All Articles Tagged "co-parenting"
Daphne Wayans’ presence in the spotlight is a conscious choice the ex-wife of Keenen Ivory Wayans made after purposely spending her time not being famous. The smart and stylish Daphne, who has five children with Wayans, says that divorce did not stop her from going back to being Keenen’s friend, creating a healthy structure for their kids, or cultivating her personal growth and friendships. In fact, she’s been friends with Sheree Fletcher and Nicole Murphy for two decades. So it might appear that Daphne Wayans came out of nowhere to join the reality TV bandwagon, but she’s been herself all along, and now we get to see the woman who was just a girl when she met the Wayans family. Since finishing season 2 of VH1’s Hollywood Exes, Daphne spoke with MN about her journey and why she finally decided to join the reality show business.
Madame Noire: What was it like being married to Keenen Ivory Wayans?
Daphne Wayans: It was many things, but mostly a lot of love and a lot of fun. I was 16 when I met him, and didn’t start dating him until I was 18. I learned a lot from him being very young. I had a lot of room to grow. We were together for about 13 or 14 years; 15 is an easy round number to say. By the time we got married, I had had almost all of our children. I like to include all of those years because we were creating a family.
MN: Why did you two decide to split after five children?
DW: There’s not any one reason why we decided. When I do these interviews people go, “what happened?,” as if I’m going to say he kicked me. So, I don’t like to call it a split or divorce because we were still together in so many ways. It was more of a shift, a change in structure. We live five houses from each other. We still operate as a family we’re not husband and wife for sure, but we’re definitely parents to our children. I think I can speak for him to say it’s our greatest creation in our lives. So you don’t separate so easy. In the legal world, the paper seals the deal, but in the real world there’s still a lot there. A marriage is maybe one quarter business and three quarters your heart, your emotion, and your life.
MN: How was it for you being a single mother after the divorce?
DW: Well, I would say that from a technical standpoint, I am a single mother. I’m not married to the father of my children and we don’t live in the same house. I tell people all the time don’t let me be the symbol of your divorce because people would be wanting to get divorced. I mean he has them one week and I have them the next. My children like it very well because they are very clear on who brings what. Often times you get this immersion of parents, and I don’t mean to say that that’s bad, but it’s more clear now. There’s times that we have to come together and make a decision as a family. It’s made us have mutual regard for each other, and I see that the roles exist for a reason.
MN: Why do you want to join reality TV as a Hollywood Ex?
DW: The producers and some of the other stars are very old friends of mine. Sheree and Nicole are very old friends, a couple of decades old. This show peaked my interest because my friends were involved, and I was a part of the original pitching cast so I pitched the show to all of the original networks with them. I had been asked so often to write about my experience and my journey, from divorce to now. So I thought I could share that, my experiences, broadly. If I can change any viewpoints or perspectives that would be good because people go into this cruel, nasty beingness of being a divorcee. I know that people are doing the best they can, but my thing is what did you guys start as? You were friends? Go back to being friends.
Recently I wrote an article discussing “Baby Mama Entitlement” and there were varying opinions about why a woman may still harbor resentment for her ex and child’s father. The article was prompted by an episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and two of its characters – Traci Steele and DJ Babey Drew. Many of you suggested that there may have been underlying reasons for her outburst against her ex, and that even though we don’t see everything that goes on behind the scenes, the reason she might feel “entitled” to be in his life may be because they’re still physically involved, even though they are no longer a couple.
So I’m scratching my head again thinking: Why continue to have sex with an ex if there is no commitment?
Of course, there are several answers to this question – some call them reasons, others call them excuses. When it comes to matters of the heart, especially when a child is involved, there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong answer. Should you continue to have sex with an ex? Can exes truly be friends? Who knows, but here is my take.
Personally, I think exes can be great friends, but it may take some finesse. And time.
If you started off as friends, you should be able to maintain the friendship, right? Seems simple enough and necessary if you’re co-parents. Sometimes, the friendship was the best part of the relationship and just because you don’t make it down the aisle doesn’t mean all is lost. After all, you’ve shared memories, made each other laugh, confided in each other, maybe share a child and know each other’s deepest, darkest secrets.
But some may say that this is exactly why you CANNOT be just friends. You’ve shared memories, made each other laugh, confided in each other and know each other’s deepest, darkest secrets – AND YOU’VE SEEN EACH OTHER WITH NO CLOTHES ON.
