Can Single Women Raise Boys to Become Men?

Jill Scott, Jett Hamilton Roberts, single mothers, single mothers of sons, single women raising sons, single mothers of boys, it takes a village, male role models, black masculinity, black manhood

No one raises a man alone; it takes a village. We need to make sure we include positive men in our villages, too.

I was raised in a single mother household. For the first few years of my life, it was just my mother and me. When I was nine years old, my mother decided to have another child; three years later, one more.  No, my mother didn’t teach me how to ride a bike or fix a flat tire, my uncle did. She didn’t teach me how to dress and tie my ties for formal settings, my middle school teacher/mentor did.  However, when I think back on the things my mother has taught me, I couldn’t even fit them in a 900-word article. The list of the things she has instilled in me lieu of not having a male figure in the household is endless.

This is why I found singer-actress Jill Scott’s comments interesting in this month’s EBONY Magazine featuring her and handsome son, Jett Hamilton Roberts. The issue highlights her triumphs and pitfalls of motherhood.  True to sensationalism, her teaser was tagged as “Jill Scott on being a single mom, taking on Hollywood and loving her life.” In the May 2013 issue, her quotes went viral before the magazine even dropped. She was quoted, “It’s challenging being a single mom … No matter what I do, I’ll never be a man. Ever. I can show Jett how to be a thinker, how to enjoy music or how to feel, and to conquer. But I cannot show him how to be a man.”

Parenthood isn’t easy for anyone, but apparently it’s harder for a black woman.  Statistics show that if you’re a black woman, and you want to get married, you might have a difficult time.  Almost 70 percent of black women are unmarried, and over half of black women’s marriages to black men are said to end in divorce. But what are these statistics when we are dealing with real life? Being married or living in a heteronormative household does not negate the possibility of producing offspring—planned or not—who can be abandoned by one of their parents.  There have been many studies attempting to discover the ideal situation where children thrive most.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any step-by-step instructions, and batteries aren’t included. No matter if there are two daddies, one mother, two mothers, etc.; there’s no 100 percent-guaranteed formula for a household to produce a happy, healthy child.

Women can raise sons to be good men. I’ll do you one better: women are raising sons to be good men.  I look at my mother and as fruit of her labor; I would say she did a pretty damn great job.

I can applaud Jilly from Philly’s honesty about her experience as a single mother raising her son. Even while reflecting on her recent comments, I can only reminisce to the songs she’s written and sung in the past like “The Fact Is (I Need You),” “Come See Me,” and even “How It Make You Feel.”  Although these manifestos seem allusive to her comments, I understand Jill Scott’s position that it takes a village to raise a child. She continued, “That I-can-do-it-by-myself mentality is a lie. I’m sorry if I hurt anybody’s feelings, but you cannot do it all by yourself. You need a village: some aunties, grandmoms, friends. I couldn’t do this by myself and would be a fool to think I could.” Although I find her listed village to be a bit problematic because she didn’t mention any men, I agree that parents cannot and should not do it alone. We need to make sure we include positive men in our villages, too.

I think toward the future of how my friends and my children will grow up. Our village definitely will look different from the one I grew up in, but the same influences, factors and influential members will be present. This village will have multi-degreed working professionals, homosexuals, lesbians, interracial couples and many other things I could only read about in my community. Many of the conversations my friends and I have around parenthood celebrate the underlying messages of allowing our children to be themselves and positioning so they can be.

All parents have opportunities and threats they have to overcome. Parents must recognize these obstacles and cultivate strong support systems. We have to ensure that we include people from all walks of life. It is important to stress and invite powerful male and female figures to children’s lives, regardless of gender, sexuality or race.

I never contemplate about the days of not being able to teach my daughter how to be a young woman. Even with my child having two dads (ideally), I don’t think about if my son will grow up knowing what it means to be a good man. These hypotheticals don’t bother me or cross my mind. I’m more concerned about being a great role model for my child and ensuring I have others in place to teach them things I cannot.

About Drew-Shane Daniels

Drew-Shane Daniels is the Editorial Director of MUSED Magazine Online, the digital destination for modern black gay men. He’s also a freelance writer who muses on lifestyle, cultural issues and sexuality. He’s penned pieces for VIBE Vixen, Global Grind, Clutch Magazine and Soul Train. Follow him on Twitter @drewshane.


