Part Three- a Message to the Women: A Conversation About Female-Male Relationships in the Black Community

I’m sure that most of you expected me to lash out and badmouth the men in yesterday’s post. You were probably expecting the “angry black woman” to come out, full steam, head twirling, and eyes rolling.

Didn’t I say to stop subscribing to stereotypes and labels?

Didn’t I say that I’m trying to do my part to help with my healing, my family’s healing, and the healing of the community that I love?

So no, no throwing rocks or punches. Tough love doesn’t create wounds. We need to heal these wounds and we need to stop creating more. We need to stop destroying our families. We need to stop the madness. It’s killing us. Yesterday I spoke to and with the men. Today, it’s time for my sister-girls.

Today I lovingly plea to Black women that…

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Stop Being Baby Mamas

This message isn’t for all mothers, just the ones who claim the title “baby mama” and act accordingly. But in the same light, you may continue reading and find some parts of this message that speak directly to you, your actions, and the hurt and anger that you’re harboring towards the father of your child. You too should continue reading. I will tell you again, as I alluded to earlier, this conversation we’re about to have is about tough love. It’s about pulling back the layers and getting to the real.  So don’t get mad and start talking about “pulling up” on me. This isn’t an attack against you, this is about us attacking and healing the toxins that plague you and your relationships with our men.

Are you ready? Let’s do this…

Ladies, you are mothers. Act like mothers and not like pimps of your children.

Stop using them as pawns in your sick, twisted game. This is not chess, this is their life.

How much is your child worth to you?

Oh their father can see them if he comes and has sex with you?

Sounds like pimping and pandering.

Oh their father can visit with the child, but only if he gives you $500.

Daddy can’t see his child unless he’s paying you money.

Daddy can’t see his child unless he’s giving mommy some sweet loving.

So now you have evolved from the protector of this child, to its pimp.

Ouch.

Don’t be mad at me for calling it as I see it.

You decided to attach a dollar amount to your child. You decided to limit your baby’s worth to a roll in the hay with you. What does your sexual gratification have to do with your child spending quality time with their father?

So what, things didn’t go as planned with this man you chose to get pregnant by. He was good enough to get pregnant by but now he’s not good enough to raise a child with in a co-parenting relationship? What changed?

Are you focused on your child or on you?

You can’t now be concerned with this man’s character. If it’s an issue of safety for your child then you would never allow him to see the child after paying you money or giving you sex.

Besides…

You weren’t concerned about his lifestyle when the two of you were a couple, or hooked up, but now that you’re not a couple—now you have issues with his lifestyle. Now you feel that he’s not fit to be around your child, or left alone with your child, or should be allowed to keep your child overnight—and definitely not at his now-unsafe home. But if the two of you were a couple then he would be deemed fit and acceptable.

Is that correct?

Are you focused on your child or on you?

Your Anger is Toxic to You and Your Child

For whatever reason the two of you aren’t together as a couple. But the two of you made a decision that resulted in the conception and birth of a child. Your child. His child. You are both parents to a child.

Your hurt and anger is directed at the father of your child but the backsplash will always hurt your child. Your venom will always poison your child—and even if you succeed at turning your child against their father, they will always yearn to be with him, to know him—because he is a part of them and they are a part of him. Your child would not be here without their father. It is not possible, with the exception of immaculate conception, for a child to be conceived without sperm.

And let’s be clear, if your child was an immaculate conception you most definitely would lose in the power struggle with God. So in my Kendrick Lamar voice, “Sit down. Be humble“.

You’re hurt and angry. You either still want to be with this man and he doesn’t want to be with you or he cheated on you and you can’t forgive him, or you were never a couple to begin with but you resent him for not being willing or available to more to you. No matter the reason, while you’re busy plotting and planning on how to hurt him you’re beating up on yourself. And as I mentioned earlier, the backsplash will always hurt your child.

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Stop trying to hurt your child’s father. Hurting him hurts your child.

We as women cry out about the absent fathers. How many of us are creating them?

How many of us are pushing men away from their children and then unknowingly showing our children how not to be there for their own children?

What You Are Teaching Your Child

You are the example of a woman, mother, girlfriend, and wife. You are the first and most present image that your child will see.

If you have a son, he will learn from watching and listening to you about how to speak to and treat women. He will learn from you what to expect from a woman, girlfriend, wife, and the mother of his child. If all he hears about his father’s girlfriend or wife is negativity from your mouth, he will grow up to not only disrespect her and other women—but possibly, even you.