It’s hard to bring a relationship back to the friendship level after having been the most intimate with someone. You will always have an image of that person at their sexiest, and memories of your sex life could be triggered by something as simple as the smell of his cologne or hearing a song that you once made passionate love to. You might consider yourself to be the most evolved, tough guy or gal when it comes to putting your feelings aside, but it’s sometimes very hard to see someone in a different light after you’ve been intimate – especially if you’re still in love with them.
Aside from sex, sometimes you can’t be friends because you did confide in each other and now you feel you can’t. The person you once shared any and everything with may be dating someone new and you might not want to hear about their new relationship. Or, you may feel awkward telling your ex that you have a hot date tonight with a new guy. You may even be reluctant to tell your ex how your new boo hurt you or is getting on your nerves for fear of appearing silly or vulnerable – even though appearing silly or vulnerable was never an issue when you and your ex were together. That comfort level is no longer there.
If jealousy comes into play, then no…you can’t be friends. If it was a bitter breakup, even after some time, you may not want to hear how the new person they’re dating is the love of their life. Who wants to hear that crap – especially if you’re not really over him. Even if you’re the one who did the dumping and you don’t have feelings for your ex anymore, if they find new love before you do, you might be resentful. Petty? Yes, but feelings are feelings. The thought of someone else taking your place in the world that you and your ex once shared is sometimes painful to imagine. If you can’t be sincerely happy for your ex because of jealousy or if you haven’t moved on from the break up, then you can’t be friends – because true friends are happy for each other.
And then, what if the passion for your ex is still there? You don’t want him to be with anyone else because YOU still want him. Sometimes, the relationship was so riddled with problems that we wonder why we were with that person to begin with. Then we remember: the sex was good! Chances are some of us stay in relationships based on passion and sexual chemistry, not because we were truly compatible and are meant for each other. Just because a couple mutually agrees to break-up doesn’t mean the attraction is gone. So even if a man and woman start to “hang” under the guise of being “just friends” or because you share a child and the familiarity is there, it’s possible something could jump off “just for old times sake.” That could bring you back to square one, just when you were starting to get over it.
Also, if you know your ex still has feelings for you and you still want to be friends, walk a fine line. If you did the dumping and can move on with ease, be sensitive to your ex’s feelings if you know there are still feelings there. You might have no problem meeting up at the movies with your ex every once in a while or asking them for money like Drewsie did to Traci. But your ex, whose heart you broke into a million little pieces, may not like it that you can move on while still sending them happy little text messages all day while dating every other woman in sight. They might snap on you, like Traci did, so be careful!
Everything I said above may seem like it’s not really a good idea to be friends with, let alone have sex with, your ex. But the elements you need in order to be friends may simply be time, space and maturity. If you’re going to keep that ex in your life, make sure both of you have moved on and you don’t have that person lingering around unless you really, truly have a genuine friendship worth preserving. In a perfect world, exes can succeed at being friends where bitterness, jealousy and human nature DO NOT EXCEED reasoning and rational thought. If you’re co-parents, these things are necessary to raise your child together.
If you two were the best of friends before, broke up on the same terms and it was perfectly mutual, neither of you have a problem with your ex seeing new people and you both are totally honest with each other…then be friends. If you can’t say that, then leave the friendship behind…along with some really great memories.
I admit I enjoy the soap opera that is Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. This series is far from a “reality” program; however there are scenes in the show that provoke thought when it comes to issues that plague men and women every day. This past Monday’s episode left me scratching my head yet again, this time wondering: Why do “baby mamas” have this false sense of entitlement?
Let me fill you in on the background. A local ATL radio personality, Traci Steele, has a son with Chris Brown’s DJ, DJ Babey Drew. Apparently he travels a lot working, leaving little time for him to spend with his son. In order to stay local, he decides to open a sneaker store and convinces Traci to invest $25,000 into “their” business. Traci insists that she’s giving him the money for their “family” but makes it a point to say that she doesn’t want any “groupie h*es” to “benefit” from her money – whatever that means.
She decides to pop by Drew’s house unannounced in order to give him the check he’s been asking for. Well, to her surprise (not that the producer’s had anything to do with it), she finds him there with a “random” girl and goes ballistic. Even though Drew reminds Traci that they are no longer together, it seems she thought her “investment” would keep them together as a family. She goes off on him, and the poor girl who was sitting there, and storms out. As Drew follows behind her trying to understand why she’s ripping up the check, she tearfully proclaims that she never wanted to be a “baby mama,” and that he made that choice for her.
And that is where I begin scratching my head. Huh?