  1. Keesha Pryce says:

    Just the simple fact that we are raising boys that are unable to be fathers is an indication that women raising boys does not work. Because a few of our men are excelling does not change the fact that so many aren’t. The stats speak for themselves. And even the ones that seem to be successful if they take
    the time and be true to themselves they will see that not having a father whether he was completely absent or just not as involved as he should have been has affected them in some way.

  2. I could easily go find some whackadoo youtube video about some radical idea. I don’t think growing babies in tubes to avoid having a biological father is something that’s going to go mainstream. This is a little paranoid/conspiracy theory at this point, imo.

  3. Tom,

    I don’t think ANYONE here is saying that children are BETTER OFF without their fathers. How is your post relevant?
    I don’t want to be Captain Obvious here but of COURSE families would be better off with both parents. But what about when that is no longer an option? When the father doesn’t want to parent anymore? Is it still our fault? Are we still ripping apart the fabric of God and ‘merica?

    The question is, since some of us don’t have a choice right now, CAN we still succeed?

    Your bitterness toward irresponsible women aside, that is the question posed. That is the question we are trying to discuss.

    No one disagrees with you that single parent households are not the ideal. You’re fighting with no one.

  4. sebhai says:

    “I have a niece who, after their daughter was born, husband walked out on them, and into the arms of a women who has two kids of her own. It was “family” that’s helped raise her daughter.”
    I tought someone said women do choose to be single mom?

    • Tom B / aka Call me done says:

      Don’t take things out of context. SOME women do choose.

      • sebhai says:

        Thanks,’SOME” is the key word here,don’t forget to use it next time.

        • Tom Brechlin says:

          Okay, now that we clarified that “some” women chose …. What is it about these women in that they believe that it’s okay to have kids without dads? What’s happen in the past 40 years that open the door allow women to think that single parenting is okay not just for the women but more importantly the kids? Even with countless statistics that show the negative results of fatherless kids, some women believe it’s okay and have actually promoted it.

          In the past 40 years, and I’ve been watching and observing and I have yet to see a man or a men’s movement push for single parenting. NO, I’m not talking about the slobs that will tip their wick in anything that’s wet, I’m talking about credible men with good standing.

          And I’ll even take this a step further. Some years ago when the father’s rights movement got off the ground and moved forward, there came a point that the various factions had to take a close look at what they were doing and who they were fighting for. I remember the arguing, the debates and how hard it was for some to give up the idea that the issue was just about fathers and the fact that they have been and continue to get the short end of the stick. The Result? The kids. Accordingly, many groups moved their focus from just fathers to “parents.” They investigated and addressed the courts as to what they were doing or not doing on behalf of the children. Dads didn’t and don’t want custody, shared or otherwise because they’re men, they want it so that the kids can have something more. The fathers rights movement IS ABOUT THE KIDS.

          In the meantime, we see some women flaunting, writing about and promoting their single motherhood.

          So with the “some” women I spoke of, why aren’t most women standing up in arms against these women?

          • Women are, Tom.

            You aren’t in the room because you’re a man but women are. In my group there are some harsh HARSH conversations with women who think they have the right to “get back out there” just because they survived their miserable marriage.
            Um, no honey. You need to suck it up, focus on your kids and figure out why you feel for that last a-hole in the first place.

            So I’m not sure what you are talking about and on the same token, are the “good” men standing up in arms against men with several baby mamas?

            Bottom line: You don’t know what kind of conversations are going on.
            Secondly, on your post above that asks when are y’all going to realize that what you’re doing ain’t working?
            I could ask the same about these men who marry/commit to women and then bail. Again, if I could use one of your phrases, it takes two to tango.

            As for women promoting single motherhood, do you have an example?

            Perhaps you are confusing supporting with promoting?

            I don’t know of any website, magazine, television show that tells women to have babies out of wedlock.
            As for writing about single parenting, I do that.
            And if you are ever bored enough to read, you’d see that I talk about how painful, difficult, lonely, stressful single parenthood is. I have male and female readers, married and single, kids and no kids.
            I don’t think any of them would say writing about being a single parent is “promoting” it. If anything I’d like to believe I have convinced a few people NOT to have children, even if you are married, because if it goes south – like you said – the KIDS are the ones who suffer,

            So again, to your original posting of your list of statistics: What, again, was the point?

