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'No more baby-daddy drama'.

WHEN I first heard about the woman, I was filled with disgust and bewilderment. How could a person in this enlightened age be so cruel to innocent children? When she was dating this particular divorced, devoted father of two, she was the doting girlfriend and perfect future wife. She was affectionate, attentive and patient with the children, demonstrating during their weekend visits with their father that she would be a wonderful, nurturing stepmother.

But she and the father had barely exchanged wedding vows when her true color and personality came to the surface: She refused to allow the sobbing youngsters to ride in the limousine with their dad and her from the church to the reception hall.

Then came the complaints about the children's regular visits. "You spend too much time and money on those brats!" she whined. It then became a competition: "It's either me or those brats!" Before long, she found reasons to be away from home during those visits.

As some family and acquaintances had predicted, the marriage didn't last long. The devoted father and disillusioned husband had to make a decision--the new wife or his children. He wisely chose his children.

This disturbing story represents only one side of the Baby-Daddy Drama. On the other hand are the men who give in to the demanding, selfish new woman in their lives and neglect (and sometimes desert) their children. Too many fathers pay little, if any, child support and spend little, if any, time with their own children. Some even quit good jobs to avoid having a traceable income through which they might be tracked and forced to do the right thing. Consequently, we have thousands of Black children growing up without the benefit of a father's love and care and direction.

Women who fall in love with men who are fathers must be accepting of the intricacies and responsibilities that come with that relationship, and that includes children and other babies' mothers.

The absent, financially irresponsible father is a source of frustration for many Black women who are single mothers. Yes, some women do make mistakes and get pregnant by men who are far from good husband and father material. But these single mothers should not be relegated to a life of shame and second-class citizenry. There are countless stories of talented single mothers who have worked hard to achieve success in their personal lives and on their jobs.

That's one reason that Fantasia's hit song "Baby Mama" is resonating so powerfully nationwide. Despite criticism, mostly from men, her song has become an anthem of celebration for single mothers everywhere. As Fantasia points out in her lyrics, many women are trying to work and better themselves and make ends meet, while the fathers of their children don't give them enough money for day care and other child-rearing expenses.

These mothers deserve respect and support from the father of their children. Once the child is a reality, whether that baby was born into marriage or out of wedlock, attention must be focused on providing the best environment possible for that child to grow and excel.

If the mama/daddy baby drama is to cease, it must be with the mutual understanding that even though the parents are not together for whatever reason, they both are still responsible for the care of that child they created together. Baby-mamas and baby-daddies must come to an understanding and join forces to do what is right for the child. No more drama, please.

This goes out to all the baby-mamas and baby-daddies.
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Title Annotation:Sister Speak; stepmothers who expect their spouses to put them before their children
Author:Norment, Lynn
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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