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It’s Black Fathers Week: My Special Message to Single Moms

It’s Black Fathers Week in several cities across the country. And to celebrate the many, many strong, positive Black dads out there doing their thang, we’re giving away, FREE!!, our popular “Strong Black Father Under Construction” tee shirt every day to the first 10 people who post a comment to this blog every day until June 9th.

In the meantime, I’m sending a special message to single moms everywhere this Black Fathers Week. This week is a time to encourage, celebrate and support Black fathers everywhere. I like this. We know there are so many great Dads out there who don’t get their props. Remembering the importance of black fathers is so much more important in our community, where black women are disproportionately single parents. According to Census data, 45.4% of black homes are headed by a single female compared to 13.7% for whites and 22.3% for Latinas. Other studies show that black children are eight times more likely than white children to live with an unwed mother.
And though we are notorious for taking good care of our families—and the list of prominent, successful adults raised by single mothers runs long– our children still need their fathers. As single parents this is particularly important. I’ve seen all too many black single moms let off a triumphant, “my child doesn’t his need his father.” “Her father doesn’t deserve to see her,” –add neck roll. And it just isn’t true. In fact, we should never want that to be our truth.

My girlfriend and I have been having an ongoing debate ever since my husband moved out and I joined the ranks of the single moms. She has been one for years. She laughs at all my efforts to keep the “wasband” involved in the children’s lives—continuing to notify him of doctor’s appointments, school conferences, recitals and soccer practices—even though he doesn’t show up half the time. She thinks I’m foolish for letting him see the children after he breaks the appointments, doesn’t call or has some other lame excuse. Of course, it annoys the hell out of me. Sometimes it makes me cry. But the truth is, my son still breaks into the biggest Kool-Aid smile when he sees his Dad pull up in the driveway. He often gets so giddy at pick-up he starts running around like crazy. I can’t help but smile. At five years old, his memory is short and his standards for what a Daddy should be are pretty low. My husband won’t have this luxury for long. My 9-year old daughter is already hip to his game and very much less enthusiastic about his arrival and pick up. But that is a call for my children to make. Pretty soon, they will see their father for who he is, good and bad—children are so discerning, aren’t they? But it is not my place to paint that picture for them. Their Dad will have to deal with that with them when the time comes.
My girlfriend on the other hand, has a laundry list of the things she dislikes about her child’s father which she points to a “character issues” and “lack of responsibility” which quite frankly, are the farthest thing from her 3-year old’s mind. That little girl just wants to run and play and get a Happy Meal every now and then. Other times her anger about their broken relationship gets in the way. Either way, she’s caught in a control game, insisting on him playing by her rules. Her daughter is the biggest loser in this one. Now, I don’t play when it comes to safety issues of any sort. But outside of a child being in some sort of physical or emotional danger, there isn’t much reason, in my opinion, to keep children away from their Dads.

And as my mother will quickly tell me, when I launch into a complaining tirade about the wasband, “Well, you picked him and you slept with him.” There’s not much I can say to her after that.

So this week, I ask all single mothers to think about their children. Recognize the importance of our black men in our children’s lives. Not everyone has a perfect Dad. This is the reality of the world. But do something even small this week to support and encourage your child’s father presence in your little one’s life—despite his shortcomings. When it comes to raising strong, confident black children and revitalizing our communities—we need our men.

Leave a comment and your email address to get a FREE “Strong Black Father Under Construction” tee shirt. The first 10 people who leave a comment each day are guaranteed winners!!

Comments
16 Responses to “It’s Black Fathers Week: My Special Message to Single Moms”
  1. Annis says:

    I think my dad is "superdad". He will do anything for our family! I would like that shirt please :-)

    cdbrkr@gmail.com

  2. Nicole Lynn Lewis says:

    Great message, and keep doing your wonderful work. I am a fellow author and businesswoman, and it's not easy! I was also a single mother for 8 years before I married my husband, and it's hard work!

    http://www.nicoleink.com

  3. Kyla says:

    Really powerful. I'm a single mom an dealing with the internal battle of right and wrong for my son's sake. His father should be a part of his life, but I fear the possible harm he may bring. Thanks for the inspiration!

    kyla.flanagan@gmail.com

  4. tanyetta says:

    Very important message:

    *** When it comes to raising strong, confident black children and revitalizing our communities—we need our men.***

    tanyetta at hotmail

  5. Petite Elegance Wedding Affairs says:

    My husband is a wonderful Father. He & his/our daughter's mother aren't together nonetheless he continues to fight for rights as a father. We are expecting a baby in the next couple of weeks & he continues to provide a beautiful life for us. I celebrate him everyday!

    http://www.petiteelegance.com

  6. mskianajones@yahoo.com says:

    My husband is definitely a strong black father. We have 3 children and only 1 of them is biologically his. My oldest is 11 and the middle child is 5. My oldest knows his real dad but respects Brad as his father. My 5 year old only knows Brad as his father since we have been together since he was 1. Brad takes care of all 3 as if they were all his own. He didn't and doesn't have to do that but he does. He makes sure to distribute his love evenly. Kiana Hartman Lafayette, LA

  7. V says:

    Thank you for acknowledging the great fathers out there. All of the fathers I know are great, caring providers and despite challenges they face (most of them because of failed relationships with the mother) continue to be a positive role model for other men.

  8. Natalie says:

    My husband is a strong Black man, husband and father-to-be! This Friday is our 10 year anniversary and we just found out three days ago that we are expecting our first child! Already, my husband has bought me flowers and has taken over tasks like walking the dog and cleaning the kitchen, just to make sure I'm getting enough rest! He is unselfish, supportive and the most loving man I know. I count my blessings every day for this wonderful Black father-to-be!

  9. ScottFro says:

    Wow, I had no idea that there was a week to recognize Black fathers! I guess it's because I'm new to the game, being a father for only 5 months. It's been a bit 'nontraditional' in that I've been out of work for 7 months, and my wife went back to work at the end of March, so I've been the stay-at-home Dad. It's been a challenge, but it's been wonderful. I think the t-shirt is apt, as I'm definitely under construction. Thanks for being supportive of strong Black fathers everywhere.

    On a personal note, congrats on the Mocha Manual! It's not every day you go to a taping of the DL Hughley show, only to find out a former junior high school classmate is a featured guest! If there is ever a Ryan reunion, hope to see you there!

    B. Scott Randolph
    fro.scottfro@gmail.com

  10. blbankston@yahoo.com says:

    This is a surprise. I didn't know Black Father's Week existed. It's great to know there is a celebration about the positives, instead of the negatives.

    It's also a Blessing to see "Mocha Manual". It would have been wonderful to have had access to such great information during my pregnancies.

    Keep growing!

  11. Quiskaeya says:

    Once again a standing ovation for a superb post! I have lived EVERYTHING you said having been a single mother for 3 1/2 years. I battled hard and fierce for my son to have contact with his father much to the chagrin of my friends. They scoffed and laughed. Accused me of using these tactics as a means to get back with him. His father wasn't always there. But he's done a 360 and now puts his son above anythng. The stories don't always end so nicely. Even if it hadn't, I would still have always let my son's father see him whenever he wanted. Not for him, but for my son. I just love my baby that much. In the end, that's what it's all about – love for the child.

  12. Sandra says:

    I think my Dad is the best Dad of all. When my mother was incapable of raising me the way my Dad wanted me to be, he stepped in and gained custody of me and did the best job he know how. I think I turned out rather well considering. I don't know many Dad's who would raise a girl child.

  13. Joyce The Writer says:

    I call myself a pseudo-single parent because my child's father is VERY involved in her life, even though we are not together. We've never argued about child support (haven't ever been to court or anything – just worked out pay arrangements ourselves). We share all responsibilities, whether it be driving to dance classes, taking to doctor appointments or daily care. We rarely argue, even when we have strong disagreements. And we try our best to make the best decisions together for the benefit of her. I know that I am blessed in this situation because of what I hear from other single parents.

    There are some scary things in terms of now we both are dating significant others and its touchy territory getting to know another person who is going to be important in your child's life. But we're handling it like responsible adults who want the best for their child. I encourage him and he encourages me. I hope and pray that others find this type of relationship. And I pray that he and I are able to keep it up.

    Great post Kim!

  14. Joyce The Writer says:

    and I loved your spot on DL Hughely's show…that hair was WORKIN!!!

  15. Mocha Dad says:

    I never knew this week existed. Thanks for this post. You discussed many of the topics Eric, Lamar, and I discussed on the webinar.

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