Family Issues

Women and Children First

Understanding why single motherhood is on the rise

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A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics with the dry title, "Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States," contains startling news: births to single mothers, which had leveled off in the early 2000s, have risen sharply in recent years. In 2007, nearly 40 percent of all babies born in the United States were born to single women, up from 34 percent in 2002. Some sociologists believe we have reached a tipping point: the link between marriage and parenthood is no longer the norm. Why is this happening, and what does it mean for women, children, and men? There are no simple answers—only difficult questions that we ignore at our peril.

Complicating the discussion, single motherhood comes in many different forms. An unwed mother is not necessarily a solo mother: about 40 percent are living with the baby's father when they give birth, and some later marry. A mother without a partner could be a teenage high school dropout trapped in poverty, or a 30-something professional who decides not to wait for "Mr. Right." While older, better-educated women are far less likely to become single mothers, one in three births to women in their late 20s and almost one in five births to women in their 30s are out of wedlock.

Many blame the growth of single motherhood on selfish, irresponsible men who shun commitment and abandon their partners and children. Others condemn self-centered women who refuse to settle for a less-than-perfect man or want total control over their child's upbringing. Both stereotypes have some truth to them. Yet this trend is also driven by major societal shifts—most of them positive, from unprecedented prosperity to individual freedom, tolerance, the liberation of women, and reliable birth control.

The powerful economic, social, and cultural pressures that once pushed the vast majority of people into marriage are gone almost completely. All that remains is romantic love—and refusing to marry your child's other parent is often seen as more honorable than marrying someone you don't love, at least if you're a woman.

For many feminists, the ability to choose single motherhood is an essential part of female autonomy. According to American University law professor Nancy Polikoff, "It is no tragedy, either on a national scale or in an individual family, for children to be raised without fathers." Nation magazine columnist Katha Pollitt has put it more bluntly: "Children are a joy; many men are not."

But would the children agree? Of course, not every father is a joy to his child. Yet there is abundant evidence that children generally fare better with two parents—and many children without fathers keenly feel their absence.

In one positive development, unmarried fathers today are much more likely than in earlier generations to be a part of their children's lives, even if they are not living with the mother. Even Bristol Palin, the daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and currently the nation's most famous teenage unwed mom, is now working out a visitation schedule with the baby's father, Levi Johnston. Yet a visiting dad is usually, even with best intentions, a pale substitute for day-to-day interaction with a father in the home.

We now have a situation in which large numbers of men are alienated from family life and from the next generation. And that's hardly "feminist," at least if feminism means the equality of women and men not only in public life but at home.

For years, feminists have urged men to take on their fair share of domestic responsibilities. While parenting still isn't equal in two-parent families, the fathers of today are far more involved in hands-on child care than their predecessors. Yet, paradoxically, there also far more absentee fathers, due to both divorce and unwed childbearing.

For all its liberated trappings, single motherhood is the ultimate "second shift" for working women who shoulder the full burden of domestic labor. It is also, in some ways, a throwback to the very old-fashioned, decidedly non-feminist idea that family life and child-rearing are a female domain. True, there are also more single fathers today who have custody of their children (usually when the mother is unable or unwilling to raise them); but, for both biological and cultural reasons, the single-parent family is likely to remain an overwhelmingly female-dominated structure.

Millions of single mothers and fathers do their best to be good parents, and their efforts should not be disparaged. Nonetheless, an intact marriage is still the most reliable way to protect the father-child bond. It is neither possible nor desirable to turn back the clock on the changes that have turned marriage from a near-necessity into an uncoerced choice. It is, however, a choice the culture should encourage. Giving up on the two-parent family as an ideal would be a sad defeat.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine and a columnist at RealClearPolitics. She blogs at The Y Files. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics. 

NEXT: Matt Welch on WBAL at 3:35 EDT to Talk California Politics

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  1. Because, single mothers can expect the rest of the world to chip in to the care and feeding of her children via progress taxation?

  2. Why buy the pig if the sausage is free?

  3. “Cosmotopia, in all of it’s glory.”

    I LOVE a good triptych!

  4. Quite the hotty. I’d fuck her brains out.

    And the mom’s kinda cute too.

  5. An unwed mother is not necessarily a solo mother: about 40 percent are living with the baby’s father when they give birth, and some later marry.

    This alone tells me that all the hand-wringing is a little unnecessary. People might not be in official state- or God-sanctioned marriages, but they may still be very much in a committed partnership. Stats that separated the truly single would be more useful.

