, but if six or seven years later he decides to have another relationship she's going to do whatever she can to make him miserable. She still carries that bitterness and resentment from their breakup. It would be better for her to try to be civil and move on as he did.

At the end of the day she is left with a bunch of kids. Instead of cherishing them as the blessings they are, she uses them as pawns in a game. She loses every time. Not only does she lose, the children lose. Because they are nothing more to her than joysticks in her sick game, they don't get to know their fathers. All they get to learn is her side of the story. They grow up resenting men who spend years fighting to spend time with them. By the time they are old enough to learn the truth their relationships are damaged, many times beyond repair. It's a sick, sad world we live in.

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