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.