If all he sees and hears is “you’re just like your raggedy daddy” then guess what? He will grow up to be that image and he will grow up to treat women just like you said his raggedy daddy treated you. “Uugh you look just like your no-good daddy” you have told your child everything that they need to know about you and how you see their father, and—your child.

You look at your child and you see their father, and the rage builds up, and you unknowingly take it out on your child.

Trying to hurt their daddy hurts your child.

If you have a daughter, she will learn from watching and listening to you about how to speak to and treat men. She will grow to respect, admire, appreciate, support, and encourage them. Or she will grow up learning how to demean, emasculate, and have a sense of entitlement towards men.

From you she will learn what it means to be a woman, mother, girlfriend, and wife. You will either teach her how to be a queen or a rat, regal or ratchet, dignified or ignorant, honorable or scandalous, a wife or a side piece, interdependent or co-dependent (or completely dependent).

You will teach her how to love or how to hate.

From you she will learn the worth of her body and mind. From you she will learn how to navigate the treacherous sexist waters of society. She will learn how to walk proudly as a Black woman, confident in her intelligence and capabilities to pursue the career of her dreams—or not.

From you she will learn how to be strong, brave, gentle, tender, patient, and determined–or she will learn how to be a bully, cowardly, harsh and abrasive, impatient, vindictive, and cynical. She will learn how to forgive or hold grudges, lift up or tear down other people, be inclusive or judgmental.

From you she will learn the basics that will form the foundation that will either elevate her or keep her down. You are her first and lasting example of all which is good and bad, right and wrong, beautiful and ugly.

If You Have Nothing Good to Say Then Say Nothing, But at Least Try This…

Nothing but good should come from your mouth as it relates and pertains to the father of your child—that is of course, in the presence of your child (near or far). If it is possible for your child to hear, see, or feel negativity from you directed to their father, then you need to walk away.

Don’t badmouth your child’s father to, near, or around your child.

Your words about him are a direct reflection of how your child thinks you see and feel about them.

Rather than say, “your daddy and I aren’t together because he did __________” why not be the mature, dignified person that you want your child to be, and say, “sometimes people grow apart, and mommy and daddy want different things in our lives, but that doesn’t change the fact that we both love you and want the best for you. So we’re working together as a team for you. We’re team _____(insert your child’s name)”.

The first approach attacks and places blame—hurting your child. The second approach is uplifting and shows your child that their parents love them and respect each other. Their father could have done something to hurt you and cause the two of you from no longer being together, but how does sharing this information with your child help and support them? How does making daddy the enemy make your child feel better about not having a home where mommy, daddy, and child live, eat, and play together?

Please remember, the man was good enough to lay down with and birth a child. When you speak negatively about that man you are telling your child that a piece of them is worthless, bad, ugly, raggedy, undesirable, unloving. You are speaking into your child what your child can become.

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Work With Him

Be a mother. Be a woman. Little girls run around being petty and simple. A grown woman holds her own and she rocks her crown, understanding that not everyone can do what she does, with such brilliance— and look good doing it.

That means this—if you knew that man was financially broke when you met him, don’t try punishing him financially so that he can end up in jail over-and-over-and-over again because you already know he can’t afford child support and legal fees.

Work with him.

It’s not his fault you picked a broke man to have a baby with. You knew when you met him that he couldn’t afford to take care of you and a baby, or multiple babies.

Why break him? Why destroy his spirit? Why kick him farther down? Why ride his back and tell him what society tells him every day?

Understand, if he’s “worthless”, then what are you?

Remember, he didn’t just choose you, you chose him. You chose him to have a piece of you that you were supposed to reserve. You chose to give him something precious and priceless. So if he’s “worthless”, then what are you?

But let me also stop the presses. Stop the presses!!!

No Gold Digging. What Did I Say About Pimping?

Those of you who have now come out of hiding as gold diggers and circumstance capitalizers, don’t you dare pimp out your children trying to chase that mighty dollar from your more financially stable “baby daddy”.

Just because he has the money to take care of you and your child, the two of you are not a couple—so his only responsibility is to care for that child. Don’t start talking about “what I’m accustomed to” because you weren’t accustomed to that lifestyle before you met him, and if you were, then you should have the financial means to pull your share of the weight as it relates to caring for you and your child’s needs.

Don’t pimp your child for your desired lifestyle.

What does your child need?

