I’m Going to Get On My High Horse

Before you go further with reading this, I’m going to add to it and make myself clear: there is a *difference* between a single parent who did not set out to be a single parent and a single parent who had every intention of being a single parent. The glorification of single parenthood by design and intention and the desire to be a single parent will be the death of this country. No, I’m not intending to cast aspersions on people who become single parents because the other spouse leaves them or dies. I *am* casting aspersions on women who run off to the sperm bank to get a baby with the expressed intention of being a single parent.

There has never been a study to show it beneficial to a child to live in a single parent household. You see it frequently in minority communities and how it effects the children and the families. And now there has been a rash of articles from the New York Times to the AJC about women who want kids, but don’t want the penis to tag along.

Well, I’m sure glad they get all fulfilled and feel selfishly accomplished, and I’m sure they feel like their children are well adapted and fine. But they aren’t. And they won’t be. And I do think there should be laws prohibiting single people from adopting and I’m almost inclined to think single people should not have access to sperm banks.

Yes that is awfully primitive of me, but so be it.

The AJC article linked to above reminded me of this stupid article in the New York Times day before yesterday.

In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.

Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.

Yeah for single women! Only, for some reason, to be able to celebrate the rise of single women into the majority, the Times had to really stretch its statistical credibility. See if you can catch what Mr. Lileks and I caught:

Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15, according to the marital status category in the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey, 63 million are married. Of those, 3.1 million are legally separated and 2.4 million said their husbands were not living at home for one reason or another.

That brings the number of American women actually living with a spouse to 57.5 million, compared with the 59.9 million who are single or whose husbands were not living at home when the survey was taken in 2005.

Catch it?

Let me make the block quote a little more precise:

Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15

Just think about that and laugh.

I sure hope like hell there is not a rash of 15 and 16 year olds getting married outside Alabama anymore!

NOTE: Just to clarify, I’m not beating up single parents, per se. It happens. It’s a sad fact of society. And I think the government has a special obligation to help struggling single parents who are single parents through abandonment or death of a spouse. Single women who don’t have an abortion are to be applauded. But, I do think there is something seriously wrong with people who *intend* to be single parents.


  1. leftrightcombo says:

    Right on brother Erick!

    My theory is that most of the children of single mothers will be needing a strong father figure in their lives. Even as adults they will not know what the healthy father relationship should be. Thus they will be more likely to turn over more control of their lives and our society to strong leaders, such as my kids. So in effect my children can be president and senators of the U.S. just like W. if they are strong willed and appear to have alpha male abilities.

    Oh, this logic is flawed. But so is thinking a male figure in a childs life is not flawed.

  2. RandyMiller says:

    Years ago I knew a girl who had a child out of wedlock as the “father” wanted nothing to do with her after the fact. She went ahead and had the kid, a son. She worked and her parents helped baby sit while she also completed her degree.

    After high school her son enlisted in the Marines, made E-5, and is now completing college (pre-med). What a terrible life…….

    Erick, this posting is very offensive to many single parents who’ve overcome numerous obsticles to do what is right under enormous pressures.

  3. Erick says:

    Randy, I applaud women who don’t have an abortion and go it alone. They deserve our praise and support.

    But I really question people who want to have kids and don’t want to have a spouse — they set out to have a kid without having the father around, as opposed to seeing the jerk leave or want no involvement.

  4. Mike Hauncho says:

    I agree. Single parents are not bad parents but they do limit the amount of growth their children can have. I could have been raised by my father alone but I never would have understood what motherhood is and requires and all that comes with it. Likewise I could have been raised by my mom and never knew what it was like to have a father who promoted being athletic, standing up for yourself, and being a provider. I know it is not easy for a single mom to raise a child and I know there are many who do this and do it well but at no point do I think we need to promote the idea that this is a good thing.

  5. griftdrift says:

    The problem is whether the argument is right or wrong it will always come off as insulting to those who were single parents or were raised by single parents.

    Oh and I would have loved to hear anyone tell my mama she was not athletic, a good provider or able to stand up for herself.

  6. Mike Hassinger says:

    Erick, I’ve read and re-read this, (and the links) and can only conclude you have ridden your high horse in all directions at once.

    I think what’s got you peeved is not so much single parenthood as selfishness. Single parenthood happens all the time, sometimes with good results, sometimes bad -just like dual parenthood. Single parenthood is tougher than dual parenthood -on kids and parents.

