The Burdens of the Single Mom
If you have ever spoke to me at any length in person, you know that I have deep feelings about the plight of single mothers and their children. Yesterday, I noticed an interesting article on the editorial feed section of my Blog located at DarrylGlover.com. The article, The burdens of the single mom, began with an interesting statistic -
“Nearly 40 percent of babies now born in America are to unmarried women”.
This op-ed piece, written by Seattle Times columnist Froma Harrop, has an interesting point about the differences of children born into or out of wedlock.
“The difference is that when a child is born during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be a father. That is not the case when the couple is not married. He has neither the rights nor responsibility until he is found to be the father.”
The article concluded,
“Formality in the law serves some important purposes. It cautions people that what they are getting into is serious. The seriousness of the legal bond between the parents — as well as from parent to child — helps foster a partnership in child rearing, even if that bond later dissolves in divorce. Why so many women take on motherhood without such formality in place is a mystery. The sad result is a growing sisterhood of drudgery.”
Wow – Drudgery! Not a very pleasant term. In fact, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (on-line version) defines drudgery as “dull, irksome, and fatiguing work; uninspiring or menial labor”. Yet according to the article, this “Sisterhood of Drudgery” is a growing sorority.
I’m a father of two. They are the only children me and my now ex-wife had in our life times. Both were born in wedlock. The elder of the two marginally so. Not that our first child’s pending arrival had any influence on our matrimonial plans, as it just so happened he was conceived shortly after we became officially engaged. I guess one could argue, the pregnancy helped with our resolve.
Had we not been married during the birth of either or both of our children, I can not say with certainty how things would have turned out. But now with the marriage over, and both children being young adults, family times for us still includes all of us. Whether it be a major holiday, graduation or anything significant in the lives of our children, you can find all four of us together sharing the moment.
Just like any nuclear family, these significant moments are not just the good times, we share in the hardships as well. Often, this can be difficult, as between the four of us, we currently live in three different states. But thanks to free long distance calling, we somehow manage to stay connected. I recently upgraded to a cell phone and plan with “Texting”, just so I can jot the occasional random note to my kids without disturbing what they’re doing or having to talk to their voice mail. They usually respond rather quickly, so I think this ideas was a good one.
I’m not suggesting that my separation and divorce was the perfect way to go, but I don’t think my ex-wife has ever considered herself to be a single mother. Whether or not my commitment to our children was fostered by the legality of matrimony is something else I can’t answer, because I have no personal reference to being a father without it. I like to think that I would have been the same father without the legal confines of marriage, but at the same time, my old school upbringing did not allow me to contemplate one without the other.
The one thing I can say with certainty is, if you asked either of my now grown children if they wished their mother and father were still together, both would answer with a resounding yes. So apparently children, at least mine, do prefer having both of their parents in the most traditional sense and my life’s biggest regret is the physical distance that has separated me from them at various times.
I urge all young women to have matrimony before motherhood. If you already have a child, what’s keeping you from marrying the baby’s Daddy? You should also know, Stepfathers can be the next best thing to a child, so if there is a keeper that you and your current child or children adore, please tie that knot. In case you’re still in the “baby making mode”, before you expand your family any further, make matrimony a priority, because it’s not really about you. It’s all about the children, and children want, need and deserve two parents.Share
The Paradox of Chemistry in a Relationship
As an Internet Publisher, my tools are increasingly becoming various forms of multi-media, ie. pictures, video and audio. Yet, the primary tool is still the written word.
Some words seem to have a more interesting meaning than others. One such word is “Paradox”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary (on-line version) definitions for this powerful word are:
(a): a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true,
(b): a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true, and
(c): an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises3: one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases.
Sounds like a bunch of double-speak, right? Well that in itself is the power of a paradox. Another possible word for paradox is “oxymoron” (a combination of contradictory or incongruous words). Examples of an oxymoron include – alone in a crowd, work party, dry lake, crash landing, pretty ugly, jumbo shrimp, stand down, free gift, detailed summary, and one of my favorites, stripper’s dressing room.
A paradox that is of particular interest is the notion of “physical chemistry” in a mature relationship. By definition, the chemical changes a person feels are “hormonal”, and a mature person has long since learned to keep their hormones in check. So how is it possible for a mature person to experience physical chemistry with a new relationship? Will this chemistry lead to everlasting matrimony?
I believe the answer can be found in the current statistics for marriages in the US:
* Over 40% of first marriages end in divorce,
* Over 60% of second marriages end in divorce,
* Over 70% of third marriages end in divorce, and,
* 100% of divorces start in a marriage (this is obvious, yet true).
