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Are fathers irrelevant?

Posted on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 in Aging, dating, Happiness, Men, Parenting, Relationships, single moms, Singles, Women

It probably wasn’t the typical Memorial Day weekend activity — beach, barbecue, parade — but I was involved in a threesome.

Get your mind out of the gutter — it wasn’t that kind of threesome, although it does involve sex but, sadly, not two hunky men attending to my needs (what? You thought they’d be two gals? Hey, it’s my fantasy threesome, not yours).

No, this threesome is about choice moms, and it’s taking place over at Singlemommyhood and the Advice Goddess and, now, here.

Let me guarantee you, none of my threesome fantasies would ever include a choice mom. I wouldn’t even date one, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Yeah, I know I just wrote about choice moms, but I then I got a tweet from Singlemommyhood — “Thanks for the sperm, but I’ll take it from here.”

OK, tweeting something like that gets someone’s attention; it certainly got mine. It’s provocative, if a tad antagonistic toward men. Kind of like a guy tweeting — Thanks for the sex, but you’re just a piece of ass to me, so I’ll take it from here.

Feel good?

As it turns out, the mom who wrote that isn’t a choice mom; she’s divorced, like I am. But, that’s an odd attitude to promote in a discussion about
supporting choice mothers, isn’t it?  

For those who don’t know, a choice mom, according to “Choosing Single Motherhood” author Mikki Morrissette, is:

“someone who proactively chooses motherhood, despite the lack of a
lifetime partner. … (someone) choosing to be a mother, rather than choosing to be single.”

Widows and divorcees don’t count, and I have
to guess gals who get knocked up without planning to get pregnant and decide to keep the
baby don’t count either. Choice moms — to their credit, actually — give a lot of thought and planning into their decision to have a baby, something more of us should do. The one thing that doesn’t get all that much thought is Dad; not whether a child will do OK without one, but whether a child deserves one.

I have my own feelings about choice moms — I don’t think it’s in a child’s best interest, and that’s what we should be concerned about, right? The child, as yet unborn (which is different than divorce, which also may not always be in a child’s best interest, but no one gets married and has kids while hoping to get a divorce). If a woman absolutely can’t imagine her life without a child, why not adopt or be a foster mom? Unless it’s for purely selfish reasons, which, really is why we have kids in the first place — we want them; no one else except maybe the grandparents-to-be cares whether we have a baby or not.

Just because we can do something, should we? Even if you’d be The Best. Mother. Ever.

But back to that tweet. I wonder if some choice moms feel a bit pissed at men, even on a subconscious level. Morrissette insists on her Web site that choice moms don’t hate men. That’s nice. Yet if a late 30- or 40-something woman chooses to have a baby on her own because she hasn’t found The One in time (in 20 or so years), it would seem that the reason she even had to consider raising a kid by herself is because all the men — aka losers, playas, jerks, Peter Pans, commitmentphobes, etc. — she dated failed her somehow.

If only they’d been better men …

And that’s just as well, because if that’s the potential Daddy Gene Pool, it’s better to just walk away. Fast. And then ask herself why those are the kinds of men she’s spending time with.

Unless I’m way off mark, I think most choice moms would have preferred to have a partner with whom to have a baby. I think most of us want to fall madly in love, and live happily ever after. Maybe that changes post-baby because according to a recent survey cited on ChoiceMoms.org, choice moms are happy flying solo:

The majority (90%, 261) of mothers reported that they were not currently in a relationship, with 29% (76) of these women stating that this was a conscious decision. When asked how important it was to them to meet someone in the future, the most common response was that it was not very important (50%, 130). Ten percent (25) felt it was very important, 30% (79) felt it was quite important, and 9% (24) felt it was not important at all.

Granted, that’s a small sampling, but still; the majority of choice moms don’t care all that much about meeting a man? Hmm. Another area where choice moms and I aren’t aligned, but, fine — more men for the rest of us! Gals, act quick, before they change their minds! But, if I were a man, I wouldn’t date a choice mom; our values are too different. As a dad’s daughter and as a mother of a son, I think men matter, and I think fathers matter.

And so I wonder what the child thinks about being fatherless, as a child and as an adult. If you’re a choice mom, aren’t you sending a message, however subtle, that a father isn’t all that important (because if a woman truly values fathers, she’d at least start off giving her child one, not just a sperm donor)? An opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday cites a new study by the Institute for American Values (yeah, I know; ultra-conservative). You can read the results and accept or reject all or part, but it does offer some issues to think about.

