Man Up!

Standard

There’s a double standard that is both blatant and hidden.  What’s amazing is that it is still exists.  I was flipping stations the other day and I saw an ad for movie called, “Freshman Father.”  A boy being responsible for the baby he produced seems to be such a rare event it needs to be documented.   How many freshman mothers are there?  Any movies that aren’t negative about it?  Men get praised by society for being responsible, for women it just seems expected.  Being a single mother comes with a stigma –bad choice of men, irresponsible, etc.  Being a single father is a badge of pride, “look what I can do!” (most likely, with a lot of help from his own mother).

It’s understood, that given the same circumstances, women make less money than men, but the burden of responsibility and finances somehow always seems to fall more heavily on the women, especially in a separated situation.  Who is responsible for doctors, medicines, shoes, school fees, lunches?  Who is most likely going to fall below the poverty level?

What’s even more interesting is how this has become so accepted in American life that no one complains or argues.  It’s just how it is.  My friend asked her lawyer why she had to pay the full expenses for her divorce when she was not at fault and didn’t even want the divorce in the first place.  The lawyer replied, “because you are the responsible one.”  And then added, “I see it all the time.”

There is this epidemic of American men thinking they can just walk away.  “I don’t want to be married anymore, here –it’s all your problem now.”  They would say to their wives if they had the guts to actually talk to them.  No apologies, no regrets, no conscience.  Their children may go so long without seeing them that they don’t even know them.  Often, these fathers not only don’t own up to their financial responsibilities, but also don’t even wonder what their own children look like, or how they are doing.

There are two little facts that might surprise you.  In 2008, 42% of all American babies were born to single mothers.  For some women, it may be their choice, and for some children, the fathers may be very involved.  And I am not implying that marriage is the answer, but lack of commitment is becoming the norm and not the exception.  The other little tidbit is that the number one reason for the deaths of American pregnant women is their mate.  Why do so many men resort to murder as the answer for wanting to remain single?

My anthropology professor said that it takes an average of six to eight adults to raise a child.  African tribal cultures really understood this, and all aunts and uncles were called “mommy” and “daddy.”  But here in our overly independent society, very often, one parent is the only one responsible which is a huge burden to that parent and a huge disservice to their children.

What’s at stake are the children and the following generations.  Who are the role models for the little boys?  Who are the ideals for the little girls?  Who are the real fathers and not the sperm donors?

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About Ryn Cricket

When I talk to people, I always hear, "I always wanted to do that," or "You're so lucky!" I NEVER want to be the person who says those things. I am not lucky, I make things work. I don't think "I want to do that." I do it. When I was in the seventh grade I wanted to do three things when I grew up, I wanted to be an English teacher, a writer and a mother. All of that traveling, adventure, and Peace Corps was just research for what was to come. After more than twenty years of being told I would never be able to have children, I had two beautiful baby girls, a year and a half apart. I spend some of my time teaching English in Shanghai, China, and the rest of my time, inspiring my two little girls, or being inspired by writing at the writers’ workshop I call “home.”

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