Oh, the mother of his child must have been very irresponsible!
He must be very courageous and kind hearted to choose to raise his child/children by himself…
Oh let me prove to him just how much of an awesome stepmum I can be to his kids…He’s just too alluring.
She must have been those hardheaded types who cannot stay put in marriages!
Or maybe she got her baby with a married man…
I cannot date a woman with extra baggage in the form of kids…
What if her son starts demanding for an inheritance from me yet I’m not his biological dad?
It is no secret that single mums are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts in a similar situation. But why the double standards?
Well, I sought to find this out from one of my male acquaintances who sadly, is of the chauvinistic thinking that a woman who ends up single parenting is in essence, damaged goods. So I asked why he thought such women were no longer eligible candidates in the dating world and his answer was quite interesting; No man wants to interfere with another man’s turf.
Fair enough. But why are we willing to interfere with another woman’s turf per se? Why are single dads viewed as heroic in their efforts to raise their children by themselves while single mums are viewed as failures for doing the same?
Is it because of the sexual stereotypes that have forever been applied to women? The idea held by some, that women should be virgins before marriage but men can be excused for being sexually active before marriage. Is it a woman’s fault for ending up a single mum? Has she any control over what happens once a baby is conceived and the relationship with the baby’s father takes a turn for the worse?
While looking at the single parenting scenario, we have no choice but to acknowledge that times have indeed changed. While it was once in order, ethical even, for two people to get children in a marriage and stay put through thick and thin, nowadays, many more individuals are ending up as single parents either by choice or as a result of certain circumstances.
Blame it on exposure or the feminism wave but in recent times, it is not entirely uncommon, for two individuals in a certain relationship involving children to want out if things seem not to be working. It may not seem like an entirely wise decision seeing that the children are the ones who are likely to end up quite affected, but we really have no control over how two people choose to solve their relationship issues.
However, I find it baseless judging the women in single parenting scenarios more harshly than the men in the same. What if we chose to reason similarly for both sexes regarding what might have drove them into single parenting? Is it possible for us to do so even, judging by some of the chauvinistic attitudes that have over time been deeply embedded in our societies?
Methinks that irrespective of whatever sex a person is, the choice to singlehandedly raise a child/children is indeed a courageous one. It does not mean that the child may grow up deficient as many would like to assume. There are living examples of children who have been raised by single parents and have gone on to become wholesome adults in future. It all depends on the parenting style chosen by the single parent.
And while I’m no advocate for the kind of drama some of these clueless children are subjected to once their parents’ relationship sours, I’m of the idea that a single parent can equally raise a child perfectly. Of course this child may be deprived of the presence of one parent but it may come as a surprise to you, that many children in single parenting households, see nothing amiss with one parental figure missing.
They may only feel something was amiss if the parent in their lives sadly, fell short of being someone they could look up to for their well being and security. Quite a number of children from single parent households have gone ahead to do amazing things with their lives. They are actually individuals whose parents can be proud of.
In my statements above, I’m not trying to trash the family unit. I’m all for the family unit of both parents and children. However, if it so happens that one parent is conspicuously absent, then the other parent should be in a position to step in and try as much as they can to fill the gap for both parents. Whether this parent is male or female. Of course challenges are inevitable in single parenting but the welfare of the child is all that matters in such a scenario.
When we choose to judge single parents with regards to their gender, we are in essence alluding to the stereotypical thinking that women ought to be tamed by marriages. And men should be placed on a pedestal for doing something that only a woman is considered capable of doing. Parenting is a two way thing. Once one decides to become a parent, whether a man or woman, then they should factor this in the back of their minds that their child needs their input.
A single father raising his kids singlehandedly is in essence doing what is required of him should the other parent choose to abscond her duties for whatever reason. It is the same thing with when a single mother decides to raise her kids singlehandedly. She is only doing what is required of her as the parent of the opposite gender.
However, I’m aware that there are women who knowingly choose to be single mums and have no intention whatsoever of providing their children with a father figure. Such a woman should be in a position to think critically of the implications of this to her children, before going ahead with making that particular decision.
Like I mentioned, the welfare of the child should always be put into consideration. If at all this woman is denying her child/children a father figure knowing fully well that she will do a poor job at parenting, then she has nobody else but herself to blame.
What are your thoughts?