A good friend of mine recently came to me in regard to her relationship. She has met a man she considers "textbook “perfect.” He contributes to the household without being asked, He attends to her needs both physically and emotionally and according to her the communication is good. Like any other relationship, they have minor issues but nothing that they haven't been able to resolve.
She has expressed to me that although they have been together for less than 6 months, she is prepared to “give him a baby.” She is VERY passionate when she speaks about it and I'm excited for her since I've never heard her speak of anyone in this way. Neither of them have any children at this point and they are both over the age of 30. I must admit, it sounds ideal in theory but I have some issues with it and I have made my position known.
During a conversation with another girlfriend of mine, we had an epiphany almost simultaneously. She and I both have 3 children who are all around the same age. We've pretty much experienced the same things in regard to raising a family and tending to a husband while maintaining a job outside of the household. She was approached on Mother's Day by a woman that didn't realize that she was married. The woman considered it an honor to wish my friend an especially “Happy Mother's Day” by adding that she was a strong woman to raise her kids on her own. My friend was taken aback by the woman's comments. She has been married for more than 15 years and raising her 3 boys along with her husband. She has no idea why the woman assumed that she was single other than the fact that she was usually the one attending school events, not at all odd for a household with two working parents.
She thanked the woman for the compliment and moved along, not taking time to clarify the confusion since it just wasn't worth it to explain to a stranger. As I listened to her tell this story, my mind started churning and considering all the things that it takes to raise a family with a partner. Just knowing how much energy being a mother requires, I couldn't imagine raising my children alone. I stopped her mid sentence and told her that while I value my independence and the ability to be a “strong Black woman” there is no greater sense of relief than being able to say “GO ASK YOUR DADDY!” It was so crazy that as I was saying this she chimed in and finished my statement.
This gave me clarification that I'm not alone when I get tired and don't feel like be the strong one, the sensible one, the responsible one or the one that will “fix it.” Mothers and fathers are equally necessary in setting standards and raising a family, neither is more important than the other. Too often I hear women brag about not needing or wanting there children's fathers in their lives and how they can raise them alone. I believe that for most women it comes from a place of hurt and disappointment. For some, it's just shear ignorance and quite honestly, it goes against universal design.
As my friend spoke about her new relationship my senses started tingling. She is so smitten by the things that her man does, things that any partner should do in a relationship, that she is becoming blinded. She hasn't said a word about marrying this man. She hasn't mentioned any plans to grow with this man. She can't tell me his 5 year plan and she doesn't have a 5 year plan, all she knows it that he's a good man.
By no means am I judging. New relationships are usually fun in the first months. People are generally still wearing a mask and won't take it off for years. I don't know anything about him other than he works several hours a day and pays bills, personally that's not enough for me to bind myself to anyone. I expressed this to her and she says that she hears me. I suggested that she get to know the man, enjoy the man and to go on trips other than the mall before she makes such a permanent decision.
Babies are a gift from God but are also a lot of responsibility. They don't come with a manual, they may be unlike any child you've ever encountered and they are expensive. Becoming a parent makes you responsible for another human life. You have to feed, clothe and provide housing for that child. The trips and vacations slow down when you have to consider a third person and the places that you frequent change when a baby is in tow. In a sense, you lose a bit of your flexibility after becoming a parent.
While I say that parents are equal in raising children most of the responsibility falls on the mother, that's just nature. Broadly speaking, children mainly need nurturing while they are infants and as God has ordained, woman are to fulfill that role. We are called to be the caring ones, the gentle ones, the loving ones and the protective ones. Fathers on the other hand are ordained to lead, provide and protect. With that being said it is easy for mother's to feel neglected when caring for an infant. It will seem as if the father is moving about freely while you are weighed down, in essence this is true. Resentment for your partner generally arises in this stage. It's my belief that a lot of families fall apart because of this.
From my own experience, I want to encourage mother's to be clear in communicating their feelings. Don't shut your partner out or assume they should know what's bothering you. I want to encourage fathers to be as hands-on as possible with their children. There are many men that feel they are doing their jobs by simply supplying the needs of the household, this couldn't be further from the truth.
Before you consider having children ask yourself these questions:
Have I established my village?
Are my finances primarily in order?
Does my partner share my vision for our children?
With the blog series “Go Ask Your Daddy” I want to encourage dialogue surrounding rebuilding the family structure and making conscious decisions in regard to having children. Becoming pregnant has to stop “just happening.” Having a baby is not about proving anything to anybody. It doesn't make a man love you more, it won't make a broken person complete and it won't repair broken relationships.