            To remind us single moms that we are failures. If so, what do you want us to do? Suicide pacts? I am still really confused about what your POINT is.

            Yes there are women who get pregnant on purpose to “keep” or “catch” a man but there are men who do the same. Are you in some way saying it’s the women just mucking everything up with their crazy vaginas?
            I just have no idea what you are trying to say.

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              Read the book “Like a Virgin: How Science Is Redesigning The Rules Of Sex” perhaps you want to see the video?


              “In the past 15 years, the definition of family, marriage, and parenthood have drastically changed but with Prasad’s hopes for the future they will change even more, creating more single parent homes, more termination of “unwanted” fetuses grown in a lab, and a greater diversion away from the way God designed the family and reproduction to function in Genesis 1-3”

              Why would society even be willing to look at this as the future???

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              Article ….

              Are Women Who Have Children Through Sperm Donors Selfish?

              Picture this: You are career woman who has devoted much of your life to fulfilling your dreams in your career and moving up the corporate ladder with fierceness. You feel that you are at your peak, but there is one thing missing. Well, make that two. You want a child, but you are not in a stable or long-term relationship. What do you do? Continue to seek out that Prince Charming and hope to one day have a family before your eggs vanish? Or skip the middle man, literally, and get yourself a sperm donor?

              • Jessica Vivian says:

                Yes, this happens. I know a woman who did this….she happens to be a terrible mother.
                But I think the problem…the BIGGER problem…is that people associate having children with somehow “completing them” or being some magic ticket to happiness.

                Married couples do this constantly.

                It is a fact of life. I don’t agree with it AT ALL.

                BUT, Tom.

                What does this have to do with the original question?
                The answer isn’t SHOULD it’s CAN.

                According to your stack o’ statistics the answer is no..

          • sebhai says:

            I concur with Jessica,I’ve never seen any feminist movement that ‘promoted’ single motherhood.If you mentioning about fathers’ right and how they should able to see their children post divorce,then I have no problem with it,I probably would be the happiest in the world if ‘SOME’ fathers start to get more involved with their children’s life post divorce and all.But let’s not forget the fact some of these women are probably remarried to another man themselves,so I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to assume they are deliberately choosing single mom lifestyle on purpose.

  5. sebhai says:

    “I would, go ask your feminist elders as to what you should do. THEY set the stage for what women are faced with today. Time to take a clear look at what’s happen and why it happen.”

    I don’t see how feminism could get involved in this issue.even in a country(like mine) where feminism has a weak stronghold,there are still issues concerning deadbeat dads and single moms.Mind you,incidents where a woman got knocked up over drunken fling is almost never happen.Almost every sexual relationship in my community occurring in a legalized institution called marriage.Some women might deserved the blame for deliberately choosing the wrong man even though they already knew his character but some women here has make it clear they were blindsided until the husbands walked out on them.Another interesting fact is polygamous marriage,the husband often neglected the first wives and children,focusing instead on the younger wives and the children,children from the first wives tend to be screwed up,.But of course nobody puts the husband under questioning.

    • Tom B / aka Call me done says:

      Feminism, early on, minimized the fathers roles in the family. Called them oppressive, uncaring, neglectful and only interested in sex and control. Major push was to make it look as though women/moms can do it all. No need for men/dads.

      I remember a feminist once saying that the movement was not intended for women to take on all the roles in the family but simply allow women who chose careers to have equal footing and opportunities. Women have the ability to CHOOSE one or the other but it was not intended to have women do both.

      To compound the problem, while women moved forward and ventured in areas where they felt restricted, held back, what was the feminist movement doing to help men adjust? What was the feminist movement doing to bring men up to speed and help them help their female counterparts prosper. The movement did NOTHING.

      40 years later, here we sit with a bunch of women scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do and with a magic wand, expect men to now step up? Doesn’t work that way.

      The new age of feminism appears interested in correcting the past and try to make things okay but it’s not that simple. Men are now beginning to truly see what’s happen and are paving their own way, as they should.