  6. “Cosmotopia, in all of it’s glory.”

    Looks OK to me.

    I fail to see why it is anyone else’s business under what circumstances someone decides to have a child.

  7. One main reason is the welfare state. When the government pays people to have kids with no financial support, a lot of people are going to do it.

    How to deal with children has always been a contentious issue for libertarians. I’m not sure there is a consensus. My own belief is that I am responsible for my own children, but not anyone else’s.

    “Many blame the growth of single motherhood on selfish, irresponsible men who shun commitment and abandon their partners and children. Others condemn self-centered women who refuse to settle for a less-than-perfect man or want total control over their child’s upbringing. Both stereotypes have some truth to them.”

    I’d say there is a lot of truth in this, too.

  8. “I fail to see why it is anyone else’s business under what circumstances someone decides to have a child.”

    It is if you’re forced to pay for it via taxes.

  9. Warning: this is opinion gathered from anecdotal evidence.

    It seems to me the divide is getting worse as well. Given that today’s fathers take more of an active role, those children with a father in the home flourish more than ever. Those without simply don’t. I see it everyday. I can spot a child with two-parent household within 3 minutes of meeting him/her. My kids literally and figuratively run circles around kids from single parent households, daily. It sucks.

  10. “It is if you’re forced to pay for it via taxes.”

    No, it isn’t. Your business ends with your having to pay the taxes. That is the problem. Not the choices of others.

  11. literally

    You’re kids just have to rub it in, huh?

  12. yeah, but what would the pirates do? ARRRRRGHHHH!!!

  13. Personally, I believe that no one should have kids until they have an appropriate stable situation in which to raise them. And that is why God invented contraception.

    But it’s still none of my business.

  14. arrrrrgh *your*

    I swear I had a mother and a father.

  15. I fail to see why it is anyone else’s business under what circumstances someone decides to have a child.

    Because it involves the creation of a new sentient being, and children born out of wedlock have a well-documented set of problems competing with children from reasonably functional marriages. While no one is saying that single mothers should be locked up, a lot of people are rightly questioning why it is a woman’s “right” to not only have children she knows she cannot provide a reasonable home life to, but to have as many as she wants.

    With sex, hey, it’s her body. Once a baby gets involved, it’s about the baby, not her, as far as moral rights are concerned.

  16. I was going to leave “you’re” alone. Being a pedant is tedious.

  17. I can do any fucking thing I want and YOU have to pay for it.

  18. BTW, where’s the fuckin’ HEB?

  19. Anecdote not data, but: my own job pays rather dismally, though I live comfortably because the Man About The House makes pretty good money these days. If I lost the MATH and had to live solely on my own salary, I would actually be financially better off, at least in the state where I live, if I got pregnant and had the baby: free rent and utilities, free health insurance, free food stamps and a small cash stipend that is still more than I’d have left over every month if I had to pay for rent, utilities, health insurance and food with my journalist’s salary.

    There’s something fucked up about a welfare system that tells low-income women “Your lot in life will improve if you have a baby you can’t afford to support.”

  20. This alone tells me that all the hand-wringing is a little unnecessary. People might not be in official state- or God-sanctioned marriages, but they may still be very much in a committed partnership.

    It’s not a committed partnership if the male won’t commit. Once you take the religion and politics out of it, marriage distills down to formal commitment. If he’s not going to commit to you by the time the baby is born, the odds are extremely high that he’ll never commit to you.

    You don’t have to get a church wedding, or even stand before a justice of the peace. But if you can’t get some form of binding commitment from him, it means he doesn’t want to commit. Which means he’s going to leave when the going gets rough. Don’t kid yourself that he just needs a little more time.

  21. No, it isn’t. Your business ends with your having to pay the taxes. That is the problem. Not the choices of others.

    Kids born out of wedlock are also a lot more likely to end up becoming criminals. It’s in everyone’s interest, especially the future generations, to pressure through social stigma those who are purposefully reproducing in ways that are demonstrably prone to creating malcontents and criminals.

    The problem here is in the phrase “female autonomy” that Young used in the article. Neither men nor women can be reproductively autonomous because no one is an island. In a free society, people must voluntarily limit their own passions and indulgences in order to prevent harming others. Women who want to have kids outside of marriage usually care far more about THEIR feelings than such basic considerations as providing their child the most complete home environment they can.

    But hey, I respect their basic right to do this. They’re not accountable to me, and I have no desire for them to be. That won’t stop me from saying that anyone who purposefully has a child outside of a stable, preferably married, relationship is a selfish piece of shit who barely deserves to have a budgie, let alone a child. I respect her right to make such a poor decision, but I don’t have any obligation to respect her for purposefully choosing it.