Yeah, this isn’t the biggest issue in the world, although, who knows — maybe it will be one day. There will likely be more scenarios in which a woman discovers her hubby-to-be was fathered by the same sperm donor. Then what?

But it begs the question — are fathers irrelevant? As imperfect as my dad was when I was growing up, he’s given me so much — his humor, his love of ideas, his butt …

The Advice Goddess asks women, what if you can’t have it all?; good question (as well as a discussion about whether children from single parents have too much baggage to make them date-worthy). Singlemommyhood celebrates a recent choice mom event and three 30-something girlfriends passing around a donor’s sperm, the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Sperm” (well, in these recessionary times at least they’re being thrifty).

There’s nothing wrong with choice moms supporting each other — all parents, married or single, gay or straight, need support. But encouraging more women to become choice moms? Why?

  • Guys, would you date a choice mom? Is there a difference to you if a woman is a single mom because she’s a divorcee or widow, or if she decided to have a baby on her own?
  • Is a woman being any more selfish if she wants to have a baby on her own than as part of a couple, or does it even matter?
  • If you’re a choice mom, do you have any lingering bad feelings about not finding The One in time?
  • If you’re the child of a choice mom, how do you feel about fathers?

Photo © Skydivecop – Fotolia.com

Bring on the comments

  1. Kat Wilder says:

    Nelly — I don’t think any kid is happy with divorce. They adapt; what can I say? But, at least he has two very loving households, one with me, one with his dad.

  2. Candance says:

    To greatmumoftwofuturefathers, men from single mothers are full of issues. I ended up as a single mother against my will because my ex-boyfriend son of a single mother by choice abandoned me and his daughter after swearing that he would be the greatest father on earth because not having a father made him want to be a good father more than anything. When my daughter was born he never showed up at the hospital, and one week after he told me he didn’t want anythign to do with us anymore. I can tell that he learned pretty good the importance of men in childrearing from his mother. I think the best that you can do is keep you future fathers away from women who actually want a family.

  3. Not a Mom says:

    Candace,

    Wow. Harsh much? Just because you got a dud doesn’t mean sons of single moms are all going to bail on future families.

    Way to generalize!

  4. Liz says:

    “I wonder what your kids will say one day … I sure do hope that they feel like you do.”

    As do I.

  5. KC says:

    Don’t worry Candace,,,

    It only lasts about a week… then the period comes and the pressure eases…. and you’ll be good as knew again…! LOL
    .-= KC´s last blog ..Memorial Day weekend =-.

  6. Nelly says:

    Kat,
    I’m not really sure how to phrase this and I’m not trying to be sarcastic.

    Do you think it would have been in your child’s best interest to never have been born if you knew you’d eventually end up getting divorced?

    I can’t speak for every choicemom, but I can say that the family I come from is incredibly supportive and filled with loving men. I think any child would be very lucky to be part of the clan. So yes, I think it would be in any child’s best interest to be raised by me and be part of my family. It’s a happy life with lots of good people around.

    I’m incredibly in tuned to what is in a child’s best interest. I’m 37 but thought I needed to save some money before I even thought about having a child. So I left I job I really liked for a higher paying one, where I will work for a year. I realize it means I have a year less fertility left. So it’s definitely not all about me. I am willing to risk not having children for something I think would be detrimental to a child’s well-being.

    On the other hand, I really don’t think it is detrimental to a child to be raised by one parent. Maybe two is better (if they are both good parents), but one loving and responsible parent is capable of raising a loving and responsible child. On the other hand, maybe two isn’t better… it’s just what we’re used to.

    Honestly, I am not someone who is tied to the idea that I must have a biological child but I can understand why some women are. It’s incredibly difficult and expensive to adopt any of those waiting children and that’s a real problem with our system.

  7. Kat Wilder says:

    Mom says it's in a child's interest to be born, not the parents' interest. WTF? http://tinyurl.com/2wyv8a4

  8. Kat Wilder says:

    Nelly, I appreciate your comments and thoughts, but there seems to be a major disconnect and we might have to let it go at that.

    Regardless of how my marriage ended up — in divorce — (and since you are are specifically talking about my situation, I will limit it to that) my child was born into a family that had a father and a mother. And, hey, he still has a father and a mother. We are not an intact under-one-roof family, but he has a mother and a father!

