"Death of the Baby Mama" – as written for the St. Louis Evening Whirl

Why is it that there are way more baby mamas out there than wives? Who’s fault is that? And is the traditional family just a thing of the past? Those questions crossed my mind and I got to investigating. Here’s something that I ran across…..

“It occurred to us from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it–that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished–as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease. We had to be discreet and, if the word can be apt, honorable in our behavior, both to ourselves, to whomever else might be involved and most of all to the family.”~Source “In This Life Together with Ossie and Ruby” A joint biography page 317.
I have always admired Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, who at the time of his death in 2005 had been married for 56 years. It amazed me that even in the world of Hollywood they remained true to themselves and each other and did what worked best for them. It was crazy in reading their joint biography that I learned that what worked for them was having an open marriage. As I read further I came across a quote by Ruby, “But we both came to realize that we were very fortunate that, in all of the deep profound, fundamental ways, we really, really only wanted each other. It was like rediscovery of something from the beginning. But often Ossie has said-and I’ve thought too-the best way to have somebody is the let it go. If it doesn’t come back you are free in another kind of sense-in that you find the strength to let go and wish somebody well.”
During one of my many debates I was hit with the question, “How can you be a wife if you have no idea what being a wife looks like?” This was food for thought that caused me to really question what a healthy marriage looks like. What does being a wife truly mean? Girls these days are so quick to refer to themselves as “wifey” when they have no clue what being a wife looks like. Growing up I was exposed to healthy relationships and marriages from a very young age. Although I was raised by my mother, I spent a lot of time with my Granny who as of this past July has been married to my grandfather for over 30 years.

It’s sad to say but people don’t stay married that long anymore, our generation is full of men and women who are content with being a baby-mama or baby-daddy. In my opinion this is completely backwards, why would you set yourself up to have to raise your child or children alone? There is no security of any kind in just being a “baby-mama”. I don’t want to sound like the pot calling the kettle black, because I am a “baby-mama”, however growing up that was never in the plan this is also one mistake I will never make again. In no way am I discrediting any woman who has had children out of wedlock but I know from experience that isn’t what women want. We want a family. As I get older and come closer to my 30’s I am preparing myself to be a wife. (Notice I said WIFE, not live-in, not wifey). One thing that is a constant teaching for me is that GOD created woman, one of his greatest creations, and he made us from man to be with man. It is also my belief that in taking the time to create ME, GOD created someone just for me in his likeness. I have said it before and I will say it again, we get so comfortable in not being committed that we give ourselves to people who are undeserving and unappreciative. Not only do we end up baby-mamas but we end up being looked at as “hoes” and we all know ain’t no man interested in turning a hoe into a housewife.

I don’t think any woman wakes up one day and says “I feel like being somebody’s baby-mama”, but plenty of women wake up with the thought of being someone’s wife. Every man has a different idea of what his wife should look like, act like etc., but the idea of what a wife should be should be the same across the board. Most young women (not all) were raised in the era of single mothers, so a wife is not something they saw daily. The role of a woman has become lost in what I like to call a gender war. Women want to be so head strong in their independence to compete with men, that the idea of doing for a man or taking care of home becomes null and void. Most men who were raised by their mother or grandmother tend to want a woman who will mirror the life they had growing up. A woman who cooks, cleans, listens and comforts. A woman who is always his help never his hurt, a woman who takes pride in taking care of her home (husband and children included) with no complaints. A woman who does all of this while, maintaining her own independence by working and going to school and is confident in herself and her spirituality is what defines a wife.
Show me a man that says this isn’t what he wants and I’ll show you a man who is a liar. This generation of women thinks that cooking for a man makes her submissive or docile. That’s just too much of a burden because she goes to school and works all day. I call that just being stubborn. If women say that they can do it all they can’t claim that taking care of a family that includes a husband is too much. Does school and work stop that same woman from cooking and caring for her children without the presence of their father or any other man? Women today have too many don’t do’s and wont do’s all tied up into being independent. But depending on a family isn’t something to fear or be ashamed of. Doing for a husband has rewards that so-called independence can’t have. Today’s women don’t realize that marriage is a partnership. If she cooks one night he’ll cook another if that’s what THEY come up with as a team. Husbands and wives are supposed to be teammates playing the game of life together. And who wouldn’t appreciate the security of a reliable partner. So instead of putting conditions on what we as women won’t do or bow down to we need to think of what we will and must do if we want to be wives. Please believe the saying is true, what you won’t do another woman will. But women apply that common wisdom more to sex than to anything else. Even something as simple as a home cooked meal can set you apart from the baby-mamas of the world. Add the willingness to work in cooperation with a man instead of beating him in the head withour so-called independence and instead of being alone women may find that “good man” we all say we are looking for.

You don’t lose your identity because you become a wife, you simply take on a new one and intertwine with another. Women don’t understand that anymore. We have as much responsibility in making a family work as a man does. And you can’t have a family if you have to be “independent.” We have to re-learn how to be inter-dependant and a part of a team.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them”

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