I had to share this post because I’m a mother and in between watching your son grow up, shuffling him to activities and helping with homework and watching him sleep at night, you pray that you will never ever have to bury a child. But, this mother and many mothers do have to bury their son’s.
I read this great piece by Goose’s Roost regarding his struggle with Child Support. Please check it out. It was difficult to read that our courts could be so inept with today’s technology.
via Show Cause
I could probably name 100 things my mother taught me about women, love, life, relationships and marriage. However, she neglected to tell me what I’d face once I decided to start dating. I’m sure she would have told me more had she known. Also, there are certain lessons my father should have taught me. That being said, by the time I started dating, the rules of engagement and the dating landscape had changed so drastically, that there’s no way she could have prepared me for this. And that, ladies and gentlemen is where I’m going to start.
I would say that I started, “real dating ” when I was a freshmen in college. But I started back in high school. Needless to say, even back then, dating was a big mess. Although, it was much more simple. I could take a young woman out (broke as I was) to grab a $2 Whopper without the cheese (and if she was special) she’d get cheese on it. Yeah, cheese on your burger meant you were pretty dope back then. All that being said, I was still learning how to approach a woman in a serious way. I remember sitting on the stairs of my dorm and thinking of my father, and how I couldn’t call him and ask him what to do. So I fell back on the teachings of my mother and there wasn’t much I could use other than…be myself (at least, that’s what I thought).
That was a good start. Although, a lot of the guys who were, “faking the funk,” were getting all the women, I remained calm, and stuck with what she taught me.
Being A Conversationalist Requires Skill
Listen, I don’t know about your parents, but my mom didn’t tell me that conversation is actually something I needed to be good at when engaging with a woman I liked. Sometimes I would find myself like… “so…. what … am I supposed to say now?”
Sitting there at a loss for words, blank stare and all, It was painful! It was gut-wrenching. Some grown men still deal with this issue. But I learned a value lesson. Great conversation is a skill. Some people have it, some don’t. But you can learn how to-be great at it. Problem, was, I was still green as hell and super bold. Not a good mix when you have no idea what to say.
One time when I was hanging out with the fellas (while in high school), we went to the arcade and of course they wanted to talk to girls. On the way there I was dreading the disaster yet-to-come. Once we arrived, they went straight to the girls. I tried to play it off and act like I was that much into a game of Centipede. But then the craziest thing happened… I walked over and tried to kick-game to a girl! Huge mistake. That was not me, and I got dissed because I didn’t know what to say. Of course, I never did that again.
Through each conversation, I learned a new lesson, and through that, I developed my conversation-swag. Now, I can talk to anyone, about anything. And it only took me 10 years ((sarcasm)).
Be Yourself Even When It’s Hard
As shown above, I had a hard time in my teen and post-teen years because, I truly had no idea what I was doing. No one told me about the pressure to-be someone else. I also didn’t know that being me would be so hard. I am still the same silly cerebral, slash, creative I was back then. When you’re a freshmen in high school, women were not checking for a guy like me. They wanted the rough and tough guy. The Al B. Sure look-alike. Sure there were some who thought I was cute, but I am dark-skinned, without the good hair. Yeah… good hair. But I’m tall (that was one superficial thing I had going for me). But it wasn’t enough. And I wasn’t the type of guy to yield to peer pressure.
I wore Timbs, baggy jeans, a New York Giants Starter jacket, skully covering my kinky hair, headphones with the foam cushions that you’d always lose, cassette tape that popped, and a yellow Sony walkman. That was me. Down-to-earth, musically obsessed, always staying true to myself. However, mother didn’t warn me about how lonely that would get at times.
Mother Showed Me What Love Looks Like
But she didn’t show me how to [give] love and affection. As soon as I turned 18, here they came. The women. the older, and the women who were around the same age as me. It didn’t matter, they came and I didn’t know how to handle them.
I went straight to college after high school and I remember when a much older junior (we’re going to call her, “B.”) was after me like lioness after a Wildebeest. Every time I tried to get away, she would smack my back leg, I’d fall down and she was all over me. She was really nice, and the odd part was, all the men on campus wanted her. But, she wanted me! I wasn’t flattered, because I was too young and naïve to the fact, and couldn’t believe that this beautiful woman wanted a cornball.
She told me, “you have to figure that one out.” Really? That’s the best you got?