      • sebhai says:

        And still how does feminism contributed to social ill statistics which you just stated?
        Even in countries where father still have strong roles in the family,why does it still present?
        Different countries,cultures perhaps but still I don’t see how feminism are able to affect the social order in America but not in other countries?

      • The concept of nuclear family itself is an invention of industrial era.It was much more common even only 100 years ago for children to be raised by a combination of parents,grandparents,aunts,uncles,neighbors and others.Many mothers died in childbirth.And no small numbers of fathers were gone due to warfare,commonplace like disease TB,or simply abandoning their families(still common in these days).People act like the sky has fallen in recent decades,but the reality is that there have always been many challenges facing intimate relationships.I guess if in the past someone would blame endless war for causing surplus of single mothers but now it’s ‘FEMINISM’.Maybe warfare has something to do with feminism as well.

    • Tom B / aka Call me done says:

      @sebahi .. Different country, different culture.

      • sebhai says:

        Rape is mostly blame on consumption of pornography in certain countries,yet for some reason even in a country which has excessive sex industry namely Japan and Netherlands with fully display advertisement on the streets,yet sex crimes is very rare.Why is that?
        Different cultures,different country perhaps?
        In a country which has a low rates of divorce and nearly non-existent single moms yet still high rates of crimes which committed by criminals that were raised by both parents,but somehow criminals in this country is mostly attributed due to their upbringing by single mothers.All the simple explanation one could give is different country,different cultures?

  6. Call me DONE says:

    Curious as to why you ask for suggestions in that you already pointed out that you have what appears to be a great family network to help you raise you children. Something that many women don’t have … so I’m not sure what you want me to say?

    I would, go ask your feminist elders as to what you should do. THEY set the stage for what women are faced with today. Time to take a clear look at what’s happen and why it happen.

    I have a niece who, after their daughter was born, husband walked out on them, and into the arms of a women who has two kids of her own. It was “family” that’s helped raise her daughter.

    My wife has a narcissistic brother that went through 3 wives. ALL THREE were warned by my wife as to what kind of ass wipe he was. The trophy wives refused to listen.

    Then there is my sainted MIL who was an immigrant, migrant farm worker who worked in a factory to raise her two kids alone. Tia Lola was the caregiver but I can tell you, they lived on almost nothing. When families had TV’s, they had a clock radio. Hell, my wife learned to do laundry with a wringer washer …. So don’t tell me about how hard it is. Women today haven’t seen hard.

    I would suggest that you re-read what I wrote…. Did I say anything about “failures?”

    Where did I say “you should have known?”

    Where did I say “you think we are all doomed to fail?”

    Where did I say “ It’s sad that you don’t realize that not all women who are single moms are just idiots who got knocked up and should have known better. “

    It appears that your own insecurity is revealing itself.

    And for you to say “I want to hear you say it. Just admit that you think we are the reason for the downfall of society. I want to see if you have the balls to just own your hate.” It shows that you are not a rationally thinking women.” It’s an insult for you to say such a thing about someone you don’t know. I DID not get personal with anyone on this thread but as a women scorned, you obviously have no problem with low blows.

    But I have to thank you. I’ve been vacillating as to staying with GMP in that I wrote a couple of articles and for the most part have enjoyed the site … but your response and others shown in this thread leads me to believe that I need to step away and definitely move on.

    Thank you for helping me make that decision …

    • sebhai says:

      Wait a minute,you and Tom are the same person?

      • Tom B / aka Call me done says:

        Yes, the same person .. different names simply be cause I was/am getting fed up. Sorry for the confusion.

    • ” a women scorned, you obviously have no problem with low blows.”

      Of course,a woman is scorned when she gets defensive after hearing some of comments posted.I always thought the word ‘scorned’ is reserved for women who squeeze out money as many as they can from their partners or former husband.But I guess the word can easily applied to any woman who would dare to disagree with you.

      “I would, go ask your feminist elders as to what you should do. THEY set the stage for what women are faced with today. Time to take a clear look at what’s happen and why it happen.”

