Women in our culture have become incredibly nonchalant about raising children without a father. We have gone from seeing this as a failure compared to the traditional model (where single mothers are forced to make the best out of a bad situation) to women arguing that this is superior to raising children in an intact family. From commenter Lisa:
as a divorced mother, I’m deeply offended by this post. You have no idea what went on in my marriage, or why it ended. Nor do you have idea how my daughter has turned out. For every example of a “screwed up” child of divorce, I’ll give you 10 examples of spoiled rotten, entitled children from “normal marriages.”
Keep in mind that the criticism from most on my previous post was that I unfairly claimed that a fraction of a fraction of unwed mothers had responsibility for their own choices. The only excuse that was commonly considered to have an exception was excuse #6, and there seems to be general agreement that the excuse is bogus for either 4 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 women who would claim it. I’m all for being precise, but there is a larger point here. Tens of millions of children are being denied the benefit of growing up with their father in the home. The response from our culture ranges from a collective shrug to blaming the fathers who have been kicked out of their kid’s lives.
This all stems from our overwhelming fear of hurting women’s feelings. 50 years ago a very small percentage of women were subject to the dreaded double standard when it came to shaming unwed mothers. Our society took pity on them, and rolled back the social disapproval. Now 40% of all children in the US are born out of wedlock, and this only continues to grow (original post with more info on chart):
We did the same regarding the stigma for divorcées around the same time. As a result, a large part of the 60% of children fortunate enough to be born to married parents have their fathers kicked out of their lives by the mother some time after birth. The end result is an unprecedented pandemic of fatherless children (more info on this chart from the US Census):
The chart above actually understates the problem, because there is a lag in the data since the majority of current children were born during the lower out of wedlock birthrates of past years. It also counts children growing up with mommy’s latest man (stepfathers) as being with “both parents”. Certainly not all stepfathers are created equal, and many do everything in their power to fulfill the role of the man the mother kicked out.
I have a question for each of you. Which outraged you more, the reality of the charts above or my previous post? Are you more troubled by my making some adults uncomfortable, or the fact that millions of kids are now growing up without fathers?
More to the original point, women have demanded and been given the ability to make every conceivable choice about how, when, and by whom they become a mother. Being the one who makes the decisions is called having authority. Women now have as near total authority on the conception and raising of children as is possible. This is an incredible amount of authority, and having an incredible amount of authority comes with an incredible amount of responsibility.
Anyone who has been trusted with a very large amount of responsibility knows that it is a very heavy burden if you are taking it seriously. Yet women don’t feel this burden. Commenter Chels was outraged at the very concept that she was responsible for picking her future children’s father wisely. How could she possibly be expected to do that? Yes, this is an extremely difficult task. If women were truly embracing their responsibility here it would be a very heavy weight on them. Young women would feel a solemn sense of duty.
But for the vast majority of women this simply isn’t the case. The search for the father of their children isn’t undertaken with a solemn sense of responsibility. It is taken as a time for fun and excitement. The overriding feeling is no matter what choices they make, if there is a bad outcome it isn’t their fault. Someone else needs to take responsibility. One commenter on Reddit captured this sense perfectly. FlagonOfMead was sure that my insisting that responsibility accompany authority made me a woman hater:
I do believe the author must hate women. He is very judgmental of women and their perfectly normal choices, like the choice to have sex with men, a mutual decision which is both perfectly healthy and acceptable.
“You deserve to be abandoned as a mother because you are a slut who had sex outside of marriage” is ridiculous. Yeah, I’m sure this author loves women.
Actually I do love women. But I’m not so heartless as to not care about the nearly 2 million innocent children born each year in the US with the disadvantage of not having married parents.
How about you?
You can try to spin it all day long that these kids really benefit from not being “spoiled” by having a father in the house. I simply won’t buy it. Again, we have given women as near total authority on the matter of children as possible. Where is the feeling of responsibility?
In my post on interviewing a prospective wife, one of the sections was:
Does she see divorce as failure? Is she willing to make judgments about others who divorce?
Many women today don’t and won’t, as was made painfully clear in the discussion of the last post. Don’t overlook this when considering a wife. A woman who doesn’t feel the weight of the burden of her own immense responsibility is simply irresponsible.