“Everyone Has A Baby’s Dad”: The Sad State Of Women’s Expectations
A friend shared on Facebook the other day that during a conversation a co-worker made the casual comment, “Everyone has a baby’s dad,” to which she firmly responded, “No, actually I have a husband.” It was a sad reaffirmation about the mindset of more and more women when it comes to relationships and a sad state in women’s expectations.
It’s no secret the carelessness in which people throw around titles. Everyone wants to play the part without actually knowing the lines. I actually get annoyed with terms like “hubby”, “wifey” and the dreaded “b-word”: bae. (OK “bae” I don’t have legitimate problem with, it’s just annoying.) Because there’s nothing wrong with being just being a girlfriend. But all too often people rush into twisting titles just because they want the respect that comes with them without doing the work.
I’ve had so many women ask to see my engagement ring when I refer to “my fiancé”. Almost as if they need proof that I’m not just trying to be cute and that someone made a legitimate effort to propose. I’m not even saying that the solitaire makes a difference in how sincere my relationship is, but I’ve seen so many women quick to say they’re engaged and the only thing homeboy is engaged in is a serious game of GTAV. Nonetheless it seems that more and more black women especially are considering it a rare phenomenon when they hear another woman refer to her husband and is actually wearing a wedding band.
What does it say about our roles as women when we feel that getting married to the father of your children is some kind of fairytale phenomenon like unicorns and pixie dust? The generalization of one woman by no means represents us all, but I’ve even caught myself on some occasion cheering a silent “Win!” in my head when I hear a woman is more than a glorified girlfriend who gave herself a promotion. That reaction troubles me because I think it implies a hidden belief that being married is some kind of achievement that far too many women never accomplish.
I’m not even saying that marriage is everyone’s ultimate goal or that every marriage makes a relationship real, but I will say that if we want to experience more, we have to accept more. And we shouldn’t assume that simply having someone to pro-create with and not an actual life partner is as good as it gets.
The blame doesn’t fall entirely on us. Men should want to be more. We need more basketball coaches than baby daddies and more PTA members than part-time fathers that feel like they’re doing their child’s mother a favor by “babysitting” their child. Women shouldn’t have to campaign so hard for commitment. Since when did it become respectable for men to do the bare minimum? Men should think more of themselves as well than to just take advantage of what a woman allows and step up to do what’s right and not just what’s easy.
The truth is the American Dream isn’t what it used to be or all that it was cracked up to be for that matter. But I will say the breakdown of the black family is partially due to the fact that so many are settling for something that resembles it rather than working towards the real thing. We have to be more honest about our expectations and want more for ourselves in love and life. We have to make sure the titles we place on our unions reflect what we’re actually investing into them. Because when it all comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if he’s your “hubby” or actual “husband” if he’s also Tamika from around the corner’s “bae”.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.