Let me first say this post is not to bash single mothers. I prefer to use that term rather than “baby mama,” but since Traci referred to herself as such, I’ll just go with it. There are plenty of women who never chose to be single mothers, but are holding it down nonetheless and they deserve to be respected if they’re doing it all alone.
But to say that someone made you a “baby mama” is a bit dramatic. If you are dating a man and not married to him and decide to engage in unprotected sex, there is a chance you could become pregnant. It is a woman’s choice to engage in that behavior and to deal with the consequences. Drew didn’t make her a baby mama, she chose to be one. I’m not saying that women should get abortions or give up their children for adoption so that they can’t be labeled as a “baby mama,” and I’m also not suggesting that people run out and get married in order to legitimize their children. All I’m saying is everyone has a choice when it comes to having sex and having babies. No one forces anyone to do anything.
Now Traci, that poor girl has unresolved issues. And unfortunately she isn’t the only one.
There are many women who feel that giving birth to a man’s child entitles them to the man himself. While I understand that many of them felt that they would get married, or at the very least stay together, a woman needs to understand that her status as “mother” is very different from her status as “significant other.” Once the romantic relationship ends, a woman can’t expect her child’s father to show her the same love, affection, or consideration that he would show a new love interest. The feelings simply aren’t there anymore, and if a woman still feels that he should put her first, rather than the child, then she is delusional.
There are a lot of baby mamas out there who feel that she and the child are a package deal. She may determine that if he doesn’t want her, then he can’t see or be with the child either. It’s sad, but true. She doesn’t just want him to be a father to their child. She also wants him to be her lover, her husband, her bank…her everything, even when he isn’t obligated to be anything other than a father and provider to his child(ren). The child’s mother feels this man owes her his life, when in fact all she is entitled to is his respect, his financial support for the child if she is the custodial parent, and his commitment to co-parent.
Traci’s problem, like so many other women in her situation, is she hasn’t let go and moved on. She probably felt that baby Drew was her insurance policy to keep Big Drew around. But the fact of the matter is if he doesn’t want you, no baby is going to change that. His responsibility is to his son, not to make Traci an honest woman. He doesn’t belong to her, and he can’t be bought with $25K. Traci thought she could buy a false sense of security, therefore making him feel like he “owes” her his loyalty or that he “belongs” to her somehow. Poor girl was sadly mistaken.
Ladies, if you feel that having a man’s baby should automatically make you a priority in his life, think again. His child should be his priority, and he has the right to move on once you are broken up. Relationships can end, and breaking up is hard to do. Letting go can be even more difficult. But once it’s over, you can’t expect him to be the partner you wanted him to be as far as a romantic involvement is concerned. You won’t get the same treatment you did before the relationship ended, and you shouldn’t expect it or “guilt” him into loving you the way he once did – if he ever did. It’s a hard pill to swallow I’m sure, but it’s time to grow up, move on and let go. He should be civil and respectful to you, and be willing to work with you to be a good parent – nothing more, nothing less. He can’t live his life tip toeing around you hoping that you won’t get hurt or angry. Put your big girl panties on, gain some closure and get over him. It’s a simple choice and not one that someone has to make for you.
After sharing a guest-post on step-parenting from the step-child’s point of view, one commenter asked an interesting question: “Should a man with no kids be hesitant to date a woman with kids?” First, whether a man has children of his own or not, there is nothing wrong with preferring to date women without children. We are all free to make up whatever dating preferences we want. They are called personal preferences for a reason and we don’t need the approval of anyone else when it comes to what we like. However, there are a few things childless men should keep in mind when deciding whether they are ready to date a woman with a child, or children. Women, would you agree on the following?
Figure out if you like or want kids BEFORE dating a woman with children.
When you are single and looking to mingle, you generally will not hurt anyone if you start dating “just to see where things go.” Plenty of men do this all the time. But when deciding to date a woman with a child, you should be clear about your expectations for the relationship upfront with yourself and her. In other words, if you’re still in the “dating just to date” phase of your life, involving a woman with a child is probably not the type of relationship you should engage in because your actions will more than likely impact the lives of two people — the woman and the child. While the age of the child plays a factor, if you’re not looking for anything serious, you shouldn’t play the “I’ll figure it out” game with a ready-made family.
Further, if you’re not a kid person or don’t want kids, you should not date a woman with kids to see if you’ll change your mind. This is not a video game that you can turn off when you decide you do not like how the game is playing out. That is a personal decision you should figure out long before you involve a woman and her child in your life. Save the games for the rest of the single people in the world who do not have the responsibility of looking out for the emotional well-being of themselves and their child.
Do you want kids of your own?
