Earlier today, I read a post about single parenthood and it got me thinking..
So many people believe that if the other parent is involved with the child at all then you shouldn’t be classified as a single parent because you’re a “co-parent” and blah blah blah. Here’s what I think; co-parenting isn’t sharing custody of your child, it’s sharing the responsibilities that come with the child like daily travel and rearing and everything else.
The other day I went on a twitter rant about how annoying it is that my son’s dad is actually held at a higher standard than I am even though I shoulder over 100% of the responsibility of our child. It doesn’t mean I don’t want my son, nor does it mean that I want less time with him. It means it genuinely pisses me off for the word “co-parent” to be a thing in my personal situation. Let me just break this down a bit, in case its still hard to get where I’m coming from:
My son’s father pays $200/mo in child support, that’s 100 dollars every two weeks. I have my son 5 days a week, then he is with his father 2 days a week. Math is not my strong point, but 100 dollars bi-weekly is 50 dollars a week, meaning I am supposedly helped by 10 dollars a day. Now, let’s apply that to real life: kids usually need at least 3 meals a day, plus milk for strong bones. They also need running water, electricity, heat, there’s the travel expense, clothes (socks, shoes, underwear, etc.) that have to be washed and all the other little things I am forgetting. Now, don’t forget that’s not including adult necessities like car payments, student loan payments, food, drink, etc. What, exactly, does 10 dollars a day cover in that?
This summer when we went to court, my son’s dad tried to use the fact that I am allegedly struggling with money for a reason why he should be allotted more time. Remember that? Yet he prides himself in supplying his son with 10 dollars a day and posting photos on the internet. It has genuinely been two years since he has ever even asked me if my boy needs anything or if I needed help. So I’m still a little lost on this co-parent thing.
My point here is that I, like so many other women in my situation do all of that alone. There is no one beside me when my son is throwing tantrums in the grocery store because I told him no, or when he wakes up at night crying because his belly hurts. When he’s sick? I take care of him alone, then I get up and take my ass to work no matter how many hours I didn’t sleep last night.
See, as a black woman specifically, I am expected to bear this cross without complaint. It’s my duty as a black woman to raise my son up to be a man with my alleged co-parent in the background sucking up all the fun time while I do the dirty work. While I am called a “baby mama” and pathetic, and used as a cautionary tale by single women with no children who “confidently” judge the lives of people they don’t even know and feel as though they are better because they will never be someone’s “baby mama”. Or even better, while my alleged co-parent sits around and trash talks me and my parenting without noticing who is doing the work and who is sitting around bitching and living the dream. Like a scrawny, less masculine Malibu Ken.
When it comes down to it, it isn’t about glory or a pat on the back for doing what we’re supposed to, it’s about the stigma that comes with single parenthood. What makes it the hardest is going to the grocery store and having to use your EBT card in a line full of judgmental bitches that don’t get that needing help to get on your feet doesn’t mean you are a leech firmly attached to the neck of the United States government. Does Malibu Ken do that? He most definitely doesn’t live at home with his mother in order to be able to afford to give our child the best of the best. I know it would be stupid to move out right now because I haven’t landed on my feet yet (2 years later).
I feel it’s the same as the powerful/bitch stereotype–if a man brags about caring for his child it’s cute and he’s a good dad (even if he’s not) but if a woman is proud of herself for busting ass for her child(ren)? She’s basically berated by the Malibu Kens and Barbies of the world. It’s unattractive and it scares men off!
Be proud of yourself, this shit isn’t for the weak.