  22. p.s. Which doesn’t mean I’m telling you what to do. I’m just giving advice. I’m a male and know how males think. So use birth control until he commits, or you’ll be just another liberated woman on welfare.

  23. No, it isn’t. Your business ends with your having to pay the taxes. That is the problem. Not the choices of others.

    Help me out here, Zeb.

    You seem to be saying that it is no business of mine what is done with the taxes that I pay. But that’s so bone-crushingly stupid I can’t believe that’s what you mean.

    So, what did you mean?

  24. Hark! Do I hear Mad Max? Where art thou?

  25. Jeff P., male prostitute?

    I’m married with plenty o’ children, and I’m stunned at how much of a tax benefit that gives us. I’m happy to get whatever relief I can get, but I’m much prefer to just have a lower tax burden without being a product of the government’s extremely odd ideas about social engineering.

  26. From “Abortion: Not for Women Only”:

    It is absolutely outrageous that grown men are denied a right that is extended even to fourteen-year-old girls. On the political front, this means confronting lawmakers. On the moral, it means challenging feminists to demonstrate some real commitment to their alleged ideal of equal rights for men and women. If they are going to continue their campaign for “choice,” then let them expand it to include reproductive rights for man. And if they are going to stand by Roe v. Wade, then let them also stand by its implications — all of them.

    What I’m talking about is this: In her 1997 Year-End Report, Kathryn J. Rodgers, Executive Director of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, while decanting the house rhetoric about women’s “constitutional right to reproductive freedom” (and asking folks to send the “most generous contribution you can possibly make”), digresses briefly to lament that “somehow an old myth [has] reasserted itself. A myth that child care is not a societal responsibility, but a person and individual responsibility — in fact, the primary responsibility of women, whether they work outside the home or not.” Translation: Childbirth, the decision, is the right of the woman; child care, its consequence, is the responsibility of everyone else. Or in Naderite terms that might be more familiar to NOW members: Decision-making is privatized, while consequence-taking is socialized. And in Rodhamese: It Takes a Village (and a government to make sure the village knows it). The hypocrisy and selfishness of all this is so glaring that only a Patricia Ireland could miss it.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

  27. Brandybuck-

    “You used to tell me we’d run away together; love gives you the right to be free.
    you said ‘be patient, just wait a little longer,’ but that’s just an old fantasy_________________________.” (line extended to reflect how long Whitney Houston held that last note).

  28. “Many blame the growth of single motherhood on selfish, irresponsible men who shun commitment and abandon their partners and children. Others condemn self-centered women who refuse to settle for a less-than-perfect man or want total control over [selfishly put their own short-term interests above] their child’s upbringing. Both stereotypes have some truth to them, [the former typical among those that live in trailer parks and Section 8 housing, the latter commonplace among middle-class white women becuase they do not bear an equal share in the risk and cost of a divorce].”

    FTFY

  29. Professional women with solid careers who decide to have kids on their own aren’t necessarily going to suck up any more of anyone’s precious tax dollars, and their kids aren’t on a straight shot to juvie from the second they’re born.

  30. “There’s something fucked up about a welfare system that tells low-income women “Your lot in life will improve if you have a baby you can’t afford to support.””

    I worked in daycare for parenting teen moms. I recall a young woman of 15, who already had a 3-year-old girl saying, “I’m ready to have another baby.”

    Our jaws dropped, but then we realized why wouldn’t she be? Her every need was being tacken care of by the state (MN). And having an infant draws a lot more praise and attention than having a toddler.

  31. “Professional women with solid careers who decide to have kids on their own aren’t necessarily going to suck up any more of anyone’s precious tax dollars, and their kids aren’t on a straight shot to juvie from the second they’re born.”

    No, they aren’t on a straight shot to juvie. They just gum up my child’s classroom so that my kids can’t excel at the rate they are able. We have to dumb it down for them, mostly due to behavioral problems. So yeah, they are taking my tax dollars.

  32. “It’s in everyone’s interest, especially the future generations, to pressure through social stigma those who are purposefully reproducing in ways that are demonstrably prone to creating malcontents and criminals.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  33. RCD, let me try to explain myself a bit better. It is a bad policy that we have to pay for someone’s kid who they can’t afford with our taxes. But that does not give anyone the right to tell anyone else how to run their life. For those of us opposed to the welfare state, the issue should not be with the people who are taking advantage of the perverse incentives of the system, but with the existence of the system.