    Whatever child you or any other choice mom is planning to have will not have a father when he/she pops out (and maybe forever, who knows?) He/she will have — uncles, godfathers, grandparents, teachers, role models and a lot of other totally cool people. But no one who answers to, “Dad.”

    That’s where we differ, and I guess we will continue to differ.

    And I get that adoption is expensive and problematic. But if you want “easy,” please don’t have a kid, because as wonderful as they are — and they are! — they, too, are expensive, problematic and anything but “easy.” So are husbands and (I guess) wives … In fact, so is just about anything worth having.

    Good luck.

  9. Julie says:

    Kat,
    there are a few points you bring up that I take offense with and would like to reply to:
    1) why is it “OK” for adopted children to have just one parent but apparently not for biological children? I have heard this several times and find this outrageous and highly offensive. Because they already don’t have parents they’re somehow ok to be raised by a single parent? But “real” biological children deserve better? Or is it that only married people deserve to have biological children, because they are -again- somehow more special than adopted ones? No matter how you turn this, I find it an unacceptable statement.
    2) you make very generic statements about a vastly diverse group. Choice Moms come in all colors, shapes, and situations. Yes, there are divorced and separated (more rarely widowed) moms who desire another child or a sibling for their child/ren. Yes, there are single moms who CHOOSE to adopt or foster-adopt. If they consider themselves a choice mom and find support in this group, who are we -including you- to say no you don’t belong here? Choice moms share a certain aspect of their motherhood, it doesn’t mean they all have the same curriculum in all other aspects of their personal life.
    3) Your paragraph about the man-haters is another such generic statements. One could reasonably argue that all divorced women must be man-haters – you’d think they have a good reason. Why do you describe men as “losers, playas, jerks, Peter Pans, commitmentphobes” only? What about an intelligent woman who has dated well-educated, successful, honest and commitment-ready guys who still just were not the right match? I could argue that many choice moms in this situation are just too smart to marry someone “nice” if they know this isn’t going to last anyways … or maybe they divorce him BEFORE brining children into a family which is going to break up sooner or later anyways. That scenario doesn’t seem to exist in your concept of choice moms. Sadly.
    4) Finally, I’d like to find out why you think that the child of a choice mom will NEVER have a dad? Because somehow choice moms are disqualified from dating? When you got divorced, did your friends say oh poor you, you’ll now be single for the rest of your life? Isn’t that up to you, and why would it be any different for a choice mom? If I’m a choice mom at 40, I’m going to also live the next 40 years single, because … That’s just a pretty ridiculous assumption to make. It might not be on top of the priority list (because that spot is taken by the children!) but that doesn’t mean a choice mom is now damned to celibacy until eternity either. Just like for any divorced, separated or widowed mom, it’s the mom’s choice.

    And finally, you are asking: what is in the child’s best interest? According to a recent study, the more healthy, nurturing people a child grows up with, the better for the child. Maybe because that’s how children have grown up for the past thousands of years … it doesn’t mention mom or dad, it doesn’t mention 50% to be male, it doesn’t mention biological. It mentions the more loving, close relationships, the better. If we really are to care about the child’s best interest, we need to leave our outdated moral ideas behind – because they’re based on a random moral idea and NOT on the child’s best interest.

  10. Kat Wilder says:

    Julie — thanks for commenting.
    I will number my answers according to yours:

    1. It isn’t a matter of whether couples are special. Many couples adopt and many more use donor sperm. It’s a matter of what’s in child’s best interest; I believe that would include a dad.

    2. I am not defining what a choice mom is. I quoted Ms. Choice Mom herself, Mikki, on what a choice mom is — she coined the phrase, she set the parameters. Don’t shoot the messenger, OK? If you have an issue with what a choice mom is, go to ChoiceMom.org and tell that to Mikki yourself. Whew!

    3. I didn’t call Choice Moms man-haters. Read what I wrote. And I don’t think anyone should marry someone who isn’t “right” and with whom the relationship isn’t going to last; that’s just stupid. All I’m asking is — do fathers matter? I think they do.

    As for your study (who was behind it? what agenda? how large a sample?), sure — the more people who love and nurture our children the better. Doh on that. But I have yet to hear anyone say, or any study that proves, that not having a father is in a child’s best interest. You haven’t convinced me either, but nice try.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  11. Denise says:

    Kat

    Honestly, I don’t think that it is our responsibility to “convince” you of anything. Obviously, you have your mind made up and feel that it is essential for a child to have both a mother and a father from Day 1.