B, was always very affectionate, caring, and talked to me like a man. I knew how to accept that type of love and affection because my mother showed me something similar. That being said, I didn’t know how to reciprocate the love I was receiving. That was something she couldn’t teach me. Responding to the affections of a grown woman are, “man issues.” Needless to say, I was shy, apprehensive and very cautious. I even called my mother to ask her what to do. She told me, “you have to figure that one out.” Really? That’s the best you got?
When It’s Time To Choose, Do It Quickly (and wisely)
But, who teaches you how to choose? What if you have two or three women that really like you, and they’re all nice and showering you with love?
I’m a young man, I’m not ready for this! No one told me it would be this hard. I learned a tough lesson though…
“choose quickly or deal with the consequences.”
Women are not one to wait. And even when they act like they’re being patient, if you take too long, they will either walk, find someone else, or give you the 3rd degree. Oh and, they won’t tell you their timeline. So you just have to know that you’re taking too long by the mental clock in your head. Basically, you have to guess. And you don’t want to run out of time before you reach the goal or, GAME OVER.
Whatever you do, be decisive about choosing a woman… or, don’t choose at all. Just stay single, but let them all know your intentions. And that’s what I did. I stayed single. I didn’t have a steady girlfriend until my junior year in college. And yes, I choose her.
No More Meeting At The Corner Store
When I was about 15, I remember hanging out with friends at the corner store, cracking jokes, grabbing some Jolly Ranchers, a couple of juices with the aluminum foil top, and just hanging out. Then, a group walks in…That’s when I saw the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.
She was dressed straight out of a Salt-N-Pepa video. Her over-sized gold painted earrings, black tights, red boots and 8 ball jacket made me reminisce the “Push-It,” video. But that didn’t distract me… for the first time I was going to tell her how beautiful I thought she was.
That, was how it used to be. This is how mommy told me it would be. You see the girl, introduce yourself and the conversation begins. That was then. Now it is all about how savvy you are online. From dating sites to social media,
In 2015 Pew Research center conducted a study about online dating. They stated that “1/3 of the people in marriages meet online.”
Now, you meet digitally. The innocent feelings are gone. People are now scared to initiate conversation. Instead of seeing the person live, they are online “catfishing.” Or, they are being dishonest about their relationships status. So you never know what you’re going to get. Dating in 2017, is truly a mixed box of chocolates.
My mother didn’t see this coming and quite frankly, neither did I. I miss the old ways of dating.
What Did I Learn?
In conclusion, I learned that my mother did teach me a few things about dating that I didn’t know she taught me until I was older.
- Mom taught me, as a man I would have to stand alone as an individual (as a man).
- If she doesn’t accept you for who you are, then she’s not worth it
- How to love myself
- She showed me what real love looks like
All the things I learned from her, including the lessons she didn’t teach me, all shaped the man you see today.
When dating, the plight of the black woman is like no other. This isn’t intended to diminish the challenges and obstacles of any other race of woman. This is also not written to attack the opposite sex. It’s written to bring awareness, understanding and empathy for a culture of women that has to overcome not only the unfavorable stigma attached to their pigment and the texture of their hair, but also, the negative character portrayal and barrage of stereotypical images of black women in the dating world.
Stereotypes of the Black Woman
To name a few:
- The black woman doesn’t care about her body.
- She doesn’t like her own hair.
- They do not listen to their man.
- The black woman is not marriage material
- Black women have bad attitudes
- Black women have negative attitudes
- They don’t get along with other women
- Black women hate white women
- The women are gold diggers
- She is always angry
- Black women are ghetto and ratchet
- She talks too much
- Black women are bitter and heart-broken
- They are lazy baby-makers
- Black women can’t keep a man
Of course, none of these insidious and damaging characterizations of black women are true. However, it is important for you to realize how these stereotypes (or any stereotype) impact the dating landscape and the overall psyche of a black woman.
Based on a study conducted in the winter of 1999 by Laura Green of Virginia Commonwealth University. Sambo, Jim Crow, The Savage, The Mammy, Aunt Jemima, Sapphire and Jezebel are major causalities that result in stereotypes centered around black people and black women. In addition, the stereotypes of black women go as far back as slavery days and have stalked black people like a specter and/or evolved into modern-day thought.
Negative Polls About Black Women
Black women are beauty personified. However, black women have been degraded since slavery. Even so, by their own men. In video poll conducted by Buzz Feed researchers, called, “Do You Have A Racial Preference…” 2.4 million heterosexual interactions from the app, “Are You Interested.,” were used to determine preference. Users were classified by their gender and race.
The study revealed:
- Black women are the least desirable among all women.
