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More black women in this country are baby-mamas than they are wives. Some even have multiple children with multiple men. Indeed there are several who qualify as hoodrats—of which such outcomes are expected. However, many are quite the opposite—educated, successful, selective. Certainly no one would classify Nia Long as a rat; yet, she has birthed two children out-of-wedlock.

73 percent of black children enter this world at a disadvantage—they are more likely to live in poverty, and more vulnerable to a life in the animal house called prison. Why? We have grown callous to subliminal media influences and fallen victim to false truths and our own naiveté. You see it’s not necessarily the type of man you date that makes you susceptible; it is the defects in your approach to life and romantic relationships.

Here is a list of some of the wrong-thinking that can place you in the position to do it all, alone:

1. You don’t have any clear plans.

Ever heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground?” Well, it is and so is idle time. When you don’t have any goals to work toward, no projects on the table and you’re just living, it’s easier to act impulsively and make poor decisions. Women with a desired destination are more apt to evaluate the long-term effects of their actions.

2. You wonder why guys are so “if-y.”

Men aren’t nearly as indecisive as they lead you to think. In fact, when they want something it’s often very clear. Their actions will line up with their words. If it’s the other way around, he’s not “if-y”, he’s just uninterested in committing. Don’t waste your time dangling from puppet strings.

3. You think “talkin’” is just as good as being together.

Anyone you’re just “talkin’” to shouldn’t be getting the goodies, until it is verbalized that a relationship is boyfriend/girlfriend.

4. You have two or more baby-mama girlfriends.

Birds of a feather flock together. Period. Baby-mamas aren’t bad people but they shouldn’t make up your entire crew. Surround yourself with the type of women you want to rub off on you.

5. You suffer from I-Don’t-Like-Sleeping-Alone syndrome.

It’s natural to desire the warmth and security that comes from non-sexual intimacy. What woman doesn’t like to be held at night? However, the need for a man to hold you is a deeper issue. Using men to fill emotional voids will only leave you emptier, lonely and possibly with child.

6. You don’t mind being a jump-off.

Jump-off, in most cases, is best translated as not good enough to be number one. No matter how you twist it, wives are the queen bees. If you’re not good enough for a man to marry, the limited love he has for you shouldn’t be acceptable, either. Being kept doesn’t make it any easier to explain to your child why Daddy spends Christmas with his real family.

7. The pull-out method is your preferred form of contraception.

Remaining sexually active and childless requires effort. Err on the safe side and always use two reliable forms of contraception, such as condoms and the pill.

8. You don’t need a man.

You’re right; you don’t need a man…unless you want to give your child a shot at having a nuclear family, which still reigns supreme in healthiest upbringing. Like mothers, fathers play an important role in the lives of their sons and daughters. Learn from the generational lines of single mothers preaching you don’t need a man and do the opposite.

9. You like to have a good time all of the time.

It’s great to let your hair down and hang loose, but living off the cuff shouldn’t be an everyday thing. Cocktails, clubbing, hooking-up—no, honey, no. The party girl lifestyle will have you pushing a stroller before you know it. You’re only one, one one-night stand away from “How did this happen!?”

10. You accept calls after 11 P.M.

Answering to booty calls is a quick way to get knocked up by someone who devalues you. If a guy barely (or never) gives you quality time during the day, do you really want to be impregnated with his baby? Does he even deserve to taste the goods? No. Save yourself the potential heartache and drama and don’t answer calls from people outside your inner circle.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in The New York Times and on several other sites, including the Grio and HuffPost Black Voices. For more commentary on love, race, pop culture and politics, visit her blog Politically Unapologetic or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.  

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