    Ideally, in a perfect world, yes. Every single child would have two loving parents who love them and live with them and who love each other. I really don’t think anyone would dispute that.

    But that is the ideal. In the REAL world, shit happens. People get divorced (as YOU KNOW and divorce has a very negative impact on kids), people don’t always find the right partner in “time” (and you yourself said that you should not just marry “anyone” as that would be stupid), etc. etc.

    You do the best you can with the time, situation and resources that you have. I really don’t think it is productive or useful to keep asking – Are dads relevant? Obviously, they are but it is very simplistic and naieve to assume that everyone will fall in love with the RIGHT person at EXACTLY the right time, will reproduce at the RIGHT time and will live happily ever after.

    Get real – that sounds like a fairy tale for most of us!!

  12. Kat Wilder says:

    Denise — you are very right, no one has to convince me of anything. I’m done making babies, anyway, and I am just one small voice among millions; I don’t matter much except to my small circle of loved ones and my co-workers, who bitch when I take time off and they have to do my work and theirs. But, as you say, “Obviously, (dads) are ” relevant. So, why encourage the birth of more kids with no fathers?

    Yes, it is simplistic and naive to think our lives will be happily-ever-after perfect and that we will get what we want at the time we want it in the way we want it; only little kids believe that, and when reality hits, we all take it hard. You mean we can’t?!? And then there are some who continue to believe they should have whatever they want (just because they can) … kinda like women who believe they should have children without fathers even though it’s not in the child’s best interest. As the Advice Goddess asks — what if we can’t have it all? That’s a question I haven’t heard a choice mom address.

  13. Jen says:

    Hi Kat – things may be different where you live, but in Australia a single woman can’t adopt at all. Period! So to be able to have a child on my own at all, going down the donor sperm option is my only choice.

    Would I have loved to have met a wonderful man and get married and had babies that way – absolutely. Do I think that it is the best interest of my child to go and marry someone I don’t love or think I can spend the rest of my life with, just so my baby can have a “real” dad – definitely not. I plan to surround my child with lots of wonderful male friends and family, and who knows, with no time limit on it (like having a baby), maybe I’ll meet that right guy in the future too.

    I have many broken marriages around me through friends and family, with bitter custody battles that are terribly difficult on the kids – I’m not prepared to subject my child to that.

  14. Denise says:

    Kat,

    I am done after this because as I say, it is not my job to “convince” anyone of anything.

    Personally, I neither discourage NOR encourage people to follow my lifestyle. I am an adult in a free society living my life and other people are free to live as they see fit. Period.

    And who are YOU or anyone to say exactly what is or is not in a child’s best interest?? Seems rather arrogant if you ask me. Plus, every child is different so again very simplistic statement.

    Anyways, I am done. I have my life to live and bigger fish to fry. Sounds as though you have some sort of an axe to grind against choice moms which I don’t think is too emotionally healthy. Have you ever heard of the expression – LIVE AND LET LIVE??

  15. Kat Wilder says:

    Denise — who am I? I am a co-parenting divorced mother of a son — almost a man — whom I don’t wish to see marginalized in society as not being relevant. I also am a child, the daughter of a very imperfect but still loved and appreciated father and mother. If men didn’t matter in the equation, we would be reproducing asexually, know what I mean?

  16. KC says:

    Kat, It’s about time that you got on a topic that brought on some SERIOUS discussion!!
    Just mention Women and Babies and oh ya… the not present father and you have a recipe for a good topic!
    I love it when you stir it up !
    .-= KC´s last blog ..Memorial Day weekend =-.

  17. Kat Wilder says:

    Honestly, KC, I had no friggin’ idea!
    Not that I’m an innocent ….

  18. Jen says:

    Kat says “the man and woman (and, hopefully for all one day, man and man and woman and woman) create the marriage we want, the relationships we want.” … “Have you looked at “society” lately? Do you really want to live that way? I don’t! Let’s own our own behaviors!”

    If I could create a perfect (or let’s say good, for arguments sake) marriage all by myself I would. Last time I checked it took two people and I cannot make another person do anything. You, as a divorced woman, should understand that.

