My editor brought up an interesting topic that is discussed ad nauseam but rarely resolved. It’s a problem that many single mothers have that leads to headaches, sore throats and an overall feeling of sickness.
These women have inconsistent baby daddies.
The inconsistencies can come in the form of late or missing child support payments. Sometimes, it’s a case of the father being absent from the child’s life or coming around sometimes and then disappearing for weeks, months or years. There’s nothing funny or honorable about it it all.
An inconsistent baby daddy is more than an inconvenience, it’s major dysfunction that negatively affects a mother, and worse, robs a child of the added developmental support structure that helps a kid grow up the right way. While it’s totally possible for a mother to raise a child on her own, it’s equivalent to using tape on a broken coffee cup handle when glue would be a better fix.
To be clear, this isn’t a rant about deadbeat dads. The purpose here is to shed light on a few changes of approach to get what you need from the man who gave you the DNA to make the little angel that calls you mommy. Though the temptation to scream “double standard” while you read will be heavy, I’m telling you that it is what it is.
The objective here isn’t to downplay the truths that so many exhausted, frustrated single moms already know. I’m putting alternatives out there for women who aren’t waiting for their deadbeat to instantly get woke tomorrow morning and do the right thing. Turning your back on a child is a selfish, damaging act that comes from a selfish, damaged person. This is the type of man who you’re dealing with. As logical as your arguments may be, it’s time to get creative and think about new ways to problem solve in the best interests of you and your child/ren.
If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed about a lot of baby mommas in conflict, it’s that a lot of them turn getting help from their baby daddies into a personal crusade to punish them or make a point. Many of them don’t even realize how much of a waste of time this is. These dudes don’t give a crap about the point you’re trying to make and will forget all about it as soon as the next pissed-off baby momma posts another social media rant.
Ask yourself, do you want to get what you want or do you just want to be right? Because that angry meme you posted on social media doesn’t magically turn into baby food and diapers. When the average wack baby daddy gets wind of your snarky antics, don’t expect him to get motivated to then deal with you on any productive level.
You’ve just become an ass cramp that he wants to walk off and be done with. If he’s as petty as you’ve portrayed him to be online, there’s a good chance he’s going to ramp it up by picking a fight or ignoring you altogether. Instead, start looking at your relationship as a business deal and check the personal attacks at the door. It’s the same thing as posting online about how much your job sucks. No good will come out of it. Be strategic, be smart and don’t allow your disdain to prevent you from getting what you want.
Challenging your sperm donor’s manhood might seem like an effective way to get him to man up, but don’t bet on it. Calling him a little boy or flaunting your new love interest in front of him to show what a “real man” looks like won’t do you any good. That isn’t to say you should hide your new relationships. But unless you truly don’t need your baby daddy for anything at all, including potentially taking some time to build a relationship with your child, if you act like you need nothing from him, he will likely act accordingly.
And you’ll be putting yourself and your new boo in an awkward and potentially volatile situation whenever you do deal with him. A baby daddy seeing the new guy grab his ex’s butt and hugging on his kids will only create a situation where he can declare that he doesn’t want that n***a around his child. We all know it’s complete and total BS, but it’s one more thing that separates you from getting what the kid needs. If at all possible, you want your new guy and baby daddy to at least be civil to each other. There’s a greater chance that seeing the “real man” you now have will light a fire under his butt to get his act together. Even if it doesn’t inspire him to do right, the potential for reality TV level drama is cut down a bit.
And kill the song and dance routines around child support checks. Don’t use them as threats or gloat about it when the court rewards you. Always put the child above the money and let trifling baby daddy see the kid benefit from it. It’s a given that you’re going to use some of it for your own needs, but it doesn’t have to be a spectacle. Again, go the professional route. Do like the bill collectors and just get your dough.
If baby daddy starts playing hard to catch, make one or two more efforts to work it out then calmly let him know that the court will be stepping in and leave it at that. No drawn out soliloquies about being a strong, independent woman, him not being a man or texting him Beyoncè lyrics. The point is to be flexible but not breakable. It SHOWS that you’re giving him the opportunity to be an adult and that if that’s not what he wants to be, you won’t hesitate to resolve the problem like one.
Yes, I do believe that men need to be more responsible when it comes to making babies and taking care of them. I completely subscribe to the idea that guys have to grow up and be the symbol of what a man should be to their kids. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen any time soon for some men, so single moms in these wack situations need to let go of the tactics that don’t work and open their minds to new ways to get what they deserve for their kids.
Larry Hester is a Brooklyn-born writer who’s written for Vibe, BET.com, The Source, Complex and more. He now resides in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and son. He welcomes any parenting advice or encouragement. Check him out on Facebook and Twitter @almostcooldad