I’m always surprised at how few people discuss this topic upfront. Some women with children do not want any more kids, and this is an awkward conversation to have after you have already exchanged “I love yous” or “I dos.” If you want one or two kids and she already has one or two kids, this is a conversation you should have sooner rather than later. In addition, if you do not want any (biological) kids of your own, do not assume that just because she has one or more child from a previous relationship that she does not want anymore with you.
You are not in first place.
As a continuation of the above point, one of the hardest changes for many single men who decide to date a woman with a child is realizing they are not in first place. In general, the needs of the children come first. This is a hard adjustment for many men to make because when you’re single and don’t have any kids, you can be as selfish as you want. People with children are used to (hopefully) putting the needs of their children before their own. I have friends who have gotten upset because a woman they are dating has to drop everything for their child. This makes not one iota of sense. A woman should not be placed in a position to choose between the child she loves and the man she likes. If you don’t understand that, then you aren’t ready for this type of relationship and it is best if you do not bother wasting her time or yours.
How is the relationship with her baby’s father?
I’ve written on whether you need the baby’s father approval before — and for the record, no you do not. But while the relationship with the father of the woman’s child should not dictate your relationship, their relationship –- whether good or bad –- will play a role in your lives. It’s important to know what you are getting yourself into. Before your relationship gets serious, you should know what role, if any, the baby’s father has in the child’s life, and what type of relationship the two parents have with one another. Contrary to popular belief — and Lifetime movies — not every woman with a child is looking for a second parent if the biological parent is actively involved in the child’s life and doing a good, low-drama job of co-parenting. An honest conversation about this should minimize the chances of you making a surprise cameo on a VH1 reality show.
What do you think? Should a man without kids hesitate to date a woman with kids? If you are a step parent or single mother, what advice would you offer a man to know if he is ready to date a woman with kids from a previous relationship?
WisdomIsMisery, aka WIM, uses his background as an internal auditor to provide objective, yet opinionated, qualitative and quantitative analysis on life, love, and everything in between. WIM is not a model, a model citizen, or a role model. See more of WIM on his weekly write-ups for SBM, on Twitter @WisdomIsMisery, and Instagram: WisdomIsMisery.
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I am writing to you for some relationship advice. I am in a happy place in my relationship with my soul mate. We have been dating for quite some time and have been living together for two years. He is in the midst of building a fabulous home and totally has me in his future plans, and I love it all.
The only problem is that he has recently told me that he will be having his teenage son come live with us full time. The teen has a number of issues that they fail to address, like obesity, constant bed-wetting, lack of manners and poor hygiene. Do I put my feelings of happiness on the back burner or try to work out the new living arrangement? I am hoping you can provide me with some help on this one.
Read what Dr. Sherry Blake has to say about this on Essence.com
Last night, I expected to walk away from the latest episode of “Iyanla Fix My Life” even more disgusted with former NFL star Bob Whitfield than I had already been. But in the end, I actually felt a little compassion for the ex-husband of former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Sheree Whitfield, and more sad and disappointed by her actions than his, oddly enough.
In my mind, Sheree marks the second client in a row who has come on Iyanla’s show unwilling to do the work (DMX being the first). Most RHOA fans will admit Sheree has seemed phony from day one, but for some reason I imagined that act was for those cameras and she wouldn’t dare get on this show pretending. But after seeing how she acted on a show that was supposed to be about resolving issues, it appears phoniness is a way of life for her, from her farce of a marriage to the grandiose plans of Chateau Sheree — which Iyanla got on her about by the way.
Heading out to the lot which is still ladden with dirt mounds and the outline of an incomplete home, Iyanla asked Sheree how she could build an edifice like that but still need child support from Bob. She then proceeded to ask the former reality star what Chateau Sheree was about and when she said it was about her kids, Iyanla shut that down and told her the extravagant home wasn’t about her kids at all, but about her. And how could she really argue with that? The name says it all.
Caiming that home is about her kids isn’t the only pretending Sheree has done. Both she and Bob admitted to pretending to actually be in a real marriage and be happy. Sheree admitted that Bob didn’t even come home the second night after their wedding and he told Iyanla that he really wasn’t “into her at the time of her first pregnancy.” He basically thought the least he could do in that predicament was try to create a family unit for their unplanned child, hence their marriage. Last night he sang a totally different tune though, telling Sheree he had needed her to be his number one cheerleader when they were married but now that she’s made him out to be a deadbeat dad in the media, he’s done trying to have any type of dealings with her and would prefer to have contact directly with their kids rather than go through her. He said:
“I really don’t like you…and I feel like you don’t like me either. I think it’s almost best we stay unliked. I’m not going to love you from here on out. I’ll respect you because of who you are to my children.”