    But there’s a big difference between ending up a single parent (through tough circumstances) and deciding to have a child “in order to be fulfilled.” It smacks of treating a child like a fashion accessory (and narcissism). You only see this selfishness in single parents, obviously, but not all single parents are guilty of it.

    And those stats in the article (NYT) don’t support your hypothesis. (A woman with adult children who gets a divorce after 30 years of marriage is technically a “single parent,” but she is not what’s got you so torqued).

    Have I put enough words in your mouth yet?

  7. spaceygracey says:

    I grew up with a bio-dad and a stepfather. So I know firsthand what as*hole narcissistic self-serving clueless addicted violent useless jerks men really are. And I chose to grow-up to be a blogging, happily divorced, working, soccer mom. There is a God. And She is merciful. She’s not real crazy about you though Erik, not with the relentless self-righteous crap you’re spouting now. Your keyboard should be frozen, not your sperm.

  8. Erick says:

    Thanks spacey. And Mike, bad form of me to include the NY Times article, which wasn’t really related to my basic point — that people should never set out to be single parents. And yes, it by in large has to do with selfishness. I don’t think single parenthood is good for any child, though it often can’t be helped.

    But setting out to be a single parent by design and intention is very troubling to me.

  9. spaceygracey says:

    Yes Erik, you said that in the original post. You’re repeating yourself. We get the point. But don’t fret. The poor, pitiful kids will no doubt find perfect role models on Peach Pundit. MySpace if not.

  10. Erick says:

    Definitely MySpace, spacey. It’s part of the evil plan by Rupert Murdock to get them locked in over there and then subject them to ritual rapings by Bill O’Reilly — as if American’s don’t get enough of that at 8pm M-F on Fox News.

  11. Rusty says:

    If 51 percent of the market believes marriage to be an inferior product, who are you to tell them they should invest in it? That’s bad business.

  12. DougieFresh says:

    I grew up with a single mother (my parents divorced when I was very young) and I take no offense about what Eric said. Just because someone points to something that is unpleasant does not mean they are being insulting.

    Single parenthood IS inferior to a two parent household. Just because there are anecdotes about someone who had a success at it does not negate that fact.

    Choosing to put your children in a situation that is more likely to fail, with more stresses, less support is selfish and wrong. Raising children should be about the children, not a status symbol for the parent(s).

  13. ColinATL says:

    I think it’s a perfectly fine thing to discuss the merits and pitfalls of choosing to be a single parent. My real question is with regards to this statement:

    And I do think there should be laws prohibiting single people from adopting and I’m almost inclined to think single people should not have access to sperm banks.

    Why do you believe the government should ever play a role in this decision? Awfully big brother of you, Erick.
    Really, isn’t that what this whole thread is about, is whether the government (1) should get involved, and (2) is the government legally empowered to do so?
    Personally, I think that a well-to-do individual can give a child a good home, especially if they can afford to hire a nanny. Should we institute a means test for prospective single parents?
    The other thing I question is this:

    The glorification of single parenthood by design and intention and the desire to be a single parent will be the death of this country.

    Ridiculous & unsupported. What does that mean? Do you really think this is going to become some big national trend that will undo us all? You sound like the hysterical types who say things like “Letting gay people marry will destroy the institution of marriage!” Ridiculous & unsupported.
    Do better, Erick.

  14. Pappy says:

    Isn’t there a deal out there today that needs killing ;)?

    A “rash of articles” in the Times and AJC doesn’t mean there has been a significant increase in single-parent-by-choice households. It’s more likely that some Metro section editor or reporter needed a story and just happened to know a few women who fit this profile (ie – are unattractive/are unable to reproduce naturally/have no access to booze) and lie about why they want to stay single. I don’t see this as a trend at all.

  15. lauralibr says:

    Intentional single parenthood is a bi product of a society of women who are now able to sustain themselves financially. So the only thing you have to blame is capitalism. Times have moved women in to a position of fianancial self sufficiency like no other period in our history. As a result women don’t have to stay in horrible useless marriages, or enter them in the first place.

  16. Pappy says:

    You are half right – undesirable women are increasingly able to support a child on their own if they so choose, as are women in general (I’m not talking about women dealing with divorce/abuse issues/absentee father). However, there is no evidence of an increase in the number of women who have more attractive alternatives – like marriage/cohabitation or any collaborative arrangement – choosing to go the single-parent route.

