Fun Friday Feature: Gif the Attitudes Toward Minority Single Mom Discourse.

What people think single mothers’ past relationships were like (especially when marriage came up):

Continue reading “Fun Friday Feature: Gif the Attitudes Toward Minority Single Mom Discourse.”

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14 Lies Single Mothers Hear About Marriage.

A single mother’s ears are always burning. People just can’t seem to resist talking about us. I wrote about the tendency society has to talk about — not to — unmarried mothers for The Atlantic last weekend (and if you haven’t already, take a minute to bookmark The Atlantic’s Sexes channel, where our article appeared. It’s great!), but what I didn’t say is that we aren’t completely ignored when talk of marriage emerges. Sometimes, people do, in fact, address us directly. And when they do, it’s hard to believe some of the things that come up.

Here are a few of the untruths and half-truths we single mothers are often told about marriage. (If you’ve heard one we haven’t mentioned, feel free to add your own in our comments section.)

1. If he left, he never loved you.

We get this one a lot — and if someone believes this, there’s little you can say to convince them otherwise. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Loving and leaving are not mutually exclusive. The former isn’t always enough to prevent the latter. As painful as it is to have someone walk away from a relationship — especially after children — the last thing you need to feel is pressure to defend yourself as lovable.

2. If he’d married you, he wouldn’t have left so easily/quickly/cavalierly.

Not only does this comment assume your partner left “easily,” it also presumes that marrying a person who would be inclined to leave at all would somehow change his core personality. Legally, marriage makes dissolving a romantic partnership more difficult. But it doesn’t prevent a partner from walking away, especially if he would consider a child, a hardship, or an emotional trigger as a reason to do so.

3. If you’ve been married before, you’re not “really” a single mother.

Women from various backgrounds and with a number of different relationship statuses identify as single. Divorced women are among them. In some cases, they are the sole or primary caregivers and providers for their children.

Continue reading “14 Lies Single Mothers Hear About Marriage.”

We’re in ‘The Atlantic!’

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In case you’ve missed it, unmarried motherhood has reached an all-time high according to the latest numbers from the Pew Research Center… which means there’s been a lot of public speculation about why mothers aren’t marrying the fathers of their kids.

Beyond Baby Mamas founder Stacia L. Brown writes in favor of actually asking some mothers, instead of using the numbers to create hypothetical, often alarmist narratives.

Continue reading “We’re in ‘The Atlantic!’”

Back-to-School Series: An Interview with Jonterri Gadson.

As part of an ongoing Beyond Baby Mamas discussion about single parents of color and continuing education, we’ll be publishing essays and interviews from some of our cherished community members who’ve started, returned, or finished various levels of education while maintaining full or joint custody of their children.
Jonterri, left, pictured with son and mother at MFA graduation
Jonterri, left, pictured with son and mother at MFA graduation
First up is the incomparable Jonterri Gadson. Jonterri is Debra’s Daughter. A Cave Canem Fellow and a recent graduate of University of Virginia’s Poetry MFA, she is the author of the chapbook Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012). She currently serves as the Herbert W. Martin Post-Graduate Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Read her of perseverance, achievement, and mother-son bonding below.

Beyond Baby Mamas: How old were you and how old was your son when you returned to school?

I was 29 and my son was 7 when I went back to finish the last 1.5 years of my BA and then I was 31 and my son was 9 when I entered an MFA program.

Continue reading “Back-to-School Series: An Interview with Jonterri Gadson.”