A little while back I was fortunate to be asked to participate in a webinar for black moms. Our topic was about the plight of our brown babies and what we can do as parents to prepare them for the best life possible.

One of the other panelists, Kimberly Seals Allers (a single mom herself) responded to a question about single moms. She recently wrote a post on it and invited me to get my readers to weigh in. She writes:

“Recently, I had an epiphany.

It was actually more like a frightening realization, to be honest.

And it came to me on the television set of a BET taping, of all places. During the taping, I was sitting next to a young black male who was just singing his mama’s praises. He spoke lovingly of how she raised him as a single parent, giving tough love and setting high expectations. Then, he began to talk about how when his father left, his mother “didn’t miss a beat” and just got on with their lives. This struck me. I interrupted him gently, to remind him that that is just what he saw or what she allowed him to see, and that he didn’t know what happened to his mother when he went to sleep or when his mother was alone-she may have cried for hours.

The problem with what this young man saw, is that he was left with the impression that his father left his family and there were no consequences. No repercussions. This is dangerous thinking for our young men. And in my opinion, dangerous behavior on our part as Black women. My fear is that our Strong Black Woman Syndrome is unintentionally breaking down our families and creating a dangerous legacy.”

I found her theory refreshing and I spent the next few months thinking about it. Examples of the “Strong Black Woman Syndrome” were all around me. Friends told me that it was no big deal when their child’s father left, because they were expecting him to leave all along, that they’ve spent their whole lives planning on being single mothers. That stunned me.

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Do single moms create a new generation of single moms – their strength backfiring, leaving the current generation of fatherless youth to believe that a man’s presence isn’t really necessary, since Mom does such a good job holding it down on her own?

But isn’t it a Catch-22? Don’t single moms, like all parents, want their kids to feel safe and secure knowing that they will be OK no matter what? Why make it apparent that their life is made even more complicated by Daddy’s absence? One thing I think single moms do amazingly well is their ability to shine no matter the circumstances. They do it all – because they know they have to. They let the love for their kids push them forward, doing just as much as, or sometimes more than, the moms with partners and other sources of support. They rock. Is this now one more thing they have to worry about as they try to do it all on their own?

Let me hear your thoughts on this theory: Do single moms help create more single moms by creating the “allusion” that Daddy ain’t necessary? What, in your opinion, contributes to the rise in female-headed households with no man in sight?

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