  17. commonsense says:

    So when an article notes a trend that is occuring on a macro level and then examines it that’s glorifying? Damn the media, damn them!

  18. elephantgirl says:

    The bottom line is that a two parent household(with one man, and one woman—I hear the liberals starting to scream) is ideal. There are always going to be examples of bad fathers and bad mothers or a child who is raised in a single parent environment whether it be by a mother or a father that turns out to be a rocket scientist, but these are the exceptions and not the rule. A family was designed to have a mother and a father because the sexes have different strenghts and weaknesses that are necessary to raise a child and to be good partners to each other.
    Of course there are single parents who are in that situation because of circumstances beyond their control and they should be commended for going at it alone. Anyone who actually read the original post and processed it would realize it was not aimed at people in those situations.
    It is selfish to intentionally put a child in a one parent household. I am the child of divorced parents and I believe it was selfish for my parents to put me in a household of divorced parents. Children deserve the advantage of having two parents and there are few things more important.

  19. DelicateFlower says:

    Erick says repeatedly that it’s *selfish* for people to choose to be single parents. When isn’t it selfish for people to have children? Most married couples I know have children because they think it would be fulfilling or fun or because it’s something they have always wanted to do, etc. I’ve never heard a reason for it that wasn’t to some extent selfish. Oh, also, I know they aren’t as common, but I wonder if this rant also applies to people who choose to be single fathers?

  20. griftdrift says:

    Well not to spin us off on a biology tangent but you are correct in a certain aspect. Richard Dawkins calls it the Selfish Gene. We do have a “selfish” urge to procreate. It is what passes on our genes with whatever subtle adaptations that have occured thus continuing survival of the species. Evolution at its most basic.

  21. Ronin says:

    With statements like this:

    “The bottom line is that a two parent household is ideal”

    I would want to deal in facts. Based upon what evidence did you arrive at this conclusion? Your own experience and those immediately around you? Is that sample large enough to make a blanket statement for which a policy should be created?

    Furthermore, what definition of ideal was used in said study (or your own anecdotle observations)? If your perception of ideal works for you, then proceede in finding a spouse and procreating. If it doesn’t work for someone else, is it your right (or the Government’s right) to deny them of this opportunity?

    I think I clearly stand in the premise that Government has absolutely no business in this arena. Is it not odd that those who speak the loudest about minimal government interference are the first to suggest mandating personal behavior once they find something they don’t like. Why is that? Why doesn’t someone call them on it? (Could it be because if you do you are branded a liberal and summarily dismissed?)

  22. rebelyelp says:

    Selfish? So just because you don’t like single women chosing to be objectively pro-life, you get to talk out your ass about what a bad parent they’ll make. Have you ever met someone who’s a single mother by choice? Didn’t think so. Try concentrating on things you actually know something about — deadbeat dads, abusive husbands, etc…..

  23. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    I have lots of problems with this thread. I should qualify my complaints with the fact that I’m the child of a single parent.

    First of all, Erick, not unlike your party’s efforts to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of a mother, your few tolerable exceptions to the two-parent setup ignore those who are brave enough to stand up to abuse, mental and otherwise, who choose to leave their spouses. It’s not only through abandonment and death that a woman (or man, for that matter) can find a righteous path to single parenthood. One of the most responsible things that a parent can do is remove their children from a dangerous situation…just because it is a choice doesn’t mean they set out to make it from the beginning. You don’t even mention these people.

    Mike Hauncho: Single parents are not bad parents but they do limit the amount of growth their children can have.

    This is highly offensive to single parents who make every attempt possible to provide for their children in a well-rounded way. To patently state that single parent households, no matter how innocently formed, are inferior, is your opinion and I find it to be contrary to my experience. My recommendation: you think two-parent households are so much better? Then live in one. Leave the rest of us alone.

    And DougieFresh: my single mom would box your ears for the disrespect you’ve done yours. “Single parenthood IS inferior to a two parent household. Just because there are anecdotes about someone who had a success at it does not negate that fact.” Just because you tell anecdotes about not getting to play football with your father doesn’t negate the fact that single mothers raise successful and yes, believe it or not, fully functional kids on their own when circumstances require it.

    You should all pay more attention to your own families and avoid becoming a 51% statistic if you’re so darned concerned about it.

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