      Right,in India,where divorce is very rare,ending up as a single mother is seen as humiliating in society,one would tought the crime rate must be very low then?
      Oh no,where are all these criminals came from?Did they came from broken home?
      Nope,most of them has were by both parents.So how did they came to this?
      Oh wait a minute,let’s go find the feminist,they’ve a lot of answering to do…

      • Sorry,TYPOS
        Most of them were raised by both parents

      • Tom B / aka Call me done says:

        @Aruna …. different country, different culture.

        Yes, Why don’t the feminists have the answer? I hear it from countless feminists, asking men to move to their camp. Okay, ya want us to move then why aren’t the feminists in this string giving the answers? Take you question to Heather who just posted something about ask a feminist anything …. ask her these questions.

        • Except that feminist don’t even have that much of presence in my homeland.The first time I heard the word is when I first arrived in America,so I’m curious if in this country feminism must have something to do with the promotion of single motherhood and all the consequences that comes with it,I still don;t understand that how come that even young men that still has both parents raising them are still able to fell in anti-social behaviors?
          After all divorce is very rare.Is there anything that we should questioned about apart from single moms?

  7. Well this is a very provocative title for a rather well-measured article. Perhaps that was on purpose…anyway…

    I totally agree that “it takes a village” and “you can’t do it on your own.” But, that’s because I think it’s equally ridiculous to assume that a heteronormative household could do it on their own either. The only two options aren’t “what women teach you” and “what men teach you,” and thus if you live in a straight married household, you’ve got all your bases covered. (Which, I get that’s not what you were saying…but that’s generally the argument made for why women aren’t as well equipped to raise boys on their own).

    Like, okay, my great grandmother taught me things that my mother never did and never could…same for my great grandfather. My family is all pretty dang white; my mother’s best friend’s family is Mexican…and so being introduced to different ethnicities from a very early age shaped me. My teachers all taught me things my parents couldn’t…both academically and socially. Drew’s mother didn’t teach him how to ride a bike, but that’s something my mother taught me.

    My point, I guess, is that OF COURSE different people are able to teach kids different things. I mean, obviously…everyone brings different experiences to the table. What’s ridiculous is expecting that if one parent belongs to a specific gender they will necessarily have a specific set of skills and knowledge that they can pass on…and assuming that everything a kid needs to know is somehow tied up in which gender is teaching them that thing.

  8. Tom Brechlin says:

    You can paint it any way you want but the facts are facts

    •63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
    •90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
    •85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.
    •80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.
    •71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.

    Father Factor in Education – Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
    •Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
    •Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
    •Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
    •Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
    •75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
    Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.

    •70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.
    •85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)

    • So what are we suppose to do? Just roll over and start picking out pantsuits to wear to support our kids in court?

      You act as if single moms CHOOSE to be single moms.

      I was MARRIED. When I married my husband he was a business owner, ambitious and had his head screwed on.
      Then he just quit. It was all too hard and he checked out.
      He doesn’t make enough money for the state to get any child support from.

      So, yes, we know the statistics…

      What do YOU suggest we do?

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        Women DO choose to be single moms. In fact, society promotes single momhood. Where do you think “my baby’s momma” came from.

        Sorry you ended up in a bind but in the big world, MANY women make a choice to not be married and have kids. Kids with several different men.

        • Many but I’d say the minority.
          I run a non-profit single parent support organization. Out of the hundreds of families I help, I know of NONE who willingly got pregnant with the purpose of being a single parent. I know a lot who were sexually irresponsible but in that case I’d say BOTH the father AND mother were choosing to be parents.
          So where is the father’s responsibility?

          And again, you didn’t answer my question…

          What are we supposed to do?

          • Jessica, what you do is NOT to push the child’s dad out of the child’s life just because he can’t give you child support. A dad’s first responsibility is to be in the child’s life.

            Why do women think men are going to maintain a cordial relationship after you’ve gotten the state involved in our business?

            • Did I ever say I did that?

              I would love for my ex-husband to be in my kids’ life.
              I stayed in a city I hate so the kids could be close to him. He chose not to be involved. He abandoned us.
              He is not involved physically, financially or emotionally.

              He CHOSE to marry me. We CHOSE to have children. He decided it was too hard and then he quit.