- Black men responded mostly to women of other races, even though black women were 3 times more likely to respond.
- Black women are the least replied-to group.
- Black women are also the most likely to respond when compared against other races of women.
- Black women respond 25% more than other women.
- A similar survey by OkCupid revealed that black women were the least replied-to group.
- 1 out of 2.9 men respond to black women
More on that OkCupid survey
Back in 2009, the basics of race and attraction looked like this:
—non-black men applied a penalty to black women
—while black men showed little racial preference either way
—all women preferred men of their own race
—but they otherwise penalized both Asian and black men
Here’s how the exact person-to-person statistics look: Focus on the Black men rating and then look at the Black women rating.
I gather a few things from these numbers.
- Black men are willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
- Black women are not as willing to do so.
- Black men rate black women least desirable at -3%
- Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 16%
Some things never change…
- Black men are still willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
- Black women are less likely to do so than they were in 2009
- Black men rate black women least desirable at 1%. Which is a slight jump from 2009
- Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 23%. Which is a 7% jump from 2009.
- Black women are the only race to rate black men, “positively.”
“Child support was designed to take a 1/3 of a man’s salary and keep him in financial peril.” – A man paying child support
This is a common statement that I hear from men who are at risk of paying child support. They may or may not have children. They could have a friend that is paying a large sum of money in child support or they could be paying their own large amount. But, what is the real deal with child support?
Child Support started in 1975, when the government established Section IV-D of the Social Security Act. Now, during this time many children were brought up in two parent homes (think shot gun weddings) and men and women were divorcing. In many cases men were regulated to still provide for the family so that the children didn’t suffer, because they didn’t believe divorce should affect the financial standings of the life of your children.
Men were the main providers during that time. Research showed that men progressed in their careers after a divorce because women took care of the children. Women were viewed to be the ones who suffered during a divorce which is why the child support system was designed to make their families whole again. Custody and child support are separate but now you can see why historically women were viewed to be the main caretakers of children.
Fast forward to the 90’s and the government was dying in the welfare program. Doesn’t everything come back to the almighty dollar? So, many people were on welfare or receiving public assistance.
Many people receiving assistance from the government had children. Should the taxpayers be responsible for the children? Yes and no. Yes, because children needed to be supported, but no if you laid down and created a baby you should be financially responsible for said child. This is why their was reform.
We need you to name your child’s father. We will go after them for all the support you’re getting from the taxpayers. Brilliant. Why should we pay for children we didn’t lay down and create?
Can we agree that if your child’s mother is receiving public assistance and you don’t pay child support that you should? Okay, great. Now that we know who should pay child support without question, let’s talk about other cases. Not questionable about support, but maybe the amount of support is what some men question.
Many men say that the decks are stacked against them in child support cases. They always feel that they get the short end of the stick because they have to fight for custody and then pay an astronomical amount in child support. When I explain that child support and custody are separate and why they don’t apply for joint custody off the bat, I’m often told it’s because they don’t believe they will get it.
Many states are leaning towards a 50/50 custody and visitation schedule among all parents. I would say that in many cases children under school age may get more time with the mother than the father. Is it right? Nope, but that is what the court may be leaning towards. But, custody is separate and we’re talking about child support.
In Maryland, the guidelines are pretty straightforward. Maryland uses an income shares model for its child support guidelines. The guidelines also take into account the income of both parents, number of children, cost of health insurance for the child(ren), current child support being paid for other child(ren), alimony being paid, alimony being received, the cost of daycare, and the cost of extraordinary medical expenses for the child(ren). So, if they use this guideline, what’s the deal?
The problem basically boils down to this…one parent making substantially more than the other and not being the non-custodial parent. If you get your children every other weekend and two weeks in the summer, you will pay child support. In some instances if you get your child 50% of the time you may still pay child support. Why? The income of the other parent is way less than yours.
Is it fair? Yes. Does it need to be revamped? Yes, but seriously what states have the manpower to do so. Under no circumstances should you just pay child support and not be allowed to see your children because the other parent is withholding them. Go back to court. File contempt. Let the courts get tired of seeing you.
Child support is for the care of the children.
I want to share my 6th podcast with you all (I’ve been on podcast hiatus for a few weeks contemplating the universe and it’s creation)… I believe that oftentimes we want a thing so badly, we’re willing to go through hell to get it. The fact that we waited so long, fought so hard, that we don’t want to let it go when we finally have it. I’ve been that guy.