Sheree said she doesn’t like Bob either, but didn’t cop to being hurt that her ex-husband and father of her children could have such harsh things to say about her. Iyanla then scolded both parents, telling Bob shame on him for not liking the mother of his children and shaming Sheree for not liking her children’s father.
In the end, Bob and Sheree claimed they would work on co-parenting better but with the stipulations Sheree tried to place on Bob’s ability to see their son and daughter, Iyanla was clear with her that her anger and resentment toward Bob was overshadowing what was best for their kids. And since Sheree couldn’t even admit to harboring those feelings, the two would likely be in the same place once their session ended.
As of now, that appears to be true as the update at the end of the show reported that Bob was working on being a better father and noted that Sheree neglected to even provide an update on where things stand.
Check out footage from last night’s episode on the next page. Did you watch?
Most people associate a biological drive to have children with women. After all, we are the creators of life and natural-born nurturers, so it goes without saying that most women are designed to want kids, right? While this instinct isn’t present in ALL women, it can be argued that because of gender roles, most women feel the need to have a child simply because society says that’s what they’re supposed to do.
But men also have an internal, subconscious drive to procreate. However, while most women want to have children with a man who can provide for her and their family, a lot of men nowadays don’t feel they have to be part of a unit in order to make a baby. Not many women are programmed to WANT to be single mothers, yet the desire to be a father can be strong enough to override any sense of logic or commitment. Simply put, most men can see themselves as fathers, but not as husbands. While having a child with someone would seem to be a WAY bigger commitment than marriage is, some men feel they can be great fathers, but would make terrible husbands. Does this sound like broken logic, immaturity or honest truth? Look at these reasons a man may want to be a dad without being a husband…and YOU decide.
Expert Shela Dean
If you’ve been through a custody battle, you know how hard it can be on the kids … and it isn’t easy on the grown-ups either. But what do you do when you know that your ex doesn’t really want custody, he’s only fighting for it to spite you? Fortunately. Shela Dean is here to help.
In this video, author, relationship coach and YourTango Expert Shela Dean explains how to handle an ex-husband who’s taking his aggression out on you in the courtroom.
“It’s possible that the custody challenge is about money,” says Shela, “but it’s more likely that your husband hasn’t accepted the inevitability of your divorce.” So, when will he stop putting his own pettiness ahead of the best interest of the kids? Shela says, “Your husband is more likely to come to his senses, be reasonable about the kids, and put their welfare first — as he should — once he’s resolved his feelings about you and the divorce.”
Want to learn more? Check out the video at YourTango.com.
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Sometimes, celebrities hook up with each other and your eyebrow just has to raise because you can’t see how they’d even get together. In the cases of the celebs on the following pages, they actually had kids together! A couple of them might surprise you…
Co-parenting isn’t working out so well for Usher and his ex-wife. TMZ got its hands on paperwork Tameka Raymond filed in Georgia asking a judge to grant her sole physical custody of their two children, claiming that Usher isn’t holding up to the legal obligations of their parenting agreement—and he closed her Saks 5th Avenue credit card.
The court documents contain a number of complaints against Usher, claiming he has failed to:
- Obtain her permission to travel outside the state with the kids. (He’s legally obligated to do so.)
- Get approval from her before hiring nannies.
- Give her the first opportunity to watch the kids when he’s away for more than 8 hours.
- Allow her to take the kids for 2 weeks in the summer of 2011.
- Let her have custody of the kids during Christmas break 2010.
Tameka also claims that Usher promised to pay her $5,000 per month to hire her own nanny but he hasn’t paid in months and now owes her $34,000 in payments. Usher isn’t refusing to pay because he’s strapped for cash either. Tameka says there has been a “substantial change in [Usher's] income” since their divorce and a result she should be entitled to more child support. And back to that Saks 5th card, Tameka says Usher specifically said he wouldn’t close the account and now that he has, she no longer reaps the “special benefits” the card offers.
Sounds to me like Tameka may still be a little bitter about the divorce. Yes, Usher is slacking a bit when it comes to following protocol, but not so much that he should be stripped of joint custody. I bet if he drops a few stacks and reinstates her Saks 5th card, Tameka suddenly won’t care so much about those missed vacations.
What do you think about Tameka’s claims? Should she be granted full custody of the boys because Usher isn’t following the rules of their joint-custody agreement?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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