    So yes, it is your business in the sense that some of your money is being spent on it and it is your business to care about what the policies are that allow your money to be spent that way. But that does not make it your business how and when people chose to reproduce.

  34. This alone tells me that all the hand-wringing is a little unnecessary. People might not be in official state- or God-sanctioned marriages, but they may still be very much in a committed partnership. Stats that separated the truly single would be more useful.

    Pretty much what Brandybuck said. ‘Comitted Partnership’ without some sort of binding (religious or legal) isn’t worth snot.

    Maybe it should be expanded to some form of commonlaw marriage (ok, if he’s still around by the second kid, maybe that counts), but just because he isn’t heel enough to leave while you’re knocked up doesn’t mean he won’t bolt when he realizes what a kid really means…

  35. They just gum up my child’s classroom so that my kids can’t excel at the rate they are able. We have to dumb it down for them, mostly due to behavioral problems. So yeah, they are taking my tax dollars.

    Oh so true! Just so happens that just this morning I helped at my GF’s 1st grade class giving a math lesson. I bet that I could pick out the kids that did not have two parents in the home between observing their behaviour and listening the kids read. A third of the class makes it extremely hard for the GF to teach at all, let alone teach the ones that are capable of greater achievment at the level they should be taught.

    The GF teaches in a school that is heavily populated with kids living in section eight housing. Five or six of her 26 kids are not even being raised by single moms, but by the grandmothers. One of the grandmothers I happen to know just turned 34. i.e. the grandmother and the daughter were both mothers at 14.

  36. My guess: Given the shift in proportions of college graduates (now 60-40 in favor of women), a lot of college-educated single women are becoming single moms by choice. It’s better than “marrying down”.

  37. “It’s better than “marrying down”.”

    Instead of worrying about “marrying down,” they should worry about “fucking up.”

  38. As in, finding a better person to sleep with…

  39. Idiocracy . . . . .

  40. It’s better than “marrying down”.

    Too right! I made the mistake of marrying down and have paid the price ever since.

  41. This problem can be solved by marrying all these fertile young lasses to a few middle-aged men with proven abilities to support huge families.

  42. Next on Donahue: Why are college educated women selfish, classist bitches? We’ll be right back.

  43. I’d like to give a big F U to both Granite and Brandybuck for their awesome generalization of all fathers who are with their children’s mothers but are not married (apparently 40% of single moms).

    I personally think that commitment to a person and a family can be shown thru many other venues and not just thru state sponsored matrimony. For your point to be true you would have to demonstrate that children living with parents in dysfunctional marriages are still better off than with noncommitted parents.

  44. For your point to be true you would have to demonstrate that children living with parents in dysfunctional marriages are still better off than with noncommitted parents.

    No you don’t – you don’t have to prove the opposite. It’s clearly shown that kids pay for absentee fathers and the tax payers pay as well. & it’s clearly obvious that without a commitment, absentee fathers are more likely.

    & for those that say it’s none of my business – you’re all full of shit. The idiot down the street having throngs of kids because she’s a selfish bitch is not only an idiot, but since she’s selfish she’s not even a good single parent. My kid pays, my taxes go there, and eventually I’ll pay to place most of them in jail.

    As most have said – they certainly have the right to do whatever they want. But let’s not pretend that the consequences aren’t shared by others.

    Why is that so difficult to understand? Or better – why do you choose to lie to yourselves about something so obvious?

  45. In line with the above mention of “decision-making individualized ; consequence-taking socialized”, the solution is to carry out the logical implications of abortion.

    At a certain point (wherever and whenever we draw that line), women have a choice to have a child, hence the term pro-choice and all the talk of family planning. It is fundamentally unfair for 100% of the power to be in the hands (or uterus, as it were) of the pregnant woman but with the man (potentially) on the hook for 50% of the responsibility for the choice the woman made not to have an abortion. Likewise, it is unfair that, if we’re going to mandate child support from sperm donors, that the entity they are “buying” with their money doesn’t carry any concept of ownership.

    It is unconscionable to allow abortion and child support in a free society. We should choose one or the other, because they are mutually-exclusive concepts.

  46. It is unconscionable to allow abortion and child support in a free society. We should choose one or the other, because they are mutually-exclusive concepts.

    Mutually exclusive? Really?

  47. yes, really. At least, as it pertains to justice, logical consistency and useful outcomes, yes.

    If abortion is all about choice, when women choose one thing, they should not be able to force other people to pay for that choice.