Have you ever been in relationship or dated someone for a time, only to find out you should have let them go long before you did? The signs were there, but you held on? Or maybe you had separation anxiety and you were too fearful of being single again.
In today’s podcast, I will talk about the obvious (and not-so-obvious) signs of separation anxiety. Also, when you should stay, when you should go, and coping with hanging on to a relationship past it’s expiration date.
Please click on the stream below to listen:
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If you would like to direct download this podcast, please click play below.
That notorious red flag. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all ignored them, and later acted like we didn’t see a thing.
You know the role, we’ve all played it well. When we act like the person we’re dating, changed into a different person overnight—when they were the same person we discovered them to be a week into the dating process. They never changed, they were always the same. Those blinders are semi-permeable. We see what we want to see at times, to, “enjoy the ride,” or, “maybe it’s nothing.” When in fact that red flag is, everything.
Dating Is Already Difficult
While dating can be fun, the process of vetting can be exhausting. There are countless dating blogs about the misadventures of each dater, where they chronicle each experience they’ve had. So, the challenges are well documented.
So how do we still fall for the, “banana in the tailpipe?”
“The mind is the most skilled Photoshopper. It can rationalize anything and paint any picture of anyone, depending on our initial perspective. There is a psychological phenomenon known as the ‘confirmation bias,’ where we are inclined to discard all evidence that does not align with our views and only keep those that do. And with a potentially toxic person, they have worked to create a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart. So even if they do something bad or say something that’s off, you may think, ‘He’s only this way because he went through X.’ This is when ticking boxes of ‘Is he rude to the waiter?’ ‘Is he nice to his family members?’ doesn’t work. He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are. But underlying it, if he says things like, ‘So they’ll treat us better the next time,’ or he has a mean mouth towards some people, and if you find yourself justifying his transactional mindset or meanness, then it’s time to pause and step back. Our brains work overtime to convince us of someone who’s not good for us, even when our guts know it.”
A Few Red Flags
Their communication is spotty…
…and inconsistent. Nothing is worse than rarely being able to reach someone. I’m not just talking about a phone call either. I”m talking about all forms of communication. Direct messenger, text message, email, smoke signal, and carrier pigeon are all unsuccessful.
This is why communication is so important. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be doing anything disrespectful or unsavory. They truly could be busy, or bad with prioritization—which is another issue (or red flag).
They love to challenge you
This is one of my pet peeves. Every-single-thing you say, or do… they have to interject, show they’re better, offer some opinion to the contrary, or confront you . This reeks of
insecurity, or an inferiority and/or superiority complex. Don’t be surprised that when you find an inferiority complex within, that there’s a superiority complex hidden beneath it. One compensates for the other.
This person cannot bear the idea of their inferiority, so they overcompensate in other areas that will test you. They feel as though they are superior (in compensation mode) when
they are actually not. An example would be… a man with a small penis would feel inferior to a well-endowed man. So he will overcompensate with an over-exuberance of oral sex. Another example would be someone who truly feels they are inferior to another race of men/women, and uses every opportunity to tear them down, so they can feel superior. This may occur when you give a compliment to someone in the race they feel superior to. These comments may come off as jokes, or back-handed, passive comments.
They want to test your boundaries constantly
This person wants to see how far they can get you.
- You tell them you’re not ready for sex, and they still try to seduce you, or engage in sexual conversation.
- You’re not ready for them to meet your family, or children and they make you feel bad about it with a “guilt-trip.”
- From the beginning you told them certain days you are unavailable, and they still try to plan outings or meet-ups on those days.
- You may not like talking about how much money you make, so they ask you, “what do you do you?”
- They may not like your style of dress, or the way you wear your hair. Or, even the way your house is decorated. So they “low-key” offer suggestions.
Your intuition, foresight and “Spidey-Sense” kick-in
Then, your gut tells you…
- “Nah… something ain’t right…”
- Then you say to yourself…”he/she is cool, but I just don’t know about them…”
- You feel this tingling in your head that says, “THIS AIN’T THE ONE!”
- She complains a lot, but maybe she’s going through something.
- I’m always pulling my wallet out when we spend time.
- Why are all her photos from the neck-up?
- They talk about themselves all the time
- He/she is always talking about his/her ex.
- They are a total narcissist. Always pointing the finger, always projecting.
So what do you do?
You date them anyway. When they mess up, or manage to arch your eyebrow, you justify their actions. You overlook the red flags that are presented to you on a silver platter. Later on down the road, maybe a few months or so, things go Topsy-turvy, and you’re now in reflection/hindsight mode.