    Do I want to live the way society currently is? No, that’s why I am working to become a single mother by choice. I am not going to try justifying my decision (it was way more than just a choice) to you. But do I think this will be in the best interest of my future child/ren? Yes, I do.

    And I feel you must have found one place where Mikki “defined” a choice mom to fit your narrow view. But if you look around her website, or attend one of her conferences, or have a conversations with her, you will see she fully includes mothers by fostering and adopting as choice moms.

  19. Kat Wilder says:

    Jen — I didn’t go searching to find Mikki’s definition that fits “my” narrow view; I wanted to see how choice moms define themselves and when I googled it, that’s what I found. Now i see on her Web site that she defines it as: a single woman who proactively decides to become the best mother she can, through adoption or conception.

    OK. that clears up that issue, I guess.

    I applaud anyone who adopts and/or fosters a child who needs a family and love. Who wouldn’t? Still doesn’t change how I — and a lot of people — feel about women birthing babies without a father. It’s not in a child’s best interest and never will be. I find it very, very telling that on Mikki’s Web site, she answers the question, What is the biggest concern of women who are considering Choice Motherhood? this way: “For many women I’ve talked to, it’s purely financial.” I find that curious, as I would think, if women were truly putting their kid’s interest first, the first and biggest concern would be — how well do children do without a father? What is the long-term psychological impact?

    Then my question would be — am I emotionally strong enough to handle this?

    I harbor no ill will toward choice mothers whose babies are already born; I just don’t understand why anyone would encourage more choice mothers as if it were the greatest discovery since cocoa beans. Jen, guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m OK with that.

  20. Liz says:

    “Still doesn’t change how I — and a lot of people — feel about women birthing babies without a father. It’s not in a child’s best interest and never will be. ”

    You’ve been asking us to prove that it is in the child’s best interest and ignoring everything we say since it is only anecdotal.

    Where is you scientific evidence that it isn’t in a child’s best interest to be born without a father? I won’t accept studies done on low income teenage moms as I’m not in that category. Show me the studies done on financially and emotionally stable women who have raised children without fathers.

  21. Kat Wilder says:

    Good question, Liz — I don’t have any “scientific evidence,” and as far as I know, no one has asked the children of choice moms who birthed children how they feel growing up without a dad (except a study or two that come from rather biased sources — pro and con — so I have my doubts)

    I’m not ignoring what anyone is saying here; but all I hear is how it suits the mother because …. No one here or on Mikki’s site or anywhere is saying what the kids themselves say about being fatherless. Do they like it? Do they wonder what it’s like to have a dad? Do they wish they had one?

    All that said, I do know many teens and adults who have experienced the loss and/or abandonment of mothers and/or fathers, as I’m sure you do — there is always something missing, even if they had one very loving, attentive, caring, giving parent. The pain lasts a long time, and sometimes never goes away.

    Now, will kids who grew up with no father at all feel a similar absence? Maybe not; they don’t even know what they’re missing. But if the world at large has families with mothers and fathers — even if divorced, even if one has died, even if one’s in jail or rehab, even if one has moved away, and even if some are intact nuclear families, I have to guess (yes guessing, but with having done a lot of reading about child development) that there will be some recourse.

    All the financially and emotionally stable and healthy mothers in the world — even if they have done a great job of parenting, and I don’t doubt that many can’t — still … still … cannot offer what a mother AND a father can offer. Fathers offer a lot to their kids (I’ve done a lot of reading on that, too) — why deny your child of that? I believe fathers are not irrelevant. We need their DNA and ours to make a kid; there’s a clue right there.

  22. Julie says:

    Kat,

    I had to LOL as you dodged the adoption question, I think you are well aware what I meant. If you think a dad is in the child’s best interest, then this applies to all children equally, adopted and not.
    As for Mikki’s definition, her reply to you on her blog is pretty clear. Just because she didn’t reply HERE doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Doesn’t make you look so good ;-(

    You seem to be concerned that your son – just because he’s a man, soon – might be marginalized in his role as father. But I think that’s really up to you and how you and his dad have raised him. People live their lives, choice moms, married moms, people who opt not to have children, etc … and your son, just like everyone individually, will create the life HE wants and the relationships HE wants. I know many awesome dads and some really bad ones. It’ll be his choice to become the dad he wants to be.

    BTW, if you google this study I mention it’ll be easy to find, it was on cnn less than 2 months ago, I think. You might not like the findings too much though …

  23. [...] Kat Wilder – “Are Fathers Irrelevant?” [...]