              I’m sorry some of you here are unable to answer my question or give me any actual supportive advice.
              Single moms are not villains and yet, that’s all I hear.
              Demonizing and what looks and sounds like victim blaming.

              I’ve heard that women get knocked up on purpose and I’ve been offered advice on what NOT to do.

              Does anyone here have something constructive to add?

            • By the way “can’t” and “won’t” are two different words.

              A 36 year old educated man CAN stock shelves at Walmart. He chooses not to so he can stay off the grid and not be held responsible.

            • I think it’s interesting that you’re still putting the onus of that relationship on the mother. I’m a single parent to both a boy and a girl – and yes, they have different fathers. Both men were initially thrilled to be parents – yet neither of them participate in their children’s lives. Do I “push” them out of their lives? I suppose, if that means sending texts, asking my daughter’s father to spend time with her, only to be met with no response. I suppose I’m pushing them out of their lives by asking my son’s father to acknowledge him, to take any interest whatsoever.
              I’ve not gotten the state involved in either case. I’ve attempted in both cases to maintain cordiality and demonstrate that I’d rather them show an interest, to show involvement and love towards the child than money. In both cases, there’s a big brick wall.
              Did I make the choice to have these children out of wedlock? Yes. Both times. I knew that marriage in either case was not a solution. Was I the only person who was present at the conception, either time? Nope. Neither time. But for some reason, society shrugs about the fact that neither child’s father participates in their lives. *I* was the one who got knocked up – the onus is on *ME*.

              I would also question the list of statistics at the beginning of this thread.
              Those are some scary bleeping numbers. But while they may show a correlation, they don’t demonstrate a causal relationship. Being raised by a single mother doesn’t CAUSE any of what Mr. Brechlin has listed. Perhaps, instead of looking at that list as a sentence for those children currently being raised by single parents, we could look at it as an indicator that perhaps we need to ensure that there IS a support network for those women who are doing it alone.
              I mean, I get that blaming is a lot easier that remedying… but it’s organizations like Ms. Vivian’s non-profit that are attempting to change those kinds of statistics rather than wringing hands about “those people.”

              • Oh yes! I also have not gone through the state to collect money for my children. We have been divorced for three years.
                I’ve been patiently waiting. We’ve gone without food. My “village” has had to help with Christmas presents because he’s “trying” and he’s “looking.”
                He chooses not to work.

                I wish I could say this is the exception to the rule but it appears to be the rule.

                In the eyes of the state, despite being the sole caretaker I am viewed as a ‘derelict’ parent because I am not pursuing the money owed to my CHILDREN.
                It’s not my money, it’s THEIRS. It’s not for me, it’s to provide for THEM.

                And how interesting that the tone here is “How dare she hold me responsible? How am I supposed to still be cordial when she holds me responsible??”

                And still, again, my question….

                We’re NOT supposed to pursue child support. We’re NOT supposed to cut men out of their children’s lives (haven’t seen that yet in my work). We are supposed to plan to have children who do drugs, don’t finish school and go to jail apparently.

                ANY suggestion on what we are supposed to do to make it better?
                Stay away from people like you who offer no support, for one….

                • *APPLAUSE* for you.

                  • Call me DONE says:

                    Given the fact that my wife and I opened our home to abused women as well as homeless and was transitional housing for one women who was pregnant so that she could get her feet back on the ground, you’re right… I can offer nothing

                    Even though the one women who was in an abusive relationship and had her baby while living with us …. After 6 months in my home, she went back to the abuser …. my wife and I continued to open our home.

                    Quick story. While having dinner with my daughter at her in-laws to be home. I rec’d a call from a women who was living with us. The MIL to be asked if everything okay. I jokingly said something about the call being from our “domestic” …
                    My daughter then went on to explain to her future MIL that where many people pick up stray animals, her parents pick up stray people.

                    We no longer provide housing but I continue my work with our local temporary shelter which houses on average 60 to 70 people, including men, women and CHILDREN.

                    I will continue to push our “Happiness” fund at work which I developed a few years ago where we take the proceeds from two White elephant sales, Christmas raffles and profits from our vending machines. This year I gave two $500. cash gifts to two needy families at Christmas.

