Sunday, September 27, 2009

I am not your baby's momma

I hate the term “my baby’s momma.”
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and I knew that her father wasn’t going to commit to me or be a constant figure in her life, I decided right then and there that I would not be lowered to baby momma status. He already had other children by other women (yes, stupid on my part to get involved with him, but that’s neither here nor there) and he always referred to them as his babies’ mommas. Whenever he said baby’s momma, it was with malice, disgust, and disrespect. I reused to be part of that unfortunate club.
When he would (seldom) come over to my house to visit her, he would sometimes receive phone calls and say that he was over at his baby’s momma’s house. I would quickly let him know that I wasn’t his baby’s momma. He’d look at me funny and I would tell him to tell whomever he was talking to that I am his child’s mother.
I am not one of those women that you see on the Maury Povich show (to make this comment even funnier, he actually asked ME to go onto the show to prove our child’s paternity). I refuse to attend a show to embarrass my child, my family or myself for a free paternity test or 15 minutes of fame. You won’t find me on a show being loud and overly animated; proclaiming my 150% surety that the 9th man Maury brought out was the father. I will not scream, start crying, run behind the stage, fall out in the middle of the floor, and promise Maury that I will be back with man number ten after being embarrassed for the ninth time.
I am not the caricature of a baby’s momma. I am not greedy, selfish, narcissistic, or whorish. I don’t expect to be taken care of just because I bore your child. My ten months of pregnancy does not equate a lifetime of financial care from my child’s father and his pocket. Do I expect him to help with the financial part of raising our child? Yes. But, since I’m not a baby’s momma, you won’t see me in court demanding $10,000 a month to “take care of our child.” It costs a lot to raise a child but not that damned much.
I am not the baby’s momma that is dressed in the latest and the hottest while my child looks like a homeless refugee. You won’t see my child with uncombed hair, dirty clothes, shoes that are too small for her feet (or no shoes at all), or a diaper that hasn’t been changed in hours. Since I am not your baby’s momma, but your child’s mother, you will see that your child is clean, smells like a baby, and constantly has a dry and clean diaper on. When we go out, her diaper bag usually has six diapers, three bibs, a box of baby wipes, a change of clothes, lotion, powder, diaper rash cream (just in case), hand sanitizer, food, and beverage. She will not suffer because I want to look the part. I will do without before she does.
I am not the baby’s momma that will use our child as a bartering piece. I will not use her to “get you back into my life.” She was conceived for a reason, a blessing from a higher power that brought her into this world for a purpose. She’s not here to replace a gambling piece in our relationship, however dysfunctional or cooperative it may be. I won’t keep her from you because you won’t be with me or give me the money I feel I need to keep my lifestyle going. I am your child’s mother, not your blackjack dealer.
As an African American woman, the term baby’s momma is almost exclusively ours. This is how we are viewed in everyday occurrences if we are seen without our child’s father or have multiple children by our side. Are there women who fit the examples I’ve listed above? Yes; but many African American women do not. There are many of us who work on a daily basis, are not dependent on child support to keep afloat, do not desire to reconnect with their child’s father, and actually take care of their children. Most importantly, those of us who dismiss the term baby’s momma make that fact known. They are verbal about the verbiage used when we are presented to others by their child’s father. We do not allow others to call us baby’s momma because we understand the stigma that is attached to the term and prefer to be called your child’s mother because that is who we are and what we are.
So yes, when you talk about me or talk to me remember that I am not your baby’s momma.
I am your child’s mother.


  1. Hmm...ok, now that I know it's you (LOL!), I feel more comfortable commenting on this post.

    It always amazes me (and makes me a little sad) when I see people, and especially women, buying into the need to categorize themselves against other women. Don't get me wrong, I completely hear what you're saying here about demanding the respect that you deserve from your daughter's father...but does it have to include such negative comments about other women who may be less classy, intelligent, or self-respectful as you are? I know that these women really exist, we've all seen them on Maury's show. But the fact of the matter is that we can categorize the hell out of it if we want to, but it only perpetuates the stereotypes that make for good TV ratings for Mr. Povich and tears us apart as women. Seems to me that the more disunity exists among women, the more men are able to exploit us and turn us into "baby momma's".

    Just my two cents (wink!)

  2. Hey MsL...
    I feel what you are saying about becoming more united as AA women in a world that is already against us as a whole; baby momma or child's mother.
    Despite the fact that I'm a heathen (lol) I have been a firm believer in tell the truth, shame the devil way of thought. I would think that if one saw in a more detailed way how other's think of you, one would stop acting the way that they do. But, like you said Maury does a fabulous job of that already, and we just continue doing the same.
    Would I rather help other women? Hell yeah. But (and this is coming from my experience with single mothers in WI - aka the welfare state of America and parent of W-2) I have seen so many of these women who have had so much help offered to them and not take the help, not try to better themselves, not do anything to make their situation and relationships with their child's father or baby's daddy (I hate that term too, but they are there) any better. As a single mother, I've used these resources to help me when I was on maternity leave to further education, apply for better jobs, to help with transportation, etc. I didn't just get knocked up and expected the Maury way to be my life. I wanted better for my baby and am giving it to her.
    The women that I know, lived next to, have had children in my classes act like the women I've described. And after trying, trying, trying, pleading, begging, crying, screaming to give them help and they constantly said no; all I can say is fuck it. If you refuse the help after all that others have given you, after what I've given you, after others have tried to explain to you in a manner that is easier for you to understand and you still refuse; how does trying to unite with those women help me or them?
    Do we need better unity amongst AA women in this society? Hell yeah. Do we need better role models for our young girls and women prior to them becoming mothers? Hell yeah. But I'm not going to keep giving and you refuse to take.
    Men can exploit us and have done so for years. But I believe that AA women are the strongest of all people in this country and we have the power to keep others from exploiting us if we wanted to. Some of these women don't want to. What can I do about them?

  3. Very well stated, sis. Amen to all that you've said :-)

  4. how were you any different than the others? You knew he was a lowlife with his seed sperad all over, yet YOU had one with him as well. YOU ARE A BABY MOMMA



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