In honor of Father’s Day, I want to stop women from being stuck with a “baby daddy” who provides no emotional or financial value to their life or the lives of their children. I believe that all children deserve a father in their lives that will be attentive, supportive and present. Though it is the man who is responsible for the relationship he forms with his children, the woman must also bear some responsibility for picking him in the first place. Yes, people fall in and out of love, but if we as women make more conscientious decisions concerning what men we place in our lives we can decrease the number of broken homes a lot.
There are steps women can take BEFORE getting pregnant that will prevent them from having to chase a man for child support or beg him to see his children for the next 18 years. Most of what make men bad fathers is having children with someone who is not equipped for fatherhood in the first place. Though not fool-proof, I have listed the following steps women can take to handpick a good father for her children.
1. Wait to Have Sex. Often times we allow our lust for someone to cloud our judgement. What we mistake for love is actually just our endorphins running in overdrive after being intimate with someone. If we spend more time getting to know someone before getting in bed with them, then we are more likely to use our head when it comes to getting in a relationship with someone. If I had even waited an extra month with a few of my relationships, I’m sure they would never had developed past the dating stage. Like many women, I mistakenly “fell in love” with men who were unworthy of my time or attention.
2. Have protected sex ALL THE TIME. Not only should you use a barrier method such as condoms to prevent pregnancy (and STDs), but women should also use some other form of birth control as well. No contraceptive is 100% fail safe, but using a second form of birth control such as pills or an IUD adds double protection in preventing an unplanned pregnancy. In addition, the morning after pill is now sold without a prescription or an embarrassing trip to the pharmacy counter, so there is no excuse.
3. Love yourself first. Having high self-esteem and love for your life and body will minimize the likelihood that you will make unwise decisions such as having unprotected sex or remaining in an unhealthy relationship.
4. Count His Baby Mamas. If a man has more baby mamas than children – RUN LIKE HELL! Not only does this say that he loves to have unprotected sex a lot, but it also shows how he values the sanctity of fatherhood. Now, I’m not talking about the men who have been married and have had children with their wives, but those who go around the neighborhood spreading his seed like the gardener. You will know him when you see him, because more often than not there are women chasing him down and fighting his girl-of-the- moment in the street – with their children in tow. Don’t be his next baby mama.
5. Plan Pregnancy After Marriage. Of course, marriages end in divorce all of the time, but you’re upping your chances of having a man who is committed to you, your children and your family if you marry. A married man will be more invested in the lives of his children when he’s in the home with them. He understands that he’s the provider and protector of his family and will give you not only the emotional support you need as your husband, but financial support as well.
6. Become Involved Only With Men Who Are Available. Of course this goes without saying, but don’t date men who are in relationships with other people. Don’t even date men who have recently gotten out of a relationship with another person. The only thing worse than being the other woman? Being the pregnant other woman. If the man is married and has kids, there’s a very slim he will leave them for you. Even if he does, why would you want him? Your child will either live being ignored by this man or hated by his siblings for wrecking their happy home. Don’t do it to yourself or your child.
7. Look at His Relationship With His Father. If a man grew up with his father in his life, then he understands the value of a father’s presence, especially if the relationship was healthy.. In addition, we learn from our first teachers, our parents, and how his father parented will influence the way he will parent his own children. A man who saw his father as an active person in his children’s life will undoubtedly mirror that. However, if he grew up with a man who was a workaholic or worse, an abuser, then prepare yourself to spend a lot of lonely and sad nights.
8. Ensure Your Family Values Mesh. Sit down with your man and discuss parenting and discipline styles. If you don’t believe in spanking, but your man believes in breaking the switch off of the tree, then step back and reflect. Can you envision this man parenting your children? Let’s say you want to stay at home to raise your children, but your man thinks everyone in the household should work? This may be a sign that this relationship won’t work.
9. Ask Yourself If He’s a Good Person. How is his character? Is he honest? Is he faithful? If not, having his baby won’t keep him home with you. It will probably give him the reason he needs to run. Is he warm, kind, hard-working and supportive? Is this the man you want your son to grow up to become one day? Can you see this man raising an emotionally stable woman with high self-esteem? If not, you may have a daughter who ends up with daddy issues looking for love in all the wrong places.
It may seem as we just end up in situations and become single mothers with not fault of our own. Though life happens and some situations are out of our control, most of the time it isn’t. Using our head and making wise decisions in the beginning of a relationship will help us to add unnecessary strife in our lives. Parenthood is forever and even though you won’t be legally obligated to speak to your child’s father after year 18, he’s in your life in some shape or form forever.