                    I have to tell you, when I sit here and read how hard it is and personally see what “HARD” is, I struggle. I struggle because I just admitted an 18 year old kid where I applied for his Medicaid. Where it asks for “address” …. I had to put homeless.

                    So I too am standing and applauding you ….. GREAT JOB!

                    And BTW, if you want to email me so that I can provide you with proof of everything I just posted… please feel free to do so.

            • For over three years I have worked as an advocate and part of a non-profit that helps single mothers (and a few single men). Let me say that of all the people I have worked with being single was NOT A CHOICE. No PERSON should be subjected to physical, sexual (rape), and severe psychological abuse at the hands of their spouse. Unfortunately people do just “check out”.
              I have yet to know of A PARENT, even when piece of crap former spouses do not financially support their children, prevent the children from having a relationship with the father. In fact I think they have gone beyond the call of duty. As for the majority of the men in these situations – they do not pay support and are legally obligated to do so. IF they would do the minimum maybe the government would not have to get up in their business. Me, I’m from the south – I personally think other men who do take care of their kids should take them “out” and bring them back having had a good beating and talking to to get their crap straight. But the peaceful part of my personality says let the judge and “the man” take care of it the legal route. With only 15% of men paying their fair share of support and women paying even less, something is not work, even the legal route. Men in my opinion need to stop thinking of themselves of when they are sowing their seed. They are creating people who they need to be responsible for. My husband and I have five children, biological and adopted, and we knew exactly what commitment meant bringing them into the world. The average Joe not so much. Women are not that much different.
              What I detect in some of these comments is sexism and also racism. That is just me being honest. If men do not want to pro-create put a condom on or get fixed. We are not sluts for wanting to have orgasms and fun times and birthcontrol fails. Some women choose to be single parents because well the men they had sex with turn out to be scum sucking humans. This still does not lessen the responsibility on either party. Maybe if MEN put more pressure on other MEN and parented their children to be MEN and BEHAVE LIKE GENTLEMEN we would not have the crisis that we do have. MEN not taking responsibility for breeding. Sadly most of you think with your reptilian brains, letting the dopamine overrule your frontal lobes and then think differently once you have created a child.

              • I love the “if you don’t want kids, put on a condom. …. Okay, how about this, “Honey, if you don’t put on a condom, we aint gonna have sex.”

                Takes two to tango.

                Here is another idea….. wait a LONG time before having sex??? Get to know the person real well before you lay down with them

                And BTW, I would say the same thing to a guy.

                Ya’ll talk about men taking responsibility,,,,, when are ya’ll gonna do that? When will you ladies say that the way you’ve been doing it, isn’t working.

                • After coming home from work, I’m sitting with my daughter, checking over her homework, while my son is playing with some toys a few feet away. Dinner is cooking. Both children are fed, clothed, cared for, loved. I’m their sole provider. I work five different jobs, some from home, in order to be there for my kids – emotionally, physically, financially. Forgive me for guffawing aloud when I read that, Tom B, but I’ve been under the impression that I HAVE been taking responsibility for my children. And it IS working. Thanks, though.

                  • Tom Brechlin says:

                    Did I say that women in your situation don’t take care as best as you can? Shit happens and you deal with it. Just like I almost lost my wife twice in the past 39 years.Had I lost her, I would deal with it and make the best of things. I commend any women or man who managed on his/her own. There are plenty of jerks out there and sadly, people chose to bed down with them. Chose wisely next time. You said, “And it IS working. Thanks, though” …that’s not what other women have said in here. It takes a village including me who made choices and never expected anyone to step in.

                    • Too many jerks out there,TOO MANY….B the time they show their true colors,it’s already too late to step back.And the mess is ours to clean..

                    • It sounds like you can only see your own narrow view of the world, Tom.

                      You still haven’t offered any helpful insight to parents who, again, were in what they and everyone around them thought were healthy marriages only to have the rug pulled from under them.
                      It’s not about “choosing right or better.”
                      It’s sad that you don’t realize that not all women who are single moms are just idiots who got knocked up and should have known better. Talk about victim blaming rape culture rhetoric,
                      “Welp, she shoulda known!”

                      We ARE stepping up to the plate because we have no choice but what I STILL haven’t gotten from you, since you were so kind as to point out what humongous failures we apparently are at child rearing with your stack of statistics, is then what advice do you have for us now?