If we study these numbers, we can easily conclude your first chance at marriage is your best chance. Subsequent marriages are a poor bet. This tells me finding physical chemistry in a mature relationship is more appropriately an “oxymoron” than a “paradox”. Either way, it’s a contradiction and not something that you should be expecting. Early last year, I wrote, “Adult Love Versus Young Love“. It appears statistics support my previous theory, and as mature adults, we need to re-think what we are looking for in a relationship.
When it come to the “sparks”, I think guys have it a little easier. Women are the most beautiful of God’s creations and when we see certain women, often our thoughts become primal. This is true for young men as well as old. Some women just seem to have that certain look which you’d call sexy. Angelina Jolie comes to mind, as does Toni Braxton, Chante Moore and LisaRaye McCoy. Whereas some women, though extremely attractive, do not invoke “those” feelings. Two that come to mind in this category are Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry. As beautiful as each of these women are – they have all experienced divorce.
So, if a former Ms. America can’t stay married, what are your chances? Well according to statistics, as low as 4 chances in 10 if it’s your second marriage. Slightly better if it’s your first. You’re probably thinking like I am right about now. Such as, this is all rather depressing. What’s the point? Why bother? You might even conclude that it’s better to stick with the devil you know, than venture out for one you don’t. If only I were as smart 10 years ago as I am now ;^) But then again, if fate is what it is, then nothing would be different.
You might also be thinking, “I’m different”. I recall a line in a movie, where a European gentleman was talking about Americans. I may be paraphrasing here, but basically he said, “All Americans think they are different, and in that, they are all the same”. Sure you could be in the better side of the statistics, but if your odds are only 3 in 10 or 4 in 10, you must face reality and know chances are, the next time you get married will have a poor result. I think this is especially true, unless you adopt a new outlook.
This fresh new outlook should include a criteria or check list in what you are looking for in husband/partner number …. whatever. You should weigh the good and the bad and if the scales tip to the good side, then perhaps you’ll have a chance of beating the odds, which statistically are against you. A few good questions to ask yourself are: Is he now or will he ever be my friend? Do my kids like/hate him? Do I like/hate his kids and are they well behaved? Will he be a financial help or hindrance? Are there things that we now enjoy doing together that we will likely continue to do? How much do we really have in common? How do we end disagreements? In the past, has he been happy with just one woman, and if so how can I be sure? Does he satisfy me sexually more often than not?
The final thought on this is to remember there are over 3 billion men on this planet and I’m certain at least one of them is exactly what you’re looking for. Let’s just hope your man is not currently living in Zimbabwe or some other equally remote place where your paths are destined never to cross, because that would not be paradoxical nor oxymoronic. It would simply be a shame.Share
You Blew It!
It’s 2008 and technology abounds. Let’s take a look at consumer communications. In my life time, I’ve seen us go from a rotary dial telephones to smart cell phone with wireless ear buds. Being a technology addict, I’ve experienced all the interim devices as well. Some of these technological advances have been great. Others not so much.
Computer chat has also come a long way from the early days of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) to today’s Instant Messaging complete with real time audio and video capabilities. The Joneses have now become the Jetsons. I suspect that in the next year or two, it will be common for cell phones to have video capabilities and even for house phones to be video capable. I also suspect this new technology will prove to be burdensome for some women that don’t want to be seen without their hair and make-up just right.
Have you ever thought about the consequences of missing an important call? Most assuredly, we all have. But, have you ever thought about what was going on around you when you were engrossed in a cell phone call. Let’s say you’re in the grocery store and chatting on your cell phone with your BFF. There’s a guy in the aisle with you pretending to look at feminine hygiene products (LOL), when in actuality he’s sizing you up and waiting for you to end your call so that he can come up with some excuse for introducing himself. But as luck would have it, you now have an unlimited calling plan and the call goes on and on about one trivial matter after another. The guy eventually gives up and goes about his business of shopping. Opportunity missed. You blew it. The chance of meeting your potential once in a lifetime soul mate came and went and you never even knew it because you were on your cell phone.
I have recently taken notice of the fact that it is harder to meet people at random because of cell phones. There used to be a time when you could develop quality relationships after meeting people at traffic lights. You may remember this too. You’d pull up to a red light and look over at the occupant in the car beside you, something would click and a brief exchange would occur (you only have about 2 minutes before the red light turns green). Nowadays, when I look over, the odds are pretty high the person in the car next to me is on their cell phone.
In summary, I think cell phone technology is great. But I also believe it may be another technological advancement that drives people to have less interpersonal interactions. And this is NOT a good thing. I would recommend you be aware of those around you while you are out and about, and avail yourself of the opportunity of meeting someone new. By spending all of your time chatting away on your cell phone, you may miss out on meeting that which you are seeking. Yes you can become a friendly member of your community, meeting new people that are there, but you have previously failed to notice. Talk on the phone with those you already know when you’re at home and bored. Otherwise, opportunities will come and go, and you’ll never even know that “You Blew It”.Share