Baltimore, MD–I discussed the Single Motherhood by Choice and Single Fatherhood by Choice movements on The Ron Smith Show on WBAL AM 1090 in Baltimore on Wednesday. I had previously blogged about the issue here.
As we’ve discussed on many occasions, the media has portrayed Single Motherhood by Choice very positively with a lot of “you go girl” cheerleading. A recent CNN article talked about an emerging trend of single men, some straight and some gay, employing surrogates and becoming fathers themselves.
While I can understand some men wanting to have children that cannot be taken from them in a divorce or separation, I do not condone Single Fatherhood by Choice. Children need mothers just as they need fathers, and I believe it is selfish and counterproductive to deprive a child either of a father or of a mother.
Ron Smith made the point that for a wealthy single man, Single Fatherhood by Choice is an intelligent economic decision. He reasoned that wealthy men may be taken advantage of by women he called “Golddiggers”, and be hit very hard financially in a divorce. Even though surrogacy is expensive — around $100,000 per child, according to CNN — it controls and manages the risk. By contrast, wealthy men who marry have a lot more to lose.
Another caller, a friendly Irish woman, said that I was wrong because many fathers whose wives died in childbirth or from other causes successfully raised their children. I replied that while this is no doubt true, those children lost a tremendous amount, even if they never knew their mothers.
I’ll give CNN and others credit in the sense that they confirmed that single fathers are quite capable of caring for children, just like mothers are. However, it seems that many go from “single motherhood is good” straight to “single fatherhood is good” seemingly without stopping to consider that both are a problem.
Ron also made the point that he believes that the economic crisis will actually strengthen the family, or at least help arrest family breakdown. His logic is, simply, that divorce can only exist under relative affluence because it is so expensive. People who cannot afford to support one household on their incomes will be very hesitant to divorce and put themselves in a position where they have to support two households.
I have mixed emotions on this. I have no doubt that Ron’s view of the link between affluence and the ability to divorce is valid. On the other hand, many, many couples are torn apart by arguments over money. These arguments are doubtlessly intensifying right now.
One piece of advice for husbands who are trying to prevent their angry wives from divorcing — tell her this:
We’re fighting like crazy over money now. What will it do when the same incomes that are not enough to support one household are forced to support two?