  48. “For years, feminists have urged men to take on their fair share of domestic responsibilities. While parenting still isn’t equal in two-parent families, the fathers of today are far more involved in hands-on child care than their predecessors. Yet, paradoxically, there also far more absentee fathers, due to both divorce and unwed childbearing.”

    This is no paradox. One goal of early feminism was to make marriage more “fair.” The result: fewer marriages.

  49. yes, really. At least, as it pertains to justice, logical consistency and useful outcomes, yes. If abortion is all about choice, when women choose one thing, they should not be able to force other people to pay for that choice.

    I think you’re mixing two different issues. The question of “who should pay for the support of an existing child” is different from the question of “should a pregnant woman be forced to bring the pregnancy to term if she doesn’t want to.”

  50. “My kid pays, my taxes go there, and eventually I’ll pay to place most of them in jail.”

    As Chris Rock Said, “If a little boy calls his grandma “mama” and his mother “Pam”, he’s going to jail.

  51. Thanks zero:

    A shorter Brandybuck or Granite would be: The State or belief in an invisible sky fairy is needed for 50% of human beings to have the balls and maturity to commit to another human being. Fucking idiots.

  52. I don’t think I am. The question has its root in “who is responsible for the existence of this entity”. Those who are responsible for the existence of the child should pay for it; those who are not, should not.

    Abortion, as a choice, vitiates the sperm donor’s role in that choice, as a matter of logic and justice. If he has no choice whether the child will be born, and therefore no say, he therefore should not be responsible if the woman chooses to carry to term.

  53. I recall a young woman child of 15, who already had a 3-year-old girl saying, “I’m ready to have another baby.”

    Right, Twink?

    So yes, it is your business in the sense that some of your money is being spent on it and it is your business to care about what the policies are that allow your money to be spent that way. But that does not make it your business how and when people chose to reproduce.

    It is not the legislature’s business to regulate how and when people reproduce. As an individual, however, I am entitled to hold and express whatever opinion I want.

    Further, I have to admit that I have a hard time resisting the argument that, if you want to stick your hand in the welfare till, you have to do what the welfare man tells you to do. That’s a double-edged sword, I know, but . . . .

  54. I’m not sure white people should be allowed to quote Chris Rock. Inevitably, a white person who says “I love black people but hate niggers…like Chris Rock says!” invariably is just a fucktard racist.

    Chris Rock should be treated like nitro glycerin.

  55. That was…off-topic.

  56. For a man to get married under current US law is very stupid. it is a lottery win for the female and a lifetime of obligation for the male. Thank you feminists for destroying western civilization.

  57. One of the threats of commenting on women’s issues is that, invariably, douchebags like X come out and say something simultaneously misogynistic and uninformed (but I repeat myself).

    1. There’s nothing douchebaggy about what X said. He’s stating the truth. It IS stupid for a man to get married in this country.

  58. “Right, Twink?”

    Oh, I don’t know. I’ve worked with thousands of young women and girls from all over the world and I think 14 is the cut-off for “girl”.

    I have known 15-year-olds that are better educated and more mature than a great many 40-year-olds.

  59. “person who says “I love black people but hate niggers…like Chris Rock says!” invariably is just a fucktard racist.”

    No. Discerning.

  60. For a man to get married under current US law is very stupid. it is a lottery win for the female and a lifetime of obligation for the male. Thank you feminists for destroying western civilization.

    With all the shitty welfare and deeply prejudiced courts, I’d still have WC now, than WC fifty or sixty years ago.

  61. Feminism made marriage a much better bargain for men. That is why, in 2009, all young men are so eager to marry whereas women, esp. divorced women and single moms, are so very reluctant. Thank you, feminists, for saving civilization.

  62. I personally think that commitment to a person and a family can be shown thru many other venues and not just thru state sponsored matrimony.

    I never said anything about a state sponsored marriage, I said “binding commitment”. I’m not saying you should be stuck with her permanently, but your level of commitment needs to be more than an promise whispered in her ear during the heat of coitus. Marriage is the most common way of binding a commitment, but there are other options if you want to be creative. Like signing a partnership contract; posting a bond; signing over half your house to her; etc. Something to ensure the child’s economic well being by curtailing your economic ability to leave on a whim.

  63. “”I love black people but hate niggers…like Chris Rock says!””

    Nigger isn’t a skin color. It’s a pathology.

  64. “person who says “I love black people but hate niggers…like Chris Rock says!” invariably is just a fucktard racist.”

    No. Discerning.