  24. Kat Wilder says:

    Julie — where’s the link to the study? I’d love to see it.

    Now, now, now, don’t be testy ;-) — I did respond on Mikki’s web site; last time I checked, she had not approved it (she, as I, has to moderate a comment first).

    I didn’t dodge the adoption question — many parents adopt kids; I know quite a few around these parts. Wonderful kids — who also happen to have been born already; they existed already. Would it be in an adoptive/foster child’s best interests to have a mom and a dad? Sure! But, wouldn’t it be nice for that child to have someone, anyone? But, nah, let’s just leave that child— who did not ask to be born, BTW — in the orphanage or some cold governmental service while a woman births her own baby because she absolutely can’t live without a kid. And why must it be a biological child? Oh, yes, I forgot — because it’s in the yet-unborn “child’s best interest …” Yeah, right.

    And, I had to LOL when you say about my son: But I think that’s really up to you and how you and his dad have raised him.

    Well, isn’t that what I’ve been saying all along? Yes — dads count. Even the not so great dads, because that child is half of his genetic material.

    Now, are dads irrelevant?

  25. Zandra says:

    Kat, I am a choice mom and my daughter is 26. I think that you are making the assumption that because we are choice mothers we hate men and we think that fathers are irrelevant. I don’t think that fathers are irrelevant, a great involved father is wonderful. Unfortunately, there is a big majority of men that do not want to have children, that do not care about the children, and many men are deadbeat dads. If a woman makes a conscious decision to bring a child into this world, is prepared for it, educated, has a great support system and is able to help her child and support her child through all possible issues, yes it is in the child’s best interest regardless of marital status. I don’t think it is in the best interest of ahy child to bring it to an abusive relationship or to a bad marriage because what the child is going to learn is negative patterns.

    What really matters is the quality of the parenting not the quantity. My daughter has a closest relationship with her uncle and her Godfather than what many children have with their own fathers because they never see their father. My daughter is getting married next year, I can assure you that if I would had thought her or if she would had learn from me that fathers are irrelevant she wouldn’t be getting married.

    Everything boils down to good parenting. If you are bringing a child to the world for the best, then it is in the best interest of the child. And as to your son, if I were you I wouldn’t be worried. I am more than sure that if you thought him to be responsible and he is a good man and he really wants to start a family, and he wants to be a dedicated father, and he is respectful, affectionate and good with women, I bet that he will have more than enough women chasing him to marry him. Because what women want is good responsible men that want to start a family, and guess what, there aren’t many of those and the few that are like that are all married by 30. Perhaps that is why the number of choice moms is raising, not because we are encouraging anybody but because men don’t step up to the plate.

  26. Kat Wilder says:

    Zandra — congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming marriage; hope it’s a long and happy one.

    I know you mean well, but when anyone brings up the “better than …” argument, I roll my eyes just like my teen does. Of course it’s “better than”; but that’s not the issue, and everyone makes it out as if those are the only two choices. Excuse me, but … BS!

    Good parenting is essential. But, may I ask you — have you asked your daughter how she feels about having no dad? What has she said? Would she be willing to comment here?

    And for the record, I did not say that choice moms hate men; I did, however, wonder if some of them felt a bit bitter that they hadn’t met a man “up to the job” of committing. And, you know, Mikki said some women do. I don’t feel a need to shove that in anyone’s face, but it does speak for itself.

    As for men not stepping up to the plate — I don’t buy it. Some men aren’t interested in having kids, that’s true. But many women aren’t either. And other women are, well, weird. “Marry Him’s!” Lori Gottlieb rejects a man because of his name — his name!!!!; my friend, a wonderful handsome man who wants kids who’s a teacher, gets rejected by women because he doesn’t make enough money; Levi writes on his MySpace that he’s not interested in kids, but he and Bristol get pregnant anyway — how many women stay/have babies with men who make it clear that they either don’t want kids or are ambivalent about having them? C’mon!; a woman commenting here says “many choice moms in this situation are just too smart to marry someone “nice” if they know this isn’t going to last anyways …” — exactly, but why are you dating/living with a noncommittal nice guy (hey, send him my way; I know a lot of divorcees looking for nice guys!) if you’re looking for a life partner?

    My two questions: are dads irrelevant? No, they’re not.
    The other one, borrowed from the Advice Goddess: what if we can’t have it all? Well, what if?

  27. greatmumoftwofuturefathers says:

    I answered your question very explicitly about whether its in the childs best interests to be born with or without a father. Namely, that it is, because being born is a good thing.
    You can make an argument that a child is better off with a father, if there is a choice between having one or not. I would say, it depends on the father. But what you cannot say, is that a child is better off not existing, than existing without a father.
    This is what you are trying to argue and it makes no sense. These are two different situations.
    The only time your argument would hold sway, is if you start from the premise that life is not a good thing in itself.

    We can agree to disagree on that. I hold a very deep belief on the inherent value of life, a belief that you dont seem to share.

    (I would be careful about what kind of amoral situations your belief could lead to-your belief that life is not intrinsically valuable)

  28. Kat Wilder says:

    I agree, Great Mum — being born is very nice. I’m happy I’m here. But if I weren’t here, if I had never been born, well, I wouldn’t know, now would I?

    Just sayin’ …

  29. Kat Wilder says:

    Julie — well, since my response on Friday still has not been approved on ChoiceMoms.org (but Zandra’s, which was posted today, June 6, two days’ after I responded, has been … hmm … I will post it here:

    ChoiceMoms.org: Thank you!

    From:
    Kat Wilder
    .
    June 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Name: Kat Wilder
    Email: katzwild@sbcglobal.net
    http://katwilder.com

    Jane — I would very much like to write an article about how how unhappily married people should not be allowed to have children; actually, I have touched on that quite a bit in the past in my blog. People often get married and have kids for all the wrong reasons! And I couldn’t agree more with you, that not all children are as fortunate as to have parents who really, really want them. I do also agree that good parents are good for kids.

    But when you look at some of the new neurological research on men’s brains, fatherhood is really good for men, and the kids benefit from that, too. We’re denying men and children things that even the best mothering and all the male role models in the world can’t quite match.

    Nothing is perfect — being married, being single, being a parent, being childfree. But in my experience, those whose fathers were missing in their lives suffer, some a lot, same as those whose moms are missing. I really would love to hear from the kids what they think about it.

    Jennifer — You say you’ve “come to the conclusion that anyone having children is doing so for “selfish” reasons (I agree!) or by accident (there are no such things as accidents; you have sex, you can get pregnant‚ that’s not an accident. that’s called biology, and people should know that so they don’t get surprised when it happens, even with protection). I don’t believe that is a bad thing.” No, I guess not if we’re trying to keep the human race going. But you lose me on this — “Should someone be prepared by having 2 parents in the home before having a child…maybe, it depends on the person.” That’s putting the person’s — aka the adult — needs before the unborn child’s. As I say to Jane above, I do believe most if not all children want a mom and dad, not a mom and a sperm donor.

    Julia — I am citing studies, and the studies give a person’s race and the dominant race of single moms in the past has been black, I’m not racist by citing facts (and, I’m not racist, period!) It is often choice moms themselves who point out how they are different from the welfare moms of the past, and that to me has shades of elitism — especially if, as most of the choice moms who have chimed in, keep insisting that good mothers make good families — so were the welfare mothers of past studies not good mothers? (and, yes, I know there are women of color who are choice moms).

    As I say, I would love to see studies — and I am sure they are being conducted as we discuss this — on what the children of choice moms feel about being raised without dads. I hope they are all as OK with it as their moms are. Really, I do hope that.

    Your comment has been sent. As soon as it is approved, it will become visible on this post.

  30. nekochan says:

    Wooo really good discussion you started Kat! I’m enjoying reading all this, seems like when you mention the word father to most single moms they explode…I wonder why

  31. Julie says:

    Kat, the reason why I mentioned your son’s dad is because you mentioned you are divorced and his dad is involved – that’s why. You seem surprised I actually read your blog, LOL. And if I had said YOU only you would have replied oh, his dad is there as well. You can’t have it both ways.

    The question about the adopted children is simple: I happen to believe that just because they’re already here, as you say, they don’t deserve less or more or different than any other child, born or not. If you think they should be taken care of first, then this applies to ALL parents not just singles. You clearly believe that raising a child in a one-parent family is NOT in the child’s best interest; so when you suggest they should adopt, you are consequently saying that having a “worse” situation is quite OK for adopted children. And I think that’s a horrible and hateful statement. That’s all.