                      Not, “you shoulda known” – yeah, we got that. I should have not gotten married to a stable man from a good home with a good job. I should have had a PhD in psychology so I could spot the Personality Disorder (one that is notoriously hard to spot, widespread and typically undiagnosed). I should not have believed him when he said he loved me and that we were going to grow old together. I should have, should have, should have…
                      I got that part, from your excellent guidance in your posts above.

                      But since you think we are all doomed to fail on our own, do you, in your infinite wisdom, have any advice on what YOU think we should DO NOW?
                      If you think we should roll over and start preparing for the worst, I want to hear you say it. Just admit that you think we are the reason for the downfall of society. I want to see if you have the balls to just own your hate.

                      Otherwise, I would HOPE that you can comprehend that our children, regardless of your personal issues are going to be adults running the country at some point. It would behoove people like yourself to be supportive so that they CAN beat the statistics, so they CAN all become PhDs in Psychology and never get married or reproduce when they grow up because in the end if affects YOU too.

                      We have to share the same country and resources. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure the ones who are doomed to fail, don’t.

                    • Dahlia says:

                      You’re right too many jerks out there,they’re very good at pretending to be a good men,it’s so difficult to know which one is really good or bad,but I guess the responsibility is always ours to find to be more selective,and then we would be accused of being too picky.

    • sebhai says:

      I don’t think being raised in fatherless home is the main contributor for social disorder,perhaps it’s true in America but somehow even in countries(like mine) where divorces is rare with the ever present father,crimes do exist more or less the same.

  9. wellokaythen says:

    Some picky things, two negative one positive:

    Being a divorced mother doesn’t mean you are raising a child all by yourself. Often that’s the case, but I hate that people assume that divorce means that the dad is therefore gone from the child’s life. The divorce rate is a major factor in parenting today, but it doesn’t automatically make all divorced people solo parents.

    By the same token, you can be married and be essentially raising a child on your own. You can be married to an absentee father, and you can be divorced from a dad who’s still helping to raise your kid.

    On a positive note, I want to praise the author for the first paragraph in the article for talking about having children as a choice. He mentions his mother *choosing* to have more children, instead of just saying that she had more children or that two more children arrived later. Just that one little bit of phrasing opens up a whole new thread of discussion. Kudos for that, because it’s too often lacking when people talk about raising kids.

  10. I love Jill Scott.
    I’m a single mom and my son has cried on my bed (he’s 8) about how much he misses a man in his life. I moved home to be near my family because I knew I needed a village. Thank goodness I have a massive network of brothers, uncles, friends, and grandpas to help him build a composite of what kind of man he wants to be.

  11. Bobby Jean says:

    I raised two children on my own, a boy and girl. I knew to do it right I would have to learn ‘traditional’ male roles such as self defense, tool making, auto repair. Those skills enhanced my self confidence, broadened my horizons and, in turn, changed the lives of my children and their children. All have successful lives and no arrest records, so the answer to your question is ‘Yes’. Just identify what needs to be done and muster the courage to do it.

  12. Richard Aubrey says:

    Sure they can. Thing is, not as well as if they’re married. Stats show that, across SES. Higher propensity for drugs, crime, promiscuity and poor educational results. Also drowning in the bathtub.
    Guy named Eberstedt–of Harvard then–did an epidemilogical study. If illegitimacy were a disease, it would be the worst threat to infants and young children, worse than any other disease in the developed world. True here, true in Europe with their varying approaches to health care and maternal privileges of one sort or another.

  13. Many Black women are rearing successful Black boys and men alone. Although having a good man in the home would be better, it’s not essential. Very good piece, Drew!

  14. The Wet One says:

    Serious question. The sons of single women, what else would they become when fully mature other than men?

    Thanks for your reply.


  1. […] In this month’s Ebony’s magazine which is on stands now, read singer-songwriter and single mom Jill Scott’s views on the issue by clicking here. […]

  2. […] “Statistics show that if you’re a black woman, and you want to get married, you might have a difficult time. Almost 70 percent of black women are unmarried, and over half of black women’s marriages to black men are said to end in divorce.” […]

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