    Sorry, PD and CD, I don’t believe either of you. Pick another color-neutral word for people who act uncouth and uncivilized. “barbarian”, “trashy”, I don’t care, but the fact that you pick “nigger” signals to me you want to be racist without actually being racist, and it’s a total load.

  65. TAO,

    I respectfully disagree.

  66. I’m not saying you should be stuck with her permanently, but your level of commitment needs to be more than an promise whispered in her ear during the heat of coitus.

    Yet again demonstrating your massive ignorance. There is a middle difference between state-sponsored marriage and sweet nothings. Adults can have adult relationships without anyone else telling them they are allowed to stay together. And it can rise above the level of teenage maturity as well.

  67. Pick another color-neutral word for people who act uncouth and uncivilized. “barbarian”, “trashy”, I don’t care, but the fact that you pick “nigger” signals to me you want to be racist without actually being racist, and it’s a total load.

    If we didn’t have to contend with asshats like you stigmatizing obviously true but politically incorrect observations, we might be able to have a half-way honest discussion about whose uncouth and uncivilized behavior is a cause for concern, without having to resort to Chris Rock.

  68. So, “.”, what obviously-true-but-un-PC concept am I stigmatizing?

  69. “So, “.”, what obviously-true-but-un-PC concept am I stigmatizing?”

    The use of the word nigger.

    A black gangbanger who shoots into a crowd of people is not a black man he’s a nigger.

    “Pick another color-neutral word for people who act uncouth and uncivilized. “barbarian”, “trashy”, I don’t care”

    You must think very highly of yourself to feel that you can dictate the use of language.

    Al Sharpton took away “thug” so how do you think he’d reat to my calling gangbangers “barbarians”?

    If you don’t like using the word “nigger”, then don’t use it.

    Free Minds
    Free Markets
    Free Speech

    m’kay?

  70. reat = react

  71. Also recall the PC horror when the victims of hurricane Katrina were labeled “refugees”.

  72. Civil Discourse, Fuck you very much. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you to hell.

    Free Speech, m’kay?

  73. A black gangbanger who shoots into a crowd of people is not a black man he’s a nigger.

    So, I presume you called Klebold, Harris and McVeigh “niggers”?

    No, of course you didn’t.

    If you don’t like using the word “nigger”, then don’t use it.

    Free Minds
    Free Markets
    Free Speech

    “Free Speech”, conveniently and necessarily, is a two-way street, which allows me to call you a racist (which you are), even though you won’t admit to it.

    A black person who fires into a crowd is a “murderous criminal”, just like a white person who fires into a crowd. The fact that you want to separate out black people using an inflammatory, racist term, all while cloaking it in cutesy social observations (fueled by Chris Rock!), shows that you are a racist fucktard.

    Big shock.

  74. and now casual readers understand what I was talking about. White people shall not use the Chris Rock “niggers and black people” sketch any longer.

  75. “Like signing a partnership contract; posting a bond; signing over half your house to her; etc. Something to ensure the child’s economic well being by curtailing your economic ability to leave on a whim.”

    When my daughter was born two years ago I signed a declaration of paternity (because we’re unwed) at the hospital that said I declare myself to be the father and I’m liable to take care of her. Why should I sign over any extra rights than that, it seems I’m pretty covered from a legal standpoint and a moral one.

    What’s immoral is the fact that if your wife gives birth, the husband is AUTOMATICALLY assumed to be the father and he only has a certain time frame to contest this. Afterward the kid is “his,” whether it is or not, or even if the Mom moves back with the child’s actual father. At that point even if “Dad” wanted to be in the child’s life he likely will not get a shred of custody.

    Family Court’s main purpose is forcing men to give money to women, regardless of what’s in the best interest of the child. If they were actually looking out for the child’s interest custody would automatically be 50/50 unless a parent opts out or is deemed unfit. OMG then single dads might get some rights instead of being the punching bags of the system.

    (Note I’m happily together w/ the mother of my child, I’ve just seen a lot of good dads screwed over)

  76. Adults can have adult relationships without anyone else telling them they are allowed to stay together. And it can rise above the level of teenage maturity as well.

    Don’t get your panties in a twist, I’m not telling you to do anything. I’m only telling her not to be so naive when it comes to males. But considering the great offense you take at this, I can only assume I’ve hit close to home.

  77. Rule #1 of Racism – It’s Whitey’s Fault

    Rule #2 of Racism – White people can NEVER legitimately discuss race, see Rule #1

    All other questions of race can be answer by either Rule #1 or Rule #2

  78. zero, if that’s in reference to what I’m saying here, you’re WAAAAY off, brotherman.

