Can We Be Done With The Single Women vs. “Baby Mamas” Debate?
While I was under the hair dryer last night, I found myself scrolling through The Shade Room’s Instagram page. I came across their latest debate-worthy post that was a simple picture of a birthday cake. On the cake, the candles were neatly placed to display the number 35. Instead of the typical “Happy Birthday” message, “#NoBabyDaddy” was written in icing on the cake. It was written as if to say that being without a child and a “baby daddy” was on par with celebrating making it through another year of life.
While the birthday cake could have been a hilarious inside joke between friends, followers of The Shade Room felt the need to either justify the cake receiver’s celebration or call them out:
“My only issue with this is why is it such an accomplishment to not have kids??? I’m pretty sure there’s something else in his/her life that could be celebrated. Oh and wait, when did being a mother with a kid (s) mean that you’re lonely??? Just like having no kids doesn’t mean you’re lonely, same goes for a person with kids. Smh”
“She’s bothered. Why else would you have this sorry cake made and then post it. Her life must be empty.”
“Eggs gettin’ old though”
“The world is so twisted now. People are so used to seeing things done the wrong way that it has become the right way. I’m 29, 30 in March, no kids/baby daddy. My mama had me when she was 31 and my lil sister at 32 after she married my dad. It’s better to wait till you’re older anyway because chances are you’re more stable and mature. I know plenty of folks that have had kids in their 30’s and even one at 40. I know stuff happens and people get pregnant and end up with baby daddies but quit putting it out there like it’s the thing to do, confusing our young generation.”
The comments under the post turned into quite the debate as people went at it, shaming those who say they are waiting to have kids or don’t plan to, as well as criticizing those who already have children but are not with the father of those babies. All this left me wondering, do people think single women are better than women with children and vice versa?
I winced as I read the cake, remembering how, as naive college students, my friends and I would pity “baby mamas” as though they received a death sentence for becoming pregnant by men who were nowhere near well-to-do Black men who worked on Wall Street and could provide five-carat rings. We were pretty young-minded.
At this time in my life, I can understand not wanting a child and the man who comes with it right now. It takes maturity, stable finances, and patience, to say the least, to have a healthy relationship when a child is involved. Most importantly, if you want your child to be successful, you have to invest in their education and personal development, all of which takes time. At 26, I lack all of that. Therefore, I’m not ready for motherhood. But I applaud women who are good mothers and balance all of their responsibilities. Between my career, community service and personal life, I easily get exhausted and cranky, craving sleep as though I haven’t had a good night’s rest in ages. So, I don’t know how many women do it.
However, my current disposition never makes me feel like I’m doing better in life or made better decisions when compared to my cousins who’ve had children out of wedlock. To be honest, they’ve given me insight on how I want to raise my children in the future, and have taught me how to be patient with kids. Also, if we were to be real, many single women would have multiple “baby daddies” if contraception, Plan B, abortions and divine intervention were not at their disposal.
I believe the reason this tired debate continues is because “baby mamas” are viewed by some as the women who lacked the self-esteem or self-worth to wait or require marriage from their said “baby daddies,” and in the end, got duped. Single women, on the other hand, are criticized as people who couldn’t find men to be with them, let alone have a child with them.
And it’s all complete foolishness.
Whatever your circumstances, with child or childless, you’ll never be able to hide from life’s curveballs. So we need to do a better job of supporting one another and being less judgmental. Because what works for the goose, doesn’t necessarily jibe with the gander.