How to Help the Baby Mama Maintain Her Worth
Before you take offense at the usage of a grammatically incorrect term, know that “baby mama” can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). In 1966, "baby mother" first appeared in the Jamaican newspaper. Hip-hop lyrics used “baby mother,” “baby mama” and “baby daddy” extensively during the late 1990s, and by the year 2000 everyone had heard or read these terms.
(For more details on the origin of these terms, see Where Do "Baby Daddies" Come From? by Julia Turner.)
According to the OED the baby mama is "the mother of a man's child, who is not his wife or (in most cases) his current or exclusive partner."
The baby mama broke the rules: either by having a baby for a man with whom there was no real relationship, or by forfeiting the relationship after she had the child. Still, she can succeed at restoring and maintaining her self-worth, and being a responsible woman and mother. She cannot do it alone and will need a little help from:
- The baby daddy
- The baby daddy’s wife
- Male friends
- Other women
The baby daddy
The baby daddy profile varies. Consistent though, is the fact that there is no marriage, no hope of marriage, no friendly interaction with the child's mother. He may fit one or more of the following descriptions, which are by no means all inclusive:
- Selfishly sowing his wild oats without any sense of fatherhood responsibility;
- Insecure in his marriage and desires to prove that he is still wanted;
- Claiming the capacity to love more than one woman;
- Habitual one-night stander, for the thrill of adding to his list of conquests.
Whatever the situation by which a man becomes a father, the child’s interest belongs on his list of priorities. His irresponsible behavior must give way to his new priority of contributing to a happy, healthy life for the child. Pretending that the child and mother do not exist; refusing financial support; saying degrading things about the mother—none of these things promotes his stature as a man.
Respect for the child's mother translates into respect for himself and initiates the portrait of a man that his child could respect. Meanwhile, the woman would be wise to see herself not only as his baby mama, but as a woman capable of moving forward.
The baby daddy's wife
Whether the man fathered the child before or during his marriage, his wife has to deal with the fact that the child is a part of her husband’s world. Her winning asset would be consideration.
Here is an example of a smart wife. The woman’s husband had a fling with a woman who became pregnant. The man stopped seeing her immediately, but of course, the wife found out. The wife wanted her marriage anyway, so she took control and called the other woman to find out what she needed for the baby. She avoided disruption to the marriage.
Here is an example of an unwise woman: Years after the baby was born, the man (now married to someone else) and the baby mama hated each other; but when their child took ill, she called to inform him. His wife insisted on being at the child's bedside with him even if it meant that the child’s mother had to leave the room. That seemed foolish.
The child’s mother has the right to make reasonable requests and the wife must know when to show consideration.
Even when a woman is rejected by a man, she still has the right to be respected by other men. Having a baby does not make her a marked-down item. A man who is interested focuses on her beauty instead of her scars, and recognizes her value.
If the fact that she has a baby prevents him from seeing her potential, he should walk on. Leave her for the man who wants the task of helping her rebuild and restore her self-worth. There are many stories of men who made a positive difference in the lives of women who had children previous to their relationship.
None of the little girls in the picture above was born with the desire to become a baby mama. If she makes that decision, it is because she is misguided. If she is seduced, it is because she is naïve. If she thinks that is the right thing to do, it is because she does not realize what is best for her.
The first women available to empower her are her mother and other immediate family members. Their training is never complete. Without trampling on her individuality, they can keep on influencing her with affirmations of her strengths and teaching life lessons from their own experiences.
Female bonding is empowering, and the baby mama needs to be included in the circle. She needs friends to assist her; advise her; affirm her, applaud her and make her accountable. No force is greater for the redemption of one woman, than a supportive circle of other women.
The familial and moral structure of the home is important in the child's development. There are several factors the baby mama has to think about with regard to her role of motherhood:
- Does the life she chooses accommodates her fullest potential as a woman, and as a mother?
- Does she have her child’s interest is in the right spot on her list of priorities?
- What her children will learn from her interaction with other men?
- Will she teach her child respect for the father and for her as the mother?
Finally, honest communication between mother and child is important at every age. Children know when the mother is putting forth her best effort; and she can influence them positively regardless of the past. She can create a loving, trusting family if she is intentional.
Would you refer to a single mother as a "baby mama" if the definition fits her?
© 2014 Dora Weithers