  79. No, not to you specifically, more of a general comment about how a person’s skin color can determine what they’re allowed and not allowed to discuss in a public forum.

    I agree with you, white people shouldn’t say n!&&3r, but if it’s the word ITSELF that terrible and degrading then maybe black people shouldn’t say it or popularize it either. You know white people just copy black people right? For the average kid under 20 (born ’89 or later after PC hit) they get told from diapers that the N word is terrible and degrading to black people and never to use it, but by the time they’re 20 98% of the time they’ve heard the word, it is coming from a Black person. Kind of a mixed signal to the already confused White Person’s brain.

    I’m actually thinking about copying every black comedians routine since Pryor and replacing all the “black” jokes with white variations, think it will work?

  80. Because more and more people have become nothing but trash. Whether it’s trashy males that won’t stand up and take care of all the babies they spread around, or trashy females that just want a bunch of babies so they can be like some stupid celebrity with some lame-named brat on their hip, and knowing that welfare will send them a check each month – either way, the majority of people are just trashy now. It’s become hip to be trashy.

  81. Don’t get your panties in a twist, I’m not telling you to do anything. I’m only telling her not to be so naive when it comes to males. But considering the great offense you take at this, I can only assume I’ve hit close to home.

    No Brandybuck, it just annoys the shit out of me when people claim that state-sponsorship of relationships is okay but having an adult commitment to each other is a little more shaky. To go with what zero is saying, why would anyone voluntarily put themselves at the risk the court systems are these days? I didn’t even see where a female was being naive about males as there weren’t really any females posting. Mostly the men are the ones here who are complaining about the state-sponsored marriage scam. But I’ll keep in mind the next time you get your ass in a bind about state-sponsorship of other disgusting activities that you have a stake in those claims too. Real mature.

  82. It’s become hip to be trashy.

    I wouldn’t say it’s “hip” to be “trashy”, but, yeah, the stigma seems nearly gone. Not to sound like a prudish fogey, but I guess night-vision sex tapes, Kevin Federlines and octomoms don’t reflect well on our society.

    You know white people just copy black people right?

    I’ve always been curious about this. Why is this, exactly? (Full disclosure: I get all my style cues from rappers and Hot Topic)

  83. Yet a visiting dad is usually, even with best intentions, a pale substitute for day-to-day interaction with a father in the home.

    There is also the “spare parent” factor. When one parent stresses out, having a second parent who can take up the slack can be really important. My wife’s ability to “run away” for a weekend got us all over some rough times raising our younger daughter (who eventually turned out just fine.)

    These extra parents also come in handy as volunteers running the youth groups and organizations that can help socialize the children.

    Parenting is simply a two-person job.

    Further, I have to admit that I have a hard time resisting the argument that, if you want to stick your hand in the welfare till, you have to do what the welfare man tells you to do.

    It would help, though, if welfare weren’t designed to make recipients permanently dependent on the system, to the point where mothers teach their daughters to game the system instead of managing a budget.

  84. “There is a middle difference between state-sponsored marriage and sweet nothings. Adults can have adult relationships without anyone else telling them they are allowed to stay together.”- zoltan

    It’s less someone telling them they are allowed to stay together then the couple proving their intent to stay together by having the guts to formally state their commitment to each other and whatever offspring they have together. In absense of that public ceremony it is reasonable to question the level of commitment either party has to the relationhip.

  85. …to the point where mothers teach their daughters to game the system instead of managing a budget.

    One cannot teach what one does not know.

  86. “A black person who fires into a crowd is a “murderous criminal””

    Muderous criminal? No way. He’s a good kid and he’d never hurt anyone. Just ask his multi-genrational gangbanging family.

  87. It’s less someone telling them they are allowed to stay together then the couple proving their intent to stay together by having the guts to formally state their commitment to each other and whatever offspring they have together. In absense of that public ceremony it is reasonable to question the level of commitment either party has to the relationhip.

    Except that in an age of no-fault divorce (making marriage the one contract that you can readily breach without being legally obligated to make the other party whole), that “public ceremony” doesn’t really mean squat.

  88. Parenting is simply a two-person job.

    I absolutely agree! Unfortunately, my ex-wife did does not.

  89. My mother became a single parent the old-fashioned way–my father died–but single is still single. Having been raised by a single mother I’m supposed to be a drug addict, a criminal, and a high-school dropout. In fact, I don’t do drugs, I’m so law abiding that I actually obey the speed limit, and I have so much education that being “overqualified” has been a major career barrier.
    While having two good parents is helpful, the quality of parenting is more important than the quantity.