Food, clothing, hygiene supplies, school supplies (if old enough), insurance (medical, dental, vision, and life), incidentals, and to be cared for and educated.

That does not include YOUR clothes, hair, hair appointments, nail appointments, spa days, jewelry and accessories, fitness center membership, personal trainer fees, cosmetic surgeries, insurance, incidentals, or education.

YOU have to take care of YOU boo! You say that you’re a boss, then do boss things.

Here’s Something to Consider

If you can’t personally afford to split the costs with your child’s father on your child’s clothing, supplies, insurance, education, and incidentals—then you need to reconsider your budget.

You may need to re-read that sentence again.

Don’t arrogantly assume and expect for your child’s father to cover all of these things AND keep the roof over your head, AND keep you in a fancy car, AND anything else that you can think of.

You’re not the nanny, you’re the mommy. The nanny gets paid to care for the child. Mommy doesn’t.

Stop pimping out your child.

And while I’m on the pimping of your child. I’m sure that you read yesterday’s post when I was speaking to the men that they should not allow money and sex to be exchanged as a way for them to gain access to you. You need to stop pimping your child using money and sex to get your “fix”. The father of your child should never have to give you money to see his child. The father of your child should never have to give you sex to see his child.

He should be able to see and spend quality time with his child because it is his child.

Some Possible Solutions to Your Money Woes

If he doesn’t want to financially contribute to your child’s care and wellbeing, and no matter how many times you have tried to reason with him and work out some kind of arrangements but he still refuses, then proceed with legal actions against him so that a judge can assess his financial capability and then assess an allocated amount that he will be responsible for paying. But even when you seek legal intervention, do so with dignity and grace. Don’t demean and badmouth the father of your child. Don’t lower yourself to “baby mama” or “Mamazilla” status. Be the queen you claim to be. Be the woman and mother that you say you are.

Now, if he wants to financially contribute but can’t provide the amount that is needed or desired, work with him on other options to supplement this gap. Maybe that means that he assumes a part-time role of caregiving, where you both swap parts of your days watching your child and working at your jobs. While you’re at work he’s watching your child. When you get off of work, then you have the child, and he then goes to work. Or whatever arrangement that you come up with that helps to take the burden off you, and off of him. Maybe both of your families or friends can step in and assist with childcare.

Whatever you do always seek solutions that heal not harm.

Attacking him means you’re attacking yourself. Hurting him will hurt your child, and it will continue to hurt you.

Your child, no matter how old, is watching you. They are listening and feeling your energy. They are learning from you—the good and the bad.

I say all of this with love and deep respect. You are a queen, act like it, speak like it. Show your child the right example to live by—that things may not be perfect, but you will perfect what you have been dealt. Take those lemons and make slushies, desserts, candles, aromatherapy scents, cleaning supplies, and whatever else you can think of. You don’t need to be limited to some simple lemonade. Perfect it girlfriend!

Love your sista,

Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

      1. A person will usually be as objective as their biases will allow. Your assessments are fair and balanced. Very reasonable observations not based on pure anecdotal evidence. It’s a refreshing. Especially in the atmosphere we are in now. Furthermore, you haven’t engaged in splitting. Casting ppl as either superhuman or subhuman. You allow for both men and women access to his or her full humanity. Which is complex. Ppls humanity is complex. And when in distress ppl behave in maladaptive ways. So, you see it from both sides. Dispassionately. When ppl color there opinions with emotion it doesn’t allow for the complexity of personality and experience to be addressed. I’m sure women who engage in damaging vindictive behavior are aware that what they are doing is unhealthy. But you didn’t cast these women as evil. Which is mature if you.

        1. Thank you for clarifying. I want us to heal—wholly—so I hope to have healthy conversations like this to help with the steps towards healing. One person at a time. One family at a time. One “village” at a time. I pray we get a positive chain reaction. I’m not trying to be any more than a willing participant in the discussion. We need to heal.

  1. I wrote a piece called “Be Better, Not Bitter” and the thesis is about how to be a better co-parent, rather than a bitter co-parent. Often times women are emotional after the split and figure the only way to seek revenge on someone who broke their heart to hurt the man through breaking the relationship of the the man’s offspring. This tactic has severe consequences for all parties involved, especially the children. PTSD becomes a guide for future relationships and negatively effects interactions with strangers, family, and friends. Maturity, Peace, Communication, and Compromise is ultimately the only way we can proceed to heal hearts, minds, and souls.

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