    This could be such an interesting conversation but it’s a shame you seem so territorial and competitive. Everyone is not out for you to convince you of anything – you have your beliefs and you stick with them, that’s your choice. But if you blog and invite opinions, only to declare they’re not good enough for you anyways, it kind of defeats the purpose a bit. Anyway, it’s your blog obviously, your choice.

    Oh, since you mentioned the need for DNA … that one isn’t such a great case for involved dads :-( Most species on earth reproduce through “random” combination of DNA, this is actually what makes evolution possible. But, only very few species are monogamous or have involved father roles.

    You sure didn’t like the loooong-term study published today that said that children of lesbian parents fared quite a bit BETTER than those of heterosexual parents, after adjustment for social factors etc. Lots of food for thought there – for those who want to think, not just argue.

  32. Kat Wilder says:

    Julie — Hmm, well, clearly we have a miscommunication about why you mentioned my son’s dad; I assumed you were back-handedly acknowledging that he — and thus, all dads — mattered, too. Maybe I misread that. Sorry.

    And of course I would expect you to read my blog — all intelligent people would! ;-)

    I jest; but, sure, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty — I do not believe (nor have I ever said) that raising a child in a one-parent family is NOT in the child’s best interest. Sometimes, things happen, and a someone becomes a single parent (and in some circles I might be considered one and in others I might not. I share custody — does that make me a single mom? I’m not sure — the labels get very confusing…) I say I’m a divorced mom who is co-parenting, but most of society would chalk me up as a single mom and my kid’s dad as a single dad. Whatever.

    I think bringing a child into the world with no father is NOT in the child’s best interest (nor would it be if it were a choice dad, bringing a child into the world with no mom). Adopting a child, whether you’re single or not, is a good thing — the child already exists and the child needs a family, whatever that family looks like. You’re no different that any other single-parent household.

    What I hear from choice moms is that they really want to have a child. OK, I get that. So, if there are children who need a mom, maybe that’s the first place to look (and, many choice moms do adopt, as do many couples). Because if you’re looking to birth a child without a father as opposed to adopting one who needs a family, then it seems as if there’s some other motivation going on that isn’t about having “a” child but “my” child.

    If we are taking about a child’s best interest, then a child who already exists needs a family — that’s in his/her best interest.

    A child who is not yet born does not have the same needs; in fact, it has NO needs at all. It doesn’t even exist! Is that not clear?

    I don’t need anyone — aka the moms — to convince me that what they’re doing is OK or not, nor does any choice mom feel she needs to “sway me” — I am unswayable because I believe dads matter. And, I would like to know if the kids feel that way, too. I would love to hear from the kids, and that’s one thing the studies I’ve seen — even the latest one about lesbian moms (and, I do not put gays/lesbians in the same category as choice moms — it is different for very obvious reasons) don’t address.

    The studies talk about how the kids have great self-esteem and etc., and I applaud that. Who wouldn’t? I would be a fool to deny the fact that there are many kids being raised in single-parent households; I am happy to know that those children are doing well, despite whatever hardships exist. Just like I read studies about children of divorce and applaud when divorced parents work out their crap to give their kids the best — as they should! They brought those kids into the world — give them what they need!

    But, is anyone asking the children of choice moms (NOT single by divorce/widowhood moms or dads) — how do you feel about not having a father? Would you like to have had a father? What have you gained/lost by not having a father?

    As far as I can tell — and I have e-mailed researchers who have conducted these studies — no one has.

    My question is, why not? Why is no one asking what they think about being born without a dad?

    Which gets back to my question — are fathers irrelevant? Maybe dads are irrelevant for the choice moms; what about their kids?

    Do you have an answer? I’d really like to know.

    And if that is not thinking, I don’t know what is. I am thinking. About the kids. I want to know how they feel. Why will no one talk about that? What do you think, Julie?

  33. nekochan says:

    “You sure didn’t like the loooong-term study published today that said that children of lesbian parents fared quite a bit BETTER than those of heterosexual parents, after adjustment for social factors etc. Lots of food for thought there – for those who want to think, not just argue”

    Sure you didn’t read anything but the information on the newspaper. If you read the whole report you will find that questionnaires went, at various points in the study, to both mothers and children but the conclusion about how well adjusted the children were, was based entirely on the reports of their mothers; and this study had a second major problem recognized by the authors the two groups were not properly matched. In consequence this study is something not to be relied on.