Jill Scott on Can Single Moms Replace M.I.A. Fathers?
4/3/2013 11:33:00 AM
Many women are supermoms – working outside the home, holding it down in the home then taking on church tasks, community events, working out – how do we do it all?
Motherhood is hard enough but what about when you do it solo? I am sympathetic to single mothers I know that struggle who don’t have the help of the father. For years, we have heard many women say “I’m the mother and the father.” I get the idea. Some are doing the job of two parents but can you ever replace the role of an active father? Many say no. For instance, urbanfaith.com blasted Father’s Day cards for single mothers. They stated: “Nationally, 1 out of 3 American children live in homes where fathers are absent, according to the Center for Disease Control. The black rate is 2 out of 3. The message to the black community is that single motherhood is acceptable, so celebrate with a Mahogany card. Bull. By marketing “some love” to single moms on Father’s Day, the role of dads is devalued, especially in a community that badly needs fathers to step up and be real parents. It’s also capitalizing on a self-inflicted wound. Society should be lifting men who are honoring their role.” Also fathers.com has initiatives the promote building healthy fathers versus putting dual roles on the mother.
I see both sides. A mother who fills in the gap for the missing daddy. But I know the role of a father is vital. I value men who are real fathers. But what about when that doesn’t happen? While women and men need to be cautious before bringing a child into the world, sometimes a relationship fails and the mother has the kid(s). Even Jill Scot faces this plight.
As she graces the cover of May’s Ebony magazine, Jill – as successful as she is – says she is not a solo super parent. On being a single mom, she says, “That I-can-do-it-by-myself mentality is a lie. I’m sorry if I hurt anybody’s feelings, but you cannot do it all by yourself. You need a village: some aunties, grandmoms, and friends. I couldn’t do this by myself and would be a fool to think I could.” Since she has a son Jett, how does she feel raising a boy to be a man? “It’s challenging being a single mom…No matter what I do, I’ll never be a man. Ever. I can show Jett how to be a thinker, how to enjoy music or how to feel, and to conquer. But I cannot show him how to be a man.”
Interesting. I know I can’t teach Justin how to be a man but I can teach him how to be a man to a woman. Already I am drilling for him to be a provider, college and career first, baby then marriage. Yes, the things me as a woman believes. But yes, I rely on his daddy to help him be a total man. A support system of men can help single mothers with their sons, but men who make babies need to help make their kids adults. While I know many single mothers who have successfully raised boys and applaud them, it’s not easy. Andrea Engber for ivalliage.com wrote a piece “Raising Boys: 10 Tips for Single Moms". Here is what she has to say:
1. Accept your son's differences.
2. Never make him the man around the house. True, you want to teach him to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the "little man" and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your child is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer. Especially important for the newly widowed or divorced, correct people if they suggest that now your son "is the man around the house," or that he should "take care of Mommy."
3. When you look at your child and see his father's face, it's okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex gave you anything of value, you're looking at it. Let your son know how important he is to you.
4. Point out the positive qualities in men you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you're buying your son baseball shoes and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or "Isn't this man very nice?"
5. Be a little creative in helping your child learn guy stuff. For instance, many single mothers report concern over their son's using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for him. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let him know this is what most guys do every morning to their faces.
6. As your child matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts or sports.
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