My point… signs are always there. Although they are difficult to read at times, they are always there. Some people can detect red flags immediately because they literally look for them. Others do not look for them and get, “caught slipping.” Of course there are those that fall in the middle. They see the red flags, question them, and when the line is dropped in the water—they bite. Typically this is because they want it to work out so badly, you love them… or, you’ve had sex with this person, and their judgement is clouded. Even worse, they know there’s something wrong, and stay regardless out of desperation, or low self-esteem.
We always have a choice. We can act on the red flag(s), or, we can can ignore them. If you choose to ignore them, be ready to reap the whirlwind. Remember, not all red flags are truly red flags. It’s best to communicate your concerns. If the person becomes defensive, that could be another red flag. Regardless, you need to voice your concerns. Never hesitate. If you do, it’s to your own detriment.
You may find out that the red flag truly was a false alarm. If you never bring it up, you will never know until it’s further down the line. Even worse, you may never find out, or you may find out when you’re in a relationship, or married to this person. Obviously this isn’t ideal.
Keep your eyes open, and happy discerning!
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Various Form of Protection
When we hear the word, “protection” or “protect” we automatically default to physical protection. Hence why so many women believe it’s only a man’s job to do the protecting.
Every day, I look at imagery. For my blog, my personal photography work, and just for leisure. When I look at images of, “love, relationships and dating…” I typically see the man with his arms around the woman. I usually do not see the woman with her arms around the man.
So How Do You Protect Him?
We all have a reputation to uphold. Whenever someone tries to “come for him” or taint his name, a woman should help protect that reputation. Women can see things we can’t see… this also why your protection is essential.
Guard his feelings
This is a big one. From childhood, expression of feelings is something most men are just not taught. We were taught to be aggressive, told we shouldn’t cry, show no pain, or fear, and destroy your opponent. So, the one place we should feel comfortable expressing ourselves is with our woman/wife. I’ve been in many social settings (and groups) and when a man begins to express himself, he’s talked-over, talked-for, or simply told he’s complaining. I’ve seen women make jokes about men when they express themselves. Utter emasculation in public. If a man feels as though a woman doesn’t value his feelings, he will shut down and become emotionally unavailable.
Guard his heart…
…from the demons that would do him harm. I’m a firm believer in spirituality, negative forces, and negative energy. When I tell you, that the minute I’m on track, focused, and headed in the right direction, here comes a dozen different distractions, obstacles, and people to divert my attention. My eyes and mind are always open, and aware of the negative people, and things that effect me in an adverse way.
- A woman can see another woman who intends to hurt her man, and stop said woman dead in her tracks.
- A woman could see something her man is doing where he could hurt himself, or his career (that’s protection).
- Holding your man accountable for his actions is protection.
Protect him with your love
Surround him with it. Men don’t feel love from many places (especially black men)… we feel more hatred, fear and disdain than anything when we’re out in the world. The love we feel comes from family, and most of all our woman/wife. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I came home and felt lower than dirt from getting beat up all day (emotionally) and my woman would put her arms around me and protect me from the demons that were invading my mind telling me I couldn’t do it (give up). The love of my woman was like an extra barrier against those that would do me harm, or hurt me. Her love and support kept me focused and got me back on task when I felt inadequate.
Pray For Him
In an article about “4 Ways To Protect Your Husband… ” Tiya Cunningham-Sumter says:
Another great way to protect your husband is through prayer. There is no greater protector than God. Pray for your husband and with your husband. His life, his choices and his spirit all need to be lifted up constantly. You can pray that in his role as husband he always feels loved and supported. Also ask God to provide you with all you need to protect your husband as well.
As you can see, you should protect your man. Stop letting society, the way your parents taught you, or girlfriends told you, dictate what’s right, and what’s needed in your relationship.
There was an ache in my soul when I thought that I couldn’t have children. Not that I ever wanted children. They were nice enough. But, I was afraid. Afraid of failing at being the kind of mother that I thought children deserved.
Until I knew that you were growing in my womb. It was a yearning in my spirit to protect you with everything that I am and everything that I have. The yearning is still there my sweet little boy. The yearning to be a better mother than I ever thought possible.
The yearning to be a person that you will always be able to depend on. The yearning to give you the best of what I have to offer. The yearning to lead and guide you down the path of life with God as our guide.
I yearn to shield you from as much pain as possible dear son. But, when I can’t shield you…I pray that you will know who to call on for help. Remember where our help comes from.
This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “Y” is for Yearning. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.