  90. “Children are a joy; many men are not.”

    Hm. What do you think would be the reaction of your typical feminist if I, sans the context of Katha Pollit’s crack, were to reverse that and make it “Children are a joy; many women are not.”? Wouldn’t you say I’d stand a pretty good chance of being called a misogynist? They certainly do have a funny way of fighting sexism (especially, if you consider that a lot of children are actually brats and that children in general can be quite cruel).

    A modest proposal: Why don’t non man-hating people like Cathy Young stop calling themselve’s feminist and start calling themselves gender equalitarians? MLK didn’t run around calling the civil rights movement “negroism” (“negro,” I’d like to remind everyone, was the polite term for blacks back in the day) and he certainly didn’t run around bashing white people, even though he had far more legitimate material to work with than feminists ever did. We keep the ideal of making women equal partners with men but throw out all the man hate and eternal victimization mongering. If someone tries to pull that stuff we say “oh, you’re a feminists.” Why don’t you be a nice person and go peddle your papers somewhere else?”

    Make sense?

  91. My completely unjustified theory on this goes as follows: as much as we like to idealize it, marriage and family and church are at least partially pragmatic institutions for many people. They were support structures and safety nets – if you hit hard times, you relied on local or family charity. Now the government is there to catch us whenever we slip up. For better or worse, a welfare state and high incidence of nuclear families simply do not tend to coexist.

  92. Maybe (just maybe) it’s because single mothers think they’re God(desses?). They think they’re overburdened martyrs, when actually they’re just idiots, thinking they can kick their husbands out and raise kids on their own. A few years back there was a wildly popular bumper sticker: “Thank You, Murphy Brown…From A Single Mother”. Meaning, millions of single mothers were thanking a woman that DIDN’T EXIST. Single Mothers ought to reconnect with their children’s fathers (before their kids become crooks, like the statistics confirm), and Single Men need to BOYCOTT dating single mothers until they do.

  93. Wow. I have never, ever been the subject of hate speech before:

    “That won’t stop me from saying that anyone who purposefully has a child outside of a stable, preferably married, relationship is a selfish piece of shit who barely deserves to have a budgie, let alone a child.”

    Weird feeling, that.

    I purposely had a child outside of a married relationship, and not one of the stereotypical things said on this comment thread apply to her. She is not and never has been the recipient of any social entitlement program, and neither has anyone in her family. She was planned, wanted and anxiously awaited by everyone involved. She is ahead, not behind, in nearly all departments compared to her peers. She is solidly upper middle class. She is beautiful and smart and funny and healthy and happy and supported by a massive network of loving family, that includes her father, and not one of whom qualifies as a “selfish piece of shit.”

  94. People (particularly clueless conservatives and liberals) need to be honest and not deceptive about what’s driving Single Motherhood (and the social disaster it brings).

    In the age of cheap/easy/realiable contraception, the pill, the condom, the morning after pill, universal and government paid for abortions, women only have kids as single mothers … IF THEY WANT THEM.

    In other words, it’s not a mistake, it’s a deliberate CHOICE.

    The nuclear family is dead, women select the fathers of their kids for criteria OTHER than faithfulness, loyalty, dependability, and so on and in favor of aggression, excitement, dominance, and power. Note the growth of twenty something single mothers, as opposed to teens. These are adult decisions.

    All across the urbanized world, where women have better income, and can raise kids on their own they will do so. [Either Welfare, or rising incomes of their own, it matters not.]

    Let’s be honest about what this will produce: a “spread your seed” type of guy who seeks to impregnate as many women as possible, and has zero commitment to kids, who may or may not be his. Let’s be even more honest: this is EXACTLY what most (not all) women want, and the majority rules (and sets male behavior).

    We can’t turn back the clock on this, the West will become more violent, less cooperative, more dominated by ruthless competition over women, generating men who have a short-term sexual commitment towards women, men who compete to impregnate women by hyper-macho violence, and don’t cooperate much if at all.

    The nuclear family is dead, dead, dead. What is ahead for the West is the type of society seen in the American Black Urban ghetto. No fathers, women choosing the most violent, dominant men, killings to establish primacy, and so on. And it is EXACTLY what most women want (those women who want different are just out of luck, sadly).

    Honesty: Women don’t WANT a husband. They want a series of exciting, dominant, aggressive men and kids by these guys. And that’s exactly what they will get.

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