A feminist explains why she wants to be a single mother by choice

This post appeared on the left-leaning Slate. (H/T Dalrock)

First, take a look at this woman’s background:

I grew up with one parent. My mother raised me with help from her mother.

[…]My grandma, a college professor (herself twice divorced), lived no more than a few miles away throughout my childhood and for a while even lived on the same block as we did. My mom worked as a public-school teacher.

University professors and public school teachers? I sense feminism dominated this woman’s upbringing. And no positive male role models anywhere to be found.

Anyway here’s her thesis:

I’ve realized recently that when I picture myself with my own child, there’s no father in the frame. I imagine it being just the two of us—a team, like my mom and me. Perhaps because of how I was raised and how happy my childhood was, I often wonder whether I wouldn’t rather just have a kid alone.

[…]I feel apprehensive at the idea of sharing parenthood with another person. Having never experienced the traditional family unit, raising a kid in tandem with someone is as difficult for me to imagine as having another set of limbs. I can’t help but think that having a partner there with an equal stake in the matter would complicate the process.

[…]It isn’t conventional wisdom, but in many ways it seems easier to raise a kid alone. Being a single parent by choice would mean not having to deal with another person’s sets of demands or expectations of what child-rearing means. I wouldn’t burden a child with the emotional baggage of divorce or the highs and lows of an unhappy relationship. It would just be the two of us and a supporting cast of extended family.

Note how clearly she rejects men who might want to fulfill their traditional roles:

  • provider
  • protector
  • moral leader
  • spiritual leader

It actually bothers her that a man might disagree with her with respect to parenting.

Now think with me. What kind of man do you think a woman like that chooses in relationships? Does she choose men who have very firm views on morality? Of course not. How about a man who has very firm views on religion? No way. How about a man who tells her that the children would need to be pushed towards careers that will make them independent? Not in a million years. How about a man who thinks that guns are good for self-defense, and that the armed forces do excellent work to protect us? No way.

And I think there is where the problem lies. Far from being helpless victims of selfish men, women today are actually undermining their own mines by preferring men who are not qualified to be fathers and husbands. After a few disappointing and embarrassing mistakes, many of them look at the free money, free health care, free public schools, free food stamps, free this and free that, being offered by the government, and they do exactly what this woman is planning to do. They just can’t be bothered to choose men who can perform the traditional male roles. I have actually seen fatherless Christian women complain to Christian men for being chaste, for not drinking alcohol, for working in well-paid boring jobs, and for having too many strong opinions on morality and religion. The root of these comments is that they don’t want men to lead them. They didn’t have fathers so they disrespect the roles played by fathers.

Now let’s take a look at some data on fatherlessness:

  • Even after controlling for low incomes, children growing up with never-married lone mothers are especially disadvantaged according to standard scales of deprivation.40
  • According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, children from lone-parent households were more likely to have had intercourse before the age of 16 when compared with children from two-natural-parent households. Boys were 1.8 times as likely (42.3% versus 23%) and girls were 1.5 times as likely (36.5% versus 23.6%). After controlling for socio-economic status, level of communication with parents, educational levels and age at menarche for girls, the comparative odds of underage sex actually increased to 2.29 for boys and 1.65 for girls.
  • Girls from lone-parent households were 1.6 times as likely to become mothers before the age of 18 (11% versus 6.8%). Controlling for other factors did not reduce the comparative odds.59
  • In a sample of teenagers living in the West of Scotland, 15-year-olds from lone-parent households were twice as likely to be smokers as those from two-birth-parent homes (29% compared to 15%). After controlling for poverty, they were still 50% more likely to smoke.65
  • In a sample of British 16-year-olds, those living in lone-parent households were 1.5 times as likely to smoke. Controlling for sex, household income, time spent with family, and relationship with parents actually increased the odds that a teenager from a lone-parent family would smoke (to 1.8 times as likely).66
  • In the West of Scotland, 18-year-old girls from lone-parent households were twice as likely to drink heavily as those from intact two-birthparent homes (17.6% compared to 9.2%). This finding holds even after controlling for poverty.67
  • British 16-year-olds from lone-parent households are no more likely to drink than those from intact households. This is mainly because higher levels of teenage drinking actually are associated with higher family incomes. After controlling for household income and sex, teenagers from lone-parent families were 40% more likely to drink.68
  • At age 15, boys from lone-parent households were twice as likely as those from intact two-birthparent households to have taken any drugs (22.4% compared with 10.8%). Girls from lone-parent homes were 25% more likely to have taken drugs by the age of 15 (8.2% compared with 6.5%) and 70% more likely to have taken drugs by age 18 (33.3% compared with 19.6%). After controlling for poverty, teenagers from lone-parent homes were still 50% more likely to take drugs.69

I consider single motherhood by choice to be child abuse. Not only does it impoverish children, but is puts children into dangerous situations. I think that we need to be clear and persuasive about arguing against women who are so self-centered that they are willing to deliberately expose a child to fatherlessness. We must not enable their poor choices by telling them that what they are doing is OK. It’s not OK.

11 thoughts on “A feminist explains why she wants to be a single mother by choice”

  1. I agree that this woman’s choices are appalling and damaging to her potential children. However, I think it’s also pretty clear that the cause of her messed up views is the complete lack of a father figure of her own. She’s grown up without one, so having one looks strange to her. She has never seen how parents can come to good parenting decisions together. Rather than coming down hard on her for her messed up ideas, as if she knows what the consequences are (she clearly doesn’t), she needs help to understand how good parenting with a father is and she needs to see how it is the best option.

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      1. I assumed you meant single motherhood by choice, but generally people are unlikely to ask about the circumstances that have led to raising children alone. Widowed single mothers of minor children are a tiny minority — they are even a minority of single parents — but the distinction is seldom made.

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        1. Good point. According to the statistics I have seen, fathers who die cause much less harm to their children than fathers who do not marry or who do not stay married, etc.

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  2. You do say some daft things. I have a pretty strong opinion on fatherlessness. I consider it to be child abuse. So my uncle died when he’s children were young and my aunt brought two children up on her own. This was child abuse. Who by, God for taking their father away. We have quite a few families here in the village whose fathers have died. They are being abused are they.

    You obviously don’t like women using the brain God gave them. University professors and public school teachers? I sense feminism dominated this woman’s upbringing.

    You seem to think that as soon as a woman is divorced or widowed they immediately have to start looking for a man. I’ll tell you what the good Christian men over here do. They believe vehmently in ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. In their mind that seems to mean use a belt on the child for the slightest thing. I had a neighbour who would beat his girls for the slightest thing. You got less than 6/12 for your school work, that’s not good enough, reach for the belt.

    I know of British and American pastors, as well as those over here who think that way, admittedly more over here.

    You seem to think that women can’t do without a man in their life. If we have to we can, thankfully I’ve never had to. But just as a man can, when necessary bring up his children if the wife walks out, so can a woman bring up the children if the man walks out.

    This woman is talking about her experience. She doesn’t say why her father wasn’t on the scene, but you have made assuptions, there are many other reasons this could have happened.

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