I’m well into my thirties, and I am child-free (not to be confused with childless, which implies you want children). To me, they seem like a huge responsibility. A responsibility you never get rid of. Now to most (hopefully) that sounds like common sense. This being common sense to me, caused me to wonder why there as so many children with one parent? Why are there so many unmarried/never married women with multiple children, with multiple fathers? Why are there so many baby mamas and baby daddies that literally hate each other?
To expand even further, why are people having children so young now. In my teens and early twenties, having kids wasn’t even a thought. I was selfish. Proudly selfish. My time was my own, and I wanted it to stay that way. If I wanted to spend all of my money on clothes…who was I hurting? Everyone, of course is different, but that responsibility wasn’t something of interest to me. I knew it was RESPONSIBILITY. My point being, I have to wonder how many of these kids really realize what they are getting themselves into. Sure you love this boy, yes I said boy, today but what about next year? Do you really think this seventeen year old boy is going to be around forever?
I’ll get off of the kids, because at least they are just that, kids. I was watching some news program, and they had a fully grown woman, with I believe 13 children. None of the father’s in the picture, and she was complaining that some government agency wasn’t doing enough to help her take care of her children. She actually said, in a rage “Someone needs to be responsible for my kids!” The representative for the organization she was upset with was so exasperated, when she was telling of the clothes, food, and furniture they had provided. Nothing was enough. She was right though, someone does need to be responsible for her kids…her. I hate to sound heartless, I truly do, but I don’t feel I should have to pay for someone else’s choice. We all get down on our luck that is not what I’m talking about. If you have a child that you are unable to take care of…I don’t see how having more children is going to help the situation.
I recently had a discussion with a group of male friends on the subject. I wanted to get insight on relationships, children with the ex-wives or ex-girlfriends, and child support. One thing that surprised me was the rant that women get pregnant intentionally with the hope of holding on to them. You’re probably wondering why that was surprising to me…because it’s not the seventies. I had no idea that there were still women that thought a pregnancy would keep a man. No, seriously I didn’t. I thought, and still am not sure, if they were being facetious or serious. I have to wonder if you would even want a man that was only around because of a baby. It seems sad to me. I, of course, came back with the argument that a woman can’t get pregnant alone, and you should know what kind of woman you are dealing with. I was quickly rebuffed. Sad point, but we know it’s true…a woman becomes pregnant, and if the man doesn’t want to be bothered, that responsibility falls back on the woman. He is free to go about his business as he pleases. Sure, he can be forced to pay child support, but he can’t be forced to be around. With the decrease in marriages, and befall of the family unit, I can’t imagine anyone being unaware of this.
I have several clients and friends without any idea who their father is. Most didn’t seem to be overtly affected by it, but I started to think about siblings? I know it’s a long shot, then again in this day it may not be, but what if you become involved with someone that is relative? The thought was a bit disturbing to me. It is something that I would want know. That you should know.
Responsibility shouldn’t start after you have a child. Acting impulsively is rarely a good thing. If there are still women planning pregnancies to keep a man (I still can’t wrap my mind around that), how are you going to be responsible if it doesn’t work? If you are a teenager or young lady, take the responsibility to know you are making a permanent situation, for what may just be a temporary feeling. Be responsible enough to know that with or without a man, if you are going to be a good parent, you’re always going to have to put that child first. Be responsible enough to do what is best for you, because at the end of the day YOU are the one that has to live with your decisions.
Sistas, this is a very sad story, but one that neesd to open up our eyes to the danger of rushing into relationships instead of taking the time to get to really know someone. We keep hearing stories of black women becoming involved with men they barely even know and the outcomes have repeatedly been tragic. Just two weeks ago we read about Nimeha Milien, the woman who was carjacked by Donald McGee, the man she was on a first date with. Now this tragic story, another case of barely knowing a man and he does something awful to the woman:
After a 37-hour standoff, police in Trenton, N.J. shot and killed registered sex offender Gerald “Skip” Tyrone Murphy, 38, on Sunday May 12, 2013, after he held his girlfriend’s three children hostage for three days.
Murphy killed 44-year-old Carmelita Stevens, the children’s mother, and her 13-year-old son. Police found their bodies in separate bedrooms. According to an article on Dailymail.co.uk, Stevens’ body was in an advanced state of decomposition leading police to believe she and her son could have been killed two weeks ago.
Murphy, who wasn’t the father of any of her children, and Stevens had only been dating for a few months, yet both lived in the house where this all took place.
According to the article, a relative of Stevens’ called police worried after she hadn’t talked to her in weeks. Police then learned her children hadn’t been to school in 12 days, which led them to the home.
The three-day standoff began at 3:00pm Friday afternoon and didn’t end until around 3:45am Sunday. Friday, according to the article, police smelled an odor consistent with a decomposing body after entering into the home through a rear door. They also said maggots were throughout the residence.
Police found Murphy in an upstairs 10-foot-by-11-foot bedroom, but had to back off when he told them he was armed with a gun and explosives and had three children with him: two teen girls and a 4-year-old boy.
The story said the officers noticed one of the dead victims before retreating from the second floor and rescuing Stevens’ 19-year-old son from the basement. Her son told them he hadn’t seen his mother or his siblings since about April 24.
Police kept in contact with Murphy throughout the standoff, passing food into the home through an upstairs window, the article said.
On Sunday, police re-entered the home where an officer shot Murphy because, the police said, he was threatening one of the children. Murphy had also assaulted and abused the children.
Sistas, the story went on to say Murphy had a long criminal history:
• convictions for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy
• arrested for robbery and weapons offenses and child endangerment
• warrant out for his arrest for failing to register as a sex offender in Pennsylvania
Ladies, we must do a better job of being selective about the men we bring into our lives, and especially around our children. This is an awful and unfortunate story, but hopefully it will serve as a “wake up” call for black women. I don’t know Carmelita’s story, but let’s stop picking up any and every random guy (or ones we hardly know) just to say we have one. It’ not worth it.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: